The leadership qualities that are required to make a good leader can vary in different companies, teams and situations (Team Technology, 2001).Generally, an effective leader incurs trust and confidence in their followers. In fact, this quality is considered the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization. Trust and confidence is achieved by effective communication in specific areas, for example helping employees understand the company's overall business strategy and how they contribute to this. Effective leaders also share information with employees on both how the company and the employee's own division within the company is performing (Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010).
A framework to guide effective leadership follows the actions of be, know and do.BE a professional: be loyal to the organization, perform selfless service, take personal responsibility.BE a professional who possess good character traits such as honesty, competence, commitment, integrity, courage, straightforwardness, imagination.KNOW the four factors of leadership: follower, leader, communication, situation.KNOW yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, knowledge and skills.KNOW human needs, emotions, and how people respond to stress.KNOW your job,be proficient and be able to train others in their tasks.KNOW where to go for help.KNOW who the unofficial leaders are.DO provide direction in the form of goal setting, problem solving, decision making, planning.DO implement communication, coordination, supervision, evaluation.DO motivate by developing morale within the organization.(Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010).
There are many styles of leadership, the differentiated by the varying levels of power held by the management as compared to the employees (Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010). To be effective, a leader has to adapt flexibly and adopt a style that is most appropriate for the given circumstances (Team Technology, 2001).
Authoritarian leadership occurs when leaders tell their employees what they want done and how they want it done, without contribution of employees to the decision-making process (Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010).The management (or leader) holds all the information and therefore all the control. This style is usually only effective when employees are of a highly motiviated level or there is limited time to complete the given task. Authoritarian leadership should be implemented sparingly (Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010).An example of appropriate use of authoritarian leadership is from a leader to a new employee who is just learning the job. The leader is competent and a good coach. The employee is motivated to learn a new skill (Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010).
Participative leadership involves the collaboration of the leader and one or more employees in the decision making process (determining what to do and how to do it). The ultimate decision-making authority, though, remains with the leader.Utilisation of this style encourages the contribution of employee knowledge and skill, subsequently displaying trust of the employee by the management and encouraging effective and respectful teamwork (Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010). A good example of using a participative style is with a team of experienced workers who know their job and roles. The leader knows the problem, but does not have all the information. The employees know their jobs and want to become part of the team (Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010).
Delegative leadership involves the allowance of the leader for the employees to make the decisions. However, the leader is still responsible for the decisions that are made. This is used when employees are able to analyze the situation and determine what needs to be done and how to do it. You cannot do everything! You must set priorities and delegate certain tasks (Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010).An appropriate time to employ this leadership style is when a worker knows more about the job than the leader (Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010).
Leadership is an important key to the quality improvement process, as without leadership there is no driving force.An effective leader challenges the process, finding weak links that need improvement. They are also able to inspire their followers, communicating this need in words that can be understood. Leaders provide the tools and methods needed to implement the improvement and also participate when necessary. An effective leader provides encouragement to their team throughout the entire process (Big Dog, Little Dog, 2010).
MANAGER Holds all the information Is in control EMPLOYEE No contribution to decision-making WHEN TO USE Not often!! When short on time When manager holds all information
MANAGER Makes final decision EMPLOYEE Included in decision-making process WHEN TO USE Information is shared between manager and employees Encourages teamwork
MANAGER Delegates tasks to employees Responsible for decision making EMPLOYEE Hold all the information WHEN TO USE When manager has full trust and confidence in the capability of the employees
ChallengeEncourage Inspire Model the Enable way others
Big Dog, Little Dog. (2010). Concepts of leadership. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/l eadcon.html#attributes Big Dog, Little Dog. (2010). Leadership styles. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/l eadstl.html Team Technology. (2001). Leadership qualities. Retrieved from http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/leadershi p-qualities.html