Leadership in the Contemporary World
Leadership is both an art and a science. For actualizing effective and efficacious leadership, leaders must first articulate a vision, lay down a mission, communicate the vision and the mission to all the relevant stakeholders, implement the same, and ensure that feedback is sought and incorporated for the next iteration. Further, leadership is situational which means that more often than not, leaders are made according to the circumstances in which they find themselves.
Leadership during Tumultuous Times
During tumultuous times, there is a scope for change as well as the possibility of disasters happening that result in chaotic conditions prevailing during these times. Hence, the leadership of a nation or an organization must ensure that change is managed in an orderly and structured manner to avoid the disasters from happening.
For instance, the carnage that happened in post-Invasion Iraq is an example of disasters happening by intention or by accident when the residents of a nation or the employees of a company are faced with the prospect of rapid and discontinuous change.
The key terms here are rapid and discontinuous as the rapidity of change and the non-linear way in which it happens leads to the law of unintended consequences becoming operational and hence the change must be managed in such a way that it is glacial and controlled.
Telling Style of Leadership
The telling style of leadership is characterized by a one-way communication between the leader and the followers wherein the former sets the context and the expectations from the group. Some leaders in family owned businesses have to deal with the legacy left behind by their forbearers as well as leave behind their distinctive style of leadership. Towards this end, some family business leaders such as Ratan Tata of the TATA group have ensured that they articulated their vision for their companies that had huge ambitions and plans for global expansion.
Selling or Coaching Style
The literature on leadership and situational leadership in particular is clear that it is not enough to have a vision without translating it into actionable strategies. Research has shown that this style is characterized by a two-way communication between the leaders and the followers wherein both are influenced by each other and buy-into each others strategies.
Further, this style also corresponds to the leader being comfortable in his or her role. In this respect, business leaders such as Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic have ensured that the adoption of technology was done in a big way to further their vision of their companies needing to build internal capabilities which are aligned to the external drivers such as the imperative to expand globally.
Participating or Supporting Style
The situational leadership is evolutionary in nature meaning that it is based on the progression of the leader through successive phases in his or her leadership. Having said that, the theory also states that some leaders tend to conform to one or more styles better than the other style(s). This is applicable in the case of the late Steve Jobs of Apple who is known more for his transitional, transformative, and trailblazing leadership rather than his participation in day to day running of the company.
The Delegating Style
The fourth style of leadership according to the model is that of a leader who does not direct and monitor the day to day running of the company and is instead, engaged in higher value adding processes. For instance, Bull Gates who delegated much of the work that he was initially engaged in now began to focus on global plans for the company especially at a time when the global macroeconomic environment was unfavourable.
Four Competencies of a Leader
The four competencies of leadership as described by Warren Bennis are:
- forming a vision which provides people with a bridge to the future;
- giving meaning to that vision through communication;
- building trust, the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work;
- searching for self-knowledge and self-regard
In our personal experience, we have seen these competencies in dealing with groups by utilizing the collective energies of the group to articulate a vision as well as ensure that the objectives set forth for the group has meaning.
More importantly, building trust is essential to the success of the group and hence many leaders make efforts to build the team in a combat situation. Finally, unless the team members have a healthy dose of self-esteem by way of pep talks and leading by example, the efficacy of the team in crisis situations becomes corroded.
Examples of Presidential Leadership
The two presidents that we have selected for comparison are President Bush Jr. and President Obama. These two presidents are so unlike each other in their leadership styles. For instance, President Bush was more of a gut feel player who instinctively could sense the other persons character and nature whereas President Obama is more of a leader who relies on rational analysis and careful consideration of the merits and demerits of proceeding on a particular course of action.
Further, President Obama relies more on rhetorical skills and oratory to lead compared with President Bush who was more evangelical in his approach.
To reduce the commitment gap in the organization, the team members in the military must be properly trained and motivated. Since the job of the military is to defend ones country and participate in highly stressful combat operations, it is necessary for the members of the military to be highly motivated and focused on the job at hand. This requires consistent effort by the top leadership in leading by example as well as increased rewards for those whose job entails taking significant risks. Finally, commitment from the military is also increased by making them involved in the entire process and ensuring that they get to see the big picture as opposed to tunnel vision
Bennis, W. (2003). On Becoming a Leader. New York: Basic Books.
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- Importance of Leadership
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- Qualities of a Leader
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- Leadership and Motivation
- Emotional Intelligence for Leaders
- Organizational Leadership
- Leadership Ethics
- Leadership Strategy
- Leadership Styles
- Personal Leadership Brand
- Level 5 Leadership
- Situational Leadership
- Situational Leadership and Motivation
- Leadership & Subordinate Development
- Leadership Development - Introduction
- Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
- Inside Leaders vs. Outside Leaders
- Transformational Leadership
- Leadership for the 21st Century
- The Transleader
- Three Traits of Effective Leadership
- Importance of Compassion in Leadership
- An Important Advice to Future Leaders
- Avoiding Focus on Quarterly Earnings
- Reinventing Management for 21st Century
- Ambidextrous Leadership
- Invest in Oneself
- Social Media Skills for Leaders
- Social Stratification and Hierarchy
- The Ethical Imperative
- Leadership in the Face of Adversity
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- Great Man Theory
- Trait Theory
- LMX Theory
- Transformational Leadership
- Transactional Leadership
- Continuum of Leadership Behaviour
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- Tips to Overcome Challenges in Leadership
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