Free Custom «Leadership Styles» Sample Essay

«Leadership Styles»


Management is one of the most complex areas of public activities. The roots of personnel management go deep in the history of human society. Socrates was one of the first scientists who gave a description of management as a specific field of such an activity. He analyzed different forms of government and proclaimed the principle of the universality of management. Plato gave a classification of the forms of government and made an attempt to distinguish between the functions of government. Alexander the Great developed a theory and practice of command and control. Since then, the science of management absorbed various theories, experiments, and studies.

For an effective and purposeful activity of the organization, a leader needs to choose a style of leadership that would promote a sustainable development of the enterprise, create a favorable atmosphere in the team, stimulate, and satisfy the staff. The leadership style largely determines the success of the organization. It characterizes the degree of innovation and creates the company’s image. In such a way, the analysis of different styles of business leadership is an important part of the study of management. In the modern world, it is necessary to strive to select the most effective types of personnel management that can simultaneously stimulate the employees and improve the effectiveness of their work for the success of the company. It is associated with a strong competition in the market. Therefore, the study of leadership styles is a relevant topic, the analysis of which is significant for creating a complete picture of the functioning of successful management of the enterprise. The extent of the research of the subject can be regarded as substantial. It is based on theoretical propositions and conclusions of science, particularly concentrated in works of numerous authors. As a theoretical basis, leadership styles were developed by many researchers including T. Mitchell, R. Howse, R. Likert, D. McGregor, and others. The purpose of the current paper is to determine the ways of improving the functioning of the enterprise, applying the most effective management style  by analyzing the literature containing basic information on the topic. Based on the purpose, the following tasks can be distinguished:

  1. The study of modern leadership styles.
  2. The analysis of the main factors influencing the choice of a particular style.
  3. Consideration of the main classifications of leadership styles.
  4. Formulation of the withdrawal of the formation of an effective leadership style.

The subject of the study of the paper is the theory and practice of leadership styles. The object of the current paper is the functioning of various leadership styles. The problem of the study is that in real life leadership styles do not correspond to the theoretical basis. It is associated with the fact that all people are different. Differences give rise to difficulties in the selection of a particular management style. The practical significance of the results of the work is that they allow evaluating leadership styles and their effectiveness in the organization. Since the internal environment of the organization, relationships between managers and subordinates, and the relationship between employees depend on the chosen style, the correct organization of labor will affect the quality of the organization’s work.

Literature Review

The Concept of a Leadership Style

A leadership style is a system of methods that the leader can use to influence subordinates. The author Michael Adeniyi defines it as a particularly stable interaction between the team and the leader influenced by both the objective and subjective conditions of management and individual psychological characteristics of an individual manager (2007). The main characteristic of the effectiveness of management is the leadership style the manager applies. This style is associated with the definition of the style that the manager typically uses while working with people. It is highly evident from the attitude towards people as well as preparation, adoption, and implementation of decisions and the organization of labor in the team.

It is known that management is a mental and physical process that incites subordinates to perform assigned official instructions and solve certain tasks. The manager guides this process by delegating the powers of the formal organization. Leadership is an extremely complicated process that combines many different aspects. In the book Effective Leadership Management, it is stated that “Leadership is about serving, compassion, hard work, dedication, and tireless enthusiasm” (Adeniyi, 2007, p. 2). In the book Understanding and Changing Your Management Style, it is affirmed that “In organizations, the manager’s power is embedded in and exercised through the network of social interactions that are part of the work setting” (Benfari, 2013, p. 98). The leader should have an influence on subordinates so that they perform tasks in an organized manner. To do this, the leader should develop a strategy of management and, therefore, choose a leadership style. The essence of a leadership style depends on the ways the head of a team develops a proactive and creative approach to the performance of the employment duties, as well as how  the control over the results of the activities of the team is exercised. A leadership style existing in a team can be a peculiar characteristic of the quality of the head’s work. It helps to assess the leader’s managerial, organizational, and leadership skills. It also creates a unique working atmosphere  in the team, contributing to the development of interpersonal relationships both within the staff and between the staff and managers. It can be said that a style of leadership depends on the moral principles, world-view, and education of the leader.

During a crisis situation, a management style can contribute to the development of the company and become a kind of an anti-crisis measure. Thus, for example, in an emergency situation, the manager can apply an authoritarian management style and increase the control over the personnel and over the distribution of resources. A leadership style reflects a variety of factors such as the leader’s behavior when they motivate  subordinates to perform certain tasks.

Currently, the author Harris Silverman distinguishes three approaches to the study of leadership styles (Silverman, 2014). The first approach is behavioral theories that consider the problem from the perspective of management behavior, seeking to effectively organize the activities of the subordinates. From this point of view, the style of leadership is seen as a normal style of management behavior that influences the stuff and encourages them to fulfill the objectives and the goals of the organization. At the moment, in spite of numerous studies, there have not been revealed constant relationship between organizational performance and a leadership style. Thus, a style of leadership  considers not only the assessment of personal qualities of a leader or a performer but also evaluates the situation in general. The following form of the theory is built on this.

In the 1970s of the XX century, the authors T. Mitchell and R. Howse proposed situational theories (Thomson, 2006). They explored a leadership style in the context of various situational factors (Thomson, 2006). These factors include the clarity and the nature of the work, the volume of information available to the manager, personal qualities of employees, the presence of the union, and the like. The theory of a life cycle is of great interest among the models of the situational approach. According to this theory, effective leadership styles depend on the maturity of performers (Thomson, 2006). The maturity of individuals and groups implies the ability to take responsibility for the behavior, desire to achieve goals, as well as education, and experience. Maturity is not a consistent quality of individuals and groups and is characterized by a situation or a problem. Accordingly, the manager can use one of the four styles of leadership. The first style is indication. It is for individuals and groups who are unable to cope with the problem and have no desire to learn. The second style is popularization. It applies to more or less formed groups and individuals with basic skills. Nevertheless, they still should learn a lot. The next style is participation in management. This style is for individual workers and groups that have the skills and qualifications required to reach technical aspects of the work. The further development implies that the members of the organization should take more responsibility in their daily work. The last style is the transfer of authority. This style is used by individuals and groups that have achieved high qualifications and want to devote themselves to good work (Thomson, 2006). In such a way, it is for people with a high degree of maturity. However, it should be noted that the main problem, in this case, is to determine what parameters of the situation at any given time are decisive.

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The next approach to the study of leadership styles is a theory of personal qualities. This theory considers personal qualities that the leader should develop. It is called the theory of great people (Thomson, 2006). It suggests that the best leaders have a certain set of common personal qualities. In most cases, researchers regard such qualities of a successful leader as a high level of intelligence and expertise, an impressive appearance, honesty, common sense, initiative, social and economic education, and a high degree of confidence. In different situations, a competent leader demonstrates different qualities.

A leadership style is composed of various components such as internal personal qualities of the leader, external factors, including the crisis situation in the market, and others (Sadler, 2003). In general, there are such major factors that characterize the style of leadership as requirements that apply to competence, responsibility, ethics, organization and personal qualities of the leader. The other factors are the peculiarities of the system – its goals and objectives, management structures, and technology management. The surrounding working environment also plays a significant role, characterizing the style of leadership. It includes the technological level of production, the form of the organization of labor, and the availability of materials and resources (Thomson, 2006). The peculiarities of the collective – its structure and a level of training, the nature of the relationship established, its traditions and values are also an important factor.

In conclusion, it can be said that a style of leadership does not develop on the basis of one single factor from the three mentioned above. It is possible to assess the effectiveness of any style only by using the combination of these factors. In such a way, it can be stated that every organization is a unique unit with its goals and objectives, as well as the ways to achieve them, in particular, with the style of leadership. In turn, the leadership style combines both personal leadership qualities and characteristics of the working environment. It also largely determines the results and the quality of the entire organization.

Classification of Leadership Styles

As it was already mentioned, it is very difficult to meet a leader in real life that has only one style of leadership. However, the theory identifies two main subgroups of leadership styles. These are the ones that develop under the influence of any single factor or circumstance. They are called one-dimensional. There are also those that are formed by a combination of several factors that influence the relationship between managers and subordinates. They are called multi-dimensional. One-dimensional leadership styles include three styles of leadership:  authoritarian, democratic, and liberal. These styles mainly show how the decisions are made in the company. The author Marianne Coleman (2010) states that “The taking of decisions and the manner, in which they are taken, are at the very heart of the leadership and management of an organization” (p. 57).

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The authoritarian management style basically implies that all the power is in the hands of the leader. In such a way, he/she takes all the decisions alone without taking into account the views of the staff. This style can be described as a team method of influence on subordinates. It is necessary for critical emergency situations when  quick and orderly decision-making is needed. A positive aspect of this style is that it allows establishing interaction between employees and departments with minimal material investment quickly. A negative point is that it requires a time-consuming process of the control over the work of personnel and increases the level of bureaucracy. Besides, the style suppresses initiative, which significantly reduces employees’ satisfaction from their activities and increases the degree of their dependence on the leader. Therefore, the continued use of this style reduces work efficiency and, consequently, reduces the efficiency of the entire enterprise.

A democratic style of management implies that the leader partially endows subordinates with some authority. Decisions are made after collective discussions. This style is acceptable when the situation in the enterprise is stable. This method provides a large number of advantages. The democratic style stimulates creativity, increases employee’s satisfaction with the decisions as they accept them as a result of negotiations. It also increases motivation, improves the working environment and the psychological climate in the team. Nevertheless, there are certain disadvantages of the democratic style of management. One of the most negative aspects is that this style considerably delays decision-making. Moreover, this method does not involve strict control.

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The liberal style of management involves managing without a leader. The responsibility rests solely on workers. This style may be used only with highly skilled employees and low-level management training as it can lead to anarchy.

Studies of the three styles of management serve as a basis for creating a management style that promotes growing labor productivity and increases the satisfaction with working conditions. In 1961, Rensis Likert suggested an improved model of leadership styles, which was based on four leadership styles (Ortigoza, 2011). In the book Leadership, it is stated that “Rensis Likert is another highly regarded academic who carried out studies of the effectiveness of task-oriented and people-oriented leaders” (Sadler, 2003, p. 74).

The first one is exploitive authoritative. The formation of tasks and decision-making are entrusted to the executive who has clear characteristics of an autocrat. The main motivation is fear and a threat of punishment.  The psychological climate in the team is based on mutual mistrust. In the book Leadership Styles of Department Heads, it is mentioned that in the exploitive authoritative style “Communication is almost entirely downwards and the psychologically distant concerns of people are ignored” (Barman, 2011, p. 42). Compensation and incentives of employees are accidental. Formal and informal organizations are in opposition.

According to Likert, the second style is benevolent authoritative (Barman, 2011). The decision-making partially rests with the staff. A real reward and punishment are the factors that motivate employees. The informal organization is partly opposed to the formal one. The next style is consultative (Barman, 2011). The leader makes strategic decisions while subordinates make tactical decisions. This approach motivates employees. The informal organization only partially  coincides with formal.

A participative style, according to Rensis Likert, presupposes that the manager has full confidence in the staff and that attracts employees to the management (Barman, 2011). Communication is directed not only vertically but also horizontally. Formal and informal organizations interact constructively. According to Rensis Likert, the participative approach is the most effective.

There are also multi-dimensional management styles. In 1960, Douglas McGregor published his views on the bipolarity of opinions about how to manage people. “Theory X” and “Theory Y” presented in the book The Human Side of Enterprise won the wide recognition among managers (McGregor & Cutcher-Gershenfeld, 2006). According to the author of the book, people initially do not like to work, and they try to avoid working whenever it is possible (McGregor & Cutcher-Gershenfeld, 2006).  Work is a natural process. If conditions are favorable, then people will tend to take on responsibility for their work. People have no ambitions. They are afraid of responsibility and prefer to be managed. Most of all, people want to be secure. If people realized the goals, they would use the self-management and self-control. Joining is a function of rewards associated with achievement of the goal. To force people to work, coercion, control, and threat of punishment are needed. The ability to creatively solve problems is common and intellectual potential of an average person is only partially used.

In modern conditions, business success is determined by many factors, the reflection of which are multi-dimensional management styles. In such a way, there are two views on management. There is an authoritarian view leading to the direct regulation and strict quality control, and a democratic view, which supports the delegation of authority and responsibility. Other theories were developed on  the basis of these two. The theory of management lattice is also highly popular among managers. The theory was developed by Robert Blake and John Mouton (Thomson, 2006). They have pointed out that the work activity takes place in a force field between production and a person (Thomson, 2006). The first power line defines the relation of the manager to the production. The second line determines the ratio of the leader to a person, improving working conditions or taking into account their desires and needs.

Proposed Framework

The paper uses an investigative methodology and a prototypical framework to research and identify various leadership styles. In the paper, the quantitative approach is used. This approach includes the collection and transformation of data to make conclusions and deductions. The data is collected from numerous sources. An extremely important factor is the quantitative approach to objectivity. The main emphasis of the paper is made on the deductive reasoning. In such a way, the paper tends to move from the general to the specific.



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