Author Topic: Leadership  (Read 24158 times)

Offline md

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« on: April 21, 2012, 11:51:13 PM »
Leadership Basics
What is Leadership

Leadership is a process by which an executive can direct, guide and influence the behavior and work of others towards accomplishment of specific goals in a given situation. Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce the subordinates to work with confidence and zeal.

Leadership is the potential to influence behaviour of others. It is also defined as the capacity to influence a group towards the realization of a goal. Leaders are required to develop future visions, and to motivate the organizational members to want to achieve the visions.

According to Keith Davis, “Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically. It is the human factor which binds a group together and motivates it towards goals.”
Characteristics of Leadership

    It is a inter-personal process in which a manager is into influencing and guiding workers towards attainment of goals.
    It denotes a few qualities to be present in a person which includes intelligence, maturity and personality.
    It is a group process. It involves two or more people interacting with each other.
    A leader is involved in shaping and moulding the behaviour of the group towards accomplishment of organizational goals.
    Leadership is situation bound. There is no best style of leadership. It all depends upon tackling with the situations.

Importance of Leadership

Leadership is an important function of management which helps to maximize efficiency and to achieve organizational goals. The following points justify the importance of leadership in a concern.

    Initiates action- Leader is a person who starts the work by communicating the policies and plans to the subordinates from where the work actually starts.

    Motivation- A leader proves to be playing an incentive role in the concern’s working. He motivates the employees with economic and non-economic rewards and thereby gets the work from the subordinates.

    Providing guidance- A leader has to not only supervise but also play a guiding role for the subordinates. Guidance here means instructing the subordinates the way they have to perform their work effectively and efficiently.

    Creating confidence- Confidence is an important factor which can be achieved through expressing the work efforts to the subordinates, explaining them clearly their role and giving them guidelines to achieve the goals effectively. It is also important to hear the employees with regards to their complaints and problems.

    Building morale- Morale denotes willing co-operation of the employees towards their work and getting them into confidence and winning their trust. A leader can be a morale booster by achieving full co-operation so that they perform with best of their abilities as they work to achieve goals.

    Builds work environment- Management is getting things done from people. An efficient work environment helps in sound and stable growth. Therefore, human relations should be kept into mind by a leader. He should have personal contacts with employees and should listen to their problems and solve them. He should treat employees on humanitarian terms.

    Co-ordination- Co-ordination can be achieved through reconciling personal interests with organizational goals. This synchronization can be achieved through proper and effective co-ordination which should be primary motive of a leader.

Role of a Leader
Following are the main roles of a leader in an organization :

    Required at all levels- Leadership is a function which is important at all levels of management. In the top level, it is important for getting co-operation in formulation of plans and policies. In the middle and lower level, it is required for interpretation and execution of plans and programmes framed by the top management. Leadership can be exercised through guidance and counseling of the subordinates at the time of execution of plans.

    Representative of the organization- A leader, i.e., a manager is said to be the representative of the enterprise. He has to represent the concern at seminars, conferences, general meetings, etc. His role is to communicate the rationale of the enterprise to outside public. He is also representative of the own department which he leads.


    Integrates and reconciles the personal goals with organizational goals- A leader through leadership traits helps in reconciling/ integrating the personal goals of the employees with the organizational goals. He is trying to co-ordinate the efforts of people towards a common purpose and thereby achieves objectives. This can be done only if he can influence and get willing co-operation and urge to accomplish the objectives.

    He solicits support- A leader is a manager and besides that he is a person who entertains and invites support and co- operation of subordinates. This he can do by his personality, intelligence, maturity and experience which can provide him positive result. In this regard, a leader has to invite suggestions and if possible implement them into plans and programmes of enterprise. This way, he can solicit full support of employees which results in willingness to work and thereby effectiveness in running of a concern.

    As a friend, philosopher and guide- A leader must possess the three dimensional traits in him. He can be a friend by sharing the feelings, opinions and desires with the employees. He can be a philosopher by utilizing his intelligence and experience and thereby guiding the employees as and when time requires. He can be a guide by supervising and communicating the employees the plans and policies of top management and secure their co-operation to achieve the goals of a concern. At times he can also play the role of a counselor by counseling and a problem-solving approach. He can listen to the problems of the employees and try to solve them.

Qualities of a Leader
A leader has got multidimensional traits in him which makes him appealing and effective in behavior. The following are the requisites to be present in a good leader:

    Physical appearance- A leader must have a pleasing appearance. Physique and health are very important for a good leader.

    Vision and foresight- A leader cannot maintain influence unless he exhibits that he is forward looking. He has to visualize situations and thereby has to frame logical programmes.

    Intelligence- A leader should be intelligent enough to examine problems and difficult situations. He should be analytical who weighs pros and cons and then summarizes the situation. Therefore, a positive bent of mind and mature outlook is very important.

    Communicative skills- A leader must be able to communicate the policies and procedures clearly, precisely and effectively. This can be helpful in persuasion and stimulation.

    Objective- A leader has to be having a fair outlook which is free from bias and which does not reflects his willingness towards a particular individual. He should develop his own opinion and should base his judgement on facts and logic.

    Knowledge of work- A leader should be very precisely knowing the nature of work of his subordinates because it is then he can win the trust and confidence of his subordinates.

    Sense of responsibility- Responsibility and accountability towards an individual’s work is very important to bring a sense of influence. A leader must have a sense of responsibility towards organizational goals because only then he can get maximum of capabilities exploited in a real sense. For this, he has to motivate himself and arouse and urge to give best of his abilities. Only then he can motivate the subordinates to the best.

    Self-confidence and will-power- Confidence in himself is important to earn the confidence of the subordinates. He should be trustworthy and should handle the situations with full will power. (You can read more about Self-Confidence at : Self Confidence - Tips to be Confident and Eliminate Your Apprehensions).

    Humanist-This trait to be present in a leader is essential because he deals with human beings and is in personal contact with them. He has to handle the personal problems of his subordinates with great care and attention. Therefore, treating the human beings on humanitarian grounds is essential for building a congenial environment.

    Empathy- It is an old adage “Stepping into the shoes of others”. This is very important because fair judgement and objectivity comes only then. A leader should understand the problems and complaints of employees and should also have a complete view of the needs and aspirations of the employees. This helps in improving human relations and personal contacts with the employees.

From the above qualities present in a leader, one can understand the scope of leadership and it’s importance for scope of business. A leader cannot have all traits at one time. But a few of them helps in achieving effective results.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2012, 11:16:52 AM by md »

Offline md

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Leadership and Management - Relationship & Differences
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2012, 11:51:57 PM »
Leadership and management are the terms that are often considered synonymous. It is essential to understand that leadership is an essential part of effective management. As a crucial component of management, remarkable leadership behaviour stresses upon building an environment in which each and every employee develops and excels. Leadership is defined as the potential to influence and drive the group efforts towards the accomplishment of goals. This influence may originate from formal sources, such as that provided by acquisition of managerial position in an organization.

A manager must have traits of a leader, i.e., he must possess leadership qualities. Leaders develop and begin strategies that build and sustain competitive advantage. Organizations require robust leadership and robust management for optimal organizational efficiency.
Differences between Leadership and Management

Leadership differs from management in a sense that:

    While managers lay down the structure and delegates authority and responsibility, leaders provides direction by developing the organizational vision and communicating it to the employees and inspiring them to achieve it.
    While management includes focus on planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling; leadership is mainly a part of directing function of management. Leaders focus on listening, building relationships, teamwork, inspiring, motivating and persuading the followers.
    While a leader gets his authority from his followers, a manager gets his authority by virtue of his position in the organization.
    While managers follow the organization’s policies and procedure, the leaders follow their own instinct.
    Management is more of science as the managers are exact, planned, standard, logical and more of mind. Leadership, on the other hand, is an art. In an organization, if the managers are required, then leaders are a must/essential.
    While management deals with the technical dimension in an organization or the job content; leadership deals with the people aspect in an organization.
    While management measures/evaluates people by their name, past records, present performance; leadership sees and evaluates individuals as having potential for things that can’t be measured, i.e., it deals with future and the performance of people if their potential is fully extracted.
    If management is reactive, leadership is proactive.
    Management is based more on written communication, while leadership is based more on verbal communication.

Offline md

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Leader versus Manager
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2012, 11:55:07 PM »
“Leadership and managership are two synonymous terms” is an incorrect statement. Leadership doesn’t require any managerial position to act as a leader. On the other hand, a manager can be a true manager only if he has got the traits of leader in him. By virtue of his position, manager has to provide leadership to his group. A manager has to perform all five functions to achieve goals, i.e., Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, and Controlling. Leadership is a part of these functions. Leadership as a general term is not related to managership. A person can be a leader by virtue of qualities in him. For example: leader of a club, class, welfare association, social organization, etc. Therefore, it is true to say that, “All managers are leaders, but all leaders are not managers.”

A leader is one who influences the behavior and work of others in group efforts towards achievement of specified goals in a given situation. On the other hand, manager can be a true manager only if he has got traits of leader in him. Manager at all levels are expected to be the leaders of work groups so that subordinates willingly carry instructions and accept their guidance. A person can be a leader by virtue of all qualities in him.

Leaders and Managers can be compared on the following basis:
Basis                  Manager                                                             Leader
Origin          A person becomes a manager by virtue of his position.    A person becomes a leader on   
                                                                                                basis of his personal qualities.
Formal Rights    Manager has got formal rights in an organization because of his status.    Rights are not available to a leader.
Followers    The subordinates are the followers of managers.    The group of employees whom the leaders leads are his followers.
Functions    A manager performs all five functions of management.    Leader influences people to work willingly for group objectives.
Necessity    A manager is very essential to a concern.    A leader is required to create cordial relation between person working in and for organization.
Stability    It is more stable.    Leadership is temporary.
Mutual Relationship    All managers are leaders.    All leaders are not managers.
Accountability    Manager is accountable for self and subordinates behaviour and performance.    Leaders have no well defined accountability.
Concern    A manager’s concern is organizational goals.    A leader’s concern is group goals and member’s satisfaction.
Followers    People follow manager by virtue of job description.    People follow them on voluntary basis.
Role continuation    A manager can continue in office till he performs his duties satisfactorily in congruence with organizational goals.    A leader can maintain his position only through day to day wishes of followers.
Sanctions    Manager has command over allocation and distribution of sanctions.    A leader has command over different sanctions and related task records. These sanctions are essentially of informal nature.

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Authority vs Leadership
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2012, 05:33:45 PM »

The authority exercised is a kind of legitimate power and people follow figures exercising it, because their positions demand so irrespective of the person holding the position. Leaders in organizations and elsewhere may have formal authorities but they mostly rely on the informal authority that they exercise on people to influence them. Leaders are trusted for their judgment and respected for their expertise, integrity etc and hence followed and not because they hold a certain position. For e.g. M.K. Gandhi for most part did not hold any official position to lead the Indian freedom struggle.

It is also important to understand that a formal authority and power emerging from it, might not always be able to influence people in the desired manner as; in times of crisis and difficulties people view it as coercion. On the other hand leadership tends to create followers out of free will and choice without forcing them to accept anything thrown their way. Authority rarely provides a scope for feedback, constructive criticism or opinions of the people on whom it is exercised however leaders provide ample platform to their followers to voice their thoughts and feedback.

When dealing with adults, the sole use of authority to direct and discipline them hardly works, leadership provides a better approach of sharing and involving thus building rapports with followers and creating long term relationships. Authority can hardly make people change their attitudes and behaviors with lasting effects and results however a leader inspires followers through self modeled ways and hence leadership displays greater effectiveness in addressing attitudes and behaviors of people.

Exercising authority sometimes limits the approaches to arrive at solutions for issues and problems while leadership encourages people to look beyond the obvious and think innovatively and sometimes emerge with radical solutions.

Apart from it, the biggest difference between the two as cited by Stephen R Covey is the moral authority held by leaders over the followers which is absent in the case of power from authority. Within the organizational setup when leaders also have moral authority on their subordinates by establishing a synchrony in their words and actions; the rest of the structure and processes of the organization also get aligned to it, thus creating a robust and transparent culture.

Authoritative way of working also encourages individuals to work in silos while in the organizations of today; the leaders need to have a complete picture and coordinate with other functions and departments as and when required. It is indeed difficult for mangers and leaders to move out of their circle of authority and coordinate and interact with external people. However the need of the hour and the more effective approach to leadership and management is when leaders come out of their comfort zone and move from exercising authority on a small group to leading the entire organization.

Individuals, who do not rely on authority but lead people, are the ones who enjoy the privilege of their ideologies and thoughts practiced by later generations long after they are gone. Even with individuals who held positions of responsibilities, the ones who actually led their people are the ones remembered and followed.
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Leadership and Motivation
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2012, 05:38:03 PM »

Motivation is a goal-oriented characteristic that helps a person achieve his objectives. It pushes an individual to work hard at achieving his or her goals. An executive must have the right leadership traits to influence motivation. However, there is no specific blueprint for motivation. As a leader, one should keep an open perspective on human nature. Knowing different needs of subordinates will certainly make the decision-making process easier.

Both an employee as well as manager must possess leadership and motivational traits. An effective leader must have a thorough knowledge of motivational factors for others. He must understand the basic needs of employees, peers and his superiors. Leadership is used as a means of motivating others.

Given below are important guidelines that outline the basic view of motivation:

   01. Harmonize and match the subordinate needs with the organizational needs. As a leader, the executive must ensure that the business has the same morals and ethics that he seeks in his employees. He should make sure that his subordinates are encouraged and trained in a manner that meets the needs of the business.

   02. Appreciation and rewards are key motivators that influence a person to achieve a desired goal. Rewarding good/ exceptional behavior with a small token of appreciation, certificate or letter can be a great motivator. If a certificate is awarded to a person, it should mention the particular act or the quality for which the individual is being rewarded.

   03.   Being a role model is also a key motivator that influences people in reaching their goals. A leader should set a good example to ensure his people to grow and achieve their goals effectively.

   04.  Encouraging individuals to get involved in planning and important issues resolution procedure not only motivates them, but also teaches the intricacies of these key decision-making factors. Moreover, it will help everyone to get better understanding of their role in the organization. The communication will be unambiguous and will certainly attract acknowledgement and appreciation from the leader.

   05.  Developing moral and team spirit certainly has a key impact on the well-being of an organization. The metal or emotional state of a person constitutes his or her moral fabric. A leader’s actions and decisions affect the morale of his subordinates. Hence, he should always be aware of his decisions and activities. Team spirit is the soul of the organization. The leader should always make sure his subordinates enjoy performing their duties as a team and make themselves a part of the organization’s plans.

   06.  A leader should step into the shoes of the subordinates and view things from subordinate’s angle. He should empathize with them during difficult times. Empathizing with their personal problems makes them stronger-mentally and emotionally.

   07.  A meaningful and challenging job accomplished inculcates a sense of achievement among employees. The executive must make their employees feel they are performing an important work that is necessary for the organization’s well-being and success. This motivational aspect drives them to fulfill goals.

Remember, “To become an efficient leader, you must be self-motivated”. You must know your identity, your needs and you must have a strong urge to do anything to achieve your goals. Once you are self-motivated, only then you can motivate others to achieve their goals and to harmonize their personal goals with the common goals of the organization.
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Emotional Intelligence for Leaders
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2012, 05:40:25 PM »

An organization is made up of people and when people are involved, emotions automatically come into play, and a workplace is no different. It would be unwise to assume that a workplace is all objective, no-emotion only performance kind of a packed room where hormones have no scope to creep in however the fact is that emotions alone are the biggest motivator or de-motivator of an employee. The emotions alone, govern the performance and efficiency of a worker and had it not been the case, we would have never talked about the importance of work-life balance and for the present context, the need of emotionally intelligent leaders.

The current times are very dynamic not just economically but also socially where the social fabric is rapidly evolving due to globalization and other influences. The average age of the workforce is reducing and the leaders now look forward to managing people belonging to different cultures and backgrounds. In such a situation, it is important for a leader to be highly sensitized to the emotional aspects of his/her transactions with people. Emotional Intelligence is basically the ability to recognize and understand one’s own feelings and emotions as well as those of others and use that information to manage emotions and relationships. The 4 important aspects of EI as proposed by Daniel Goleman are:
    > Self Awareness
    > Self Management
    > Social Awareness
    > Relationship Management or Social Skills

A leader tends to have a huge influence on the thoughts and motivation of people. He/she has the capacity to enthuse optimism and confidence in the followers and lead them to constructive endeavors which is called resonance and on the other hand they can negatively influence them to destruct, e.g of such leaders being Hitler and d Osama Bin Laden which is opposite to resonance called desonance.

Leaders are closely observed in terms of their body language, facial expressions etc. So, it is important for a leader to consider the non-verbal form of expressions as well, which may positively or negatively influence followers. Therefore, if a leader is talking about ethics in business with a slightly unconvinced and bemused look on his face, the followers make a note of it and the message is not received by them. A leader has to act as a role model too, supporting his statements, ideologies and values with appropriate actions.

As a leader one also has to be aware of one’s own capabilities and weaknesses, it is difficult to accept guidance from a leader who is not self aware. As managers, leaders have to empathize as well with the situations, emotions, aspirations and motivations of the subordinates. A decreasing performance of a team member might be because of a number of reasons, a disruptive worker might be facing motivation issues and a subordinate who uses abusive language with others might be lacking confidence in his own abilities. A leader needs to discern facts and try and reach to deeper levels and understand things beyond obvious.

Apart from the above reasons, Emotional Intelligence is also important because the followers or subordinate expect it from their leaders. A subordinate working closely with the manager would expect the manager to understand his situation and priorities. And not surprisingly, whether manger does so or not, affects his level of commitment and performance at work. A leader has to suitably know and understand when he/she needs to be directive and when he needs to delegate. He/she needs to be aware, when the team members are acting as one unit and when there are differences.

It is sometimes awkward to address emotional aspects of transactions between people but leaders need to understand the importance and relevance of it as it has a huge impact on the performance outcomes. While conducting reviews and development dialogues, the feedback has to be delivered in a manner which is acceptable. The leader needs to be sensitive to the insecurities and apprehensions of the subordinates which sometimes might be expressed and sometimes kept undisclosed. At the senior level it is all the more important as the senior executives find it hard to clearly outline their anxieties and differences and the leader has to anticipate some of them.

So, to be able to attract and retain talented subordinates and keep them motivated, a leader needs to brush up on his people skills and emotional intelligence, as all of them are not born with the charisma to hold people. Fortunately, emotional intelligence with practice and carefully directed efforts can be increased.
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Organizational Leadership
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2012, 05:42:49 PM »

Organizations need strong leadership for optimum effectiveness. Leadership, as we know, is a trait which is both inbuilt and can be acquired also.

Organizational leadership deals with both human psychology as well as expert tactics. Organizational leadership emphasizes on developing leadership skills and abilities that are relevant across the organizations. It means the potential of the individuals to face the hard times in the industry and still grow during those times. It clearly identifies and distinguishes the leaders from the managers. The leader should have potential to control the group of individuals.

An ideal organizational leader should not dominate over others. He should guide the individuals under him, give them a sense of direction to achieve organizational goals successfully and should act responsibly. He should be optimistic for sure. He should be empathetic and should understand the need of the group members. An organizational leader should not only lead others individually but also manage the actions of the group.

Individuals who are highly ambitious, have high energy level, an urge to lead, self-confidence, intelligence, have thorough knowledge of job, are honest and flexible are more likely to succeed as organizational leaders. Individuals who learn the organizational leadership develop abilities and skills of teamwork, effective communication, conflict resolution, and group problem solving techniques. Organizational leaders clearly communicate organizational mission, vision and policies; build employees morale, ensure efficient business operations; help employees grow professionally and contribute positively towards organizations mission.

Tips for Effective Organizational Leadership:

    01. A leader must lead himself, only then he can lead others. He must be committed on personal and professional front, and must be responsible. He must be a role model for others and set an example for them.

    02. A leader must boost up the morale of the employees. He should motivate them well so that they are committed to the organization. He should be well acquainted with them, have concern for them and encourage them to take initiatives. This will result in more efficient and effective employees and ensure organizational success.

    03. A leader must work as a team. He should always support his team and respect them. He should not hurt any employee. A true leader should not be too bossy and should not consider him as the supreme authority. He should realize that he is part of the organization as a whole.

Organizational leadership involves all the processes and possible results that lead to development and achievement of organizational goals. It includes employees’ involvement, genuineness, effective listening and strategic communication.

"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Level 5 Leadership
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2012, 06:04:51 PM »

We have always associated leadership with a very visible and popular role which gives you recognition and a larger than life status as a leader however the level 5 leadership proposes quite opposing characteristics of a successful leader. Jim Collins and his research team were exploring the factors that made good companies great way back in the 1960s. It was then that they stumbled upon the Level 5 leaders who were invariably at the helm of affairs of all the companies which went on to become great in their respective fields. Who exactly is a Level 5 leader? Collins describes Level 5 leader as Humility + Will = Level 5. They are the nurturing leaders who do not want credit but want success to sustain over a longer period of time, long after they are gone.

Level 5 leaders are modest, shy and fearless and possess the capability to transform an organization from good to great without portraying themselves as wizards with magic wands
. They prefer talking about the company and the contribution of other people but rarely about their role or achievements.

Let us have a look at the hierarchical level of leadership identified:

Level 5 Leadership

The Level 5 leadership clearly reestablishes the facts about a simply living and high thinking with an emphasis on personal humility taught by the older generations. The financial breakthroughs achieved by level 5 leaders prove that these characteristics can achieve tangible results as well. The most important example in this context can be cited of great world leaders like M.K. Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln, who always put their vision ahead of their egos. They came across as shy and defenseless people in their mannerism and speech but were hardly so when it came to actions. The other example from the business leaders who fitted perfectly into this category was Darwin E Smith who was the CEO of the paper company Kimberly-Clark and turned it around to become the biggest consumer paper product company. He was a unique mix of personal humility and will; combined with risk taking ability which made him a role model for the business leaders of today.

There are certain actions performed by Level 5 leaders which separate them from the rest of the leaders and senior executives.

    01. The first step if their ability to identify and include right people with them towards achieving goals. Unlike the traditional method of building strategies and then looking for the right people to carry them out, they take a different route. It’s about getting the right people on board and then deciding on the destination.

    02. They also do not shy away from facing and accepting brutal truths and realities of data, numbers and situations but at the same time they do not lose hope of a better future.

    03. They also strive towards aligning consistent efforts towards a goal, rather than giving one massive push they believe in small but firm pushes to bring in the momentum.

    04. They also exercise their judgment to understand an aspect, in depth and thoroughly, rather than burdening themselves with myriad information.

    05. They practice and encourage a disciplined approach towards their work life and as visionaries use carefully identified technologies to give their businesses strategic advantage.

With the new concept of Level 5 leadership we come back to an age old question, can Level 5 leadership be learnt, if yes then how. According to Collins it is farfetched to suitably see whether it can be learnt or not but he surely identifies two categories of people, one who have the Level 5 Leadership in them, dormant, latent or unexpressed and others who do not have it.

So leaders who cannot look beyond their personal role, fame, achievements etc can hardly become Level 5 leaders. Only when they can put the larger good ahead of them, they transcend to the next level. This transition is not general but can be brought by some tragic accident, near death experiences or a life changing incident, as came across by Collins in his research. It would be appropriate to mention the name of M.K. Gandhi to understand it better. For Gandhi who had lived a comfortable life with a law degree from England had no experience of being oppressed by the ruling class until he was thrown out of a train despite carrying a first class ticket. His transition began from there, which later made him actively participate in the Indian Freedom Struggle.

Level 5 leadership is difficult to find and leaders who display it are a cut above the rest.
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Situational Leadership - Meaning and Concept
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2012, 06:09:36 PM »
Leaders are essentially people who know their goals and have the power to influence the thoughts and actions of others to garner their support and cooperation to achieve these goals. In-case of leaders these goals are rarely personal and generally to serve the larger good. Ever since man was a hunter gatherer and lived in closely knit groups, they had leaders who led the hunting expeditions and took greater risk than the rest of the group members. In turn they were bestowed with larger share of hunting, respect and a higher position in the group. With changing times, how leadership is perceived has also changed, but, it remains an important aspect of social fabric nevertheless.

The initial theories proposed that leaders are born and cannot be created, there are certain distinct characteristics possessed by few men which make them leaders. However, for the current discussion we would try and take a closer look at another interesting theory which was proposed called Situational Leadership Theory. This theory says that the same leadership style cannot be practiced in all situations, depending upon the circumstance and environmental context the leadership style also changes. The pioneers of this theory were Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey.

The model encourages the leaders to analyze a particular situation in depth and then lead in the most appropriate manner, suitable for that situation. The three aspects that need could be considered in a situation are:

   > Employees’ competences
   > Maturity of the employees
   > Complexity of the task
   > Leadership style

In the Situational Leadership model, the leadership style has been divided into 4 types:

    S1: Telling - Telling style is associated with leaders who minutely supervise their followers, constantly instructing them about why, how and when of the tasks that need to be performed.

    S2: Selling - Selling style is when a leader provide controlled direction and is a little more open and allows two way communication between him/herself and the followers thus ensuring that the followers buy in the process and work towards the desired goals.

     S3: Participating - This style is characterized when the leaders seeks opinion and participation of the followers to establish how a task should be performed. The leader in this case tries creating relationship with the followers.

    S4: Delegating - In this case, the leader plays a role in decisions that are taken but passes on or delegates the responsibilities of carrying out tasks to his followers. The leader however monitors and reviews the process.

It is also represented by a diagram most often which is below:

Situational Leadership

The developmental level of follower is an important indication for a leader to decide the most appropriate leadership style for them:

    D4 - High Competence, High Commitment - The followers who are identified in this category are the ones who have high competence and high commitment towards tasks to be performed. It might happen so that they turn out better than their leaders in performing these tasks. (For e.g. cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar playing in the Indian cricket team under the captainship of Mahendra Singh Dhoni).

    D3 - High Competence, Variable Commitment - This category consists of followers who have the competence to do the job but their commitment level is inconsistent. They also tend to lack the confidence to go out and perform task alone. (E.g. President Barack Obama)
 D2 - Some Competence, Low Commitment -
In this case, the followers have a certain level of competence which might be sufficient to do the job but they are low on commitment towards the tasks. Despite of having relevant skills to perform the task they seek external help when faced with new situations. (A team member made the trainer for new joiners).

    D1 - Low Competence, High Commitment - This category of followers may not have the specific skill required but they display a high level of commitment towards the task they have to perform, with confidence and motivation, they figure out ways to complete the tasks. (E.g. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a lawyer by profession who spearheaded the Indian Freedom Struggle)

The above information regarding the style of leadership and the type of followers sure has a correlation to each other which forms the basis of situational leadership. So, a situational leader would try to accommodate his leadership style as per the situation and the level of competence and commitment of his followers. This information is also an important aspect to consider when senior leaders act as coaches for their subordinates in the organizations.
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Impact of Situational Leadership on Performance and Motivation
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2012, 06:11:44 PM »

Leaders are role models who influence the culture, values, thoughts and actions of the organization and its people. The leadership style practiced by managers greatly influences the performance and productivity at the work place. The situation leadership model encourages managers to flexibly use their leadership style based on the situation and thus achieve effective results. Both at the middle managerial level where leaders work closely with people and at higher managerial level where leaders are responsible to a number of people, their approach has an impact on the motivational levels of the organization.

A leader needs to constantly inform him/herself of the motivational needs of the employees, one of simple factors of success cited in the organizations is a motivated workforce. The 4 leadership style of Telling, Selling, Participating and Delegating proposed in the situational leadership model can be used as per the motivational need of the subordinate. For example, for a senior manager who has been recently recruited and who boasts an illustrious career graph would need more responsibilities and opportunities to prove himself i.e. Delegating to remain motivated. On the other hand a fresher joining the organization may look at more Telling and a little participative approach to keep him/her motivated. A leader has to carefully evaluate and then decide on the right approach for the subordinate.

Situational Leadership has all the more relevance when teams work together especially across functions or locations. In these cases the team members might be physically separated from the leaders and the work situations might rapidly change, in such cases, maintaining the involvement and motivation level of team members becomes important. To create a high performance team that works effectively, the style that the leader would have to choose may be unique for each team.

Apart from this, a leader has to provide a vision to the people; it is the visions which help them direct and redirect their efforts towards it. In the recent times where changes are rapid in the organizations, the leaders have to be fully sensitized to what style would work the best, sometimes they might have to use a combination of styles to address issues effectively. For e.g. for a new change that is being introduced, the initial approach has to be Selling, where people are educated about the change, the next step becomes Telling, where the people have to be instructed as to how the change would be carried out. When the change starts settling in and people adopt it, they style can become Participating, where the people get an opportunity to partner in the change and take it ahead. The last change would then become delegating when the change can now be carried on by the others. The ultimate aim of any leader is to smoothly arrive at a stage where he/she can easily delegate tasks without worrying about its completion or effectiveness.

The leadership style also has a bearing when leaders are to act as mentors and coaches for their subordinates. The learning style of the subordinates can be interpreted in the terms of Telling, Selling, Participating and Delegating. Some subordinates learn when they know exactly what is to be done, some learn when they know the importance of the task, some learn when they understand the how of what is to be done, and ultimately some learn when they are actually allowed to perform the task. When a leader acts as a coach he/she has to keep in mind what works best for the coachee and the fact that what works for one might not work for the other.
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"