Everything you need to know about leadership. Leadership is a dynamic process, which deserves study. It is a relational process involving interactions among leaders, members and sometimes outside constituencies.

Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience.  These do not come naturally, but are acquired through continual work and study.

Good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills; they are not resting on their laurels.

Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.


Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as – beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge and skills.

Learn about: 1. Definitions of Leadership 2. Need of Leadership 3. Principles 4. Characteristics 5. Importance 6. Theories 7. Leadership Skills 8. Leadership Styles 9. Qualities 10. Functions and Other Details.

What is Leadership: Definitions, Elements, Importance, Skills, Theories, Styles, Qualities and a Few Others


1. Definitions of Leadership
2. Need of Leadership
3. Principles of Leadership
4. Elements of Leadership
5. Leadership Models
6. The Process of Great Leadership
7. Characteristics of Leadership
8. Importance of Leadership
9. Leadership Skills
10. Theories of Leadership
11. Leadership Styles in Indian Business Organisations
12. Styles of Leadership
13. Qualities of Leadership
14. Functions of Managerial Leadership
15. Women and Leadership
16. Leadership Practices in Japan, India, USA and China

Leadership – Definitions given by Eminent Management Experts: Koontz and O’Donnell, George R. Terry, R.Dubin, Ralph M. Stodill and a Few Others

Leadership is the process of influencing the behaviour of other people to work willingly towards the achieve­ment of specified goals in a given situation. Leadership is required in every organization. The success of an organization depends to a great extent on the quality of leadership, particularly on the part of the top man­agement.


Leadership is an important element of the directing process (i.e., to lead and guide the activities of subordinates) of the management. Managers at all levels act as leaders because they have subordinates who follow them. Leadership is the ability to build up confidence and zeal among subordinates and to create an urge in them to be led. The power of leadership is the power of integrating.

Some definitions of leadership given by eminent management experts are as follows:

‘Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce subordinates to work with confidence and zeal.’ – [Koontz and O’Donnell]


‘Leadership is the ability to secure desirable actions from a group of followers voluntarily, without the use of coercion.’ – [Alford and Beatty]

‘Leadership is the activity of influencing people to strive willingly for group objectives.’ – [George R. Terry]

‘Leadership is the exercise of authority and making of decisions.’ – [R. Dubin]

‘Leadership is an influence process in which the leader seeks the voluntary participation of subordinates to reach organisational objectives.’ – [James and Orlando]


‘Leadership is a process of directing and influencing the task-related activities of group members.’ – [Ralph M. Stodill]

Therefore, leadership is an art (or process) of influencing the behaviour of subordinates (or follow­ers) so that they act willingly to achieve group goals. It is a process of interpersonal influence by which the leader influences the activities of subordinates in attaining given goals. Leadership is an essential ingredient for a successful organization. Effective leadership has a significant role in good management. Leadership acts as a motivating force to group efforts. Leadership pulls up the group for proper work performance.

Leadership – Need of Leadership

An effective leader though his leadership can only push an organization towards success.

Following points show the need of leadership:


i. For Motivation – For success of an enterprise, motivation of employees is essential and this can best be done by manage utilizing his leadership skill.

ii. For securing cooperation – An organization can only achieve its objective by securing cooperation from its employees and managers. An effective leader seeks cooperative attitude of worker and creates cordial human relations.

iii. For utilizing manpower – Manpower can be effectively utilized with the help of good leadership. A leader engage workforce to perform high coordinates their efforts with minimum human cost.

iv. For fulfilling social responsibility – A dynamic leader helps an organization to fulfill its social responsibilities towards different sections of consumers, workers, investors and government.


v. For creating Effective communication – Under leadership proper communication is created to establish a balance among different activities of the organization and also to maintain cordial relations among the employees so one can conclude leadership is indispensable.

Leadership – 11 Important Principles of Leadership  

To help you be, know, and do; follow these eleven principles of leadership:

i. Know yourself and seek self-improvement – In order to know yourself, you have to understand your be, know, and do, attributes. Seeking self-improvement means continually, strengthening your attributes. This can be accomplished through self-study, formal classes, reflection, and interacting with others.

ii. Be technically proficient – As a leader, you must know your job and have a solid familiarity with your employees’ tasks.


iii. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions – Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. And when things go wrong, they always do sooner or later – do not blame others. Analyze the situation, take corrective action, and move on to the next challenge.

iv. Make sound and timely decisions – Use good problem solving, decision making, and planning tools.

v. Set the example – Be a good role model for your employees. They must not only hear what they are expected to do, but also see. We must become the change we want to see – Mahatma Gandhi.

vi. Know your people and look out for their well-being – Know human nature and the importance of sincerely caring for your workers.

vii. Keep your workers informed – Know how to communicate with not only them, but also seniors and other key people.

viii. Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers – Help to develop good character traits that will help them carry out their professional responsibilities.


ix. Use the full capabilities of your organization – By developing a team spirit, you will be able to employ your organization, department, section, etc., to its fullest capabilities.

x. Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished – Communication is the key to this responsibility.

xi. Train as a team – Although many so called leaders call their organization, department, section, etc., a team; they are not really teams…they are just a group of people doing their jobs.

Leadership – 4 Major Elements of Leadership: Follower, Leader, Communication and Situation

There are four major elements of leadership:

Element # 1. Follower:

Different people require different styles of leadership. For example, a new hire requires more supervision than an experienced employee. A person who lacks motivation requires a different approach than one with a high degree of motivation. You must know your people! The fundamental starting point is having a good understanding of human nature, such as needs, emotions, and motivation. You must come to know your employees’ be, know, and do attributes.


Element # 2. Leader:

You must have an honest understanding of who you are, what you know, and what you can do. Also, note that it is the followers, not the leader who determines if a leader is successful. If they do not trust or lack confidence in their leader, then they will be uninspired. To be successful you have to convince your followers, not yourself or your superiors, that you are worthy of being followed.

Element # 3. Communication:

You lead through two-way communication. Much of it is nonverbal. For instance, when you “set the example,” that communicates to your people that you would not ask them to perform anything that you would not be willing to do. What and how you communicate either builds or harms the relationship between you and your employees.

Element # 4. Situation:

All are different. What you do in one situation will not always work in another. You must use your judgment to decide the best course of action and the leadership style needed for each situation. For example, you may need to confront an employee for inappropriate behavior, but if the confrontation is too late or too early, too harsh or too weak, then the results may prove ineffective.


Various forces will affect these elements. Examples of forces are your relationship with your seniors, the skill of your people, the informal leaders within your organization, and how your company is organized.

Leadership – 4 Important Leadership Models

Leadership models help us to understand what makes leaders act the way they do. The idea is not to look yourself in to a type of behavior discussed in the model, but to realize that every situation calls for a different approach or behavior to be taken.

i. Authoritarian-Leader (High Task, Low Relationship):

People who get this rating are very much task oriented and are hard on their workers (autocratic). There is little or no allowance for cooperation or collaboration. Heavily task oriented people display these characteristics – they are very strong on schedules; they expect people to do what they are told without question or debate; when something goes wrong they tend to focus on who is to blame rather than concentrate on exactly what is wrong and how to prevent it; they are intolerant of what they see as dissent (it may just be someone’s creativity), so it is difficult for their subordinates to contribute or develop.

ii. Team Leader (High Task, High Relationship):

This type of person leads by positive example and endeavours to foster a team environment in which all team members can reach their highest potential, both as team members and as people. They encourage the team to reach team goals as effectively as possible, while also working tirelessly to strengthen the bonds among the various members. They normally form and lead some of the most productive teams.


iii. Country Club Leader (Low Task, High Relationship):

This person uses predominantly reward power to maintain discipline and to encourage the team to accomplish its goals. Conversely, they are almost incapable of employing the more punitive coercive and legitimate powers. This inability results from fear that using such powers could jeopardize relationships with the other team members.

iv. Impoverished Leader (Low Task, Low Relationship):

A leader who uses a “delegate and disappear” management style. Since they are not committed to either task accomplishment or maintenance; they essentially allow their team to do whatever it wishes and prefer to detach themselves from the team process by allowing the team to suffer from a series of power struggles.

Leadership – The Process of Great Leadership

i. Challenge the process – First, find a process that you believe needs to be improved the most.

ii. Inspire a shared vision – Next, share your vision in words that can be understood by your followers.


iii. Enable others to act – Give them the tools and methods to solve the problem.

iv. Model the way – When the process gets tough, get your hands dirty. A boss tells others what to do…a leader shows that it can be done.

v. Encourage the heart – Share the glory with your followers’ heart, while keeping the pains within your own.

Leadership – 5 Basic Characteristics of Leadership

An analysis of the definition of leadership brings out certain basic characteristics.

These are as follows:

i. Leadership is basically a personal quality. This quality moti­vates individuals to follow the leaders.

ii. A leader tries to influence individuals to behave in a particular way.

iii. The relationship between the leader and individuals (followers) arises out of working for a common goal.

iv. Leadership is a continuous process of influencing behaviour.

v. Leadership is exercised in a particular situation. The situation variables also affect the effectiveness of leadership.

Leadership – Importance of Leadership

Leadership is an important factor in making an organization successful. Without a good leader, an organization cannot function effectively. Since the organization is basically a deliberate creation of human beings or certain specified objectives, the activities of its members need to be directed in a certain way.

The importance of good leadership can be summarized as follows:

i. Motivating Employees:

Motivation is necessary for work performance. The higher the motivation, the better the performance. A good leader motivates the employees to perform better. Good leadership in the organization itself is a motivating factor for the individuals.

ii. Creating Confidence:

A good leader creates confidence in his followers by directing them, advising them, and getting good results in the organization through them. Once an individual, with the help of a leader, attains high efficiency, he tries to maintain it as he acquires a certain level of confidence regarding his capacity. Sometimes, in the absence of good direction, individuals fail to recognize their qualities and capabilities.

iii. Building Morale:

Morale is expressed as the attitude of the employees towards the organization and the management and their voluntary co-operation in offering their services to the organization. High morale leads to high productivity and organizational stability. Good leadership promotes employee morale ensuring high productivity and stability in the organization.

Thus, good leadership is essential in all aspects of managerial functions whether it is motivation, communication, or direction. Good leadership ensures success in the organization.

Leadership – Top 5 Leadership Skills Critical to Success in the Global Economy

Today, leadership theories and practices recognize the importance of skills— how leaders behave and perform effectively. Both styles and roles/activities are closely related to skills and can be used as a point of departure for the discussion of skills. First, some of the commonly recognized leadership skills are identified; then, training, job redesign, and behavioural management skills are suggested as effective leadership techniques.

A list of suggested leadership skills critical to success in the global economy includes the following:

i. Cultural Flexibility:

In international assignments, skills refer to cultural awareness and sensitivity. In domestic organizations, the same skill could be said to be critical for success in light of increasing diversity. Leaders must have skills not only to manage but also to recognize and celebrate the value of diversity in their organizations.

ii. Communication Skills:

Effective leaders must be able, to communicate in written form, orally, and non-verbally.

iii. HRD Skills:

Since human resources are so much a part of leadership effect­iveness, leaders must have human resource development (HRD) skills of developing a learning climate, designing and conducting training pro­grammes, transmitting information and experience, assessing results, pro­viding career counselling, creating organization change, and adapting learning materials.

iv. Creativity:

Problem solving, innovation, and creativity provide the competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace. Leaders must not only be creative themselves and possess the skills but also provide a climate that encourages creativity and assists their people to be creative.

v. Self-Management of Learning:

This skill refers to the need for the continuous learning of new knowledge and skills. In this time of dramatic change and global competitiveness, leaders must undergo continuous change themselves. They must be self-learners.

Whetten and Cameron provide a more empirical derivation of effective leadership skills.

Through statistical techniques, the results of the various research studies were combined into the following four categories of effective leadership skills-

a. Participative and human relations (for example, supportive communication and team building).

b. Competitiveness and control (for example, assertiveness, power, and influence).

c. Innovativeness and entrepreneurship (for example, creative problem solving).

d. Maintaining order and rationality (for example, managing time and rational decision-making).

Leadership – 4 Important Theories of Leadership: Management Grid, Range of Behaviour, House’s Path-Goal Theory and Likerts Management System and Leadership

1. Management Grid (Blake and Mouton):

There are two types of attitudes which are central to any manager.

These are:

i. Attitudes toward work processes and work output.

ii. Attitudes about the desires of the people who are doing the work.

The requirements of work output or pro­ductivity may conflict with the desires of employees. The problem is how much importance should be given by a manager to work output and to employee desires.

The style of a given manager can be assessed by quantita­tive and or qualitative methods and plotted within the grid (two dimensional diagram) at the appropriate point along the two axes of-

i. People concern (importance to people) and

ii. Production Concern (importance to production).

In theory, the grid permits eighty-one different styles but, in fact, most managers tend to cluster around one or the other of five diffe­rent points, each of which reflects a particular primary management style.

i. Production Concern (Task Orientation):

Managers may have a very high degree of production concern and a very low degree of people concern. We have autocratic management. Such management style is labelled as TASK MANAGEMENT. The scientific management supports this style. Task manage­ment makes a sharp and clear separation of management and non-management. Planners plan and doers do.

We have elabo­rate controls, rules, regulations, policies and procedures are definitive. Supervisors pay close attention to work processes and performance. Discipline is swift, direct and often harsh. The task manager is a dominant person who makes decisions quick­ly and positively.

Winning is highly important and losing is something to avoid. Manager knows or can discover the one right way of doing things and his decision is final. He is always ready to back up his own ideas and opinions and to insist on their acceptance, even if it means ruffling someone’s feathers. Mottos describing this style include: “I am not here to win a popularity contest.” “Nice guys finish last,” “A horse runs best when he feels the sting of the whip”.

ii. People Concern (Employee Orientation):

Diametrically opposite to Task Management is country club management showing maximum concern to employee satisfaction. The con­flict between production i.e., work output and employee satis­faction is resolved in favour of the employee. People concern is supported by human relations. Conflict, dissension, antagonism between people are to be avoided or managed by appealing to people’s good nature, sense of humour, or maturity.

Under people concern managers should develop close personal rela­tionships with subordinates, get to know each of them, their families and their personal lives. The subordinates should regard their manager as their friend, one they can trust and to whom they can bring their troubles. The underlying assump­tion is that the happy employee is a productive employee, much like contented cows. The country club manager achieves control via personal relationships.

He says:

“Look, fellows, I need this. I want you to do it for me, and, in turn, I will take care of you.” “We all make mistakes. But do not worry about it. We will do better next time.” Morale is higher under this manager. We have good interpersonal relations. We have voluntary co­operation and discipline. Mottos describing this management style include-“Nice guys do not fight”. “Everyone needs a friend, and “The important thing is not winning, but how the game is played”.

iii. Middle of the Road Management:

At the middle grid, the management style represents a moderate concern for people, coupled with a moderate concern for production. Neither is optimal, but rather, the middle of the road manager strives for compromise. This style is labelled Firm-but-Fair and is the most frequently used in today’s business.

It is a golden mean of task management and country club manage­ment approaches. The manager adopting this style sees himself as being FIRM in the sense of job demands and FAIR in terms of people’s desires. Logic and reasons are the major manage­ment tools. Both formal and informal organisations are given equal emphasis.

Through informal communication, e.g., from his secretary, he keeps him informed about the pulse of the people, growing disturbance, reactions to changes, and indivi­dual pressure points.

Thus formal and informal communica­tions are linked tactfully to secure reliable information. Mottos describing this style are-“Moderation in all things,” “You win some, you lose some, you cannot win them all,” “Civilisation advances because of what is practical, not on what is theore­tical”.

iv. Team Management:

Team management integrates a maximum degree of production concern with maximum degree of people concern. It views the two areas as interdependent and complementary rather than conflicting. It points out that the needs of people and the needs of the organisation are not in­herently in conflict.

It assumes that people want to be produc­tive and involved in their work, and that this productive in­volvement can be accomplished through the creation of an organisational climate that encourages creativity and partici­pation. Team management believes in integration or fusion and not merely in compromise of the two apparently conflicting interests. Team managed organisations are ones in which people’s desires are fully met in the actual accomplishment of the highest possible production.

People have complex needs, all of which must be satisfied in the work place in order to attain and maintain optimal production for a long time. The team manager believes these needs to be: needs for subsistence, dependability, and control; needs for affiliation and friendly relationships; needs for achievement, recognition, dignity and important; needs for personal development and personal expression. The team manager believes in complete disclosure of information.

He knows that when formal system of commu­nication is inadequate, the informal system develops and fills up the gap in communication, Mistakes are seen as opportuni­ties to learn. Violation of policies and procedures causes him to search for cause in the total situation, not just in the employee.

Mottos describing the team management styles are- ‘The most important part (biggest) of an iceberg is that which is below the surface.” “Conflicts and problems are to be desired and wel­come, for it is from them that we learn.” “Difficulties are oppor­tunities and should be considered as a challenge to manage­ment.” “There is nothing as practical as a good theory.” The most important part of an iceberg is that which is below the surface.

v. Impoverished Management:

Perhaps the least desirable management style, although very common, is what some have called Neutral Management. Blake calls it Impoverished Man­agement. The manager is one who is truly lost among his people, rather than one who acts as a leader. He has minimum amount of concern for both production and people. He really does not manage at all. He tries not to rock the boat by achiev­ing just enough to get by.

He exercises his authority only enough to avoid pressure from above. His prime motivation is survival. He considers conflicts between employee desires and work demands as inevitable and are also insoluble by any means. Mottos describing this style are: “Objectivity through neutrality,” “Never get so buried in the forest that you cannot see the trees.” “You can see more from outside looking in than from the inside looking out.”

2. Range of Behaviour:

Tannebaum and Schmidt have described the range of possible leadership behaviour available to a manager. Each type of action is related to the degree of authority used by the boss and to the degree of freedom available to his sub-ordinates in reaching decisions. The actions shown characterise the manager who releases a high degree of control. Such a manager is known as “Employee-Centred Leader”. An employee centred manager considers his sub-ordinates as human beings.

He recognises their needs and respects their human dignity. He tries to build team work, develop his sub-ordinates and help them in solving their problems. Thus, he tries to build an effective work group with high performance goals.

Further a “Task Centred Leader” is one who concentrates authority with himself, is concerned primarily with the performance of assigned tasks at prescribed speed, using standard methods and conditions. He believes in getting results by devising better methods, keeping people constantly busy and urging them to produce. But the employee centred manager is willing to help his people in solving their work and personal problems.

In 1973, Tannebaum and Schmidt modified their previous pattern of choosing leadership behaviour. They feel that “because of changes in social system and organisational environment, there would be many factors in situational variables affecting the leadership pattern.

Thus, the new continuum of leadership pattern is more complex. They now call it continuum of manager and non-manager behaviour under which the total area of freedom shared by manager and non-manager is constantly re-defined by interaction between them and the forces in the environment.”

A successful leader is one who is keenly aware of those forces that are more relevant to his behaviour at any given time.

3. House’s Path-Goal Theory:

This theory was advanced by Robert House. He advanced his situational theory of leadership based on Vroom’s. Expectancy Theory of Motivation. Like other situational theories, the path-goal model attempts to predict leadership effectiveness in different situations. It states that the leader’s job is to create a work environment that helps employees to reach the organisational goals. There are two major roles involved in it.

They are:

(1) To create a goal-orientation, and

(2) To improve the path towards the goal, so that it will be attained. That is why this model is termed as Path-Goal Model of Leadership.

Like other situational theories, the path-goal model attempts to predict leadership effectiveness in different situations. It focuses on how a leader influences sub-ordinates perceptions of the valence expectancy and instrumentality. Sub-ordinates are motivated by the leadership style to the extent it influences expectancy (goal paths) and valences (goal attractiveness).

Propositions of Path-Goal Model:

The main propositions of path-goal model are as follows:

(1) Leader behaviour is acceptable to the extent that sub-ordinates perceive such behaviour as an immediate source of satisfaction or as instrumental for future satisfaction.

(2) Leader behaviour is motivational if-

(a) It results in the satisfaction and sub-ordinates needs; and

(b) It complements the environment of sub-ordinates by providing support, guidance, direction and rewards necessary for effective performance and which may otherwise be lacking in sub-ordinates of their environment.

Types of Leader Behaviour:

The Goal-Path Model visualizes four types of leader behaviour which are as follows:

(1) Instrumental or Directive:

Leader focuses on planning, organising and co­ordinating of the activities of the sub-ordinates. This style is very much similar to the Ohio State Researcher’s initiating structure.

(2) Supportive:

Leader is friendly and approachable to the employees. He shows concern for the employee’s needs and their welfare. This style is just like Ohio State Researcher’s consideration.

(3) Participative:

Leader consults the sub-ordinate and shares information with them. He incorporates the suggestions of employees in his decisions.

(4) Achievement-Oriented:

Leader sets challenging goals for the employees and displays confidence in their abilities.

Two sets of contingency variables moderate the relationship between leader’s behaviour and sub-ordinate’s output.

These are:

(a) Personal characteristics of the sub-ordinates; and

(b) Environmental pressure and task demands.

Characteristics of Subordinates:

The leadership style selected by the leader should be compatible with the needs, ability and personality of the sub-ordinates and these factors influence their perception. For Example if a sub-ordinate is able to accomplish a task effectively, he will not like directive leader behaviour.

Supportive Leadership will be considered better and it will be preferred by the sub-ordinate. Sub-ordinate with high safety and security needs may accept directive leadership style and those with special needs may prefer to have a supportive leader.

Further, it has been observed that the personality of the sub-ordinates is also an important contingency variable in the Path-Goal Model. Internally-oriented sub-ordinates, who believe they can control their own behaviours, prefer a supportive leader. But externally-oriented sub-ordinates, on the other hand, prefer a directive leader as they believe that fate controls their behaviour.

Work Environment:

Work environment includes three broad aspects:

(1) Sub-ordinate’s task structured or unstructured;

(2) Formal authority system rules, procedures, policies etc.; and

(3) Primary work group-its characteristics and stage of development.

These characteristics of work environment influence subordinates behaviour in relation to a particular leadership style. House asserted that if the sub-ordinates are working on highly unstructured jobs, characterised by high degree of ambiguity in roles, they will require leader directiveness behaviour. Conversely, if the sub-ordinates are working on structured and well defined jobs, leader directiveness is redundant and a supportive leader would be welcome.

To conclude, the Path-Goal Model proposes that leader behaviour will be motivational to the extent that it assists the sub-ordinates to cope with environmental uncertainties.

A leader who is able to reduce the uncertainties i.e., clear paths of the job is considered to be satisfying because he increases the expectations of the sub-ordinates that their efforts will lead to desired rewards.

4. Likerts Management System and Leadership:

Rensis Likert and his associates of University of Michigan, U.S.A. has studied the pattern and style of managers for three decades and have developed certain concepts and approaches important to understanding leadership behaviour.

He has given four systems of management as presented in Table 34.1 as given below:

In this management system, Likert has taken seven variables of different management systems. The variables include- (i) Leadership; (ii) Motivations; (iii) Communication; (iv) Interaction-influence; (v) Decision-making process; (vi) Good-setting; and (vii) Control process. To facilitate his research Likert evolved / our models of management which he termed as systems of management. He assigned numbers 1 to 4 his conceptual models to indicate the stages of evolution in the patterns and styles of management in organisations.

His systems are:

System 1 – Exploitative – authoritative

System 2 – Benevolent – authoritative.

System 3 – Consultative

System 4 – Participate – democratic.

Within the framework of the above models Likert sought to measure and evaluate the actual patterns of management / leadership in a wide range of organisation. He found that most individual managers / superiors and organisations fit into one or the other of his systems in terms of certain operating characteristics related to such variables as goal-setting, decision-making, motivation, leadership communication and control.

Likert on the basis of the intensive research has shown that high producing departments in several organisations studies are marked by system 4 (democratic). He ascribes this mainly to the extent of participation in management and the extent to which the practice of supportive relationship is maintained.

He states that leadership and other processes of the organisation must be such as to ensure a maximum probability that in all interactions and in all relationships within the organisation, each member in the light of his background, values, desires and expectations will view the experience as supportive and one which builds and maintains his sense of his personal worth and importance.

Likert has also isolated three variables which are representatives of his total concept of system 4.

These are:

(1) The use of supportive relationships by managers;

(2) The use of group decision-making and group methods of supervision; and

(3) His high performance goals;

Likert’s system of management may be discussed as follows:

System 1- Management:

In this system the managers / supervisors and organisations are highly autocratic. They believe in determining performance goals and the means of achieving them unilaterally. They get things done by issuing orders and instructions to their sub­ordinates. There is little involvement of employees in decision-making.

The relations between managers and sub-ordinates are characterised by distrust and ill-will. Communication is highly formal in nature and downward in direction. The major motivational devices are threats and punishment. Sub-ordinates are kept under control.

System 2- Management:

This is slightly less primitive than the first. In this system a master-servant relationship exists, between employers and employees. Here managers or supervisors adopt patronizing or paternalistic attitudes and sometimes harsh attitudes towards sub-ordinates are adopted. Much decision-making and goal setting are centralised at the top.

Sub-ordinates are supposed to implement them faithfully. Motivation is governed by a “Carrots and Sticks” approach. Communication is mostly one way traffic. The organisational climate is generally characterised by suspicion and fear.

System 3- Management:

In this type of system the setting management evinces some interests in employees and their contributions. They are often consulted and their views are taken into account by managers. A few operational decisions are allowed to be made at lower levels of management.

The lines of communication between supervisors and sub-ordinates are open. The control system tends to be flexible and goal-oriented. Superiors and sub­ordinates repose a substantial degree of confidence and trust between each other. More emphasis is placed on rewards than on punishment in motivational approaches.

System 4- Management:

This is an ideal management system. The relationship between managers and sub-ordinates are cordial and friendly. The latter are closely involved in decision-making and goal setting process. The communication system is open and very effective.

Superiors adopt liberal humanistic leadership processes and are very supportive in their attitude towards sub-ordinates, who in turn feel highly motivated to assume responsibility for achieving organisational goals of high performance. Group approaches are popular in this system of supervision and control. The system is like the democratic style in leadership.

Likert sought to relate the above systems of management with certain performance characteristics like productivity, employee turnover and absenteeism, quality control, resource wastage and scrap losses. He found that – system 1-oriented organisations scored very poorly while system 4 – oriented organisations very creditably on the above performance characteristics.

On the basis of this finding, Likert strongly advocated system 4 approach and regarded it as the best way to develop and utilise human assets of the organisation. His thesis is that participative leadership is the only valid and viable approach to optimize organisational performance and employee satisfaction. In his survey research, he found many managers and organisations operating in system 2 and 3.

For such organisations, he suggested extensive and intensive leadership training at all levels of management. So as to move them into system 4 management zone.

Likert strongly believes that participative democratic leadership is the only positive and progressive approach to management of people at work. It is totally consistent with human dignity and development. It results in desirable re-distribution of power and influence as between the leader and his group members. It promotes organisational harmony and health by helping the process of removal of artificial walls between leaders and their group members.

Participative leadership fulfills a range of needs of group members needs for information, involvement, interaction, responsibility, achievement and advancement. It also participates greater understanding of and control over work environment so far as the group members are concerned.

Leadership – Leadership Styles in Indian Business Organisations

Indian society is generally considered to be a traditional, permissive and benevolent society. Business sector is also not an exception to it. Power and centralization of authority with a paternalistic approach towards the employees are considered to be important features of such type of business environment.

Further, joint family system, casteism and ritualism are important characteristics of the system. All these variables have played a vital role in designing and determining the leadership styles of Indian business executives.

In proprietary organisations, a certain amount of paternalistic attitude is found. In partnership firms and Joint Hindu Family business houses, the attitude of owner / managers towards their employees is of liberal and paternalistic character. However, they do welcome suggestions from their employees occasionally but a prerogative to accept or reject that suggestion is always there with them.

To Corporate Sector – a mixed and dismal picture emerges in this regard. In the Private Sector enterprises, management is generally autocratic. The .nature of their autocratic style may be categorized as benevolent autocracy. Under such style, the subordinates are being closely supervised by their superiors and only a limited degree of participation is allowed to them.

Its reason is very simple. Most of the managers come from the one family, their close relations or friends and associates. Such executives want to centralise the authority for command and decision-making only with them. They do not want to listen to their sub­ordinates and no supportive or democratic leadership is provided to them.

In professionally managed organisations, more and more emphasis is being given on participative and supportive leadership. Such leaders of the industry take keen interest in developing their sub-ordinates so that they may man the forthcoming vacancies from within the organisation.

As regards to Public Sector Enterprises, management, the leadership style is of appreciable degree of participation or democratic leadership. However, in these organisations, the bureaucratic style is more prevalent owing to the work-culture inherited by the public-sector managers from public administration and civil servants set-up.

In order to study the leadership styles of Indian managers, a few empirical studies have been conducted by the researchers in this respect. The study of Myers, C. A. Ganguli, Late D. N. Elhance and R. D. Agrawal, P. Singh and G. S. Das are worth mentioning in this respect. 

All these studies and writings present a mixed scene. They have failed to give any generalized, concrete and indicating results in this respect. They provide us a few important clues in the leadership styles of Indian executives.

To conclude there is a considerable change in the attitude of business executives at present due to many factors such as spread of education and training; strong trade unionism, legal pressures, changing social and political scene, the work culture of multinational corporations etc. On account of these developments, the autocratic leadership style of Indian managers is bound to be replaced by democratic or supportive leadership. There is no scope of free-rein style in India.

Leadership – Styles of Leadership Based on Traditional Theories and Modern Theories: Free-Rein, Autocratic, Democratic,Envisioning, Energising and a Few Others

Leadership is practised by its styles which may be positive or negative. The styles used by the military officers and traditional managers are mostly negatives whereas those of the modern and high- technology organisations are positive.

The styles used by the Japanese companies like Mitsubishi, and Toyota and Korean companies such as Lucky-Goldstar(LG), Samsung, Hyundai and Daewoo are the positive and people oriented styles. The styles used by some of the Indian Public Sector Companies like Indian Railways, HCL and HMT are negative styles.

1. Styles Based on Traditional Theories:

Different types of the leadership styles are derived from the leadership theories. These are four popularly known traditional leadership styles, viz., Free-rein, autocratic, participative and democratic.

I. Free-Rein or Laissez-Faire Style:

These leaders avoid authority and responsibility. They mostly depend upon the group to establish objectives and goals, formulate policies and programmes. The group members train and motivate themselves. Contrary to the autocratic style, the leaders play minor or negligible roles and depend upon the group.

II. Autocratic Style:

Autocratic leaders centralise power of decision-making in themselves. Followers have no say either in decision-making or in implementation. They have to completely obey and follow the instructions of the leaders. The leaders take full authority and full responsibility.

Autocratic leaders are classified into:

(a) Strict autocrat who follows autocratic style completely where the method of influencing subordinates is thoroughly negative;

(b) Benevolent autocrat who typically gives awards to the followers; and

(c) Incompetent autocrat who adopts autocratic style with a view to hide his incompetency.

III. Democratic Style:

Democratic leaders decentralise authority and encourage subordinates to express their opinion in decision-making as well as in implementing the decision. However, decisions are taken by the leaders. Thus, decisions are arrived at by consultation.

IV. Participative Style:

Participative leaders decentralise authority and encourage subordinates to participate and involve in decision-making and implementation processes. Decisions are made by the leader and his subordinates.

It is, however, concluded that there is no clear-cut leadership style which is applicable universally and in all circumstances. Therefore, the leaders have to adopt appropriate style depending upon the situational requirements.

2. Leadership Styles Based on Modern Theories:

Leaders of the modern, high-technology and highly competitive organisations exhibit inspirational style with vision and perform the work effectively, i.e., do the right things.

Mr. Kulkarni of Larsen and Toubro leads the company with clear vision, emphasis on quality, comprehensive outlook and perfectness in work, creation and diversification into the related areas. He sets high goals by consulting the managers and followers of the company and employees. He encourages and inspires the employees for working efficiently.

The leadership styles based on the charismatic and transformational theories are classified into three, viz.:

(i) Envisioning,

(ii) Energising and

(iii) Enabling.

(i) Envisioning:

This style includes creating a picture of the future or a desired future state with which people can identify. Envisioning generates excitement. Thus, this style emphasises on articulating a compelling vision and setting high goals and expectations.

(ii) Energising:

The leader in this style directs the generation of energy, the motivation to act among the organizational employees. This style also includes demonstrating personal excitement and confidence, seeking, finding and using success.

(iii) Enabling:

The leader helps the followers psychologically to act or perform in the face of challenging goals. This style includes empowering, expressing personal support and empathising.

Followership Styles — A New Approach:

There is a misconception that an effective leader is enough to mould and direct in group behaviour towards the attainment or organisational goals. But attainment of organisational goals more or less equally depends on the committed and effective followers. In fact no leader can be effective without effective followers. Here, the term effective follower is used in the sense that the follower should be potential and he should be in a position to willingly contribute most of his potentialities towards the organizational goal.

The followership styles are not given due recognition except mentioning them at the maturity level of followers. Various authors have failed to recognize the significance of the follower in the leader- follower interaction. In fact, the follower is as important as the leader in any situation. In view of this background an attempt is made in this paper to develop the followership styles suitable to situational requirements.

Followership Styles:

We come across different types of followership styles in real life situations. They can broadly be divided into six categories, viz., No-boss, Yes-boss, Grumbling, Escapism, Intellectual Arrogant and Critical.

A brief clarification of the Followership styles is as follows:

(1) No-Boss Style:

The follower in this style is a non-obliging type. He says ‘No’ to the leader for his instructions/orders irrespective of the nature and magnitude of the instructions.

(2) Yes-Boss Style:

The follower m this style blindly says yes to leader for his instructions irrespective of the nature and magnitude of the instructions and he carries out the orders without critically evaluating them. Excessive humility in this style may be referred to as subservient style of the followership.

(3) Grumbling Style:

Follower in this style grumbles while responding to the order of instructions of the leader only to show his reluctance for carrying out the instructions. However, he carries out the orders.

(4) Escaping Style:

The follower in this style responds positively to the instructions of the leader, but escapes himself in carrying out the orders.

(5) Intellectual Arrogance Style:

Some followers may be highly qualified, more than the leader either in terms of formal educational qualifications or intelligence or knowledge. Such followers in some situations think that they can function effectively than their leaders as they are more intelligent than their leader. The followers in such styles respond arrogantly to the orders of their leaders. Such style is referred to as Intellectual Arrogance.

(6) Critical Style:

Followers in this style ‘do not respond either positively or negatively to the orders of their leaders. They critically appraise the instructions/orders of the leaders, consider the pros and cons of the decisions of the leader and then if the order is wise, they carry it out. If the order is unwise, they appraise the pros and cons of it to the leader and advise him to modify his order.

If the leader does not positively respond to the advice of the followers, then they carry out the order of the leader. If the leader does not positively respond to the advice of the followers, then they carry out the order of the leader. If the leader changes his order, they carry out the modified orders. This style of the follower can be compared to the ‘Vidhura, followership style towards Dhrithrashtra in the Mahabharata.’

All of us belong to the categories of both the follower and the leader, but we may be leaders in some situations and followers in other situations. Similarly, each follower would not limit his style to any of the above-mentioned followership styles and may go on changing his styles depending upon the situations.

Most of the writers have identified three leadership styles, viz., Exploitative Autocratic, Benevolent Autocratic, Participative or Democratic. The problem arises when there is lack of coordination between the leader’s style and the follower’s style. The leader-follower interaction would be effective when there is harmony between the styles of the leader and the followers, otherwise the interaction would not be effective and it may lead even to leader-follower conflict.

How to Match the Followership Style with the Leadership Style?

Matching of these two styles is most essential in management as its basic objective or getting things done by others can be effectively attained only when there is perfect match between these two styles. Conflict between these two adversely affects the management effectiveness. Hence, the leader should make himself fit for a match. The possible matches between leadership and followership styles are shown by arrow mark in the Fig. 20.8.

I. Zero Level Conflict:

As shown in the above figure, the level of conflict would be ‘Zero’ when the leader with exploitative autocratic style interacts with the follower with the ‘Yes-boss’ style. Similarly, the conflict would be at zero level when the leader with participative style interacts with the follower with critical style.

Benevolent autocratic leader by offering monetary and non-monetary benefits and by conferring new designations on his followers with the styles of ‘No-boss’, ‘Grumbling’, ‘Escaping’ and ‘Intellectual Arrogance’ can minimize the level of conflict but he cannot bring down the conflict to ‘Zero’ level. Thus, the Zero level conflict matching are- (i) Exploitative autocratic style of the leader and Yes-boss of the followers; and (ii) Participative/democratic style of the leader and critical style of the follower.

II. Effective Match:

Though it may be said that the match between participative style of the leader and critical style of the follower is effective and desirable, there is no such effective match in practice as these two styles are subjected to situational requirement.

Match of Situation-Leadership Style-Followership Style:

The mere coincidence of leadership and followership styles will not produce effective results. What is more essential is the coincidence of these two styles which should meet the situational requirements to maximize the human resources contribution towards the organisational effectiveness.

The emergency situations can be handled effectively if the leader is in exploitative autocratic style and the follower is in Yes-Boss style. Other styles of the leader and the follower may not suit to this situation and hence, they may be ineffective match in situations of exigency.

The leader has to insist the followers to accept his decisions in some situations like adoption of latest technology which normally is resisted by the followers. In such situations, the leader in the ‘Benevolent Autocratic’ style can impress upon the follower to accept the decision of adoption of technology by offering benefits.

It is clear from the analysis that leader-follower and situations interaction should be taken into account to attain the organisational goals rather than mere leadership styles. One may agree to this but he faces the problem of integration of these three variables. There may not be specific and readymade answer to this question but the problem can be minimized when the follower and leader adopt to their style based on the situational requirements.

Leadership – 7 Qualities of Good Leadership

1. Leadership Requires Followers:

There can be no leader without followers. Leadership does not exist in vacuum.

2. Acceptance of Leadership Essential:

The group in which a person is a leader must accept his leadership willingly. Where authority is imposed 6n a group without its voluntary acceptance of the authority, it is headship or domination and not leadership. Thus, voluntary and willing acceptance of leadership, loyalty, respect and devotion characterise leadership.

3. Working Relationship:

A leader shows the way by being in the forefront and asks his men to follow him. He does not stand behind a group to push, but places himself before the group and inspires it by active participation to accomplish the goals.

4. Community of Interests:

If the leader works for one purpose and his men for a different purpose, leadership becomes ineffective. An industrial leader reconciles differences between management and employees and strives for a workable compromise.

5. Understanding Feelings and Problems:

The leader is looked upon by his followers as their friend, philosopher and guide. It is to him that they look whenever they find themselves in difficulties and problems. Hence, good leadership consists in understanding the feelings and problems of his followers and in solving them.

6. Assumption of Responsibility:

A good leadership accepts responsibility, for any situation created by certain actions. A good leader will never find scapegoats when his particular action misfires.

7. Exemplary Conduct:

The group is inspired by the exemplary conduct of its leader. He should be impartial in all activities. As Terry points out, “a leader shows the way by his own example. He is not a pusher; he puts rather than pushes”.

As L.F. Urwick said, “it is not what a leader says, still less what he writes, that influences subordinates. It is what, he is. And they judge what he is by what he does and how he behaves”.

Qualities of Good Leadership:

A good leader should not only know things but also have the ability to apply the knowledge to practice. He needs strong will power. He should overcome anger and vituperation and should show restraint and sweet reasonableness.

He should possess the following physical qualities:

(i) Physical and mental vigour

(ii) Emotional stability

(iii) Communication skill

(iv) Sociability

(v) Technical competence

(vi) Optimistic outlook and

(vii) Ability to coordinate.

Leadership – 9 Important Functions of Managerial Leadership

1. Formulating Objectives:

One of the functions of leadership is to formulate objectives and policies and to lead his men in a purposeful direction.

2. Representing the Undertaking:

The leader should represent the undertaking and its purpose both to those working for it and to the outside world.

3. Initiating Action:

A leader must recognize the need for action. He should initiate measures for promoting the interests of the enterprise. A leader must thus have creative abilities and the courage to follow through his plans.

4. Motivating and Guiding Personnel:

Leadership should guide, inspire and direct group members for achieving organizational goals. It infuses a ‘will to-do’ into the group and stimulates subordinates to contribute greatly to the organizational objectives by paying increasing attention to their needs for recognition, emotional security, etc.

5. Influencing and Inspiring Followers:

Leadership persuades the group to have an identity of interest, outlook and action. It provides imagination, foresight, enthusiasm and initiative to the group.

6. Accomplishes Work and Develops the Follower:

A leader knows the individual characteristics of key followers and what qualities will secure their most efficient performance. A leader seeks to cultivate the emotional nature of the followers realizing that power comes from dedication and not merely from knowledge.

7. Allowing Participative Management:

In business, a leader creates, a good work environment, by inviting suggestions from, subordinates as how to do the work better, what improvements in working conditions can be made, etc. The leader takes into account his follower’s opinions before making decisions.

8. Understanding Subordinates and Building Confidence:

He not only influences his subordinates but also is influenced by their problems and feelings. He should display sympathy and concern, should listen patiently and find solutions. Only then will he win the confidence of his subordinates and secure their willing cooperation.

9. Developing Voluntary Co-Operation:

He must develop voluntary cooperation and voluntary discipline. When employee-wants are reasonably satisfied and they have full confidence in their leaders, voluntary cooperation and self-imposed discipline can easily be developed.

In the words of Koontz and O’Donnell, “the function of leadership is to induce or persuade all subordinates or followers to contribute willingly to organizational goals in accordance with their maximum capability”.

Leadership – Women and Leadership

Do women lead the followers differently from men? Do women behave differently from men in leadership roles? According to an article in Harvard Business Review, women tend use their charisma, interpersonal skills, hard work and personal contacts in influencing the followers.

Women leaders encourage participation, share power and information and enhance people’s self worth.

It is widely felt that though there are several ‘policies’ against gender discrimination, managers still find all sorts of ways to keep women employees ‘under’. In addition, though women are getting quick promotions, their salaries still lag behind.

Different Values?

Greg Butcher from the Netherlands says he runs several international businesses, and denies that there is any pre-selection bias for top jobs in his companies. He says that when recruiting directors they ask candidates if they are prepared to put in the long and often anti-social hours needed for the role. Many female candidates, he says, decide not to proceed or answer “unfavourably” when quizzed.

“Perhaps the female (candidates) are simply more in balance with life and are following other values which downplay or balance commitment to business,” he says. “The single-mind pursuit of profit is motivated by greed, which has been a peculiarly male trait from the beginning of time,” she says. “Women are failing to reach the top jobs not because we don’t have the talent or ability for it, but because our goals are more holistic and less selfish.”


Yet women directors could bring new perspectives to the boardroom, from their diverse experiences, for example, as consumers, decision-makers and users. Whilst male managers tend to be similar thinking, decision-making types, women managers bring greater variety of thinking and personality types.

They also offer different ethical, communicative and environmental values and a preference for a more androgynous leadership style. The valuing of this different voice which women directors could bring still seems a long way off in almost half of the top 100 companies.

Evaluating Leader:

Leaders can be evaluated based on the effectiveness and efficiency of their styles, behaviours and actions. Leader’s activities include task performance and group maintenance.

Leadership – Leadership Practices in Japan, India, USA and China

Though there are several theories of leadership emphasizing the leadership styles and interactive behaviour of leadership and followership styles, leadership is significantly influenced by the culture and other factors, which are peculiar to a particular country. Thus, it is viewed that leadership practices vary from country to country. Now, we study the leadership practices in Japan, India, the USA and China.

1. Leadership in Japan:

Leaders in Japan are like elders in the family as well as society. They adopt paternalistic leadership style and take care of the welfare of the subordinates as the leaders view the subordinates as children. Leaders become the part of the group and work along with other members of the group. Leaders set common values for the group and create conducive work and social environment to work in a collaborative environment.

Leaders in Japan avoid face-to-face confrontation and prefer to solve all the problems in compromise/ give and take approach. Leaders understand the followers’ needs and provide various facilities to meet them, even before the followers realise them. Leaders influence the subordinates indirectly and through peer pressure rather than using autocratic approach.

Leader maintains relationship with followers not only at workplace but also in the society and therefore exerts influence on a continuous basis. Thus organisational, social and private lives are integrated. Leaders provide adequate opportunity to the followers to express their opinions and ideas as and when necessary. In fact leaders use face-to-face and oral communication rather than written communication and impersonal one.

2. Leadership in India:

Leaders in India mix the autocratic and participative styles. They prefer to follow autocratic styles, if organisational and other environmental influences are absent. They follow democratic and participative styles in social environments. So, sometimes employees prefer to present the official issues in social settings in order to force the leaders to be in participative/democratic styles.

The traditional and cultural factors in India force the leaders to follow participative styles. Leaders influenced much by social and family factors take care of the needs of employees and their family members even beyond the financial issues. In addition, leaders in bureaucratic set ups make decisions on their own and push them down for implementation and they follow collaborative approach in social set ups.

In fact, competition due to globalisation and information technology changed the leadership styles in India. Leaders today follow more of collaborative approach and team leadership rather than autocratic approach.

3. Leadership in USA:

Leaders in USA mostly follow the impersonal approach. In other words, they don’t take the followers’ views into consideration. They push down their views and directions for implementation. They believe that leaders have to directive and strict in approach. In other word they have to follow autocratic approach. They follow individualistic approach. This is mostly due to the influence of western culture.

Therefore, it would be rather difficult for the leaders to build teams and infuse collaborative approach at workplace. In addition leaders don’t understand the followers and their needs. The relation between the leader and the follower is more of formal. Leaders don’t mix the work life with social and private life.

Therefore, privacy assumes top most importance in USA unlike in India and Japan. Leader makes organizational decisions as he/she has the prerogative to do so and the followers implement them, as it is their responsibility. Thus, leader-follower relation in USA is mostly formal.

Table 20.3 presents the comparisons of leadership in Japan, India, USA and China.

4. Leadership in China:

Leader in China mostly resembles that of USA, in the sense that it is formal. Leaders as the head of a unit make the decisions and the followers as subordinates in bureaucratic organization simply follow them. Leaders as administrators of a bureaucratic organization follow the rules and are responsible to their bosses rather than to customers. In other word, they don’t take customer needs into consideration. However, leaders in China like their counterparts in Japan avoid face-to-face confrontations.