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How leadership styles impact organisational performance – 2

This article is part two of a multiple-part paper exploring how leadership styles impact organisational performance. Leaders exhibit a variety of styles of leadership. Some have been influenced over the years by numerous management scientists.

Although these theoretical approaches to management may differ, collectively, they influence leaders by providing the tools needed to manage their organisations. The point here is that leadership is a distinctive endeavour entirely different from management. There are critical distinctions between a leader and a manager.

A leader influences commitment, whereas a manager carries out the position responsibilities. The emphasis is that leadership is a group activity based on social influence and revolves around a common task. Hence, research outcomes have proven that some leaders influence followers to perform beyond expectations.

This seemingly innovative leadership trend inspires followers to be creative and find better ways to perform following the entire organisation’s mission.

This approach to leadership is referred to as transformational leadership and is the theory on which this article is based. Thus, experts like Bass and his colleagues designed an instrument to apprise transformational leadership. This instrument, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), in 1997, Bass and Avolio established that transformational leadership is made up of the following five factors:

(a) Idealised Influence (attributed), or charisma, indicates how followers trust and respect the leaders; (b) Idealised Influence (behaviours) reflects how leaders perform behaviours that reflect their values, beliefs, and sense of a mission; (c) Inspirational Motivation is related to how the leaders can transmit and express their project or vision; (d) Intellectual Stimulation, which indicates to what extent the leaders promote the growth and intellectual independence of their followers, and (e) Individualised Consideration, which has to do with the behaviours of socio-emotional support to followers and their acknowledgement.

Also, several other authors have presented many different leadership styles; for instance, Rensis Likert identified four main styles of leadership: Exploitive authoritative; Benevolent authoritative; Consultative, and Participative, around decision-making and the degree to which people are involved in the decision.

Kurt Lewin and colleagues did leadership decision experiments in 1939 and identified three different styles of leadership: Autocratic; Democratic, and Laissez-Faire, also around decision-making.

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Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, in Primal Leadership, describe six styles of leading: the Visionary Leader; the Coaching Leader; the Affiliative Leader; the Democratic Leader; the Pace-setting Leader, and the Commanding Leader has different effects on the emotions of the target followers.

Thus, it can be observed through the literature review that there are several different “Styles” to leadership that are based on various assumptions and theories. The style that individuals use will be based on their beliefs, values, preferences, the organisational culture and norms, and the situation, which will encourage some styles and discourage others.

However, it should be considered that different leadership styles are required as per the situation. With little time for a task and higher experience or expertise than team members, you need to adopt an autocratic leadership style being the best and most effective.

Whereas, with a homogenous level of expertise and a highly motivated and aligned team, a democratic or laissez-faire style may be more effective. Thus, the purpose of adopting a style is to achieve the goal and objectives of the organisation or a group while balancing the interests of its members as well as organisational decorum/discipline.

Although it differs from writer to writer, leadership effectiveness can best be measured through employee performance and organisational effectiveness and growth. Generally, a leader’s group or organisation is evaluated on goal attainment and task completion as desired.

Objectively, organisational performance is measured through profit margins, market share, production increase, cost decrease, return on investment.

Subjectively, change in employee’s behaviour, learning and development capability, employee commitment, enhancement in skills and competencies are measured as leadership effectiveness proofs. Similarly, organisational effectiveness is another result of employee performance and leadership effectiveness.

Another perspective is that leadership is a behaviour enacted through communication. Specifically, communication shapes the perceptions of a leader’s charisma, where communication can be divided into the content of the leader’s messages and the presentation of those messages.

Messages sent by leaders are considered to contain both affective and cognitive strategies. When leaders effectively communicate their vision, they win the confidence of followers, which in turn aids in communication satisfaction between the leader and follower.

To be effective, leaders need to have visions and plans for achieving them and must be able to articulate their ideas and strategies for action in effective ways to influence their followers. A leader can help followers understand why and how their activities are meaningful, which is accomplished mainly through language and interpersonal communication.

Please lookout for a continuation of this article.