Leadership Style and Theory

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Leadership and Style Theory

This assignment begins by describing some of the key ‘Style Theories’ of leadership that have been suggested over the sixty years. It then investigates the author’s own style of leadership by conducting a small piece of research using Blake & Mouton’s Managerial Grid (1964). The results from the completed questionnaires are then used to evaluate the author’s style as perceived by colleagues (the leadership team) and subordinates. A third set of results are then obtained when the author also completes the questionnaire to use as explore the possibility that others’ perceptions may differ from that of the author. This analysis will then allow a personal reflection of the author’s own style to be undertaken and personal development needs to be noted. After determining the author’s style of leadership the assignment will ask the question “Is one style of leadership sufficient to address the needs of all management situations and of all people situations?” This discussion will give examples of different situations and refer to the other theories that may support the author’s conclusions.

Many leaders, in the past, were born into leadership but there is no place in today’s society for leaders that have not earned their right to lead. The success of every organisation relies upon its leader’s ability. There has been a wealth of literature written about leadership and hundreds of definitions have been suggested. One such definition that is pertinent within schools is that; “Leadership is concerned with gaining commitment to a set of values, statements of “what ought to be” which then becomes the heart of the culture of the school.” (Beare, Caldwell & Millikan, 1989)

Leadership is not about giving orders or directions. It is the influence of people that motivates them to achieve a shared purpose and it must be seen “as responsibility rather than rank and privilege” (Drucker, 1988) Leadership, however, is not to be confused with management. The two are intertwined, as leaders can be managers and vice versa but the actual concept of the two terms is different. Leaders must be able to motivate people. Their role departs from merely ensuring that tasks are performed to a recognised standard; this is the role of the manager. It facilitates a culture that convinces people to strive to achieve, not just because of an obligation, but because they truly desire to. A good leader is able to persuade others that they are all working collectively toward the same purpose. They must also have the vision to develop an organisation. They must grasp opportunities and be willing to take risks to succeed. “Managers maintain things and Leaders change things” (Gillen, 2002 p.43)

One of the many theories that have been suggested is known as Style Theory. This theory is concerned with the behaviour that is adopted by leaders towards their subordinates. It suggests that if a leader possesses the appropriate style of leadership then they will be able to motivate people beyond that of the minimum required. The leader, however, is not necessarily born with these qualities as Trait theory would suggest. They may be developed with training and experience. They can learn to become leaders. The heart of style theory is that people will respond to some styles of leadership better than they will to others. The four main styles that are suggested tend to fall into the following broad categories; concern for task, concern for people, directive leadership and participative leadership. At one extreme a leader would give orders with no discussion or involvement of subordinates. This method of leadership was prevalent until the second half of the twentieth century. After this time other modes of leadership emerged. Many of the newer forms of leadership involved the involvement of subordinates in the decision making process, a truly democratic move. It is suggested that the behaviour of the...
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