The present paper delineates mainly the two types of leadership styles; one the charismatic leadership style and the other situational leadership style. While the charismatic leadership style is based on the personal charisma of the leader, the situational leadership style is based on the perception of the situation. The charismatic leadership despite inspiring in its appeal is not a participatory style of leadership. This style of leadership is hard to be sustained and does not promote participation and involvement of all. A situational leader changes his style as per the demand of the situation and involves the participation of the followers. There is two-way communications, unlike a charismatic leadership style. Since, there is people's involvement and participation, and there is flexibility in approach, the situational leadership style is more effective than the charismatic leadership style.
Organizational behavior refers to human behavior in organizational setup, the interaction between the human behavior and the organization, and the behavior of the organization itself. The study of human behavior with respect to organizations can be categorized into three parts namely: 1) Micro-Level- the behavior of individual in organizations, 2) Meso-level-behavior in work groups, and 3) Macro-level- the behavior of organizations themselves (Cook; “Organizational Behavior”). The present treatise concentrates and dwells at length on charismatic leadership and situational leadership and examines their effectiveness.
Christian Barnard, the author of pioneering creations in organizational studies and management theory, opined that the behavior of individuals in organizations differs drastically from the behavior away or separately from organizations. The researchers of organizational behavior study individual behavior mainly in organizational settings (Cook; “Organizational Behavior”).
The concept of organizational behavior has encompassed anthropology, ethics and aesthetic spheres of organization, and leadership studies in the last two decades. Organizational behavior is closely related to the leadership style as it is a well-established fact that those dealing effectively with organizations and work groups are considered to have been endowed with leadership qualities. Based on these qualities, there have been several approaches and theories related to leadership. Early theories emphasized characteristics of leaders, their personalities, but later theories stressed leader behavior, and situations under which leaders can be effective. There have been several leadership theories and approaches (“Organizational Behavior”).
The styles used by leaders are based on different values, beliefs, and assumptions combining with organizational norms and culture. Some of the important leadership styles include charismatic leadership, situational leadership, participative leadership, transactional leadership, transformational leadership, servant leadership, and the quite leadership (Leadership Styles). However, there are two types of leadership. One is the transformational leadership theory encompassing charismatic leadership that is based on personality cut, and the second, contingency leadership theory encompassing situational leadership that depends on characteristics of the leader as well as on the situation. The latter also includes relationships between the leader supervisors and subordinates (Cook; “Organizational Behavior”).
Charismatic leadership is characterized by charm and grace, and self-belief and personal admiration. A charismatic leader has personality and charm through which he gains followings, and not with any formal power or authority. He “works the room” and “plays to the house” paying attention to individuals such that every individual believes he is important, and this approach brings followers for him. He uses a variety of methods to build his image, if not naturally charismatic, strives to develop skills to suit the personality cult. He minutely reads the moods of the people and influences them with personal charm and visible sacrifice. Reposing great confidence in his followers, he uses symbols and metaphors including storytelling to influence them. A charismatic leader is persuasive and believes in taking personal risks. Both the body language and the verbal language used by a charismatic leadership are theatrical and dramatic intended to make followers believe in him. He builds and leads a group that may be political, cult, business or religious (“Organizational Behavior”).
Dunphy and Stace (1994) point out many disadvantages of charismatic style of leadership. First, the style is heavily dependent on the way of functioning and personality of the leader and is based on his capacity to visualize and deliver. Participating and sharing are the two terms sorely missed in this style of leadership. The style creates confusion as to what is needed, commitment to the vision or to the leader. Charismatic leaders are more innovators than sustainers. They are destined to be absent from the scene on sensing things are not going in the right direction, and it may give rise to the leadership vacuum (Biviano, 2000).
As per Filley and House (1969), there are three theories of leadership based on extensive empirical testing, and these include trait theory, behavioral theory, and situational theory. The trait theory is characterized by identifiable characteristics such as "what the leader is" while behavioral theory is based on patterns of behavior that may be categorized as supportive, autocratic, and instrumental. However, a leadership style is evolved in 1950's that is called "situational leadership" based on the relationship between the leader and a variety of variables in the work situation. (Hersey and Blanchard.1996; “The situational leadership.”). The model of situational leadership is based on the premise there is no "one size fit all". Varying the degree of leadership and management is required depending on the contemporary situation. Leaders should first prioritize their tasks, and then need to take into consideration the appropriate level of readiness of the followers by critically analyzing the ability and the willingness of groups of followers. Situational leaders identify a few, say three, important tasks at hand, and while doing so; they take into account the need of the participation and commitment of the entire team. Thus, based on the situation, these types of leaders involve groups as a whole in deciding priorities. They are specific and to the point in their approaches facilitating cooperation and participation. Second step involves diagnosing readiness level of followers that is key element to the success of the endeavors. Then the consideration of the appropriate leadership style comes into the picture.
Based on above discussed variables, leaders are expected to apply the most proper leadership style to deal with a particular type of situation. There exhibits four particular styles of situational leadership that include directing, coaching, supporting and delegating. The situational leadership approach is applicable at a situation when there is low willingness and low ability to perform the task at hand. The followers are not being able to take up, or being afraid of taking up, a task, situational leaders expected to take a highly directive role. Directing involves defining of roles and tasks of followers and subsequent monitoring. Decisions are taken by those at the helm of affairs, and the communication is unidirectional. Directing is resorted to when the issues involved are serious, and are required to be redressed (Hersey and Blanchard.1996; “The situational leadership.”).
The second situational leadership style involves coaching which is the most proper style to use when there is a high willingness, but low ability to take up the task on the part of followers. As in the case of directing, coaching also requires defining of roles and tasks by the situational leaders. However, the leaders under this leadership style involve followers and take their views and suggestion for considerations. Although decisions are the prerogatives of leaders, at least, two-way communications is there. Followers under the situation require direction, praise, and support for their confidence building. Coaching involves listening, helping, and advising followers to gain confidence. The third leadership style of this type, supporting, is applicable in the situation when the willingness is low but ability high. Supportive leadership style is effective in the situation when followers can perform, but lack commitment. Under this leadership style, instead of finding faults with followers, leaders try to understand their problems as to why they are not cooperating. Supporting and sympathizing with them spur and motivate them to perform. Since followers need motivation, clarifications and cajoling would not do. Confidence building by being supportive of their viewpoints is needed under the situation. The fourth type of situational leadership, delegating, is the approach most applicable in cases when both willingness and ability are high. Delegation is needed when followers have the ability and necessary motivation to perform. Under the situation, followers require little supervision and support. Followers being in control, they communicate back to leaders. No cajoling or praise is needed in this situation, but due recognition is essential (Hersey and Blanchard.1996; “The situational leadership.”).
As per Hersey and Blanchard (1996), a leader used to be the boss in the past, but as on today leaders should be partners with their people. As a leader, he has to understand the different emotional and development levels of followers in a work environment and has to adopt a leadership style befitting the situation. As per Esther, (2011) situational leadership theory asserts that one style of leadership cannot be applicable to all situations. It means thereby that the leadership style should be changed according to the level of knowledge and skills pertaining to a task ordained (Esther, 2011).
For the success of an organization, an enterprise, or a society; effective leadership is a must. Leaders have the responsibility to show the vision of the future, and they direct, coach, support, and delegate to achieve the goals of the society or organization. Organizations and societies select a person as their leader who can deliver as per the needs of the group. The situational leadership style takes into account the changing or changed situations, and leaders, accordingly, change their lines of leaderships. For instance, people in general or a group of employees may possess a low level of skill and motivation. In this context, the situation necessitates leaders to direct the people or the employees (Hersey and Blanchard.1996; “The situational leadership.”).
Moral and motivation are the two important factors affecting employee retention. The employee turnover is costly for organizations recruiting, hiring and training personnel due to some of them leaving the organizations. The level of support and high morale provided by situational leaders reduces employee turnover. Situational leaders facilitate cooperation and participation.In many situations, it permits two-way communications (Hersey and Blanchard.1996; “The situational leadership.”). The charismatic leadership despite being seductive and inspiring in its appeal is not a participatory style of leadership. This type of leadership is a myth that charms people at large and employees of an organization. This style of leadership precipitates, but hardly sustains. Many times, the leader himself gets disillusioned and leaves the center stage. Asserting leadership is fine, but the personality cult does not permit the creation of the second line of command. Although, it delivers at short span of time, it is not enough. This style of leadership does not promote participation and involvement of all. It is the leader who charms people or employees with his charismatic style manifested in his style and manner of speaking, his antics, his body language, his storytelling, and the use of similes and metaphors. In this style of leadership, there is no common good or interest of people, but only the self-interest. In order to consider the interests of the common people or a group of people, one has to read the situation, the simmering discontent or the likes. A leader must act as per the demand of the situation, and redress the deep-rooted maladies rather than showing the personal charisma. The situational leadership is the need of the hour as it involves participation and involvement. There is two-way communications, and decisions are based on facts presented. The situational leadership style creates self-confidence in employees as well as in public and motivates them to work for the goal. A situation may just demand recognition of the efforts made while some other may require supporting or coaching. People may be charmed momentarily by the charismatic personality, but it is likely to wane with the passage of time. It achieves results through seductive ways that stimulates and engages employees, but does not deliver cultural changes that last long (Lorette, 2014). A situational leader studies the current situation and behaves accordingly. This type of leadership takes a balanced approach and is more effective. The employees get motivated by the situational approach and feel vindicated. It results in high motivation and involvement. The situational leadership style is also cost effective as it affects employee turnover favorably (Lorette, K.2014). The effectiveness of leadership depends on leaders adapting to changes in the perception of a situation.
Thus, flexibility is the watchword of the effective leadership. Charisma cannot deliver long-term results coherent with the group goal. Situational leadership is the demand of the time and the most effective of all.
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