Several definition of leadership has been given by different management writers. Van fleet describes, “ Leadership as an influence process directed at shaping the behaviour of other ( Leadership is shaping the behaviour of others through influence)” David Schwartz describes, “Leadership as the art of inspiring subordinates to perform their duties willingly”. In competency and enthusiasm, a leader becomes one who by example and talent plays a directing role and command influence over others. In simple terms leadership could be describe as getting to follow or getting others to do things willingly. In management leadership could be seen as the use of authority in decision making.
Leadership could be exercised as an attitude of position or because of personal knowledge and wisdom, or as a function of personality. So leadership could be looked at from many perspective but what is clear is that it is a relationship through which one person influence the behaviour of others. If for example your friend convinces you to try a new product in the
market, he is leading.
Leadership versus management
The question of whether leadership is synonymous with management has long been debated. While they are similar in some ways and different in more ways. People can be leaders without being manager, manager without being in leadership or both
leaders and managers.
- A manager usually direct others because of formal authority and power
- A manager is by essence required to perform the four function of planning , organizing , directing and controlling .
- Leadership is a little of management but not all of it .It involves ability to influence others to seek and set goals willingly.
- Leadership binds together and motivates it towards agreed goals.
- A leader needs only to influence his followers or their behaviour in whatever direction he chooses.
Unlike the manager a leaders does not rely on any formal authority , because while a manager can force people to comply by using formal authority a leaders has to such power. However, people can be both and effective leadership does increase person’s managerial
Needs for leadership
Effective leadership gives direction to the efforts of workers;
- Leadership guides organization efforts towards achievement of organization goals.
- It has been said that without leadership an organization is a muddle of men and machine.
- Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined goals enthusiastically , and it is the leader who triggers the power of motivation in people and guideline them toward goals.
- Leadership transforms potential into reality
- Leadership is indispensable if an organization is too successful.
- Workers needs to know how they can contribute to organization goals
Power and Leadership
The foundation of leadership is power. Leadership have power over their followers and they wield this power to exert their influence . There are five basic types of power that can be used by leaders.
- Legitimate power
This is based on the perception that the leaders have the right to exercise influence because of his position and roles. It is power created and convened by the organization.
- Reward power
The power to grant and withhold various types of reward. These rewards may include pay increase, promotion, praise, recognition etc. The greater and more important the reward, the more power a leader has.
- Coercive Power
The power to force compliance through psychological emotional or physical threat. In industrial organization coercion may be through oral, fines, demotion. In military organization coercion could actually be physical.
- Expert Power
Power based on knowledge and expertise. The more knowledge one has and the fewer the people who are aware of it, the more power he has.
- Referent Power
Power based on subordinate , identification with the leaders , it usually distinguishes leaders from non- leaders . The leaders exerts influence because of chairman and reputation . The followers wish to be like the leader or to associate with him.
Note: Most leaders use several different types of power at the same time. However, regardless of the manager’s skills power always has its limit. Generally people can only be influence up to a point and willingness to follow usually is limited . Few leaders can maintain a long term support for their ideas and programs. Employees usually react attempts to influence them either by showing commitment, compliance or resistance.
Approaches to leadership
There are three basic approaches to studying and describing leadership: trait, behaviours and contingency approaches.
- Leadership traits
Assumes that great leaders posses a set of stable and enduring traits or characteristic that set them apart from followers .Adherents of this theory attempted to identity these traits so that they could be used be used as a common traits such as intelligence, height , self confidence and attractiveness. However , traits proved to be ineffective bases for selection of leaders because the known good leaders had such diverse traits that it was impossible to draw a list of common traits.
- Contingency approaches
Contingency approaches to leadership suggested that situational factors must be considered. One kind of behavior may work in one setting but not in other. The goals of contingency approaches is to identity the situational variable that managers needs to considers in assessing how different forms of leadership will be received . There are three popular contingency theories of leadership ; the path goal model and the participation model.
The LPC Model
Called the least preferred co- worker this model wars developed by Fred E FLELDER According to him leaders become leaders not only because of their personality but also because of the various situation that effect a leader’s style., These were:
- Position Power is the degree to which a position enables a leaders to get enough members to comply with his direction.
- Task structure is the degree which task are spelled out clearly and people held responsible i.e. how much each person knows his roles
- Leaders members retaliation – the extent which group members like, and trust and leaders and are willing to follow him. From these situation fielders identified two types of leadership style.
- Task –oriented whereby a leaders gains satisfaction from seeing task performed
- People – oriented where the leaders aims at achieving good interpersonal relation . Fielders concluded that” leadership performance” depends both on the organization and the situation.
One cannot speak of infective leaders but only of leaders but only of leaders who tend to be effective in one situation and ineffective in other situation and ineffective in another situation . effective leadership requires both training and a conducive organization climate . The LPC model sees appropriate leadership behaviours as a function of the favorableness of the situation by the three situations.
2. Path – Goals Model
The path- goal model is another approach to situation leadership which suggest that purpose of leadership organization is to clarify for subordinates the paths to desired goals. According to this model subordinate characteristics include such things as nature of work , extent to which jobs are structured and the authority system within system within the organization . The model is general and suggests that leaders need to use a lot of common sense. It also assumes that a leader’s style is flexible and that he can change his style as needed.
3. The Participation Model
Involves a much narrower segment of leadership that other two models. it addresses the question of how much subordinates should be allowed to participate in decision making .
The model includes five different degrees of participation.
- Al- the manager makes the decision alone with no input from subordinates (Aautocratic)
- All- The manager asks subordinates for information that she or he needs to make the decision but makes the decision alone
- cl- The manager shares the situation with selected subordinate and ask for information and advise the manager still makes the decision but keeps subordinates actively involved (C= consultative)
- The managers meets with subordinate as a group to discuss the situation , information is freely shared although the manager sell makes the decision.
- The Manager and subordinates meets as a group and freely share information and the entire group makes the decision (G- Group)
This model suggest that manager need to consider several factors in choosing the degree of participation in decision making
- Is there quality required
- Do I have enough information to make a high quality decision
- Is the problem structured
- Is acceptance by subordinates critical to implantation
- Do subordinate share the organization goals to be achieved by making this decision?
- Is conflict among subordinates likely in the preferred solution
The method or style of leadership a manager chooses to use greatly influence his effectiveness as a leader. An appropriate style coupled with a proper external motivation techniques can lead to the achievement of both individually and organization goals. If the
style is appropriate goals could suffer and workers may feel resentful, aggressive , insecure and dissatisfied.
There are three main styles of leadership
All authority and decision making is centered in the leader. He makes all decision , exercises total control by use of reward and punishment .An autocratic leaders require conformity from his subordinate and always consider his decision to be superior to those of his subordinate. One advantage o9f autocratic leadership that is that it allow faster decision making but it can easily cause workers to experience dissatisfaction ,m dependence on the leader or passiveness toward organization goals.
- Democratic or participation
This style of leadership seeks to obtain cooperation of workers in achieving organization goals by allowing them to participate in decision making. It does not relieve the leader of his decision making responsibility or of v his power over subordinate , but it require that he recognize subordinate as capable of contributing positively to decision making Participative decision making can lead to improved manager- workers relation, higher morale and job satisfaction, decrease dependence on the better acceptance of decision making group think: time consuming and dilute decision due to compromising.
- Laissez faire style (free reign)
This style does not depend on the leader to provide external motivation but, the workers motivate themselves based on their needs, wants and desire. They are given goals and left on their own to achieve them. The leaders assume their goals of the role of a group member. This approaches increase of independence and expression and force him to expression and force him to function as a member of a group. The main disadvantage is that, without a strong ladder the group could lack direction or control which may result into frustration in the worker. For laissez faire to work the subordinate must be competent reliable and well versed with the goal of the organization
CONTINUUM OF LEADERSHIP
In reality there is not only three leadership style but styles could be many ranging from high boss centered style to highly employee centered leadership . According to Tannenbaum and Schmidt “the leader has flexibility in opting for the most appropriate style”.
The choice of the style depends on three factors:
- Forces in the leaders which include his value system , confidence in own leadership inclination , feeling of insecurity and uncertainty , and confidence in this subordinates .
- Forces in subordinate each employee has different needs, wants, desire, experience, training ability, skills etc. It is therefore beneficial for the manager to understand the forces of workers within his employees. A manager could be instance allow
participation in decision making if employees are competent. Well trained, ready to assume responsibility , have high needs for independence ,m understand and identify with the goals of the goals of the organization and necessary knowledge . If these are absent then the leader may be forced to lead autocratically.
- Forces in the situation
Include environmental pressure such as types of organization, effectiveness of workers group, and types of problem and urgency of the problem. For example production workers may work better under one style while professional may better
under a different style.
THE MANAGERIAL GRID
In considering the leadership orientation that a manger can take, it appears that he can be people oriented or production oriented.
A people oriented leader is concerned with the human aspects of the organization. A production oriented leader’s main concern is like tasks seeing that work is accomplished. The best managers are both people and production oriented. By combining his people and
production scores a manger will obtain his managerial score according to the grid. The managerial grid was developed by Blake and Mouton and its objective is to bring about a managerial style that maximizes concern for both people and production. A low score in either area is a god indication of poor approach to management. The points on the grid give these types of management.
- Impoverished Management
Have no concern for people and also little concern for production. Effective production cannot be achieved because people are lazy apathetic and indifferent. Some and mature relationship are unobtainable.
- Task Management
Maximum concern for production and low concern people. People are seen as commodity just like machine. The manager aim to plan direct and control people activity.
- Country Club Management
Highest concern people but little concern for production is incidental to lack of conflict and good interpersonal.
- Dampened Pendulum (Middle of the Road)
“Be fair and firm “, push for production but all ways “ give some but all attitude of management.
Highest concern for both people and production. Production is seen as a function of the integration of task and human requirement. Better managers are described by point toward these types of management.
Personal Quality of Leaders
- Ability to inspire others.
- Ability to understand human behaviours.
- Similarly with the group.
- Verbal assertiveness.
- Willingness to communicate honestly.
- Dedication to the goals of the organization.
- Ability to inspire through example.
- Willingness to take risk.
- Willingness to assume full responsibility for the group.
- Ability to tolerate criticism.
A leader perform many function which greatly determine the success of the organization . Some of these functions include arbitrating, catalyzing representing inspiring praising providing security and supplying objective. To be able to accomplish these function the leader require certain skills. Any skill that a manager has acquired serves to increase his leadership abilities. Included are technical skill, human skill and conventional skill.
The most appropriate leadership style depends on the situation the leader himself ,, his subordinate and the organization . Leaders in Kenya for instance must be aware of the environmental circumstance faced by employee. These circumstances are of economic, m political, social, cultural, education, religious and geographical nature. These the manager must consider when leading his people.