How Leaders and Leadership Styles Influence Organizational Success and Failures

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The characteristics of a person running an enterprise, both in the public and private sectors, have a direct impact on the entity's efficiency, rate of progress, or failure. As a consequence, when selecting someone to take on a responsibility, most managers must consider the individual's talents as well as their ability to guide a team to success. Different leaders take different approaches in this regard, which distinguishes them. Despite having the same leadership style, two leaders will achieve drastically different outcomes. The differences are mostly as a result of the approach a leader uses towards effective communication, charismatic nature, ability to command, conflict resolution skills, and increasing commitment and engagement of the other workers towards a common vision and objective in the organization. In doing so, various strategies such as reward systems, job security, and capacity building through training can enhance a particular style of leadership to achieve success based on the goals of the individual as well as those of the organization, which have to be in alignment to avoid job dissatisfaction.

Based on this insight, the following paper entails a distinction of leadership from management, its features, and attributes of good leaders. Also, it involves an overview of the four main leadership styles which include transformational, transactional, servant leadership, and lastly laissez-faire approach. Further, the analysis will entail a comparison between two leaders who include a one from General Motors (GM) during its crisis and another from the Fire chief in the United States (US). The evaluation of their different leadership styles will also inform the level to which their involvement contributes to success or failure in their respective organization and help determine which among the two is stronger than the other in leading positive change. The main argument is that competent leaders and the choice of an appropriate leadership style in a given situation can significantly contribute to the success of the organization through performance indicators such as employee commitment and engagement, job satisfaction, meeting organizational objectives and compensation system.

Leadership and Management

In most cases, the theorists in the Human Resource (HR) field come up with variations of the definitions of the two concepts, and there is some level of agreement on the slight differences between them. According to Algahtani (2014, 71), not all managers have the attributes of leaders, but they share the same work functions and organizational power. While management involves more of enhancing the smooth running of operations in the organization by performing allocated duties, leadership entails more than management to include strategic objectives, assimilation of the culture and going above the functions to try new roles, as well as high risk to drive change and success. Therefore, both management and effective leadership are critical to the success of an entity (Algahtani 2014, 72). However, more insistence is on the latter and various styles that individuals in that position use in inspiring their teamwork to find solutions to the dynamic challenges of the workplace, which is in response to the market shifts.

In this respect, the primary features of leadership can be categorized under the vision, communication, management of change, and work relationships towards cultural values attainment of a given entity. Firstly, the leadership involves creation, strategies to achieve the same, and directions to follow to realize the goals (Hanold 2014, 24). Also, in this approach, it entails effective communication of the culture of the organization, expectations, creation of teams and partnerships, and increment of the choices which empowers human development, as well as networking (Gini and Green 2014, 435). The process is essentialy in aligning the employee’s attitudes and values to the organization's culture as a way to achieve unity of purpose and strong teamwork towards managing change (Hanold 2014, 25). Lastly, in the execution of the mandate, leadership concept involves building an environment of good working relationships between the staff and management by motivating, inspiring, entering members to overcome work barriers, and satisfaction of the worker's human needs (Hanold 2014, 25).

Characteristics of Good Leaders

In an article by Leviticus (2017), the individual identifies the following as some of the most outstanding features that a good leader should possess. They include:

The individual should be able to be passionate about the vision and the mission of the organization

The person can earn the trust of the employees through delegation of duties and show trustworthiness

There is clarity in the way the individual communicates the processes and objectives in the work environment to ensure each worker has the same information, and to reduce conflicts

The person should exhibit high commitment to their duties and goals hence, by leading as an example, the team can also be inspired to follow and increase their performance levels (Gini and Green 2014, 435)

Lastly, the person has to exude confidence among the flowers that they are leading towards certainty such as ensuring job security and encouraging innovation space

Basic Leadership Styles

There are four approaches used by multiple leaders which include transformational, transactional, servant, and laissez-faire. Firstly, the transformational method entails the openness of the leaders to prioritize the needs of the subjects and their development. Therefore, the focus is on the values, commitment, morality, vision, and interests of the people as a way to align the same towards the overall vision of the organization. As a result, the leader can strengthen the objectives of the group and lead them effectively to achieve change through increased commitment to achieve the goals of the organization. Secondly, transactional kind of leadership involves a contractual agreement and evaluation of success based on achievement of the specific goals identified in the contract (Breevaart et al. 2013, 138). In this type, performance appraisals are used as a basis for rewards which strategically aim at achieving a positive outcome such as increasing the performance of the workers as a way to improve that of the company. However, it can result in negative consequences such as demotivating some of the underperforming employees, alienation from the job, and unproductive employees due to lack of creativity. Servant leadership involves an approach towards achieving the needs and objectives of the subordinates as a priority before that of an entity (De Clercq et al. 2014, 183). In this regard, the leader identifies the needs of the employees and work to ensure they are fulfilled to enhance their performance by addressing factors such job satisfaction, and security. Lastly, Laissez-faire entails the delegation of responsibilities, as well as the role of decision making. Though most critics argue the model undermines management concept, the idea is that by allowing workers to be their bosses they will have greater accountability for their functions (Manning 2013, 344). However, compared to other styles, there is less supervision of the staff in the laissez-faire approach.

Case Study of Two Leaders and their Leadership Styles

The comparison involves an analysis of servant approach by Chief Brunacini working at the helm of the fire department of Phoenix and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GM Marry Barra during its crisis as an example of a laissez-fair approach and its failures. During Brunacini's service as the chief of Phoenix fire department, the individual was in charge of more than 1400 employees whereby three of them are the children, two sons, and a daughter. Further, the organization is committed to providing service to the people not just by pulling victims out of danger but also seeing the incident through the trauma the affected go through as one of the primary policies. On the other hand, at the time of a crisis by GM regarding fault vehicle leading to more than 13 death of its clientele, the vehicle manufacturing industry started a review of its company to find a solution of the individuals to take responsibility. The situation revealed that most of the activities and decision making the process at the company are delegated to the employees, and there is little supervision of their work by management. The two styles will be compared and analyzed as to how they contribute to the failures or success of the company.

Case Of Success: Chief Brunacini’s Servant Leadership Approach

For Brunacini, there are four critical attributes which are linked to the servant way of leading. Firstly, the individual enhanced teamwork as a family. In fact, most of the trucks bear the words “our family helping your family” (Perlman 2017). In this case, the individual prioritized the overall success as paying attention to each of the individual's need in the team and through their inspiration, they can achieve the objectives. Secondly, the Brunacini insisted on the satisfaction of the clients fully whom he refers to as ‘Smith.’ For example, the individual argues that the firefighters have to see the fire through the lens of the traumatized victim and not just pulling out victims such as by saving the furniture (Perlman 2017). The third attribute is the priority to team members by motivational and intrinsic value advancement. Brunacini believed and encouraged the members also to have fun since they too are human hence same needs. Therefore, by taking time off for leisure activities can increase their commitment to the Phoenix fire department (Perlman 2017). Lastly, Brunacini invested resources in helping build the capacity of the firefighters in doing their job. The evidence is through the gym and health clinics for the attention of the members in their training and medical requirements (Perlman 2017). In this respect, the organization succeeded and went on to win multiple awards for their exemplary service. Besides, the interactions with students encouraged them to join the profession which indicates successes of the servant approach to issues in leadership.

Case Of Failure: GM’s CEO Marry Barra’s Laissez-Faire Approach

GM Company before 2015 encouraged each employee especially at the lower levels to take up more responsibility for their actions leaving the management to manage revenue, production units, and the policy formulation. However, as the CEO, Barra gave room for the workers to feel they do not need feedback for their work hence low level of productivity and quality showing a failure of vehicle switches more than 11 years (Roser 2014). The fact that the problem was not addressed revealed serious issues with the laissez-fair management approach especially involving the commitment to both the clients and the employee's needs (Roser 2014). As a result, making a decision also became a long process that did not encourage any accountability or taking responsibility for the faulty production leading to 13 cases of reported deaths (Roser 2014). In this view, the realization of the faults by Barra and later campaigns to change the attitudes and approach to collective responsibility confirms the amount of leadership failure to drive change. Not only do the employees feel alienated from the top leadership but also with their duties.

Comparison Outcomes and Suggestions

Out of the two models, the first approach to servant leadership is the best because of its attention to both the customer and employee interests (Topaloglu and Yalcintas 2017, 432). As a result, it has realized advantages such as strong teamwork, the unity of purpose, assimilation of the vision of the company, increased commitment, and employee engagement, as well as the performance of the fire department which draws admiration from the host state and the federal government for its achievements. However, it has a disadvantage of encouraging low creativity and shelving personal leadership output in the interest of the employee wants. One of the suggestions to solve the problem is to allocate space for one's vision for change in the company to drive goals which are suitable for the business though not in the interests of the employees.

Conclusion

Different leaders have different approaches which can be categorized into four to include transformational, transactional, laissez-faire, and servant leadership. Though it is similar to management, it goes beyond the same to contain personal attributes by an individual which involve higher risks, as well as the commitment to the organization. In the comparison between Barra’s laissez-fair approach and Brunacini’s servant leadership, the latter is more efficient towards leading change, achieving success and improving employee engagement. However, the style can deny leaders from exercising their function in the event of conflicting interests with other members. In this respect, it is essential for the leaders to allocate enough time to implement strategic objectives and vision in an entity through use of complementing leadership styles to achieve both the company's goals, as well as those of the labor asset.

Reference List

Algahtani, D. (2014). Are Leadership and Management Different? A Review. Journal of Management Policies and Practices, 2(3).

Breevaart, K., Bakker, A., Hetland, J., Demerouti, E., Olsen, O. and Espevik, R. (2013). Daily transactional and transformational leadership and daily employee engagement. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 87(1), pp.138-157.

De Clercq, D., Bouckenooghe, D., Raja, U. and Matsyborska, G. (2014). Servant Leadership and Work Engagement: The Contingency Effects of Leader-Follower Social Capital. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 25(2), pp.183-212.

Gini, A. and Green, R. (2014). Three Critical Characteristics of Leadership: Character, Stewardship, Experience. Business and Society Review, 119(4), pp.435-446.

Hanold, M. (2017). Chapter 2: Understanding the Difference between Leadership and Management. pp.20-30.

Leviticus, J. (2017). Top Five Leadership Traits, Qualities & Skills. [online] Smallbusiness.chron.com. Available at: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/top-five-leadership-traits-qualities-skills-32557.html [Accessed 23 Nov. 2017].

Manning, T. (2013). A “contingent” view of leadership: 360 degree assessments of leadership behaviours in different contexts. Industrial and Commercial Training, 45(6), pp.343-351.

Perlman, E. (2017). A Fire Chief and His 'Family': A management approach that emphasizes support, not control. [online] Governing.com. Available at: http://www.governing.com/poy/Alan-Brunacini.html [Accessed 23 Nov. 2017].

Roser, C. (2014). Culture of Quality – A Comparison of Toyota and GM Recalls | AllAboutLean.com. [online] AllAboutLean.com. Available at: http://www.allaboutlean.com/toyota-gm-recalls/ [Accessed 23 Nov. 2017].

Topaloglu, C. and Yalcintas, M. (2017). The relationship between servant leadership behaviors and organizational citizenship behavior and work satisfaction in local governments. Pressacademia, 3(1), pp.431-441.

November 17, 2022
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