Leadership is critical to the success of every organization. Various leadership theories suggest diverse ways in which leaders should involve their followers in realization of the organization’s goals. Equally, the theories bear similarities. In the modern complex organizations, no single leadership theory can be applied exclusively but application of a combination of leadership theories is critical to organizational success.
Description of the Substitute for Leadership Theory and Transformational Theory
Substitute for Leadership Theory
Substitute for leadership theory is founded on the principle that there are certain situational factors in which the leader’s influence is either neutralized or substituted i.e. the leader’s impact is limited. There are numerous factors that diminish a leader’s influence on task performance. The factors are broadly into: individual traits; features of the job; and organizational characteristics. Followers’ experience, ability and training may substitute leadership; if the substitutes are armed with the experience and skills essential in executing a task, they will not require leadership (Northouse, 2010). Similarly, motivated employees enjoy their work and perform it well due to the satisfaction derived. Employees who are indifferent to organizational rewards may neutralize leadership. Highly structured jobs and organization with clear policies on goal reduce the need for leadership. Various work norms and strong feelings among members of a team influence their job performance rendering task and relationship leadership less crucial (Rickards & Moger, 1998).
On the other hand, transformational leadership is a leadership that creates valued and positive change in the followers. Transformational leaders motivate followers to achieve by focusing on the follower’s ideals and assisting the followers to align these values with the values of the organization. The premise of the transformational theory is the leader’s capacity to motivate the follower to achieve more than what the follower intended to accomplish. The theory is founded on four core principles: inspirational transformation; intellectual simulation; idealized influence; and individualized consideration (Winkler, 2010). Motivate followers are able to align their values to those of the organization leading to increased productivity. Transformational leadership is a relationship in which both the leader and the followers influence each other (Daft & Lane, 2008).
Similarities and Differences between the Two Theories
The two theories stress that there are particular recognizable actions that any leader can execute in any given situation. For example, the level of motivation in an organization should be visible; motivated employees act differently from demoralized workers. Moreover, both theories’ basic philosophy is the nurturing of followers’ capability until they gain the desired leadership qualities (Barna, 2013). On the converse, the two theories differ in that the substitute leadership theory acknowledges the role played by the followers in the leadership process. The transformational leadership overstresses the traits and conduct of the leader with followers being mere spectators. Substitute structural leadership theory recognizes the fact that teams develop to a level that they influence each other (lateral) and emergence of states such as group cohesion and shared leadership as opposed to the transformational leadership argument that leadership is hierarchical. Leadership is a complex process and understating it should concentrate on both the leader and the follower equally (Glenn, 2010).
One Practical Application (In the Workplace) of Each Leadership Theory
In the development of smartphones, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was managed to instill the creativity mindset in his workers leading to the development of the life changing devices. He devised the company slogan-think different-with a mission to transform the way people live. Jobs commitment to the slogan and mission statement influenced his employees who embraced them (David, 2013). Today, Apple has grown to be the world most respected company with highly innovative employees. Jobs acted as a transformational leader returning into profitability a company that was on the verge of collapsing. The team spirit and cohesiveness in Apple has matured and employees no longer require direction from the executive to develop highly innovative products. Furthermore, they have acquired the skills and expertise to develop cutting edge technology and devices thus situational features have reduced the need for a leader (Huszczo, 2010).
Though a single organization, Apple employs both the substitute leadership and transformational leadership theories to accomplish its vision and mission. Therefore, it is essential that leaders embrace various leadership theories in a bid to attaining their aspirations.
Barna, G. (2013). The power of team leadership: Achieving success through shared responsibility. Colorado Springs, Colorado: WaterBrook Press.
Daft, R. L., & Lane, P. G. (2008). The leadership experience. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.
David, L. M. (2013). The New Generation of Leadership: Transforming Ordinary Young People into Outstanding and Growing Leaders. West Bow Pr.
Glenn, P. (2010). Team leadership: 20 proven tools for success. S.l.: Hrd Press, U S.
Huszczo, G. E. (2010). Tools for team leadership: Delivering the X-factor in team excellence. Boston: Davies-Black.
Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Rickards, T., & Moger, S. (1998). A team approach to creativity. Brookfield, Vt., USA: Gower.
Winkler, I. (2010). Contemporary leadership theories: Enhancing the understanding of the complexity, subjectivity and dynamic of leadership. Berlin: Springer.