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Evaluating Leadership Theories

Essay by   •  April 9, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,878 Words (8 Pages)  •  2,198 Views

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As described by www.businessdictionary.com, the significance of leadership in an organizational role requires establishing a clear vision, sharing and communicating that vision with others in the organization so they will willingly follow, providing the information, knowledge, and methods to understand and accept that vision, and coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members or stakeholders. Leaders come to the forefront in case of crisis, and have the resources to think and act in difficult situations. Leadership cannot be taught, but it may be learned and enhanced through coaching or mentoring.

In this writing assignment, I intend to discuss the benefits of participative leadership, delegation, and empowerment theories. I will also discuss the presence of gender issues relating to leadership. Lastly, I will demonstrate effective application of Dyadic Level Perspectives, and External Leadership theories in business settings.

PARTICIPATIVE LEADERSHIP, DELEGATION, AND EMPOWERMENT

Participative leadership, delegation, and empowerment are subjects that bridge the power and behavior approaches to leadership (Yukl, pg. 87). Research on participative leadership and delegation focus on power sharing as viewed by the leader. Research on empowerment focus on the perspective of followers. If you are a Participative Leader, your Group members are involved in the decision making process right from the start, by contributing their ideas and suggestions. You're a strong believer in team work.

There are many different forms of participative leadership. In the text, Theorists acknowledge four decision procedures that are distinct and meaningful. Autocratic Decision is when a manager makes a decision alone without asking for opinions or suggestions from others. No participation is involved. Using consultation, managers ask other people for opinions and ideas, but make their own decision after considering the suggestions. Joint decisions are made when managers meet with others, discuss the problem and decide together. Using delegation, the manager gives authority and responsibility for all decisions to an individual or group. There are many potential benefits to participative leadership, including higher decision quality, acceptance by participants, more satisfaction with the decision process, and more development of skills (Yukl, pg. 88). But those benefits depend on the participants, the amount of influence they have, and other aspects of the situation. Managers can also use downward and upward consultation, depending on whether the participants are subordinates, peers, superiors, or outsiders. Participative leadership can be effective in some situations, but not in others.

The guidelines for participative leadership include diagnosing decision situations, and encouraging participation. Successful participative leaders involve their team members in making decisions, which is essential when solving complex problems. Successful participative leaders involve their team in making some, but not all key decisions. They make employees feel valued by asking them for their advice. Employees who play a part in deciding what to do feel a sense of ownership for making things happen. (McCrimmon, 2007) Participative leaders should encourage group values, be sure to openly share the vision, create a healthy work environment, provide the necessary tools and training, frequently organize and energize their team, constantly encourage two-way communication, and expect accountability from your team.

Delegation involves assigning responsibilities to subordinates and giving them the authority to carry out those responsibilities. Delegation can be easily defined as a variety of participative leadership, but there is ample justification for delegation to be in a separate category of managerial behavior. The text describes delegation as a variety of different forms and degrees of power sharing with individual subordinates (Yukl, pg. 105). Major aspects of delegation include the variety and scope of responsibilities, the amount of discretion allowed in deciding how to carry out responsibilities, the authority to take action, the frequency and nature of reporting requirements, and the flow of performance information (Yukl, pg. 105). There are many advantages to delegating. Delegation can improve decision quality if the subordinate has more expertise than the manager. Subordinates often know more about situations because they work more closely to them, and are able to make quicker and better decisions to resolve problems. Delegation can also make a subordinate's job more interesting, challenging, and meaningful (Yukl, pg. 106)

Managers can use delegation as a form of time management by delegating less important duties to subordinates, freeing additional time for more important duties. There are times when delegation can fail to meet the expectations of all parties involved. Managers can avoid delegation to avoid the risk of mistakes, or for fear that a subordinate may be in competition for their job. Sometimes, the nature of the work and the amount of authority the manager has limits the potential for delegation.

The text outlines five guidelines that describe the steps that managers should take after delegating to help ensure successful delegation. First, managers should inform others who need to know, which include those whose cooperation and assistance is necessary to do the tasks. Delegators should also monitor progress in appropriate ways, including providing feedback to subordinates. Next, delegators should make sure that the subordinates receive the information necessary to do the job. It is best to have information flow directly to the subordinate. Delegators should also provide support and assistance, while avoiding reverse delegation. Offering help or assistance is better than taking back a job that has been delegated to a subordinate. Lastly, delegators should allow their subordinates to make mistakes, and use them as learning experiences. Mistakes should still be taken seriously, but viewed as a learning experience by both.

Clearly, there are tasks that managers should not delegate, such as performance reviews, strategic planning and employee

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