In the previous reflective paper, you could see the analysis of how human behavior factor is vital in organizational leadership. Besides, we raised the “informal groups'” concept that should be taken as an advantage by the organization. Namely, leaders in the informal groups are not just formally appointed, but they may perform such leadership sporadically depending on the complexity of the task or job and its connection to their experience and expertise. This is leadership “within” rather than leadership “of,” and it is also called adaptive leadership (Marion & Gonzales, 2014).
While working on contingency theory, I liked Fiedler’s contingency theory of leadership. Fiedler stated in his theory that the effectiveness of the leader based on “how well your leadership style matches the situation” (Marion & Gonzales, 2014). Namely, a leader cannot change his style to suit the situation. So, this disadvantage makes theory be odd in comparison with more modern contingency theories such as adaptive leadership that we mentioned before and we will discuss it later.
Despite of it, there are some points of the “situation favorableness” presented in Fiedler’s theory that can be discussed to determine how modern adaptive theory was developed.
According to Fiedler, the first factor is leader-member relations or the nature of interpersonal relationships between leader and followers. We discussed the significant system of an interpersonal relations within an informal workgroup. This factor has become an inevitable part of contingency situational and adaptive theories. The second contingency in Fiedler’s model is task structure or specificity in work tasks (Marion & Gonzales, 2014). Basically, we call it a situation and its complexity, nowadays, there is a more flexible job structure based on your expertise and skills. The final contingency is leader position power, or the degree of power and authority invested in the leader’s position (Marion & Gonzales, 2014).
Probably, the latter needs more discussions because a more modern approach prescribes to adapt your leadership style according to the situation, or there is another perspective when leader’s authority and responsibility can be distributed or shared among the team members. Namely, there is the multi-leader team’s concept that is characterized by multiple leaders exhibiting mutual influence on each other while working towards a common team goal (Dust & Ziegert, 2016).
Basically, these multi-leader teams entail two or more members of a team engaging in leadership roles or behaviors whereby multiple member-leaders exhibit influence on each other while working towards a common team goal (Dust & Ziegert, 2016; Bolden 2011; Denis et al. 2012; Yammarino et al. 2012). This concept caught my interest because there are a lot of working situations can be recalled when the leadership distribution within the team affected the team performance and outcomes positively. Namely, each member in a team takes his or her initiative based on their experience and expertise so that allow them to become a leader naturally based on the situation faced as a department, project team or informal group. Even though, the positive interpersonal relations can have more effective multi-leader team performance and easy flow of task distribution within informal groups.
Consequently, this approach of the multi-leader teams results in team productivity and organization or project effectiveness, and it depends on the situation when having more leaders is better as well as how many leaders are better.
Different research studies show that, while multi-leader teams are helpful in the knowledge-intensive work environments, they are redundant and counterproductive in less complex environments (Fausing et al. 2013; Pearce and Manz 2005). Even though the literature includes a variety of configurations ranging from dyadic leadership to higher number of leaders, even to an entire team enacting leadership, it was really difficult to predict the conditions under which it is effective (Dust & Ziegert, 2016).
Nowadays, there are different environmental factors such as technological advancement, informational boom and high competence of later generations, so the further organization progress requires people to be ready to quick changes, adaptability and constant innovation at daily work within different groups, for, the suggested solution of establishing multi-leaders team can be beneficial and suitable to solve complex tasks and issues in postmodern era.
Therefore, a common contingency perspective in the reviewed articles is that multi-leader teams with higher proportions of leaders and/or higher levels of role co-enactment such as multi-comprehensive structures are particularly well-suited for fast-paced and dynamic organizations and industries that require adaptability and innovativeness (Brown and Gioia 2002; Dust & Ziegert, 2016).
Moreover, the authors suggest that multi-leader teams help manage organizational change and survive the novelty and complexity of entrepreneurial ventures. Particularly, well-known enterprises such as Google, Facebook, Apple and etc. started their organizations based on the multi-leader team work concept because their leading roles have different set of behaviors and expertise that can be effectively enacted in a group setting. As a result, we can observe those companies’ success and high productivity today.
To conclude, Fiedler’s contingency theory of leadership provides a very subjective assessment of the leadership style and situation, however, it gives us the clear starting point and practical model to analyze further the modern latest theories and contextualization trends that offer a more nuanced perspective of multi-leader teams within complex organization structures that determines when and whether having more leaders is better. It would be very interesting to study this multi-leader team approach within the educational institutions and its departments and to find out what the internal mechanisms should be considered when investigating the “extent to which multi-leader teams are effective in light of varying organizational contexts” (Dust & Ziegert, 2016) and whether this concept can be applicable within academic environment influenced with the dynamic context of modern world.