What is Leadership?
Today it is apparent that leaders must embark on the journey of searching for, and understanding true leadership styles due to the current trends of employment in the organizations, that consists of diverse age groups. There is need for finding different styles to fairly deal with this developments in the discipline of management, which seem to be surrendering its role to that of leadership.
The style of leadership is a main concern over employees’ and eventually organization’s performance. Every great team such as a winning sports team or a sales team in an organization has a performing leader steering its activities.
High performing organization requires an equally performing and strong leadership style. This paper forms a critical analysis of various aspect or styles of leadership through a thorough exploration of the theories and applications utilized in leading diverse groups of personnel especially different age groups. The application includes the characteristics or models used for measuring leadership styles and strategies.
Leadership is guidance or assistance procedures mainly concern with the way people create rapport, communicate and live by the significances for life (Hargreaves, 2003). According to Hargreaves (2003), for a leadership style to be effective, it is imperative to share those values.
The process of leadership in an organization made up of different age groups is considerably complex due to the high expectations people place over the issues concerning their need and the differences in believes, synergy or energy levels, expectations, experiences, and technological advancements among other aspects. The age differences bring about superimposing of the mentally modelled aspects, thus placing very high expectations and challenges to a leadership style.
Arguably, the leadership style has a reciprocating nature; where by the leader has needs, and the followers have their own different requirements with the expectation that the leader meets them. In most instances, the leadership style fails because these needs lack measurable elements or factors to meet expectations.
The adherents to a chosen style of leadership have a quality control perspective, which makes this aspect of leadership very critical in the organization. Good leadership avails chances of interactive participation of all members in the organization regardless of their age by categorizing issues with respect to matters of concern.
According to Miller (2008), this is a healthy leadership approach because it enables the employees and other members of the organization to critic or compels the leaders with competitive views and opinions, of which is important for the organizational goals since they assist in validation and keeping the leader in a lane of reality. In line with MacMillan, (2000) dynamic dialogue cools any conflicting contemplations and maintains the cooperation between the involved parties.
Position of leadership styles in the organization
One key factor that is evident today is the need to search for and understand leader. The main reason behind the abolition of the eminent traditional styles of administration concerns presentation. These performance levels are unattainable only when the involved groups lack trust of their leaders.
Trust is a pre-requisite aspect of leadership that call for those in charge to portray honesty and show concern or care for their followers’ needs and thoughts, but at the same time make certain that they remain accountable over their deeds (Booyeen, 2008).
Secondly, the leader ought to honour commitments and pronouncements. Respect is an inevitable aspect of leadership in which case the leader ought to respect the opinion of others regardless of their age and respond to their requests amicably and respectably owing to the thought that differences of opinion is an eminent sign of progress.
Lastly, it is important for the leaders to have a set of values, which their followers can identify with or connect to such as courageousness, reliability, integrity, competence, honesty, altruism, and fairness (MacMillan, 2000). According to Hargreaves (2003), trust is like a pillar that runs through every aspect of leadership thus ensuring its success. People will take a considerable amount of time to trust and thus the leader should have great consistent efforts over honest style of leadership.
Distinction between leadership and management
Any organization needs both a leader and a manager. The managers dominate most of the governance styles. The main differences lie between various supreme approaches to services. Managers have a value of results while leaders value relationships among members. There is high regards over positions in management while this is not evident in leadership. The leaders take reputed high risks compared to the managers and are personal, caring and avoid copying the rules of others (Heifetz, 2004).
On the other hand, the manages will often conform to existing rules and want to ensure protection of the status quo over change, thus making the leaders more innovative and ready to change for the better (Heifetz, 2004). The leaders’ style of guidance is non-functional thus inspiring and motivational compared to the management style of functionally analyzing, evaluating and solving problems from a personal perspective.
The leadership hierarchy restrains the flow of unnecessary information, poor policies of the firm, agendas that conflict governance as well as pressures for the need to conform thus making the style incredibly difficulty over the provision of overall directions (Mathias et al, 2007).
According to Heifetz (2004), the issues of leadership in organizations have revolutionized due to introduction of different age groups, and therefore the reference of leadership made over the decades concerning the ability to hold top management positions has become obsolete.
Today the top management positions and their functions are still in common usage, but current trends indicate that people have discoveries concerning the distinction between managers and leaders. The process of exercising leadership skills, styles and qualities has a different meaning of providing a vision and influence of those led into realization of coexistence and sharing of thoughts.
Probably from the analytical or professional point of view, it is possible to define the leadership style of governance in two ways. First is the ability to have considerations of various aspects in the organization such as age, gender, performance, experience and energy differences, characterized by an emphasis over good relations.
In this situation, the leader is a good listener who is approachable and friendly. This style entails openness thus enlisting the mental trust among those involved. Secondly is the ability to engage a leadership behaviour that directs an organization and assists in defining goals, structure and style of execution (Hargreaves and Goodson 2004).
Functions of leadership
A leader is able to perform various functions of the organizational such us selecting people to make up the organizational structure, units or segments that control the flow of information in and out of the organization. It also entails the ability to make ensure certain group participation in a knowledgeable manner.
The second function involves the interpersonal characteristics, which create good working morale within the organization. The leader ought to indicate a good degree of concern about humanness and pay attention to the follower’s concerns over the leadership or other organizational aspects.
Lastly is the decisional function, that one mainly engages to give the impression of searching for the decisions regarding achievements of goals. According to Pride et al (2009), this is a traditional perspective that is all along associable to leadership and remains utilized to date.
These functional points of view define leadership and the most crucial or hard part of leadership. Leadership entails the ability to create a compelling vision and style reshaped by future perspectives. According to Heifetz (2004), the leader does the guidance tasks through the visions or ultimate powers accorded for the processes to be successful. Those involved must also act as a team.
The most critical task of a leader is the ability to focus attention. This person is involved too much with the aspects of deciding over a limited period. Every time or day involves a fresh crisis requiring a solution. How the attention is subdivided determines the continuity of the organization. For instance, the leader cannot focus on the current tasks and ignore the future aspects or consequences that can affect the organization.
Those problems, concepts, ideas or actions that receive the attention determine the sustainability of the organization. In line with Clack (2008), a good definition of leadership may be the ability to determine the aspects of the organization that receives focus or attention at any given time. Otherwise, one considers the number of concerns receiving the concentration over a specific period.
Current trends of leadership styles
Today the technological change has made the organizations to become more dynamic and therefore the leadership styles of focusing attention has equally become vibrant, on-going and very important procedures. The leadership style that attracts the attention of others requires the leader to aim at being in focus over other’s attention.
The leader’s values must be of substantive worth. It is important for a leader to have good solid knowledge and approaches to combat the organizational differences as well as engage continuous and alternative choices that steers organization forward in terms of development (Hargreaves and Goodson 2003).
Arguably, one of the most fundamental issues concerning leadership involves the ability to communicate effectively. A good leader must be in a position of convincing people on how to focus on the ideas perceived to be important and developmental and cater for each group. The methods and styles of communication lack good definition in most organizations. Every leader has a personal way of pronouncement, which varies from formal to casual in both written and spoken forms. The main aim eventually is the consistency and ability to attract attention and peoples’ actions.
Today the successful leaders realize that there exists no single method of behaving. The leaders must read a group’s situation and come up with the most appropriate leadership behavioral pattern to combat the situation at hand. This is the only right and most appropriate procedures for the leaders because it enables the groups involved to fit the competency level.
Leadership styles have a close connection to behavior. In the assessment of a group’s leadership needs, there is need to translate skills to communicative behavior. For instance, if a leader finds that a certain group needs strong guidance, it is then wise to suggest direction, make different assignments, and possibly vet unrealistic suggestions. Leadership skills calls for one to find and balance the member’s thought, support viable decisions, and give authority to act.
All the leadership styles have a strong basis on communication, and not skills, experience, lack or personality. The connection between group members brings about cooperation, and unique leadership styles that solve group problem effectively thus making the group to become more effective (Canzer, 2003). A good or efficient group only requires a small, early but strong guidance to become and remain productive.
Relationship between leadership and problem solving
The social and scientific definition of leadership is the process that involves interpersonal communication to influence an outcome.
According to Barton (2000), leadership is symbolic to the human nature of modifying the attitudes and behaviours of people in order to meet organizational goals and needs. Leadership styles therefore involve acts enacted through persuasion or communication as opposed to force. The leadership influences meant to benefit or unite a certain group of people is the small or special group leadership. How does the leader create the positive influences? The leader must have strategies to influence the behaviours of others through communication.
The designated leader is appointed or elected to a position, but she/he need to be an emergent leader because of exerting influences towards achievement of group goals. Every person in a group ought to be an emergent leader especially during various group tasks (Barton, 2000). A designated leader has to be acceptable in the group for better outcomes. The group may have shared leadership among members but eventually it is important to have someone responsible for coordination of communication among the members.
Leadership through influence
A good leader has influence over other. How does one gain the influence? The designated or emergent leader has the ability or power to known the interpersonal influence. The power can be a reward, punishment, legitimate, referent and expert. Leaders can offer the followers the value for their need for them to exercise reward power. The reward value can be material or intangible such as monetary resources, material goods, favours, acknowledgement, complement and special attention. The administration of punishment power occurs through withholding similar favours.
Coercion forces compliance with hostile tactics but in most instances breeds to resentment especially when there are age group differences within the organization. Legitimate power enables the leader to perform certain tasks within the group setting, which other members are not in a position to do such as call for the group meetings, analysis of work by the other group members, or preparation of the agendas.
Referent power has its basis on the attractiveness, admirable and respectable the leader is to the group. Admiration brings about influence and charisma as an extreme type of referent power, which instigates a feeling of royalty and devotion from others. The more the admiration and respect for the leader, the more influence on the behaviours and power to influence the group. Leaders experience and expert power, when others or the followers value their guidance or admires the leadership styles.
Older group members have experience and therefore are in a position to offer expertise guidance in a different age groups setting. In such a scenario, they posses the expert power to guide others, therefore others will value them and one can easily influence their behaviours or acts because of the respect for the knowledge or experience. Regardless of the age differences, all members of an organization have various abilities to influence others.
It is possible to reward others because the leadership expertise does not only emanate from the legitimate power (Daft and Marcic, 2008). A widely age diverse group means that there are diverse sources of leadership influences other then the legitimate power. All the members have some degree of influence over each other and the legitimate leader must make use of all the potentials or capabilities to lead.
Types of leadership styles or approaches
Originally, there was belief that the leadership skills were in-born. The leaders therefore had special traits or characteristics for instance attractiveness, intelligence or size.
Today it is evident that these traits are common among many and thus there exists no special traits for leaders. The leadership styles are mainly the patterns the leaders exhibit in the group setting (Ulrich, 2001). The major styles exhibited for diverse groups include autocratic, democratic or Delegative, Paternalistic, laissez-faire style and free reign styles.
The democratic type of leadership encourages members to participate equally on matters concerning the organization such as decision or rule/regulation making procedures. Laissez faire leaders have no initiative to group members and therefore they take no initiative to foster group idea. The autocratic leaders have strict control over group members thus; they require strict follow of the orders to solve problems.
Comparing the various styles on current organizational settings, people are more confident in the democratic type of leadership as opposed to autocratic, which bars others from participating. People are better off with a leader who provides solutions to problems as in the autocratic system as opposed to the laissez faire system.
In the autocratic groups, members’ performance is excellent when the leader in there, but the member become less aggressive or apathetic when no one is in control. This means that their is a good leadership style for all systems namely democratic because it assists in matching peoples needs and differences to the situation. In line with Ulrich (2001), democracy brings about many changes in the system.
Leadership styles in the autocratic and democratic systems
Use of Policies and Procedures to Enhance Employee Performance
Beside the performance procedures, there are various policies of safeguarding the employees’ presentation, responses and behaviours, such as:-
Determining employment related actions and obligations through evaluation to ensure competence and personal satisfaction over the assigned field.
Having procedures to design, evaluate and administer performance procedures that ensure unity among the group members without a reference to their experience or age differences.
Having rules that enhance integration of employee retreatment programs as a motivational factor and team building procedure
Enhancing ways to monitor and evaluate the conducts and performance of the employees
Enforcing procedures for monitoring employees’ relationships by availing ways of getting feedbacks from them regarding the assigned duties
Availing employees’ consultation programs regarding their performance expectations as a measure of ensuring safety and required collaboration
Ensuring employees’ performance is highly dependent on proper communication and agreements regarding achievements
Enforcement of policies to ensure proper, efficient, secure, flexible and accurate ways of data collection for collaborative discussions
Ensuring existence of rules to govern maintenance of past and present employees’ performance records and relations
Providing regulations that facilitate the employees’ negotiations, transactions, and, compliance with the assigned obligations
Involving some procedures for rewarding and encouraging engagement
Precedence in policies and procedures
The democratic regulations standard for an organization fosters applicable employees’ self-management procedures. One of the most important procedures regards performance. Rewarding performance in terms of good workmanship or discipline encourage understanding among employees from different age groups because it shows them the importance of unity.
The personnel policy and procedures ought to determine eligibility for performance appraisal and rating performance for satisfaction as a way of enhancing unity. Every employee has governing procedures for expectations specified in the job contracts therefore failure to meet demands or to manage the personal duties could have a link to the group performance. Freedom of the employees may facilitate personal definitions and foster team spirit.
Insinuations for Capacity planning and control
In a combination of democratic and autocratic styles as a way of enhancing team performance from people of different age groups in an organization, the leader can implement capacity planning and control as an essential aspect.
It entails the research techniques for addressing the issue of scheduling applications, planning the allocation of resources, controlling performance and, having the problem solving techniques in place (Vollmann, 2005). The planning and controlling approaches include optimization techniques for diminishing or maximizing involved elements, to meet the objectives within the operating environment. Employees are thus encouraged to work as a team to meet certain goals.
For instance, a big problem is broken down to ease complexity and thus speeds up computation. Decomposing a problem allow efficiency in and ability to handle the uncertainties adequately. Secondly, dynamic approach allows the management to make decisions sequentially in a multi-stage pattern.
A conflict related problem is recursively mirrored to solutions to come up with the most effective conclusion. Teamwork involves decomposition of a complex problem into various sub-problems for individuals to handle and the solutions and eventually enables creation of a sequentially dependent framework indicating the whole problem as one, broken into various parts to enhance unity among employees.
The other style of leadership entails sensitivity analysis. The leader has to analyze hypothetically, logically or substantially, the factors that can cause conflicts within the workforce.
The definition of this approach is a procedure of examining impacts over changes and their effects as outputs (Dodds, 2008). Leaders have to evaluate reasonable limits for change and the impact on individuals depending on their age differences. This approach determines their viability or validity of an action, thus equally encouraging team performance.
Probability and risk analysis
The democratic style represents a major departure from the main deterministic view of leaders in earlier styles. The analysis has a subjective basis on judgements on correlations along with uncertainties to gauge impacts of conflicts within the organization. Compared to deterministic or fixed-point approaches, the approach offers additional information of chances to determine and range employees’ sensitivity thus avoiding the probability of conflicts.
Effects of democracy on organizational rules and regulations
Today the issue of employee performance has a strong basis upon organizational policies and procedures as opposed to only the leadership qualities. The nature of these rules or regulations helps in establishing the significance of a task and the importance of ensuring good results.
People are naturally opposed to rules that hinder their freedom and are strenuous during performance. Although an integral to effective part of performance, team leadership may be the root course of conflicts in an organization. As Dodds (, 2008) arguments, the most important element of performance is ability to resolve internal conflicts through the leadership styles because disagreements hugely affects team performance.
Leaders have the role of facilitating the behavioural change that assists in moulding individual trails into teams to achieve the set goals. In relation to the writing of Dodds (2008), it is necessary to have necessary mechanisms, information and strategies of handling conflicts in the workforce.
Future expectations of leadership
There is need to create and manage a leadership style that supports a performance management culture. The main and frequently utilized measure of encouraging a performance culture in an organization entails methodologies to encourage employees question and seek guidance through departmental groups, human resource representatives or management.
They should participate in decision-making and policy implementation procedures especially on matters concerning their performance requirements. This helps in avoiding conflicts during performance especially in situations where there are different age groups.
Leadership styles and discipline are the key defining elements for creation and management of a performing culture. Organizational culture is the systematic procedures regarding performance of duties. It is the guide of the employees’ thoughts, actions and feelings. Lack of proper leadership and management on this aspects or performance culture among employees’ calls for perplexity or stymies by some bureaucratic processes and eventually causes conflicts.
The organization culture has its basis on discipline, which promotes the decision-making and direct accountability over performance. With such discipline, there are clear expectations and commitments. There has to be management proactive measures to block abstractions of performance such as rewards thus the employees are truly engaged in their duties. Today emphasis on discipline has overthrown ancient style of “command and control” to enhance recognition of clear boundaries over the lines of duty, flexibility over performance and therefore foster required partnership (Dodds, 2008).
Requirements for a disciplined performance
Openness and reliance: – Existence of a trustworthy environment promotes acceptance, honesty, free interaction, group work, sharing of ideas and comments. This means that the organization is able to derive talents that are more valuable and promote peace and success.
Differences in Leadership styles: – A good working environment addresses conflicts and exposes the unfulfilled commitments. It provides alternatives and encourages sharing of real opinions.
Focus and simplicity: – Good policies and procedures are clear and precise. They define the employees’ requirements and expectations that are result driven. The results are mutually understanding, interdependence and, positive results.
Employees’ strengths: – The leader should know and depend on the effectiveness and talents of the staff and implement methods of peacefully eliciting them. This means that the employees focus more on learning and building on their strengths through interactions. Agility, confidence, speed and simplicity of the employee therefore enable them to blend well with others as well as with the vision and mission of an organization.
Leadership is arguably a style that entails a pull rather than a push. The leader must realize their strength; have a good grasp of skills and abilities to convene organizational needs such as cultural or age diversities. The leader ought to be in a position of evoking positive opinions and gunner participation besides gaining credibility from the followers.
Qualities of a good leadership style involve aspects of self-management, trust, vision and communication. Everyone must aim at becoming leaders at their own capacities. It only requires one to have the responsibility of facilitating positive changes from the status quo to a better and more purposeful future.
In his writing of leadership without easy answers, Heifetz (2004) provides a great insight over the dynamism of leadership styles. He describes leadership as an adoptive process that requires self believes or values and behaviours that require leaders to engage in a continuous learning process to seek new ways of advancement.
This advancement need is the most respectable, valuable but challenging aspect of leadership. Heifetz (2004) believes it is a style of adopting whereby; the leader must stay in touch with current aspects to take risks regardless of the involved pressure.
Barton, R.B. (2000). Organizational Goal Setting and Planning. Murray State University, Murray, KY. Retrieved April 22, 2010, from http://campus.murraystate.edu/academic/faculty/rb.barton/40mgmt07.ppt#256,1,chapter7
Booyens, S.W. (2008). Introduction to Health Service Management. Juta and Company Ltd. South Africa
Canzer, B. (2003). E-Business: Strategic Thinking & Practice. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Clark, D. R. (2008, August 21). Leadership style. Journal of Social Psychology, April 1982, 116, pp. 221-228. Retrieved April 23, 2010 from
Daft, R.L. and Marcic, D. (2008) Understanding Management. Cengage Learning
Dodds, B. (2008, March 31). Pandemic Planning and Business Continuity. Retrieved April 22, 2010, from
Heifetz R A. (2004). Leadership without Easy Answers. London, Harvard University Press
Hargreaves, A. (2003). Teaching in the Knowledge Society. New York, NY: Teachers’ College Publishes
Hargreaves, A. and Goodson, I. (2004). Change Over Time? A Report of Educational Change over 30 years in Eight U.S. and Canadian Schools., Chicago
MacMillan, R. B. (2000). Leadership succession: Cultures of teaching and educational change. New York, NY: Routledge/Falmer Publishers
Mathis, R, L., Jackson, J. H. and Elliott, T. L. (2007). Human Resource Management. Thomson Southwestern Publishers
Miller, C. (2008, May 30). Cultural Diversity is an Opportunity. Retrieved April 23, 2010 from
Pride, W.M., Hughes, J.M. & Kappor, J.R. (2009). Business. Kentucky: KY Cengage Learning Publishers
Ulrich, D. (2001). From Partners to Players: Extending the HR Playing Field. Human Resource Management
Vollmann, T. E., Berry, W L., & Whybark, Cl. D. (2005). Manufacturing Planning and control systems for supply chain management. New York, NY. McGraw-Hill Publisher/Irwin series