Leadership styles are designed with the intent to direct behavior towards the accomplishment of common, organizational objectives. Literature reveals there is no consensus on one all-encompassing, effective leadership type, but recognizes the charismatic, transactional and transformational approaches to be the more effective leadership styles in the current day environment (Daft, 2012). A study by Khan, Hafeez, Rizvi, Hasnain, and Mariam (2012) analyzed the relationship of leadership styles, employee commitment and organizational performance in the telecom call centers of Islamabad, and concluded there was a statistically significant correlation between both transformational and transactional leadership, and organizational performance. During the literary analysis the authors discovered a variety of overlapping leadership styles, each displaying some nuances in their approach. They also learned a notable agreement to exist among researchers that the more styles the leader uses the better (Limbare, 2012).
Listed below is a description of select mix of leadership styles derived from literature, some styles are broadly accepted, others are part of a comprehensive leadership model, or unique creations:
Autocratic leaders assume a top down approach maintaining full control over all operational aspects because they have assumed full responsibility for decision making. This outdated approach relegates staff members to executing orders without regard for employee input (Limbare, 2012).
Missionary leadership is derived from Reddin’s model, and is typified by an interest in maintaining a harmonious work environment. Limbare (2012) identifies this particular style also to be the most preferred approach by executives in his conflict management study conducted in the Nasik region of India.
Reddin describes a “compromiser” leader to be a poor decision maker, an individual who is over-influenced and keen on minimizing immediate problems and concerns (Limbare, 2012).
Level 5 Leadership
The Level 5 leadership concept was developed by Jim Collins and defines a leadership style that transforms good companies into great organizations. Level 5 leadership blends the paradoxical traits of personal humility with professional will, and represents the highest level on the hierarchy of managerial capabilities (Daft, 2012).
The notion of authentic leadership was first introduced by Bill George in 2003 in his book Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value, and consists of a leader’s sense of purpose, self-awareness, moral perspective, and relational transparency (Gardiner, 2011).
This values-centered style leadership sprouts from the Indian “Rajarshi” concept which combines “Raja” (who ensures the happiness of the people) and “Rishi” (seer, visionary) and emphasizes internal gratification through meaningful contributions to the people they lead. The model promotes “role” over “self’ but limits its relevancy to the highest levels of management in all aspects of society (Patel, 2012).
Charismatic leadership according to Daft (2012) alludes to the ability of a leader to inspire and motivate people to sacrifice their personal interests and exceed their normal level of effort for the benefit of the team and organization. Berendt, Christofi, Kasibhatla, Malindretos, and Maruffi (2012) describe charismatic leadership to thrive on personal values, beliefs, and qualities in combination with the ability to elevate the interests, awareness, and acceptance of the group.
Greenleaf’s “servant as leader” model centers around the leader’s display of humility by considering their own needs as secondary to the needs of their followers and the organization which they are leading. It is further characterized by the key qualities for being a good listener, self-awareness, empathy and stewardship which enable the leader to better understand their constituent’s needs and maximize their potential while tailoring their aspirations to the organizational needs and objectives. Servant leaders should therefore be viewed as trustees of the human capital of an organization (Berendt, Christofi, Kasibhatla, Malindretos, & Maruffi 2012).
Transformational leadership is arguably the most popular current day leadership style. This leadership style, resembling key aspects of charismatic leadership, emphasizes empowerment and motivation as tools to forgo self-interest for the sake of the organization and activating their higher order needs. As a result, there is an increase in their level of performance, satisfaction, and commitment to the goals of their organization (Obiwuru, Okwu, Akpa, & Nankwaere, 2011).
In addition, transformational leadership consists of a more open, functional managerial platform which allows for more flexibility to adapt to organizational change (Khan, et al., 2012). Hence, transformational leadership is well suited to adapt to the current, fast paced changing environment, and especially to address technological advancements and innovations.
Transactional leadership is based on the conventional exchange relationship in which followers’ compliance is exchanged for expected rewards; transactional leaders work their organizational cultures following existing rules and procedures (Obiwuru, Okwu, Akpa, & Nankwaere, 2011).
Transactional leaders follow standards, assignments, and task-based goals, and subscribe to task completion oriented, rewards and punishment systems with the purpose of influencing employees to achieve individual and organizational objectives (Rehman, Shareef, Mahmood, & Ishaque, 2012).
Daft (2012) discusses Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership model on the basis of the varying degree of employee readiness, more specifically regarding the qualities of willingness and ability. Leaders employ one of four leadership styles in accordance to the degree of employee readiness:
• Telling Style is characterized by a direct, autocratic type, order format.
• Selling Style consists of providing explanations and clarity.
• Participating Style focuses on sharing ideas and employee buy-in.
• Delegating Style promotes empowerment and shifts responsibility to the employee. (p. 432)