The participation of employees has long been a central issue in leadership, but the relatively recent practice of “participative management” presents special challenges for leaders. Organizational and cultural factors determine the degree to which participation is used. Delegation of responsibility is the most basic application of participative management; leaders must carefully consider which tasks can and should be delegated, and to whom. Feedback and monitoring are an important part of this process (Nahavandi, 2003).
Participative management has been formalized in many companies through the creation of teams. Teams can play a critical role in revitalizing an organization. Teams, like leaders, need sufficient power and authority to achieve their goals (Nahavandi, 2003).
Researchers in recent years have begun studying change-oriented leadership, in particular, the charismatic and transformational leadership models. These models offer several advantages over other contingency models of leadership: (1) they enable the examination of a different role of leadership, namely, the inspirational visionary and builder of organizational culture; (2) they emphasize the emotional reactions of followers; and (3) they draw our attention to upper-echelon leaders—who are themselves the subject of strategic leadership studies—allowing for the potential integration of strategic leadership research with transformational and charismatic studies (Nahavandi, 2003).
Charismatic Leadership Models
The charismatic leadership model describes a particular type of leader possessing high self-confidence and enthusiasm, strong convictions, and excellent communication skills. The model suggests that such leaders can influence followers by cultivating their emotional commitment to a vision and a set of shared values, and that charismatic leadership emerges and succeeds especially in times of crisis. For example, the U.S. civil rights leaders of the 1960s successfully built a following around a moral social movement that coincided with growing discontent and unrest over unjust treatment of African Americans. Charismatic leadership has a dark side, however. Charismatic leaders can have a strong emotional hold on their followers; therefore, the leader can abuse that power and use it unethically. Leaders who are convinced of the righteousness of their vision can be blind to the concerns of others, leading to destructive outcomes. Other potential liabilities of charismatic leadership include a self-serving vision; a myopic concern with impression management; failure to manage details; failure to groom successors; and engagement in disruptive behaviors (Nahavandi, 2003).
Transformational Leadership Models
Leadership models, such as the Path-Goal Theory, focus on the exchange between leader and follower. Such exchanges have been called transactional leadership. Transactional leadership is considered essential to a leader’s practice, but exchange relationships are most effective when supplemented with transformational leadership (Nahavandi, 2003). Proponents of transformational leadership propose that “organizations need leadership that inspires followers and enables them to enact revolutionary change” (Nahavandi, 2003, p. 235). Transformational leadership includes three factors: intellectual stimulation, charisma and inspiration, and individual consideration. These behaviors allow an organization to adapt to external changes while transactional behaviors maintain the internal health of the organization (Nahavandi, 2003).
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