Leadership in The Workplace - Research Paper Example

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 This paper articulates the various developments in theories that explain the leadership styles and effectiveness at the workplace. Of importance has been to understand what defines a leader, the cause of their behaviors and the difference in the outcomes of various leadership styles…
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Leadership in The Workplace
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Download file to see previous pages There has been no standard definition of leadership because of the varied meanings it has to different people. As such, in his definition, Northouse (2010) opts to document the various ways to conceptualize leadership: leadership as a process, influence, occurring in groups and involving common goals. It could thus be said to be a process of an individual influencing a group of individuals so as to achieve a common objective. In other words, Avolio, Sosik, and Berson (2012) define leadership as a process of social influence occurring at an individual, group, dyadic and/or strategic level, and could be shared only within the top management or distributed throughout the organization. The concept of power relates to leadership. According to Northouse (2010), power is part of the process of influence; it is the capacity to influence. The five bases of power include referent, expert, legitimate, reward and coercive power, all of which increase the capacity of a leader to influence values, attitudes and behaviors of followers. Tuuli (2010) cites two kinds of power in a workplace: position power derived from a given rank and personal power derived from the consideration of a leader as being knowledgeable and likable by the followers. While the former includes coercive, reward and legitimate power, the latter encompasses expert and referent power. The topic of leadership has been under investigation for many decades. As observed by Dulewicz and Higgs (2005), the approaches to leadership in the period before the 1980s dwelt on the trait, style, and contingency. However, even as new approaches were being adopted thereafter, the previous stages were not abandoned in totality; there was a shift in emphasis. Various ways have emerged that influence idea development in research. According to Aamodt (2011), understanding these theories plays an important role in understanding the difference in leadership styles and their effectiveness in various organizations. The Trait Approach This approach is unique in that it entirely focuses on the leader and not the follower, making it straightforward. The trait approach concerns the traits exhibited by leaders and who have such traits. Leadership traits are the consistent integrated patterns of personal characteristics that propagate effective leadership performance in various situations (Avolio et al., 2012). Hartog and Koopman (2001) categorize their traits into three: physical features including age, physique, height, and appearance; ability such as fluency, knowledge, and intelligence; and personality traits such as expressiveness, emotional control, and dominance. This approach prevalent in the 20th Century, therefore, argues on leaders as being born and not made. Therefore, organizations need to specify the traits or characteristics required for particular positions and through personality, assessments determine one’s fit in such positions. It could also be used by managers to review their fit in their current positions so as to determine what to do to improve on the potential impact of their traits. The trait approach appeals intuitively as it fits in the idea of leaders as being front-runners in organizations. Validated by various research studies as noted by Northouse (2010), the focus on the leader gives an in-depth understanding of the leadership process. It has also provided a benchmark against which leadership attributes could be evaluated.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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