Leadership Characteristics of Administrators to Term Paper

  • Length: 30 pages
  • Sources: 20
  • Subject: Leadership
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #18379756

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Most conclusions on this approach were vague or indecisive in terms of social, psychological or mental significance (Rice, 1978, 1981; Graen et al., 1972; Ashour, 1973).

Furthermore, over the years, many scholars have come to the realization that leadership is situational and hence there are many realistic settings like the environment, the employees, the resources, etc. that determine the characteristics needed in a leader as well as his/her business approach (Hershey and Blanchard, 1977, 1984). This is why it is important to first understand the different types of scenarios that a leader can face and then use those scenarios as the foundation on which most leadership techniques and approaches are built. This idea of leadership being situational is very helpful in outlining the methods through which leadership can be developed and has taken up a good part of the last three-decade of research (Mckenna, Boyd and Yost, 2007).

There were many studies that simultaneously started concentrating on what actually was the leadership approach within many corporations instead of what they thought ought to be the approach. This brought out many more varieties in the leadership styles and methodologies that were adapted from autocratic to democratic to partnership to group decision-making. Vroom and Yetton (1973) explained in their research that the choice of the leadership style or approach was dependent upon many external factors; the most important of which were the capability and motivation of the follower, the association between follower and follower as well as follower and leader, the nature and extent of the project along with the significance or value of the assessment that needs to be taken (Vroom and Yetton, 1973).

Flamholtz (1986) in his study added insights into the notions of leadership styles and approaches that previously existed (e.g., Tannenbaum and Schmidt, 1958; Likert, 1961; Vroom and Yetton, 1973). His overall mock-up consisted of six leadership styles that the leaders could always use depending on the situations that they face, even though he emphasizes the importance of sticking with one style consistently. In his design he integrated the new laissez-faire or "hands-off" methodology. This new methodology mainly gave the leaders the option to analyze the situation and the followers and then depending on the conclusions that they made let the followers self-manage the situation and be accountable for its success or failure (Flamholtz, 1986).

Hershey and Blanchard (1988), in their study designed a model by the name of Leader Effectiveness and Adaptability Profile which has served as a very useful model to determine the vital situational approaches of a leader. In this model, they have highlighted or outlined four basic choices that a leader can chose to do in different situations based purely on the development or willingness of his/her employees which are:

Direction i.e. The leader can clearly indicate the approaches that need to be adopted for the attainment or completion of a project,

Authenticating and advertising i.e. The leader is able to clearly elucidate the reason for choosing an approach,

Contribution i.e. The leader is able to make the task an all-encompassing one by making the employees more involved in the decisions being made, and Allotment i.e. The leader is able to trust the employees and encourage the employees to complete an assignment or attain success in a project.

In this study, they also highlighted four elements of employee development or willingness, which match up to the approach adopted by the leader. This simply means that the approach chosen by the leader from the four mentioned above is based around these four elements, which are:

Capable, enthusiastic and determined employees;

Capable yet unenthusiastic employees;

Incapable yet enthusiastic employees.

Incapable, unenthusiastic and ill-determined employees.

Dictatorial Leadership

Dictatorial format of leadership and its realistic aftermaths have also been the focus of numerous studies. The two most popular studies that focus on this form of leadership were the ones carried out in the years 1950 and 1960 at the Universities of Michigan and Ohio (Yukl 1989). The results of these studies show that the leadership styles that incorporate the employees and are more monitoring then dictating result in higher employee performance, loyalty and contentment. These studies, even though, were very helpful in outlining the approach that the leaders should develop for durable success and support from the employees; they still lacked in giving thorough results related to the leadership styles in other dimensions such as how well the objectives of the group were met, how much was the profit percentage affected, etc.

The researches that have focused on dictatorial leadership thus far have only been able to make concrete conclusions on how the behavioral approach of a leader can affect the capabilities, approach and job satisfaction of the employees. Creehan and Rahman (2003) points out that highly successful leaders use both attraction coercion to get things done. They point out that these leaders are able to understand the situation they are facing and have the ability to adapt their behavior to achieve success (Creehan and Rahman, 2003).

Leadership and authority

Authority was categorized by French and Raven in 1959 and this categorization was later used by Hershey and Blanchard to clearly define the kind of authority and power suitable for the different behavioral patterns of the leader as well as with the different capability levels of the employees. Through this model the main idea for the leaders approach was clearly defined as the model showed that the leaders need to use intimidation and force for the unenthusiastic employees, while use their charismatic charm for the capable yet unwilling employees for motivating them to work and use the dexterity on the issue for the capable and willing employees in a way that they don't feel insecure or inferior (Yukl 1989).

Even though the aforementioned model is useful in defining leadership approaches, the risk associated with it is that it can sometimes generalize an idea or present an uncomplicated situation. The important thing to note here is that most businesses and organizations have intricate structures and solutions are not always that simple to apply practically. Furthermore, the environmental, social and cultural settings within the organizations also vary from one company to the next and have to be taken into consideration before leadership approaches can be designated. This makes the overall relationship of the leader and the employee far more complex. However it has to be said that this model does present the researcher as well as the specialists in the field with a fundamental designation of behavioral approaches that they can refine and reform in accordance to the situations and cultures that they are in (Yukl 1989).

Leadership and Culture

Kleanthous and Anastasiou (2005) define culture as "a pattern of basic assumptions invented, discovered, or developed by a group and taught to new members of that group as the correct way to behave." Edgar Schein who is a reputed organizational psychologist in one of his studies (1985) explained that leadership and culture are interlinked and co-dependent phenomena. He explains that one of the tasks of the leaders is to monitor and guide the culture within an organization and goes on to explain that it is the lack of understanding of the cultural dynamics within organization that leads to the selling of businesses and the breaking of contracts.

The fact that it is the leader who constructs the culture and the social setting within an environment leads many researchers to believe that different leadership approaches and choices contribute to the variances in cultures from one organization to the next. Perhaps a good example to prove this point would be that of John Scully who had working experience within the Pepsi Corporation where he basically worked in a practically proficient and casual environment and was able to use that to establish a non-interventionist managerial section at the Apple Computer Corporation. Here he was been able to rise to the CEO position and works under a more official environment (Frank, 1993).

The trickiest part of working within an organizational structure is perhaps the political games and scenarios that come with it. No company can survive without a political side and it is important for the employees of all companies to come to grips with the fact that they will need to not only understand the political games but play them as well. It is perhaps in these scenarios that a motivational leader is needed who can clarify the political ploys between businesses and can modify the culture and social setting of the business accordingly. Katsva and Condrey (2005) in their study point out, "Motivation is an inducement to action or effort expenditure. Employees exerting large amounts of effort are said to be highly motivated. High effort expenditure is generally associated with high performance levels. The central question of motivation in the workplace is how to encourage people to accomplish more in less time and to be satisfied with this effort. Incentives for motivating people to work include material incentives (money, physical conditions), personal inducements (distinction, prestige, personal power), and associational rewards (stability)."…

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