Leadership Skills and Styles

Description Early research on leadership was based on the psychological focus of the day, which was of people having inherited characteristics or traits. Attention was thus put on discovering these traits, often by studying successful leaders, but with the underlying assumption that if other people could also be found with these traits, then they, too, could also become great leaders. Stodgily (1974) identified the following traits and skills as critical to leaders.

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Traits Skills Adaptable to situations Alert to social environment Ambitious and achievement-orientated Assertive Cooperative Decisive Dependable Dominant (desire to influence others) Energetic (high activity level) Persistent Self-confident Tolerant of stress Willing to assume responsibility Creative Diplomatic and tactful Clever (intelligent) Conceptually skilled Fluent in speaking Knowledgeable about group task Organized (administrative ability) Persuasive Socially skilled McCall and Lombard (1983) researched both success and failure identified four primary traits by which leaders could succeed or ‘derail’: Emotional stability and composure: Calm, confident and predictable, particularly when under stress. Admitting error: Owning up to mistakes, rather than putting energy into covering up. Good interpersonal skills: Able to communicate and persuade others without resort to negative or coercive tactics. Intellectual breadth: Able to understand a wide range of areas, rather than having a narrow (and narrow- minded) area of expertise. Behavioral Theory Leaders can be made, rather than are born. Successful leadership is based in definable, learnable behavior. Description Behavioral theories of leadership do not seek inborn traits or capabilities. Rather, they look at what leaders actually do. If success can be defined in terms of describable actions, then it should be relatively easy for other people to act in the same way.

This is easier to teach and learn then to adopt the more ephemeral ‘traits’ or ‘capabilities’. Role Theory People define roles for themselves and others based on social learning and reading. People form expectations about the roles that they and others will play. People subtly encourage others to act within the role expectations they have for them. People will act within the roles they adopt. We all have internal schemas about the role of leaders, based on what we read, discuss and so on. We subtly send these expectations to our leaders, acting as role senders, for example through the balance of decisions we take upon ourselves and the decisions we leave to the leader.

Leaders are influenced by hose signals, particularly if they are sensitive to the people around them, and will generally conform to these, playing the leadership role that is put upon them by others. Within organizations, there is much formal and informal information about what the leader’s role should be, including ‘leadership values’, culture, training sessions, modeling by senior managers, and so on. These and more (including contextual factors) act to shape expectations and behaviors around leadership. Role conflict can also occur when people have differing expectations of their leaders. It also happens when leaders have different ideas about what hey should be doing vs.. He expectations that are put upon them. Contingency Theory The leader’s ability to lead is contingent upon various situational factors, including the leader’s preferred style, the capabilities and behaviors of followers and also various other situational factors. Description Contingency theories are a class of behavioral theory that contend that there is no one best way of leading and that a leadership style that is effective in some situations may not be successful in others. An effect of this is that leaders who are very effective at one place and time may become unsuccessful either when reinstalled to another situation or when the factors around them change.

This helps to explain how some leaders who seem for a while to have the ‘Midas touch’ suddenly appear to go off the boil and make very unsuccessful decisions. Fiddler’s Least Preferred Co-worker (LAP) Theory Fiddler identified the a Least Preferred Co-Worker scoring for leaders by asking them first to think of a person with which they worked that they would like least to work with again, and then to score the person on a range of scales between positive factors (friendly, helpful, cheerful, etc. ) and negative factors (unfriendly, unhelpful, gloomy, etc. ). A high LAP leader generally scores the other person as positive and a low LAP leader scores them as negative.

High LAP leaders tend to have close and positive relationships and act in a supportive way, even proportioning the relationship before the task. Low LAP leaders put the task first and will turn to relationships only when they are satisfied with how the work is going. Three factors are then identified about the leader, member and the task, as follows: Leader-Member Relations: The extent to which the leader has the support and loyalties of followers and relations with them are friendly and Task structure: The extent to which tasks are standardized, cooperative. Documented and controlled. Leader’s Position-power: The extent to which the leader has authority to assess follower performance and give reward or punishment.

Cognitive Resource Theory Cognitive Resource Theory predicts that: 1 . A leader’s cognitive ability contributes to the performance of the team only when the leader’s approach is directive. When leaders are better at planning and decision-making, in order for their plans and decisions to be implemented, they need to tell people what to do, rather than hope they agree with them. When hey are not better than people in the team, then a non-directive approach is more appropriate, for example where they facilitate an open discussion where the ideas of team can be aired and the best approach identified and implemented. 2. Stress affects the relationship between intelligence and decision quality.

When there is low stress, then intelligence is fully functional and makes an optimal contribution. However, during high stress, a natural intelligence not only makes no difference, but it may also have a negative effect. One reason for this may be that an intelligent person seeks rational solutions, which may not be available (and may be one of the causes of stress). In such situations, a leader who is inexperienced in ‘gut feel’ decisions is forced to rely on this unfamiliar approach. Another possibility is that the leader retreats within him/herself, to think hard about the problem, leaving the group to their own devices. 3. Experience is positively related to decision quality under high stress.

When there is a high stress situation and intelligence is impaired, experience of the same or similar situations enables the leader to react in appropriate ways without having to think carefully about the situation. Experience of decision-making under stress also will contribute to a better decision than trying to muddle through with brain power alone. 4. For simple tasks, leader intelligence and experience is irrelevant. When subordinates are given tasks which do not need direction or support, then it does not matter how good the leader is at making decisions, because they are easy to make, even for subordinates, and hence do not need any further support.

Strategic Contingencies Theory Industrialization power depends on three factors: problem skills, actor centrality and uniqueness of skill. If you have the skills and expertise to resolve important problems, then you are going to be in demand. And by the law of supply and demand, that gives your the upper hand in negotiations. It also gives you power from the reciprocity created. If you work in a central part of the workflow of the organization, then what you do is very important. This gives you many opportunities to be noticed. It also means you are on the critical path, such that if your part of the company fails, the whole show stops. Again creating attention and giving you bargaining power.

Finally, if you are difficult to replace, then if you do make enemies up the hierarchy, then they cannot just move you UT or sideways. Transactional Leadership People are motivated by reward and punishment. Social systems work best with a clear chain of command. When people have agreed to do a job, a part of the deal is that they cede all authority to their manager. The prime purpose of a subordinate is to do what their manager tells them to do. Style The transactional leader works through creating clear structures whereby it is clear what is required of their subordinates, and the rewards that they get for following orders. Punishments are not always mentioned, but they are also well-understood and formal systems of discipline are usually in place.

The early stage of Transactional Leadership is in negotiating the contract whereby the subordinate is given a salary and other benefits, and the company (and by implication the subordinates manager) gets authority over the subordinate. When the Transactional Leader allocates work to a subordinate, they are considered to be fully responsible for it, whether or not they have the resources or capability to carry it out. When things go wrong, then the subordinate is considered to be personally at fault, and is punished for their failure (just as they are rewarded for succeeding). The transactional leader often uses management y exception, working on the principle that if something is operating to defined (and hence expected) performance then it does not need attention.

Exceptions to expectation require praise and reward for exceeding expectation, whilst some kind of corrective action is applied for performance below expectation. Whereas Transformational Leadership has more of a ‘selling’ style, Transactional Leadership, once the contract is in place, takes a ‘telling’ style. Transformational Leader People will follow a person who inspires them A person with vision and passion can achieve great things The way to get things done is by injecting enthusiasm and energy. Style Working for a Transformational Leader can be a wonderful and uplifting experience. They put passion and energy into everything. They care about you and want you to succeed.

Developing the vision Transformational Leadership starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers. This vision may be developed by the leader, by the senior team or may emerge from a broad series of discussions. The important factor is the leader buys into it, hook, line and sinker. Selling the vision The next step, which in fact never stops, is to constantly sell the vision. This takes energy and commitment, as few people will immediately buy into a radical vision, and some will join the show much more slowly than others. The Transformational Leader thus takes every opportunity and will use whatever works to convince others to climb on board the bandwagon.

In order to create followers, the Transformational Leader has to be very careful in creating trust, and their personal integrity is a critical part of the package that they are selling. In effect, they are selling themselves as well as the vision. Finding the way forwards In parallel with the selling activity is seeking the way forward. Some Transformational Leaders know the way, and simply want others to follow them. Others do not have a ready strategy, but will happily lead the exploration of possible routes to the promised land. The route forwards may not be obvious and may not be plotted in details, but with a clear vision, the direction will always be known.

Thus finding the way forward can be an ongoing process of course correction, and the Transformational Leader will accept that there will be failures and blind canyons along the way. As long as they feel progress is being made, they will be happy. Leading the charge The final stage is to remain up-front and central during the action. Transformational Leaders are always visible and will stand up to be counted rather than hide behind their troops. They show by their attitudes and actions how everyone else should behave. They also make continued efforts to motivate and rally their followers, constantly doing the rounds, listening, soothing and enthusing.

It is their unswerving commitment as much as anything else that keeps people going, particularly through the darker times when some may question whether the vision can ever be achieved. If the people do not believe that they can succeed, then their efforts will flag. The Transformational Leader seeks to infect and reinvent their followers with a high level of commitment to the vision. One of the methods the Transformational Leader uses to sustain motivation is in the use of ceremonies, rituals and other cultural symbolism. Small changes get big hurrahs, pumping up their significance as indicators of real progress. Overall, they balance their attention between action that creates progress and the mental state of their followers.

Perhaps more than other approaches, they are people-oriented and believe that success comes first and last through deep and sustained commitment. Participative Leader Involvement in decision-making improves the understanding of the issues involved by those who must carry out the decisions. People are more committed to actions where they have involved in the relevant decision-making. People are less competitive and more collaborative when they are working on joint goals. When people make decisions together, the social commitment to one another is greater and thus increases their commitment to the decision. Several people seceding together make better decisions than one person alone.

Style A Participative Leader, rather than taking autocratic decisions, seeks to involve other people in the process, possibly including subordinates, peers, superiors and other stakeholders. Often, however, as it is within the managers’ whim to give or deny control to his or her subordinates, most participative activity is within the immediate team. There are many varieties on this spectrum, including stages where the leader sells the idea to the team. Another variant is for the leader to describe the ‘what’ of objectives or goals and let the team or individuals cede the ‘how’ of the process by which the ‘how’ will be achieved (this is often called ‘Management by Objectives’). The level of participation may also depend on the type of decision being made.

Decisions on how to implement goals may be highly participative, whilst decisions during subordinate performance evaluations are more likely to be taken by the manager. Situational Leadership The best action of the leader depends on a range of situational factors. Style When a decision is needed, an effective leader does not just fall into a single preferred style, such as using transactional or transformational methods. In practice, as they say, things are not that simple. Factors that affect situational decisions include motivation and capability of followers. This, in turn, is affected by factors within the particular situation. The relationship between followers and the leader may be another factor that affects leader behavior as much as it does follower behavior.

The leaders’ perception of the follower and the situation will affect what they do rather than the truth of the situation. The leader’s perception of themselves and other factors such as stress and mood will also modify the leaders’ behavior. Yuk (1989) seeks to combine other approaches ND identifies six variables: Subordinate effort: the motivation and actual effort expended. Subordinate ability and role clarity: followers knowing what to do and how to do it. Organization of the work: the structure of the work and utilization of resources. Cooperation and cohesiveness: of the group in working together. Resources and support: the availability of tools, materials, people, etc. External coordination: the need to collaborate with other groups.

Leaders here work on such factors as external relationships, acquisition of resources, managing demands on the group and managing the structures and ultra of the group. Hershey and Blanchard Situational Leadership 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 toss) that match the development levels (ODL to DO) 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. 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 structure, 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 arson 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 ever-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.

SO: 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 or frequent praise, although as with anyone, occasional recognition is always welcome. Note: SO and SO are follower-led. Leader-Member Exchange (ELM) Theory Leader-Member Exchange Theory, also called ELM or Vertical Dyad Linkage Theory, describes how leaders in groups maintain their position through a series of tacit exchange agreements with their members.

In-group and out-group In particular, leaders often have a special relationship with an inner circle of trusted lieutenants, assistants and advisors, to whom they give high levels of responsibility, decision influence, and access to resources. This in-group pay for their position. They work harder, are more committed to task objectives, and share more administrative duties. They are also expected to be fully committed and loyal to their leader. The out-group, on the other hand, are given low levels f choice or influence. This also puts constraints upon the leader. They have to nurture the relationship with their inner circle whilst balancing giving them power with ensuring they do not have enough to strike out on their own.

The ELM process These relationships, if they are going to happen, start very soon after a person joins the group and follow three stages. 1. Role taking The member joins the team and the leader assesses their abilities and talents. Based on this, the leader may offer them opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities. Another key factor in this stage is the discovery by both parties of owe the other likes to be respected. 2. Role making In the second phase, the leader and member take part in an unstructured and informal negotiation whereby a role is created for the member and the often- tacit promise of benefit and power in return for dedication and loyalty takes place.

Trust-building is very important in this stage, and any felt betrayal, especially by the leader, can result in the member being relegated to the out- group. This negotiation includes relationship factors as well as pure work-related ones, and a member who is similar to the leader in various ways is more likely to succeed. This perhaps explains why mixed gender relationships regularly are less successful than same-gender ones (it also affects the seeking of respect in the first stage). The same effect also applies to cultural and racial differences. 3. Ratification In this phase, a pattern of ongoing social exchange between the leader and the member becomes established.

SUccess factors Successful members are thus similar in many ways to the leader (which perhaps explains why many senior teams are all white, male, middle-class and middle- aged). They work hard at building and sustaining trust and respect. To help this, hey are empathetic, patient, reasonable, sensitive, and are good at seeing the viewpoint of other people (especially the leader). Aggression, sarcasm and an egocentric view are keys to the out-group wash-room. The overall quality of the ELM relationship varies with several factors. Curiously, it is better when the challenge of the job is extremely high or extremely low. The size of the group, financial resource availability and the overall workload are also important. Onwards and upwards The principle works upwards as well.

The leader also gains power by being a member of their manager’s inner circle, which then can then share on onwards. People at the bottom of an organization with unusual power may get it from an unbroken chain of circles up to the hierarchy. Using it, When you join a team, work hard to also join the inner circle. Take on more than your share of administrative and other tasks. Demonstrate unswerving loyalty. See your leader’s point of view. Be reasonable and supportive in your challenges to them, and pick your moments carefully. As a leader, pick your inner circle with care. Reward them for their loyalty and hard work, whilst being careful about maintaining commitment of other people. Defending

If you want to be an ‘ordinary’ member of a team, play your part carefully. There will be others with more power. If you want to lead an equal team, beware of those who curry favor. Leadership Styles Leaders carry out their roles in a wide variety of styles, e. G. , autocratic, democratic, participatory, laissez-fairer (hands off), etc. Often, the leadership style depends on the situation, including the life cycle of the organization. The following provides brief overview of key styles, including autocratic, laissez-fairer and democratic style. The Autocrat The autocratic leader dominates team-members, sing unilateralism to achieve a singular objective.

This approach to leadership generally results in passive resistance from team-members and requires continual pressure and direction from the leader in order to get things done. Generally, an authoritarian approach is not a good way to get the best performance from a team. There is, however, some instances where an autocratic style of leadership may not be inappropriate. Some situations may call for urgent action, and in these cases an autocratic style of leadership may be best. In addition, most people are familiar with autocratic leadership and therefore eave less trouble adopting that style. Furthermore, in some situations, sub- ordinates may actually prefer an autocratic style.

Actor work and leadership Style The Laissez-Fairer Manager The Laissez-Fairer manager exercises little control over his group, leaving them to sort out their roles and tackle their work, without participating in this process himself. In general, this approach leaves the team floundering with little direction or motivation. Again, there are situations where the Laissez-Fairer approach can be effective. The Laissez-fairer technique is usually only appropriate when leading a team of giggly motivated and skilled people, who have produced excellent work in the past. Once a leader has established that his team is confident, capable and motivated, it is often best to step back and let them get on with the task, since interfering can generate resentment and detract from their effectiveness. By handing over ownership, a leader can empower his group to achieve their goals.

The Democrat The democratic leader makes decisions by consulting his team, whilst still maintaining control of the group. The democratic leader allows his team to decide how the task will be tackled and who will perform which task. The enigmatic leader can be seen in two lights: A good democratic leader encourages participation and delegates wisely, but never loses sight of the fact that he bears the crucial responsibility of leadership. He values group discussion and input from his team and can be seen as drawing from a pool of his team members’ strong points in order to obtain the best performance from his team. He motivates his team by empowering them to direct themselves, and guides them with a loose reign. Q. – Which Leadership Style do you prefer to communicate visions, goals and values to colleagues and to motivate them to achieve the objectives of the organization? Why? Answer:- A Leadership style which could communicate vision, goals & Values to the colleagues and motivate them to achieve objectives would be Transformational leaders because offer a purpose that transcends short- term goals and focuses on higher order intrinsic needs. This results in followers identifying with the needs of the leader. The four dimensions of transformational leadership are: Transformational Leadership starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers.

This vision may be developed by the leader, by the senior team or may emerge from broad series of discussions. The important factor is the leader buys into it, hook, line and sinker. Charisma or Idealized influence: the degree to which the leader behaves in admirable ways that cause followers to identify with the leader. Charismatic leaders display convictions, take stands and appeal to followers on an emotional level. This is about the leader having a clear set of values and demonstrating them in every action, providing a role model for their followers. Inspirational motivation: the degree to which the leader articulates a vision that is appealing and inspiring to followers.

Leaders with inspirational motivation halogen followers with high standards, communicate optimism about future goals, and provide meaning for the task at hand. Followers need to have a strong sense of purpose if they are to be motivated to act. Purpose and meaning provide the energy that drives a group forward. It is also important that this visionary aspect of leadership be supported by communication skills that allow the leader to articulate his or her vision with precision and power in a compelling and persuasive way.