Learning About Leadership

Everyone has a different style of leadership. Some people are more direct and assertive, while other leaders are more cooperative and egalitarian. After researching leadership styles and how I prefer to lead, I have realized that I am somewhat eclectic in my approach, the findings on my leadership style included in this paper.

One element of my leadership style coincides with the Contingency approach to management, also known as the Situational Approach to management. The contingency approach to management centers on the notion that there is not one right way to manage and lead employees and an organization. Instead, this approach recognizes that when one organizes, leads, devises, and is in charge, the steps and techniques that are taken depend on what the situation and unique circumstances entail. Asking questions such as “How should I proceed in this case?” and “What do I need to do to fix this problem?” do not have standard answers or universal solutions. Leaders who use this approach also assume and realize that individuals, workplaces, and events change as time passes. Therefore, before one makes a management decision, one should examine the company environment and other internal things that may affect the decision that needs to be made.

I feel that I that the Contingency approach fits who I am in many ways. There are many different types of people in an organization, in terms of different cultures, minorities, and sexual orientations, which I recognize. Since people communicate differently and also have their own unique work styles and degrees of extraversion and introversion, this is going to affect decisions that need to be made in the organization. This is something that business owner and entrepreneur Graham Lowe discusses in his book “Creating Healthy Organizations: How Vibrant Workplaces Inspire Employees to Achieve Sustainable Success.” Lowe describes how an organization with a positive culture is usually more successful and efficient than a company that is not concerned about culture and the welfare of its employees. In the workplace, there are usually employees with various backgrounds, ethnicities, and races. These worker have diverse family backgrounds, styles of communication styles, character traits, and value systems. For example, Asian employees are usually more aligned with collectivist values, the overall benefit and needs of the group taking precedence over one’s own desires and goals. Obviously, this affects one’s work performance and actions on a team. As a general rule, Asian employees are sometimes not as likely speak up for what they believe in or express dissension when they object to another individual’s opinion in the group. According to Lowe, an organization’s overall success is contingent on maintaining a positive work culture.

However, Americans have more individualistic values, often expressing their opinions and emotions in work team situations. To work together and achieve an organization’s goals, employees need to be knowledgeable and accepting of different culture’s communication styles and values. Understanding each other can make team members feel more connected and respected, which has a positive effect on a company’s success. Lowe also mentions that if organizational leaders sense conflicting cultures and values and underlying tensions, it the responsibility of managers to ensure that all employees are connected to company goals, as well as the needs of customers, clients, and stakeholders. I agree with all of what Lowe states, feeling respecting and strongly tied into a worker’s performance and desire to give one’s best effort.

I also recognize that the Path/Goal Theory of leadership is something that is important as well. The Path-Goal Theory of Leadership states that the best leaders should encourage and support their employees when trying to meet company goals and should do this by making the path and journey easy and free of obstacles. Some ways that a good leader can do this is by giving clear and proper instructions about how, why, and when the employee needs to meet goals and any projects that need to be completed. Another way that an effective manager can help an employee succeed in meeting company goals is by giving some rewards for certain workplace behaviors and tasks. For instance, if a car salesman sells three new cars for the month, then the reward is an extra $1,000 bonus in the paycheck. Other perks can also help to motivate employees, such as giving free gift cards, gym memberships, a vacation, and extra time off. However, a good leader needs to know if one is intrinsically motivated, the employee preferring to be appreciated and told that they are doing a good job. Yet, other employees may be more motivated by extrinsic rewards, which means that the employee prefers thing such as money, time off, etc.

Other theories are the Transactional and a Transformation leadership styles. I am not as inclined to use a Transactional leadership style that is just focused on the present moment. This style is more concerned with making sure that things run smoothly, the normal flow of operations the overall goal. Rocking the boat is not usually favored, which I feel can keep people stuck. Since transactional leaders are more inclined to use disciplinary power that is not a style that fits with my personality. On the contrary, I prefer to use more of a Transformational style. In this approach, a leader is concerned with the present workday and building a team that is happy. The leader also focuses on how to motivate employees and increasing cooperation with workers to ensure that everyone is able to put forth one’s best effort. Change is encouraged, which allow leaders to be more productive in the end, devise better ways of doing things, as well as allowing each worker to blossom and to grow personally and professionally.

As you can see my leadership style is eclectic, elements of path/goal theory, the contingency approach, and the transformational style part of my style. I favor cooperation, change for the better, creativity, and valuing and respecting my employee’s diversity, mode of communication, and personality differences. However, I am always open to including new elements is my leadership style as time goes on, based on my learning experiences.

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