Understanding Leadership Styles Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 13 April 2016

Understanding Leadership Styles

There are many different factors and situations that can influence your choice of leadership style at any given time. Different individuals require different levels of support and direction depending on many factors including their skill set, maturity and willingness to carry out the proposed task. No single leadership style is considered to be correct; an individual who is considered to be skilled, confident and motivated in their job can suddenly become unable or unwilling to take responsibility when faced with a new task that they are unfamiliar with.

The Situational Leadership Theory, developed by Paul Hersey, is a helpful tool in assessing the type of leadership required to the person or group involved. The theory relies on two key elements; leadership style (behaviour) and the individual or groups maturity level. See below for examples. Instance 1 – an individual considered to be of maturity level 4, i.e. they are experienced at the task, and willing to take on the responsibility; would only require a delegation leadership style i.e. the leader is still involved with the task, but the process and responsibility has simply been passed on to the individual. Instance 2 – an individual considered to be of maturity level 1 i.e. they lack the skills for the task and are unable or unwilling to take responsibility; would require a telling leadership style i.e. the leader provides virtually all the information for the said task in a much more hands on role. ac(1.2)

These leadership styles or behaviours can have both positive and negative effects on an individual or group behaviour. Maturity levels within individuals can become task specific; an individual with a high maturity level that you would normally delegate to, can quickly lose confidence if set with a task that they are unfamiliar with. They could then become unwilling to take on the responsibility so it is very important to evolve your leadership styles with the individual/task in question.

Positive effects of leadership styles:
When the correct leadership styles are used it can have a very positive effect on individuals. For instance if you have an individual that is very
enthusiastic and has ambition but may still lack the skills need to complete the job/task by themselves, then they require a high directive/low supportive leadership style. These types of individuals can then be given the correct training, coaching and support to hopefully become low directive/low supportive employee. It is important that your leadership style changes with the individual, encouraging them to take the lead on projects and developing other skills as they progress. This can have massive benefits for the company and for the individual, positive team relationships and morale, better knowledge and understanding of jobs, better productivity, better pay for the individual and essentially better profit for the company.

Negative effects of leadership styles:
Certain leadership styles or behaviours can also have negative effects on individual or group behaviour. Individuals with low maturity levels can often lack ambition, avoid responsibility, dislike work and sometimes have to be threatened with punishment. These types of individuals require a high directive/telling leadership style, something that is not always welcomed by the individual. This has a negative effect in the workplace and for the individual, resulting in poor performance and low morale in group situations.

Understand Leadership Qualities and Review Own Leadership Qualities and Potential ac(2.1)
Here at mi Technology group we are lucky in the fact that many of our employees are highly skilled and of a high maturity level in terms of The Situational Leadership Theory. When we recruit new workers, we can usually attract very competent individuals, and with the correct training and coaching, they can quickly turn their hand to our bespoke testing work.

To assess my own leadership style, I decided to create a quick and simple leadership self assessment to evaluate myself as at team leader. As well as filling in the assessment myself, I decided to pass this on to two members of my team; one very experienced in the work that we do (maturity level S4), and one new member of the team who requires a bit more coaching than some the more experienced Technicians that we employ (maturity level S2). I asked
them to fill it in about myself, and how I work directly with them. I also added on a number of lines relating to The Situational Leadership Theory to see if my leadership style matched the maturity level I have evaluated the individuals to be at. I asked the individuals to score as follows;

1 – Agree
2 – Partially Agree
3 – Partially Disagree
4 – Disagree

Please see results below.
1. Completed by myself
Working With Others

Communicate clearly and effectively with others
1
Listen to and take into account the needs and feelings of others 1
Actively
seek contributions and views from others

1
Regularly seek feedback from others about my behaviour
3
Willing to make tough decisions, even if they may adversely affect others 2
Deal with conflicts and disagreements with others quickly
2
Acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of others within the team 1
Lead by example, not just words
1
2. Completed by Individual 1 (Maturity Level S4)
Working With Others – Please answer from 1-4

Communicate clearly and effectively with others
2
Listen to and take into account the needs and feelings of others 2
Actively
seek contributions and views from others

1
Regularly seek feedback from others about my behaviour
3
Willing to make tough decisions, even if they may adversely affect others 2
Deal with conflicts and disagreements with others quickly
2
Acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of others within the team 1
Lead by example, not just words
1
Leadership Style – From the four options below, choose one that you think suits your relationship best

One way communication from the leader, stating how, why, when, where

Provides direction and support, remains involved in the task

Shared decision making, maintains good relationship with task 1
Process and responsibility passed on, monitors task

3. Completed by Individual 2 (Maturity Level S2)
Working With Others – Please answer from 1-4

Communicate clearly and effectively with others
1
Listen to and take into account the needs and feelings of others 2
Actively
seek contributions and views from others

2
Regularly seek feedback from others about my behaviour
4
Willing to make tough decisions, even if they may adversely affect others 2
Deal with conflicts and disagreements with others quickly
2
Acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of others within the team 1
Lead by example, not just words
1
Leadership Style – From the four options below, choose one that you think suits your relationship best

One way communication from the leader, stating how, why, when, where

Provides direction and support, remains involved in the task 1
Shared decision making, maintains good relationship with task

Process and responsibility passed on, monitors task

From the results above, I can see that my leadership style does relate to The Situational Leadership Theory in that the maturity levels I scored the individuals at, relate closely on how they interpreted my leadership style in relation themselves. The results also show that I have a good relationship with the individuals, communicate well and lead by example. There are also clear improvements I can make in other areas of leadership.

ac(2.2)
After listening to other people’s opinions and completing the self assessment, there are number of areas that I think I can improve upon as a leader. The main issue that came up in all three of the completed assessments was seeking feedback about my behaviour as a leader. Feedback is a very important tool when it comes to leadership; although you may think that you are doing everything correctly, it is not always the perception of others and their feedback helps you grow and evolve as a leader. This assignment has helped me to realise this, and introducing regular questionnaires, may help some people get their opinions and ideas across, essentially helping the company to improve.

Something else that could be improved in the company as a whole is helping
high directive individuals become low directive. This could be achieved by a better appraisal system (which we are currently working towards) and a better training plan. The company offers training in many forms, in house and off site, but better planning around high pressure/quick turnaround jobs is essential so we can fit training in, meaning a highly skilled, better motivated workforce.

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