Leadership theory and visioning
Leadership theories and visioning are the basements upon which organizations are anchored to create inherent understanding of all stakeholders while using individuals, teams and objectivity to link visionary outsets for sustainability. Though it appears hard to employ as evidenced by many institutions, scholars appear in agreement that it is critical to balance both internal and external forces for higher profitability. This chapter is a literature review which explores the concept of leadership theories and visioning from various scholars’ perspectives. Leadership styles and underlying theories a) Participative leadership
According to Lucia, Lindgren and Packendorff (2010), participative leadership entails inclusion of stakeholders at all stages of goal setting and development that create an inherent drive which make it highly self propelling. As a result, a participative leader is seen more as a facilitator as opposed to the source of orders. In what appears to be a raised platform for guiding current leaders in moving away from mechanistic leadership models Lucia et al (2010) argue that participative leadership creates a sense of responsibility largely from reduced bureaucracies and ultimate communication enhancement.
In the Toyota Motors Company leadership, Magee (2008) cite high level participation in designing the hybrid models that made it capture the largest market
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Kurt Lewin concluded that a democratic leadership is the most effective model of linking goals and their achievement. Energies decentralization creates a highly charged system that makes it mobile as opposed to being static. As a result, inherent motivation based on team spirit not only raises productivity, but encourages emergent leaders. The Likert’s model provides an inverted framework of operation where the leader relies on the juniors to make key decisions.
Eagly and Jean (2010) further noted that though people in organizations are often regarded on the basis of their status, they possess crucial experiences that should be exploited in making short and long-term goals easily achievable. Harnessing this potential therefore creates a cycle where top leaders use key tools such as motivation in making the correct decisions. This understanding creates an important viewpoint upon which leaders should view and relate with their followers. It especially provides a turning point for new relationship towards addressing issues that largely divide the follower and their leaders.
b) Contingency leadership A major question that has recurred in many scholars’ minds is whether indeed there is a leadership model that could be referred as the best for all organizations. Though majority of these leadership analysts tend to avoid answering the question directly, no such method has been reached on. Peter and Peter (2009) explain that leaders must view their organizations different not just from others, but also from their past operations. Uniqueness as Peter and Peter (2009) continues to emphasize is based on the prevailing internal and external environments which are highly dynamic.
Using the Example of Shell Dutch Royal Company, Chandrashekar and Vishwanath (2008) underscore the success that its leadership achieved during the first half of the 20th century. However, trial to operate in the same rigid model saw the company take a downward trend during the last two decades of the 20th century. i) Strategic contingencies theory To concur with Peter and Peter (2009) working concept in organizations is highly interdepartmental and therefore ensuing success only evident when leaders are able to cope with centrality, uncertainty and substitution.
As a result, strategic contingencies theory views an organization to be a highly uncertain unit and cites leaders as the key pillars in creating cohesion. Leader must therefore have an expounded outlook to analyze external forces in an organization. Consequently, the leader is able to apply these skills in solving issues that arise from the need for interdependence in various units. It is lack of these skills that Peter and Peter (2009) attribute the massive conflicts between industrialists and their workers in the 19th century. ii) Fielder’s least preferred co-worker theory
Fielder’s least preferred co-worker theory as Sergio, Yoon and Perry (2010) explain indicates that if any leader is to be successful, he should match to the prevailing situation. Therefore, least preferred co-workers theory was developed as a critical conduit in linking the goals and means of achieving them. By identifying the least preferred worker to any employee or group, an effective operating environment is developed for them. In this case, Sergio et al (2010) argue that the theory categorizes leaders into either work oriented or people oriented depending on their primary gratifications.
Sergio et al (2010) further bring out the Fielders theory’s three key factors which they indicate should be applied simultaneously. First the leader-member relation should be developed to create the needed loyalty and ultimate support for cooperation at all levels. Then, task structure must reflect the correct standardization for winning the people’s confidence and creating a thrust for commitment. Finally, the position power facilitates assessment of performance, rewarding and even exercising punishment.
At Walmart Super Stores, Sergio et al (2010) fault the leadership which has over the years failed to enhance leader-member relations and therefore loosing greatly in court battles on discrimination and poor working conditions. Interactions between leaders and their followers must be guided by essential skills that facilitate greater objectivity. These theories strengthen the field of organization leadership by creating the need for a new effort towards improvement at all levels. c) Situational leadership
In his definition of leadership, Hannah et al (2009) seek to incorporate the leaders’ role in creating a smoother plane for their subjects to realize preset goals. Situational leadership involves a strong analysis of the existing environment situation and the ability of adjusting to it. At this point scholars appear to emphasize on making organizations highly proactive in focusing to both long and short-term situations when making the decisions. i) Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational theory According to Hannah et al (2009) et al, this theory seeks to create a highly flexible system for the leaders in relation to their subjects.
It postulates that a leader must understand employ different leadership styles depending on the subjects’ ability to comprehend various tasks, willingness, competence and motivation. The theory calls for directing when subjects have low competences or their commitment is very low. Hannah et al (2009) noted that if leaders focused more on the relationship with the subject at this instance; the latter would indeed become confused. Then, coaching should be employed when the subjects have some competence but are unwilling to utilize it. It is critical that the leader seeks to understand key reasons that hinder their involvement.
The last two styles; participating and observing, should be employed when the follower is greatly motivated and therefore able to perform under minimal supervision. Strong focus and trust are required and progress effectively measured. This theory as reflected in the latter Mary Jo-Hatch organization leadership cultural dynamic model, invokes the need for a learning organization where knowledge is generated through creativity and innovation (Hannah et al, 2009). Though each situation is unique, it is critical that leaders focus in taking their subjects to the next higher levels that anchor participation and delegating.
ii) Vroom and Yetton’s Normative Model Barbara and Bryson (2010) argue that this model was developed in to limit leader’s set of behaviors and thus avoid generalization. In its development, a logical model as opposed to long observation was used to create a roadmap for incorporating key alternatives when making decisions or addressing issues. Depending on the prevailing situation/s, a leader should seek to incorporate the followers at various levels for acceptance of the assimilated alternative.
Barbara and Bryson (2010) continue to say that the theory requires the leader to constantly revisit the main organization objectives while further emphasizing on quality. This model is crucial in that it creates greater identity of various decisions by the followers. d) Transformational leadership Bryman (2004) view that change is indeed the only permanent aspect in any organization has gained overwhelming acceptance by scholars. From a transformational point of view, leadership is considered a pillar that supports followers’ full potential realization.
Bryman (2004) compares leadership in an organization to a ship sailing afloat to other side of the sea. While the leader (captain) is the key guiding factor in the main objectives realization, it is no doubt that subjects equally play a great role. Their role is evident from the nature of the ship’s route which is subject to key disturbances such as violent waves, mechanical problems and internal misunderstandings. Consequently, the leader must create the needed sense of mission, commitment and morale through motivation as a force to maintain it on course.
The focus must therefore be based on taking the followers beyond the objectives of the organization. When transformational leadership is achieved, efforts by all subjects are easily mobilized to maximize on the benefits. i) Bass’ Transformational Leadership Theory Holbeche (2010) extensively uses Bass’s transformational leadership theory in assessing the ability of organization s to match successfully into the future. In particular, he cites three major methods that a leader can use in transforming his followers. To begin with, he cites increasing awareness of task value and importance attached to it.
It is at this point that Holbeche (2010) differs with some scholars who fail to get at the bottom of building effective leaders. The theory indicates that by gaining special skills and respect for their application, one can easily transfer the same knowledge to others. Notably, apart from becoming easier for the transformational leaders; largely from the attached benefits to followers, a guaranteed highly competitive sequence is generated. Secondly, the theory requires transformational leaders to set their focus on teams and team work as opposed to individualistic interest.
Holbeche (2010) points out that transformational leader must bring their organizations’ objectives and achievement roadmap to all the followers. It becomes possible to focus on the key goals by all and ultimately creating a room for competition, improvement and progress. The theory finally calls for activation of the followers needs to higher level order in creating a sense of progress. At this point Holbeche (2010) introduces Maslow’s theory of needs which he calls an essential tool in creating the need for change.
As Robert Maslow indicated in the latter theory, shifting of people’s needs to higher levels creates stronger motivation for renewing their efforts and commitment. Transformational leaders must therefore possess the correct moral character with key values to assess and renew their organization’s visions at all times. ii) Burns’ Transformational Leadership Theory Burns transformational leadership theory is built on the understanding that both the leader and followers posses key skills that must be fully exploited for organization’s visions to be achieved.
Foti and Hauenstein (2007) hail the theory by indicating that both leader and followers become like anchors that support one another in a mutual process. Burns further argues that through collaboration, an open environment is created to proactively address emergent issues. However, this model as Foti and Hauenstein (2007) explain has been hard for leaders to facilitate competition amongst their followers. Though followers involvement in the decision making process is crucial, they often fail to go for models that may negatively affect them.
Despite GM remaining one of the Giant Motors Company in the globe, Blakely and Green (2009) attribute its recent downward trend during the 2008 economic recession to lack of mutual cohesion between leaders and their followers. While other companies utilized their followers experience in maintaining a critical niche towards improving the consumer value, GM was swimming in the past successes. It is evident from the above discussion that all followers indeed have the capacity to ascend and make impact in the leadership of their organizations.
Consequently, leadership is taken a step higher by establishing a strong platform for criticism and completion. . e) Behavioral theory This theory as Lussier and Christopher (2009) note in their publication is a deviation from the previous trait theory that postulated that leaders are born. The theory postulates that leaders should be defined on what they do and not on their inborn traits. The theory opened the door for many people who previously thought they could never lead by reversing the same view. It considers coaching to be crucial in developing the needed skills for leadership.
Many organizations such as Coca Cola Company, Dell Company and American Airlines among others subject their employees to key training as a tool for motivation and molding leaders (Blakely and Green, 2009). According to Lussier and Christopher (2009) teamwork further sharpen the experience of followers through interaction with their leaders at different levels. By modifying the behavior, this theory appreciates that all people have their unique talents which they can embed in leadership quests for objectives realization.
An organization by its nature cannot be considered successful or on the correct roadmap if some of its units are failing. Like Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational theory, this theory considers leadership skills that must be held by leaders to address uncertainties without losing major objectives to be very crucial. Therefore, one agrees with Lussier and Christopher (2009) conclusion that leadership is not static but fast evolving and both leaders as well as followers must be equally fast in getting the new ideals for their organizations. Organization visioning
Though some scholars look visioning as a separate factor when considering its application in leadership, it is intrinsically embedded in the latter. Kotlyar and Karakowsky (2007) argue that visioning forms the basis upon which leaders root their objectives. It therefore goes deeper into an organization’s streams of production, priorities of the shareholders and external forces that dictate the main operations. The following factors are particularly considered critical for a leader in defining visioning and its application in leadership. i) Outlining the benefit to the organization and followers
Kotlyar and Karakowsky (2007) explain that any vision must be based on the benefits that both followers and the organization itself would realize form its attainment. Leadership of any organization must appreciate that all stakeholders must be involved in realizing the vision. However, not all the followers comprehend the vision and its application. Effective leadership must therefore seek to define the vision by outlining the benefits that would result to them. Kotlyar and Karakowsky (2007) add that the followers must become part of the process and therefore move in unison to avoid resistance conflicts.
At this point, the leader must devise mechanisms to address possible resistance by constant motivation. ii) Constantly driving towards the vision attainment In their publication, Bessie and Huston (2008) agrees with Metcalf (2005) view that though creating vision is very crucial, it is the constant maintenance of the course to attain it that is more essential. Taking into consideration that vision defines the objectives of any organization; leader must create a strong force that rekindle it at all times.
To begin with, Bessie and Huston (2008) suggest short-term win-win situations which are celebrated by all. At this point it becomes possible to restate the vision and refreshing its application to the followers. However, win-win celebrations must be greatly focused and spread to all the followers to avoid loss of focus. Then, the followers must be fully involved through application of teams. The latter is very useful in pushing the vision ahead by facilitating acceptance of departmental and organization’s decisions identity for all.
Bessie and Huston (2008) put a special emphasis on continued improvement where even the positive results are considered to have ample room for improvement in attaining the vision. iii) Maintaining commitment by top management Lauren and Karl (2008) acknowledge the critical role played by the top management in facilitating vision achievement by the followers. Top management must reflect the vision of an organization through anchoring its auxiliary aspects that make it holistic at all levels. It is particularly essential that they establish a clear assessment platform for identifying areas that need improvement for its realization.
Lauren and Karl (2008) agree that they must serve as key change agents to cite and lead its application at different instances while addressing resisting forces adequately. Besides, they must maintain constant communication with the followers to identify their problems that could hinder their commitment towards the vision. Visioning came out as a factor that must be held with special consideration to facilitate holistic inclusion, acceptance and ultimate development of cohesive forces that make organizations operate as a single unit. Summary
Leadership theory and visioning came out as critical basis in defining the ability of organizations to establish platforms within which objectives are to be achieved. All leadership styles and their underlying theories emphasized on the careful understanding of followers and ultimate creation of a facilitating environment for their development and growth. Visioning came out as part of the leadership factors that further creates easier achievement of the main objectives. One clearly understands the critical role played by leaders but the essential input of their subjects.
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