Inheriting an appropriate organisational leadership style

By Sneha Gaonkar & Priya Chetty on June 26, 2021

Organisational leadership refers to motivating and leading employees to their optimum potential to fulfil a common purpose (Northouse, 2017). Leadership implies applying the leadership capabilities and traits to inspire, motivate and respond to a specific situation in a constructive manner. Efficient organisational leaders can influence subordinates’ behaviour and work, resulting in increased productivity for accomplishing the organization’s broader goals. Leaders through their potential vision for growth and good communication skills get work done effectively. As such, good organisational leadership forms an integral part of effective management, essential for the success of an organization and its goals (Cameron, 2012). So, organizations must evolve and foster leadership abilities, through proper skills development programs, for its constructive and successful performance.

Transformational leadership style

Under transformational leadership styles, the leaders encourage and motivate their subordinates with a vision, to work productively to their optimum capacity for the achievement of the common goals (Blane, 2017). Transformational leaders are visionaries who exhibit leadership traits like courage, confidence, empathy, employee ownership, innovation and are ready to challenge old routines to bring change (Mazzetti et al., 2018). Famous transformational leaders include Steve Jobs and Winston Churchill. The good characteristics of transformational leaders include:

  • They place high importance on fulfilling organisation objectives.
  • Employee motivation and morale is high leading to higher productivity.
  • Lower employee turnover rate.
  • Places high emphasis on the relationship to get work done.
  • Encourages innovation and change management.

And, some of the disadvantages of this leadership style include:

  • Could create negative results, if their vision is not ethical or legal.
  • The team would require continual motivation and feedback.
  • This leadership style may not work where employees do not agree with the vision of the transformational leader.
  • A risk-taking attitude may lead to a policy breach leading to conflict between management, employees and other key stakeholders.

Transactional leadership style

Transactional leaders place great emphasis on order and frameworks. They expect subordinates to follow and be self-motivated in completing the tasks (Arenas, 2019). Such leadership style sets clear goals and expects hierarchy to be respected by their team. They make use of rewards and punishments for getting work done (Sultana, Darun and Yao, 2015). Bill Gates is a notable example of a transactional leader. The good characteristics of transformational leaders include:

  • Definite, measurable and timely goals are set that helps employees.
  • Self-motivation helps employees to work hard.
  • Hierarchy specifies responsibility specific to each role and minimises confusion.
  • Structured and orderly procedures and policies are easy for employees to follow and implement.
  • A Reward system is a motivation factor for employees for increasing productivity.

Following are some of the disadvantages of transactional leadership style.

  • Creates more followers than leaders.
  • Less room for innovation and creativity.
  • The hierarchy system leads to less value for empathy and relationships.

Situational leadership style

Situational leaders formulate an adaptive leadership style taking account of the situation on hand. Their team and other related factors motivate their team to accomplish common goals (Dugan, 2017). There is no specific leadership style but a style that suits best to meet the goals. Such leadership depends on the leader’s ability to adjust to their team or situation’s requirements more efficiently. Mahatma Gandhi and Colin Powell are good examples of situational leaders. Some of the advantages of situational leadership are as follows.

  • Leaders can adapt the most conducive leadership style best suited for the specific situation for achieving the desired results.
  • Helps great leaders to be adaptive in their leadership style.
  • Is easy to understand by their employees and more comfortable for them to follow.
  • Accountability is more under such leadership and addresses employee skills and requirements.

Following are some of the disadvantages of situational leadership.

  • Constant adaption to various leadership approach could create confusion amongst employees.
  • Tends to focus on short-term goals overlooking long-term growth prospects.
  • Such leadership does not apply well to repetitive tasks to be completed by employees as leaders can change their leadership style.
  • Leaders could lack the ability to understand employee needs and adapt effective leadership traits accordingly.

Authoritative leadership style

Such kind of leaders are mostly visionaries who follow a mentor-mentee approach to guide their team members to reach their goals (Goleman, 2017). They do not order their followers but instead offer constructive guidance and feedback to keep employees’ motivation and morale strong (Stobierski, 2019). Such leaders exhibit strong emotional intelligence having a keen understanding of the various challenges which need to be overcome for the achievement of the broader goals. John F. Kennedy is a great example of such a visionary. Bill Gates is another leader who apart from being a transactional leader has also shown great authoritarian leadership traits. Some of the advantages of authoritative leadership are as follows.

  • The clarity in thoughts inspires, motivates and influences team members in a positive way.
  • Strong sense of direction and vision provided.
  • Great emphasis on relationship building with a strong focus on empathy in understands employee needs and challenges to completing the tasks.

Following are some of the disadvantages of authoritative leadership.

  • Such leadership style can be domineering for employees who are used to a freestyle of working.
  • Leaders should stand by their choices made and own mistakes, otherwise, employees can get demotivated.

Other popular organisational leadership styles

Apart from the above organisational leadership styles, there are other popular leadership styles that are gaining prominence in the corporate world. The spiritual leadership style which is applied by Barry Garapedian considers spiritual principles and ethics at the workplace to motivate employees (Smith, et al., 2018). Such leaders show a great understanding of the employee’s purpose to their work. Charismatic leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. focused on charm and enthusiasm as a key aspect to put forth their goals and encourage their followers to achieve the goals. Under the Laissez-faire leadership style which is followed by Warren Buffet, leaders delegate their subordinates to take major decisions to achieve goals  (Hooper, 2017).

Inheriting an organisational leadership style

Effective leadership styles help organisations in achieving their goals through continual employee motivation boosting productivity. For example, the spiritual leadership style helps employees in finding the true purpose of their work with the leaders focusing on overall employee well-being (Pawar, 2019). Transformational leadership is another instance, where such a leadership style would help employees to work to their maximum potential by bringing innovation and creativity to the workplace. Leaders can adopt one or more of the leadership styles to optimise workplace efficiency and achieve organizational goals.


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