LEADERSHIP THEORIES AND THEIR APPLICATION IN THE ORGANIZATION
State or City
The pursuit of leadership understanding across major sectors and fields has caused the increase in literature targeting the debate. The study and research on leadership have taken many years, yet there are still much to be addressed. As Cole, &Kelly (2011) puts it; leadership is the most studied and least understood the field of social science. The paper, therefore, cannot be able to present the conclusion on matters leadership but to examine the academic leadership theory in a unique perspective. It introduces the reader to the various ideas and views of different people about leadership theory and practice.
Responsible Leadership Theory
The more specific theory of leadership shaping the organizations is the responsible leadership theory. This type of leadership tries to balance between the needs of all stakeholders and at the same time ensuring that the performance is achieved through social interaction (Pless & Maak 2011). Through the ethical lens, the various stakeholders within the organization need not feel as if leadership is between a leader and a follower. There are multitudes of parties surrounding the leadership, and the best way to put it is to ensure that all the stakeholders have their needs achieved.
The leaders of today are finding themselves in a murkier, complex and uncertain global environment. The major objective is to provide less complexity and improve the general picture of the leadership of the followers. In academics, leaders need to have a clearer sense of vision and mission which brings together all actors in the organization to navigate through the uncertain environment (Voegtlin, Patzer, & Scherer 2012). Various academic policies and requirements are regularly developed. They include the international and local regulations which a leader and the followers must understand for the betterment of the organization.
The responsible leader must ensure that the institutions which face acute cases of unethical behaviors need to be streamlined while at the same time avoiding brushing shoulders with the others. In a global society of stakeholders, the leadership should not only strive to be accountable to stakeholders but also be at the forefront in ensuring their economic, social and environmental impacts are achieved (Northouse 2018). For the institutional viability and long-term success, the main requirement is for leaders to act responsibly to all the stakeholders and build unending trust with them.
The system is related to academic theories of leadership such as ethical leadership in that one needs to behave in elevated moral conduct. The leader must demonstrate that everyone in a team is conducting his or her duties in the realms of highly respectable moral conduct. The ethical academic theory requires that the educators, government, students and the parents can make progress as a system.
There should be no reason for collisions in operation, but the input of each is applied. A leader is a person who is supposed to conduct himself to the highest moral standard. He should be responsible for all undertakings, yet the recent actions in the institutions of learning have seen an increase of irresponsible leadership (Northouse 2018). The leaders who engage in heinous, reckless activities were sadly recognized as credible individuals. The report from the financial crisis has always indicated that the increased loss of finances in the institutions is caused by leaders who are viewed as having high moral discipline and reputations. These leaders have become incapable and complacent in managing the resources and privileges vested in them. The trend is however evident in more developed countries where daily targets for shareholder benefits is required from the leader.
An incident in DFCC Bank
Leaders always get themselves in the dilemma while trying to be ethical at the same time responsible. I have had direct interaction with the responsible leadership model at DFCC bank while working as a teller. Lakshman Silva the company CEO is always required to ensure that the stakeholders get the direct information from the CEO about the trend of business performance. At the company, all workers must ensure that the roles they play must be known by the operations manager and hence the CEO. The working system also contains the effective briefs after every two hours on the progress. The CEO is at a great dilemma of trying to ensure that he gives a positive trend of the performance while at the same time pushing for implementation of ethical policies. On 14th February 2018, the company had experienced a slight drop in the stock price. The complaints from the stakeholders made the CEO to push working hours for 30 minutes to increase the daily revenue to the company. This step was as a result of pressure from all corners that the company should at least take haste steps to improve the stock price. The step was also unethical and not procedural, but it was able to help the company achieve the objectives. The requirement for upward performance of the company means that the CEO should ensure that they perform beyond the government stipulated time which is unethical. The CEO, however, must see some ways of at least increasing performance to satisfy stakeholders.
Critique of Responsible Leadership
One of the general principles of ethics is for one to ensure that we can reason, self-reflect and develop and through instincts find what is right and wrong (Owings, & Kaplan 2012). The moral weakness makes people vulnerable thus forgetting the sense of reasoning and virtues. The drive to show off a positive image always makes leaders lose touch with his or her responsibility of making the right and viable decisions.
The leadership, therefore, needs to ensure that at all time one person is castigated for being irresponsible. The failure with responsible leadership is that mostly, the other stakeholders blame the leader for all failures failing to recognize that for the success of any organization all the stakeholders must get focused as an integrated team (Owings, & Kaplan 2012). The system is complex on its own, and these complexities place leaders at the highly influential positions which can be tempting. Some will, however, abuse their power, ignore the moral call for accountability and chose the path for self-interests and material gains.
-HENRY -The Operational Model for Responsible Leadership
How the System Works
The responsible leadership framework adopts the characteristic of the system, where according to Northhouse (2018). Systems function as a whole where a change in one side inspires a change in the other part.The catalyst unit for is the first step for implementation of responsible leadership. The next unit is attributive and relational. And the last one is associative and thus influences the outcome. The performance in this theory always takes place within the leadership sub-system boundary. The boundaries suggest that performance and operations happened within a certain space. The feedback has a different meaning which shows any reverse flow of influence. When there are failures in operation and, one tries to pin a colleague down, the problem will be solved through evaluation of the system using the reverse or feedback mechanism. This willing ensure that as an organization, responsibility is fully shared since the problems are generated by the system and not a single individual.
This brings the concept of leadership and management. The responsible leadership styles depict leadership characteristics behaviors where the leader induces or influences other while the manager, organizes and tries to solve the problems within a very short period (As Cole, &Kelly 2011).Leaders sometimes go slow in problem-solving as they try to understand the problem further. The general leadership characteristics and responsible leadership have the confluence at important points where anybody within the system can at some point assume leadership roles and induce influence to others.
Application of Theory to the Businesses
The most significant tragedy of learning is the failure to apply what you have understood. The responsible leadership theory can easily be integrated into the business environment by ensuring that various responsibilities are laid upon every person in the business. The general model can be adopted by identifying multiple roles of each an individual in the business environment then seeking to find an in-between different role. Some roles can be assigned more than one person to take away a sole responsibility of an individual but for the other person to check on the level of responsibility that the colleague practice. There is also a big need to ensure that in leadership, a clear channel of communication is maintained. This fact means that for the responsible leadership to be implemented, the organization will have to set up a very robust system and channel of communication to enable the followers to make necessary feedback to the leaders.
Other Leadership Theories
. “Great Man” Theory
The theory talks much about leadership being predetermined. Commonly, we come across people arguing that leaders are born, or they were born to lead. The theory indicates or explains in the deeper sense that some people were packaged with the leadership characteristics such as confidence, charisma, intelligence and social skills which naturally make them be seen as leaders (Derue, Nahrgang, Wellman, & Humphrey 2011). The great man theory perceives the leadership capacity as inherent, that leadership comes automatically, and no one can make it. The theory commonly portray there known leaders as mythical, heroic and destined to rise to the level they desire when they feel so. The use of the “Great Man” term is due to the perception of leadership as a male affair, especially in the military. However, the theory fails to explain the reason why some people if given training performs better than if they had no training at all.
The theory argues that people inherit some traits and characteristics that give them an edge in leadership. The theory commonly examines the universal characteristics of all leaders such as extroversion, self-confidence, and courage which are always identified with all leaders (Derue, Nahrgang, Wellman, & Humphrey 2011). The only issue with the theory is how to explain the people who pose such traits but are not leaders. This question will always be posted when applying the trait theory. There are many people who pose the personality traits required for leadership yet they end up not performing or even failing to get the leadership positions.
The contingency theory examines the operating environment to determine which style of leadership can be applied to fit the situation. Leaders go beyond the traits by the striking balance between needs, behaviors, and context. It, therefore, means that a good leader must first examine the need for the followers, evaluate the situation and then tune the behavior to fit the situation.
This theory states that leaders are at liberty to choose the course of action depending on the situational variables. Where the leader is very skilled, an authoritarian style can fit the situation while in circumstances where all other members are experienced and skilled, a democratic style will work.
The theory focuses on the relationship between the leader and the followers. The leadership style wants all members to perform well on the team but also ensures that each member fulfills his objectives and needs. It is the most applied theory used to motivated employees.
Though responsible leadership style has been hailed as being open, there are other avenues which the leaders can use to conceal information from the stakeholders. When the trust in leadership is laid upon the leader, all other parties will take the information given without questioning the authenticity. The responsible leadership also can drive down the performance of the company at the expense of pleasing everyone. It is therefore imperative to check on other theories such as “Great Man” theory, relationship theory and trait theories to get the best leadership in the organization.
Cole, G.A. and Kelly, P., 2011. Management theory and practice. South-Western Cengage Learning.
Owings, W.A. and Kaplan, L.S., 2012. Leadership and organizational behavior in education: Theory into practice. Pearson.
Derue, D.S., Nahrgang, J.D., Wellman, N.E.D. and Humphrey, S.E., 2011. Trait and behavioral theories of leadership: An integration and meta?analytic test of their relative validity. Personnel Psychology, 64(1), pp.7-52.
Northouse, P.G., 2018. Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.
Pless, N.M. and Maak, T., 2011. Responsible leadership: Pathways to the future. Journal of Business Ethics, 98(1), pp.3-13.
Voegtlin, C., Patzer, M. and Scherer, A.G., 2012. Responsible leadership in global business: A new approach to leadership and its multi-level outcomes. Journal of Business Ethics, 105(1), pp.1-16.