Leadership has for a long time been recognized as an integral factor in the success of any society. This is also true for organizations, where leadership plays a vital role in shaping the performance and overall success of an organization. Leaders have been described as a key human resource for any organization. Kaiser, Hogan and Craig (2008) posit that organizations compete on many fronts, including leadership. They state that effective leaders contribute to the creation of effective employees who consequently influence the organization’s performance. According to Kaiser, Hogan and Craig (2008), the performance of an organization is significantly dependent on the leaders. Leadership has also been recognized as a factor that brings together the four main factors of production, namely capital, labor, land and entrepreneurship (Carson, Tesluk & Marrone, 2007).
The roles of leaders in organizations include setting the direction, implementation of plans and serving as a source of motivation to subordinates. Different leaders utilize different styles when dispensing their duties (Vinkenburg et al., 2011). The widely accepted leadership styles are those described in the three-dimension theory of leadership. They include autocratic, democratic and Laissez-faire leadership styles (Hoel et al., 2009). Leaders who employ the autocratic approach retain a high degree of power and control over those below them. Such leaders are central authority figures, making use of one-way communication and are in full control of decision-making processes (Hoel et al., 2009).
Democratic leaders are quite the opposite of autocratic leaders. Those who utilize this style of leadership involve other members of the organization in the decision-making process. Besides that, they also maintain a two-way communication (Vinkenburg et al., 2011). This allows both the leaders and followers to maintain a relationship not based on fear, but more on respect. Under the Laissez-faire leadership style, leaders are not directly involved in the decision-making process. Teams of employees are responsible for the decision-making processes. The team members are also responsible for making work assignments and evaluating tasks. The leaders do not supervise workers, and the communication is usually upwards from subordinates to leaders (Hoel et al., 2009).
Carson, J., Tesluk, P., & Marrone, J. (2007). Shared Leadership In Teams: An Investigation Of Antecedent Conditions And Performance. Academy Of Management Journal, 50(5), 1217-1234. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/20159921
Hoel, H., Glasø, L., Hetland, J., Cooper, C., & Einarsen, S. (2009). Leadership Styles as Predictors of Self-reported and Observed Workplace Bullying. British Journal of Management. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8551.2009.00664.x
Kaiser, R., Hogan, R., & Craig, S. (2008). Leadership and the fate of organizations. American Psychologist,63(2), 96-110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066x.63.2.96
Vinkenburg, C., van Engen, M., Eagly, A., & Johannesen-Schmidt, M. (2011). An exploration of stereotypical beliefs about leadership styles: Is transformational leadership a route to women's promotion?. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(1), 10-21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2010.12.003
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