The research study under review is ‘Soft Leadership: A New Direction to Leadership’ by Professor M. S. Rao. The problem identified in the study is the identification of a leadership style that can be incorporated in a changing world. Whereas the author has not stated the problem, due to the nature of the study, the reader can quickly decipher it from the information provided. It is important to note, the scholar purposes that leadership is critical in development, particularly in businesses and organizations (Griffin and Moorhead 19).
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While there have been various leadership styles proposed in the last several decades, the research study tries to look at possible leadership style options that can evolve with time. It is arguable that the world, and the economy, are changing at a fast rate. Generations are also changing, and trends never last. Therefore, the research seeks to propose the best leadership style for such constant changes.
The researcher also does not transparently state the hypothesis. However, just like with the problem statement, the reader can deduce the theory from the information given. It can be suggested that the study hypothesizes that soft leadership is the best type of leadership for an interconnected, global, and technocratic world (Rao, “Soft Leadership” 143). Therefore, the problem and hypothesis go hand in hand.
The report generated regarding the said hypothesis seeks to show how soft leadership creates an interconnected, global, and technocratic platform for businesses. Additionally, the study tries to prove the theory viable by looking at other research studies and literature reviews that have already been published on the same. It is critical to note that the author also uses criticism of the concept to expound on ideas presented.
Need for Study
The study is very relevant. One of the factors that make the study relevant, as mentioned, is that economies, and the world in general, are changing. Due to changes experienced, it has become crucial for managers in different companies to change their leadership styles. Because change is rarely easy, it has become expensive for businesses to keep training their leaders on viable leadership styles. Therefore, there is a need for the adoption of a leadership style that can cut across the different platforms and changes experienced.
Secondly, the study is relevant as it allows for the understanding of leadership. Whereas various studies have been done on leadership, this particular research study brings in the concept of enduring leadership. In the same breath, the scholar introduces a new design and does not, like other studies, try to support or criticize the already established leadership styles. The author examines the aspects of soft leadership and compares them with elements of other leadership styles to make his arguments stronger.
The author incorporates a descriptive methodology. The scholar uses a question and answers session that had been recorded during a previous webinar to explain the concepts proposed. Rao (“Soft Leadership” 147) records the question and answer session as they happened, ensuring that the research study has primary data. It is crucial to note, however, that the author also uses an exploratory methodology in the study.
Caza and Rosch (1586) explain that exploratory research is the best research methodology for research studies that have not been considered before. Therefore, the research methodology was viable as the concept was being introduced. Rao (“Soft Leadership” 143) explains that the term ‘soft leadership’ is coined and being used for the first time. As the ‘owner’ of the phrase, Rao, arguably, offers the best data for the study.
Summary of Review of Literature
The literature review is very extensive. It should be noted that the researcher first introduces the concept, and gives the definition of the various elements that are associated with the concept. As mentioned, the author created the idea under study. Therefore, it is arguable that much of the data is from a personal point. However, to make the study scientific, the researcher incorporates literature on the core foundations of leadership.
The scholar presents the interpretation of 11C’s model by David Ulrich (Rao, “Soft Leadership” 145), which forms the bulk of the literature review. The 11Cs model suggests 11 elements that are core in leadership. The 11 elements are “charisma, conscience, conviction, courage, communication, compassion, commitment, consistency, consideration, and contribution” (Rao, “Soft Leadership” 144). Rao (21 Success Sutras for CEOs 24) argues that the 11Cs leadership model states that each of the said components encourages a people-centered approach.
According to Rao (“Soft Leadership” 144), each of the components mentioned can be tied to a person who has been deemed influential in leadership. For example, the scholar identifies Nelson Mandela for commitment, and Booker T. Washington is best remembered for contribution (Rao, “Soft Leadership” 144). Additionally, Mahatma Gandhi is recognized as an exemplary leader due to his character, Alexander the Great is remembered for his courage, and Mother Teresa is praised for her compassion (Rao, “Soft Leadership” 144).
Similarly, Martin Luther King is quoted for his conscience, John Wesley is highly praised for his consistency, and Mikhail Gorbachev is memorable for his charisma (Rao, “Soft Leadership” 144). Further, Winston Churchill has been identified as an excellent leader due to his communication skills, Aung San Sui Kyi is best remembered for his convictions, while the Dalai Lama is praised for his consideration (Rao, “Soft Leadership” 144).
Assumptions, Limitations, and Potential for Future Research
A fundamental assumption of the research study is that the current leadership styles cannot evolve. The author assumes that the world needs a new style as the current ones are rigid. However, the author does not present any evidence to prove that modern leadership styles are rigid. In the same breath, there are several limitations to the study. The first.limitation is that it does not offer much research or data on the concept. However, it is important to mention that because the research is new, the author had very little to go by in regards to research. Interestingly, there is great potential for future studies. Researchers can apply the concept in a work environment and test whether it does work or not.
Conclusion of Findings
The researcher concludes that leadership is an essential aspect of the business. However, when one analyzes the current leadership styles, he/she will realize that they fall short due to the rapid changes experienced in the global platform. Therefore, the scholar supports the concept of the adoption of soft leadership. Additionally, the author concludes that the world requires a leadership style that cannot be affected by changes in the economic world. According to the scholar, all leadership styles currently used have to evolve from time to time to suit the different changes experienced. However, soft leadership cuts across platforms and supports all changes that might be brought on by trends and fluctuations in the economy.
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Critique of the Article
Several things that make the research study relevant can be deduced from the report. One such factor is that the author has provided an in-depth explanation of soft leadership. It is important to mention that the detailed analysis and explanation are required because the author coined the term under review. Since the term has not been analyzed before, it is up to the researcher to convince the reader of its importance. Another advantage of the report is that the author takes time to compare soft leadership with other types of leadership. By doing so, the author ensures that the reader understands the limitations of the modern leadership styles that are then resolved by soft leadership.
It is also important to state that the author ties various practical examples to the concept. Arguably, the author makes the concept easy to understand, and also easy to apply in reality in an attempt to convince the reader of the concept’s applicability. The author also provides references for many of the concepts posed. The references ensure that the arguments proposed are strong. The fact that the author presents primary data collected through the question and answer session of the webinar is also an advantage. It is important to point out that the question and answers session provides the reader with first-hand information on what other people think of soft leadership. Also, the section answers questions that the reader might also have concerning the new concept discussed.
Looking at the structure of the report, one can argue that it is sufficient. Although many elements of a report are missing, one can give the author the benefit of the doubt due to the nature of the research. One factor that should have, however, been included in the report is the visual presentation of the data. The report has a ‘boring’ appearance, which makes it appear dull. It is important to note that researchers use graphics to entice the reader, and at the same time, present the data realized easily. The lack of any visual representation means that the reader has to read through the content. It is also important to note that the research does not have much data to present. Thus, the researcher did not have enough data to display in a visual format. Additionally, since the data is not bulky, the reader can read it easily.
One weakness of the report is the lack of a study to prove the applicability of soft leadership. The researcher uses theoretical arguments to determine applicability. However, considering that the research study is scientific, one would expect that some form of study is included to prove the applicability mentioned. It can be argued that the primary data presented mainly focuses on defining the new concept.
In an ideal situation, the researcher should have conducted a research study in a competitive workplace. The author would have applied the said leadership style in the identified workplace and tested how relevant it was, how it was embraced by the employees affected, and what successes and failures it recorded during implementation. All these would have made the research study stronger and more relevant.
Summary of the Case
The case study presented analyzes a new concept, dubbed soft leadership, which is coined by the author of the research. The report starts with a disclaimer to the reader that ‘soft leadership’ is a coined term. The researcher is successful in defining the said concept using descriptive and exploratory research methodology. It is also important to mention that the author uses data collected during a webinar on the same topic, to elaborate on soft leadership and also answer some of the questions the audience/reader might harbor. It is crucial to mention that according to the scholar, soft leadership is best suited for an ever-changing world.
The world and the economy are always changing due to various elements. One of the core elements that leads to change is technology. Therefore, to the author, and leadership style that promotes technological advancement over people, is headed for failure. The author argues that people are the best asset of an organization. Thereby, leadership styles should revolve around getting the best out of human resources.
Soft leadership, as suggested by the researcher, incorporates the 11Cs model. The 11Cs model states that there are 11 traits of an excellent leader. The characteristics presented are charisma, conscience, conviction, courage, communication, compassion, commitment, consistency, consideration, and contribution (Rao, “Soft Leadership” 144). It can be argued that so far, there are no leaders that have all 11Cs mentioned.
However, great leaders such as Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Gandhi and Alexander the Great had one of the traits mentioned, and their shortcomings would have been resolved through the adoption of the other characteristics. Overall, the research study seeks to introduce the concept of soft leadership to the world, and give other researchers background for the drafting of different hypotheses that can be used for future research.
Caza, Arran, and David M. Rosch. “An Exploratory Examination of Students’ Pre-Existing Beliefs about Leadership.” Studies in Higher Education, vol. 39, no. 9, 2014, pp. 1586-1598.
Griffin, Ricky W. and Gregory Moorhead. Organizational Behavior: Managing People and Organizations. 10th ed., New York, NY: Cengage Brain, 2008.
Rao, M. S. “Soft Leadership: A New Direction to Leadership.” Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 45, no. 3, 2013, pp. 143 – 149.
—. 21 Success Sutras for CEOs: How Global CEOs Overcome Leadership Challenges. Melbourne, FL: Motivational Press, 2016.