Leadership Qualities and Styles

Introduction

Good leadership is, perhaps, a prerequisite for success in any organization. Without good leaders, organizations will, most likely, be mismanaged. This will lead to losses, which will in turn translate to failure of the organization to achieve its goals. Good leadership is therefore needed in the formation of strategies for attainment of organizational goals to the implementation of these strategies by the responsible parties/departments in a bid to achieve the objectives of an organization.

It is unfortunate that a myriad of organizations have been brought to their knees after hiring incompetent leaders to manage their operations. This paper clarifies what leadership really means, analyses the qualities of a good leader, and explores the various styles of leadership.

Leadership

Leadership can be defined as a quality that makes a person different from other people, especially if the quality is related to having people skills (Ambekar, 2010).

Leadership qualities

Leadership is associated with people who are aggressive in speech, and people who are swift in taking productive actions, loving fellow employees, and handling various levels of pressure. A leader should also be a crusader for the rights of his/her fellow employees. It is also important to note that a leader is effectively defined by the number of followers who are ready to work under him/her. The following are the basic leadership qualities that any organization should look for when recruiting its leaders.

First of all, a good leader should have good communication skills. This implies that the leader should possess excellent convincing skills, he/she should be an orator, capable of giving quality speeches to a variety of audiences, and he/she should be able to act as a mediator in conflict resolution.

This quality is very important in a leader since a leader is supposed to be the ambassador of his/her fellow employees. The leader should also be able to guide his/her juniors/followers in case they encounter problems in their work. In all these activities, great communication skills are required (Ambekar, 2010).

Another quality of a good leader is that he/she must be passionate about the core business of the organization. That is, the leader must be passionate about what he/she does. This goes a long way in ensuring that good results are achieved in the organization’s core competencies, which translates to organizational success.

Of equal, or even more, importance is the fact that a leader should be virtuous. That is, a leader should possess good virtues like being honest, putting what they want other people to do in practice i.e. practicing what they preach. This ensures that the leader always has a good following that is always there to defend him/her in difficulties. Additionally, people led by such a leader will always be willing to follow his/her instructions because they tend to develop some level of trust in the leader (Ambekar, 2010).

Another quality of a good leader is that he/she should be skilled in what he/she does. For instance, a good leader should be able to maintain some reasonable level of consistency to ensure that their problem solving skills, and other skills, keep on getting better. A good leader should also be able to employ his/her skills in complementing his/her weakness. This is most efficiently done by the selection of a good team, whose members complement each other (Ambekar, 2010).

Lastly, it is important for a leader to be able to stand against all kinds of criticism as the organization grows. This is because organizational success normally attracts a lot of criticism and rivalry that may affect the organization if the latter does not have good leadership.

Leadership styles

There are a number of leadership styles available for leaders. These include:

Authoritarian/autocratic leadership

This is the style of leadership in which the leader and his followers are distinctly divided. The leader gives clear instructions for jobs to be done to his/her followers. The instructions contain the what, when and how components.

The followers therefore have little or no input in decision making, and thus the decision making process is less creative in this case. To reap maximum benefits from this style of leadership, leaders apply it in cases where the leader is more knowledgeable than his followers or where there is a time limitation that disallows group decision making (Cherry, 2011).

Participative/democratic leadership

This is the most effective style of leadership. Democratic leaders ensure that the decision-making process is as participative as it can be. This is usually achieved by offering guidance, and participating in group discussions that lead to decision making.

It is however important to note that even after allowing a participative approach to decision making, the leader has the final say over whatever decisions are to be made. In this style of leadership, there is substantial creativity and motivation of group members due to their active involvement in the decision-making process (Cherry, 2011).

Delegative (Laissez-Faire) leadership

This is, perhaps, the worst style of leadership among the three styles that have already been mentioned. In this style of leadership, decision-making is left up to the followers of a leader, and the leader does not give guidance on how to go about it. This style of leadership is appropriate for leaders who have a highly qualified following. Its overall effect on a group is that the group is left without motivation by the characteristic poorly defined roles (“Leadership Styles”, 1996).

Charismatic leadership

This is the style of leadership in which the leader creates a sense of enthusiasm in his/her followers. The leader is also passionate about making others progress. However, in this kind of leadership, the leaders believe in themselves than their followers. This implies that the success of the organization, and of his/her followers, is dependent on the decisions of the leader. It therefore takes great commitment on the part of the leader to ensure that the organization is okay otherwise the organization may collapse after the exit of the leader.

This style of leadership is appropriate in short term organizations in which no professional expertise is required, and in which the core business of the organization is somehow controversial. This is because the followers will help the organization achieve its objective without knowing the intricate details of the organization (Newstrom, 1993).

Conclusion

As evidenced in the discussion above, leadership is a skill that is not common to anyone. To be an effective leader, one must follow guidelines for good leadership while making adjustments to the weaknesses he/she has in leadership.

In such a case, it is important to know what the qualities of a good leader are, and put them into practice. Another important thing to note about leadership is the fact that there are a number of leadership styles that are appropriate in various circumstances. A good leader should be able to choose a given leadership style depending on the situation at hand.

Reference List

Ambekar, Y. (2010). Leadership Qualitites. Web.

Cherry, K. (2011). Lewin’s leadership styles. Web.

Leadership Styles. (1996). Using the right one for the situation. Web.

Newstrom, J. (1993). Organizational Behavior: Human Behavior at Work. New York. McGraw-Hill.