State Importance Of Managerial Leadership. Explain Theories of Leadership.

Importance Of Managerial Leadership

The importance of managerial leadership in an organisation arises from the basic nature of the managerial and leadership roles of managers. Combination of these roles invariably leads to not only effective task performance and fuller achievement of organisation goals but also human satisfaction alround. This is because management is based on the formal authority of managers. Whereas, being leaders of work groups enables managers to achieve results on the basis of inter-personal relations. 

The leader manager identifies himself with the work group. He acts as an intermediary between his subordinates and the top management. He takes personal interest in the development of his subordinates, helps them in overcoming individual problems through advice and counselling, creates appropriate work environment and builds up team spirit. As a result the leader manager is able to develop better team work. The subordinates willingly accept his advice, guidance and direction and are inspired as a group to accomplish the specific goals.




Theories Of Leadership

There are a number of theories which provide explanations regarding various aspects of the leadership phenomenon. Let us examine some of the theories.

 

Trait Theory : This is the earliest theory based on a distinction between the personal qualities or traits of successful leaders. The theory suggests a list of personality traits or characteristics which must be present in a person for his success as a leader. According to this theory, leaders must be physically strong and well-built, intelligent, honest and mentally mature. He must have initiative, self-confidence, ability to take decisions, and so on. Since all individuals did not have these qualities, only those who had them would be considered potential leaders. Following are the limitations of this theory:

i)     The trait theory is not accepted as a valid theory.

ii)    There is no universally agreed list of traits associated with successful leaders.

iii)   It is difficult to measure the traits and, therefore it is not always possible to distinguish between leaders and followers.

 

Behavioural Theories : The behavioural theories of leadership are based on the belief that leaders can be identified by reference to their behaviour in relation to the followers. In other words, it is suggested that leadership can be described in terms of what leaders do rather than what they are. Behavioural theories have been presented mostly on the basis of research studies. According to the studies conducted in the States of Michigan, USA, leaders who treat their subordinates as human beings, are concerned about their well-being, and encourage and involve them in goal setting, are more effective. They are described as ‘employee-centred’ leaders. On the other hand, leaders who are ‘production-centred’ emphasise job performance in conformity with prescribed standards. He exercises close control over the employees as if they were tools of production. Such a leadership is associated with unsatisfactory work performance due to the low morale of employees.

Studies conducted in Ohio State University showed two dimensions of leader’s behaviour viz., Initiating structure and Consideration. Initiating structure refers to the leader’s behaviour in delineating the relationship between himself and members of the work group and in endeavouring to establish well defined pattern of organisation, channels of communication and methods of procedure. Whereas, consideration refers to behaviour indicative of friendship, mutual trust, respect and warmth in the relationship between leader and the members of his staff.

 

Situational Theories : In the situational theories of leadership the success of leadership depends upon the situation in which the leader operates.

According to leadership contingency model developed by Fred E. Fiedler, the leader’s effectiveness depend upon three situational factors:

i) Leader-followers relations, that is the degree of follower’s trust, confidence and respect for the leader.

ii)    The extent to which the task performed by subordinates is routine or non-routine (known as task structure).

iii)   The position power of the leader, that is, the power associated with the rank and position of the leader in the organisation. He defined favourableness of a situation as the degree to which the situation enables the leader to exert his influence over his group.

The most favourable situation for leaders to influence their group is one in which they are well liked by the members, the task is highly structured (i.e., routinised and predictable) and the leader has enormous power attached to his position. On the other the most unfavourable situation for leaders is one in which they are disliked, the task is highly unstructured and he will have little position power.

Another situational theory is the ‘Path-Goal Theory’. According to this theory, leaders are effective due to their influence on followers’ motivation, ability to perform, and their satisfaction. Subordinates are motivated by the leader to the extent he is able to influence their expectancies relating to the performance and attractiveness of the goal. Further, individuals are satisfied with their job if they believe that (a) performance of the job will lead to desirable outcomes and (b) with hard work they will be able to achieve the desirable outcomes.

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