Many management styles can be employed by different managers in an organization. These can vary from hands-off leaders to facilitative leaders and to managers who micromanage all aspects of the organization. In this discussion, three leaders are identified with each having different characteristics that point to a distinct leadership style. Executive A is a level 5 leader while executives B and C are transactional and transformational leaders respectively. Experts assert that there is no one-fit-all management style and that a combination or a singular style can fit a unique situation.
Executive A is a level five leader because he has done what is expected of leaders in all other previous levels. All the four prior levels have leaders who have transformed organizations into forces of reckon (Johnson & Hackman, 2003). When executive A assumed the mantle of CEO, the organization’s share price had plummeted indicating that its financial position was dire. In only his second quarter after becoming CEO, the organization reverted to profit making. Additionally, the stock price had risen by a remarkable 128%.
The most remarkable and admirable thing about executive A that makes him a level five leader is that he does not like the limelight and despite the media attributing the success of the organization to him, he graciously gives credit to other leaders. This makes him a charismatic and unique personality that uses his ambition to drive others to perform better hence improving the outlook of the organization. It is without a doubt that this executive is highly skilled in execution of his mandate. However, his skills make up for less as his ability to motivate others is his major strength. When his subordinates inordinately make mistakes, he takes responsibilities for the mistakes and seeks to improve where the mistakes have occurred. This leader thus gives his employees the platform to improve by learning from the mistakes they make without the threat of reprisal or punishment. His desire to deflect attention from himself also shows that he cares more for the organization than for himself meaning that he envisions it as being greater than him indicating a desire to see it thrive even in his absence.
Executive B on the other hand is a transactional leader. The literal meaning of a transaction is where something is given in exchange for another. This meaning translates into the characteristics of this executive who expects obedience from his subordinates. This is exemplified by the fact that he chooses to pay or reprimand employees for their performance. This leader establishes clear goals by clarifying role and task requirements and continually guides subordinates in the direction of these goals. His desire for discipline and obedience is indicated by the value he places on the chain of command requiring that every member of the team carry out his/her delegated tasks without any deviations. Transactional leadership places all the responsibility on the employee for either good work done or poor work. Employees are not sheltered from bad performance and when they do not perform according to the level required, they are reprimanded. The transactional leader is never at fault for the mistakes committed by members of his/her team. Everyone in the team carries his/her own cross. This makes for highly efficient teams where performance is the only determining factor to reward or punishment. Transactional leadership is also not preoccupied with the future outlook of the organization. It is more concerned with the present and in how the organization performs (Rowold & Schlotz, 2009). Strategic guidance is not a trait of leader B as he does not apply any tools, motivational or strategic, that are meant to achieve any other results except exemplary performance.
Conversely, leader C is a transformational leader. This is because he has integrity and is highly emotionally intelligent. He communicates a shared future vision for the organization and helps employees envision it so that they can own it and work towards its fulfillment (Schultz & Schultz, 2010). Leader C can be described as being empathetic, authentic, humble and self-aware. This is exemplified by the fact that he takes a genuine interest in the factors that drive employees and seeks to enhance them so that they can in turn perform to a higher level.
The fact that leader C values the mission and goals of the organization shows that he understands the vision created by the previous leader, and can adequately communicate it to others. Additionally, he encourages employees to transcend their own self-interest for the sake of the organization, which means that he strives to eliminate any distractions in their personal lives that might make them more centered on themselves thus making the organization subordinate. He seeks to inspire them and instill a sense of pride in the organization. Perhaps the greatest strength of this leader is his desire to institute rational approaches to problem-solving thus reducing conflicts in the workplace by amicably resolving any existing tensions. This leader tries to remember employee’s birthdays and other special events and prefers that employees see him as a coach or a mentor instead of their manager. Transformational leadership achieves high productivity and engagement which results in better outlooks for organizations. This style, just like level five leadership, has the leader taking responsibility for any shortcomings and not the employees.
Leader B expects the best out of employees and rewards or punishes them according to their performance. This leader therefore has the capacity to create highly successful teams that can guarantee high performance for employees. These employees would also be highly motivated since their performance would determine their rewards. The downside of this style is that it is amoral and chilling a fact that can lead to a high staff turnover. The organization will thrive in the short term as employees perform to their level best but this success would eventually fizzle out since transactional leaders have been known to be more task-oriented than strategically-oriented. Employee turnover due to the burden on performance would also lead to lack of team chemistry, which would negatively affect the performance of the organization as a whole. Therefore, leader B can lead to a reversal in the gains made by leader A.
Leader C will motivate employees to perform to their level best by instilling a sense of pride and belief in them. This is achieved by the leader’s ability to comprehensively communicate the organization’s vision. Teams that are built will be highly cohesive under this leadership since the leader is gifted in solving problems in a rational manner. The organization would benefit as this leader would be much like the continuation of leader A’s tenure. It would be expected to have a successful future as the vision of expected performance and position is communicated to all stakeholders.
Johnson, C. E. & Hackman, M. Z. (2003). Leadership, a communication perspective. (4th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press
Rowold, J. & Schlotz, W. (2009). Transformational and Transactional Leadership and Followers’ Chronic Stress. Leadership Review, 9, 35–48.
Schultz, D. P. & Schultz, S. E. (2010). Psychology and work today: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology. (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
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