Churchill’s leadership styles

Transformational leadership (appendix 3) is an approach that James Burns (1978) identified and defined as "leaders have the ability to inspire and motivate followers to achieve results greater than originally planned and for internal reward"ix. The approach linked leadership and followership together and focused on influencing followers and the whole of the organisation.

According to Bass and Avolio (1990) and Bass (1998) stated there are four areas of transformational leadership these being, idealised influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualised considerationx, all of these qualities a leader must posses. Churchill demonstrated all these qualities throughout his leadership, an example such as "Churchill's rhetorical powers set him apart from all other politicians. Often imitated, never bettered, his delivery and phraseology sparked the adjective 'Churchillian'"xi.

The fact that Churchill has had a powerful impact on the public has led to him being idealized and being set apart from other politicians. Building on this further charismatic leadership was drawn to my attention, which Daft (2002) stated is the "ability to inspire and motivate people to do more than they would normally do, despite obstacles"xii. Churchill I believe was a charismatic leader, he created a vision to ensure the future was better for the country and to gain trust and respect from the followers.

Churchill fits in all the four stages of the Conger and Rabindra, 1988 model (appendix 4), which suggests charismatic leaders may be more adept to tailoring the level of their language to different audiences than other leadersxiii, what I could see from this concept was that Churchill communicated the vision, it was clear that after one of his famous speeches in June 1940 the morale of the British people turned around, "80% were now in favour of defending themselves against Nazi Germany, Churchill stated "We shall not flag or fail"xiv.

Churchill was an energising enabling and envisioning man who showed self confidence, and therefore gained confidence in the people. There was a victory strategy and a key vision from the start. Interactive leadership (appendix 5) has been researched in depth and Daft (2008) stated "research indicates that women's style of leadership is typically different from most men's and particularly suited to today's organisations, scoring higher on abilities such as motivating others, fostering communication and listening"xv.

Churchill's leadership styles seems to support this perspective, Dafts statement strengthens the argument that women are most likely to be considered interactive leaders as Churchill failed to meet most of the main characteristics required, although he did inherit some aspects such as energising others by providing speeches which effectively engage others. Churchill could have further embraced this leadership style by encouraging participation e. g. Churchill was very individualistic but took on the opinion of others in isolated incidents such as those of the service chiefs.

Level 5 leadership (appendix 6) is a fairly new form of leadership that Jim Collins in 2001 identified and stated that this approach "is an individual who blends extreme personal humility with intense professional will"xvi. Churchill throughout his life displayed this leadership, he showed the characteristics within the model. Whilst he was Prime Minster he showed personal humility by channelling his ambition to over come Nazi Germany and demonstrated to the whole country that he would do whatever was necessary to win the war.

Overall I would state that leadership styles vary according to various situations. I feel effective leadership is a process where leaders uses their leadership skills to influence followers and in return achieves the set goal/s. After looking at all the models and applying these to Winston Churchill's leadership style it is clear that the reason why he was so effective was because he demonstrated traits such as communicating, self confidence, confidence to others etc. These traits contributed to his effectiveness. I believe that Churchill did all that he could to express himself.

Warren Bennis (1998) summed this up as "leaders know what they want, why they want it, how to communicate what they want to others in order to gain cooperation and support"xvii. This is what Churchill did during a period of crisis. What would have happened if Churchill had not shared social identity with his followers, would he have been a leader that no-one spoke about today? If you delegate leadership then this clearly means you are progressively relinquishing the role of leader. Churchill clearly demonstrated that leadership is the one job which a leader cannot delegate.