Leadership( is one of the important components responsible for human resource development. A leader influences the behavior of his followers towards achievement of organizational goals. Leadership is a function of the leader, the follower and the situation, i.e. L = f (l, f, s). Leadership is an important aspect of managing. The ability to lead effectively is one of the keys to being an effective manager. Leadership and motivation are closely interconnected. By understanding motivation, we can appreciate better what people want and why they act as they do.
Leadership Behavior and Styles
Prior to 1949, studies of leadership were based largely on an attempt to identify the traits that leader possess. Starting with the “great man” theory that leaders are born and not made, a belief dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, researches have tried to identify the physical mental and personality traits of various leaders.
However, the “great man” theory lost much of its acceptability with the rise of the behaviorist school of psychology, which emphasizes that people are not born with traits other than inherited physical characteristics and perhaps tendencies toward good health. Today it is well accepted that leaders are not born, they are rather made. There are several theories on leadership and style. Special focuses are outlined below:
Style based on use of authority: Leadership styles classified on the basis of use of authority are of three types: i) autocratic ii) democratic and iii) free rein leader. The autocratic leader is defined as one who commands and expects compliance, who is dogmatic and positive and who leads by the ability to withhold or give rewards and punishments. The democratic or participative leader consults with subordinates on proposed actions/decisions and encourages participation from them. The third type of leader uses his or her power very little, if at all giving subordinates a high degree of independence, or free rein in their operations.
Leadership as a continuum: Leadership involves a variety of styles, ranging from one that is highly boss – centered to one that is highly subordinate – centered. These vary with the degree of freedom a leader or manager grants to subordinates. Thus, instead of suggesting a choice between the two styles of leadership – authoritarian or democratic – this approach offers a range of style, with no suggestive that one is always right and another is always wrong.
Life-cycle or Situational approach: Another popular approach is the life-cycle (later termed as situational) approach to leadership. This type of leadership is classified into following styles:
|Telling style : |Effective when followers are at a very low level of | | |maturity | |Selling style : |Effective when followers are on the low side of maturity | |Participating Style: |Effective when followers are on the high side of maturity| |Delegating Style : |Effective when followers are at a very high level of | | |maturity |
Managerial Grid: The success of the study leads to the development of a matrix method for depicting managerial leadership styles. The Managerial Grid enables us to identify a wide range of styles that represent various combinations of concern for people and concern for production. As shown, a manager is rated on two 9 point scales to indicate the extent to indicate the extent to which the manager demonstrates concern for each of the two central leadership dimensions.
When these two scores are plotted on coordinate axes their points of intersection falls on a grid of 81 (9(9) possible points. This point is then used as basis for comparing the manager’s behaviors with those of other managers whose orientations have been measured in the manager’s behaviors with those of other managers whose orientations have been measured in the same manner – and whose behaviors have already been studied. Blake and Mouton prefer to describe five “extreme” positions on the grid.
|High |9 |1.9 | | | |Country Club Management |
1. (9.1) “Authority-obedience” or “task” leadership. This position characterizes managers who place a high priority on a concern for productivity and little emphasis on a concern for people. Thus, they stress the quality of the decision over the desires of the subordinates. At their best, 9.1 managers tend to be extremely conscientious, hard-working, loyal responsible, and personally capable. However, their concern for excellence on their own terms often alienates them from subordinates, resulting in a “satisfying” level of group performance.
2. (1.9) “Country club” or good neighbor” leadership. This position characterizes managers who place a high priority on a concern for people and little emphasis on a concern for productivity. Such managers often believe that the most important leadership activity is to secure the voluntary cooperation of group members, without which, they feel, no productivity would occur.
At best such managers are well liked by their subordinates who are willing to support their boss in times of need of the subordinates of 1.9 managers report generally high levels of job satisfaction and display low levels of absenteeism and turnover. Unfortunately, as an unintended consequence of trying to create a participative environment, such managers are sometimes seen as abdicating responsibility for decision making.
They are also likely to be targets of abusive subordinates who see them as “soft touches”. 3. (5.5) “Organization man” or middle-of-road” leadership. This position characterizes manager who place moderate priority both on a concern for people and on concern for productivity. Such managers believe that compromise is at the heart of good leadership and that decisions must be sound, but also management reflects the leaders’ in order to be implemented. This style of management reflects the leaders’ willingness to trade off a degree of control over the decision making process in exchange for greater involvement and greater commitment from subordinates.
At best, 5.5 managers are steady, dependable, and unlikely to deviate from previous patterns or traditional performance levels. Unfortunately, they are also unlikely to provide any dynamic new leadership or the initiative that responding to internal constraints or external competitions often demands. 4. (1.1) “Impoverished,” “default,” or “retired-on-the-job” leadership. This position characterizes managers who place low priority on both concern for people and concern for productivity.
They believe that it is best for managers to rely on precedent or on experts outside the group in order to avoid the disagreements and emotional reactions that they believe are inevitably associated with group dynamics. This sort of manager is clearly never a leader in a positive sense and at best serves as a “place keeper” until the group’s problems can be attended to seriously.
5. (9.9) “Team” or “eye-to-eye” leadership. This position characterizes managers who place high priority on both concern for people and concern for productivity. Unlike the 5.5 managers who believe that optimal outcomes result from compromise, 9.9 managers believe that concerns for people and production are compatible. They think that the best way to have an excellent production plan is to involve subordinates in the decision-making process, which, in turn, leads to heightened levels of employee commitment. Even Blake and Mouton hesitate to claim that any one leadership style is superior in all cases, but in “typical” business situations, the 9.9 style is preferable to all others.
The managerial Grid is by far the most popular approach taken by executive trainers to help to teach managers about leadership. Not only does this approach combine important contributions from other research, but it also provides informative and convenient “shorthand” for managers to use in communicating about their potential leadership styles, and those of others. Functional Approach to leadership: There is no such thing as right style of leadership but the leadership is most effective when the requirement of leader, the subordinate and the task fit together. The functional approach to leadership demands the leader should satisfy the needs relating to the task, the team and the individuals in the team in order to successfully achieve the goal.
|Functions relating |Functions relating |Functions relating | |to task |to Team |to individual | |Defining the task |Motivating |Recognizing and using | |Planning the task |Organizing |Individual abilities | |Allocating work and |Ensuring communication |Taking account of individual needs | |Resources |within the group | | |Briefing |Maintaining |Encouraging individuals | |Controlling, Adjusting |Spending time |- | |plans |(with the team) | | |Evaluating |Building |- | | | | |
The leader must take account of all three factors. To concentrate on one at the expense of the others will have negative consequences on the task and on the performance of the group. If the leader concentrates solely on the task needs and ignores the team, the individuals will not function so well. The task may be finished this time, but in future the team may not perform so well and the task may not be done so well. If the leader concentrates solely on the team needs, the task will not be done. If the leader concentrates on the individuals’ needs, the task will not be done and the team will not function effectively.
Supervision: Authority and Responsibilities
The term which is interrelated with leadership style is supervision. The act of overseeing the accomplishment of the work to be done is called supervision. Supervision has two important components – authority and responsibility. Authority is the designated right to act and make decisions on assigned responsibilities. On the contrary, responsibilities mean the assigned obligation to perform a task. Supervisor’s authorities and responsibilities are: a) recognizing the existence and the influence of each employee’s personal doctrine, previous training, loyalty and experience upon his work attitude and behavior;
b) gaining mutual understanding with superior regarding extent of formal authority that can be exercised to carry out each major responsibility; c) obtaining and using the facts along with judgment in all decision making; d) giving group members the opportunity to participate in decision-making; e) using discretion and recognizing that the degree of decision-making, participation varies with the type of issues the caliber of employees, and the urgency of the situation; and f) encouraging employee group interaction to reach tentative goals and decisions; g) finding better ways to achieve desired results;
h) improving group’s member’s technical knowledge and skill and developing attitude to get along with others; i) developing a good team effort; and
j) preparing requested reports, interpreting policies and enforcing organization regulation.
-----------------------  PhD (Fellow), Universiti Utara Malaysia, e-mail: [email protected], website: lifebangladesh.com ( Leadership is a process of influencing others so that they act together to achieve the desired goal.