Organizational leadership is the bread and butter of managing a business or organization – it involves a series of skills and techniques that are absolutely integral to handling whatever problems a leader can come across in the course of leading. In this essay, the aspects of leadership, followship and managerial behavior will be explored, as well as the varying types of organizational leadership that can be called upon in a group.
The essence of leadership in an organization can be summed up as forming good relationships with the people in an organization – both between members and with members and the leader. Collaboration is the essence of good leadership, utilizing everyone’s strengths and diminishing their weaknesses. No strategy for effective leadership is the same between two organizations or two leaders – the attitudes and strengths of each member of the team has to be taken into account, as well as the objectives and efficiencies of the organization itself (Stroup, 2011).
Good followship involves having members of an organization who are willing to heed the leader’s orders and instructions, and provide their part of the well-oiled machine that is an effective organization. A good follower must be able to understand their subordinate role in the organization itself, but also provide advice and counsel as needed or asked by the leader. A follower must be at the disposal of the leader, and not vice versa. Ego is a secondary concern for good followship, as an organization full of people who think their idea is the best idea is just full of leaders, not followers.
Followship does not have to require mindless obedience; in fact, a good follower keeps track of the leader, providing accountability and a greater pool of information from which the leader can draw. The leader can make final decisions, but it does not mean they only choose their ideas – leaders rely on their followers to assist them with their own jobs. This is a vital task, as the pool of ideas an organization brings to bear must be funneled through a singular vision (the leader’s).
Being a leader means being a manager – someone who has to juggle a great many duties, from the actual task at hand to the personal and professional needs of one’s followers. A good manager must see to the needs of all their employees and subordinates, while still keeping the best interests of the organization in mind. Managers, in order to handle the ebb and flow of a given day in their organization, should not plan things out too rigidly; instead they just remain flexible, having plenty of overall goals in mind, but making sure they can accommodate emergencies and situations with their followers.
Of course, there is more to manager’s behavior than working on one’s employees – the business itself must take precedence. Networking, handling administrative duties and third parties/clients are other essential parts of the job. At the same time, the employees must not be ignored; if they have latent issues with a manager’s organizational methods, that incompatibility has to be addressed in order to ensure unit cohesion and a united front that all parts of the machine are working toward the same goal.
Situational leadership involves a very context-based leadership style – it shifts and morphs depending on the situation or individual a leader is working with. There are many different types of people, and with that different ways of handling them in order to get what a leader wants out of them. Confrontational people need to be reminded of their place within the hierarchy, and shyer people need to know that their contributions are respected and encouraged. A situational leader takes a subtly different approach to each person they encounter, tailoring their managerial style to what best works for that person. The type of individual that becomes a situational leader must be constantly flexible, ever willing to adapt – there is no specific personality or singular management style that the situational leader develops. Instead, they improvise according to the situation, developing a plethora of skills to deal with every personality type imaginable (Farrington, 2011).
There are two particular types of behavior in situational leadership that must be adopted by situational leaders in order to thrive. With directive behavior, one takes a firmer hand with employees, making sure to dictate their every move and get them working where you need them to work. These people need to be closely supervised – this works well with individuals who are good workers, but unfocused and not prone to initiating work on their own. Alternatively, supportive behavior is used most effectively on people with significant initiative, in order to keep their motivation up (and make them feel that they are part of the group). Supportive behavior includes encouragement of their existing duties, and bringing them into the decision-making process (Farrington, 2011).
Transformational leadership is a type of leadership wherein the leader takes a more inspiring, personal role in the lives and motivations of their workers, and attempts to tackle a problem with enthusiasm and energy. When someone chooses to become a transformational leader, the goal is to ‘transform’ and alter the attitudes of their workers in an inspirational way. A transformational leader takes an active role in why the worker works they way they do, and seeks to insert an enthusiasm and energy into the workplace. A transformational leader’s goal is to get everyone under their command excited and energized for the task ahead, making them not only productive, but high in morale (“Transformational Leadership,” 2011).
A transformational leader is much more concerned with the welfare of their workers than other types of leaders, as they recognize that the heads of their workers have to be in the game in order to get the most out of them. They create ‘followers,’ those who not only want to do their job, but earn the satisfaction of the leader. This is accomplished through a giving attitude and the creation of a specific ‘vision’ for the organization, which must be developed and sold; the vision itself will excite and encourage one’s followers to work toward it. (“Transformational Leadership,” 2011).
In conclusion, there are many aspects to organizational leadership. In an organization or business, a leader needs to find a managerial style that best fits their personality and the demands of their employees. Whether it be situational (handling each employee with regards to their specific needs) or transformational (adopting a particular style that properly inspires all employees to do their job), the leader must be able to appropriately apply this style to their managerial actions; otherwise, the motivation and assistance of one’s workers is lost.
Farrington, J. (2011, February 20). The Nature Of Successful Leadership. Changingminds.org. Retrieved August 4, 2011, from http://changingminds.org/articles/articles11/successful_leadership.htm
Stroup, J. (2011, July 15). What Is Organizational Leadership? Managing Leadership. Retrieved August 4, 2011, from http://managingleadership.com/blog/2004/07/15/what-is-organizational-leadership/
Transformational Leadership. (2011, May 5). Changingminds.org. Retrieved August 4, 2011, from http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/transformational_leadership.htm