As stated in the introduction to this section a call for a leadership approach that is genuine and real is needed
As stated in the introduction to this section a call for a leadership approach that is genuine and real is needed. It is worth noting that this leadership approach, namely, authentic leadership, is still at a foundational stage and is likely to change as new research is published; it is, however, worth noting this leadership approach (Northouse, 2016). Currently there is not a universal definition because authors define this leadership approach from different viewpoints and emphasises (Chan, 2005). These viewpoints are intrapersonal, interpersonal and developmental perspectives. From an intrapersonal viewpoint Shamir and Eilam (2005) define authentic leaders as leaders who lead with conviction and originality. From an interpersonal process, authentic leaders are viewed as those who develop a relationship with the team members (Eagly, 2005). In contrast, the developmental perspective sees authentic leadership (Walumbwa, Avioli, Gardner, Wernsing & Peterson, 2008) as one that can be cherished in a leader over a lifetime and can be activated by major life events such as a new career. Walumbwa, Avioli, Gardner, Wernsing and Peterson (2008) further argue that authentic leaders should have mastered four components, namely self-awareness, an internalised moral perspective, balanced processing and a relational transparency. Self-awareness refers to the leader having a true understanding of him/herself, while an internalised moral principle refers to the extent that leaders follow their own hearts rather than being impacted by others or the situation. The leader should take into account the opinions of those who will be affected by the decisions and this is referred to as balanced processing. Relational transparency refers to the honest showing and sharing of emotions and feelings by the leader. This will open the channels for the team members to share their own emotions, feelings and opinions.
In the 1960s and 1970s organisational development researchers looked at developing team and leadership effectiveness. This research was triggered by competition from Japan and other countries that stressed quality, benchmarking and continuous improvement (Northouse, 2016). During the 1990s teams focused on quality which became a global concern and organisational development concentrated on strategies to deal with sustainable competitive advantage. Team leadership involves the creation of a bright picture of the future, where the team is heading and what the team will stand for. The vision inspires and provides a strong sense of purpose and direction. Team leadership is about working with the hearts and minds of all those involved (Kogler Hill, 2013). Team leadership provides a road to help leaders diagnose team problems and take mitigating actions to correct these problems. The Hill’s Model, proposed that a leader’s job is to monitor teams and to take all necessary actions to ensure team effectiveness (Kogler Hill, 2013).
According to Barge (1996), a leader needs to behave flexibly and have a wide range of skills and actions to meet the diverse needs of the team. In the team leadership approach, the leadership is based on solving team problems by analysing the internal and external environment and selecting the most appropriate action to ensure team effectiveness. Team leadership may fail because of poor leadership or lack of leadership qualities in the leader (Northouse, 2016). Since World War II, globalisation has increased which means that people across the globe have become more interconnected (Northouse, 2016). This phenomenon impacts the composition of the workforce and students of educational institutions in particular. This change calls for greater competencies amongst leaders regarding cross cultural awareness and practices. Cross-Cultural leadership is needed when the team or workforce is made up of people from diverse cultures. Adler and Bartholomew (1992) maintain that global leaders need to develop five cross cultural competencies. These five cross cultural competencies are the following: firstly leaders need to understand business, political and cultural environments globally. Secondly leaders need to acquaint themselves about the taste, preferences and technologies of other cultures globally. Thirdly leaders need to work with cultures globally. Fourthly leaders should learn to communicate and live with other cultures and finally leaders should learn to relate to people of other cultures on the basis of equality and not of superiority. This leadership style has to become a way to recognise front runners in leadership (Northouse, 2016). Leaders of organisations, particularly of institutions of higher learning, that globally advertise and attract students and academics, need to effectively adjust their leadership style to work in different cultural environments.
Northouse (2016) argues that the most popular approach to leadership since the 1980s is the transformational leadership approach. The term ‘transformational leadership’ was first invented by Downton (1973). The following reasons support the argument in favour of the popularity of this leadership approach:
• This approach gives more attention to the charismatic and effective element of leadership (Bryman, 1992);
• This approach enhances intrinsic motivation and team members’ development (Bass ; Rigio, 2006);
• This approach is concerned with emotions, ethical standards, long term goals, assessment and fulfilment of team member’s needs, and treating team members as human beings (Northouse, 2016); and
• The name ‘transformation’ implies changing and transforming people (Northouse, 2016).
Since the development of this approach to leadership many scholars suggest definitions for the term ‘transformational leadership’. Bass (1998) describes transformational leaders as leaders who inspire their teams to perform beyond expectations by inducing their teams’ higher order needs. Bass (1998) also adds that transformational leaders are change agents. These leaders change the beliefs, attitudes and motivation of their team members through an emotional relationship. Hellriegel, Jackson and Slocum (2005) argue that the most determinant characteristic of transformational leadership is the ability to create a vision that binds people together to generate a new future. Kinicki and Kreitner (2008) and Noorshahi, Yamani and Sarkhabi (2008) concur with Bass (1998) that transformational leaders act as change agents and in addition empower inherent motivation amongst their team members, establish a new image of the future and create a pledge amongst the team members regarding the new image of the future.
Roe (2014) defines transformational leadership as the practise to advance the team members who subsequently advance their organisations to realise the organisational vision. Garcia-Morales, Jimenez-Barrionuevo and Gutierrez- Gutierrez (2012) see transformational leadership as the style of leadership that enhances the realisation of shared interests amongst the organisational team members and helps them to achieve their common goals. Liang, Chang, Lin and Chih-Wei (2017), in contrast describe transformational leaders as leaders who build respect and confidence amongst their team members through individual concern for team members by effectively communicating the vision for the organisation and encouraging the team members to change their mind set from individual gain to pursuing the organisation’s vision.
All authors who endeavoured to define transformational leadership agree that this particular leadership style is characterised by four features, as identified by previous researchers (Bass, 1985), (Bass & Avolio, 1994), (Dionne, Yammarino, William & Spangler, 2004), (Schneider & George, 2011), (Guay, 2013), (Choi, Goh, Adam & Tan, 2016) and (Lajole, Boudrias, Rousseau & Brunelle, 2017). These four features are idealised influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and an individual consideration. Idealised influence and inspiration motivation can ensure that team members perform above expectations. Svendsen and Joensson (2016) state that this empowering and inspiring of the team members means that they work to achieve the goals of the organisation. Scandura and Williams (2004) maintain that a clear vision and inspiration of transformational leaders can act as catalysts for transformation amongst team members. Intellectual stimulation used by transformational leaders challenges the team members’ ordinary way of doing things and inspires new innovative ways of working and problem solving. The last characteristic, namely individual consideration, refers to when leaders empower their team members by harmonising the goals of the team members, leader and the organisation at large. This characteristic of a transformational leader refers to the fact that the leader is a good listener who gives the team members the opportunity to express their criticisms and recommendations without fear (Svendsen ; Joensson, 2016).
This study agrees with Clegg, Kornberger and Pitsis (2011) who assert that transformational leadership is the most appropriate leadership style for a transformation process. The reasons are that transformational leaders have the visionary component, have staying power and provide energy and support during a transformation process, while charismatic leadership lacks that. Williams, (2006) in addition explains that this type of leader creates responsiveness and approval amongst followers for the group mission beyond their own desires and self-centred wishes for the benefit of the group. Williams (2006) also argues that transformational leaders are charismatic, ethical, trustworthy, thoughtful, considerate and confident. These leaders are ethical and thus win the trust of their followers. As change agents they are innovative and welcome criticism and suggestions. The goals and objectives of the organisation are clearly communicated to the team members who know exactly what is expected from them and how their contributions contribute to the final project or task/decision and to the vision of the organisation at large. A clearly communicated vision, which has values which are esteemed by team members promises a better future for those team members.
A transformational leader sets an example that team members can identify with and a role model with whom they can also identify positively. This type of leader expects the best from the team implying that the leader trusts his followers and has faith in their capabilities. This motivates the followers to do their best because the leader believes in their capabilities. Leaders who make use of this style of leadership motivate and encourage their followers to do the best. If the follower loses interest in the task or cannot complete it because of a lack of knowledge this type of leader will continue to support and encourage the follower. This type of leader creates and establishes support networks for the followers. The team members will know at any given time where to go for the necessary assistance and guidance. The transformational leader recognises worthwhile contributions from team members and acknowledges a task successfully completed.
This acknowledgement by the leaders satisfies one of the basic needs of team members, namely recognition. Such a leader provides stimulating work, and this is done by rotating, enlarging and enriching of the task. More responsibilities are added to give the team member a sense of achievement and higher level satisfaction of responsibility. The leader helps team members to see beyond their self-interests and focusses more on team interests and needs. Team cohesion is encouraged by a transformational leader and that makes the individual team member a better team player. A transformation leader focusses on encouragements and concentrate on the strength of team members (Clegg, Kornberger ; Pitsis, 2011). This type of leaders are exceptionally motivating, and they bring encourage trust amongst their team members. Transformational leadership suits many circumstances in business; however, one needs to remember that there may be situations where it is not the best style. In some cases, goals are derived by a process that involves intensive participation among all of the members of the unit. In other cases, objectives are established by the leader who then “sells” these objectives to most members of the organisation. No matter how they are determined, it is important that goals are clearly expressed and communicated by the leader and supported by the team members. This aspect of leadership is especially important when the organisation is undergoing a significant organisational transformation in either direction or management style, sometimes brought on by external forces, and sometimes by internal circumstances. The criticisms against this approach are that it covers so many abilities and characteristics that a theoretical definition cannot be given. A second criticism is that the idealised influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualised consideration are very highly correlated which mean they are not separate factors (Tejenda, Scandura ; Pillai, 2001). The third criticism is that transformational leadership is a trait which will be challenging to teach leaders (Bryman, 1992).
According to Antonakis (2012), there is empirical evidence that transformational leadership enhances positive outcomes; however, there is no empirical evidence that there is a pivotal link between transformational leadership and changes in team members. The penultimate criticism is that transformational leadership gives the impression that leaders act independently, though this criticism is contested by Avolio (1999). Avolio (1999) maintains that transformational leaders can be directive, participative, democratic or authoritarian. The final criticism (Northouse 2016) is that in this approach leaders may abuse their power because they set the direction to be followed. The question is whether the vision set by the leader who dictates the direction is good and upholds the core values of the team. These criticisms may be eliminated if the transformational leader upholds strong ethical principles and has the best interest of the team and society at heart the strong points of the transformational leadership approach may reduce or even eliminate the criticisms raised against it (Northouse, 2016).
The question is whether transformational leaders can be trained? Inam (2011) suggests a five-step approach to develop transformational leaders. The first phase entails that the leader has to make a decision to become a transformational leader. This means the leader has to escape from the routine to experience work with greater responsiveness. In the second step the leader should become more aware of his/her purpose. This action will ensure that the leader will become more involved in his/her work. This can assist the leader to have a broader understanding of the organisation’s mission and of the team. Step three involves the clarity of the core values of the organisation. This step involves the trust that leaders should instil amongst their team members. A lack of trust or limited trust amongst team members is today the biggest concern in most organisations.
A key trait of transformational leaders is their unbelievable ability as change agents. This will urge the leader to become an invaluable change agents to encourage their team members to become active team members in the transformation process. The last step is when leaders attract and encourage team members around them, which is a key trait of a transformational leaders. Their positive attitude is transmitted to others, because leaders see people as individuals, each with their own needs and capabilities (Iman, 2011). Finally, it is important to be realistic. That means leaders should consider resources at their disposal. These resources include the human, financial, information and tangible resources. A strategic plan that is too complex has a much lower success rate than one with a few goals. It is recommended not to have more than three major objectives for a year. The reasons are twofold. Resources are limited and needed to be budgeted for, normally on an annual basis. The second reason is that when one has too many objectives it may be impossible to achieve all of them (Inam, 2011).
Transactional leaders on the other hand, focus on getting things done within the umbrella of the status quo (Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis, 2011). These three researchers define transactional leadership as the leader who upholds all the management functions, knows how to award or withhold rewards and reprimands and abides by the policies, values and vision of the organisation. This type of leader is production and task-oriented. Transactional leadership involves a series of exchanges between leaders and team members. In this type of leadership, the leader and team members come together in a relationship that advances the interests of both, but there is no deep or enduring link between them. They are simply self-interested participants in an exchange process (Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis, 2011).
Owing to changes in demands and the dynamics of the environment the following leadership issues become a necessity. The situation determines which leadership style is most appropriate. To keep the organisation going a transactional leadership style is required, but to create a vision and stimulate a transformation a more charismatic leadership style is needed to foster and manage an organisational transformation process (Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis, 2011).
Raza (2010), Riggio (2014) and Griffin (2014) identify the following emerging approaches of leadership to deal with changes in the environment. These very “mechanical” situational theories dominated leadership development and training for decades. However, in the last 20 years, a new way of thinking about leadership has developed an approach that views leadership as extremely complex and is much more focused on the team members. Strategic leadership is one that involves a leader who is essentially the head of an organisation. The strategic leader is not limited to those at the top of the organisation. Such a leader is directed to a wider audience at all levels and he/she wants to create a high performance life, team or organisation.
The strategic leader fills the gap between the need for new possibility and the need for practicality by providing a prescriptive set of habits. An effective strategic leadership style delivers the goods in terms of what an organisation naturally expects from its leadership in times of change. Fifty five percent of this leadership normally involves strategic thinking. The successful leader is able to engage and motivate followers. There is shared, or at least consultative, decision making and followers are empowered to take on responsibility and act independently. This can only be achieved through effective communication (Riggio, 2014).
2.6 EXTREME LEADERSHIP STYLES
This section looks at the three most extreme leadership styles, based on the study of leadership styles conducted in 1939 by Kurt Lewin. He was in charge of a group of researchers to identify different styles of leadership. These early studies stand the test of time, because these studies lead to the establishment of the four major leadership styles, namely autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire and bureaucratic.
Autocratic leadership is an extreme form of transactional leadership, where leaders have absolute power over their team members. Decisions are made confidently without employee inputs (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2012). Staff and team members have little opportunity to make suggestions, even if these would be in the team’s or the organisation’s best interest. Most people tend to resent being treated like this. Therefore, autocratic leadership often leads to high levels of absenteeism and staff turnover. However, for some routine and unskilled jobs, the style can remain effective because the advantage of control may outweigh the disadvantages.
In a democratic leadership style the followers are involved in the decision making process. Unlike autocratic leadership, this leadership is based on team members’ contributions. The democratic leader holds final responsibility, but he or she is known to delegate authority to other people, who determine work projects (Pride, Hughes ; Kapoor, 2012).
The laissez-faire leadership style follows a low control and minimum direction and interference (Pride, Hughes ; Kapoor, 2012). This style of leadership is applicable to situations where the subordinates are well motivated and highly trained. Another requirement for this style of leadership is that the leader should trust and respect their followers unconditionally. This type of leadership style has been consistently found to be the least satisfying and least effective leadership style in many circumstances in an organisation.
Bureaucratic leaders lead by rules and regulations (Pride, Hughes ; Kapoor, 2012). This types of leaders follow rules rigorously, and ensure that their staff follow procedures precisely. This is an appropriate style for work involving serious safety risks (such as working with machinery, with toxic substances, or at dangerous heights) or where large sums of money are involved (such as handling cash). The style may be appropriate in the two cases mentioned, but in other environments it may have a severe negative impact on group cohesiveness, because of a lack of participation in decision-making and fear amongst the group members.