BLOG: Leadership

Autocratic Leadership is not a new concept, however, it’s becoming increasing popular with new managers because it involves trust and develops ethics. Other new forms of leadership are constantly being introduced which includes neuroscience. Whilst some people are natural leaders, others can be taught the skills. It’s the style of leadership that has changed and keeps evolving. There are also many different theories regarding leadership and management styles, this article will critically evaluate the different styles by reviewing;

  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Strategic Change

This investigation will look into different styles of leadership and what makes them successful alongside the qualities of what makes a good leader. Is it someone who looks at the behaviour of the team, someone who likes to develop or does it take someone with more a psychology approach such as neuroscience.

Different theories suggest that different types of leadership are more effective but which is the right one to choose and can people be taught leadership? Goleman (1995) has written about the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and how it plays a critical part in team development which managers and leaders need to take seriously.

In his findings, he writes that a person’s emotional intelligence (EI) can be developed instead of IQ which is something a person is born with, this could be argued as many people comment that someone’s IQ could be increased with the appropriate learning and development to support the individual, however, Goleman states that by developing EI it raises the performance of a person with motivation and self-awareness and it would influence a different leadership style which would become more visionary with coaching and pacesetting skills.

In agreement with Goleman’s theory is John Adair  whose work in his action centred leadership model suggests that the development of the individual is critical for a leader to focus on however a strong leader would also need to look at the development of the team and achieving the task.

By reviewing action centred model, John Adair suggests that by focusing on just one area will not accomplish the task and a leader would need to consistently look at all three. Action centred leadership suggests that motivation is at the centre of a high performance team and this is reflected on the leadership style, questions around this theory include; does the leadership model actually have an impact on the motivation of the team or could it be other internal sources such as salaries?

Management Today (2014) recently published an article claiming that the UK’s poor productivity rate reflects the businesses which are simply paying their workforce the minimum wage. The report suggests a workforce should be paid fairly and it is up to the leaders of the organisation to avoid losing jobs if this happens, the report does show a contradiction as Kingsmill writes that as well as high wages the leaders need to ensure the productivity stays high through training and innovation which is linked to the action centred model to drive the best from team performance.

Building a team

Building and maintaining the team cannot be achieved unless the individual and the team are developed, if a leader leaves one area of the overlap untouched then the whole project would not become successful. This is a very different way of working compared to previous management styles which might have suggested a more autocratic, controlled workforce.

The 1990’s saw the shift from hierarchy to a more flat organisational structure. The Chartered Institute of Management developed a report which looks at the removal of domination and more co-ordination styles of leadership alongside the introduction of more team work and more empowerment to the individual, but does this happen in every workplace? No – in some work situations a more controlled environment needs to be considered such as a call centre where strict regulations and targets are in place.

Leadership in Travel

Harriet Green (former Thomas Cook CEO) compliments the removal of domination theory by stating in a recent interview that prior to her starting the holiday giant, the board was ran by typical male English and German businessmen who had no reflection and now there are three women sat on the board the leadership reflects the business. Green’s comments could come across as sexiest,however, she is simply making the point that she and her leaders were in tune with the operation of Thomas Cook, its employees and the customers.

The report by Saunders comments that prior to being CEO at Thomas Cook, Green went after the leadership roles in her career that the typical people striving for success didn’t want as she felt that in those roles, she could relate to the business more as a leader which helped her to develop. The dictatorship days have gone and management in a 21st century office need to me more aware of the social skillset required within the job. “Human skills help the leader to work more effectively with subordinates, peers and superiors to accomplish the organisations goals” Katz (1955).

Great Person Theories

Katz’s study that all these skills (human, technical and conceptual) need to be implemented for a leader to succeed, the study illustrates the skills of a leader are very different from the traits (which is what a leader is) this gives us the impression that skills can be taught. The key area that we are looking at from the diagram is that at all levels of management and leadership human qualities are essential and when you review his studies, it’s hard to understand why human skills would not be important.

One of the most common types of leadership is Authentic which demonstrates that the leader needs to build trust, have ethics and self-awareness which all involve sociable skills, these skills relate to the human skills that Katz introduced and would be the foundation to then leading a team with Adir’s action centred leadership model. This is a very different approach to the first stages of leadership which included “Great Person Theories.” Upon researching this method Potter (2014) suggests this style of leadership has lost significant popularity as it often followed the theme that the leader is always right, referring back to the previous studies in this paper it seems appropriate to say that in some environments where are more controlled workplace needs to be kept in order a great person theory style of leadership could still be introduced but the development and motivation of employees would decrease.

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