There are numerous factors that affects the leadership style
adopted by a leader. Stated below are four major factors.
Leader – A leader’s
knowledge, personality, skills and experiences can influence the choice of
leadership style. A leader’s previous experiences whether good or bad, personality
type whether he/she is outgoing or reserved, whether he is an expert in his
field or not can be used as a basis of choosing a particular leadership style
to use. A leader that possesses a likeable demeanor who draws people to him is
likely to adopt a transformational leadership style while someone who works by
the books will likely adopt a transactional leadership style.
The Task: The
particular task to be accomplished or rather the objectives of a team which is
broken down to smaller tasks can also influence the leadership style to be
used. For example a team may be formed in terms of crises (here a coercive
leader is more appropriate) or when a new vision is been developed, (here an
authoritative leader is needed) or where trust needs to be rebuilt (here an
affiliative leader is best suited). The objectives/task of the team goes a long
way in determining the choice of leadership style.
The Environment: There
are different external factors that affect the choice of leadership style which
include but not limited to organisational culture/structure, political and
economic factors, technology etc. Organisational structure and operating methods
may dictate the leadership style leaders must adopt. Organisation with high
emphasis on idea requires an open leadership style which won’t be suited for
organisations were leaders set the direction.
The team: The
composition of the team members can affect the leadership style exhibited by
the leader. The groups experience level, level of competence and commitment,
motivational level, maturity level and even the size of the group all come to
play in selecting the most appropriate leadership style. For example having
team members that are experts and with vast knowledge of subject matter or project
the team is involved in, a delegating style of leadership will most likely be
used. However if the team members are not experts in their field and have
little knowledge about the project, delegating style won’t be appropriate.
Impact of Leadership style on the individual or group
Situational leadership has to do
with how adaptable a leader can be to the work environment and knowing when to
switch leadership styles to fit for purpose when the need arises. According to Daniel Goleman, the author of
“Emotional Intelligence,” defines six styles within situational leadership. The
impact on these styles on the individual and group is stated below.
A lot of guidance is been
provided by the leader. The leader is excellent in helping others improve on
their skills and development.
Individual: It enhances individuals personal development, builds self-confidence, self-motivation
and gears the individual towards independence. In the long run the individual
becomes a highly competent person
Group: Work is
done with mutual trust and commitment as individuals are willing to learn.
This enhances the quality of work the team delivers and in the long run the
team’s goals are achieved.
Individual: If the leader in question is not skillful in teaching, the individual
gets demotivated and frustrated especially when he/she is willing to learn.
Group: Having a
demotivated and/or frustrated individual in a team negatively affects the
quality of work and also creates a toxic working environment overtime if not
put in check.
It’s a “Do as I do” leadership
style. The leader leads by example and sets high standards for his team
Individual: This serves as a source of motivation to individual members as they won’t
be asked to do anything that the leader wouldn’t do.
Group: In the
short term, higher performance is recorded in terms of quality of work and
Individuals: Positive feedback are seldom given and due to the demand and speed with
which tasks are required to be done, individual burn out quickly. This
invariably leads to low morale. Personal development and learning is not
Group: Due to the
fast pace in which tasks are done, there is little or no tolerance for
mistakes. Hence team members who don’t rise to the occasion are quickly
replaced. This coupled with low moral will negatively affect the team
dynamics and work environment and also give little or no room for innovation
The leader actively involves the
team in decision making and problem solving
Individual: Individuals are involved in decision making hence boost morale and self-confidence.
This also helps individuals be more open to change. It brings out the best in
Group: The team is
always committed to ensure things work well and goals are achieved. The best
of ideas are harvested and worked on. This leadership style fosters unity and
Individuals: Personality clashes due to different opinions can cause an individual
who doesn’t like confrontation to restrain from bringing forth ideas and just
agrees even though he/she has a superior argument.
making process could be slow since team members participation are require.
This affects the delivery of work for projects that are time-bound. This in
the long run affects the team members” morale.
The leader focuses on the team members’
well-being above all.
Individual: Positive feedback is often given. The
individual feels valued hence there is a self confidence boost. The
individual also feels a sense of belonging hence individuals are highly
Group: With a highly motivated team members who are
allowed to take ownership/ responsibility, the proper environment is been
created to achieve team goals
Individuals: Underperforming results are often not dealt with hence individuals then
too think poor performance is good enough. This tramples individuals’
poor/mediocre performance often go unchecked, the overall team performance
begins to deteriorate in the long run.
A visionary leader that steers
the team towards the vision and path to success.
Individual: The vision and direction of the team is clear at every point in time.
This gives the individual a sense of purpose. The means of achieving the goal
is left to the individual, hence creativity, learning and innovation is
promoted. This invariably increases individual morale.
Group: The team
doesn’t lose sight of the vision and goal of the team. There is a
collaborative effort in ensuring the team is on the right track to achieving
the team’s goals and objectives.
Individual: the leader can be cut up in the future that clarity is not been provided
for the future. This can lead to confusion at the operational level hence
leading to frustration and demotivation.
Group: When the
leader is disconnected from the realities of the present operations of the
team and gets caught up in the future, the performance of the team begins to
deteriorate because there is no much guidance on the present. This adversely
affects the overall performance of the team in the long run.
The leader tells the team what,
when and how to do things.
Individual: It helps to improve the skill of underperforming individuals of the team.
are achieved in record time and efficiently as the direction the team should
go is clear and team members do exactly what they are told.
Individual: Individuals get disgruntled as there is little or no room for
creativity, innovation or ownership of task. The individual also feels
undervalued as leadership style provides little reward. With frustrated
individual comes poor performance.
Group: It has a
negative impact on the overall work climate as there is little or no room for
flexibility. In the long run the overall performance deteriorates as this can
promote high team turnover which has its associated cost.
John Adair Leadership Style
It’s an actioned centered
leadership style that focuses 3 major elements i.e. task, team and individual.
A team is put together to achieve a common goal which must be clear to all.
This goal can only be achieved if the all team members work together for the
common good. The team members must see the group as an entity of its own and
lastly for individuals to keep being motivated to achieving the common goal
their need as an individual must be met.
The leader has to balance the needs
of the 3 elements. However there is likely to be conflicts among the three
elements e.g limited time and resources makes leaders tend towards focusing
only on the task at the detriment of both the team and individual. Also trying
to build team spirit can be to the detriment of the task itself. Having a
balance of the 3 elements enables the individuals to thrive while giving their
best. Having a blend of the three elements invariably improves team dynamics.
Assess own leadership behaviours
and potential in the context of a particular leadership model and own
organisation’s working practices and culture, using feedback from others (28
The leadership style used in this
context to assess my leadership behaviour is the general situational leadership
style. These includes Directing, Coaching, supporting and delegating.
In my previous organisation, KPMG
professional Services, I had the opportunity to be in charge of an audit team. It
was a team of 4 auditing an internet solution company. The audit was time framed
as we were given a deadline to submit all audit findings to the group auditor.
Situational leadership style was the prominent leadership style used in the
The team of 4 included myself, 2
experienced persons and one new joiner. Before choosing which leadership style
to use for each, I tried assessing each team member based on competence and
capabilities. These assessment was also useful for allocating tasks to each
team member. I reviewed each person’s completed report and was available for
consultation when needed.
I used 3 different leadership style
in these scenario as each person was peculiar. I used the coaching style for
the new joiner as she had little experience prior to joining the firm, however
she was not conversant with our policies and procedures as at that time.
Supporting style was used for one of the experienced hire. Though she had been
in the firm for quite a while, she had no experience in auditing an
organisation in this particular industry sector. Delegating style was used for
the third team member as he was conversant with that job. He was part of the
audit team for this particular job the previous year.
Based on the feedback received from
my subordinate and manager the following was noted:
properly allocated based on the capabilities of the team member
leadership style used where appropriate at the beginning
feedback was often given and this boosted the team members’ morale.
the new joiners for some task should have been delegated to the experienced
persons as this motives and prepares them for a future leadership role.
As the audit
progressed, Switching of leadership styles where necessary wasn’t done. E.g
moving from coaching to supporting the new joiner as she got conversant with the
policies and audit procedures of the firm. Also identifying when the
experienced hires needed coaching.
A bit of
micromanaging was done as the deadline was getting nearer
Little or no
room was given to the new joiner to be innovative or creative. Hence the team
missed out on leveraging from her past experience.
The team met
the deadline and the team’s overall performance was good.
appropriate actions to enhance own leadership behaviour in the context of the
particular leadership model (24 marks)
assessment of the situation to determine if the leadership style been used is
the most appropriate: A periodic assessment of the team members should be done
in the course of the project as team members most often move up the commitment
and competence ladder as time goes on. If I had done this, I would have realised
when the new joiner needed to be supported and not coached and also the need to
micro-manage might have been eliminated. Identifying and adjusting leadership
style to suit the teams need will go a long way in boosting team members’
motivation level and translates to a higher performance level in the long run.
others to greatness: I need to look beyond the obvious and try to identify persons
who has the potential to be much more and help harness such potential. Many
great leaders rose to that position because another leader recognised and
harness that potential. Giving my more experienced hire the opportunity to coach
the new joiner would have gone a long way in harnessing his potential. It’s not
just being a great leader but helping to build another great leader brings
Improve communication skills: To be a better leader I need
to make hat conscious effort to improve my verbal, non-verbal and listening
skills. Be able to communicate my expectations, goals, intentions etc. to my team
members. I need to also make that conscious effort to give room to others to
voice out their opinions and ideas. This helps promote creativity and innovation
among the team members. If I had giving the new joiner more room to voice out
her opinion and ideas about some of the task given to her, we probably would
have found a more efficient way to accomplish some tasks.
Continuous Improvement: One secret to being a great leader
is continuous improvement. I intend to continuously improve myself in every
possible way. Seek for feedback and identify areas of improvement I need to
work on. Be willing and ready to learn from both leaders who are way ahead and subordinates
were necessary. The aim is to keep growing and learning.
In summary I intend applying the identified action plans (i.e
constantly re-assessing the situation to determine the leadership style that is
best suited, motivate team members to greatness by giving them opportunities to
lead were necessary, improve communication skills especially listening to
others opinion and constantly make a conscious effort to grow and learn from
others.) immediately. I have an informal mentor who I am accountable to and who
gives me monthly feedback. My aim is to have recorded a significant improvement
by September 2018.