Contingency Theories of Leadership

Each of these offers some insights into the qualities of successful leaders, with respect to generic characteristics and behaviors of an individual to the recognition of the importance of responding o different situations and circumstances and the role of the leader in relation to followers. The report concludes with the notion that due to a number of factors, there may not be just One Best Way to lead. The changing nature of work and society demands new approaches that encourage a more collective and evolving outlook on leadership.

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Definition of Leadership Broadly defined, leadership is the ability to influence a group of people, and leading them to the attainment of a common goal. A leader is generally someone with authority and confidence, and the ability to motivate the group and in turn inspire trust and respect. Leadership and Leaders Leadership is what leaders do. The word ‘authority, used in the definition of leadership is the basis of all research done on leadership with respect to business management.

Although there may be some people who do not hold a formal position of authority in an organization, they still might be able to influence people as mentioned above. Importance of Leadership in Organizations: There is a reason why most businesses are organized with a “boss” or various layers of authority and leadership – this is the model which produces he most effective and efficient system for generating productivity and profitability. Leadership is vital for both in building the strength and power of the organization and in helping to manage relationships and resources.

The employees need leadership to show them direction, motivate and inspire them to perform at their best and control or discourage any actions which may be damaging to the business as a whole; whilst the customers and clients need leadership to inspire trust and confidence in the business’s products or services. Leadership is also important in ensuring the smooth running of the organization s a whole – to ensure that employees are financially compensated in a fair and timely manner and that stockholders are satisfied with their investment.

The workplace is a team environment and nowhere else is leadership so important. Note, however, that leaders do not necessarily have to be the person with formal authority – many of those in an official position of authority are simply managing and not leading. Studies show that 80% of problems experienced in any organization are people-related so good leadership always benefits the organization as a whole. With good leadership, team members will feel valued ND an integral part of the development of the organization – this invariably leads to greater benefits for the business.

Studies show that with good leadership, employees have: * More personal satisfaction with work and personal life * Greater ownership is transferred to the people doing the work * Expanded skills and competencies Whilst for the business or organization as a whole, there is: * More strategy in addition to operations roles * More qualified and developed people * More qualified, stronger leaders coming through the “ranks” (future leader development) Managers as Leaders Ideally speaking, all managers should be leaders. Realistically, however, this may not always be the case.

To elaborate, it is important to first understand how management and leadership differ from one another. “There is a profound difference between management and leadership, and both are important. To manage means to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct. Leading is influencing, guiding in a direction, course, action, opinion. The distinction is crucial” Warren Bennie According to John Cotter, the author of “John P. Cotter on What Leaders Really Do” “Leadership and management are two distinctive and complementary systems of action…..

Both are necessary for success in an increasingly complex and volatile business environment. ” In his book “On Becoming a Leader”, Bennie makes some excellent comparisons. He states that where managers maintain the status quo; the leaders challenge it and originate new approaches to doing the routine tasks. The managerial focus is on systems and structure; whereas the leaders’ focus is on people and situations. That is why a leader is able to inspire the trust of his people, rather than relying only on the managerial authority associated with he position he holds.

In short, managers do things right whereas leaders do the right thing. Why is leadership so important? Does it really matter if a group does not have the support of a good leader? Yes, in fact, it seems it does. History and experience suggests that leadership IS very important to the success of a group or community as a whole – and to the success of individuals within the group. In the sections that follow, the development of leadership studies and theories over time is briefly traced. The following table provides a summary of the major theoretical approaches.

Historical Leadership Theories Leadership Theory I Time of Introduction I Major Tenets I Trait Theories 1 sass I Individual characteristics of leaders are different than those of mainlanders. I Behavioral Theories sass and sass I The behaviors of effective leaders are different than the behaviors of ineffective leaders. Two major classes of leader behavior are task-oriented behavior and relationship- oriented behavior. I Contingency Theories 1 sass and sass I Factors unique to each situation determine whether specific leader characteristics and behaviors will be effective.

I Leader-Member Exchange 1 sass I Leaders from high- laity relationships with some subordinates but not others. The quality of leader-subordinates relationship affects numerous workplace outcomes. I Charismatic Leadership 1 sass and sass I Effective leaders inspire subordinates to commit themselves to goals by communicating a vision, displaying charismatic behavior, and setting a powerful personal example. I Contingency Theories Definition Contingency or situational theories of leadership propose that the organizational or work group context affects the extent to which given leader traits and behaviors will be effective.

Contingency theories gained fame in the late 1 sass and sass. Three of the more well-known contingency theories are Fiddler’s contingency theory, the situational leadership theory and the path-goal theory. The Fiddler Model The first comprehensive contingency model for leadership was introduced by Fred Fiddler. The Fiddler contingency model suggests that effective group performance depends on the proper match between the leaders style and the degree to which the situation gives control to the leader. Identifying Leadership Style According to Fiddler, a key factor in leadership success is the individual’s basic adhering style.

So he began by trying to find out what that basic style is. Fiddler created the least preferred coworkers (LIP) questionnaire for this purpose; it attempts to measure whether a person is task or relationship oriented. The LIP questionnaire contains sets of 16 contrasting adjectives (such as pleasant – unpleasant, efficient-inefficient, open- guarded, supportive-hostile). It asks respondents to think of all the co-workers they have ever had and to describe the one person they least enjoyed working with by rating that person on a scale of 1 to 8 for each of the 16 sets of contrasting adjectives.

Fiddler believed that based on the respondents answers to this LIP questionnaire he could determine their basic leadership style. If the least preferred co-workers is described in relatively positive terms (a high LIP score), then the respondent is primary interested in good personal relations with his co-workers. That is, if you essentially describe the person you are least able to work with in favorable terms Fiddler would label you relationship-oriented.

In contrast, if the least preferred co-workers are seen in relatively unfavorable terms (a low LIP score) the respondent is primarily interested in productivity and thus would be labeled task oriented. About 16 percent of respondents score in the middle range. Such individuals cannot be classified as either relationship oriented or task oriented and thus fall outside the theorist predictions. Fiddler assumed that an individual’s leadership style is fixed. Defining the Situation After an individual’s basic leadership style has been assessed through the LIP, it is necessary to match the leader with the situation.

Fiddler identified three contingency dimensions that, he argued define the key situational factors that determine leadership effectiveness. These are leader-members relations, task structure and position power. They are defined as follows: Leader member relations: The degree of confidence, trust and respect members have in their leader. Task structure: The degree to which the job aligns to the procedures (that is, structured or unstructured) Position power: The degree of influence a leader has over power variables such as hiring, firing, discipline, promotions and salary increases.

The next step is to evaluate the situation in terms of these three contingency variables. Leadership member relations are either good or poor, task structure is either high or low and position power is either strong or weak Fiddler found that the task oriented or the authoritarian leader was most effective in extreme situations, i. E. , both when the situation was very favorable and very unfavorable. An effective leader’s task- oriented behavior in very unfavorable situation was perhaps due to his fear that his being relationship-oriented in such situation would be interpreted as total abdication of leadership.

But when the situations were moderately favorable or unfavorable the best leadership style was employee-or relationship-oriented. Limitations According to Fiddler himself, one important limitation of his model is that it is applicable only to interacting groups in which the task requires close supervision among group members. It is not applicable to co-acting groups, such as sales teams in which the performance of each member is added together to yield a group score. Herders and Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory The situational leadership theory was initially introduced in 1969 and revised in 1977 by Hershey and Blanchard.

The theory suggests that the key contingency factor affecting leaders’ choice of leadership style is the task-related maturity of the subordinates. Subordinate maturity is defined in terms of the ability of subordinates to accept responsibility for their own task-related behavior. The theory classifies leader behaviors into the two broad classes of task-oriented and relationship-oriented behaviors. The major proposition of situational leadership theory is that the effectiveness of task and relationship-oriented leadership depends upon the maturity of a leader’s subordinates.

Assumptions Leaders should adapt their style to follower development style (or ‘maturity’), based on how ready and willing the follower is to perform required tasks (that is, their competence and motivation). * There are four leadership styles (SSL to SO) that match the development levels (RI to RE) of the followers. * The four styles suggest that leaders should put greater or less focus on the task in question and/or the relationship between the leader and the follower, depending on the development level of the follower. Leadership style in response to follower development level I Follower development level I Low I High I

ROR RE 1 RE RI I Task/ directive behavior I Low High I Relationship / supportive behavior I High I I Low I Participating I SO Selling I Delegating I SIS Telling I The following leadership styles were concluded: SSL: Telling / Directing Follower: RI: Low competence, low commitment / Unable and unwilling or insecure Leader: High task focus, low relationship focus When the follower cannot do the job and is unwilling or afraid to try, then the leader takes a highly directive role, telling them what to do but without a great deal of concern for the relationship.

The leader may also provide a working Truckee, both for the job and in terms of how the person is controlled. The leader may first find out why the person is not motivated and if there are any limitations in ability. These two factors may be linked, for example where a person believes they are less capable than they should be may be in some form of denial or other coping. They follower may also lack self-confidence as a result. If the leader focused more on the relationship, the follower may become confused about what must be done and what is optional.

The leader thus maintains a clear ‘do this’ position to ensure all required actions are clear. SO: Selling / Coaching Follower: RE: Some competence, variable commitment / Unable but willing or motivated Leader: High task focus, high relationship focus When the follower can do the job, at least to some extent, and perhaps is over-confident about their ability in this, then ‘telling’ them what to do may denominate them or lead to resistance. The leader thus needs to ‘sell’ another way of working, explaining and clarifying decisions.

The leader thus spends time listening and advising and, where appropriate, helping the follower to gain necessary skills through coaching methods. Note: SSL and SO are leader-driven. 3: Participating / Supporting Follower: RE: High competence, variable commitment / Able but unwilling or insecure Leader: Low task focus, high relationship focus When the follower can do the job, but is refusing to do it or otherwise showing insufficient commitment, the leader need not worry about showing them what to do, and instead is concerned with finding out why the person is refusing and thence persuading them to cooperate.

There is less excuse here for followers to be reticent about their ability, and the key is very much around motivation. If the causes are found then they can be addressed by the leader. The leader thus spends time listening, praising and otherwise making the follower feel good when they show the necessary commitment.

SO: Delegating / Observing Follower: RE: High competence, high commitment / Able and willing or motivated Leader: Low task focus, low relationship focus When the follower can do the job and is motivated to do it, then the leader can basically leave them to it, largely trusting them to get on with the job although they also may need to keep a relatively distant eye on things to ensure everything is going to plan. Followers at this level have less need for support r frequent praise, although as with anyone, occasional recognition is always welcome. Note: SO and SO are follower-led.

It is limited, and is based on assumptions that can be challenged, for example the assumption that at the ‘telling’ level, the relationship is of lower importance. Path-Goal Theory A Leadership Theory proposed by the American psychologist Robert House. The Path-Goal Theory contends that the leader must motivate subordinates by: (1) emphasizing the relationship between the subordinates’ own needs and the organizational goals; (2) clarifying and facilitating the path subordinates just take to fulfill their own needs as well as the organization’s needs.

House’s theory also attempts to predict the effect that structuring behavior will have under different conditions. In choosing which of the leadership behaviors to use, two variables influence the choice: the subordinates characteristics, and the characteristics of the task. The leader behavior is contingent on these characteristics, making this a situational leadership theory. No one leadership behavior works for motivating every person and the leader supplies what is missing to motivate the follower.

After this initial assessment of the follower and he task, the leader then helps the follower define goals and then reach them in the most efficient way. Leaders may even adapt their styles with an individual during the completion of a task, if one part of the job needs a different motivation from another. According to House, there are four types of leadership styles depending on the situation. Four Styles of Leading Subordinates 1 . Directive Leadership. The leader gives specific guidance of performance to subordinates. 2. Supportive Leadership. The leader is friendly and shows concern for the subordinates. 3.

Participative Leadership. The leader consults with subordinates and considers their suggestions. 4. Achievement-oriented Leadership. The leader sets high goals and expects subordinates to have high level performance. Limitations Although it is a complex and sometimes confusing theory, it reminds leaders to continually think of their central purposes as a leader: to help define goals, clarifies paths to get there, remove obstacles that may exist, and provide support and encouragement for achievement of goals. Most of the responsibility is on the leader however, and there is little emphasis identified for the follower.

Some argue this kind of leadership may be counterproductive over time, resulting in learned helplessness. Common Leadership Issues Managing Power An essential part of leadership or management is to influence the people you manage so that they do what you want them to do. The influence of a leader will depend on a variety of factors including their personality and of those around them. The influence of a leader over his followers is often referred to as power. Below we will explore the different types of power a leader may have. Five major sources of leader power have been identified. Reward Power Coercive Power * Legitimate Power * Referent Power * Expert Power Developing Trust Leadership is something everyone in the workplace can practice-not just Coos and owners. Communicating trustworthiness starts with honest intention and self-awareness. Additionally, you cannot be an effective communicator or leader if you do not provoke trust in others. Here are 5 strategies for developing leadership and establishing trust: * Tell the truth. Easy to say-difficult to practice. Yet truth is what your customers, co- workers, employees, shareholders and vendors want from you.

If a product is owing to be delivered late, if a report is not completed, if quality is a problem, if earnings are down tell the truth about it. Most people CAN handle the truth. And, it prompts others to be honest. Truth requires no managing or memorization. Tell the truth-it’s easier. * Take action. Leadership means evaluating the available information and moving forward. The best leaders make difficult and timely decisions with about 70-80% of the information. You may never get all the details and waiting to act may result in tragedy. Evaluate and be proactive. Do what you say you are going to do.