Critique Leadership Theories
Critique Leadership Theories
As the world is evolving at a high speed, the business environment becomes harsher and even more demanding. Companies are aiming towards hiring qualified workforce and maintaining their performance at the highest level. Human resources that can undergo modern pressures are increasingly valued in the conditions of severe competition. Leaders have been seeking for strategies and tools to motivate and inspire employees to step outside their job requirements and go further for the wellbeing and prosperity of the company. As a result, leadership has been the subject of extensive discussion. A huge number of concepts has been derived and implemented, among which there are those that are proven to be successful, namely, transformational leadership, and unrealistic like servant leadership.
Current business environment tends to be turbulent and uncertain. In my opinion, the most useful normative leadership theory in these conditions is the transformational one. It has the power to spread and prevail through all levels of organization, and it is not destined to benefit only the top management level of a company. In addition, transformational leadership has been successfully implemented across different job levels and in a number of occupations (Shin & Zhou, 2003). A leadership training experiment was conducted, involving prison supervisors who worked with inmates directly in industrial shops, where products were manufactured for distribution inside and outside the prison system. The first group of wardens had training on transformational leadership, the second on transactional, the third group did not receive training but was measured at the beginning and the end of the experiment, the fourth was also not trained and measured only at the end of the trial. Both groups that received the training showed improved performance in comparison to the untrained ones. However, the team of supervisors trained on transformational leadership was able not only to increase the productivity of the inmates but also to improve relationships within the group, correct unacceptable behavior, and receive more respect (M?ller, 2009). Therefore, transformational leadership can impact employees on each organizational level through a diversity of occupations, enhancing ethical behavior of a vast amount of people.
An important part of transformational leadership is practicing and gaining solid social and communicational skills. Those who incorporate this type of leadership tend to be charismatic, supportive, thoughtful, intellectually challenging, empowering, passionate, demanding, and sympathetic. Such leaders endorse equity, teamwork, trust, and reliance; encourage reexamination and unconventional thinking; transform old principles and phenomena into new ones. Fairness is one of the core principles of transformational leadership activities, which is incredibly important considering the increasing diversity in workplace in the US companies, as well as in global ones. In a working environment, such leaders create standards and policies that serve as tools for standardized evaluation and assessment. Ethical issues stand at the top of their priorities. A transformational leader is highly engaged with their followers for the sake of mutual benefit. While leading by own example, they establish a trustful environment and transform values and behaviors of employees so that they match the companys vision and goals (Singh, 2011). Transformational leadership induces an important feeling of satisfaction of employees with their work, promotes the idea of belonging to something meaningful and significant, thus increasing the overall motivation and drive for accomplishments. Transformational leadership has the power to affect an organization by increasing the engagement levels of employees, as well as their degree of motivation and commitment. This particular type of leadership was reported to increase willingness of people to act beyond of what is expected of them and listed in their job requirements, which increases the effectiveness and the outcome of the efforts the workforce makes while pushing an organization to a higher and much more competitive level.
One of the most famous leaders who demonstrated the essential characteristics of a transformational leader was Steve Jobs a man who transformed his passion into a global high-tech giant Apple. He led his company to the new highs that had never been seen before while rediscovering and reinventing the concept of mobile technology. A product of Apple suddenly entered the lives of millions globally as a piece of sophisticated smart technology. However, what was and remains particularly attractive is the story behind it as well as the passion and the significance of the product to the leader who was incorporated into production, design, and marketing. We all could become a part of it by buying an Apple-manufactured product. The key qualities of a transformational leader demonstrated by Jobs were clear vision, creativity, and passion.
The completion of the Self-Assessment Servant Leadership Questionnaire has shown that most of the servant leadership attributes I possess are on an insufficient level to successfully practice servant leadership. It means that I need to develop them further. An observation I want to share is that the questions in the survey are not easy to answer. The process needs an objective evaluation of actions and attitudes I might not have paid sufficient attention to in the past. The principles of servant leadership require a restless and selfless approach towards others to an extent I did not expect. As a result, I concluded that if I needed to define a leadership theory or strategy to adhere to, I would not choose to follow the servant leadership principles solely. Nevertheless, integrating these principles into different leadership strategies might be helpful and result in a higher level of ethics in the workplace.
After a third person had conducted an evaluation of the principles of servant leadership I possess and practice using the same questionnaire, the results turned out to be similar to those acquired during the self-assessment. The lowest rates were demonstrated in awareness and commitment to the growth of people. The highest-graded principles were stewardship, building community, and listening. It means I should engage in reflecting upon the weaker scores and try to define ways and opportunities to improve my rates.
Servant leadership has become a widely discussed ethical approach. Moreover, some organizations have stated implementing this strategy in their operation. The key attributes of a servant leader are imposing commitment to the service and appreciation of others, empowerment, trust, and honesty (Stone, Russell & Patterson, 2004). A servant leader possesses such traits of character as patience, kindness, humbleness, respect, selflessness, and forgiveness (Hunter, 2004). Servant leadership is primarily targeted at meeting the needs of others, shifting attention from the goals and objectives to the service itself, which is considered the purpose of this particular leadership theory. The concept holds a strong ethical meaning and is based on abiding by moral principles (McMahone, 2012). However, certain questions and misconceptions arise in the discussion of servant leadership implementation within an organization.
From my perspective, servant leadership is not a realistic concept for implementation in a company. One of the reasons why is that it is not suitable for corporations with multiple levels of organization. Servant leadership is not designed to prosper within a hierarchy, as its roots are meant to spread from top to bottom. However, in a horizontal organization, there would be better chances of adopting the servant leadership principles.
Another problem is that the servant leadership theory does not recognize basic human characteristics, such as a wish for power. For humans, especially for those in the position of acquired power, it is natural to worry about losing it; therefore, they might choose to keep the led ones under control, often applying manipulation and intimidation. Becoming a servant leader is more than just adopting a couple of conceptions. It is a challenge that requires one to give up selfish concerns and demonstrate an exceptional commitment towards an organization and its employees development. It should be reached through extensive training and continuous learning.
Nevertheless, I believe that servant leadership can be promoted in organizational ethics. It can be achieved through training and education. The key principles it has to follow are orientation towards a large group of people, process-oriented approach, and development of an understanding of the idea of common good promoted without relation to any religion, gender or other personal characteristics (McMahone, 2012). Building a foundation for ethical behavior within the organization on the basis of servant leadership theory may result in making better, more ethical decisions regarding employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
It is quite hard to study companies that implement the latter approach due to complications in the objective evaluation of ethical behavior. Nevertheless, it is known that companies like Synovus Financial, TD Industries, Nordstroms, and Southwest Airlines attempted to develop servant leaders in their organizations by implementing a systematic approach (McMahone, 2012). In addition, Fortune Magazine has provided a list of Best 100 Companies to Work for, among which 30 to 35% were claimed to be servant leadership companies (McMahone, 2012, p. 344). Therefore, certain organizations choose to incorporate servant leadership as a management strategy. However, their initial goal was the development of leaders rather than creation of an ethical environment.
Adopting a leadership theory that is suitable for a certain management strategy is an important task. Companies seek to prevail each other while activating and using the most valuable resource they have humans and their potential. Concluding all the information above, the transformational leadership theory is the most useful approach in current business conditions. It can drive a company to success, as it is based on demanding and motivating principles. Servant leadership is an unrealistic approach to be practiced within an organization. It is not a tool for effective motivation of employees; it does not prompt them to work more, better, or achieve higher results. Therefore, it does not ensure an economic benefit. However, it can be implemented as an ethical approach within a company to improve working conditions and make a company a better place for an employee.