A functioning society requires several combined efforts of all members within a group which can ensure the attainment of various goals. However, this effort to move into the correct direction requires some set of management. Leadership plays an important role in that management where their guidance and different strategy results in some product. In any society leaders are an integral part of any system and organisation. They can not only help us function cooperatively with each other but also pave the way towards personal achievement and community growth.
The different characteristics of leaders which make them more suitable than others are-
- Decisiveness– Leaders are expected to have clarity during the entire decision-making process and the ability to evaluate the pros and cons of each of those decisions.
- Communicate effectively – The communication should be open, direct and respectable so as to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts from arising. The members should also feel comfortable so that they can easily express their doubts and issues. The members should also feel their opinions and inputs are valued.
- Humble and accountable – Leaders should have acceptance and take responsibility when things go wrong. They should have humility for them to be able to handle constructive criticism positively.
- They should practise what they preach – The behaviour patterns of the leaders should be such that they can be put as an example for others to follow. This behaviour should not contradict what they preach to their members.
- Focused – The passion to reach the goal should never be lost among the leaders. They should have a clear set of action plans and prioritise the tasks which need to be done first. They should be passionate about the work and their role as a leader.
- Assertiveness – Leaders should be assertive in their decisions and communications so that it can help them earn the appreciation of others and their value as an authority will be acknowledged.
- Involvement – Every leader should mentally be aware of each progress that takes place and their involvement should be high in order to observe the victories and downfalls closely. This helps them to devise better action plans and so the leader’s own participation encourages the members’ efforts.
In the position of authority, multiple organisations follow different styles of leadership considering the nature of work, needs of the organisation and type of strategy. The various styles of leadership adopted by corporate or social work settings are as follows:
- Authoritarian leadership– This type of leadership doesn’t take into consideration the inputs and suggestions of its members and can often lead to poor morale and job dissatisfaction. Here the members dislike their work, are not confident about the directions and are overall unmotivated. In times of emergency, such coercive and commanding leadership is effective.
- Affiliative leadership – In this type of leadership, the members are able to develop a sense of belongingness to the institution and can easily trust their leaders. The leaders create an emotional bond with the members by improving communication and boosting low morale. However, sometimes the praise can lead to avoidance of a few performance issues.
- Participative leadership– This leadership is also known as democratic and facilitative where the opinions of members are valued and taken into consideration. The leader here gives importance to skills and knowledge. The members are constantly prepared for better role opportunities and their confidence is increased.
- Laissez- faire or Delegative leadership – The term laissez faire is translated as ‘let them do’. In this type of leadership style, the leaders do not interfere in the functions of the members and they trust the employees with regard to what they are supposed to do. This leadership style empowers all of its members but at the same time lack of correction can limit the gradual development of the members.
- Bureaucratic leadership – This leadership is found in established organisations where a rigid textbook template is followed. Here the emphasis is given to strict rules and is very inflexible in nature. The main aim behind this leadership style is to save time and resources by following past practices.
- Coaching leadership – The leaders here make the effort to know their members’ beliefs and dreams so as to understand each of them efficiently. The main goal is to nurture each individual’s strength so as to promote the personal growth of each and every individual. Here there is a cultivation of a positive environment with open communication that helps encourage the members in every step.
Leadership is an essential part of any community development or organisational success where constant support, guidance and training drive the members to put forward their best efforts. It is also important to understand that no one type of leadership style can be appropriate for all and every situation. If the nature of work demands repetitive work products then an autocratic or authoritarian leadership style is more appropriate. Whereas if there is a need for a new skill or knowledge participative style of leadership will bring better results. Overall, it can be said that leadership is also a skill in itself that needs to be mastered by the leader in order to develop a positive environment of respect and trust which will eventually lead to better output.
– Urveez Kakalia & Debanjana Banerjee.