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Nature of leadership

  • Leadership derives from the power and is similar to, yet distinct from, management. In fact, “leadership” and “management” are different. There can be leaders of completely unorganized groups, but there can be managers only of organized groups. Thus it can be said that a manager is necessarily a leader but a leader may not be a manager.

  • Leadership is essential for managing. The ability to lead effectively is one of the keys to being an effective manager because she/he has to combine resources and lead a group to achieve objectives.

  • Leadership and motivation are closely interconnected. By understanding motivation, one can appreciate better what people want and why they act as they do. A leader can encourage or dampen workers’ motivation by creating a favorable or unfavorable working environment in the organization.

  • The essence of leadership is followership. In other words, it is the willingness of people to follow a person that makes that person a leader. Moreover, people tend to follow those whom they see as providing a means of achieving their desires, needs and wants.

  • Leadership involves an unequal distribution of power between leaders and group members. Group members are not powerless; they can shape group activities in some ways. Still, the leader will usually have more power than the group members.

  • Leaders can influence the followers’ behavior in some ways. Leaders can influence workers either to do ill or well for the company. The leader must be able to empower and motivate the followers to the cause.

  • The leader must co-exist with the subordinates or followers and must have a clear idea about their demands and ambitions. This creates loyalty and trust in subordinates for their leader.

  • Leadership is to be concerned about values. Followers learn ethics and values from their leaders. Leaders are the real teachers of ethics, and they can reinforce ideas. Leaders need to make positive statements of ethics if they are not hypocritical.

  • Leading is a very demanding job both physically and psychologically. The leader must have the strength, power, and ability to meet the bodily requirements; zeal, energy, and patience to meet the mental requirements for leading.

Styles of Leadership

Leadership style refers to a leaders’ behavior towards group members.

The behavioral pattern which the leader reflects in his role as a leader is often described as the style of leadership.

Leadership style is the result of the leader’s philosophy, personality, value system, and experience.

It also depends on the types of followers and organizational atmosphere prevailing in the enterprise. The different types of leadership may be discussed under the following heads:

1. Leadership Styles Based on Authority.

2. Likert’s Four Styles of Managerial Leadership.

3. Leadership Styles in the Managerial Grid.

4. Leadership Continuum.

So it can be described as leading a process by which a person leads others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.

Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce the subordinates to work with confidence and zeal.

Leadership is a Process and a Property

Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically.

It is the human factor that binds a group together and motivates it towards goals.

Leadership can be defined both as process and property.

Leadership is a Process

Leadership is the ability of a superior to influence the behavior of a subordinate or group and persuade them to follow a particular course of action.

It is the art of inspiring subordinates or followers to perform their duties willingly, competently, and enthusiastically.

As a process, leadership involves the use of no coercive influence to direct & coordinate the activities of the members of an organized group towards the achievement of group objectives.

Leadership is a Property

Leadership is the set of characteristics attributed to individuals who are perceived to be leaders.

Thus leaders are people who can influence the behaviors of others without having to rely on force or people whom others accept as leaders.

As a property, leadership is a set of qualities or characteristics attributed to those who are perceived to successfully employ such influence.

Such qualities include; ability to inspire the other, ability, to understand human behavior, the ability of verbal assertiveness, willingness to take the risk.

4 Leadership Styles Based on Authority

Leadership styles refer to a leader’s behavior toward group members. The behavior pattern is that the leader reflects his role as a leader is described as style.

Leadership style is the results of a leader’s philosophy, personality, and experience and value system.

Leadership styles based on authority can be 4 types:

1. Autocratic Leadership,

2. Democratic or Participative Leadership,

3. Free-Rein or Laisse-Faire Leadership, and

4. Paternalistic Leadership.

Let’s know how these leadership styles work and know about their’s advantages and disadvantages;

Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic Leadership relies on coercion, and its style is paternalism, arbitrariness, command, and compliance. The autocratic leader gives orders which must be obeyed by the subordinates.

He determines policies for the group without consulting them and does not give detailed information about plans, but simply tells the group what immediate steps they must take.

Diagrammatically it may be shown in the following way;

However, some autocratic leaders may happen to be “benevolent autocrats.”

Generally, they are willing to hear and consider subordinates’ ideas and suggestions, but when a decision is to be made, they turn out to be more autocratic than benevolent.

Advantages of autocratic leadership

§ It is the speed with which decisions can be made; the leader does not have to obtain group members’ approval before deciding.

Disadvantages of autocratic leadership

§ Autocratic leadership does hurt group morale.

§ Members may resent how decisions are made and thus support them in only a minimal fashion.

Related: Leadership: Definition, Nature, Styles of Leadership

Democratic Leadership

The style of leadership that uses legitimate power can be classified as democratic leadership.

A democratic leader usually gives instructions only after consulting with the group. He sees to it that policies are worked out in group discussion and with the acceptance of the group.

That means democratic leadership solicits employees’ participation and respects their opinions. Diagrammatically it can be shown in the following way;

Advantages of democratic leadership

  • It often enhances the morale of the employees.

  • It increases the acceptance of management’s ideas.

  • It increases cooperation between management and employees.

  • It leads to a reduction in the number of complaints and grievances.

Disadvantages of democratic leadership

  • It accounts for slow decisions, diluted accountability for decisions.

  • There may be possible compromises that are designed to please everyone but does not give the best solution.

Free-Rein Leadership

The leadership style which allows maximum freedom to followers may be called free-rein leadership. It gives employees a high degree of independence in their operations.

A free rein leader completely abdicates his leadership position, to give all responsibility of most of the work entrusted to him to the group which he is supposed to lead, limiting his authority to maintain the contact of the group with persons outside the group.

This is also known as the permissive style of leadership.

Diagrammatically it may be shown in the following way;

Advantages of free rein leadership

  • Opportunity for individual development is offered to group members.

  • All persons are given a chance to express themselves and to function relatively independently.

Disadvantages of free rein leadership

  • It may result in a lack of group cohesion and unity toward organizational objectives.

  • Without a leader, the group may have little direction and a lack of control.

  • The result can be inefficiency or even worse, chaos.

Paternalistic Leadership

Under Paternalistic Leadership, the leader assumes that his function is paternal or fatherly.

His attitude is that of treating the relationship between the leader and the group as that of a family with the leader as the head of the family.

He works to help, guide, protect, and keep his followers happily working together as members of a family.

He provides them with good working conditions and employee services.

This style has been successful, particularly in Japan because of its cultural background. It is said that employees under such leadership will work harder out of gratitude.

This mode of leadership produces good and quick results if the followers are highly educated and brilliant, and have a sincere desire to go ahead and perform with responsibility.

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