Term Paper: Leadership Books Number of Different Models

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Leadership Books number of different models of leadership have been developed and offered as a way of assessing leadership skills and understanding the role of leadership in the organization. The subject is given great importance and is also the subject of a number of popular books offering recommendations on how to develop better leadership skills and how to make the role of the leader more effective. The textbook approach is offered by writers like DuBrin (2005), and a more how-to approach is offered by writers like Bossidy and Charan (2002) in their book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. To a degree, the advice in the second book is similar to the analysis offered in the first, and both mirror some of the ideas on leadership that have been offered by other analysts in various forms.

DuBrin has been writing on leadership subjects for some time and has analyzed the issue of leadership from numerous perspectives. Writing with Ireland and Williams (1989), DuBrin and colleagues set forth a continuum of authority by which to classify leadership styles, identifying styles of leadership identified as autocratic, participative, and free-rein. The autocratic leader maintains the most authority by issuing orders without consulting group members, with the basis for leadership being formal authority. In some situations, the autocratic style is appropriate, but one argument against this style is that executives using it are not completely effective because they create so much turmoil for their subordinates (DuBrin, Ireland, & Williams, 1989, pp. 330-331). The participative leader encourages more diffuse decision making authority, and the authors indeed identify three levels of participative leadership. A participative leader shares decision-making authority with the group, while the consultative leader solicits opinions from the group before making a decision without feeling constrained to accept the thinking of the group. The consensual leader encourages group discussion on an issue before making a decision reflecting the general consensus, and this type of leader gives more authority to the group than does the consultative leader. The democratic leader places final authority in the group and simply functions as one who collects opinions and takes a vote before making a decision; this type of leader may give away so much authority as to be classified a free-rein leader (DuBrin, Ireland, & Williams, 1989, pp. 331-332).

The free-rein leader in fact cedes almost all authority to group members and provides as little leadership as possible. This type of leader maintains a hands-off policy as long as the situation is one in which the work to be done by each subordinate is clearly defined. This style may be held by an abdicator who cares very little for achieving productivity or efficiency, though in other cases this may be an appropriate style leading to high productivity (DuBrin, Ireland, & Williams, 1989, p. 332).

These authors also address issues of communication between leader and subordinates in an organization, noting that communication usually refers to the sending and receiving of messages, and they offer the process model of communication for both interpersonal and organizational communication. Under this model, for true communication to take place, there must be six components present; 1) the source or sender; 2) a message; 3) a channel; 4) a receiver; 5) feedback; and 6) the environment. The latter element, the environment, refers to the communication climate, an understanding of which is essential. This refers to the extent to which an organization permits and promotes a free and open exchange of ideas and information among its members. If trust and respect are high in the organization, it will be easier to transmit controversial messages than if trust and respect are low (DuBrin, Ireland, & Williams, 1989, pp. 391-392).

These authors further discuss some of the other approaches to classifying leadership, such as the Managerial Grid, a framework for classifying leadership styles based on an examination of a leader's concern for task accomplishments and people at the same time. The Grid has also been used as a comprehensive system of leadership training and organization development. Two dimensions of leadership are considered particularly important on the Grid -- consideration, or the degree to which the leader creates an environment of emotional support and trust; and initiating structure, of the degree to which the leader initiates structure for employees with activities such as assigning specific tasks or scheduling work (DuBrin, Ireland, & Williams, 1989, pp. 332-335).

DuBrin et al. also explain Theory X and Theory Y, a classification method based on differences in assumptions made about people. The Theory X leader bases his or her actions on certain assumptions about people:

1) People dislike work and try to avoid it.

2) People dislike work, so managers must control, direct, coerce, and threaten subordinates to push them toward organizational goals.

3) People prefer to be directed, to avoid responsibility, and to seek security, since they lack ambition.

The Theory Y leader has a different set of assumptions about people:

1) Physical and mental work are natural parts of life and are not disliked by people.

2) People are self-motivated when they feel committed.

3) People are committed to goals if they attain rewards once the goals are reached.

4) People will seek and accept responsibility under favorable conditions.

5) People can be innovative in solving problems.

People are basically bright, but their abilities are generally underutilized in most job settings (DuBrin, Ireland, & Williams, 1989, p. 336).

DuBrin (2005) covers much of the same territory in a different way, analyzing leadership in both a theoretical and a practical manner. The subtitle of the book suggests this clearly as it offers "Research Findings, Practice, and Skills," meaning theoretical concepts supported by research into leadership followed by the practical application of the ideas developed and exercises and programs for the development of necessary skills based on the meeting of theory and practice. Among the means used for developing these skills are quizzes on leadership and self-assessment, role-play exercises, and questions for further discussion leading to the application of new concepts. DuBrin's book addresses the need of the organization today and what a leader should ring to the task of leading, giving special emphasis to the qualities of an effective leader and to how the leader should take to heart the need for a sense of ethics and social responsibility, a particular requirement in light of many of the ethical lapses at the top in recent years and the damage caused to business as a result.

DuBrin (2005) also includes a number of examples of each type of leader he discusses, using case studies as a way of expanding his discussion and showing how some have put his ideas into practice to good effect. He talks first about the nature and importance of leadership and cites Martha Stewart for her leadership abilities and Tom Freston of MTV Networks for how he has made concepts of leadership work for his organization. He gives particular attention to the transformational leader, a type of leader often needed to change an existing organizational culture into something more effective in light of new internal and external pressures. He uses John T. Chambers of Cisco Systems as an example. As noted, he gives particular attention to questions fo ethics and social responsibility and uses Andrew Fastow of Enron as an example of how not to behave, with Enron serving as one of the prime reasons why more and more people in business are giving greater attention to ethics and the need for social responsibility both as a recognition that this is the right thing to do and also because the public expects it and can hurt a company greatly if the perception is that the company is not acting in a responsible manner. No organization wants what happened to Enron to happen to it. DuBrin also provides practical analysis on such leadership issues as creating a good environment for teamwork and using motivation and coaching skills to better advantage.

Many analysts of leadership have noted that there are two basic types of leadership: transactional and transformational. The transactional leader provides leadership based on the current situation and offers leadership for the moment (transaction). The transformational leader provides leadership that helps employees transform their own behavior so that future decisions will not require the interference of the manager, but will be made independently (Bolman & Deal, 1991, p. 405). In order for transformational leadership to be possible, the organization must have a high level of employee empowerment, meaning that employees are given the opportunity and the responsibility to make decisions without seeking approval from their managers. Such decision making authority may not extend to all decisions, but the greater the degree of empowerment (the more decision making authority at each level of the organization), the greater the opportunity for transformational leadership.

Transactional leadership suggests that leaders respond to lower level subordinate basic and security needs. Leaders and subordinates are viewed as bargaining agents where relative power regulates an exchange process as benefits are issued and received. There are two… [END OF PREVIEW]

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