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Leadership Theories - Article Example

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Factors influencing leaders include task structure, position power, and leader-member relations. Leadership consultants Kenneth H…
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Leadership Theories
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Leadership Theories Situational leadership implies that leadership depends on a range of situational factors including employee motivation and leadership styles. Factors influencing leaders include task structure, position power, and leader-member relations. Leadership consultants Kenneth H. Blanchard and Paul Hersey suggest four styles of leadership depending upon the characteristics of employees (Basu, 2014). These styles include directing leadership style that suits unmotivated and unskilled employees, coaching leadership style for unskilled but motivated employees, supporting leadership style for employees that are unmotivated but skilled, and observing leadership style for employees that are skilled as well as motivated.
Wharton Professor Robert House developed the path-goal theory of leadership (Basu, 2014). According to this leadership theory, leadership style impacts employees’ performance and job satisfaction. Successful leaders establish goals and lay out clear path in front of employees so that they may be able to achieve their goals. Leaders also play a role in clearing obstacles and providing employees with incentives for milestone achievement. Leaders should support employees to improve their confidence, instruct them on ambiguous tasks, and demand from them when they look unmotivated. This requires constant and frequent interaction between the leader and followers so that employees may be included in the decision-making process also. The fundamental concept on which the path-goal theory is based is the way rewards are used by the leaders to motivate the workforce. It is the situation that depicts the type of rewards which would suit.
The situational model of leadership is more elaborative in offering suggestions regarding the ways in which leaders should change their style as per the demands of the different situations. In order to be effective as leaders, leaders should first prioritize their tasks, then they should evaluate the motivation and skill of employees, and then the leaders should decide which style of leadership to adopt on the basis of the information collected in the first two steps. Leaders might also need to use different styles in combination to deal with the different organizational personnel. On the other hand, the path-goal theory suggests leaders to identify the skills of employees before assigning them responsibilities, and convince them that they are capable enough to perform the assigned tasks successfully. Successful employees should be rewarded for their good performance.
There are several common elements between the two theories. Both situational leadership theory and path-goal theory of leadership incorporate three major leadership focuses, including the leader, the situation, and the follower (PennState, 2014). The situation is of huge significance in both theories of leadership. The leader plays a variety of roles considering the needs of the followers. Leaders’ behaviors in the path-goal theory are adaptable.
Overall, the situational leadership model is more effective and results-oriented because in this model, the leader changes his/her style as per the individualistic requirements of the followers. There are some workers who just need instructions, there are others who also need constant guidance, and there are yet others who are too creative and intelligent to need any guidance. All a leader needs to do is understand which employees fall in which category and then address their needs accordingly.
References:
Basu, C. (2014). Difference Between Situational Leadership & Path Leadership Theories.
Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/difference-between-situational-leadership-path-leadership-theories-33446.html.
PennState. (2014). The Path-Goal Theory and Leadership Behaviors. Retrieved from
http://sites.psu.edu/leadership/2013/02/14/the-path-goal-theory-and-leadership-behaviors/. Read More
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