Leadership in Organizations
Theories into the field of leadership assert the need of leaders of organization to have the requisite knowledge and qualities to enable them conduct their duties with much ease. Leaders play a vital role towards directing the employees towards the meeting and fulfilling of the set organization’s goals. The success or failure of any organization hinges squarely on the head of the leader of that organization. In other words, when the organization performs well all praises goes to the leader, similarly, when the organization performs dismally, the same leader bears the blame and shame that comes along. The paper that follows presents a discourse, which will open up with the creation of a basic understanding of what leadership is all about. Then, the discussion will look at the requisite qualities and approaches. This will culminate in a conclusion bearing a summary of the important points covered in the discourse.
Simply put, leadership denotes the ability to influence or inspire others towards the meeting of some set goals. The importance of leadership to organizations rests in its ability s to show workers the things they ought to do to meet the set objectives of an organization (Northouse, 2010). Leadership entails establishing or mapping the direction that an organization wishes to move and communicating this direction to all the employees. Leadership need not to be confused with management.
From the definition of leadership, we can clearly see that his primary preoccupation is inspiring and encouraging others to work jointly towards the accomplishing of some set goals. Conversely, management refers to the act of directing workers in an organization with an objective of accomplishing some preset goals by employing the scarce resources to the most economic user. The functions of management include planning, staffing, organizing controlling, and directing an organization (Mabey & Finch-Tee, 2008).
Leadership differs significantly from management. These differences can be explained as follows; management plans while leadership inspire, leadership sets the pace then management ensures that the pace set is maintained. Leadership is charged with the mandate of introducing new and innovative ways of operating a business; management seldom does this (Mabey & Finch-Tee, 2008). Most entrepreneurs are leaders, they identify, engage, and reward the factors of needed for production, and leaders always seek to praise the employees for job well done. Conversely, managers are stewards that look after the business; managers are prone to faultfinding.
For one to qualify as an excellent leader, such as one must possess some qualities or personal traits. These traits are what distinguish great leaders from ordinary people. There are six important personal traits found within effective leaders. The first is ability to be flexible. A flexible leader is one who is flexible will be ready to adopt to the changes he encounters in the business environment (Maxwell, 2007). This trait is important bearing in mind that competitor tactics and business regulations might change without any warning. At such times, it is expected that a flexible leader rise to the occasion, change the path of the business, and ensure that the organization meets its new goals.
Second to flexibility is the personal trait of good communication. An effective leader must possess the ability of holding a civilized discussion with various stakeholders. The best way by which a leader can communicate is by setting the right examples; examples that the employees can ape. The third quality of leader is persistence. This trait carries virtues such as courage, patience, and tenacity. Sometimes the leader will have to exemplify courage by either standing alone or venturing into new and untapped fields (Ferguson, 2005). Tenacity allows the leader to withstand pressure, while patience enables them to hold on especially when all conditions seem to propose otherwise.
The fourth quality of a excellent leader is honesty. The best way by which a leader can express this quality is by the way he interacts with employees, customers, and vendors. Honest leaders often inspire the people they lead to be honest. A excellent leader must be responsible. He must understand that the buck stops with the leader. Therefore, leaders should be the first people to accept blame for any misfortune that might befall their organizations. Such leaders must also be able to give praises where it is due. The sixth and final personal trait of excellent leaders is perception (Maxwell, 2007). The leader must be sensitive enough to capture the needs expressed by the people he is leading. Leaders who show interest in the needs expressed by their followers are most likely to draw quiet a following.
Leadership approaches denotes the manner of implementing plans, providing directions, and motivating others. There exist four common types of leadership approaches found in the modern day organizations. These include; autocratic, charismatic, participative, and bureaucratic leadership approaches. In autocratic leadership, the staffs do not participate in decision-making. Decision is made by the top management and staff must carry out orders as released from the top. This is an ideal model to follow during crises when decisions have to be made fast. This approach of leadership is ideal for places like the military where complex decisions are made by top commanders and executed as direct orders by the soldiers (Kippenberge, 2002).
The second approach is bureaucratic leadership. Under this approach, the leaders follow some set guidelines and they ensure that the people they are leading follow the set rules to the latter. This leadership approach can be applied in organizations in which their employees do habitual tasks like in manufacturing and in high-risk factories such as those dealing with machinery and toxic substances. The third approach is charismatic leadership (Iqbal,, 2011). This approach is motivational and encourages employees to work towards meeting a common goal in a fun-filled way. Charismatic leadership is ideal for organizations where a joint effort is required to attain a set goal. The fourth and final leadership approach is called participative leadership. In this approach, the leader makes the final decision but allows input of the employees during the decision making process. This approach is ideal in organization where success is pegged on teamwork.
In summary, leadership plays a crucial role in organizations. Leadership concerns itself with directing the workers to meet objectives set by the organization. Leaders must have qualities such as good communication, honesty, persistence, flexibility, perception, and responsibility. These leadership qualities are often expressed under the various leadership approaches that include autocratic, bureaucratic, charismatic, and participative leadership approaches. Sound leadership can only be achieved where the leader possesses the requisite knowledge and qualities and applies these in line with the best leadership style that fits to hiw or her particular organization. The approaches vary in their application and each must be enforced in the organization where it is best suited.
Ferguson, . (2004). Leadership Skills. New York: Infobase Pub.
Iqbal, T. (2011). The impact of leadership approaches on organizational effectiveness: Analytical study of selected organizations in IT sector in Karachi. Munich: Grin Verlag.
Kippenberger, T. (2002). Leadership Approaches. Chichester: Capstone Pub.
Mabey, C., & Finch-Lees, T. (2008). Management and leadership development. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Maxwell, J. C. (2007). The 21 indispensable qualities of a leader: Becoming the person others will want to follow. Nashville, Tenn: T. Nelson.
Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
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