Leadership Styles In Business
Leadership, a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others towards achievement of a goal. (Ward 2019). In simple terms, leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. In context of business, leadership can mean directing workers and colleagues with a strategy to meet the company’s needs.
There is never a one-size-fits-all leadership style for every business – all companies operate differently and certain traits will be more successful in some environments than others.
Out of the common referred leadership style, my leadership style was autocratic leadership style. I as a leader by virtue of following autocratic leadership had always being the leader who makes decisions without taking input from anyone who reports to them. I made choices based on my ideas and judgements and never considered nor consulted my employees prior to giving them any direction and expected to adhere to the decision at a time and pace stipulated by the leader.
Following this leadership style, I was able to take decisions quickly especially in a stress-filled situations. Through this leadership style, I had clear chain of command & oversight on the work assigned ahead. I thinking this leadership style, was very good in terms to be followed when my reportees needs to a strong leadership for getting the work done.
Leadership principles that I would always keep:
Autocratic leadership comes with characterises as mentioned below.
From the given characterises, I as a leader would not be willing to give away by power, authority, control & decisions making rights. As a leader, I need to know where my team stands in terms of working style, process following, work allocation and taking ownership of work and completing it. Also I need to take proper control of the situation and always ask my team to take my consent before preceding to any concrete decision.
The role of religion in uniting and guiding humankind is one that cannot be ignored. Leadership styles is a key area where religion displays itself indicating that there is a significant relationship between religion and the dimensions of leadership styles. The influence of religion on leadership roles takes many shapes. Religion serves as the backbone of ethics, values, and morals, thus corner stone of societies. The essence of religion is to guide spiritual and personal beliefs. According to an authoritative study by Phipps (2012), he explores links that influences spiritual beliefs of leader relating to the leadership. A research findings by Phipps (2012) states that religion plays dominant roles in leadership mentioning leaders tend to impose their religious beliefs in their leadership styles. In autocratic leadership style, the autocratic leader finds in religion a match made in heaven. Governing people by following autocratic leadership style takes us back into history & politics world -wide. Autocratic leadership is exercised by various leaders in the Bible including King Solomon and King David. According to Hage and Posner (2013), Christians use their religious beliefs and practices to model, encourage, enable, inspire and challenge, key dimensions of leadership styles. Under Christianity, followers are expected to be submissive to leaders while leaders are advised to exercise responsibility. In Kenya, autocratic leaders have emerged in times of crisis riding on religion. Autocratic leaders such as Daniel Arap Moi kept invoking the name of God to cultivate legitimacy of their actions. Autocratic political leaders keep asserting that they are chosen by God and thus their policies and actions should not be challenged. Influence of religion comes into politics from the history. The experience of Europe in 17th & 18th centuries shows strong importance of a strategy based on strong identification with a particular religion and on the ruling principle “cuius regio eius religio” according to which a citizen should have the same religion as the sovereign.
With my past experience of being a leader and following an autocratic leadership style has let me know that I being an autocratic leader had both good and bad experiences.
Starting with my good experience was a situation when my company was into a transformational phase of merger, I was an individual contributor and because of some internal changes within the department, I got an opportunity of being a leader by getting a team assigned of 3 employees. Seeing the phase we were in the company and that my team was cue-less in terms of managing work. I opted to be an autocratic leader and the first and foremost thing I did was taking control of the work and giving direction to each of my team member. With taking control of work of my team members, my seniors within the department were able to see work getting completed and task getting achieved.
However, being an autocratic leader was not a piece of cake. There were many difficulties being faced of same. One of them was not no connect with team. As the situation demanded to follow an autocratic leadership, it build a communication between me and the team member. I was always in a directive thought process to take control of the situation which resulted in a huge gap occurring between me and my team.
Identifying key leadership issue from personal experience that requires to make critical decisions.
Leaders are not born, they are made was the statement quoted by one of my senior. In my previous organization, I attended workshop named “School for effective and aspiring leaders”. This workshop made me learn different styles of leadership and during this workshop, I took one survey to check my leadership style and my style of leadership was Authoritative leadership style which focuses on task. Once an individual employee gets substantial experience in a company, you start to get various perks and incentives, same happened with me when I was asked to manage a team of 3 members. This happened immediately after business restructure of my company where lot of transitional changes were happening and work load was very high. There were few changes in our department as well which created an opportunity for me to lead a team of 3 members. I was clueless how to do so, as this team management and leadership was all together a new thing for me. I suddenly from an individual contributor was asked to keep up in the new role. To overcome my anxiety of handling a team and leading them, I did some research about the team their work profile, work types, skill index tracker, service level agreement and their early warning system ratings. Basis my research, I found that there were many issues with the team and I was worried as there were many leadership issues in that team.
My research findings showed a glimpse of issues with the team. All team members were not trained in all the activities and there was a huge knowledge gap within the team as they were not following the standard operating procedures. The entire team was direction less which was an important leadership issue. The previous manger, managing the team was on exit mode from the system. Not much attention was given by him on the work allocation, process following by team etc. Company being in merger phase, made it important for us to manage our day to day operation with due diligence and utmost care which in actual scenario was far from reality. Being the new leader of the team, I had got various complains from other department member on the work delivery style of my team. In day to day operations, lot of inter-department data sharing, report sharing and works take place in an organization which is a routine job. The existing team was not delivering or doing their routine job which as a leader you would expect to be basic requirement of their job. But, the existing team would only deliver the work that you as a leader would allocate them and nothing more. The sense of ownership towards their daily work was equivalent to zero. I would consider the issues to be a leadership issues, reason being the previous leader himself showed no responsibility attitude towards the work. Getting work done from team members was part of his responsibility.
The identified issues were critical for me because I as the leader was answerable. So, to take control of the issue, I shared the procedural changes and update in an email ordering them to follow. Also, I made sure that I do work allocation to each and every team member which gives me an insight of work allocated to each team member. To bring the entire team on one page, the solution to the problem was micro management. Micro management considered at this point of time with the expectation that the team shall start delivering the basic requirement of their job and shall do their routine job. I as having the traits of an autocratic leader, started with clubbing up all daily work which was expected from each team member. Now, my each team member on daily was expected to do a series of set target drive jobs and report back to me with set matrix which were my control strategy and gauge their performance, eventually team also understood what is expected and how things were in control. Once all these activities were completed, the team member was expected to send data and reports required by other department on mail with a CC to me. My autocratic style of leadership worked out well in this situation as the team which was earlier direction less now got a direction and was made aware in terms of expectation from his role. Things came on track eventually and a structure was creating to follow set processes any deviation would require my consent. The team was but uncomfortable with the process but we were able to deliver results with this process so I continued to have such strong checks in place.
Going forward I have to find replacement for one of my team member as the individual was not comfortable with my style of leadership, in an internal interview he stated that he was not getting creative liberty to work in this structure/working style. For which I agreed as my leadership style was not letting the individual to experiment a lot. However my opinion was, transactional job profiles does not require creativity, but requires repetitive and consistent approach. I was able to deliver results with this style of leadership, so management also agreed and my team member for shifted to another role after finalising a replacement which best suited this transactional role.
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