The key factor that influenced my leadership style is the work environment. I appreciate the atmosphere, where the junior level employees have a possibility to challenge themselves, participate in decision-making and offer the initiatives, get the feedback for their work and discuss the tasks. A particular environment results in effective decision-process and overall efficacy. When the work group is formed, it is significant that all group members adjust to each other in both personal and working traits. The well-formed group should be able to work as a team to achieve the common goal. Even though the team players may have different backgrounds, experience and characters, working styles and resource availability, it is meaningful to establish the respectful and well-coordinated atmosphere.
The next important factor is leadership style is the encouragement of creative thinking. First, creative approach is requires for effective decision handling. Any company, regardless of its type of ownership and business nature, has to solve the ongoing strategical and tactical problems on the constant basis. Hence, the creative thinking is the must for the successful decision-making. Secondly, creativity is an inalienable feature of the successful living in ever-changing environment. For any company to survive, it is significant to keep up with the pace of external changes. The methods and tools that are used by organizational leaders require creative alterations in order to satisfy the ever changing requirements of the business landscape. The successful leader should look beyond the competitive arena at which the company operates. Moreover, he/she needs to foresee the upcoming trends and changes and use creative approach to adapt his business decisions in advance.
The third factor that contributes to the leadership style is the employee turnover. Low employee turnover rate is the sign of a positive work environment as it tells that employees feel content with the work environment and the style of the leadership that is practiced in a particular organization. The low rate of employee turnover is associated with a number of benefits for both an employer and employees. When employees feel valuable at their workplace, they have a better motivation to work effectively. As for the employees, rewards and recognition is the meaningful element of self-realization which in its turn affects the work productivity. Positive work environment, professional attitude and appraisal can reduce the employee turnover rate and maintain the healthy work path of the organization.
The additional factor that has high influence on the leadership style is the personality of the team-leader. Any leader and decision-maker is a human with his/her own character, preferences, attitudes, beliefs and habits. Thus, the personality of the leader as an individual cannot be ignored when speaking about the leadership style. The management style that is practices by the team-leader is usually based on his personal characteristics. For example, the outgoing and sociable person will perhaps use the participative or transformational leadership style, communicate openly with employees and share the opinions. On contrast, the introvert person may use authoritative leadership style without discussion and participation.
Every team exists for a certain common purpose. Thus, a task can be described as a purpose or objective of a team. The effective work of the team is achieved only through the common understanding of the organizational goal. It is a role of a team-leader to make sure that every team-player understands the common goal and acts in order to accomplish this target. In order to communicate and set the tasks in the most comprehensible way, the “SMART” principle may be utilized. This principle suggests that task should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. If the task is defined in a clear way, the manager can easily decide which leadership style is appropriate for the particular situation. For instance, if the task is a subject to scarce deadline, the manager may decide to use more authoritative style.
Generally, the most used leadership styles are the autocratic, democratic and bureaucratic. In my opinion, the democratic style is the most effective solution during the normal pace of the organizational activity. However, in some exceptional cases, the autocratic style may also be the good alternative.
The autocratic leadership style is characterized by the imperative decisions by the leader. There is no any place for discussion or opposite views. The team-players have to follow the instructions set by the leader and do not need to share their views or opinions. A particular leadership style may be the best solution in emergency situations. However, if autocratic style is used on a daily basis, this may lead to the dissatisfaction of the team-players, and decreased productivity as a result.
Bureaucratic leadership style is based on a fixed prewritten set of rules and norms. The hierarchical system contains the certain rules and prerequisites that should be obeyed by the management and the team. Bureaucratic style may be beneficial in business processes that require high level of control and regulation. However, this style will not work in businesses that require creativity and innovations as the system is usually heavy and implements changes very slow.
Democratic style of leadership is based on consultation, discussion, effective delegation of tasks and encouragement of creativity and leadership potential. Democratic style may be the most effective solutions for the companies that praise innovation, alternative viewpoints and alterations.
Making an evaluation of my approach to being a leader, I have to a conclusion that I mostly use the democratic leadership style. I choose this way of team-management, because I suppose that democratic attitude motivates employees work harder and contribute their interesting ideas to the common success in a decision-making. When employees understand that their ideas find the relevant appraisal and are implemented during the work process, they feel as a valuable part of the organization. This feeling motivates personnel work more effectively and be committed to the achieving of the common goal. Moreover, democratic style generates collaborative environment that contributes to the more thorough solutions to ongoing problems. On the other hand, I understand that democratic leadership style may ineffective in some cases as it takes more time to make the decisions. The discussion process takes time and requires efficient coordination in order to work out the most beneficial positon. If the subordinates are not knowledgeable in the problem that is discussed, the collaborative style may be simply the wasting of time.
Using a democratic style can have a number of strengths:
Using a democratic style can have a number of weakness:
The authoritative style (autocratic style) may be relevant to use in such organizations as the police forces. The manager provides the framework in which the organization operates. The leader dictates the procedural list, decides upon the policies to follow, sets the goals and controls the process. He does not engage employees into the decision process. The leader has a complete control over the actions of the team-players and gives little or no place for the autonomy of the subordinates. The leader sees a clear vision of the outcome and is in charge of leading the group to the completion of this vision. All the tasks that are given by the leader have to be fulfilled under the strict supervision of the leader. While the team-players lack autonomy, the leader of the group has unlimited authority over the planning and performing the tasks. Autocratic leadership style may work well if the leader is competent and knowledgeable in all steps of the process. Besides, authoritative style is the most appropriate solution in emergency cases, like emergency in police, where the quick and effective actions should be applied without excess considerations and discussions.
For any team, the importance of having the common sense of purpose is vital. If the members of team do not understand the goal, its value or necessity, the team as a whole will not reach the vision. In addition, the team should be knowledgeable in the objectives and mission of the organization in order to act in one direction with the strategical view of the organization. The understanding of the organizational strategy and purpose will lead the team to support the overall image of the company. Hence, it is significant to make sure that each team-player understands and shares the values of the company. Besides, it is important to ensure the coordination of the daily operations with the values of the company.
The task of the leader is to motivate employees, inspire their initiatives and create the sense of meaningfulness of the goal. Besides, the leader should create the clear rules, standards of excellence and system of reward and recognition. The good leader will manage to create the shared vision that is close and understandable to every member of the team. Only in this case employees will contribute their efforts to the completion of the shared vision. Contrary to this, poor communication, misinterpreted information and fuzzy target may create internal conflicts. Employees may have conflicts on the basis of misinterpreted information. What is more, broken communication leaves a floor for poor productivity. Employees can misclassify the facts, their duties and expectations. As a result, the entire system will work ineffectively and prevent the organization from reaching the success.
Thus, we may conclude that a proper communication is one of the key elements in creating the organizational environment. In order to create the effective communication system within the organizational unit, it is essential to understand both positive and negative effects of communication on teamwork. A particular understanding may help a leader to work out the excellent communication habits and style. First, the team should have the properly established communication channels. Effective communication channels will increase the efficiency of interaction among the team-members. As a result, the teammates will use communication channels to perform their duties in a better way and learn the personal and work traits if the colleagues. The healthy communication system minimizes the instances of misunderstanding and conflicts. Consequently, the team puts all efforts into completion of the tasks rather than on wasting time in conflicts. Each member of the team has to understand his responsibilities. Moreover, the team member should have the broader picture in which his individual responsibilities are viewed as a part if the common goal. Thus, a good communication system provides each team-player with the necessary information regarding his responsibilities and tasks, but also keeps people in touch with organizational updates and progress.
Another significant feature in organizational work is the motivation of the employees. Work motivation is the factor that keeps people dedicated to goal-directed performance. A motivation is a driving factor that influences employees’ thinking of work, energizes, adds enthusiasm and brings positive attitudes towards daily tasks. The effect of motivation is associated with the work of our brain. It is a kind of emotional driver that makes people do things in a certain way. It is not enough for a person to have a superior knowledge and skills I order to complete the tasks. Without motivation, our brain will refuse to work effectively. In fact, the nature of people’s motivation may be seen from the psychological point of view. The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow formed a theory of human motivation. According to this theory, people are motivated to satisfy some levels of their needs, which are put in hierarchical system. This hierarchical system is arranged as a pyramid, where the basic needs form the basement of the figure, while the most sophisticated needs form the top of the pyramid. Maslow suggests that normally people seek to satisfy the basic needs and think about the next tire only in case the previous level is satisfied.
Physiological needs form the basic tier of the pyramid. These are the physical prerequisites of the human life. If the physiological requirements are not met, the human beings cannot continue living. Thus, these needs are the most important requirements for the survival. Particular needs include water, breathing, homeostasis, sleep etc.
When the physiological needs are satisfied, people and other beings care about safety. The safety is a general need that may include such subcategories as physical safety, economic safety, political safety etc. A person needs to feel safe in all senses in order to live the healthy life. Otherwise, people experience various types of disorders, trauma, depressions etc.
When the two basic layers of physiological and safety needs are satisfied, people go to the next level and care about the love and belonging. People need to feel the sense of belonging to certain social organization – nation, community or even family. The group can be bigger or smaller, but the person has to feel love and appreciation of the group. Otherwise, people feel lonely and socially excluded.
The following tier in Maslow’s pyramid is esteem. People live in a society and have a natural need to be respected by the other members of the social strata, be recognized and appreciated by others. In order to achieve this level, people try to find some hobby or become the superior specialist in some sphere. Some people feel esteemed when they are valued at work. Others feel satisfied when they volunteer and help people in need. Besides, every person has a sense of self-esteem which may vary from low to high. Low self-esteem may result in various complexes and inferiority. People with low self-esteem expect the higher level of recognition from others. However, the extremely high self-esteem or arrogance may hurt other people and prevent from the healthy social interactions. Thus, the inability to satisfy the needs in esteem may result in psychological imbalances.
Self-actualization is the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy. This tier reflects the highest potential of the individual that has satisfied the basic needs in all previous layers. Maslow suggests that self-actualization is the most superior individual stage the person may achieve. However, for every person self-actualization is different. Some people find self-actualization in bringing up children and creating healthy family. Others may find this in becoming prominent leaders. There is a group who may see self-actualization as a bright education and career path. Possible choice may be the understanding of a nature and living in a harmony. Maslow mentioned that in order to achieve the self-actualization, one must not only satisfy the underlying needs, but also master them.
The application of Maslow’s theory of human motivation may vary in accordance with the specifics of various individuals and situations. However, a smart leader may use the Maslow’s pyramid effectively in order to work out the most beneficial motivation strategy for his employees. In most cases, employees treat the salary as the satisfaction of the physical needs. However, it may not work in some case. For instance, in a situation of war, employees will not be motivated by salary, whereas the food would be a better motivation.
If we use the example of individuals rather than circumstances, we may also face the differences in attitudes towards motivation. Some people go to work in order to earn money and salary is a good motivation. However, other people may go to the work because they have friends at a workplace and value the communication with colleagues. Another motivation may be the feeling of respect and esteem gained from the attitude of colleagues. However, such factor will motivate only if a person meets the basic needs. Contrary to this, if a person has a fear to be fired and the job is only source to satisfy the basic physical needs in food and living, the person will not be motivated by a good collective, friendship or respect. In this case, work safety and salary are the best motivators.
However, if employees are wealthy enough to fulfill their basic needs, praise for good work and meaningful group relationships may be a more important motivation.
Any team consists of the members or team-players. In order to work out the best motivation system, the leader needs to find out the information about the tem-members and located them on certain level of the pyramid.
Besides, it is important to note that employees may move up and down because of some circumstances. For example, you as a leader may know that one of your employees shows exceptional performance when he is motivated by bonuses. Additional bonuses for the successful work make him feel proud and esteemed. Besides, he feels satisfaction from developing the best technological solutions and going above and beyond his mates. However, at one moment you see that his wife becomes sick and needs the long time for recovery. At this point, you as a leader need to understand that employee’s needs have changed. He will not be motivated by bonuses. Instead, he needs the respect to his individual circumstances. The best motivation will be the additional day-offs. A particular example confirms that employees’ needs may change and they may move from one layer to another. However, the good leader will detect the right location and find the appropriate motivation tool.