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Some Systematic Ways of Studying Leadership Style

Essay by   •  December 19, 2018  •  Essay  •  4,207 Words (17 Pages)  •  265 Views

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1.Trait Approach

Description/Explanation

Trait approach is the oldest systematic way of studying leadership style. This approach believes that great leaders are born with certain traits. In the mid-20th century, some researchers challenge that there is no consistent set of traits in leader and non-leader, but recently there are many researches showing that there many traits clearly contribute to leadership especially visionary and charismatic leadership. Some of the critical traits are intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability. Beside the critical traits, researchers have found five important personality factors associated with leadership namely neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Emotional intelligence is another factor recently suggested by researches as an important factor to be an effective leader.

How is this theory/approach applied?

Trait approach can be applied where an organization wants to find out which traits leaders required and who has these traits. Trait approach can also be applied for personal awareness and development as it allows the managers to understand the strength and weaknesses of the employees and how they could manage the employees effectively by changing and enhancing their leadership.

Strengths

The first strength of the trait approach is that it is fit into people believe that leaders are born with certain characteristics and can do great thing for team, organization or community. This approach fulfills the expectation of people of their leader possessing these special traits.

The second strength of trait approach is that this approach has a long history of study by researchers and gain a good credibility over other approaches.

The third strength of the trait approach is that this approach only focuses on leaders themselves instead of viewing leadership as wholistic approach composing leaders, followers and situation enabling people have deeper understanding on how leader and leader’s personality are related in the leadership process.

Weaknesses

The first weakness is that the too many leadership traits been generated by so many researchers and no consensus to a set of leadership traits been made so far. The second weakness is that this approach does not taking situation into account. The third weakness is that this approach is too subjective to determine the most important leadership traits.

What do you think about this theory/approach?

In my opinion, this approach can only be used as a guidance when selecting a leader because we need to take the situation into consideration and I believe that great leaders need a wholistic skills and knowledges to lead under different situation. This approach can be used for seeking Visionary and Charismatic leaders as the traits required for the two leaderships are more universally definitive.

2. Skills Approach

Description/Explanation

The skill approach suggests that the skills and abilities of an effective leader can be learnt. This is very different perspective from trait approach in which only focus on personality characteristic. Researchers have studied leadership skills approach and conceptualized them into two models namely: three skill approach and skill model of leadership.

The three skills approach includes technical, human and conceptual skill. All these three skills are important for the leaders but at the different level of organization, the three skill levels are required differently. For example, for a supervisor the technical skill and human skill are more important than conceptual skill and for top management the human and conceptual skills are more important than technical skill.The skill model conceptualized the leadership by five components namely core determinants consist of competencies, individual attributes and leadership outcomes. Career experiences and environmental influences are the other two components have impacts on leader competencies. The central focus of skill model is competencies which required leader to learn problem solving skills, social judgement skill and knowledge. The leaders’ competencies are directly impacted by leader attributes including general cognitive ability, crystallized ability, motivation and personality. The leaders’ competencies also affected by career experience and environment influences.

How is this theory/approach applied?

This skill approach helps to find out the strengths and weaknesses in the areas of technical, human and conceptual skills. The relevant training can be provided to bridge the deficiencies gap of skill and knowledge. Skill approach is a good supplement for the leadership development as extensive training programs can be provided to teach the leaders the important aspects of listening, creative problem solving, conflict resolution skill and much more.

Strengths

Firstly, the skill approach suggested that leadership skill can be acquired. With the conceptualize and structured of process of leadership, strengths and weaknesses of skills and knowledge are identified and training can be provided in the leadership development programs. Secondly, since skills can be acquired, it makes leadership to everyone. Thirdly, the conceptualize and structure of skill approach provide a wide variety of components including problem solving skill, social judgement skill, knowledge, individual attributes, career experiences and environment influences and each of these components can subdivided into subcomponents providing a big picture of leadership that showing all success factor of a leader.

Weaknesses

Firstly, the breadth of skill approach is beyond the boundaries of leadership. Secondly, the skill approach is weak in predictive value.

What do you think about this theory/approach?

In my opinion, skill approach very practical to apply in workplace because the skills and knowledge can be acquired. The relevant training can be provided to bridge the deficiencies gap of skill and knowledge. In trait approach, it is very hard to find leaders fit the required traits and therefore skill approach is a good supplement for the leadership development as extensive training programs can be provided to teach leaders and everyone can be trained as leaders.

3. Style Approach

The style approach focuses on behavior of the leader. This is different from trait approach which focuses on the personal characteristic and skill approach which focuses on the leader capabilities. The style approach focuses on the various context of subordinate and it situation and adjust the leadership style or behavior to act accordingly. Researchers conceptualize the style approach into two general type of behaviors: tasks behavior and relationship behaviors. Task behavior type of leadership focuses on goal achievement by helping team to achieve their objectives. Relationship behavior focuses on helping subordinates feel comfortable with themselves, with other and with the situation. The main focus-point of this type of approach is how the leader combine these two behaviors to act and influence when leading a group or organization.

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