management

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Factors that influence choice of leadership style

Identify factors that will influence your choice of leadership styles and explain why your leadership styles are likely to positively affect your team

In today's business world, leadership is more important than ever and while organizations have focused on identifying leadership competencies as a means of gaining competitive advantage, the quality of leadership is still a concern.

Typically organizations identify a number of leadership competencies of behaviours that are important to leading the business effectively. Naturally with any developmental experience offered, the organization would like to see its leaders improve in as many competencies as possible. This is where the enhancement of Emotional Intelligence skills can provide significant leverage and value.

Any team develops into an effective unit in a number of stages and over a period of time. The form of leadership required from the leader has to be appropriate to the stage of development of the team. In the 1960’s Bruce Tuckman published a model for developing team effectiveness, identifying four stages; Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. This has close parallels with Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership model where the leadership style changes from telling, through selling and participating and on to delegating as the team becomes more mature.  It also fits with the Tannenbaum and Schmidt continuum which describes initial use of authority by the leader developing into greater freedom for team members as the team develops. The models all tell the same story; the leadership style has to change depending on the situation and different leadership behaviours will come into play.

While leaders may well consider themselves to be just human beings, or another cog in the great organisational machine, this is not how their team members see them. For them, the leader is the organisation, and they are looking for answers as to what the organisation is about.

The most known leadership styles are as follow – autocratic, democratic and bureaucratic. In my opinion the most effective is democratic, although in some situation the best solution is autocratic.

Leaders using autocratic leadership style don’t give a chance for their subordinates to express their ideas or disagree with the leaders’ opinion and vision. As a result of fact the team become a group of people just mechanically implementing the leader’s instructions what is good only for emergency situation. While emergency no time for disputes and asking for suggestion, the decision should be accepted immediately and autocratic style is a brilliant for that type of situation to lead people.

Democratic style of leadership is more fruitful and promotes the sharing of responsibility. Such a techniques as consultation, effective delegation of tasks, encourage becoming a leader and being involved in leadership development determined my choice.

So the main factors that influence to my choice of leadership are positive work environment where junior employees are given a possibility to challenge themselves, successful initiatives when the process of consultation and feedback naturally results in better decision making and more effective operations. The next factor is encouragement of creative thinking, because creative thinking is required to solve problems in every single organisation, whatever it’s nature.

Reduced employee turnover is the last of the factors. When employees feel empowered through leadership development, a company will experience lower rates of employee turnover which has numerous benefits.

Further I try briefly state why democratic leadership styles are likely have a positive effect of individual and group behaviour.

Democratic leadership is allowing employees to give their ideas on how processes become leaner and more efficient and effective in organisations where training, professional & leadership development and quality of work performed are very appreciated. Organisations are benefit from drawing upon the creative energies of all their staff to bring about cost cutting techniques or fund raising ideas, from the free flow of ideas that democratic leadership brings.

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Review of own leadership behaviour

Assess your own leadership behaviours and potential by referring to a relevant leadership model, your organisation’s working practises, and by collecting feedback from others.

Describe what actions you could take to improve as a leader

Most people are naturally anxious about change and it doesn’t take a lot for the pessimist in all of us to emerge. The individual’s response to change is heavily influenced by the response of the people round about them, and key among those influences is the reaction of the leader. If the leader displays a negative reaction then so too do many members of the team. The leader needs to be aware of the impact that their behavior has on other people. The leader’s own behavior is then a key influence on the outcome of the change process and the leader needs to behave appropriately, if the change is to be managed successfully.

Ability to communicate is to be ready to answer to the questions such as “Why are we doing this?”, “What do we do?”, “How do we do it?” in the new world. Communication is a two way process. Instant answers are not good in new world better to discuss and to gradually understand what will be required of from the team in the future. Change leadership is enhanced when leaders communicate a little at a time, as often as possible, in as many different ways as possible, and providing as many different perspectives as possible. Once team members have built their own personal model of the future and have checked it out against the reality of what is happening on the ground, so that they can once again begin to make their own decisions, the communication process will have served its purpose.

For the second leadership behaviors is ability to support the members of the team. Support in this context is very much about the individual. Leader need to make time available for each individual, need to make himself accessible and need to be prepared to listen. Answers can come in due time, but the leader needs to provide active support to each individual.

The next of the leadership behaviors is independence. Leaders need to retain a degree of independence from members of the team all of the time, but at a time of change it becomes even more crucial. Leader have to be able to make the correct decisions, and even begin“disciplinary process” if some team members refuse to respond appropriately to a new environment. If they don’t deal with an individual who is being obstructive, they risk alienating others who respond appropriately. Independence is also important to separate the leader’s behaviour towards the team from the way that the leader behaves as an individual.

The next step of the leadership behaviours is the ability to develop others. At a time of change everyone has to learn to do things differently. A good leader is working with their team to help them discover first of all what they need to be able to do, and secondly to learn how to do it. Coaching will probably be a key activity at this time. By helping team members to achieve new skills the leader not only enables the team to do its work, but increases the confidence of the team member and reduces any concern about the change stemming from their ability to learn new skills.

Leadership style is how you relate to subordinates. Assessing my way of leadership I came to solution that mostly I use democratic leadership style behavior to motivate employees to work harder, involve employees for more participation in the decision-making process. Opinion of personnel is much appreciated and leads them to be motivated especially when their ideas were used in the work processes. As a result work environment become healthy and employees feel good about it.  Workers feel that their opinion counts, and because of that feeling they are more committed to achieving the goals and objectives of the organization. The collaborative environment created by this style often results in more thorough solutions to problems. I realize that sometime the democratic style could be no effective as take time when I ask people about their opinion, while they explaining what they think and other understand what they are saying. Efficiency is in right assessment of the knowledge and experience of subordinates. If they are not quite qualified this will be just waste of the time.

So when is situation critic and I need to make urgent decision I switch the style.

Even the most successful team will need help from its leader when faced with major change in its environment. For change leadership to be successful, certain leadership behaviors need to be used more regularly until the team has taken the impact of the change on board, and has learned how to be successful in the new environment


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