In every human group some kind of leadership exists. Apparently when people work together for a common objective a leader is indispensable. It seems that as soon as a certain number of people are gathered together, one of them has to be recognized as the leader and the rest place themselves automatically as the followers. Leaders are found in every phase of human endeavor particularly in business, industry, and government. Boosting the morale of the group is important, especially in business, because it is related to productivity. This job is a responsibility of the manager or supervisor who acts as the group leader. Psychologists generally assume that high morale is always accompanied by high productivity. This positive correlation between morale and productivity can be attributed to good leadership.
Civilization and its achievements, like the wheel, hinge on the hub of leadership. The ebb and tide of world empires point to the reins handled or pulled by individuals who exert power and influence. In this country, and even in the rest of the world, the assertions and importance of leadership is re-emphasized in many ways because of the rapidly evolving paradigms that assume a more pervasive role in the society. This is the era of organizational revolution. The time is marked with rapid shifts in the demography of our workforce, changing corporate culture, and changing organizations. Organizational forms have become more complex and new forms have been developed (Block, 1981). The management or leadership of people has never been as important and crucial than ever before. Today, it is considered a central figure and the key to productivity and quality especially in a very competitive society. In the light of the rapid shift in today’s organization, the skills required of human resource managers, beginners in the profession and even aspiring students in the discipline, rest on the foundation of knowledge on the whole gamut of human resources management, specifically management theories applied in the setting (Kline & Saunders, 1993).
Rationale and Background of Leadership
Defining or characterizing leadership is a difficult task. There are many quotable definitions of leadership and one finds something common in them. For the purpose of this paper, however, leadership will be defined as “the process of influencing or motivating others to work for a common goal or finding ways by which others may satisfy their needs.”
The significance of leadership is seen in the efforts put in by workers in their work. It is the leader’s responsibility to stimulate workers, encourage them, and communicate to them the objectives and instruction of the management. The leader must have the ability to secure and sustain the willing, enthusiastic and united effort of his followers and direct them towards the accomplishment of the desired objective. Leadership is accomplished by changing the goals of the individual within the group or providing the means by which other persons may obtain their goal.
A. The need for Leadership training and education in management
Leadership is vital to the survival of a business because people’s efforts need to be coordinated. Group spirit needs to be built, and group conflicts need to be minimized, if business organizations expect high productivity and more profits. As organizations have grown in size and complexity, and the expectations of the organizations of many clients have increased, the requirements for better leadership have multiplied. Companies are now aware of the fact that progress and success are dependent upon the quality and effectiveness of leadership. Consequently, they spend large sums of money to search for new sources of leadership talent and to train managers in leadership skills.
The need for a more efficient, economical and equitable management of the people in the industry or organization has never been as pronounced as it is today. This need has never been brought about by factors which inevitably affect not only the established structures and ways of doing things within the personnel area but also by the more meaningful and substantial task of managing the organization’s most important asset – the human capital. Among these factors are: stiffer competition in business; rapid changes in technological, competitive and economic environments; the explosion of technical and managerial knowledge; spiraling wage and benefits cost and so many others. These factors have no doubt been responsible for the emergence of the personnel function as a vital area in the implementation of corporate strategy (Bruffee, 1993).
Theories abound regarding perspectives of leadership. When Elliot Jacques developed the concept of requisite organization; it served as a unified whole system model for what he deemed effective managerial leadership. Some of the core beliefs in Jacques system, for instance, imply that people are supposed to be compensated on the basis of their individual aptitude or skills and foresight and how long it was before their judgment could be verified. Jacques also thought that where leadership gurus or external consultant like the ODs are concerned, these are only evaluated and equated with alchemy: as such these do not involve real concepts or precise or thorough definitions but rather are considered as rubbish and inauthentic to say the least. Jacques persuasion centers on much of what he calls as “maximum amount of personal responsibility” and encourages on every part of the organization, or team for that matter, to be stakeholders and thus have a say in the problems at hand. In organizational behavior which is basic to the management of human resource, it points to the inquiry and application of learning about how people, individuals, and groups perform, operate, and work in organizations. It accomplishes this by means of adopting a system approach (Demick & Miller, 1993). Explicitly, it infers people-organization affairs in terms of the entire person, group totality, complete organization, and total social structure. Its intention is to put up enhance relations by attaining human goals, organizational purposes, and social goals (Kanter, 1999). In such a milieu, the goals to effect change are influenced by several significant factors which are crucial to the overall results. Hence, there are expected leadership behaviors that maintain momentum during the change process (Demick & Miller, 1993).
This strategic system model put forth by Jacques is a methodical approach to managing the human capital. Those who study and make use of that data in exclusive contexts are rightly described as professionals; in them lies the heart and soul of the profession. Industrial-age institutions look for routine and habit accomplished through standardized measures. Complex responsibilities are split into simple steps that are assigned to organizational positions to guarantee that employees are both interchangeable and effortlessly replaced. Bureaucratic hierarchies are likely to esteem proven evaluation of specific aspects of complex managerial tasks. In view of this, the picture of leadership is in reality changing as the image of organizations changes. Analysis ascertains those who require training and what skills or performance improvements are designated. Aims and goals set the restriction for the instructional outline and help attain the appropriate learning outcomes (Kincheloe, 1991).
Peter Northouse, author of Leadership: Theory and Practice observed the revival of an all-encompassing skills-based model of leadership distinguished by a map for how to reach efficient leadership in organizations (Northouse, 2004). He recommended that the classification of specific skills which can be improved by training has an intuitive appeal: “When leadership is framed as a set of skills, it becomes a process that people can study and practice to become better at their jobs” (Northouse, 2004). He also suggests that although the skills-based approach claims not to be a trait model, it includes individual attributes that look a great deal like traits. The act of leadership is also an exercise of moral reasoning. In their book Unmasking Administrative Evil, Guy Adams and Danny Balfour caution against elevating the scientific-analytical mindset higher than all other forms of rationality. Even as the rise of “technical rationality led inevitably to specialized, expert knowledge, the very life blood of the professional,” it also “spawned unintended consequences in the areas of morals and ethics as the science-based technical rationality undermined normative judgments and relegated ethical considerations to afterthoughts” (Adams & Balfour, 2004). Distinguished scholar Ronald Heifetz on the other hand, developed a definition of leadership that takes values into account. He maintains that we should look at leadership as more than a means to organizational effectiveness. Efficiency means getting achievable decisions that execute the goals of the organization. “This definition has the benefit of being generally applicable, but it provides no real guide to determine the nature or formation of those goals.” (Heifetz, 1994). Heifetz went on to say that values such as “liberty, equality, human welfare, justice, and community” are inculcated with first-rate leaders (Heifetz, 1994). It is a necessity then, the infusion of these principles into the leader and from the leader into the organization.
B. Transactional versus Charismatic styles of Leadership
1. Transactional style of Leadership.
Different leadership styles are sometimes evolution of some earlier theoretical approaches. What makes them distinct from the democratic type or any other type of leadership styles is distinguishable at the assumption level. Every theory for instance, assumes something about human behavior. In the transactional type, firstly, every individual is assumed to be goaded and attracted to do something based on the provision of reward and punishment. It poses to the thinker that basically, people may continue to work at something due to either the attraction of remuneration or other privileges he/she may receive, or may work at something due probably to the possible sanctions that he/she may find him/herself facing (“Transactional Leadership,” 2007).
Secondly, in a larger scale, organizations or any social structure or systems for that matter, will only function or be effective when a chain of command is in place or established. An authority figure with clear designation, as well as a developed delegated power plainly understood by all members of that organization is assumed to be the most efficient way to generate workers who are productive (“Transactional Leadership,” 2007).
Thirdly, another assumption is that the moment a person agrees to take on a task, it implies that it has been agreed that the person tasked is yielding all authority to his direct superior who is usually the manager (“Transactional Leadership,” 2007).
The fourth and last assumption is that the primary purpose of an assistant or a follower is to follow what his manager orders him to do (“Transactional Leadership,” 2007).
Discussion of the Style:
As observed from the assumptions, the transactional type of leadership works on the basis of a very common understanding which is basically behavioristic in operation. This refers to a “Skinnerian” approach whereby an organism operates on his environment hence the presence of rewards and the absence or threat of punishment of some form becomes its by-product. Alongside this is Pavlov’s classical conditioning theory which, as a whole, since these are based on controlled laboratory experiments discounts the emotional aspects and social values that set people apart from animals. Another underlying theory that propels this style is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It looks at a human individual on a contingency, being that a worker’s reward and punishment that he receives is solely dependent on his performance at work (“Transactional Leadership,” 2007).
The limitations of this style is in the underlying theories which looks at individuals whose main motivations are money and plain rewards making man appear as possessing behaviors that are largely predictable. The Behaviorism school of thought virtually sustains transactional leadership style, especially in settings where the supply is higher than the demand. However, when the demand is higher than the supply, this type of leadership is inadequate which necessitates the employment of other approaches or models (“Transactional Leadership,” 2007).
2. Charismatic style of Leadership
In order to understand this type of leadership style, it would be best to elaborate on its three assumptions:
First assumption says that to have followers a leader must exhibit charm and grace. This is a primary characteristic of charismatic type of leadership. Secondly, for a leader to command respect one important ingredient is self-belief which every leader must possess. The third assumption says that charismatic leadership is based on the understanding that people respect, abide by and pursue people who they personally admire or have a high regard for. When people have an intense “attraction” to a leader because of his/her ability to command respect, conduct with such verve and energy, the people’s conclusion usually is that this type of leader has a charismatic style in his/her leadership (“Charismatic Leadership, 2007).
Discussion of the style
The leader in this type exacts a following without any other external power or authority. It is said that the person possesses a great personality and charm. When they hold meetings or when a charismatic leader speaks to people, he or she scans everyone in the room, and seems to convey at a level of “closeness.” The leader picks at the moods and behavior of the moment and then tailors what he/she is going to do next based on those observations. The leader employs different methods or strategies to get the attention of the followers, are very persuasive and very effective in using gestures and body language (“Charismatic Leadership, 2007).
When a charismatic person leads a team, he/she tries to create a distinction about his/her group in contrast with that of others. He/she will build the uniqueness of the group in the eyes of members. To build an unchallengeable position, the leader talks to every person in his team or group and painstakingly emphasize the uniqueness of the group which will solidify the group’s adherence to the leader and vice versa. It is also noteworthy that charismatic leaders tend to pursue loyalty and commitment of members not only to the basic ideology of their group or organization but also anchor the relationships on the leader (Musser, 1987). Leaders in this type have a very high self-belief, which coupled with a positive and is other –oriented leads to changes for the good of the team usually. However, if the leader has only his own judgments to reckon, he/she places him/herself and the group at great risks. This happens among those who have cultic tendencies where leaders start to abuse their followers. The important aspect then in this style is that the leader must possess a value system which looks at people in a non-self-centered manner. They may think of themselves as irreplaceable and intolerant of people who attempt to challenge their leadership and their way of running things and people (“Charismatic Leadership, 2007).
When leaders employ the right approach in the specific milieu of their influence there is hope for positive effects of the way they handle their people, themselves, and the organization as a whole. It will be difficult not to see the productivity and the enhancement of the people as they are. In every business or in the industry, almost singly the aspiration is efficiency and productivity. In the aforementioned précis, both have their advantages and disadvantages in whatever realm these may be applied. It is my opinion that the leader’s own personality, convictions, style and values influence the results with whatever of the two styles he may be using. Leadership effectiveness is equated with proficiency. This is the technical, tactical, and physical ability of the individual and the group to perform the job. It is better to look at leadership effectiveness through the lens of someone evaluating the work of an ineffective leader. One of the indicators of ineffective leadership is the feeling of members called “low morale”. “Morale” is the feeling of well-being that an individual experiences when his needs are being filled to his satisfaction. It has been found that good morale and high productivity have a positive correlation. Managers know that the better a person’s morale, the more he produces.
1. Adams, Guy B. & Danny L. Balfour, 2004. Unmasking Administrative Evil (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, pp. 31-36.
Beckhard, R. 1969. Organization Development: Strategies and Models, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Permissions Department, 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ07030 USA.
Block, Peter, Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used, University Associates, San Diego, CA 1981.
Bruffee, Kenneth A. Collaborative Learning: Higher Education, Interdependence, and the Authority of Knowledge. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1993.
Demick, J. and Miller, P., Development in the Workplace, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, New Jersey, 1993.
Heifetz, Ronald A., 1994. Leadership Without Easy Answers (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, pp. 21-22.
Northouse, Peter G. 2004. Leadership Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, pp. 35-52.
_________ “Transactional Leadership”. 2007. Changing minds.org. Accessed November 07, 2007. http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/leadership_styles.htm
_________ “Charismatic Leadership”. 2007. Changing minds.org. Accessed November 07, 2007. http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/leadership_styles.htm