Research Paper Example on Contemporary Leadership

7 pages
1770 words
George Washington University
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Research paper
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The purpose of the memo is to highlight the charismatic and transformational leadership theories with respect to contemporary leadership. Both charismatic and transformational leadership highlight the relevant characteristics that are expected of leaders and how they can apply the characteristics to influence their followers such that the expected goals and objectives are achieved. According to Ahmad, From the last few years, it has been witnessed that transformational and charismatic leadership are very important aspects of leadership that are highly associated with an individual as well as organizational performance, (11). The analysis focuses on the charismatic and transformational leadership theories and their relevance to leadership today.

Leadership puts into view the ability of an individual to influence others in terms of behavior and actions for the purpose of achieving a common goal. A leader is not only viewed as an individual who has followers but rather as a member of a group concerning a particular practice (Sharma & Jain 309). From a general perspective, leadership contains four features that include, a leader, a follower, communication and the situation. The leader, in this case, has to have an understanding of his or her role and be fully informed of the required knowledge and skills and the expected outcome. The followers assume the responsibilities and guidelines presented by the leader. It is expected for the leader to be aware of the nature of his or her followers as people differ when it comes to the leadership style. For duties to be done adequately, communication is necessary for addition to the need for addressing any issue that might be affecting the associated project or the followers. Furthermore, the situation entails the essence of having the leadership aspect. A leader is expected to make good judgments as situations tend to vary. In other words, what works in a particular situation might not work in another situation (Sharma & Jain 310).

Transformational Leadership

It is important to note that transformational leadership emanated from the view on transforming leadership that was articulated by Burns in 1978 (Goertzen 83). According to Burns, transforming leadership took place when an individual or a group cooperated with others whereby the followers and the leaders supported each other to greater extents of morality and incentive. Ahmad states, Further research on the behaviors of transformational leaders, proposes that transformational leadership is intervened by the leaders activities the aptitude to craft a common vision, to coherent clear and expressive goals, to permit employees, and dependable behavior, (11). Burns presented the view that leaders play a significant rule in structuring their relationship with the followers (Goertzen 83). From Burns viewpoint, leaders have the ability to assess the motives of their followers, look forward to their performance on activities, and evaluate their leadership abilities (Goertzen 83). The transformational leadership theory whose proponent was Bass was a revised concept of transformation theory and was developed in 1985 (Goertzen 84). The difference between the two theories is that while transformation theory focuses on social reforms based on assessing the moral needs and values of the followers, transformation theory focuses on obtaining the practical objectives of an organization. According to Bass leaders exercising transformational leadership exhibit certain forms of behavior that assist in enhancing the performance and enthusiasm of the followers (Goertzen 84). The leaders are viewed to obtain three things that include; informing their followers on the relevance of the outcomes associated with projects, illustrating to their followers the relevance of setting aside personal interests for the associated organization and the team and pushing the followers towards higher order goals. The view is that when the leaders achieve the three things, the followers will gain more confidence towards their leaders, and present reports that they trust and admire their leaders in addition to being respectful and loyal to them particularly when they receive more motivation to achieve greater than expected (Goertzen 84). As mentioned earlier, leaders exercising transformational leadership exhibit certain forms of behavior that assist in enhancing the performance and enthusiasm of the followers. Four behaviors associated with transformational leadership includes; idealized influence, individualized consideration, inspirational motivation and intellectual stimulation, (Goertzen 84). The behaviors are described as activities that assist in making expectations clear and concise concerning direct reports, assist the direct reports in achieving the desired benefits and preventing punishments in addition to assisting to bring about the desired results (Goertzen 84).

Idealized Influence

For the idealized influence element, a leader engages in articulating the vision and mission to the followers and inspiring the followers on the goals and objectives of an institution. The leader becomes a role model to the followers by which the followers operate with confidence dignity and pride because of being under such leadership. They become more determined to operate at their level best. The leaders are viewed to have more abilities and consistency in addition to being more determined when faced with problems. The idealized influence character is viewed to have both attributed and behavioral influences. Leaders exhibiting the trait are viewed to be risk takers and are able to communicate with their followers effectively. They also exhibit high levels of ethics are determined in promoting good conduct. The relationship between the leader and the follower is that the follower respects the leader while the leader informs the follower on the mission and vision of an institution. It is perceived that in such as environment, the follower performs duties as expected while the leaders continue motivating the followers to achieve greater output (Ahmad 15).

Individual consideration

For the individual consideration element, the leader inspired the followers through training and coaching and motivated them to take part in activities that will benefit them. The leader approaches the followers at an individual level such that there is a personal relationship between a leader and the followers. As a result, the followers obtain the sense of belonging and become comfortable when handling tasks. The followers also feel free to express any concern that may be affecting them in addition to presenting ideas that they feel might benefit an organization. The individual consideration trait allows the leader to pay attention to the needs of the followers, and provide a step-by-step guideline on how to handle certain activities. It also makes it easier to identify methods that may be used to enhance worker motivation (Ahmad 15).

Intellectual Stimulation

For intellectual stimulation, the transformational leader focuses on developing creativity and innovation among the followers. It puts into view applying reasoning in an idea before making any action. The leaders guide the followers in solving problems in an orderly and a logical manner such that the followers may learn from the process and apply in in future. The situation encourages the followers to apply critical thinking skills and is creative in developing solutions. The leader does not criticize a follower if an activity is not performed as expected but instead works with a follower on various strategies that a solution can be obtained. The leader puts the followers in situations that trigger them to think critically and creatively such that it becomes easier for them to handle issues even when the leader is absent. Intellectual stimulation encourages the development of new ideas and problems solving skills which are essential when it comes to handling conflicts. Furthermore, when followers are aware of the relevance of creativity in their work environment, they become motivated to apply various forms of innovation in their activities (Ahmad 16).

Inspirational Motivation

For inspirational motivation, the leader eliminates the aspect of fear among followers by encouraging them to accept challenging situations. The leader also acts as a role model by taking part in the tasks and ensuring that the associated goal is achieved as expected. The trait allows the leader to illustrate to the followers the significance of the challenges and hence motivating them to handle them. The leaders also encourage the followers to set their interests aside and focus on the team and the organization. Leaders exhibiting the trait tend to have good relationships with their followers as they patiently take into consideration the views and opinions of the followers without looking down on them. In return, the followers feel free to express their ideas with the view that the leaders have good judgments and that they will receive support (Ahmad 16).

In synopsis, inspirational motivation puts into view the leaders urge to his or her followers to achieve goals by illustrating to the followers the goals appealingly and desirably such that they become motivated when handling tasks. The idealized influence entails being a good role model to the followers and being able to make sacrifices for the benefit of the whole group. The leaders, in this case, exhibit good ideals or rather high morals and can do anything for the sake of their team. Individual consideration, on the other hand, deals with leaders providing encouragement, support, and attention to the followers. They not only focus on achieving the desired outcomes but also on the needs of the employees (mental, physical and emotional needs). Also, when it comes to intellectual stimulation, the leaders encourage the followers to come up with new methods or strategies to handle issues affecting their operations. The idea is to promote creativity and innovation.

Charismatic Leadership

The charismatic leadership theory presents the view that followers highly regards the attributes of a leader after observing certain character traits or behavior (Takala 45). The followers then try to emulate the desirable qualities when performing tasks. Charismatic leadership put into consideration impression management whereby it is viewed that leaders are practicing charismatic leadership take part in methods associated with impression management for the purpose of establishing their image regarding competence such their followers continue having confidence in them. The impression management tactics also distinguish them from other leaders with respect to obtaining their respective visions (Takala 45). Takala states, The common core of many overlapping approaches lies in their viewing leadership as the conveyance of values and meaning using exemplary actions, as well in the articulation of inspiring vision. The basic assumption is that this kind of leadership transforms the needs, values, preferences, desires, and aspirations of followers from their interests to collective interests, so that followers become highly committed to the mission of the leader and are prepared to make sacrifices in the mission, (45).

Charismatic leadership is viewed to be more efficient when altruistic intents drive the behavior of a leader (Takala 46). The leader is driven by a single or various needs; needs such as success, authority, and affiliation. Nonetheless, depending on the need which brings about the motive, the efficiency of a leader is determined by the behavior that he or she manifests with respect to the altruistic need. Altruism is described as taking pa...

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