Leadership is a process, through which a person can socially influence his subordinates, by aiding and supporting them, and ultimately accomplishing the common task. It involves a clear vision, which needs to be shared with others, specially its method, knowledge and information, so that the others follow it willingly and realise the vision, which is sometimes to achieve the company’s goal altogether. In a simple meaning a leader can be a person who guides and directs people and whom people trust and follow, or sometime it is achieving a common goal, through collectively organising people. A leader is a person who is beside during the time of crisis, and also capable of solving it. A leader is born with some characteristics, and it cannot be taught, but it can be learned. Bill Gates is an example of a good leader, as despite of his failure, he continued innovation and passion, and also the way he inspired his subordinates to perform and achieving the target, today drove Microsoft and the software industry to success. We can also include Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, in the list of a good leader (Armstrong, 2006).
The Characteristics of a Good Leader:
The characteristics that make a good leader are as follows:
Autocratic Leadership: The leaders posses the sole authority, and directs his subordinates to work according to his will. He imposes his rights and discretion on his team members. No member has the authority to challenge his decision. This type of leadership is beneficial when the subordinates fail to take their own decision, and need close supervision. The countries which follow this type of leadership are Cuba and North Korea.
Democratic/ Participative Leadership: This leadership style encourages full participation of the subordinates and team members in the decision making process, but the final decision is made by the leader. Participative leadership motivates and boosts the morale of the employees, the employees understands their value and responsibility towards the organisation and face new challenges.
Laissez-Faire Leadership: This type of leadership has no authority, the leader completely depends on his subordinates and team members in the decision making process, he lacks direct supervision of his team (Armstrong, 2006). The highly experienced and trained employees require little supervision; this can lead to poor production and lack of control over costs and expenses.
Transactional Leadership: This leadership style follows carrot and stick approach, the leader goes by performance, rewards or punishes his team members according to the results of their performance. The whole team including the leader has a predetermined common goal, which is accomplished and achieved by the direction of the leader. The leader here trains and develops his subordinates accordingly.
Transformational Leadership: This leadership is highly dependent on communication from management, to meet its goals. The work of the leader is to motivate his team members and increase their efficiency and productivity, through communication. This style needs involvement of the management in the process of achieving the target, the leader here focuses maximum, and delegates’ smaller task to his team to accomplish goals (Armstrong, 2006).
Theories of Leadership:
Trait Theory: “Leaders are born, not made”, the traits are inborn, innate, and inherent personal qualities, is said in this theory. According to this theory leadership is a set of personality traits, the oldest theory which popularised from the time of the ancient Greeks. This theory also been called as the ‘Great Man Theory’, because it is base on a set of traits, common to great men, it seeks to rationalise the greatness of leaders, it follows that a leader is thought to have certain traits, which makes him different and separate him from the common mass (Derue, 2011).
The following traits which are identified:
Behavioural Theories: The belief that ‘great leader are made, not born’ comes from this theory. This theory focuses on leadership actions, not on physical or mental qualities and etc. (Derue, 2011). According to this theory, people through teaching, training and observation can learn to become good leaders.
Contingency Theories: This leadership styles focuses on the environmental variables, which determines the style. According to this theory, no leadership style is best in every situation.
Situational Theories: The best course of action taken by the leader depends upon the situation. Where the leader is knowledgeable, autocratic type is applicable, where the team members are knowledgeable, democratic type is applicable.
Participative Theories: This leadership theory focuses on the team members participation, the leaders encourages contribution and participation from the group members, in the decision making process.
Management Theories: Also known as transactional theories, focuses on group performance, rewards like bonus, promotion and incentives to the good performer, and punishment, for those who fail to perform.
Relationship Theories: Also known as transformational theory. The leaders inspire and motivate their subordinates, by helping them to understand the importance of the task, focused on the performance of the whole group. This leadership style is moral and ethical. (Armstrong, 2006)
Relation between Trust and Leadership:
Trust is firm belief in reliability. This is an emotional act; where people disclose their secrets, but believe that, no advantage will be taken of their openness. Friendship, love companionship, agreement and relaxation are some emotions which are attached with trust. It is safe, when a person is surrounded by those people he trusts. Trust is something, when something (kind or cash) is given, and it is expected that it will be repaid, in some unspecific time in the future, the time can be during emergency (Shawn, et.al., 2007)
Trust and Leadership:
Trust is the key component, for a successful relation between a leader and his subordinates, it enables cooperation, manage and solve problems, encourages information and knowledge sharing, increases mutual openness and acceptance. Leadership is based on trust, trust of the subordinates towards the leader, trust of the team members towards the manager etc. (Shawn, et.al., 2007). Trust, the leader will guide the followers is the right track, which will lead to the group success overall and accomplishment of the common goals. It is like the leader proving himself, trustworthy to his followers.
Qualities to gain trust in leadership:
- Generosity: The leaders should be unbiased and generous in every aspect, and treat each one in the same way. He can make the work done by developing a sense of fear in the minds of the group members, but ultimately he will lose his respect in this process.
- Open minded: Learning from mistakes, and acceptance of criticisms are the examples of open mindedness (Goleman, 2000). By this he can gain trust and respect from his subordinates.
- Recognition: A good performer always gets motivated when his work is being recognised, and it is the task of the leader to reward him for his performance. The leader himself also needs to prove himself as a dedicated and competent person, to his followers.
- Fairness: A leader should encourage and motivate all the followers towards the common goal, and in this process it is needed that he remains fair to all (Goleman, 2000).
- Honesty: Honesty is the best policy, and a leader should posses this quality to gain trust.
- Communication: Effective communication leads to trust and confidence. Helping the employees to understand the common goals, company’s overall business strategies, and the objectives can create a trustworthy relation between them (Shawn, et.al., 2007).
Value of Trust in Leadership:
- Team management: The team building and its management is completely dependent on the trust between the members and the leader. The efficiency, effectiveness, of the team totally depends on the relationship between each one of them, the behaviour of all the members and the leader should be trustworthy, to each one of them (Shawn, et.al., 2007).
- Motivation: When people are recognised for their work, they get motivated, and motivation brings confidence, the will boosts up, and the work is done automatically. The incentives like bonus, promotion, hike in salary, and rewards (kinds and cash) are the keys to motivation.
- Communication: This is an important factor, which leads to performance. Proper communication between different levels of management and the members of the team is essential to achieve the common goal. Communication builds trust.
- Learning: An effective leader and an efficient employee learn from his mistake. It helps in rectification of the mistakes, also to build faith and reliability. If the leader and his followers have faith for each other, then they can gain knowledge from each one of them (Shawn, et.al., 2007).
Leadership and Trust are two related concepts, without one the other is nowhere. Without trust of the followers, the existence of the leader is questionable. The leader should posses those charactaristics, by which he can manage and motivate his team mate to acconplish the common goal of the organisation (Gibb, 2004). The leader is the guide, whose task is to make his group members understand the business strategies, the companys goals and objectives, and also how to achieve those. He shares his knowledge and information, to accomplish the task in a more efficient way.
Armstrong, M. (2006). A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, 10th ed, London.
Derue, D.S., Nahrgang, J.D., Wellman, N & Humphrey, S.E. (2011). Trait and behavioral
theories of leasership: An integration and meta-analytic test of their relative validity. Personnel Psychology, 64. Retrieved from http://www.personal.psu.edu/seh25/DeRueNahrgangWellmanHumphrey2011.pdf
Gibb, A. (2004). Training for Enterprise, The Role of Education and Training in Small
and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development. Durham: Durham University Business
Goleman, D. (2000). Leadership that gets results. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from http://www.edplus.canterbury.ac.nz/school_leadership/documents/hbr_leadership_get s_results_(goleman).pdf
Shawn, B.C., Sims, D.E., Lazzara, E. H. and Salas, E. (2007). Trust in leadership: A multi- level review and integration. The Leadership Quarterly, 18, pp. 606–632.