Leadership Style

Topics: Leadership, Fiedler contingency model, Situational leadership theory Pages: 5 (1574 words) Published: March 31, 2012
Effective leadership is contingent on matching a leader’s style to a setting that fits (Northouse, 2007). According to Fiedler’s Contingency Theory, leadership styles are operationalized primarily on two ends of a spectrum, they are characterized as task motivated, or relationship motivated (Northouse, 2007). I believe in the adage that practice makes perfect. In this paper, I will look into an alternative way for leaders to lead when they find themselves situated in an unfavorable situation. In the case of leadership; an administrator, manager, or supervisor should use a reflective mindful praxis to improve their ability to make decisions that will achieve optimal outcomes from the organizations they lead in all situations, especially unfavorable ones. Fiedler’s research demonstrates, in essence, if you don’t fit the team mold, you are unfit to lead the team. The contingency model asserts that leadership styles can be gauged by the Least Preferred Coworker (LPC) scale. This model posits leadership styles on a spectrum ranging from task motivated, low LPC, or relationship motivated, high LPC. The contingency aspect ties the leadership styles to situational variables of the organization. The situational variables include leader-member relations, task structure and positional power (Northouse, 2007). Leader-member relations are characterized as good or poor depending on feelings found in the group atmosphere, relationships and trust. Although there is no scale for the task structure, the situational variable in the model, there is a clear definition of the term. The variable is operationalized by high structure and low structure. Position power is characterized by the authority a leader has to deliver the proverbial carrot or the stick, i.e. rewards and punishments (Northouse, 2007). Fiedler has an understanding of why leaders in the wrong setting are ineffective (Northouse, 2007). The correlation between the leader’s LPC score and the group or organization’s performance depended (or was contingent) on the degree to which the leadership situation was “favorable”(Fiedler, 1995). A leader in an uncomfortable and unfitting situation experiences stress and anxiety (Northouse, 2007). A leader under stress is likely to exhibit inappropriate behaviors and revert to less mature ways of coping that were learned in early development (Northouse, 2007). The leader’s less appropriate behaviors and decisions result in negative work outcomes (Northouse, 2007). This may be true in most situations; however, with our proposed alternative model, the M Model (M2), leaders can be taught how to transform their leadership style so that it transforms poor situations into good situations with successful outcomes. Hackman and Wagemann (2007) believe it is essential that we understand how to help leaders learn. Leaders can become even more effective if they are able to learn from their experience, both successes and failures without assigning cause to something or someone out of their control (Hackman and Wagemann, 2007). The M2 posits a leader learning strategy grounded in metacognition and mindfulness. Cognitive psychologists use the term metacognition to describe our ability to assess our own skills, knowledge, or learning (Lang, 2012). Chew describes metacognition as a person's awareness of his or her own level of knowledge and thought processes (Lang, 2012). As stated by Kruger and Dunning, “those with limited knowledge in a domain suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach mistaken conclusions and make regrettable errors, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it” (Krugger, Dunning, 1999). The M2 way is to practice metacognition as it relates to leadership skills and behaviors. M2 practitioners develop a practical understanding of their leadership abilities in various settings and they use their metacognitive awareness to improve their leadership skills in various situations. The other half of the M2 way is for the leader...
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