Leadership Models Assessment Essay

Pages: 6 (1652 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Leadership

¶ … Leadership Models

Assessment of Four Leadership Models

The industrial age, transactional, transformational and situational leadership models emerged from the unique needs of organizations to optimize their workforces to the tasks needed to accomplish strategic goals. Each of these leadership approaches or theories also reflect a given mindset and prevailing belief in how best to manage human productivity to attain optimal results. Not until the 19th and 20th centuries did internal motivation and the ability to lead workers by having them be identify with organizational goals and internalize them become effective as a leadership strategy (Korek, Felfe, Zaepernick-Rothe, 363, 364). Before that, there was a heavy emphasis on leadership as a right, often gained through seniority and perceived as an individual possession with some theorists arguing it was an innate, not teachable skill set (Sims, Faraj, Yun, 142, 143). Industrial age leadership worked in the period it was devised as productivity was measured purely in terms of measurable physical output the majority of the time, not intelligence, knowledge or transforming insight into effective strategies. Transactional, transformational and situational leadership places more focus on how to motivate an employee through having them identify with the vision, goals, and direction of the organization. As industries have transitioned form purely being production focused to being more orientated towards information and knowledge, these leadership models have become more relevant over time.

Leadership for the Knowledge Transition

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Just as leaders in the Industrial Age measured themselves by how quickly and efficiently they could get their production workers and factory output to a level of performance that would drive down per unit costs and deliver profitability, leaders of today seek to gain the maximum ROI in the form of knowledge, not just production. This shift from production to knowledge has driven the adoption of transactional, transformations and situational leadership. Accelerating this progression is the Internet, its related networking and knowledge sharing technologies, and the need for ever-increasing knowledge levels in workers as well.

Essay on Leadership Models Assessment of Four Leadership Models Assignment

Each of these leadership theories takes a different path to attaining the same desired outcome, which is measurable, valuable productivity that leads to organizations' goals being attained. The path to productivity and goal attainment however varies significantly across each of these theories. Starting with the Industrial Age, clearly the role of authoritarian mindsets and the belief in efficiency through standardization contributed to the growth of industries while bringing measures of productivity and the introduction of metrics of performance into managing people to attain goals. Like the heavy equipment and machinery that dominated the industrial revolution, the Industrial age mindset of leadership could not keep up, scale to and be agile enough to capitalize on emerging market opportunities and time-to-market requirements of customers. Industrial Age leadership theories became outmoded as market-driven organizations began to dominate the global economy.

Industrial Age managers distrust people and create an environment of excessive rules and regulations that reinforce a command-and-control view of people and resources. The fourteen principles as defined by Henri Fayol (Brunsson, 30) encapsulate the mindset of the time about division of work, authority, discipline, centralization, and the subordinating of individual opinions and thoughts for the greater good. Read in the 21st century these fourteen points are highly autocratic in scope and could never scale effectively to meet the lightning-fast challenges that uncertain economic environments can bring to industries within weeks or days. The lack of scalability of these ideas is what led to their being abandoned for newer, more effective leadership theories that could be used on a process- and employee-centric basis first.

Manufacturing-centric industries today are as much learning organizations as they are producers of products and providers of services. Learning organizations require an entirely different set of leadership frameworks (Dyer, Nobeoka, et.al.) if they are to attain their objectives and strategies. Getting back to the concept of scalability, industrial age leadership theories cannot scale to meet the significantly greater levels of complexity in business models and value chains today. Organizations need to become learning-based as much as they are product or service-based (Dyer, Nobeoka, 340, 342). This transition to learning-based organizations puts leadership theories that can translate employee intelligence and insights into a lasting competitive advantage. In the case of transactional leadership, which is a theory that captures both the quantification of performance with the ability to motivate employees with rewards, knowledge-based organizations have had success in attaining tactical strategies. Yet to attain strategic objectives and more difficult, complex goals the need for transformation leadership strategies is critical. The greater the complexity of a long-term goal, the greater the level of process integration required, the greater the need for getting employees to own their part of a vision. With how complex today's business models and value chains are, it is critical for employees to see how their contributions make an impact on overall performance and attainment of goals. The use of transformational and situational leadership theories are the most useful in this regard.

Economic uncertainty has also changed the management and leadership landscape within every organization. The Industrial age leadership models again cannot scale and appear anachronistic when measured against the economic and social realities of the late 20th and 21st centuries. The need for situational leadership models became even more apparent as economic turbulence and fluctuations have re-ordered the business models of companies (Thompson, Vecchio, 825, 826). Situational leadership that could be agile enough to capitalize on new market opportunities and shift away from threats is essential in the current economic environment. Situational leadership is accentuated by Emotional Intelligence (EI) (Harms, Crede, 5) a trait many transformational leaders have as well (Liu, Siu, Shi, 454). Leadership then has followed a growth paradigm which is comparable to the growth in complexity and growth of business models and value chains as well (Korek, Felfe, Zaepernick-Rothe, 364). The catalysts of transformational and situational leadership has been driven more by the recognition that the business models, processes, interrelationships and strategies succeed or fail more on knowledge-based networks of employees and less on purely product, price or service decisions (Dyer, Nobeoka, et.al.). When seen from this context, the progression of leadership theories in the past will continue to align with and seek to serve the needs of increasingly complex, intricate and in many cases, knowledge-starved organizations that thrive on intelligence. In the 21st century, the greatest competitive advantage is intelligence that is well managed with leaders who inspire and keep trust alive in their organizations (Liu, Siu, Shi, 440). Trust and intelligence can be an unassailable competitive strength of an enterprise if they use leadership strategies effectively to bring out those core strengths.

Part 2: Defining a Leadership Model for the Age of the Knowledge Worker

In devising a leadership model for the 21st century, design objectives need to first be set and then interrelationships of concepts defined. Given how critical it is to have agility build into any leadership model, there needs to be loose-tight couplings across each of the connections. The consistency achieved across organizational and individual goals is critical. All of these factors must interrelate to fuel greater levels of trust over time as well. Being able to anchor knowledge as a core competitive advantage in a solid platform of cooperation is also critical; there needs to be an ethic of shared knowledge and insight to create a learning organization. This is a key lesson learned from studying the Toyota Production System for example (Dyer, Nobeoka, et.al.). Figure 1, Proposed Leadership Model for the Age of the Knowledge Worker, graphically defines these concepts and shows how all can contribute to trust over time.

Figure 1: Proposed Leadership Model for the Age of the Knowledge Worker

There must be strong elements of autonomy, focus on fluidity and frequency of communication and the ability to seek and gain consistency of organizational goals and expectations with… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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