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Leadership has always been considered an integral part of an organization. Different leadership styles and principles have had an influence on the effectiveness and performance of any group. Also, various scholars have had mixed thoughts on different elements of leadership theories and principles and how they can be used to improve the organization’s efficacy. Notably, one of the most common functions of a leader is to set goals and motivate the subordinates towards achieving the organizational objectives. This paper critically reviews some of the literature on the leadership styles and principles that could be helpful in driving people to meet the set goals.
Leadership styles are the approaches that different leaders use to drive followers towards achieving the predetermined goals. According to Uzohue, Yaya, and Akintayo (2016), a better understanding of a leadership style is crucial for it helps to increase one’s knowledge and to manage efficiently.
Transformational leadership is one of the commonly studied leadership styles. A transformational leader is a motivator and encourages the followers to put the organizational objectives above theirs while helping them to ascend their Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. According to McCleskey (2014), transformational leaders impress their subordinates with their charisma. Mayfield & Mayfield (2017) also argues that transformational leadership helps the people to be creative by observation quality communication style. In the article produced by Uzohue et al., (2016), transformational leaders change the belief system of the followers and transforming them to become better leaders like themselves. However, Yukl (1999) criticizes transformational leadership by noting that the underlying management method of influence was unclear and there existed little empirical evidence of the impact of the transformational leadership on group work and organizations. According to him, there has always been an overlap between the construct and idealized influence of a leader.
Uzohue et al., (2016) describe autocratic leadership as a form of an extreme transactional leadership, where the leaders exercise complete control over their followers and decisions are made without involving other people. According to GO & JE (2015), an autocratic leader is very conscious of his post and, therefore, exhibits no trust between them and their subordinates. Such leaders tend to feel that the only way to motivate people is through an appropriate wage system. However, in Mayfield & Mayfield’s Motivating Language theory, a leader has to consider more than just the terms of remuneration of their workforce. As such, leaders need emotional sustenance to help them to be more creative and come up with solutions to issues in an organization (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2017).
Participative leadership, which is also called democratic leadership, is a style that encourages subordinates and followers to be part of the decision-making process. According to Khan, Khan, Qureshi, Ismail, & Rauf (2015), a democratic manager updates the subordinates on what might affect their work and shares decision making and roles in resolving issues. In Mayfield & Mayfield’s Motivation Leadership model, a leader is a coach who helps the people to understand their situations and therefore, perform their responsibilities more efficiently and effectively (Mayfield and Mayfield, 2017). A participative leader enhances confidence in his followers to show creativity and act as an anchor for their creative ideas. However, this leadership style can be time-consuming during the consultations, and a lot of discussions might lead to boredom (Khan et al., 2015).
Principles of Leadership
Principles of leadership help individuals to evaluate their traits to know and apply their effectiveness and abilities.
An effective leader is the one who knows and develops himself. According to Uzohue et al., (2016), active leaders frequently evaluate themselves by using the leadership traits to understand their strengths and weaknesses. However, it could be argued that even after knowing oneself, the position one already has might hinder him/her from seeking help that might develop his leadership style.
Understand Your Followers
It is always to understand the kind of people one is leading as well as the situation they are in. This might help in choosing the type of leadership styles to choose. According to Mayfield & Mayfield (2017), a leader always cares for their welfare and motivates them to be more creative.
Proper and Clear Communication
According to the Motivation and Leadership model, it is always important to communicate with the subordinates to inform them on matters that might affect their activities. Communication also ensures that all tasks are not only efficiently managed and distributed, but also the followers are motivated to accomplish them (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2017).
According to leadership theorists, followers are likely to act as their leader, and therefore, it becomes imperative for a leader to lead by example. Uzohue et al., (2016) states that followers should not only hear what the leader expects them to do, but they should also see the leader doing what he/she is saying.
Overall, application of relevant leadership principles and combining it with appropriate leadership style is set to give an organization the best output. While people might have different leadership styles, principles of leadership cut across and therefore, leaders are expected to adhere to such principles to ensure optimal motivation towards achieving the organizational objectives.