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Sound Leadership Essay

The focus of leadership and the dynamics that make up sound leadership drives our day to day interaction in a continuous revolving world of business. Sound leadership is the core of every organization and solving its problems. Understanding leadership, its purpose, and dynamics enables executives to solve problems and maintain a competitive edge in a continuously changing business environment. In order to address the strategic implications that organizational behaviors have on leadership, justify the business needs of leadership, and codify the implications leadership has on organizational behaviors this paper will focus on the definition of different leadership styles and processes, how they relate to organizational behaviors within an organization, and how they form sound leadership.

14. November 2011

Throughout this course we have focused a significant amount of time discussing an organizational moment. The majority of the issues and solutions in every organizational moment evolved around leadership. Whether it was an absence of leadership or a directional change in leadership, leadership was at the core of every situation presented in the readings. Leadership is a behavior. The way an organization employs leadership, controls a variety of influences that guides the company’s direction. The focus of leadership and the dynamics that make up sound leadership drives our day to day interaction in today’s world of business. Sound leadership is the core of every organization and solving its problems.

Understanding leadership, its purpose, and dynamics enables executives to solve problems and maintain a competitive edge. In order to address the strategic implications that organizational behaviors have on leadership, justify the business needs of leadership, and codify the implications leadership has on organizational behaviors this paper will focus on the defining different leadership styles and processes, examine how they relate to organizational behaviors within an organization, and how they work to form sound leadership.

According to Beebe & Masterson (2006), leadership style is a relatively consistent pattern of behavior reflecting a leader’s beliefs and attitudes. It is the beliefs and attitudes that leadership forms toward the strategic goals of an organization that determines the direction of the company. In order for an organization to be successful they have to have buy-in. For an organization to have buy-in it establishes strategic goals that shape the direction of the organization. The leadership having buy-in, aligning their beliefs and attitudes toward the strategic goals of the organization, and relaying their beliefs and attitudes to their employees shapes the direction of the organization and provide a solid foundation for the organization to be successful. Leadership drives the mission of an organization and in order to impart these beliefs on their employee’s, leaders practice three basic leadership styles.

Leadership styles determine the atmosphere of the organization. Understanding leadership and the many methods to employ it is as quintessential to an organization as its resources. According to Beebe and Masterson (2006), no two people practice the same methods of leadership; however, all people lead with three basic leadership styles; authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire. For this paper, it is not important to understand the definitions of each type of leadership style as it is to understand the fact that leadership styles determine the atmosphere and organizational behavior a company employs. Under authoritarian leadership the leader dictates the work and tasks for each member.

Members within an authoritarian leadership group are dependent on the leader to make decisions, are incapable of independent thought, and have difficulty navigating issues that arise within an organization. In democratic leadership leaders have more faith in the group and attempt to involve members in making decisions. Democratic leadership style encourages the development of employees, empowers members by involving them in the decision making process, and leaders provide the necessary support to allow the success of members. Laissez-faire leaders avoid dominating the group and assume the group will direct itself. Laissez-faire behavior is a complete avoidance of leading.

“These non-leaders completely abdicate their leadership role and refuse to make decisions. This is a manager who is relatively inattentive, indifferent, frequently absent, and uninfluential” (Humphreys, 2001). These leadership styles greatly impact an organization and directly contribute to the directions and futures of a business. Leadership styles explain the persona leaders exude in managing their people. Leadership theorists incorporated processes into leadership to explain how leadership styles impact the performance of workers within an organization.

Theorists have made their mark in the world of business. Over the past decades, researchers focused on defining the personal traits of effective leaders but ultimately concluded that it is not so much the traits as it is how individuals utilize these traits (Boseman, 2008). Theorists have focused their efforts toward understanding the processes of leadership to assist managers with leading their people and achieving the organization’s goals. Abraham Maslow, Clayton Alderfer, Victor Vroom, Edwin Locke, Henry Landsberger, Frederick Taylor, Paul Hersey, Ken Blanchard, Robert House, and Douglas McGregor studies in leadership have made major contributions to the world of business. Of these prolific theorists Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Alderfer’s ERG Theory, House’s Path-Goal Theory, and Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership will be utilized to explain how leadership effect organizational behaviors.

Abraham Maslow’s introduce his concept of leadership in 1943. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was based on motivational leadership. Maslow’s leadership concept is derived from the concept of a pyramid with five levels of employee needs; physiological needs, safety needs, love/belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. Clayton Alderfer, later in 1969, revised Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs into three categories; existence needs, relatedness needs, and growth needs. According to the studies of both theorists it is important for a leader to understand the needs of their people to effectively lead and motivate. Through their studies, these pioneers of leadership have established that the understanding that leaders have of their employee’s needs directly effects organizational behaviors and accomplishment of company goals and objectives.

In 1971 Robert House’s introduce Path-Goal Theory. According to Lyons (2007), an effective leader is one who can help carve a path for subordinates that allow them to fulfill personal goals through the achievement of group and organizational goals. In path-goal theory a leader adopts either a directive, supportive, participative, or achievement oriented leadership style to accomplish this objective.

The leadership style performed is dependent on two variables; characteristics of the employee and characteristics of the work environment. Based on both variables the leader practices directive, supportive, participative, or achievement oriented leadership. The leadership style practiced ensures the needs of the employee are fulfilled and organizational goals and objectives can be met. House’s path-goal theory is a needs base process that shapes the organizational behavior of an organization.

Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership developed in 1974 distinguishes between four leadership styles that are characterized by a combination of task and relationship.

Telling: High task, low relationship style

Selling: High task, high relationship style

Participating: Low task, high relationship style

Delegating: Low task, low relationship style

(Hitt, Miller, & Colella, 2011)

DeCaro, DeCaro & Bowen-Thompson (2010) stated, “The model is useful in determining if a person’s leadership style is relationship or task oriented and if the situation such as task structure and leader members relationship, match the leader’s style to maximize performance.” Utilizing situational leadership a leader can accommodate an employee’s needs by varying their own behavior and applying the most suitable style for a given situation. By varying leadership style based on the employee’s needs a leader can manage organizational behaviors and achieve organizational goals and objectives.

As one can see leadership and organizational behaviors work hand in hand. They both influence one another to meet the strategic goals and objectives of an organization. Hitt, Miller, & Colella (2011), stated the strategic organizational behavior approach relies on the premise that people are the foundation of an organization’s competitive advantage. As evidence to this, leadership theorists developed processes based on the people within the organization. The processes developed guided organizational leaders in achieving the company’s goals and objectives. People and the leadership that shape the direction and culture of an organization play a vital role in establishing an organization’s organizational behaviors. Leadership is the quality to achieve desired results by giving the proper direction to the organization (Giri & Santra, 2010). The influence that leadership and organizational behaviors have on a business establishes leadership as a critical and most vital asset an organization can employ.

Throughout the eight weeks of this course we analyze an organizational behavior moment that discussed leadership struggles within organizations. The leadership struggles faced in the organizational moments relay the importance of leadership within an organization. In the case study, “Bright and Dedicated What more can you ask for?” Anita Lockwood is a perfect example of an authoritative leader. Anita rules with an iron fist over Susan and her employees. Anita never empowers Susan to run the finance department and as a result Susan’s leadership development is hindered.

The importance of Anita’s and Susan’s moment in organizational behavior is it displays the effects that authoritarian leadership style has and how it impacts others. In an authoritative leadership environment the organizational goals and objectives are met, however at the expense of the professional development of people within the organization. In situational leadership it is sometimes necessary to practice authoritative leadership in order to stimulate the growth during the training process of learning a new job or position. Once the training process is over it is important that the leader is able to transition out of the authoritative leadership style and into one that continues to allow their personnel to grow and develop within the organization.

“The Two Presidents” is another organization moment that provides an example of the importance of leadership to business. In this case study Alvin Thomas displays the attributes of a democratic leader. Alvin exhibits an active role of leadership, empowers his employees to make decisions, and establishes goals and objectives based on organizational dynamics. Thomas’s leadership allows the university, the people around him, and himself to prosper due to his style of leadership. A democratic leadership style broods balance and creates a positive environment that allows a leader to be directive, supportive, participative, or achievement oriented when necessary. The importance of this characteristic is the leader understanding their employees. Understanding employees enables leaders to meet the needs of their employees and companies to maintain their competitive edge.

The last organizational moment that I would like to discuss in support of the argument of why leadership is important to business is “A Sea Change in Staffing at Leapfrog Innovations, Inc.” In this case study Dick Eaton dons the role of a laissez-faire leader. Dick’s hands-off approach failed him miserably in the end. Due to his negligence his company experienced a high turn-over rate of personnel and had no foundation for stability once the three long-time employees begun to transition to other opportunities.

This left Dick holding the bag per say and his company in shambles with no direction and a bleak future. Dick’s experience was an extreme case of laissez-faire leadership. There are instances where this style of leadership is appropriate. Laissez-faire leadership is appropriate when personnel are performing and meeting the expectations of the leader and goals of the organization. In Dick’s case he was a laissez-faire leader from beginning to end. He took a huge gamble in placing all his faith in the leadership of one individual to run his company and when they decided to leave the experience, knowledge base, and foundation of his company left also.

Three different case studies, three different leadership styles, and three different outcomes; the key theme to note in each case is the importance of leadership. Leadership is one of the key fundamental building blocks of running a business and is as quintessential to an organization as its resources. According to Giri & Santra (2010), Leadership is the quality to achieve desired results by giving proper direction to the organization. In order to achieve the desired results leaders utilize motivation to motivate employees toward achieving the organization’s common goal. The assumption that leadership is a set of behaviors that can actually be observed, measured, and developed is critical to the development of any process (Kanji, 2008).

Leadership theorist understood the importance of leadership to business and developed processes to assist leaders in understanding what motivates people. Each topic discussed in this paper depicts the basics of leadership. The purpose for this paper was to understand how leadership affects business and relates to organization behaviors. The organizational behaviors a company employs and the practice of leadership has a significant impact on the strategic implications of an organization. Business challenges effects every industry and creates vast opportunities to establish sound organization behaviors to support sound leadership. It is paramount that the organizational behaviors that a company employs support its leadership. In summary there are four key points to note in the importance of leadership to a business:

a. Leadership styles vary in types and it is important that businesses adopt practices that best fits their organization and people.

b. Leadership Theorist improvements in processes that define leadership, helps organizations to understand, manage, and lead personnel.

c. Leadership and Organizational behaviors work together to form sound leadership.

d. Sound leadership within an organization creates a healthy work environment. The importance of leadership to an organization could mean its success or could lead to its demise.

The choice of leadership style is crucial to the success of business operations and hence also the ultimate performance of the company (Juhl, Kristensen, Kanji, & Batley, 2000). Every business, organization, or group of people striving together to accomplish a common goal needs only one thing to be successful, Leadership! At the forefront of every fortune 500 company, military, government, and country is sound leadership to meet company objectives and goals.

No matter which style of leadership is practiced, it is leadership at the foundation of every organization that drives the company. The strategic implications that organizational behaviors have on leadership, codify the importance of leadership to business. The implications that leadership, leadership styles, and leadership processes have on an organization directly relate to the organizational behaviors within an organization and how they assemble to establish sound leadership.

References

Beebe, S. A., & Masterson, J. T. (2006). Communicating in Small Groups: Principles and Practices, Eighth Edition. Bostin, Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon.

Boseman, G. (2008). Effective Leadership in a Changing World. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 62(3), 36-38. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. DeCaro, F. P., DeCaro, N., & Bowen-Thompson, F. O. (2010). An Examination of Leadership Styles of Minority Business Entrepreneurs: A Case Study of Public Contracts. Journal of Business & Economic Studies, 16(2), 72-78. Retrieved
from EBSCOhost. Giri, V. N., & Santra, T. (2010). Effects of Job Experience, Career Stage, and Hierarchy on Leadership Style. Singapore Management Review, 32(1), 85-93. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Hitt, M. A., Miller, C. C., Colella, A. (2011). Leadership. Organizational Behavior (Third Ed), CH 8, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Humphreys, J. H. (2001). Transformational and Transactional Leader Behavior. Journal of Management Research (09725814), 1(3), 149. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Juhl, H. J., Kristensen, K. K., Kanji, G. K., & Batley, T. W. (2000). Quality Management: A Comparison of Cultural Differences. Total Quality Management, 11(1), 57-65. doi:10.1080/0954412007026 Kanji, G. K. (2008). Leadership is prime: How do you measure Leadership Excellence? Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 19(4), 417-427. doi:10.1080/14783360802002834 Lyons, P. (2007). A Leadership Development Model to Improve Organizational Competitiveness. Advances in Competitiveness Research, 15(1/2), 103-115. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.


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