Read this essay to learn about Leadership. After reading this essay you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of Leadership 2. Nature of Leadership 3. Importance 4. Styles 5. Theories 6. Effective Leadership 7. Principles.

Essay Contents:

  1. Essay on the Meaning of Leadership
  2. Essay on the Nature of Leadership
  3. Essay on the Importance of Leadership
  4. Essay on the Styles of Leadership
  5. Essay on the Theories of Leadership
  6. Essay on the Effective Leadership
  7. Essay on the Principles of Leadership

Long and Short Essay on Leadership in English

Essay on Leadership # Meaning of Leadership (Essay 1) 

Leader is an integral part of work and social life. In any situation, when people want to accomplish some goal, a leader is required. Leadership occurs in all formal and informal situations. In a non-formal situation, such as a group of friends, leadership behaviour occurs when one individual takes lead in most of the group activities and influences people to work towards common goals.

People have to be guided to contribute to goals with zeal and confidence. “Zeal is ardor, earnestness and intensity in the execution of work; confidence reflects experience and technical ability.” The ability to influence the behaviour of others is known as leadership. Leaders exploit human potential and transform it into output.


Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organisation to make it cohesive and coherent. It is the ability to build confidence and zeal among people and create an urge to be led. It inspires confidence and support among group members to achieve the organisational goals.

Leadership is the process by which an executive imaginatively directs, guides and influences the work of others in choosing and attaining specified goals, by mediating between individuals and the organisation in a manner that both obtain maximum satisfaction. Dynamic and effective leadership leads an organisation towards success.

“A leader is one who conducts, acts as a guide to others in action or opinion, one who takes the lead in any enterprise or movement, one who is ‘followed’ by disciples or adherents, the most eminent member of a profession, a person of eminent position and influence.”

Leadership is “influence, that is, the art or process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically towards the achievement of group goals”.


— Koontz and Weihrich

It is “the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically.”

— Keith Davis

“Leadership is the process of influencing others to work towards the attainment of specific goals.”


— Pearce and Robinson

“Leadership is the relationship in which the leader influences others to work together willingly on related tasks to attain goals desired by the leader and/or group.”

— Terry and Franklin

Essay on Leadership # Nature of Leadership (Essay 2)

The following points explain the nature of leadership:


1. Leadership depends upon personal traits:

Everybody cannot be a leader. Best known managers can be ineffective leaders and poor managers can be very good leaders. Managers are different from leaders. A person can be a good leader if he has characteristics like popularity, confidence, intelligence, social and inter-personal skills etc.

2. Situational:

Leadership style varies with the situation. A person with same traits may adopt autocratic style of leadership in one situation and democratic style in another situation. Situation plays important role in determining the style of leadership.


3. Leadership vs. management:

Leadership is different from management. While management assumes hierarchical relationship amongst individuals, leaders and followers may not be related to each other through the formal chain of command.

4. Leadership is a function:

Leadership is a function of the leader, follower and the situation.


Mathematically, L= f (l, f, s)

where L = Leadership; I = leader; f = follower; s = situation

Leadership is determined by characteristics of the leader, the team and the situations that prevail in the organisation.

5. Role model:


Leaders are role models for their followers. Subordinates will not be loyal if leaders are not supportive. Leaders should cooperate with the followers if they want the followers to cooperate with them. The followers tend to behave as they are behaved with. Leaders should set example before followers and be their ideal. People should follow him voluntarily by virtue of what he is and what he does and not because of the position.

6. Leaders are also followers:

Leaders also have someone above them to whom they report. As they demand subordination from followers, they must show subordination to their leaders.

7. Pervasive function:

Leadership is not related to business organisations only. Wherever a person influences the behaviour of others, he exercises leadership. An educational institution, a charitable organisation, military organisation, hospital or a family at home require leadership sometime or the other.

8. Leaders should have followers:


A person can be called a leader if he has followers. If people agree to be led and influenced by someone, that person can be called a leader.

9. Leadership and power:

A leader derives potential to influence the behaviour of others through power. A leader can derive power from various sources.

(a) Legitimate power:

It is the power by virtue of position in the organisational hierarchy. An employee knows that his superiors have power to issue him directions.

(b) Reward power:


It is the power to give rewards in the form of bonus, increments, promotion etc. for positive contribution to organisational goals.

(c) Coercive power:

It is the power to punish undesirable tasks. A salary cut or a vacation cut can enforce people conform to directions of the leaders.

(d) Expert power:

Leader enjoys this power by virtue of his expertise and skill. A tax expert, for example, can solve tax related matters of his fellow workers, superiors and subordinates.

(e) Information power:


It is the power to have access to organisational information. More the information one has about the organisation structure, more is his informational power.

(f) Referent power:

While legitimate, coercive and reward power are relatively concrete sources of power based on objective aspects of organisational culture, referent power is abstract based on identification, loyalty and intimation. A leader enjoys this power because of his skills and traits. People follow leaders because they like to associate themselves with them. They react favourably and behave the way leaders want them to behave.

(g) Connection power:

Leader enjoys this power because of connection with influential people. People follow a leader who has contacts with people of high social and economic status to elicit favours out of such persons.

10. Leadership aims at goal achievement:


Leaders are dynamic persons who set high standards of performance. They also help the followers to achieve the targets. Leaders trigger a person’s “will to do,” show the way and guide members towards group accomplishment.

Essay on Leadership # Importance of Leadership (Essay 3)

In today’s changing world, fear and uncertainty prevail in business organisations. There should be an atmosphere of trust and understanding between leaders and stakeholders of the company for smooth running of the business. Leaders play important role in shaping the culture and ethical agenda of the organisation.

Leaders realign their organisations with employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers, regulators and the communities in which they operate. Leaders cannot operate in isolation and groups cannot do away with leaders.

Leadership is important because of the following reasons:

1. Task support:

Leaders support their followers by assembling organisational resources and help them accomplish their tasks and meet the standards of performance.


2. Psychological support:

Leaders help the followers accomplish the organisational tasks. They promote the followers to work with zeal and confidence. They make followers realize their capabilities and guide, counsel and coach them whenever necessary.

This promotes morale of employees and healthy interaction amongst members of the group. This also develops disciplined thinking in the organisation, productivity, growth and stability.

3. Develops individuals:

The willingness, enthusiasm and confidence that leaders build in the followers for accomplishment of individual and organisational goals results in their growth and development.

4. Builds team spirit:

No individual can work alone. Leaders develop team spirit amongst followers to work collectively and coordinate their activities with organisational activities. A leader works as captain of the team. He develops understanding amongst followers, resolves individual and group conflicts and harmonizes individual goals with organisational goals. He creates forces of synergy and converts individual output into collective output.

5. Motivation:

Leaders motivate employees to take up challenging jobs. They combine ability with willingness and drive people to action. They exploit their potential to work and convert their desire into performance. They also develop commitment, loyalty and dedication amongst the followers and create an environment conducive for their development.

6. Provides feedback:

When people work towards well-defined targets, they want feedback on their performance. Leaders provide them this feedback. They guide them continuously to improve their results by correcting deviations in their work performance.

7. Facilitates change:

Effective leaders convince members about the need and benefits of organisational change. The change process can be smoothly carried out by overcoming factors that produce resistance to change.

8. Maintain discipline:

Leadership is a powerful influence to enforce discipline in the organisation. It can enforce formal rules and regulations. Members follow rules with commitment and loyalty if leaders have confidence in them. Leaders promote team work, change their attitude towards work, develop good human relations, facilitate interaction amongst members and maintain discipline in the organisation.

Essay on Leadership # Styles of Leadership (Essay 4)

Leadership style is the manner in which leader supervises and directs members of the team. It reflects how one behaves while influencing the performance of others. It is a relatively consistent pattern of behaviour, skills and practices that characterise one’s interaction with others in a situation requiring influencing. It represents somewhat predictable actions of leaders which followers can predict in specific situations. Leadership style reflects different types of leaders.

This can be discussed under the following categories:

(i) Classification on the basis of Power:

Based on sources of power, leadership style may be one of the following:

1. Autocratic leaders,

2. Participative (democratic) leaders, and

3. Laissez-faire or free-reign leaders.

1. Autocratic Leaders:

Autocratic leaders make decisions and issue orders by virtue of their position and authority. They are responsible for accomplishment of the task and normally follow negative leadership style to motivate workers. They structure the working situation for the employees. The threat of punishment and penalties makes people obey the orders. They retain the decision­-making power and do not delegate authority and responsibility.

They may also offer rewards (positive motivation) for good performance. In such cases, they are called benevolent autocratic leaders. This style is used when the leader tells his employees what he wants and how he wants it done, without seeking the support of followers.

Some of the appropriate conditions when this style is used are:

1. When leaders have all the information to solve the problem,

2. They are short on time,

3. Their employees are well motivated.

Some people tend to think of this style as leading by threats and abusing their power. This is not the authoritarian style… rather it is an abusive, unprofessional style called bossing people around. It does not fit into a leader’s profile.


(a) Since decision-making power is centralised, decisions are taken quickly.

(b) Less competent and skilled employees can be hired as they have to only carry out instructions of the leaders and not initiate actions on their own.

This style of leadership can be successful in the short-run. In the long-run, it may lead to dissatisfaction and frustration amongst workers.


(a) Workers do not get job satisfaction as they are not willing to work under negative style of leadership.

(b) They feel frustrated and dissatisfied which can affect organisational productivity.

(c) It inhibits the innovative power of workers as they do not participate in the decision-making processes.

(d) Workers’ potential remains unexploited.


Autocratic style of leadership is appropriate in the following situations:

1. Situations that call for urgent action.

2. When people are familiar with autocratic leadership and, therefore, have less trouble adopting that style.

3. When subordinates are unskilled, inexperienced and submissive.

Autocratic leadership can be diagrammatically represented as follows:

2. Participative (democratic) Leaders:

This style involves the leader and one or more employees in the decision-making process (determining what to do and how to do). However, the leader maintains the final decision making authority. This style is normally used when leaders have part of the information and employees have other parts.

A leader is not expected to know everything — this is why he employs knowledgeable and skillful employees. Using this style is of mutual benefit — it allows employees to become part of the team and allows the leader to make better decisions.

The democratic leader makes decisions by consulting his team, but maintains control over the group activities. The leader allows his team to decide how the task will be done and who will perform which task. A good democratic leader encourages participation and delegates wisely, but bears the responsibility of leadership.

He values group discussion and inputs from his team and draws from a pool of team members’ strong points in order to obtain the best performance from his team. He motivates his team by empowering them and guides them with a loose reign.


Democratic style of leadership has the following merits:

(a) Psychological involvement:

The followers contribute to organisational goals not only because they are committed to do so but also because they are mentally and psychologically involved in attainment of these goals.

(b) Motivation:

When leaders invite suggestions from followers, they feel motivated to participate in the decision-making processes.

(c) Responsibility:

Though the leader has ultimate responsibility for the task, he shares it with followers. Followers assume personal responsibility for the activities assigned to them and feel motivated to perform them successfully.

(d) Increase in power:

When followers bestow confidence in leaders, leaders’ expert and referent power increases which further increases interaction between them and the followers.

(e) Increase in job satisfaction and cooperation with management:

Employees’ contribution to organisational goals makes them committed to their jobs and reduces inter-personal conflicts. This increases job satisfaction and cooperation of employees with the management.

(f) Reduction in turnover and absenteeism:

On-the-job satisfaction promotes commitment to jobs and people enjoy working in the organisation. This reduces employee turnover and absenteeism.

(g) Improves communication:

Constant interaction and participation of leaders and followers in decision-making processes improves communication amongst them.

(h) Facilitates change:

It promotes decision-making ability of employees, enhances their morale and knowledge of environmental variables. Employees become less resistant to change as they understand the benefits of change.


This style of leadership suffers from the following limitations:

(a) Consulting subordinates every time a decision is made is time consuming. Decisions may, therefore, be delayed.

(b) Suggestions given by subordinates may sometimes be better than what leaders can think of. In such cases, leaders do not frequently invite suggestions.

(c) Employees may not always be willing to offer suggestions as they want minimum interaction with superiors.


Democratic leadership is suitable when:

a) Employees are considered part of the system.

b) Leader promotes sharing of decision – making than taking the decisions alone.

Democratic leadership can be diagrammatically represented as follows:

3. Laissez-Faire or Free-Rein Leaders:

Leaders give responsibility of setting goals and devising means to achieve them to the group members. They allow group members to carry out the work on their own within the board policies framed by them. The leader plays minor role in affecting the group goals.

The laissez-faire manager exercises little control over his group, leaving them to sort out their roles and tackle their work, without participating in this process himself. In general, this approach leaves the team with little direction or motivation.

The laissez-faire technique is usually appropriate when leaders lead a team of highly motivated and skilled people, who have produced excellent work in the past. Once the leader believes that his team is confident, capable and motivated, he often steps back and lets them get on with the task. By handing over ownership, the leader can empower his group to achieve their goals.


(a) As employees are responsible for framing and achieving the group goals, it increases their morale and they strive for higher job satisfaction.

(b) Employees’ potential is exploited to the fullest extent. Their innovative and creative capacities are, therefore, explored.

(c) Subordinates train the group members and motivate them to work. This develops their decision-making abilities and increases organisational productivity.


(a) Leaders do not participate in the group working. They only clear the doubts of group members. The efficiency of work activities is generally low.

(b) Leaving everything to subordinates may be detrimental to effective attainment of organisational goals.


Laissez-faire leadership style can be diagrammatically represented as follows:

The following table highlights the characteristics of different leadership styles:


Researches have revealed that performance in terms of quantity of work is the least in laissez- faire leader ship style and it is almost the same in autocratic and democratic styles of leadership. So far as the quality is concerned, it is found better when democratic style of leadership is adopted.

Thus, while quantity of performance was sometimes higher in autocratic style and sometimes in democratic style, the quality (reflected in job satisfaction) was always higher in democratic style of leadership. Democratic style of leadership provides the most effective results in terms of quality and quantity of performance, followed by autocratic and free-rein styles of leadership.

A good leader uses all three styles, depending on what forces are involved between the followers, the leader and the situation:

1. Use authoritarian style on a new employee who is just learning the job. As the leader is competent and a good coach, the employee is motivated to learn new skills.

2. Use participative style with a team of workers who know their job. The leader knows the problem, but does not have all the information. The employees know their jobs and want to become part of the team.

3. Use delegate style with workers who know more about the job than the leader. Leader cannot do everything. The employee needs to take ownership of his job. Also, the situation might call for leader to be at other places, doing other things.

4. Use all Three: Telling employees that a procedure is not working correctly and a new one must be established (authoritarian). Asking for their ideas and input on creating a new procedure (participative). Delegating tasks in order to implement the new procedure (delegative).

Forces that influence the style to be used:

1. How much time is available?

2. Are relationships based on respect and trust or on disrespect?

3. Who has the information – leader, employees or both?

4. How well employees are trained and how well the leader knows the task?

5. Internal conflicts.

6. Stress levels.

7. Type of task — structured, unstructured, complicated, or simple?

8. Laws or established procedures.

(ii) Classification on the basis of Authority:

On the basis of authority, leaders can be classified as follows:

1. Formal leaders, and

2. Informal leaders.

1. Formal Leaders:

Formal leaders have formal authority over the subordinates. They issue instructions in official capacity. They have authority by virtue of their position in the organisation. They are formally elected by management and are, therefore, accountable to them. They focus on organisational goals and not personal goals of the members.

They do not satisfy social and psychological needs of the followers; a function generally performed by leaders. Followers obey the instructions because of their position and not influential power. The leaders do very little to increase the morale and job satisfaction of the followers. Formal leaders who exercise authority without personal leadership qualities are not effective as leaders. They are more of managers than leaders.

2. Informal Leaders:

Informal leaders do not have formal authority over the followers. They enjoy the authority because of their personal qualities, abilities, competence and influential power and not because of their position in the hierarchy. Subordinates accept them as leaders because they perceive them as sources of satisfying their social and psychological needs besides the formal organisational needs. They are not appointed by managers.

They emerge as forces of attraction amongst members of informal groups. They help subordinates contribute towards organisational goals and individual goals. Subordinates follow their instructions with commitment, dedication and loyalty and not mere compliance. Since leaders help members of the group meet their personal goals, they increase their morale, job satisfaction and commitment to contribute towards organisational goals.

If they have to choose between formal and informal leaders, they are more likely to follow the informal leaders. Management is, therefore, generally resistant to informal leaders. However, it is not possible for them to do so. Informal leaders are not their creation and cannot eliminate at their will.

In order to achieve organisational goals, management must recognise that formal and informal leaders are complementary to each other. They should develop healthy relations with informal leaders and use them to fulfill the social and psychological needs of subordinates and through it, formal needs of the organisation.

The following table highlights the points of difference between formal and informal leaders:

Essay on Leadership # Theories of Leadership (Essay 5)

Some of the popular theories of leadership are:

(i) Trait Theories:

Trait is the personal quality of an individual. Trait theory believes that successful leader has certain personal characteristics. A person becomes a leader because of his personal qualities. It was based on studies conducted on some successful leaders and using their traits as parameters for defining who is a successful leader.

Traits are “distinctive internal qualities or characteristics of an individual, such as physical characteristics, personality characteristics, skills and abilities, and social factors.”

Physical characteristics include personal appearance, age, height, complexion etc.

Personality characteristics include intelligence, dominance, confidence etc.

Skills and abilities are the power of leaders to be clever, initiative, creative, persuasive and tactful.

Social factors include ability of the leader to be tactful, persuasive, knowledgeable about his social environment and having good interpersonal skills. Leadership traits can be innate or acquired. While innate traits are acquired by birth, acquired traits are developed through training programmes and socialisation process.

Physical and personality characteristics are by and large innate as heredity affects these factors to a large extent. Skills and abilities, social factors, emotional stability, interpersonal skills to deal with people, technical skills to manage the operations, motivating skills to drive people to action are the acquired skills.

Based on the qualities of leaders, trait theories identify and compare the:

1. Traits of leaders with those of non-leaders (followers).

2. Traits of effective leaders with those of ineffective leaders.

1. As regards first aspect of trait theory, i.e. identifying traits of leaders and non-leaders, it is generally believed that leaders are born, not made. It is based on researches conducted by psychologists and others who identified personal characteristics of individuals with leadership.

It asserts that people with certain physical and psychological characteristics can become good leaders. Though no specific list of traits can be identified with leaders, different theories offer perceptions about what traits are possessed by leaders.

Warren Bennis conducted a study of 90 leaders and their subordinates and concluded that all the 90 leaders had the following four traits in common:

(a) Management of attention:

The power of leaders to attract the attention of followers.

(b) Management of meaning:

The power to clearly communicate various thoughts and ideas with the followers.

(c) Management of trust:

The power of leaders to develop faith and trust amongst the followers.

(d) Management of self:

The ability to identify and work within the boundaries of one’s strengths and weaknesses.

Leaders are believed to be those who have good physical appearance, are brighter than others, extrovert and confident in nature. However, all individuals with such specific features were not found to be good leaders. On the contrary, some people like Mahatma Gandhi, Napoleon and Lincoln were great leaders even though they did not have strong physical characteristics.

The theory, thus, suffers on the following grounds:

i. The traits and leadership qualities did not have positive correlation between them. If it were so, it would just be a matter of selecting people who had these qualities to work as leaders for the country, business organisations, society or a group of people. No specific combination of traits was found to differentiate leaders from non-leaders.

ii. No common set of traits can be identified to relate to a leader who can be effective in all situations. ‘Thus, leaders cannot be differentiated from non-leaders.

Individuals who emerged as leaders could not be identified on the basis of common traits. In fact, more than leadership occurring as a result of traits, traits are more the results of leadership ability. “It is possible that individuals become more assertive and self-confident once they occupy a leadership position, and so even these traits may be results, rather than causes, of leadership ability.”

2. As regards second aspect of identifying and comparing the traits of effective leaders with those of ineffective leaders, the studies have not been able to identify any set of traits which distinguish effective or successful leaders from ineffective or unsuccessful ones. The “Great Man Theory” which asserts that leaders are born but not made has not proved to be true.

Edwin Ghiselli conducted a study and identified the following six traits that identify successful leaders:

(a) Supervisory ability:

Leaders have the ability to supervise, control and coordinate the activities of subordinates.

(b) Occupational achievement:

Leaders have the desire to seek success in their jobs as leaders.

(c) Intelligence:

Leaders must be able to analyse the situation and make decisions according to the situation.

(d) Decisiveness:

In complex situations, leaders should be able to decide about the right course of action.

(e) Self-assurance:

Leaders should have confidence that whatever they are doing, they are doing right.

(f) Initiative:

Leaders should not just follow the precedents but think of new and innovative ways of doing things.

Robert House identified dominance, self-confidence, need for influence and conviction of moral righteousness as traits of effective leaders.

A number of other studies also relate effective leadership with some traits.

By 1950, over around 100 studies were conducted to identify the leadership traits. They concluded that only about 5% traits identified by different theories were common to leadership abilities. These traits were Intelligence – Initiative -Self-assurance – Overview – Health – Physique and Social Background.

Even on the basis of these traits, one cannot always say that those who possess these traits are always successful leaders. Different combinations of traits is totally dependent on the situation that leaders face.

Ability to lead depends upon leader’s behaviour and not his traits. Traits and behaviour are not related to each other. Traits is only one of the factors that affects leadership. Leader behaviour and situation are other important factors that affect leadership.


Though successful leaders can be identified with certain traits, traits cannot always be identified with the success of a leader.

The trait theory suffers from the following limitations:

(a) Relationship between traits and leadership cannot be verified.

(b) A universally accepted set of traits cannot be identified with successful leaders as these traits differ under different situations. Traits desirable for one situation may not be suitable for another situation.

(c) A leader is successful depending upon the way he manages a situation, the skills he uses to analyse the Situation and not necessarily his traits.

(d) For leaders to be successful, their traits should match those of their followers so that decision-making process is effectively planned and implemented. “Managers who are well matched with their subordinates are likely to be more successful than those who are not”.

(e) To identify important leadership traits, researchers conducted hundreds of studies and developed a long list of traits along with a long list of exceptions. The list of traits, therefore, has very little practical utility.

(f) Traits are more often a result of leadership than the cause. When a person assumes the position of a leader, he displays the traits of assertion, self-confidence, decisiveness etc.

Despite the limitations, trait theory holds goods in certain fields of discipline. For example, people are generally elected as politicians on the basis of personal traits like intelligence, self- confidence and self-assurance.

(ii) Behavioural Theories:

These theories focus on what the leaders do rather than who the leaders are. The same group of leaders reflects different behaviour in different situations. Social skills may be important in one situation while the skill of being decisive and tactful may be important in the other situation.

Leaders perform two major functions:

1. Task-related functions that aim at goal accomplishment. They relate to solving problems of people while performing their jobs.

2. Employee-related functions that aim at keeping the employees satisfied.

These functions require two different sets of behaviour reflected in different leadership styles.

Thus, while dealing with subordinates, leaders adopt styles based on their behaviour.

These are:

1. Task-oriented

2. Employee-oriented.

Task-oriented style aims at getting the work done with not much focus on growth and development of employees.

It defines the extent to which leader engages in one-way communication, spells out the group’s roles and tells the members what to do, where to do, when to do and how to do. It closely supervises employees’ performance. Leader behaviour is defined in terms of: structure, control and supervision.

Employee-oriented style aims to complete the task through friendly behaviour towards the followers and allowing them to participate in the decision-making processes. This develops their creative skills and prepares them to grow into potential managers.

It defines the extent to which leader engages in two-way communication, encourages and supports team members, facilitates interaction and involves the group in decision-making. Leader behaviour is defined in terms: praise, listen and facilitate.

Different studies reflect the effectiveness of leadership style and leader behaviour.

Some of these are discussed below:

1. Iowa Studies:

Kurt Lenin, Ronald Lippitt and Ralph White conducted a research where the impact of three leadership styles; autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire, was studied on the behaviour of 20 boys. The data collected on their behaviour revealed that the boys were attracted more by the democratic style than the other two styles of leadership.

The emphasis was, thus, on employee-oriented approach towards the leadership style. However, the sample size of 20 boys is too small to arrive at general conclusion. Besides, the behaviour of adolescent boys cannot be compared with the behaviour of employees who are formally related with their superiors in the organisation structures.

2. Michigan Studies:

Findings similar to Iowa Studies were observed in Michigan Studies also. The Michigan Studies identified two work groups consisting of people from business and non-business organisations. They studied leader behaviour towards these work groups.

Two types of leader behaviour were identified as:

1. Employee-centred behaviour, and

2. Job or production-centred behaviour.

The employee-centred managers accomplished group goals through participation. Workers performed through inspiration and motivation. The production-centred managers accomplished group goals through identification of task, division into units, description of methods to perform each task and close supervision and control over activities of employees.


The results showed that:

(a) Effective leaders invite workers to participate in decision-making processes, and

(b) The group which had leaders with employee-centred approach produced more than the group with production-oriented approach.

Employee-oriented approach towards the group, thus, produced results better than the production-oriented approach.

3. Ohio State Studies:

In 1945, the Bureau of Business Research at Ohio State University conducted a research to identify leader behaviour in directing the group towards group goals.

Two dimensions of leader behaviour were identified:

(a) Consideration, and

(b) Initiating structure.

Consideration is “behaviour indicative of friendship, mutual trust, respect, and warmth in the relationship between the leader and the members of his staff.”

Initiating structure is “the leader’s behaviour in delineating the relationship between himself and members of the work group and in endeavoring to establish well-defined pattern of organisation, channels of communication and methods of production.”

Initiating structure is similar to production-oriented leader behaviour and consideration is similar to employee-centred leader behaviour.

The Ohio State staff developed two sets of questionnaires:

(a) One, to be filled by the leader, containing details of how he perceives himself as a leader and what appropriate style would he adopt in a particular situation. This questionnaire was called Leader Opinion Questionnaire (LOQ).

(b) Second, to be filled by leaders’ superiors, peers and subordinates. It contained factors pertaining to initiating structure and consideration and identified respondents’ perception about their leader’s behaviour.


The leadership styles did not lie on a single continuum. The data revealed that leaders depicted neither of the two behaviours on a single continuum, with initiating structure at one end and consideration at the other end.

Rather, these two behaviours depicted four leadership styles:

(a) High consideration – High initiating structure

(b) Low consideration – Low initiating structure

(c) High consideration – Low initiating structure

(d) Low consideration – High initiating structure.

No single style of leadership was considered to be the best. The best style depended on the situation faced by the leaders. It was generally felt that in military organisations, leaders ranking high in initiating structure were more successful; in business organisations, leaders ranking high in consideration were more successful.

Where employees are not in close contact with their superiors, autocratic or initiating structure may be more effective than a situation where employees are in close and continuous interaction with their superiors. Leaders normally adopt the style that subordinates want them to adopt.

Four leadership styles arising out of two leader behaviours are shown as follows:

Leadership Style

4. The managerial grid:

This approach to leadership style was developed in 1960s by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton. According to them, leadership style, employee-oriented or production- oriented depends on where the leader positions himself on the managerial grid. Managerial grid is a two dimensional matrix with points ranging from 1 to 9 on either axis. Horizontal axis represents concern for production and vertical axis represents concern for people.

The grid appears as follows:

The Managerial Grid

Based on the managerial grid, five leadership styles have been identified with varying degrees of concern for people and task.

These are as follows:

(1) 1,1 Impoverished management:

This represents a style where leader has low concern for both people and production. It is more of a laissez faire management style. Interference of leader in task accomplishment is minimum. He exercises minimum efforts to get the work done and group members perform the work themselves.

(2) 1,9 Country club management:

This represents low concern for production and high concern for people. Leaders’ attitude is employee-oriented. They show concern, love, affection and friendliness towards the followers, satisfy their needs and motivate them to accomplish group goals. This develops cordial and friendly atmosphere in the organisation.

(3) 9,1 Task management:

Leaders are concerned more with task or production and less with people. Autocratic style of management is associated with task management where task and authority are well-defined. Leaders maximise output by setting structured work environment and minimum attention is paid to human needs and their satisfaction.

(4) 5,5 Middle of the road or organisation man management:

In this style of leadership, leaders satisfy both, organisational (production) and human needs through moderate concern for production and people. They maintain balance between work and employee satisfaction.

(5) 9,9 Team management:

This is the most effective style of leadership where leaders show high concern for people and task. They have high concern for workers’ job satisfaction and their contribution to the job. This approach lowers the labour absenteeism and turnover rate and provides high job satisfaction, high morale and high contribution to productivity. This is similar to democratic style of leadership.

Each style of leadership has varying degrees of concern for people and tasks. However, the ideal style of leadership is 9, 9 and training programmes should be conducted for managers to adopt this style.

Managerial grid has the following implications:

a. It helps managers in identifying the combination of people and task reflected in their leadership style.

b. It helps them understand the behaviour of subordinates relevant to their leadership style. Accordingly, it helps them move to a desirable style which subordinates appreciate to feel committed to the organisation.

c. Though it reflects five leadership styles, there can be other combinations also like 6.4, 7.3, 8.2 etc. Positions on the grid are not the only situations reflecting the leadership styles. These are the extreme situations which may not always be found in the real business world.

d. It indicates that managers should attempt to move to the most desirable style, that is, 9.9 through training and development programmes. This is to gain advantage for the best interest of the organisation and its employees. It exploits human potential to the fullest to contribute to organisational goals most effectively. Both organisation and people work for the interest of each other.

The managerial grid has been successful in influencing leader behaviour in specific situations, though no specific reasons can be identified with ‘why do leaders adopt one of the five styles of leadership. The leadership style is affected by factors like personality of leaders and followers, ability and willingness of leaders and followers to work with each other, environmental factors and other situational factors.

5. Rensis Likert’s Systems of Management:

Rensis Likert and his associates studied leadership styles (employee-oriented and production-oriented) by studying leader behaviour in business and non-business organisations, like medical and Government organisations, at the University of Michigan and concluded that:

“Supervisor with the best records of performance focus their primary attention on the human aspects of their subordinates’ problems and on endeavoring to build effective work groups with high performance goals.”

His emphasis was more on human relations since effective methods of recruitment, selection and training enable the managers to convert the resources into effective output. Organisational tasks can be accomplished effectively when managers focus on employee development and growth.

Four styles of leadership or systems are developed by Rensis Likert on the basis of leader behaviour based on seven variables. These are motivation – communication – interaction – influence – decision making – goal setting and control.

(a) Exploitative – authoritative style of leadership:

System 1:

Similar to task management style in the Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid, this style of leadership aims at production maximisation and ignores human aspect of the organisational behaviour. Decisions are made solely by leaders and communicated to subordinates down the chain of command. Control lies entirely with the leader.

The motivational forces are fear, threats and punishments (i.e., negative motivation) which extract bare minimum output from the workers. These forces are accepted by the members for satisfying their physiological and safety needs only.

No confidence and trust is shown by the leaders towards subordinates and, therefore, loyalty of members towards leaders is also minimum. Such a system leads to form informal groups whose goals are contrary to goals of the management.

(b) System 2:

Benevolent authoritative style:

This system of leadership is a slight improvement over system 1. The aim continues to be production but with a friendly approach towards subordinates. Leaders use economic rewards along with slight punitive measures to motivate the workers towards organisational goals. Communication continues to flow from top to bottom but there is slight increase in the level of interaction amongst managers and subordinates.

Major decisions are made at the top and some routine decisions are taken at the lower levels. Superiors show some confidence in their subordinates. Control continues to vest at the top though some control is shared with managers at middle and lower levels. This system of management also results in formation of informal groups but group goals are not always contradictory to formal goals of the organisation.

(c) System 3:

Consultative style: 

This is improvement over system 2 style of management. Important decisions are taken at the top level but operating decisions are taken by lower-level managers. Communication flows in both directions, up and down. Leaders show moderate trust and confidence in subordinates and subordinates are also, therefore, loyal towards the superiors. Major control vests at the top but some part of it is shared with lower levels.

Production is fairly good in this system of leadership and motivation of employees is mainly through rewards; penalties and punishments are used occasionally. Informal groups is a healthy sign as these groups, by and large, Support the organisational goals and do not work against the formal goals.

(d) System 4:

Participative style:

This system represents optimum situation for the management or leadership style. Leaders extensively interact with the subordinates and involve them fully in the goal setting process. Control is not vested at the top.

Subordinates self-control and direct their activities towards organisational goals. Communication is both downward and upward. There is constant flow of information between peer groups at the vertical and horizontal level. High degree of confidence, trust and loyalty is shown by superiors towards subordinates and vice versa.

As a result, production reaches its maximum. The motivational forces of participation and involvement of workers in the decision-making processes satisfy higher-order needs of the employees. Informal groups totally merge their goals with the formal organisational goals. Both management and employees look forward to satisfy each others’ needs and both the needs are satisfied to a substantial extent.

It is observed that system 1 is totally a production-oriented system and system 4 is totally an employee-oriented system. Production can be maximised through system 4 of management. It should be the endeavour of every organisation therefore, to shift from system 1 to system 4 to achieve not only its own goals but also the individual goals.

Rensis Likert’s Four Systems of Management:




(iii) Situational or Contingency Theories:

A common set of traits and behaviour cannot be identified with successful leadership. If one set of traits or behaviour is suitable in one situation, another set of traits or behaviour may be suitable for another situation. A leadership style which works well in a particular situation may not work well in another situation.

Effective leadership, therefore, requires greater understanding of the people, situation and ability of the leader to use appropriate style in the given situation. Situation is, thus, an important variable that affects the leadership style. Leadership is a function of leader, follower and situation.

Situational theories emphasise on situation in formulating situational theories. Situational theories are also called contingency theories as leadership style is contingent upon situational variables. As Victor Vroom puts, “I do not see any form of leadership as optimal for all situations. The contribution of a leader’s actions to the effectiveness of his organisation cannot be determined without considering the nature of the situation in which that behaviour is displayed.”

Various situational factors like perception of managers and workers about each other, attitude towards work, nature of work, nature of workers etc., affect leadership style most appropriate to the situation.

Providing detailed guidelines for task performance, determining job duties of the team members and supervising them closely may be effective in a situation where team members do not have skills to understand the problem and the situation demands error-free, efficient and time-bound performance of the team.

This approach may be inappropriate if team members specialise in their area of interest, have the ability to understand the problem and the situation demands innovative solutions or on-the-spot decision making. Where there are good social relationships between the leader and the subordinates, the leadership style will be different from the situation where leaders and followers do not share common understanding.

A number of theories support situational approach to leadership.

Some of these theories are discussed below:

1. Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s Leadership Continuum

One of the pioneering studies in situational theories is made by Robert Tannenbaum and Warren H. Schmidt. According to them, there is no best leadership style. There are a variety of leadership styles lying between two extremes; autocratic (production-centred) and democratic (employee-centred).

Within these two extremes, leader has the option to choose the style which reflects combination of:

1. Authority exercised by the leader, and

2. Freedom enjoyed by the subordinates.

The leadership styles at the extreme corners do not exist in absolute terms. Neither extreme authority nor extreme freedom exist in organisations. Leadership styles depict combination of freedom and authority in varying degrees. The leader chooses one amongst seven leader behaviours, depending upon three important factors.

These factors are:

(a) The Leader:

The way an individual perceives himself as a leader, the source of power, his attitude towards subordinates, attitude towards work; extent to which he wants to retain authority and how much he is willing to delegate to subordinates, his value systems and similar drives influence the leadership style.

(b) The Follower:

The leader studies the behaviour of subordinates. Whether or not followers are willing to take additional responsibility, whether or not they find the work interesting, to what extent they willingly subordinate individual goals in the interest of organisational goals and how much they participate in the decision-making processes, are some of the factors that leaders consider before adopting a leadership style.

(c) The Situation:

Even if leaders and followers are ready to work together, the situation may not allow them to do so. The organisation structure, the form of departmentalisation, the extent of centralisation and decentralisation, desires of the top management, effectiveness of various committees and work groups (both formal and informal), determine the leadership style to a large extent.

Leadership Styles:

Depending on these three factors, the theory developed a leadership continuum with task-oriented, autocratic leadership style at one end of the continuum and employee-oriented democratic style at the other end. Depending on the situation as reflected by these three forces, leaders adopt a style varying between these two extremes.

The leadership continuum is shown in the following diagram:

At the extreme left authoritarian style of leadership, leaders derive power from legitimate source. They assume that workers belong to Theory X assumptions (as put forward by Douglas McGregor). The extreme right democratic style assumes that leaders derive power from expert or referent sources and workers belong to Theory Y set of assumptions. Between the two extremes, leaders move from authoritarian to democratic style of leadership.

Even in the two extreme styles of leadership, some degree of freedom is enjoyed by subordinates (howsoever little it may be) at the extreme left corner and managers exercise some authority at the extreme right corner of the leadership continuum.

2. Fiedler’s Contingency Theory:

According to this theory, leadership style depends on the situational requirements. The situational variables determine the appropriateness of leadership style.

Fiedler’s contingency model has three elements:

a. Situational variables,

b. Leadership styles, and

c. Relationship between leadership style and situational variables.

a. Situational Variables:

Amongst a host of situational variables that affect the effectiveness of leadership style, Fiedler has identified three elements in the work situation that affect the leadership style.

These are:

(a) Leader-member relations:

This describes relationship between leader and the members. It describes the degree to which followers have faith and confidence in the leader. These relationships cannot be prescribed by the organisation but have to be developed amongst the group members and the leader.

It is easy for the leader to influence the followers if leader-member relations are good. If people and the leader like each other, employee-oriented leadership style is appropriate. If they do not like each other, a friendly approach may not work. The leader adopts a task-oriented leadership style.

(b) Task structure:

Task structure defines whether the task is structured (routine) or unstructured (complex). Structured task is divided into well-defined units, people know their responsibility and accountability. In this situation, it is easy for the leader to exercise control over fellow workers. The performance of group members can be easily controlled.

In contrast, if the task is unstructured, goals are not well defined, ways of achieving goals are also not defined, leader and followers do not know what is to be performed by whom, it becomes difficult for the leader to influence his followers.

(c) Position power:

This is the power of leader derived by virtue of his position in the organisation. If the leader has more position power (legitimate power), it is easy for him to exercise control over subordinates.

b. Leadership styles:

Fiedler identified two leadership styles, task-oriented and human relations-oriented. While task-oriented style focuses on task, human relations style aimed at maintaining cordial interpersonal relations amongst the leader and the group members. The style to be adopted by the leader depended on the scores on the LPC (least preferred co-worker) scale.

The scale indicates the “degree to which a man describes favourably or unfavourably his least preferred co-worker”. It specifies the employees with whom leaders can least get along well with. The rating was based on liking or disliking of working with others in the group measured along factors like pleasant-unpleasant, friendly-unfriendly etc.

High LPC rating managers (where people rate their co-workers high or favourable) adopt employee-oriented leadership style and low LPC rating managers (where people rate their co-workers low or in unfavourable terms) perform better when task-oriented leadership style is adopted.

c. Relationship between leadership style and situational variables:

Based on three situational variables and two leadership styles, Fiedler made eight combinations on the work environment. The leadership style is different for different situations. The leader- member relations can be good or bad, the task can be structured or unstructured and power of the leader can be strong or weak. These situational variables define the situation to be favourable or unfavourable. Favourableness of a situation is “the degree to which the situation enables the leader to exert influence over his group”.

Using these eight combinations and two styles of leader behaviour (employee-oriented or task-oriented), Fiedler concluded the following:

(a) Task-oriented leadership style is more appropriate in extreme situations, that is, situations where leader-member relations are good, task is structured and position power of the leader is strong. (This is the favourable situation for leaders). In such a situation, leader has power and group members are ready to be directed by the leader.

They are prepared to accept instructions of the leader and prefer to do what leader tells them to do. This environment prevails in highly structured situations like taking off or landing an airplane, defence services where group members follow instructions rather than take part in decision-making.

Even in unfavourable situation for leaders, where leader-member relations are not good, task is unstructured and position power of the leader is weak, autocratic or task- oriented approach to leadership is preferred. If members do not share good relationships with the leader, things are not well-defined and leader does not have strong position power in the organisation, democratic working style cannot prevail.

If leader seeks the opinion of members, it will only worsen the matters as environment conducive to participative decision-making is absent. It will only lead to wide disagreement amongst varying opinions with difficulty in arriving at a consensus as the situation is highly unfavourable.

(b) Situations between favourable and unfavourable, that is situations which are intermediate in favourableness, can be best managed by employee-oriented leaders.

In intermediate range of favourableness, leader gets the work done by using his interpersonal skills. In intermediate situations of leader-member relations, task structure and leader’s position power, the leader relies more on persuasion and personal skills to get the work done than issuing instructions as the group members may not wholly accept the leader and the leader may not even have the adequate authority to get the work done. Thus, there is no best style of leadership appropriate for all situations.

It varies according to the requirements of the situation. For very favourable and very unfavourable situations, task-oriented style is more suitable and for intermediate situations between the two extremes, task oriented style declines and human relations style increases while one is still in the range of favourableness. As one comes from favourable to unfavourable situation, the style moves upwards from employee-oriented to task oriented.

This is shown as follows:

3. House’s Path Goal Theory:

Path goal theory helps to find the path towards attainment of goals set by the leaders. While the leader sets goals with subordinates, he also helps the subordinates find the best path to achieve these goals, both; work goals and personal goals.

The theory is propounded by Robert House. “The theory suggests that a leader’s behaviour is motivating or satisfying to the degree that the behaviour increases subordinate goal attainment and clarifies the paths to these goals.” — House and Mitchell

The path goal theory is based on expectancy model of motivation according to which employees are motivated to work because they perceive their efforts will lead to desired performance and performance, in turn, will lead to certain outcomes/rewards which will help them fulfill their needs. Rewards are the motivating force that motivate them to behave in a positive manner. The path goal theory suggests ways that leader adopts to help workers attain their goals.

Leadership style depends on the situation faced by leaders.

Two situational variables are:

(a) Characteristics of the subordinates:

Effectiveness of leadership style depends upon the following characteristics of subordinates:

i. Locus on control:

It deals with the belief of people as to whether they control the events or the events control them (they are controlled by events). While those who control the events are called internals, those who are controlled by events are called externals.

Internals relate rewards to their efforts and performance and externals believe that rewards occur by chance or factors beyond their control. While internals prefer participative style of management, externals refer directive style of management.

ii. Willingness to be influenced:

If employees are willing to be influenced by others and accept their directions, task-oriented style can be adopted but if they feel they can manage situations themselves, they prefer employee-oriented leadership style.

If employees feel they are dealing with structured situations where everything is clear as to who is to do what and when, believe they are skilled and have faith in their potential to perform organisational tasks, they prefer their leader to adopt employee-oriented style of leadership. If employees are not confident, they would be willing to be led by task-oriented leadership style.

iii. Ability to perform:

Ability to work is influenced by one’s knowledge of the subject. If employees are able to perform, they prefer employee-oriented style of leadership.

(b) Characteristics of the environment and the workplace:

These features fall into three groups:

(i) The subordinates’ tasks:

The nature of task largely determines the leadership style. Employees performing highly structured tasks prefer a supportive leadership behaviour. Employees performing unstructured tasks (where activities performed by the subordinates are not clear), want the leaders to guide them about how to perform those tasks, and, therefore, task-oriented or directive leadership behaviour is more appropriate.

(ii) Formal authority system:

If formal organisation structure does not clearly specify the link between performance and rewards, directive leadership style is adopted to make employees understand the structure but if the link is clear, leader can adopt participative leadership style.

(iii) The work groups:

If all members of the group work in coordination, supportive or participative style is adopted. If the group has low desire to work and is not motivated to achieve its goals, achievement-oriented style is adopted by the leaders.

Leadership Styles:

Based on these situational variables, leaders adopt one of the following four leadership styles:

(a) Directive leader behaviour:

The leader tells the subordinates what he expects from them. He explains to them the work schedules, standards against which their performance will be measured and specific guidelines to complete the work. Leader behaviour is directed towards accomplishment of the task.

(b) Supportive leader behaviour:

Leader gives moral support to employees. He tries to understand their needs and finds ways to fulfill them. He discusses the task related matters with them and creates friendly environment at the work place. The leader behaviour is employee-oriented.

(c) Participative leader behaviour:

Leaders motivate the employees by allowing them to participate in the decision-making processes. Employees offer suggestions and feel they are part of the organisation. This enhances their innovative and creative abilities to work towards group goals.

(d) Achievement-oriented leader behaviour:

Leaders set challenging goals for employees and promote their confidence to achieve them. Employees also put all their efforts to achieve those goals. The theory suggests that leader can influence employees’ behaviour by understanding their needs, nature of task, liking for superiors, co-workers and work, organisation structure and helps them reach the goals by adopting the appropriate leadership style.

4. Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Theory:

The situational model developed by Hersey and Blanchard relates leadership style to situation and maturity level of employees. They believe as maturity level of employees increases, leadership style also varies.

The model is based on the following considerations:

a. Maturity level of employees,

b. Leader styles, and

c. Leadership styles related to maturity level of employees.

a. Maturity Level of Employees:

Maturity level is the readiness level of followers. Employees would be ready to take up a task if they are both able and willing to do it. Ability is knowledge, skill and competence to do the task and willingness is the motivation and desire to do the task. It is commitment of the employees to do the work.

As maturity level increases, readiness to do the work also increases. Maturity level is considered only for the specific task or function. A person with low maturity level in one task can have high maturity level for the other task. Thus, people are more or less mature in relation to specific tasks. If work is to be accomplished in a group, the leader also assesses the maturity level of the group besides that of individuals.

The theory divides maturity level of employees into four categories:

M1– Low level of maturity:

People are neither willing nor able to do the job, that is, their readiness to do the task is very low.

M2 & M3: Moderate level of maturity:

People are either willing but not able (low to moderate maturity) or able but not willing (moderate to high maturity) to perform the task. They are moderately ready to do the work.

M4 – High level of maturity:

People are both able and willing to perform the job. They are ready to accept challenging jobs to increase their job satisfaction.

Different maturity levels appear as follows:

b. Leadership Styles:

Given the maturity level of employees, leaders adopt different behaviours:

(a) Task-oriented, behaviour:

This behaviour emphasises on the task related aspects of the job. It involves telling subordinates about expectations of the job and ways to fulfill those expectations, i.e., what is expected of a job and how it is to be achieved.

(b) Relationship-oriented behaviour:

Leaders aim to achieve the goals by focusing on employee behaviour. They involve employees in the decision-making processes and engage in two-way communication with them. Leader behaviour is participative in nature.

c. Leadership Styles related to maturity level of employees:

Relationship between leader behaviour and maturity level of employees gives rise to styles of leadership. Four leadership styles emerge out of this relationship: L1, L2, L3 and L4.

The diagrammatic representation of these styles is as follows:


(a) L1 Style: Telling:

This style deals with people who have low level of maturity; who do not readily take responsibility for a particular task. They have to be constantly told what, where, when and how to do the work. Communication flows from top to bottom. The leader solely initiates the problem-solving and decision-making. Leaders are more task-oriented and less relationship-oriented in their behaviour. This is called the telling or directive style of leadership.

(b) L2Style: Selling:

As maturity of employees increases from M1 to M2, they accept added responsibility of work but they are still not fully skilled to do so. The leader, therefore, continues to emphasise on high task orientation but as employees’ willingness to do the job increases, they also emphasize on high relationship-oriented behaviour.

The leader provides direction and leads with his ideas, but he also hears the group feelings about decisions as well as their ideas and suggestions. While communication is two-way and leader support is increased, control over decision-making remains with the leader. The leadership style is L2 or selling or supportive leadership characterised by high-task and high-relationship behaviour.

(c) L3 Style: Participating:

As maturity of employees increases further (from M2 to M3), they are not only willing but also able to take added responsibility. They have the skill, knowledge and competence to handle the jobs on their own. The focus of control for day-to-day decision-making and problem-solving shifts from leader to the group members.

The leader’s role is to provide recognition and actively listen and facilitate problem-solving and decision-making by followers. The leadership style is, thus, participative where leaders continue to emphasise on high relationship-oriented behaviour but as employees are matured to manage their jobs, the emphasis on task behaviour gets reduced. This is characterised by high-relationship and low-task behaviour.

(d) L4 Style: Delegating:

High level of maturity (M4) is shown by employees. They are now ready, able and willing to assume responsibilities with respect to their jobs. They are highly motivated to achieve their targets and are directed by self-control. They no longer want the leaders to direct them regarding how to do the work or to support them in discharging their functions.

The leader discusses the problems with the group members until joint agreement is achieved on the problem-definition. The leadership style is ‘delegating’ where the job is delegated to workers to be done on their own. The group, thus, has significant control on how tasks are to be accomplished. Main features of this style are low-task and low-relationship behaviour of leaders.

Though this theory provides important insight into leadership styles dependant on the situation and readiness of employees to fit into that situation, it is difficult to know the readiness level of employees. Their readiness to accept challenges and maturity level change from time to time due to personal, organisational and environmental factors.

The leaders therefore, keep constant track and change their leadership style. There is no best style that leaders can adopt in all situations. They change the styles as desired by the situation. This is a complex and difficult task for the leaders.

1. If leader works with a group in which competence for the task is low and where people do not take responsibility and do not function as a cohesive team, the most appropriate style would be the directive type. Here the leader sets the task in detail, assigns work to each member, monitors the work, corrects the mistakes and meets the team regularly to review the progress of work.

2. If the leader finds that one of the elements is present (competence, commitment or team work), the leader gives credit to people for that aspect, encourages them, and continues to guide in other aspects. This type of leadership style is called supportive type of leadership style – a combination of guidance and encouragement.

3. If the leader finds that his people are strong on two of the three dimensions, but lack one, the appropriate style would be to encourage them to take responsibility and provide the needed support. This is called consulting type of leadership style.

4. If the group members are highly competent and can take responsibility and are capable of functioning as an effective team (working together and solving problems), the most appropriate style for the leader would be the delegating type.

He can allow them to work on their own so that leader can perform other strategic functions (resource mobilisation, networking with other organisations, boundary management, expanding work etc.). People are not “fully developed” or “underdeveloped”. People may be developed for one task, but not developed for another. Thus, development level is a task-specific concept not person-specific.

Essay on Leadership # Effective Leadership: (Essay 6)

If subordinates carry out instructions because of legitimate, reward or coercive power of leaders, they would treat them as successful but not effective leaders. Successful leaders can get results as employees carry out the orders to keep their jobs intact. Employees’ behaviour is compatible with that of the leader because of leader’s position and authority to closely supervise the activities of subordinates.

Effective leaders motivate the employees to contribute to organisational output to their maximum potential. They persuade employees’ behaviour towards their personal goals of job satisfaction and higher-order needs of competence and achievement. Employees’ behaviour is compatible with that of the leader because of their personal power. Effective leaders help them to achieve personal goals along with organisational goals.

The following factors contribute to effective leadership:

1. Personality and past behaviour:

Leaders who deal with non-committed employees are effective if they adopt autocratic style of leadership. Personality of a leader and leadership style in the past also determine the style he should adopt in future. Democratic leaders, for example, are generally not effective if they adopt task-oriented behaviour. Leaders ensure that followers can adjust to their nature and behaviour before they adopt any style of leadership.

2. Expectations from subordinates:

A leader cannot lead the way he wants. If employees do not accept him as a task-oriented leader, he cannot choose that style even if he desires. He should change his behaviour according to employees’ expectations out of him as a leader. In a military organisation, for example, leaders adopt authoritarian style of leadership because their followers perceive them like that.

3. Expectations of superiors:

Leaders often adopt a style which their superiors want. If top managers want middle and lower-level managers to adopt authoritative style, they follow it even if they wish to orient towards employee-oriented or supportive style of leadership.

4. Task requirements:

If the task is structured with work divided into well defined units, employee-oriented leadership style is more effective than the unstructured task where confusion over task requirements makes a leader adopt task-oriented style.

5. Organisational climate:

Where organisation structure wants strict compliance to plans and policies, leaders are effective if they follow task-oriented behaviour.

The following table highlights the major points of difference between successful and effective leaders:


Essay on Leadership # Principles of Leadership (Essay 7)

The following principles help in effective leadership:

1. Principle of harmony of objectives:

Good leaders harmonies personal goals of employees with organisational goals to effectively manage the enterprise.

2. Principle of motivation:

If the leader relates rewards with performance, he can effectively exercise leadership for attainment of organisational goals.

3. Principle of communication:

Effective leaders communicate with followers; orally or in writing.

4. Principle of integrity:

The integrity or honesty with which leaders correlate verbal and non-verbal messages; and how they perceive the message also determines effectiveness of leadership.

5. Principle of supplemental use of informal organisation:

Though informal communication can spread rumours, it is a fast channel of communication. Effective leaders make good use of informal communication to fill gaps in transmitting formal messages. They use informal communication as a device to correct misinformation rather than spread rumours.