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The success of an organisation is invariably relevant to an appropriate leadership which inspires engagement and organisational change to meet new conditions (Samson & Daft, 2014).
It is necessary for an organisation to have a leader who has the effective leadership style. An appropriate approach to leadership can help an organisation run successfully and effectively. The approaches to the leadership that will be mentioned in this essay are the trait based leadership and the behavioural leadership. The trait based leadership is a model that aims to predict leadership success by looking at the characteristics of the leaders.
The behavioural leadership focuses on the study of specific behaviours of leaders in order to predict leadership success. This essay will describe the trait based leadership and the behavioural leadership, and also compare and contrast these two kinds of leadership.
Firstly, the trait based leadership will be described and critiqued by defining and analysing the positive effect and negative effect. Secondly, the definition, advantages and disadvantages of the behavioural leadership will be discussed.
Thirdly, the essay will compare and contrast the trait based leadership and the behavioural leadership by analysing the similarities and the differences of them. Several examples such as the director in EMS named Ben (Breaux, 2014), and a former President who works in a hospital named Dr Waller (Nwabueze, 2011) also will be mentioned in this essay. Firstly, the trait based leadership is based on the characteristics of the leaders and is used to predict leadership effectiveness, the definition of the trait is the distinguishing personal characteristics of a leader, such as intelligence, honesty, self-confidence, and even appearance (Samson & Daft, 2014).
Zaccaro and Stephen (2007) said that the definition of the leader traits have three components, the first component is that they are not to be considered in isolation but rather as integrated constellations of attributes that influence leadership performance, secondly, they concern the inclusiveness of a variety of personal qualities that promote stability in leader effectiveness, and the last component is that they specify leader attributes as relatively enduring, producing cross-situational stability in leadership performance. A typical example for the trait based leadership is that Dr Waller, a former President in a Hospital, did not only speak of quality like mere mortals do but participated totally. He walks into team meetings every Wednesday morning each week at 6.15 a.m. for over one year (Nwabueze, 2011). Dr Waller’s action showed that the trait based leadership can get an in-depth understanding of its identity and the way it will affect others in the organization. However, it depends on the situation to measure that whether it is an effective or a not good leadership.
If the leader in a delivery company is a slowcoach, there will be a big problem to run the business due to his leadership style is not appropriate to the delivery company. Inversely, if this leader works in a company which is about Yoga teaching, it will be an effective trait of this leader as he/she is a slowcoach to run the business. The trait based leadership can be applied by leaders at all levels in all types of organisations, it gives a detailed knowledge and understanding of the leader element in the leadership process. However, sometimes it will have negative consequences in some situations. Secondly, the behavioural leadership describes how behaviour of leaders might contribute to leadership success or failure (Samson & Daft, 2014). There are two types of behaviour, which are the task-oriented behaviour and the people-oriented behaviour respectively. Consideration is one of the major behaviours which is under the category of people-oriented behaviour, it means that the leader respects the subordinates’ ideas and set up the mutual trust. Initiating structure is the term that describes the extent to which a leader is task oriented and directs subordinates’ work activities towards goal accomplishment (Samson & Daft, 2014).
Effective leaders may be high on consideration and low on initiating structure or low on consideration and high on initiating structure, depending on the situation. There is an example for the behavioural leadership, Ben works in EMS as a director, at first he just followed the policy of the company to manage the staffs and did not think about their fillings, and his action was still not effective to change the bad situation (Breaux, 2014). After that Ben changed his leadership approach to building positive and supportive relationships with his organisational staff. It was much better than before. Ben changed his approach to leadership to a suitable one in that situation. This example shows that it is more effective to establish an equal relationship between the leaders and subordinates. Sometimes the behaviour of the leader can affect the behaviour of the subordinates, they will work as a team to reach the best consequences.
However, a situation that need to be considered about is that what if the leader pays to much attention to the feelings and ideas of the subordinates, it may not be an appropriate way to reach a positive consequence, inversely, a negative consequence may happen. Therefore anyone who adopts appropriate behavior can be a good leader. The behavioural leadership may be an appropriate approach depends on different situations. Thirdly, there are some similarities and differences between the traits based leadership and the behavioural leadership which are mentioned above. The trait based leadership are usually inborn traits (Johnson, n.d.). In this model, management is usually analysing the actions of their employees to see what they should do to make the leadership more effective. The behavioural leadership is not about the inborn approaches to leadership, the traits of leaders can be trained, taught and developed. Anyone can be a leader if they have the proper environment and training for leadership qualities to develop (Johnson, n.d.). The similarity of the trait based leadership and the behavioural leadership is that both of these two approaches emphasize that the leader must have ability to be identifiable in any given situations.
The difference would be that the leaders’ traits will not always manifest in ways that impact leadership effectiveness, therefore the leader behaviors will be more predictive of leadership effectiveness than leader traits (Derue, Nahrgang, Wellman & Humphrey, 2011). The second difference between the trait based leadership and the behavioural leadership is that the behavioural leadership is more democratic. The leaders pay more attention to their subordinates with the behavioural approach, and the leaders with trait based leadership more likely focus on the leaders’ characteristics, in another words, they more likely to focus on themselves. The third difference between these two approaches is that the trait is inborn, but the behaviour is postnatal. The characteristics of the leaders do not need to be trained or created, they were already exist. However, the behaviours of the leaders are not inborn. They can be trained, taught and developed, there is no born leaders. These are the similarities and the differences between the traits based leadership and the behavioural leadership. It is evident that although there are several similarities, the differences are a bit more than the similarities.
In conclusion, this essay has described and critiqued the trait based leadership and the behavioural leadership, and compared and contrasted these two approaches. At first, this essay interpreted the definition of the trait based leadership and discussed the positive effects and the negative effects of it in different situations. Secondly, the behavioural leadership has been described and critiqued by analysing the advantages and disadvantages of it. At last, the essay discussed the similarities and the differences between the traits based leadership and the behavioural leadership. We found that the leaders with the trait based leadership concentrate more on the characteristics of themselves and it is inborn, the leaders with the behavioural leadership pay more attention to the feelings and ideas from the subordinates and the behaviours of them are postnatal. Both of these two approaches have their own positive effects and negative effects in some different situations, and each of them will be an appropriate approach for different kinds of the leaders. It is important for an organisation to have a suitable approach to the leadership to get success.
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