Understanding Leadership

The most fundamental question under the philosophical paradigm is to find out who shall be the ruler of the masses? Leadership we understand as a social title is also a skill which exercises the identification and organization tendencies among human beings. An individual who is able to organize and produce a momentum of collective efforts will be seen as an effective leader. A leader has diverse responsibilities that reach semantic placements in an organization. They not only have a responsibility towards defining long term goals for any organization but additionally have a moral duty to motivate and encourage their subordinates to collectively achieve their targets.

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Leaders follow their own pattern of implementing their ideas to motivate and encourage their team for reaching the desired goals. Kurt Lewin in 1939 identified three styles of leadership which are still relevant today.

Autocratic Style of leadership:

A leader who follows an autocratic or authoritative style of leadership has a defined goal in their mind. There is no exchange of ideas between team members that reach their leader. Instead, they are closely monitored, micromanaged, and given feedback at every turn on their performance. This style of leadership is best applied in industries and organizations where decision making and creativity are not required such as manufacturing industries, defence personnel during the war following a chain of command etc. In a typical work context, Authoritative leaders are not well received by their subordinates. They are often labelled as ‘dominating’, ‘insensitive’ etc.

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Democratic style of leadership:

People often prefer to work with a leader who listens to the group, actively facilitates and participates in group decision making and gives either appreciation or constructive feedback for the targets achieved by team members. Team members produce a higher quality of work and report a higher rate of work satisfaction. However, this style of leadership is not applicable in situations where the team members are not skilled or have a vision for the future. The productivity rate will be affected resulting in low business yields.

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Delegative Leadership:

The Leader provides access to resources and materials to team members but has no say in the decision-making process. Team members are expected to make decisions and take responsibility for their own work. The leader only provides goals, directions and resources, but does not actively participate by monitoring the team, ensuring team members stay on track, or even providing effective feedback. Delegative leadership best works in situations where team members show strong motivation and possess high skill levels to make independent decisions and manage work by themselves. However, with full autonomy given to the team, there are less cooperation and coordination efforts among team members. Their focus is maintained only on their tasks and reaching goals. For team members who are not skilled, the Delegative leadership style fails to empower them because efficient monitoring and feedback on their output and quality of work are missing. This often results in miscommunication, and interpersonal problems between skilled and developing team members. Only when a leader has the confidence in the team- Delegative leadership works.

Assessing the leadership styles:

Certain skills and traits common among all leaders include the ability to efficiently communicate, distribute tasks based on the skillset and knowledge of their team members, able to motivate and give goal clarity to the team and provide practical and workable solutions to work and work-related problems and lastly give meaningful feedback which their team members can work upon. So how do we know, these traits are present in our leaders? Certain tests like SurveySparrow, DISC, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Gallups Strengths Finder, Saville Assessment, Enneagram, USC&aposs Leadership Style Self-Assessment, and The IHHP Emotional Intelligence can effectively identify traits in individuals who have the potential leadership skills among them.