Introduction – What is a Leader?
A leader is someone who has the ability to influence others, and this influence is used to change the behaviour of someone to achieve a shared goal. A leader will select a group of people to influence, guide and mentor towards achieving their goal, and look after the team, until the targets have been met. A leader often have several personal characteristics, which they will use to help the team progress.
According to Feldman and Arnold, “leadership involves one person (the leader) consciously trying to get other people (the followers) to do something the leader wants them to do”.
Read more essays of writers for inspiration.
Leaders have several roles and responsibilities that they need to carry out as part of their team. Leaders need to create a positive working environment for their team. This could mean that the leader will have to choose an appropriate venue for their team’s meetings, provide the team with the necessary equipment to complete the task, and making sure that everyone has the same chance to voice their ideas, making sure that they are heard, and preventing any arguments or conflicts that occur within the group. By doing this, the leader can ensure that the team members are happy and comfortable, which will boost morale and provide better outcomes for the team. Secondly, the leader must motivate the team in order to make sure that the team are willing to work. The leader must boost the team’s morale, as if this is not done; the team will become idle and may resent working.
Another role of the leader is communicating with the team. The leader makes the decision about the team in most of the leadership styles, and in some leadership styles, the leader is the only person in the team to make the decision. This may mean that the team may not be fully sure what they need to do. Therefore, the leader needs to inform the team what they are required to do. They need to do this in a way that is understood by all of the team members, and check that everyone understands what is required and what they need to before they need to do it.
Another role of a team leader is to plan the team’s tasks. The team leader sets the goals that the team needs to achieve, and this should ideally be done before the team members are selected, as the leader can pick people who have knowledge and experience dealing with tasks that need to be done. By being an organised leader, it will be much easier for the team members and the leader to work out what needs to be done and which order it needs to be carried out in, and the team will understand better, and will find it easier to complete their assigned tasks.
The authoritarian leadership style is very direct. The team leader will give the team very clear instructions and what to do and how to do it and the team must do exactly what they have been instructed to do. The leader makes all of the decisions for the team in this leadership style, meaning that there is no input in the decision making from the team members. This style of leadership is useful if there are members of the team who do not have as much knowledge as other members as they do not have to contribute and therefore there will be no embarrassment or judgement for them. The decision making process is also very quick in this leadership style, as no discussions or debates take place, meaning that the leader can make the decision independently and as soon as it needs to be made.
This style of leadership is often used in the military. The team leader is informed of the situation, if necessary, and then tells their staff what they need to do. They do not ask for ideas from the other people around them, they just give instructions and their team do it. This is due to decisions needing to be made quickly to ensure that there is no injuries or loss of life.
This leadership style involves the team members sharing their ideas to the rest of the team and discussing the ideas, building on them and improving them if necessary. In this leadership style, everyone is engaged, willing to get involved and motivated, as the team know that their ideas are valid and their ideas will not be dismissed without being discussed thoroughly beforehand. This creates a happy atmosphere for the team to work, as all members are respected and there is no judgement. Although the team discusses their ideas and expands on them, it is still the team leader who decides on the final decision on the team’s task.
This style of leadership is often used in the fire service, as the team that is responding to an emergency call discuss which plan of action to take and the leader decides which one is the best to take.
The laissez-faire leadership style involves the leader taking a hands-off approach to leading the group and simply allowing the team to complete the task without must interference, if any at all, from the team leader. In this leadership style, the leader must have complete trust in their team and know that they will make progress in the task without being monitored and told what to do.
This style of leadership is often used within health services, as the medical staff are left to complete the task alone. There may be a team leader who instructs everyone else what to do, but the nurses, doctors and other medical staff are left to their own devices to help the patients.
The transactional leadership style is a direct style of leadership where the team members are motivated using rewards and punishments. This keeps the team motivated, as they know that if they complete the task well, they will get a reward, however, if they do not do the task well they will be punished.
This style of leadership is often used in the army, as rewards and incentives are used to encourage the team members to do well. For example, people who put themselves in danger to protect others get medals and other honours. Also, punishments are used if members are not doing as they have been asked, or they are not working as well as they should be. In the army, the punishment for wrong behaviours can be death, if they are on the front line; however drill and similar punishments are used in training and other courses.
The transformation leadership style is a form of leadership that encourages the team members to think of the group not just about themselves. This leadership style also focuses on team performance and recognises individual and team efforts.
This style of leadership is often used in the army. This is because the team are encouraged and motivated by knowing that working as hard as they can, and performing to the best of their ability can ensure the safety of their team, and the country that they are serving for.
The bureaucratic leadership style where there the operational rules are strictly followed. Straying from the rules, or thinking of new ways to do things, that are not part of the rules and guidelines are discouraged.
If a situation occurs that there are no guidelines for, the leader will seek advice from someone higher in the chain of command than himself or herself rather than someone lower in the hierarchy. However, if a bureaucratic leader finds themselves in a situation like this, they may feel out of their comfort zone and uncomfortable, knowing they have no guidelines to refer to.
This style of leadership is often used in the bomb disposal unit, as the leader will need to instruct their team on how to handle a bomb according to very strict guidelines that ensure the safety of the team. If the leader does not follow the guidelines that are given to them, the team could be in danger. However, if the rules are followed correctly, the team and others in the immediate area surrounding the bomb will be safe, and the risk of injury would be reduced.
Comparison of Leadership Styles
Authoritarian and Democratic
There are many similarities between the authoritarian and the democratic leadership styles. The first one is the leader of groups who use these styles makes the decisions regarding the team’s tasks and objectives. This means that the team leader has the control over the tasks that needs to be completed, and the team members will be told what they need to do by the team leader. Another similarity between the authoritarian and democratic leadership is
However, there are also many differences between the democratic and authoritarian leadership styles. For example, authoritarian leaders make decisions alone, and do not welcome the ideas of their team members. Because of this, the authoritarian style means that a decision is made a lot quicker than a decision made using a democratic leadership style, as an authoritarian leader can make a decision almost instantly if they have all of the information that they need, whereas a democratic decision can take, hours, days and even months to make decisions in some cases. This means that the authoritarian leadership style is better suited to situations that require decisions to be made almost instantly, whereas democratic leadership is better suited to decisions that do not need to be made instantly. The way that the team feel working under these leadership styles is also different. Under an authoritarian leader, team members may feel devalued, as the team’s input and expertise are ignored. The team members may also resent and even fear the leader, as this leadership style is based on threats, and this may mean that the team are unhappy working for an authoritarian leader. However, a team working under a democratic leader is more likely to be happier working for the leader, as they know that they are being listened to, and that the leader is not ignoring their input and expertise. In addition, the leader may also be more welcoming, and less threatening, and this will mean that there is less tension and fear between the leader and their team members.
Transformational and Transactional
There are some similarities between the transformational and transactional leadership styles. One similarity is that in both leadership styles, there is a reward in place for good work. If a team member works well under a transactional leader, the person may be given more food, money or time off, and if a team member works well under a transformational leader, the person may be given praise, and the satisfaction that they have worked hard and achieved.
However, there are some differences between the transformational and transactional leadership styles. One difference is team members that work under a transformational leadership style are very committed to the work that they are doing, and the success of the team and themselves, which means that they have a lot of passion for their work, and try their best to succeed. On the other hand, in some cases, people who work under a transactional leader will only be interested in the rewards that they will receive if they work, so they may not try as hard to succeed, and may also lack passion for the work, and its purpose for being completed. Another difference is there is a punishment system in place in a transactional leadership, whereas is there is not one in a transformational leadership. If a team member does not do as they are asked in a transactional leadership, they may have money taken from their wages, or be given a challenging task to do, such as an extra hard workout session in the army. Another difference between the two leadership styles is
. Transactional leaders make sure the team is running smoothly and producing results today, while transformational leaders spur innovation and look toward tomorrow.