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Leadership is an important element in every organization. It helps to give the general sense of direction to employees. Proper leadership requires a higher degree of flexibility (Adair & Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2006). Below is a brief overview of different types of leadership:
A visionary leader gives a sense of direction. He/she articulates new sets of dreams. He/she is flexible. A visionary leader gives room for innovation, risks and experiments.
Here a leader trains and coaches employees. Employees can sometimes perceive this type of leadership to be authoritative. A coach leader tries to align the goals of the company with the abilities of employees.
It is also known as a team leadership. It realizes the need to have employees work as a team, as opposed to working under supervision. It should not, however, tolerate mediocrity.
This type of leadership makes use of skills and knowledge of people. There is a commitment on the part of the group to achieve the set goals of a company. A leader taps into the collective talent of the group.
A leader in this type of leadership sets high performance standards. They are obsessed with results; doing things faster; doing them better. But pacesetting may poison the morale of employees as they may feel they are being pushed.
This type of leadership is mostly employed by the army. It has created criticisms, but this is just what the army needs.
The company I work for is Software IT Company. It sells software to different companies. As a leader, and knowing myself full well, I have used pacesetting and affiliate leadership styles.
The strength of the affiliate leadership is that it takes into consideration the fact that employees work better under minimal supervision. They have a moral responsibility. The work best when they are self-motivated. This has worked because somewhat they develop is a group psychology. The leadership style identifies different talents. They learn from the rest of the group. The strength of the pacesetting leadership is that it sets high standards for the group. It gets things done better and faster. Employees are pushed to their limits. As a result, they deliver on time.
The weakness of the affiliate leadership is the fact that as a leader I let people work as a team. Sometimes they go wrong and develop a kind of immunity. Ultimately, it creates a culture of impunity. The weakness of pacesetting is that sometimes employees feel I am pushing them to the limit. They feel pressured. They sometimes resist, at least passively. In the end, service delivery is hampered.
The leadership styles of my choice may not be the best, but they are the ones I have always preferred. Other leadership styles that they compare to are coaching leadership and democratic leadership. The democratic leadership is almost similar to affiliate leadership in that it gives employees some degree of freedom to have their input in the company. They recognize the fact that employees need to work under minimal supervision. The coaching leadership is arguably similar to the pacesetting leadership. Both of them recognize the fact that employees must be trained and coached. Their service delivery must be in line with the set goals of the company they work for.
Discussion of the Leadership Styles
The leadership styles have helped me to be a greater leader. Leadership requires flexibility. It does not require rigidness. As a leader I have learnt the importance of bringing all members on board, and being open to the variety of their views. I appreciate their input. Employees who feel appreciated and rewarded for their efforts are motivated. The leadership styles allow a leader to carry out a self-assessment. It gives them room for corrections. Change is inevitable. Leaders are change agents (Giuliani & Kurson, 2005). The leadership styles help them achieve results and improve on their areas of weaknesses.
The problems encountered in a recent workshop the management attended were differences in opinions on leadership. But the differences were mainly ideological. Some participants were inclined towards the pacesetting and coaching leadership; others preferred other types of leadership. Another problem that arose was the fact that other leaders could not make a distinction between management and leadership. Some leaders were rigid, even maintaining the status quo. Yet others had communication problems. Leadership requires effective communication as well.
Overcoming the Problems
First, leaders must appreciate their weaknesses and strengths. This allows them to concentrate on what works for them. Leaders should attend workshops and seminars, and brainstorm. They can read leadership journals, articles any leadership material they can lay their hands on. A change of mentally and realization that change is inevitable will equally help. Lastly, leaders must communicate effectively. Acquiring effective communication skills will help them articulate their points, so that there are no distortions in the information being disseminated.
The potential advantages of my styles of leadership are that they create room for improvement in the company. It creates a level field. Employees can develop or improve upon their talents. They learn from the rest. It creates a sense of urgency for service delivery. It could act as a litmus paper to know how the employees perform under different conditions and environments. As a leader, I could then pick on the one that works best for me.
Capitalizing on the Advantages to Improve Productivity
Upon learning which leadership styles work best, I then concentrate on employing them in the company. When employees work in the best environment, they are psychologically at peace. They give their all. Now, this is leadership.
In conclusion, it is important for leaders in virtually any field within their scope to know and practice only the leadership style that works best for them.