MGT 470, Leadership In Management
A Look At Different Leadership Styles
Just as there is diverse population throughout the world, there is just as diverse a population throughout the workforce. Not only diverse in ethnicity and the like, but in also work ethic, personality, temperment, etc. There is not an exception to the rule with regard to different leadership styles within management. In fact, it is in this role where different styles are most noticeable, simply due the sheer fact that leaders do just that.....they lead groups of people which are usually conforming to or at least paying some attention due to the chain of command within an organization.
For the puposes of this paper, Leadership In Management, I am going to discuss different leadership elements and styles. In doing so, I am going to highlight first what qualities a good, effective leader typically possesses. Additionally, I would like to discuss what I found to be the most prevelant and positive leadership characteristics regarding this topic. They are as follows:
- Leadership with a high degree of Emotional Intelligence
- Leadership which takes risks versus, those that practice risk aversion
- Leadership which understands and can effectivley deal with differences in gender relations versus leadership that practices a 'blanket' model.
- Leadership which practices and encourages participatory and concensus style as opposed to the more autocratic method.
All in all, this paper will outline Leadership In Management, defined better as the different ways employers lead their workforce/personnel in order to effect the most positive, lucrative, and healthy results and outcomes.
Leadership which operates by making decisions-whether policy, operational, or personnel related-by using a more group-oriented method has been coined as Participatory or Concensus Management. This type of leadership involves either, 1) requesting feedback prior to determining how to implement a new decision and/or policy (participatory), or 2) including the workgroups' opinions (including self) in order to compile the decision and/or policy in the first place, or a consensus: general agreement in principal. Does not imply total agreement or unanimous assent. (www.mc2consulting.com/riskdef.htm) The latter is the most diplomatic method. However, the workplace is not necessarily or realistically a democratic environment at times. (Dauten)
Participatory management involves good solid decision making ability by management based on numerous variables that management is usually privey to. But also, with this type of management an individual leader can pool their subordinates into the equation for posterity and to ensure that an easier transition may come if the masses feel they had a role in the decision making process. In other words, personnel will feel a sense of ownership to decisions. Of course, it is important to remember that it would be impossible to make each and every member of the decision making process happy.
Concensus management is similar in that the leader is attempting to include other layers of the organization into the decision making process. The difference here is that the consensus of the group (including the leaders opinion/feedback) is what will ultimately aid with making the decision on the issue or determine the path collectively. A flaw with this style is that a leader is not really a leader in such situation, but rather a general participant. This can effect the chain of command necessary to conduct day-to-day business. In addition, the entire group consensus may not be properly informed to make such business decisions, and therefore cannot make an effective choice. In more trivial decisions in the workplace, this is a good way to have the group really feeling as though they are a team. For example, where should the annual picnic be this year? Where should we put the first aid kit so it is accessable to all? Should we implement a punchclock in order to ensure people are on time or working more than their hours alloted? Etc. More pertinent decisions, such as which direction to take the sales department for the third quarter; what to do about employee theft, etc. should be left up to leadership/management in order to make the best and most effective informed decision that will be most beneficial to the company.
The exact opposite of these two leadership styles is Autocratic Leadership. Simply put, this type of leader operates on the premise, "It's my way or the highway people." These managers can have 'tunnel vision' or appear narrow-minded, and somewhat difficult to get along with. In addition, autocratic leaders are, in my opinion, typically the most ineffective since he/she cannot take into consideration different variables the occur within business because he/she in just not interested in another point of view or method.
Another cluster of leadership styles within this topic are, 1) risk takers, or leaders who are not afraid to make mistakes, and 2) those leaders who practice risk aversion. Risk takers are those, which are not afraid of making a mistake in business. There are variables to this attitude and style, but generally a risk taker envisions bigger and better things ahead. The leadership inclined to practice risk aversion wishes to remain 'in the clear' or wishes to feel safe and likes to feel that their business practice is constantly on the "up and up." Oftentimes this leader cannot see beyond the daily operations and therefore, company growth can be stunted or stifled, along with talent potentialy going to waste.
According to Jim Gunther, author of the article, "101 Rules to Risk Management," there are ways to view risk in business and that is to simply consider it part of the general business operations. The most frequently mentioned tips in this list and in other mediums I used to reasearch this topic are as follows:
- Risk should be tailored to meet or encourage business objectives in almost all of its respects.
- Big risks should not be taken in order to obtain or gain a little.
- Risks should have very clearly defined objectives so as not to snowball into a risk that was not meant to be.
- Establish a level of authority within management by use of policy statement in combination with face to face presentation if possible. (www.riskmanagementsearch.com/rule.asp)
All things considered, taking risks and failing presents feelings of "stomach-wrenching loss." (Farson, p27) However, one of the biggerst cliche`s growing up was, 'the best lessons learned are those learned the hard way.' In business, it is no different. A risk is something that is taken to potentially enhance business operations and/or the bottom line in one fashion or another. When risk taking can turn ugly is when it veers away from the responsible management of such. Meaning, "sometimes these issues (risks) are moral, sometimes legal, sometimes personal." (George, p127) Taking risks that fall outside a leaders personal realm of what is right versus what is wrong is best stated by CEO of Corning Glass in the book, "Authentic Leadership."
"Think of your decisions being based on two concentric circles. In the outer circle are all the laws, regulartions, and ethical standards with which the company must comply. In the inner circle are [your] core values. Just be darn sure that your decisions as CEO (leader) stay withing [your] inner circle."
Responsible, and well planned risk taking can prove to be quite productive. A great example of this is with Coca-Cola, CEO Roberto Goizueta's sponsorship of "one of the most catastrophic blunders in American business history: the introducation of New Coke." (Farson, p36). It was this mistake that enraged consumers, and reminded Goizueta that it was not so much the favorable taste tests that made Coca-Cola popular, but rather that the real value lay in its brand. (p36) Risk aversion does not allow for exploration and innovation. Nor does it inspire talent within an organization.
Rather than labeling the next topic as a TYPE of leadership, I am going to discuss leadership, which understands and utilitzes gender commonalities and differences. A more "blanket" method of dealing with individuals is not healthy in my opinion and I have found loads of research to prove that point. In her article, "Business Communication: Bridging the Gender Gap," Candy Tymson states that men and women interpret things in a way that is misleading to one another.
When a woman is listening to a man and shaking her head, she is implying that she understands what he is saying. When a man is shaking his head when listening, he is implying that he agrees with what is being said. In contrast, a woman is interpreting the man nodding as a sign that he understands her, but not that he necessarily agrees. A man, observing a woman nodding while listening connotates that she is in agreement, when she actually may simply be conveying that she understands what he is expressing. (Tymson, p2)
The key to understanding and utilizing gender differences in management is to understand these characteristics and to encourage communication in each and every form. Men are not verbal communicators, and women are. Women are not about status and action until there is concensus to the "quandry". Men inadvertantly can potentially lose business because they appear too impersonal by the way they listen or don't listen. Women on the other hand do not offer as much clarity, confidence and focus on solutions to a conversation/interaction. (Gray, p125) The solution??
When considering the male and female roles from another viewpoint it is important to remember common perceptions:
- The prospect of a man checking with a woman before doing something" isakin to "asking Mommy for permission." It is sometimes humiliating and uncomfortable for men to be in this situation. (Tannen, p161) Of course, not all men feel this way, but it is important for female leaders to consider the point of reference in which she is addressing.
- The flip side of this is when men in authority are as likely to suggest a militarycommander or a sports coach or captain. (p161) Male leaders need to apply different techniques when making demands on female counterparts, and again, remember the point of reference in, which HE is addressing for maximum effectiveness.
Men and women both must be encouraged to learn and practice the 'art' of listening. While women should learn that men do not need approval or reassurance of understanding (prefering to talk straight about issues), men should understand that women do. Leaders that understand these roles should ultimately be able to utilize these characteristics in a way that reaps many benefits. After all, men and women could not do without one another.
The last and most important leadership quality in my opinion is he or she that displays and exudes emotional intelligence. This leader has intuition based on the organization of thoughts and previous impressions about people, past relationships and encounters and can use it to make sound decisions with that thought system, but additionally he or she operates with extreme patience. Not only can the leader with emotional intelligence harness past experiences and interactions in a positive way, he or she can deal with discontent as well.
There is a certain awareness an intuitive leader has that can be used in all areas of life:
- Expose problems
- Apply empathy
- Trust an environment to agree to disagree and discuss the finer points
- Create a collaboration with all parties involved in the discontent. (Cooper, p105)
With emotional intelligence a leader can pool all positive characteristics (almost like a sponge) and do the right thing or a pretty close attempt at it at least. Intuition plays a huge role in this skill. In the book "The Intuitive Manager", by Roy Rowan, he describes the foremost important part of intuition as a two part process: "first, heeding certain body sensations to feel how an idea sits physically; and second, even if the idea produces an uneasy feeling, focus[ing] on it for a minute or two." Then he goes on, "the idea will usually open up so you find out what is causing the agitation or elation." The combination of senses, memory and genuine interest in people and issues is what makes up the integrity of an emotionally intelligent leader, which equals more positive and productive groups and organizations (ideally).
Each leader is known for his or her own style and the way in which he or she is perceived by others. This in turn, promotes the productive or non-productive results in an organization. The leadership within management is what will ultimately sink or swim a company. Empowering personnel to be a part of decision-making processes through participatory or concensus management, taking smart risks as opposed to practicing risk aversion in the decision-making process, by understanding the differences and unique characteristics of subordinates, and through the practice of emotional intelligence a leader can make a big difference. Not just in an organization, but in the lives of those he or she deals with each day.
MGT 470, Leadership In Management
A Look At Different Leadership Styles: BIBLIOGRAPHY
Cooper, Robert K., and Ayman Sawaf. Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations. Grosset/Putnam. New York, NY, 1997.
Dauten, Dale. The Gifted Boss. William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York, NY, 1999.
Farson, Richard, and Ralph Keyes. Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation. The Free Press. New York, NY, 2002.
George, Bill. Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. Jossey Bass. San Fransisco, CA, 2003.
Gray, John, Ph.D. Mars and Venus in the Workplace. Harper Collins. New York, NY, 2002.
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Rowan, Roy. The Intuitive Manager. Little, Brown and Company. Boston, MA, 1986.
Tannen, Deborah, Ph.D. Talking from 9 to 5: How Women's and Men's Conversational Styles Affect Who Gets Heard, Who Gets Credit, and What Gets Done at Work. William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York, NY, 1994.
Tymson, Candy. Gender Games: Doing Business with the Opposite Sex. Tymson Consulting. Retreived on April 19, 2005 from http://www.tymson.com.an/pdf./gendergap.pdf
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