Functional Based Leadership Models

7 pages
1925 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
Critical thinking
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The concept of leadership is one that could best be described as controversial or rather complex. This is so because, every day, different people come up with different theories trying to explain how the idea of leadership should be handled. Leadership entails some things, and the different theories that have been developed to help in the understanding of leadership are so because of the diversities with which the idea of leadership takes (Burns, 1978). Functional based leadership theory is the theory used in explanation and understanding of the type of leadership where the leader's behaviors are expected to contribute to the effectiveness of the unit or organization (Burns, 1978). Functional based leadership is the model of leadership used in the modern world, and this is so because it has proven to be one that could be of positive significance to the community or rather organization that is being led. Leaders that have employed this method of operation have been seen to successful, and this has been the main reason behind the popularity of this particular model of leadership (Burns, 1978). This paper seeks to have a comprehensive review of one of the models that explain the functional based leadership and explain why the theory or rather the model is the best in the explaining of the functional based leadership. While doing so, the paper will look at determining the model that is relevant or rather compelling in the modern world with regards to functional based leadership model and their contributions to the evolution of leadership practice and research.

The best model that would be able to explain the concept of leadership and their effectiveness with regards to the functional based leadership theory is the conceptual framework for the understanding of leadership. Under this model, certain elements have been explained in rather a comprehensive way to help come up with an understanding of the concept of leadership. The model comprises stages, and these are bound for discussion in this paper. The first phase discusses the qualitative perspective of what leader does (Levinson & Rosenthal, 1984). The second stage, on the other hand, has a detailed analysis of the measuring of the things that the leaders do. With the discussion of these two then it would be enough to understand the concept of leadership with regards to the functional based leadership theory. In addition to that, this model has also provided evidence of the information provided and this it has done through conduction of experiments and studies to determine that the information being provided is valid.

The first stage in this model bound for discussion in this paper explains the qualitative perspective on what leaders do. Ideally, this is important because, in the functional based leadership theory, it is the things that the leader does with effect to the organization he leads that are considered. Since this model looks at explaining how to have a qualitative perspective on what the leader does, then it could be termed as relevant or rather effective. First, for this to be accomplished, a group of managers attending seminars was chosen and asked to describe events where they think they led not managed (Bass, 1985). They were asked to describe a moment where they think that their leadership had made significant changes. This was in a bid to measure what they describe as their best regarding the leadership they offer. The study on the personal best of the different managers comprises 37 open ended questions with a bid to getting detailed information from the leaders in the moments during their leadership that they think they offered the best they could as far as leadership is concerned (Bass, 1985). From the study, it was discovered that despite the very many things that people are accomplishing extraordinary things go through, there are five key components that every extraordinary leader must do, and they could best be used in the describing of a good leader during his extraordinary times. In each of these five components, there exist two basic strategies (Leavitt, 1986). The five components are as follows:

The first one is the challenging process. This is a situation where a leader is normally torn between decisions, and the type of decision a leader makes at this point would greatly determine the kind of person he is as well as the leadership values and skills he possesses (Kouzes & Posner, 1987). Under this component, the basic strategies are, searching for opportunities and experimenting while taking risks. While confronted with a challenging process, a good leader or rather functional based leader for that matter would either seek for opportunities out of the challenge or experiment or decide to take risks with the situation a hand (Kouzes & Posner, 1987).

The second component is inspiring a shared vision. A functional based leader, according to this model, if he has to do something extraordinary, then he has to inspire someone else's vision and being a leader, such inspiration must always be that which will make the vision successful (Kouzes & Posner, 1987). The two basic strategies under this component are envisioning the future or still, enlisting the support of other people. Also, for one to have done something extraordinary during their leadership they must enable other to act, and this is the third component in this model (Kouzes & Posner, 1987). By enabling others to act, the leaders can initiate a lot of things through these people that they allow working. The two basic strategies under this component include fostering collaboration and strengthening others. These are the ways with which a leader that decided to enable other people to act could do so. They could ensure that people work together to achieve their success or still strengthen people and encourage them that their deeds will eventually be successful.

The fourth component that is mandatory for a functional based leader to have had accomplished something extraordinary during their leadership is by modeling the way (Kouzes & Posner, 1987). Leaders are bound to be the people that shape the direction which their businesses or organizations take. The two basic strategies under this component are setting the example and planning of small wins. Leaders could set the standards or better still the direction for the organization by showing examples of how things are supposed to be conducted or by initiating people that are yet to develop and making them achieve small things (Kouzes & Posner, 1987). It is by achieving these small or rather short term goals that the long term ones will eventually be achieved. Ideally, the five components discussed above as well as their basic strategies are the ones that were found to be responsible for extraordinary leadership that is portrayed by the extraordinary leaders.

Notably, a larger percentage of the behavior and strategies described in the manager's personal best description as per the first stage study of this model, all could be accounted for by the components that have been discussed above. The components may to some extents seem to be simple, but in a real sense, they are complex and could take some dimensions (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960). Generally, in the personal best experiences, most of the leaders have been seen to describe an iterative or developmental flow to the leadership process. Indeed, this is one reason why the model above deems fit to describe the functional based leadership theory type of leader.

The second stage in this model focuses on measuring the things that are done by the leaders. There was designed a leadership practice inventory that was deemed with the responsibility of analyzing the different feedback received from the respondents. It has an analysis of factors based on the behaviorally based statements, and each of the statement is cast on a five point Likert scale (Bray & Howard, 1983). A Higher value on the scale would be a symbol of greater use of leadership behavior. The first successful use of the instrument used in analyzing responses from the people being studied involves more than 2100 managers. Analysis of information from these managers comprised of some elements such as testing their internal reliability and come up with a validation that was based on the underlying factor structure. The system used in the analysis of the responses from the managers was later modified following discussions on how effective it was (Bray & Howard, 1983). The current situation or rather form of the instrument is as a result of the modifications above. Currently, it contains 30 statements; six of them measures on each of the five leadership practices. Also, it includes two forms of the leadership practice inventory, the self-one and the other and the differences between the two types aforementioned is the fact that the behavior being described is that of the respondents or is his behavior is described by a third party (Bray & Howard, 1983).

It is worth noting that there exists a great or rather significant difference between the LPI self and other. This has been tested and proven in more than one instance. The five leadership practices on the LPI-self side were compared to those on the LPI- another side. Frequency scores on the side of the LPI-self proved to be higher as compared to those on the LPI-other on all of the five leadership practices (Bradford & Cohen, 1984). The variances of the five leadership practices, on the other hand, were greater on the side of the LPI-other as compared to the LPI self. Therefore, we can conclude that the LPI self-recorded higher frequencies on the five leadership practices whereas the LPI other recorded high variance on the five leadership practices. That is the only notable difference between the two systems used in analyzing of leadership.

Besides the creation of the leadership practices inventory, an effectiveness scale was also developed and it comprised of several samples. It passed through some iterations in its development process. It also had the six Likert type items on five point scales. According to the effectiveness scale developed, a leader would be asked to the extent to which he meets the needs of his subordinates as well as how he has managed to build a dedicated work group and also his influence on the upper management (Bradford & Cohen, 1984). This was also important as it tests on the effectiveness of the leaders' practices to the organization he is responsible for and this is by the functional based theory of leadership. Also, as part of the effectiveness scale, there are additional items that are bound to determine the levels of satisfaction of the respondents to the type of leadership portrayed by their seniors. Also, the additional items gauged whether they thought that the type of leadership that is being offered to them was appropriate (Peters & Austin, 1985). The results of the various leaders' behaviors as per the LPI and the effectiveness scale were compared, and it was evident that they in some way proved to have some relation (Kotter, 1987). This implies that the two assessment tools used for the leadership practices are not biased and this provides the other reason as to why this model suits to describe the issue of functional based leadership theory.

In a bid to proving the legibility of the LPI as well as its ability to assess an individual's leadership, then the different LPI scores for the high and low performing leaders could be compared. Such a study was done using discriminant analysis as a way of classifying them. The results obtained from this study were evident that the LPI could also be used in the positioning of leaders into various categories (Kotter, 1987). It was evident that the leaders who fell in the categor...

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