Free Custom «Leadership Styles» Essay Sample
1) Leadership style is a way in which a leader rules a team and encourages its members to do what he/she wants. There are many leadership styles, and the applied approaches are usually chosen individually to best fit the particular situation, environment, organization, and employees. Moreover, one leader may combine several styles, as well as change them depending on the situation, as well as company’s changing goals and tasks. Autocratic leadership style is the most traditional and extreme of all the existing styles. In this style, a leader has absolute power, and his/her followers follow a leader in everything he/she does and have very little power to influence the made decisions. In modern organizations, leadership style is not used often, because it is considered to be the opposite of democratic. However, it can still be used in some situations; for instance, when very efficient leadership is required, in particular, in a difficult situation, when the decision should be made quickly and effectively for serious changes to take place (Amanchukwu, Stanley, & Ololube, 2015).
Bureaucratic leadership style is based on constantly following the rules that exist in the organization, and they are never or very rarely broken. In this style, both a leader and employees should follow all of the company’s rules and regulations. This style is the best for organizations or departments that deal with risks constantly; for example, organizations that work with machinery or toxic substances, or where large sums of money are managed. Bureaucratic leadership can also be used in organizations where routine tasks are performed. At the same time, this style is inappropriate for organizations and teams that need innovation, creativity, or flexibility in order to function (Amanchukwu et al., 2015).
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Charismatic (or transformational) leadership style can be characterized by charismatic leaders, those who have particular talents and skills to persuade their employees to do something, or to inspire them to reach the set goals. Thus, this style is based on charismatic leadership theory. The main disadvantage is that the organization becomes tied to the particular leader, as a person who obtains unique skills and features. Thus, the organization or the project can collapse when he/she leaves, as employees will not trust another leader the same way (Amanchukwu et al., 2015). Transformational leadership can be useful for situations when it is necessary to motivate employees who are not interested in what they are doing. Moreover, it is good to use in healthcare organizations, because it leads to clinical improvements (Giltinane, 2013, p. 38).
Democratic (or participative) leadership style is characterized by decision-making in which team members always participate. Everyone can make propositions and give ideas, and a leader only makes a final decision based on the members’ propositions. This style has many benefits, as it encourages creativity and professional development among employees, because they feel they are important, and a leader listens to what they have to say. As team members are more involved, they are usually satisfied with their jobs and tend to be more productive. There are also some disadvantages. Democratic leadership does not fit the situations where leaders are required to make immediate decisions. Moreover, if team members do not have sufficient qualification, their decision may lead to a failure (Amanchukwu et al., 2015).
Laissez-faire leadership style may be considered the best and the worst at the same time. A leader who uses this approach bases his leadership and decisions on ‘let it be’ principle. Team members work on their own; they have a lot of freedom and often make decisions on their own. Usually, leaders only give advice. This style is efficient when leaders monitor the team regularly and give feedback, and the teams have autonomy to make their own decisions. However, if team members cannot control their work properly or do not have enough experience and skills, this style may be a failure (Amanchukw et al., 2015).
Transactional leadership style is based on the idea that all team members, when they are accepted to the organization, agree to listen to a leader and follow him/her. In their turn, a leader and organization provide benefits to employees, for instance, additional payments (Amanchukwu et al., 2015). The benefit is that the team members respect a leader and are ready to follow all commands. However, if the leadership is weak, transactional style will not work (Giltinane, 2013, p. 36).
2) Hiroshi Okuda’s leadership style can be described as an autocratic one. There are many reasons to consider his style an autocratic one. He became a leader when Toyota went through hard times, and nobody wanted to take responsibility. However, Okuda decided to be a strong leader and make radical changes in the firm to lead it to the success (Case: Toyota’s Tough Boss, n.d.).
There are examples which can prove that Okuda is an autocratic leader. First, he was not satisfied with bureaucratic decision-making in Toyota because it took much time to make decisions that were made quickly by company’s competitors. Thus, Okuda decided to change the whole management system in Toyota, and it was a dramatic decision, because most members considered this system traditional and did not want to change it to avoid the possible problems. The system was changed, and it was beneficial for Toyota. There were other parts of work that were taken by a new leader and were radically changed. Other leaders did not want to change them because they were afraid of negative consequences and uncertainty (Case: Toyota’s Tough Boss, n.d.).
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Second, Okuda changed some peculiarities of Toyota that were traditional for years. For instance, the company had traditional for Japan lifetime employment system and rewards based on the seniority of an employee. Other leaders did not change the system, because it was traditional, and negative feedback could be powerful. However, Okuda decided to change the system, because it was not efficient for the company. Nearly one-third of all executives were replaced, and the new reward system was based on an employee’s performance. It stimulated employees to work better and reach the company’s goals (Case: Toyota’s Tough Boss, n.d.).
Third, Okuda was not afraid to turn to the highest authorities, because the company was very important for him. For instance, he could blame ministry for some actions that were harmful to the auto industry, and he aimed to persuade authorities to make decisions that would be beneficial for Toyota (Case: Toyota’s tough boss, n.d.).
3) Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership theory is based on the idea that a leader’s behavior should be flexible and changeable based on the situational factor – the readiness and willingness of his/her followers to accept changes. According to this theory, there are several types of leadership behaviors. Task behavior is the way leaders spell out their responsibilities and duties before other team members; meaning how leaders explain to their follower what, how and when to do. Relationship behavior of leaders is the way leader communicates with his/her team members. In its turn, this behavior includes listening, facilitating and supportive behaviors (Bartol, 2007, pp. 412-413).
In each situation, a particular behavior combination is required. In order to determine it, the follower’s readiness, or the willingness and ability to perform the task should be considered. Willingness means the confidence and motivation to perform the task. Ability means the skills and knowledge that allow performing the task at the appropriate level. Then, a leader uses a special bell-shaped curve to choose the leadership style for the situation. There are four styles: telling, selling, participating, and delegating (Bartol, 2007, p. 413).
Telling can be used when the followers are not completely ready to perform the task,, meaning that they are unwilling and unable to do it. In this situation, a leader should give detailed directions and explain what and how should be done. Selling is used when team members are willing to do the task, but cannot take responsibility for it. In this case, a leader gives directions, but followers use their willingness and enthusiasm. Participating is implemented when the followers are responsible but are unwilling to do the task. In this situation, communication and collaboration with leader are useful. Finally, delegating is used when followers are willing and responsible. A leader provides very little support and direction (Bartol, 2007, p. 413).
In Okuda’s approach, telling leadership approach is mostly used. A leader chose it because Toyota was a subject to radical changes, not all employees and managers supported them, and most of them were unwilling and unable to perform the existing tasks properly. For example, Okuda introduced different innovations to the firm’s activity, and some of them were borrowed from other firms, local and foreign. As employees did not always know what to do, Okuda provided detailed directions and often helped Toyota’s employees and managers to reach the planned goals (Case: Toyota’s Tough Boss, n.d.).
4) Transactional leadership is based on maintaining the normal flow of operations. Transactional leaders focus on maintaining their organization in the normal state and ability to perform its common operations. Transactional leaders guide or motivate the team members to move in the direction of the goals they set. It is provided via clarifying the role and task requirements for each team member, as well as the expectations regarding their productivity. Transactional leaders are not necessarily inspired leaders, they just focus on current tasks, and their goals are to perform the tasks in a professional manner. This leadership type is based on the compliance of a leader and his/her decisions with the goals of the organization that exist currently. Mostly, this leadership is based on constant supervision and the rewards and punishments to stimulate employees to reach goals. Thus, transactional leaders are oriented on tasks and results, and the traditional culture of organization is not changed. Transactional leadership is useful for the projects that are limited in time and resources, and where the requirements and tasks are clear. However, this leadership is not good for radical changes and innovation (Schermerhorn, 2014).
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Transformational leadership is focused on providing an example by a leader, which is followed by team members. This approach focuses on building teams, motivation and collaboration with employees in order to provide changes in the organization. Transformational leaders set the goals and stimulate employees to reach higher performance levels. Moreover, employees receive opportunities for development and career growth. Transformational leadership is oriented on the future and strategy, and it prevents the issues instead of coping with them when such come up. This approach focuses on innovation and changing traditional culture of the organization. Thus, transformational leadership is good for radical changes and innovative projects, where creativity and risks are involved (Schermerhorn, 2014).
Hiroshi Okuda is an example of a transformational leader, because his decisions changed Toyota company radically; moreover, they were aimed at the strategic improvements and innovations in future. This approach was required, because the firm had bad times and failed to compete successfully. Thus, Okuda changed many spheres in company’s work. He stimulated innovations in car design to attract customers and make Toyota vehicles more competitive. He also was radical in his debates with governmental institutions to improve the situation in the industry of car manufacturing. Finally, the decision to change traditional employment and reward system was radical and strategic, and helped to improve company’s performance in future (“Case: Toyota’s Tough Boss,” n.d.).
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