Introduction to Leadership

It is a subclass of management , a leader needs to influence the behavior of a manager. Its the activity to get people to cooperate to achieve common goals.

Sources of Leader's influence
  1. Coercive power: Capacity of leaders to punish his followers for not performing assigned tasks.
  2. Reward Power: Ability of leader to positively recognize his followers and provide them with appropriate reward.
  3. Legitimate Power: Based on his position in organizations hierarchy.
  4. Expert: Derived from knowledge, special skill, specific expertise or information possessed by leader.
  5. Referent: Followers view him as a role model.

The first three are position powers derived from the organizations structure and the last three are personal powers derived from individuals qualities.

Styles of Leadership

It is the behavior of a leader during supervision.

Autocratic: Leader has all authority. He decides policies and gives orders to subordinates withholds rewards etc.

Democratic: Leader allows subordinates to participate in decision making. All policies are achieved by group discussions. Communication flows freely in multi directional way.

Laissez Faire: He gives full independence to subordinates to choose own goals and achieve them. Minimum participation of leader as his job is to supply information and various materials asked by subordinates.

Functions of the Leader

  1. Setting of organizations goals, formulating policies.
  2. Help meaning of policy to percolate to lower levels.
  3. Maintain core values and distinctive identity of organization.
  4. Ordering internal conflicts.
  5. Representation of organization before others.

Theories of Leadership

Trait Theory:Person becomes a leader because of the traits possessed by him. Leader is born not made. Behavioral research found that leadership traits are not in born but acquired by learning, experience.

Criticism: They failed to provide a common list of leadership traits. It doesn't include a comparative importance of different traits.It failed to consider that all traits are possessed by others who are not leaders. It failed to distinguish between traits needed for acquiring leadership and necessary for maintaining it. It ignores needs of subordinates or recognizes the influence of situational factors on leadership.

Behavioral Theory: This theory focused on what leaders do e.g. how they lead, behave, motivate, communicate etc. The following conclusions have been drawn by this theory:

  1. Democratic style of supervision was most effective in a leader.
  2. Employee centered thinking was most important.
  3. Combination of high initiating structure and consideration.
  4. Participative group was the most preferred leadership style.
  5. Team approach i.e. high focus on both employee welfare and production was preferred.

Situational Theory:

Both the trait and behavioral theory failed to consider situational factors in determining effectiveness of leadership. This theory asserted that leadership effectiveness is determined by various situational forces in addition to trait or behavior. Leadership is dynamic interaction between number of situational variables like leader, follower, task situation and environment. So leadership is multi dimensional.

  1. Leadership style can be chosen based on forces in himself, subordinates or situation. Styles can be boss centered leadership or employee centered leadership.
  2. Contingency model of leadership: Effectiveness of leader depends on leader member relation, task structure, leaders position power. Task oriented is best for extremely unfavorable or favorable condition. Human relations oriented is suitable for moderately unfavorable and favorable conditions.