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Understanding the different leadership styles

There are two separate views relating to leadership styles: one view holds that leaders are born. The qualities they embody are unlimited. Other concept is that in order to emerge as leaders, humans need to work hard and develop these qualities (Golden 2010, 66-75).

The “great man” theory demonstrates the previous concept and explains that the leaders intrinsically possess personality traits. This concept assumes that a leader naturally possess the required skills that allows him to perform. While adapting this concept, scholars analyse specific problems or tasks and provide leadership styles for addressing them (Crosby 1991, 25-46).

Many people have observed the behaviour of leaders, the affect of situation on leadership, the functions of leadership, as well as dynamic processes and contingencies. Both the economic model as well as behavioural perspective examines leadership as a role whose purpose is to help an organisation to be more adaptable. Leadership can help an organisation in pursuing towards adaptive change (Golden 2010, 66-75).


Leadership is a term used to describe the act of transforming, inspiring, mentoring, coordinating, and managing people toward an individual’s, a group’s, an organization’s, a community’s, or a nation-state’s vision, goals, and objectives. In organization studies, leadership is acknowledged as an important concept, but there is great debate about what leadership actually is and how it occurs and evolves (Golden 2010, 66-75). Typically leadership theory in organization studies is spread across a wide spread of perspectives. These perspectives offer differing views and underlying assumptions about leadership, including leadership as a genetic ability or trait that one is born with, leadership as a specific form of behaviour, leadership as process or a way of thinking that is socially acquired, and leadership as a contingent product of environment. Within these perspectives, there are debates about the very need or existence of leadership (Crosby 1991, 25-46). For example, dispersed leadership theory argues that leadership is a form of power that is everywhere and always present. Conversely some contingency-based notions of leadership argue that leadership can be substituted for and made obsolete or redundant.

More important, leadership as a field of study is vast and can be a daunting domain of study for newcomers to the field. Part of the challenge for people studying and researching leadership is the high volume of leadership theories and perspectives available (Miller 2007, 56-98). The aim of this encyclopaedic entry, therefore, is to provide a general overview of leadership specific to organization studies for a reader.

Conceptual and Practical Approaches to Leadership

Few things are more important to human commotion than leadership. People, regardless of their occupation, education, political or religious convictions, or cultural orientation, usually identify that leadership is a vastly significant fact. Political individuals declare it, analysts talk about it and organisations depend on it (Haber 2010, 94-130). Effective leadership leads nations in times of threat, encourages effective team and group performance, creates successful organisations and helps in nurturing the next generation (Morrill 2010, 110-138). The Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II, Winston Churchill, was able to stimulate the resolution of his tormented people with these words: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.”

The absence of leadership can be equally dramatic; organisations progress slowly, languish, and sometimes even lose their way. Bad leadership can disseminate despair on those who are focus of its realm (Komives et al 2010, 156-184).

Vroom and Jago identified 3 different functions that situational factors play in the effectiveness of leadership, that is, effectiveness of an organisation is not usually the result of good leadership techniques (Morrill 2010, 110-138). Outcomes of any group effort can be affected by situational factors that may be beyond the control of a leader. However, leaders receive credit or blame for the actions of the people, success or failure is usually the consequence of external forces, that is, changing technologies, or environmental conditions etc.

An analysis carried out by Strube and Garcia establishes that leaders who are task-oriented perform best in situations that are either favourable (clear tasks, firm position power, and good leader/member relations) or unfavourable (unclear tasks, feeble position power, and poor leader/member relations) (Haber 2010, 94-130). On the other hand, leaders who are people-oriented perform best in conditions that are only slightly favourable, which is usually based on the value of leader-member relations.

Another approach that deals with the relation between the situation and leadership style is path-goal theory (Komives et al 2010, 156-184). According to this approach, path is referred to the leader’s behaviours which may help the team to achieve a desired goal. Therefore, leaders must display different behaviours to achieve different goals, depending on the situation. Which style of leadership should be used depends on two types of situational factors, such as, subordinate characteristics, which includes ability, control, and authority; and environmental characteristics, which include the nature of the task, work group, and authority system (Pitsis 2007, 100-156).

Studies of different organisations establishes that task-oriented approaches are effective in conditions with low task structure as they help employees deal with an uncertain situation, and ineffective in conditions with high task structure (Haber 2010, 94-130). The researchers found participatory leadership to be more effective if the employees were involved in non-repetitive, ego-involving tasks. However, achievement-oriented leadership has been more effective if the employees were involved in uncertain tasks. An obvious implication of this approach is that leaders must analyse the situation before adopting a particular style of leadership (Hicks 2004, 88-150).

Globalisation and Leadership

The gradual increase in the globalisation has influenced leadership in several ways. Globalisation has influenced leadership with international employee transfer rates, increase in opportunities, and competition (Komives et al 2010, 156-184).

Effective leadership in one country may not result in good leadership in another country for many reasons. A good leader may be blessed with certain traits that are preferred in a country, and these traits or habits may not be accepted or held highly in another country. Nations have their own social standards and cultures, and this is vital while considering leadership. A leader with the vast knowledge of a country’s ethics, customs, and beliefs and basic leadership skills may prove to be a beneficial leader to a business in another country (Hicks 2004, 88-150).

A leader can have several skills that may make them successful in the world. These skills are awareness, strong business knowledge and sensitivity to cultural differences and standards, commitment, courage, and integrity. A good leader may not necessarily be a good leader in any country until he has good work ethics, professional and personal integrity and determination. If the leader is understands the cultural standards of a country and shows respect for these standards, he may be effective and may be respected by the country he is trying to lead (Pitsis 2007, 100-156).

Innovation and Leadership

Traditionally, innovation has dangled in and out of fashion: accepted in good times and discarded in downturns. However, as globalisation reduces the geographic boundaries and barriers in the market that once held back businesses from achieving potential, a company’s capability to innovate-to tap the fresh value-creating concepts of the employees and partners, suppliers, customers, and other parties away from its own boundaries-is anything but faddish. Innovation has become a hub of growth, performance, and valuation.

Strategy and Leadership

As a leader responsible for the competitive development of your organisation, as well as a desire to keep ahead of the game, you have a responsibility to ensure that you are fully aware of new strategies and developments that can impact upon your personal growth as a leader of others (Hicks 2004, 88-150).

The basic task of strategic thinking is to relate the identity of an institution to the realities that shape and influence its context. In the complex process of relating these two poles, there is the need and the opportunity to use strategic thinking as a tool of leadership. The tasks of leadership and strategic thinking overlap and intertwine, as becomes evident in a variety of forms (Miller 2007, 56-98).

Developing Originality in Leadership Capabilities

A leader must be able to create an Inspiring Vision & Lead by Example. A leader must develop an inspiring vision; establish shared values; give direction and set stretch goals. He must enable himself to manage change strategically, take risks, create change; lead change; manage resistance to change and lead by example; practice what you preach; set an example, and share risks or hardship, demonstrate confidence; win respect and trust without courting popularity (Hicks 2004, 88-150).


Irrespective of what leadership theory one might believe in, the fact remains that leadership is a large and complex domain within organization studies. The field is overburdened and growing with old and new models of leadership, and little attempt has been made to debate or critique the very existence and validity of so many leadership theories and models (Miller 2007, 56-98).

Rather than understanding leadership as a position or an inherent trait, leadership is understood as an activity or process that involves the development of certain skills or capacities. While leadership differs in many ways from management, it is imperative that both functions exist and complement one another. Leadership is ultimately what will lead to innovation and positive change, and management assists in this process.

To address the complex and adaptive challenges our society is facing today and will face in the future, we must find new ways to view leadership and engage in leadership in our organizations. A number of progressive leadership models and perspectives were presented, reflecting leadership as a process, highlighting the leader-follower relationship, recognizing the role of the larger system, stressing the importance of collaboration, emphasizing the role of ethics, and serving the ultimate goal of creating positive change.




Trustworthy- I always find myself committed towards my job or task

Confident- because of my confidence I had taken many decisions at my work and volunteer work too.

Proactive- I always tried to complete the tasks on time with full involvement

Calm- I always try to work calmly especially when there is some work load

Honest- I always consider my honesty beyond everything which is really important in the corporate world


Time management – Major weakness that I consider in me is time management.

Writing Skills- Average individual in writing formal work. Feedback from the tutors made me realise about this weakness.

Lazy – Try to postpone work for tomorrow and had suffered a lot because of my laziness in my academics.

Speaking – There are some grammatical mistakes with speaking


Feedback- a really important opportunity that helps to make changes either in me or in the way I work. An immediate tool which helps in improving the weaknesses

Group Discussions- It helps in listening other’s views about a particular situation and to take decisions accordingly

Presentations – It’s an opportunity where I can improve my speaking skills and it is the best chance to make a good time management

Projects/ Assignments – Projects help in improving the writing skills and can be reviewed after the results are out. A deadline for the assignment helps to make time management and reduce laziness.

Debates – An opportunity where speaking skills can be improved because debate is a way to express our own views and helps in motivating ourselves


Companions – Students in the same field, colleagues at work place are sometime becomes threat when competition is high. But confidence and calm nature will help me in facing the problems caused by a threat

Time pressure – Sometimes the deadlines for a task is really close which effects psychologically and an individual becomes panic and start doing wrong things. Proactive and cool behaviour will help me in taking decisions according to the situation

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