Leadership Assignment Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

-          Leadership Theories

Traits Theories

One of the earliest approaches on leadership research was the trait approach. Seven traits associated with leadership are drive, desire to lead, honesty and integrity, self-confidence, intelligence and job relevant knowledge (Robbins et al. 2012, pp. 605). Underlying this approach was the assumption that some people are natural leaders who had these traits inborn and were not taught (Yukl 2010, p.13). 

Behavioral Theories

The behavioral theories began in 1950s after many researchers became discouraged with the trait theories and began to focus on what managers actually do on the job. These theories identified behaviors that differentiated effective leaders from ineffective leaders (Robbins et al. 2012, pp. 605).  Those are including autocratic style, democratic style, laissez-faire style, consideration, employee oriented, concern for people and managerial grid (Robbins et al. 2010, p. 608).  The behavioral theories had little success in identifying consistent relationship between patterns of leadership behavior and successful performance. Furthermore, it is not easy to define which leadership style is better compared to the other. It is obvious that predicting leadership success involves something more complex than considering only a few leadership traits or behaviors. This situation led to the introduction of contingency theories.

Contingency theories

Contingency theories explain the concept which illustrates that being an effective leader requires not only understanding of traits and behavior but it also requires the understanding of the situation in which the leader is actually planning to lead. There are three main contingency theories, which are the Fiedler model, the situational leadership model and path-goal theory.

Recent Leadership Theories (Contemporary views on leadership)

  • Transformational-transactional leadership

The transactional leader works through creating clear structures whereby he is clear about what is actually required by the sub-ordinates, and the rewards that they get for following the orders. However, punishments are not always mentioned, but they are also well understood though formal systems of discipline. The transactional leader works through creating clear structures whereby it is clear. The early stage of transactional leadership involves negotiating the contract whereby the sub-ordinate is given a salary and other benefits, and the company (and by implication the sub-ordinate's manager) gets authority over the sub-ordinate (Robbins et al 2012, p. 616).

  • Charismatic-visionary leadership

The most comprehensive analysis to identify the personal characteristic of a charismatic leader have classified into five characteristic which are as follow: having vision, being able to articulate those vision, able to take the risk to achieve that vision, being sensitive to both environmental constraints and follower needs, and exhibiting behaviors that are extraordinary.

  • Team Leadership

Since leadership is required to take place within a team context, the role of team leader has become increasingly important (Robbins et al 2012, p. 619). The role of team leader is different from the traditional leadership role performed by first-line supervisors. Team leader’s main task is to focus on two priorities, first is on managing the team’s external boundary and second is on facilitating the team process. These priorities can be grouped into four specific leadership roles, which are conflict manager, coach, liaison with external constituencies and troubleshooter.

-          The importance of understanding all the levels of organizational complexity are sub-divided into seven levels of complexity within organizations that are linked with the organizational design and management implication for each level.

The concept of these levels describes as strata and develops understanding of the type of work that can best be performed at each level in terms of the time span of discretion (Jaques 2006, p. 41). The time spans for each level are described as follow:

  • Strata 1            : 1 day – 3 months
  • Strata 2            : 3 months – 1 year
  • Strata 3            : 1-2 years
  • Strata 4            : 2.3 years
  • Strata 5            : 3-5 years
  • Strata 6            : 5-10 years
  • Strata 7            : 10-20 years

Finding in the company and self-improvement:
- The difference between leadership and management has validated the fact that I found in workplace and in most common business organization, that not all managers posses the traits and qualities of leadership.

-          Implication for personal improvement

By understanding the leadership theories, I have been able to understand about the leadership characteristic that I possess within myself and compare it to the job position available. For example, in the current job position it requires the team leadership and transactional-transformational leadership traits and qualities. On the contrary, in this time I believe that my leadership characteristic is not up to that level yet. It is clear which reflects all the time when I feel frustrated and find my job difficult and leading the team has been quite a challenging experience for me.................................

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