1Analysis of Leadership Theories and Applicability at ECG Loren Karl Schwappach Colorado Technical University
ANALYSIS OF LEADERSHIP THEORIES AND APPLICABILITY AT ECG 2 AbstractThis paper is an analysis of the leadership theories and styles identified by Kurt Lewin andcolleagues in 1939 and my hypothesis identifying the most logical leadership method suited topromote a sound, ethical, and productive corporate atmosphere at Expert Consulting Group(ECG)
ANALYSIS OF LEADERSHIP THEORIES AND APPLICABILITY AT ECG 3 Analysis of Leadership Theories and Applicability at ECGIntroduction As the newly appointed compliance officer for ECG it is my duty and privilege tocontinuously review corporate ethical policies and practices. Additionally I am obligated tospread corporate knowledge of acceptable and unacceptable ethical behaviors and practiceswhile providing leadership and management with the latest methods of incorporating thesepractices into strategic and tactical methodologies. In the first corporate wide correspondence with ECG employees I wrote about thedistinctions that separate manages from leaders. In essence leaders are strategists that influencethe energy in others providing a vision to followers in order to achieve a strategic goal andmanagers are transactional tacticians responsible for executing a plan of action designed toachieving a set objective. In the second correspondence with ECG employees I discussed several theoreticalapproaches to ethics in order to assist ECG staff, leadership, and employees in understanding therelevance of ethical theories to organizational problems. In today’s correspondence I will return once again to the art of leadership. After myreturn from this year’s Annual Compliance Officers Conference I spent several nights in deepthought about the influence of leadership on corporate ethics. After concluding my research, Ihave isolated numerous research theologies and selected the three most contrasting leadershipstyles from the group. The three styles I identified were studied by Kurt Lewin in the late 1930s.
ANALYSIS OF LEADERSHIP THEORIES AND APPLICABILITY AT ECG 4 After reviewing Lewin’s styles of leadership I was able to relate leadership traits that aremost likely to be found in the styles’ practitioner to allow for natural, effective, appropriatesituational control as necessary to maximize the effectiveness of leadership. After weighing theadvantages and disadvantages of each style separately I then hypothesized the theoreticalorganizational impacts from using each style. Using all of this information I then concluded what I believe to be the most effective ofthe three leadership styles necessary to promote a sound, ethical, and productive corporateatmosphere at Expert Consulting Group (ECG). I choose to review the three leadership styles of autocratic, democratic, and laissez-fairebased leadership because of the striking differences that separate each of them and thecontrasting traits that should be necessary in the leaders for each method to maximize leadershipeffectiveness. Additional leadership styles discovered during my research include charismatic,participative, situational, transactional, transformational, servant, explorative authoritative,benevolent authoritative, consultative, participate, visionary, coaching, pacesetting, andcommanding leadership. Each of these styles deserves careful attention; however, for thepurpose of today’s correspondence I will only discuss autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faireleadership styles.Autocratic Leadership
ANALYSIS OF LEADERSHIP THEORIES AND APPLICABILITY AT ECG 5 In autocratic leadership, leaders not followers have the most authority and control in thedecision making process. Autocratic leaders seek to retain responsibility rather than delegateresponsibilities. (Marshall & Ren, 2011, pg. 3) This leadership style has the advantages of faster decision making, increasedproductivity, and reduced stress. (Marshall & Ren, 2011, pg. 3) The disadvantages include deskilled, unmotivated, and less confident followers, micro-management, and a lack of creative decision making. (Marshall & Ren, 2011, pg. 3) A good leader planning to succeed primarily using the autocratic style would need to beconfidant, charismatic, decisive, enthusiastic, and brave. Appropriate situations to best utilize the autocratic leadership style occur when there islimited time for decision making, unskilled or new followers, effectual supervision is onlypossible through command and instruction, followers fail to react to other leadership styles andwhen work must be integrated throughout various departments. Situations in which autocratic leadership should not be utilized include, when followershave the strong desire to be listened to, are overly dependent upon management, when there islow follower morale, and if followers seem fearful. Expected organizational impacts from using the autocratic style are dependent upon thecharacter traits of the leader and followers. Yet, I believe it would most likely produce long termnegative results due to stiffened creativity and a lack of follower confidence, skill andmotivation. This style is suggested to be used only in grave situations where a follower fails torespond to the Democratic leadership style.
ANALYSIS OF LEADERSHIP THEORIES AND APPLICABILITY AT ECG 6Democratic Leadership In democratic leadership the leader sees everyone as an equal, continuously seekingfeedback and consultation on issues and decisions. (Marshall & Ren, 2011, pg. 3) The leaderdelegates responsibilities by assigning tasks to followers. This leadership style has the advantages of creative thinking, fewer mistakes, andproviding for a more cohesive team. One disadvantage includes a lengthy decision makingprocess. (Marshall & Ren, 2011, pg. 3) A good leader planning to succeed primarily using the democratic style would mostlikely be political, indecisive, overly dependent, and a good communicator. Most of the time, this is the preferred leadership style sought by followers. (Yukongdi,2010, pg. 172) Appropriate situations to best utilize the democratic leadership style occur when there isplentiful time for decision making, several skilled or old followers, and/or followers fail to reactto other leadership styles. The expected organizational impacts from using the democratic style are again dependentupon the character traits of the followers. Yet, I believe this style would produce the greatestvariety of positive results with the least amount of disadvantages for a corporation.Laissez-Faire Leadership
ANALYSIS OF LEADERSHIP THEORIES AND APPLICABILITY AT ECG 7 The laissez-faire leadership style provides the least amount of direction. All authority isdelegated. The followers must determine the goals, decisions, and problem resolutions.(Marshall & Ren, 2011, pg. 3) This leadership style has the advantages of creative thinking, flexibility, originality andallows for emergent leaders. Some disadvantages include frustration, poor quality of outcomes,disorganization, and limited follower growth. (Marshall & Ren, 2011, pg. 3) A good leader planning to succeed primarily using the laissez-faire style would mostlikely be free going, indecisive, not opinionated, and relaxed. Appropriate situations to best utilize the laissez-faire leadership style occur when there isa huge majority of skilled or seasoned followers, and/or followers fail to react to other leadershipstyles. The expected organizational impacts from using the laissez-faire leadership style areagain dependent upon the character traits of the leader and followers. Yet, I believe this style isfar too directionless, chaotic, and carefree for most organizations.Recommendation for ECG I believe it is in the best interest for leaders to constantly analyze their environment andthe responsiveness of their followers. Reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of each Iwould initially say that it is in the best interest of ECG leadership to utilize the democraticleadership style. However, while the democratic approach is often the preferred follower styletoward leadership (Yukongdi, 2010, pg. 172), it isn’t always the most effective and can’t work
ANALYSIS OF LEADERSHIP THEORIES AND APPLICABILITY AT ECG 8for all of the people all of the time. There will be times when ECG leaders need to use theautocratic or laissez-faire styles in order to maximize employee energy and response. Thereforeleadership should have an understanding of how to best utilize each style and make carefulanalysis of the followers and environment so that they know when and where to utilize one styleover another.
ANALYSIS OF LEADERSHIP THEORIES AND APPLICABILITY AT ECG 9 ReferencesMarshall, J. & Ren, L. (2011). Does leadership style matter? Investment committee decision- making study. Vanguard research, June, Retrieved July 17, 2011, from http://us.vocuspr.com/newsroom/ViewAttachment.aspx?SiteName=vanguardnew&Entity =PRAsset&AttachmentType=F&EntityID=841453&AttachmentID=faf7d421-125e-4a0a- a05e-e051871ccf3bYukongdi, V. (2010). A study of Thai employees preferred leadership style. Asia Pacific Business Review, 16 (1-2). pp. 161-181. ISSN 1360-2381