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The concept of leadership has become essential in large and small business organizations. Managers use practical skills to engage, mentor, and guide their followers to pursue the targeted objectives. This paper presents two sections addressing the unique attributes associated with effective leadership. The first one gives a detailed literature review of the subject and how managers can utilize different competencies to improve the performance of their respective organizations. The second part summarizes the responses gained after interviewing a division manager of a medium-sized retail company.
Review of Literature
Individuals in charge of different organizations, units, or institutions take the idea of leadership seriously to achieve the targeted objectives. Cote defines the term as a model for guiding and engaging others depending on the outlined goals (28). Those who occupy specific managerial positions should utilize effective competencies and strategies. People’s characteristics, experiences, leadership philosophies, and personalities tend to inform this kind of practice.
Individuals who want to record positive results within a short period should be aware of the existing situations and apply the most appropriate models. This means that people will consider diverse leadership styles depending on the anticipated objectives.
There are several theories that explain how specific managers engage others. The first one is trait theory and it indicates that competent leaders possess specific personalities that make it easier for them to achieve their potential (Cote 29). Models, grouped under this category, guide scholars to define various qualities, including likability, assertiveness, decision-making, integrity, and empathy. Behavioral theories are other models many people utilize to guide others. The issue of behavior is critical whenever focusing on these styles. These are subdivided further to autocratic, laissez-faire, and democratic leadership approaches (Uzohue et al. 21).
Autocratic managers will not consult others whenever making decisions or pursuing organizational goals while democratic ones will allow team members to present their insights. Laissez-faire leaders allow their followers to focus on what is right. They do not supervise their followers, thereby ensuring that they remain self-motivated. Contingency models guide leaders to embrace the most appropriate styles depending on the existing circumstances.
Leaders’ roles are dynamic and should resonate with the changing demands of the targeted companies or institutions. Organizational theorists and researchers have managed to present evidence-based insights that many managers should take seriously (Cote 30). For instance, Uzohue et al. indicate that successful leaders should always create the best culture and support the establishment of teams (21). These initiatives will empower employees and make it easier for them to deliver the intended objectives. Competent managers go further to provide suggestions, solve emerging problems, manage conflicts, and be part of the decision-making process.
Challenges will always emerge in large organizations and small business firms. Such obstacles can disorient leaders and their respective followers, thereby affecting performance. Cote acknowledges that managers should apply the most appropriate styles and strategies to overcome existing gaps and monitor the changing needs of the targeted customers (31). This initiative is possible when those in leadership positions develop specific competencies, including effective communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, strategy formulation, charisma, integrity, assertiveness, empathy, and commitment. These attributes will empower more individuals and make it easier for them to take their organizations to the next level.
Management is an ongoing process that is informed by the changes experienced in a given industry or sector. Cote encourages leaders to have evidence-based initiatives for continuously improving their skills and styles (33). This means that they can consider different action plans, engage in lifelong learning, and collaborate with other professionals. They can monitor various issues or challenges that might affect their goals. Additionally, successful managers embrace the idea of teamwork in order to achieve their objectives much faster.
Individuals who want to take up leadership positions should engage in lifelong learning in an attempt to develop the most appropriate philosophies for guiding and mentoring others. Cote argues that meaningful values and attributes should inform such an approach in order to achieve their potential (33). This means that the possession of various skills is something essential. For instance, leaders can strive to become good communicators, listeners, and critical thinkers. People who exhibit specific values will remain empowered, guide others, and eventually make their respective organizations profitable (Uzohue et al. 23). Some of them include integrity, commitment, sympathy, ethics, justice, equality, and charisma.
Leadership remains a powerful model for engaging and influencing others positively. Many competent managers always focus on the most appropriate strategies to support all followers and ensure that they follow the outlined code of ethics (Uzohue et al. 23). They go further to identify potential sources of conflicts, address them, and create the best environment for delivering results. Individuals can also embrace this idea to pursue their personal objectives and eventually succeed in life. This literature review has, therefore, offered powerful insights and arguments that all people planning to become true leaders should consider.
The selected respondent for this exercise works as a manager in a retailing company’s marketing division. The interviewee indicated that he had been working for the identified organization since 2013. Before joining the company, he used to work as a marketer in a small firm operating in the hospitality industry. His current roles include guiding and mentoring marketing, formulating strategic actions, solving problems, and ensuring that his division coordinates with the other departments in the organization.
The interviewee identified various obstacles that he had faced in his career. The first one was the need to guide, mentor, and empower workers from diverse backgrounds. This practice was forcing him to apply evidence-based strategies for delivering positive results. The second one was the issue of resistance to change. With his division required to introduce new marketing models annually, most of the employees remained uncooperative or against every implemented initiative.
The identified professional acknowledged that he was a democratic leader. This means that he always liaised and collaborated with his followers and supervisors of different groups. Such an approach made it easier for him to solve problems, make decisions much faster, and formulate superior strategies for driving organizational performance (Proulx). However, he indicated that the managerial style was making it impossible for some of his employees and marketers to embrace new changes or strategies.
The respondent valued various characteristics in his employees. Such attributes could empower and ensure that all followers were engaged and willing to support the intended organizational objectives. The first attribute was that of integrity. He expected his employees to act in a professional manner whenever fulfilling their roles. The next one was that of charisma since it would guide them to relate positively with their respective clients. Another characteristic that mattered to him was that of communication.
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The respondent indicated that his interactions with different employees resulted in various challenges. For instance, some of the workers were convinced that he was always against the welfare of their colleagues from minority races or groups. This was the case since the company hired its employees from different regions or backgrounds. Another one was that some workers were usually unresponsive and uncommitted to the outlined goals. Consequently, he had to use his competencies to empower and compel them to remain committed.
The interviewee revealed that he always took the issue of decision-making seriously. After members of his staff brought to his attention a given problem, the leader used a powerful approach to deal with it. The first step was to seek clarification from the involved parties or individuals in order to get a clear understanding of the problem. The next one was to convene a meeting whereby all employees were expected to attend (Proulx). This approach created the best environment for solving the identified problem and making the right decision. The last stage was to formulate and communicate the most appropriate solution for addressing the presented issue.
The above discussion has supported the utilization of effective leadership to empower employees and drive organizational performance. Managers can consider various theories and styles depending on the existing circumstances in their respective companies, units, or divisions. The respondent acknowledged that an effective leadership style was appropriate for mentoring and guiding workers. He also outlined his model for solving problems and formulating evidence-based decisions. Those who want to achieve their objectives should consider the above ideas and develop superior managerial philosophies.
Cote, Robert. “A Comparison of Leadership Theories in an Organizational Environment.” International Journal of Business Administration, vol. 8, no. 5, 2017, pp. 28-35.
Proulx, Natalie. “What Makes Someone a Great Leader?” The New York Times, 2018. Web.
Uzohue, Chioma E., et al. “A Review of Leadership Theories, Principles, Styles and their Relevance to Management of Health Science Libraries in Nigeria.” Journal of Educational Leadership and Policy, vol. 1, no. 1, 2016, pp. 17-26.