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Leadership theory and practice - Essay Example

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During the contemporary period, it can be noted that we are living in times that are characterized by radical changes such as powerful information technology, political changes as well as changing customer demands (Schultz, 2003). The way in which organisations respond to these challenges is tied to the values, attitudes as well as responses of their leaders…
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Leadership theory and practice

Download file to see previous pages... The essay also seeks to discuss and evaluate the leadership exercised by Anna Bligh during the 2011 flood crisis in Queensland. The analysis will also seek to explore how leadership theories are related to theoretical concepts in the study of motivation, communication and attitudes, and how Anna Bligh’s leadership style has incorporated these aspects. As a point of departure, it is imperative to begin by defining the term leadership in order to gain a clear understanding of the whole concept. Basically, leadership is defined as the social process of influencing people to work voluntarily and persistently towards the attainment of the group or organisational goal (Kuper, 2006). Of notable concern is that leadership may not be restricted to formal position since any person can influence the others towards the achievement of certain goals. The concept of leadership mainly draws from trait and behavioral theories. Trait theories suggest that leaders are born. However, this theory has been challenged by different critics given that any person can be a leader if given the opportunity since leadership is mainly concerned with influencing the behaviour of others. As such, the aspect of behaviour plays a pivotal role in as much as leadership is concerned where there is need for the leaders to appeal to the people to behave in a certain way for the benefit of the group or organisation. The contemporary approach to leadership proposes a principle centered rather than personality based leadership (Schultz, 2003). The leader serves as a role model to his or her followers and encourages similar values in them. As such, leadership research has changed focus from trait to behaviour approach to leadership. Behavioral theories posit to the effect that there are certain behaviours that are supposed to be displayed by the leaders in order for them to be effective in influencing other members of the group towards the attainment of a common goal. Highly influential studies of leadership were conducted at Ohio State University and the University of Michigan. Recent studies in leadership are attributed to the findings of these studies. Thus, the following section of the essay is going to focus on discussing the similarities and differences between these two studies on behavioral leadership and how contingency theories of leadership have developed from these studies. The research that was conducted at Ohio State University sought to identify independent dimensions of leader behaviour. The two dimensions they came up with are called initiating structure and consideration (Robbins, 2003). Initiating structure refers to the extent to which the leader is likely to define the structure of his or her role and those of the employees in search for goal attainment. This is also concerned with behaviour that attempts to organize work and work relationships and the leader is mainly concerned with assigning tasks and ensuring that workers maintain standards of performance towards the achievement of organisational goals. The other dimension is consideration which is described as the extent to which the person is likely to have work relations that are characterized by mutual trust, respect of employees’ ideas and feelings. In other words, the leader shows concern for the well being of the employees where their grievances are taken into consideration as a way of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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