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The topic of the report is the importance of understanding theoretical approaches to leadership for effective work of new graduates. The report includes the introduction discussing the importance of the topic, the main body, discussing the relevant theories, and the conclusion, proposing a generic action plan. The appendix includes reflective essay discussing the specifics of leadership abilities of the author.
Many graduates lack knowledge about the ways of enhancing their leadership skills. The provision of relevant information about this issue is of vital importance for new graduates, as by starting developing the appropriate skills from the beginning of their career, new graduates can achieve their goals and provide excellent performance in a short period. Enhancement of leadership skills of new graduates is the key to improving the company’s performance, encouraging good teamwork, and supporting young specialists on the way to building strong relationships with the colleagues.
Theoretical approaches to leadership could support new graduates to succeed in the workplace by giving the understanding of the specifics of the relationship between the leaders and the subordinates. Fiedler’s Contingency Theory is among the theoretical approaches that can help young specialists to understand the nature of the leadership. According to Fiedler, there are two general types of leaders: those who are task-orientated, and those who are relationship-orientated (Moreland 2006). The author of the theory suggests that the type of the leader can be defined by using least preferred co-worker (LPC) scale (Mullins 2007). The scale is aimed at revealing whether the person is loyal to workers with poor performance and positive personal traits or harsh with workers who do not complete the work tasks (Miner 2015).
One of the main strengths of Fiedler’s theory is its ability to predict the effectiveness of the leader in certain situations based on the identification of his/her leadership style without labelling any of the styles bad or good. Fiedler states that task-orientated leaders are more effective when situational control is extremely low or high while relationship-orientated leaders are effective when the situational control is on the middle level (Hogg 2013). Therefore, the theory enables the person to apply the scale and reveal for which circumstances his/her leadership is more favourable (Rollinson 2008). However, the theory has a weakness related to the lack of precision provided by LPC scale, as if the person receives the result that is in the middle of the scale, it is impossible to identify the leadership style and suggest further actions.
Another theory that can benefit new graduates is Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory. This theory suggests that leadership can be defined as the relationships between the leader and the members of the group (Feist & Gorman 2013). LMX theory can reveal which are the ways of improving team performance through developing effective relationships with colleagues to new graduates. According to this theory, each leader-member unit is a dyad, the quality of relationships within each directly influences the chances of getting positive results of the work (Feist & Gorman 2013). This theory reveals that only dyadic relationships between team members built on the exchange of tangible and intangible commodities can serve as the key to building a strong leadership (Martin et al. 2010).
LMX theory can teach the graduates that the positive outcomes of any work activity strongly depend on respect, trust, and fulfilling of mutual obligations between the leader and the subordinate (Miner 2007). The main strength of LMX theory is related to its practical significance, as its theoretical framework suggests real actions aimed at enhancing effective leadership through establishing efficient communication with the members of the team. The weakness is related to the fact that the theory does not have precise directions on providing efficacious leader-members exchange. However, the concepts of LMX theory encourage the leaders to pay more attention to the fact that leadership is based not only on demanding something from the team but on the mutual exchange between the members and the leader.
Both of the discussed theories can give new graduates the deep understanding of the importance of building the leadership that is based on effective interpersonal communication and corresponds to the specifics of current circumstances at the workplace.
The analysis of the discussed theory suggests distinct actions that can be taken by new graduates to build strong leadership. The first action, derived from Fielder’s theory, is defining the leadership style that is typical for a person. Such action will help the graduate to see what are the specifics of his/her leadership style and what circumstances are more appropriate for demonstrating such style. Such step will help to identify in which type of leading activities the person can be the most effective. The second action, derived from LMX theory, is establishing effective communication with the members of the team. Such step will help to provide effective leader-member exchange and ensure excellent work outcomes.
Feist, G & Gorman, M 2013, Handbook of the psychology of science, Web.
Hogg, M 2013, ‘Leadership’, in M. Levine (ed.), Group processes, Web.
Martin, R, Epitropaki, O, Thomass, G & Topakas, A 2010, ‘A review of leader-member exchange research: Future prospects and directions’, in G. Hodkingson & K. Ford (eds.), International review of industrial and organizational psychology 2010 volume 25, Web.
Miner, J 2015, Organizational behaviour 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership, Web.
Miner, J 2007, Organizational behaviour 4: From theory to practice, Web.
Moreland, R 2006, ‘Leadership’, in J. Levine & R. Moreland (eds.), Small groups: Key readings, Web.
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Mullins, L 2007, Management and organizational behaviour, 8th edn, Web.
Rollinson, D 2008, Organizational behaviour and analysis: An integrated approach, Web.