A Study into Leadership and Decision making

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What is leadership? It is the ability of a person to provide guidance to the group of its followers who will follow it and will achieve the common goal. It can be both emotional and rational .One will exhibit this quality in such a manner that we will be able to make it out whether his/her action is a result of someone influences; or there is some logic behind it or it's just because of some passion or inspiration. Leadership qualities get developed as one gains more and more experience. These experiences can be negative or positive; still both of them act as a tool for growth and development.

Source: Adapted from Kelly Hines, Word Press, 2009

In the next phase of this assignment I will provide the theoretical concepts of two different types of leadership instruments i.e. Skill Inventory approach and Style approach. Further to it, I will provide the detailed analysis of how these two leadership instruments can be gauged with my leadership's styles that I have followed in my past and how it will be beneficial in long run of my life.


Style Approach:

The main focus of style approach is to emphasize on the behaviour of a leader. It clearly differs from the trait approach which focuses on personality characteristics of the leader and the skills approach which emphasizes the leader capabilities.(Source: Northouse P. 2007, pp. 69)

According to researchers the style approach determines the two kinds of behaviour; relationship behaviour and task behaviour. Relationship behaviour will help the team members to feel comfortable while working with the leaders and task behaviour will help the team members to achieve their goal. So we can say the task behaviour is related to professional front and relationship is more over to build an emotional bonding. (Source: Northouse P. 2007, pp. 69)

Strengths: This style was not limited to personality trait, first time the behaviour attribute was considered. It helped in finding that task behaviour and relationship behaviour forms the core of the leadership process.

Weaknesses: The style approach didn't focus on how leader's styles are related to performance outcomes (Bryman, 1992; Yukl, 1994).It failed in providing a consistent link between other outcomes such as job satisfaction, productivity and morale.

Skill Inventory Approach:

This sort of approach is mainly leader centric and gives the perspective of his/her leadership style. It is different than other leadership styles as it doesn't focus only on personality traits. Although they are integral part of a leadership style, it's very much necessary that one should have the knowledge, experience and abilities to be an effective leader. (Source: Mumford, Harding, Zaccaro, et al., 2000). This model comprised of skills such as technical, human and conceptual.

Technical Skill: This is the competency that one should posses in order to excel in his/her field. Likewise a software engineer should have knowledge about the coding, different programming languages. Similarly the employee from a financial background should have knowledge about the accounting principles to carry out the effective audit.

Human Skills: They are generally considered as a "people skills ".It helps the leaders /managers to work proactively with peers, subordinates or with the people at the higher level to achieve the company's goal.

Conceptual Skills: It is exclusively related to ideas and how the leader works with these ideas.

As the employees in an organization are divided into different levels .It is not necessary that everyone will possess the same degree of all these skills. The degree differs at all level. Below is the figure which gives a clear picture.

Source: Adapted from "Skills of an Effective Administrator," by R.L., Katz, 1955, Harvard Business Review, 33(1), pp.33-42.

How it works?

Strength: It clearly bifurcate the degree to which leaders at different level should posses these skills.

Weakness: Although it is not a trait model yet it focuses on some of the major individual attributes which were like trait only.

Application: As it is a new theory, there are not much training programs for this skills however it is a vital part of a leadership styles. It can be used to delineate the leaders at different levels and also the skills they posses.

Self Leadership Analysis:

Style Approach:

Source: Adapted from Northouse P. Leadership: Theory and Practice. Style Approach 2007, pp. 86-87

The result of my survey clearly shows that there is a marginal difference between two attributes i.e. Task and Relationship. As I have worked as a software engineer for two years and above, I gained these styles while working in a group and with other teams of different project. As it was a support project, I used to focus more on the day to day task as there were service level agreements for solving the problems. Hence by working in such a challenging environment I developed this style of leadership which make me a true problem solver and urge me to finish all the tasks for which I am accountable. I am following the same style in MBA curriculum also.

Similarly the relationship attribute also gives a clear picture of my personality. I am very easy going kind of person and goes very well with the different age groups. I shared good bonding with my peers and with the people at higher positions. This really helped me a lot as they are always ready to help me whenever I am in need of it at most. During my tenure as a software engineer seeing this attribute I got promoted and was asked to lead a team of 17 people.

Skill Inventory Approach:

Source: Adapted from Northouse P. Leadership: Theory and Practice. Skill Approach 2007, pp. 65-66

The above result is very much true in my case and it clearly describes the degree of key skills that I possess. Being from an engineering background and having a work experience of over 2 years I am bound to have technical skills in order to develop a client based product. To achieve these technical skills I got trained in various domains such as Java, Dot Net, and C++ etc. It was the result of this that I was able to implement these technical skills in my various projects during my tenure as a software engineer.

Secondly I also developed my human skills while working with different members of my team as well with other colleagues of different project. Over there only I realized how much important it is to have a healthy relationship with your team members and superiors. In fact this also helped me in settling down with my flat mates who are from different country and religion. I respect their views, their beliefs and culture. We share a healthy bonding and are always there to help each other.

Thirdly my score of conceptual skill is not that good. The only reason for this is that I used to focus more on the technological front as my role was to develop products and resolve the technical issue. It was at the end of my tenure with my organization that I got the opportunity to handle a team as team lead where I used to think about team briefing, Work allocation etc. So I personally feel that I need to work on my conceptual skill.


After completing my MBA, I want to be a part of IT industry as manager in the role of system analyst. To do so I need to be equipped with technical skills; my results show that I am having it in a good amount. So my prime focus should be on developing my conceptual skills and that's why I have chosen Strategy as my pathway in my MBA. It will help me in understanding the organizational problems in a broad manner. Also I will understand the manner in which we should make our strategies to handle different kind of situation.


So after taking the above two questionnaires, now I am in a position where I can figure out my strengths and weakness. Along with all these, I should also focus on learning communication techniques and business ethics in order to achieve fruitful results. Both these leadership instruments help an individual to understand his/her leadership qualities and will help him/her in turning into an effective leader. Even I am sure that these results will surely help in my future endeavours as a flourishing leader.