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Today, the world finds itself in the midst of a global leadership crisis. Between Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Theresa May, Angel Putin, Angela Merkel and so on through to captains of industries such as Jack Ma, Jeff Bezos, Frederick Smith, and Carlos Ghosn, there is no relatively consistent pattern of Leadership style that characterizes their behavior. Therefore the achievements or failures of structured organizations or nations can be predicated on effective leaders who understand the dynamics of the frequently changing global stage. It is pertinent to understand the leadership approach embarked upon by such leaders in the respective situation they find themselves. It is worthy to note the achievements of some professionals in their fields of endeavor as illustrated by Fortune.com. Theo Epson – President, Baseball Operations Chicago Cubs In the fall of 2016, as partisan distrust and division reached abysmal depths, fascination with the Chicago Cubs became that all-too-rare phenomenon that united America. As the Cubs fought to end a 108-year championship drought, television ratings for the World Series soared by almost 50%. Even casual fans who didn’t know a bunt from a beanball stayed up late to watch the excruciating extra-inning Game 7 that turned baseball’s most famous lovable losers into winners at last. The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles.
The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox. In his book The Cubs Way, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer Tom Verducci describes that evolution, showing how a deeper understanding of important human qualities among his players—the character, discipline and chemistry that turn skilled athletes into leaders—enabled Epstein to engineer one of the most remarkable turnarounds in sports Jack Ma – Chairman and Executive Founder of Ali Baba Alibaba, a sprawling and murkily understood digital conglomerate built around e-commerce, has made Jack Ma one of the richest men in China, with a fortune valued at nearly $30 billion. And that success has rocketed him to prominence as arguably the first Chinese executive who’s an easily recognizable figure on the global stage. Furthermore, Ma is using his new platform in unexpected, invigorating ways, positioning himself as a champion of both free trade and philanthropy—and arguing that open digital marketplaces like Alibaba’s can power the world’s economy by enabling small businesses to reach an ever-expanding pool of customers. That’s the premise that emboldened Ma to promise then-President-elect Donald Trump during a sit-down in January that Alibaba would help create 1 million jobs in the U.S. over five years. To realize his vision, Ma has urged the lowering of trade barriers while proving to be a surprisingly warm, optimistic, and effective diplomat on behalf of capitalism—one known to disarm visitors by greeting them wearing sandals and Buddhist prayer beads.
Lebron James – Basketball Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers When LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014 after four years with the Miami Heat he didn’t promise an NBA championship or instant success. Instead, he made a pact with Northeast Ohio. “I feel my calling here goes above basketball,” he told Sports Illustrated. “I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously.” James has realized this ambition through the LeBron James Family Foundation, which will provide mentoring and full college scholarships to 1,100 underprivileged children in his hometown of Akron. He has also used his platform as the game’s most famous star to speak out on issues such as President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order and the relationship between law enforcement and black communities.
And while he didn’t promise to end Cleveland’s 50-year championship drought, James did, in dramatic style, lead the Cavaliers to overturn a 3-1 series deficit against the favored Golden State Warriors. Melinda Gates – Co-Founder, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation In February, Melinda Gates reiterated her foundation’s pledge to make birth control available to 120 million women globally by 2020, doing so in a passionate personal essay that reminded readers of the link between reproductive rights and economic growth. Her words sparked conversation among allies and foes alike; the fact that they carried so far shows the respect Gates has earned as the public face of the foundation she and her husband, Bill Gates, started. That clout is the fruit of real results: The nearly $37 billion worth of grants the foundation had paid out through 2015 has had an enormous impact in empowering women and reducing infectious disease in the developing world. Despite the fact that there is a vast body of literature on leadership, it has remained one of the most misunderstood business phenomena (Gandolfi & Stone, 2016). However, The Harvard Business Review gives a detailed summary of who a leader is and what leadership entails – Leadership is the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants. The man who successfully marshals his human collaborators to achieve particular ends is a leader. A great leader is one who can do so day after day, and year after year, in a wide variety of circumstances. Although there are other important factors that go along with Leadership that are vital to its success, this study primarily focuses on the leadership styles of identified Global political and business leaders in their different terrains as well as the categorization of the leadership styles.
A deeper understanding of the existing literature on the classification of the existing subject matter will be reviewed. It will also analyze the positive and negative consequences that have emerged out of their actions. Finally, the study will make recommendations based on the findings from a detailed analysis of the study taking into full consideration information from books and online journals on leadership psychology and organization as well as renowned business websites.
Throughout decades of study, many leadership styles emerged to be considered valid and effective. This is due to the fact that a leadership style is a tangible demonstration of the process a leader chooses for leading (Shead, 2011). This has resulted in the classification of the subject matter into different groups by numerous scholars. A review of existing literature showcased a plethora of resources and information on the field of Leadership and Leadership skills in particular. having examined the wide-ranging categorization of styles, the authors of this article have reviewed the work of Kurt Lewin and colleagues, Douglas McGregor, and Daniel Goleman and team, as each of these individuals have contributed with their work in their respective time to the study and understanding of leadership styles Lewin et al.’s (1939) work produced three leadership styles, autocratic (also referred to as authoritarian), democratic (or participative), and laissez-faire. Specifically, autocratic leaders are hands-on leaders who take charge and set clear expectations for the what, when, why, and how tasks are done by followers should be completed.
Autocratic leaders take sole responsibility for making decisions without input from followers in the organization (Cherry, n.d.). Lewin et al. (1939) believed that their second proposed leadership style, democratic leadership, was largely the most effective style, as it promotes input on decisions, both large and small, from followers within the organization and further promotes a spirit of collaboration in the completion of goals and tasks (Cherry, n.d.). Presumably, the democratic style would lend itself to more two-way communication between leaders and followers as opposed to the one-way style of communication often seen within the autocratic leadership. Lewin et al’s (1939) third style, laissez-faire leadership, translates to “leave well alone” (Pawar, 2014), where leaders are completely hands off when it comes to how followers complete their tasks and provide significant amounts of decision-making authority amongst followers.
Cherry (n.d.) notes that while this style can be effective when there is a high degree of expertise and motivation among followers, it can also create role confusion and become demotivating when lack of clarity and vision from the leader persists. While each style in each category of leadership styles offers its own benefits and disadvantages, Lewin et al.’s (1939) early work was critical in laying the foundation for the more formal study of the categorization of leadership styles and future study and the work that would emerge in subsequent decades.
McGregor (1960) differed from Lewin et al. (1939) by classifying leadership styles into two categories, centering his work around the orientation of how the leader perceived his or her followers. McGregor (1960) postulated that leaders see followers in one of two ways, termed “Theory X” or “Theory Y”. Accordingly, if a leader sees his or her followers as responding only to orders connected with reward and punishment, then the followers were unmotivated and uninspired, which would fall under Theory X (Head, 2011). To the contrary, Theory Y suggests that a leader sees his or her followers as passionate, highly motivated, and a group of people who can critically think and make decisions on their own (Head, 2011). While these two theories are starkly opposed, each fits nicely within one of Lewin et al’s (1939) three leadership styles.
A Theory X leader would by its own definition need to act as an autocratic leader for tasks to be completed within an organization. Pawar (2014) suggests that this type of leader likely has no time or inclination to consider the needs of followers. On the other hand, a Theory Y manager would likely bend toward being a democratic leader (Pawar, 2014). One could also make the claim that a theory Y leader could fall into the laissez-faire category of leadership if the right circumstances presented themselves. While McGregor’s (1960) work represents a valuable contribution to the study of leadership styles, his work, though taken from a different vantage point, strengthens the case for the legitimacy of Lewin et al.’s (1939) work. Goleman, McKee, and Boyatzis (2002) posited the existence of six leadership styles. He distinguished among coercive, authoritative, affiliative, democratic, pacesetter, and coach. The coercive style is a command and control approach that requires compliance; the authoritative style directs people to a common vision created by the leader (Greenfield, 2007).
Leadership power closely aligns with the singular decision-making that is taken on by the autocratic leader as described by Lewin et al. (1939). The coach, affiliative, and democratic leaders are focused on things such as relationships, team building, consensus, and people development respectively (Greenfield, 2007). Thus, these three follower-centric styles match up closely with the democratic leader as defined by Lewin. The outlier of Goleman et al.’s (2002) six leadership styles, the pacesetter, may not be what one might imagine it to be at first glance. The mentality of the pacesetter often leads to a lack of trust in followers, thus causing the leader to undermine, albeit unintentionally, the actions of the follower (Ackley, n.d.). When such a situation arises between leaders and followers, it is highly plausible that the leader might take matters into his or her own hands, thus potentially reverting to an autocratic style of leadership to accomplish the goals they have set for the followers in a given situation. While Goleman et al.’s (2002) vantage point provide an important insight, it may be concluded that each of the six styles he presented found their roots in Lewin et al.’s (1939) work.
Finally, Masslenikova (2007) suggested that leadership styles could be categorized as either leader-centered or follower-centered. She posits that leader-centered styles would include authoritarian, transactional, and charismatic leadership. Particularly regarding authoritarian, or autocratic leadership, this certainly aligns with Lewin et al.’s (1939) definition of an autocratic leader. In contrast, follower-centered leadership styles would include participative, servant, and transformational leadership (Masslenikova, 2007). Again, this validates Lewin et al.’s (1939)work in that follower-centric leadership styles often hinge on the inclusiveness of the democratic leader. In conclusion, White (2007) classified modern-day leadership styles into Mammalian and Reptilian which can be termed as acceptable and summarizes the whole concept of subject matter. This Human metaphor was employed. According to the scholar most reptiles are cold-blooded, detached, analytical quantitative, independent, adversarial, focus on control, faith in evidence, value contracts while mammals are engaged, emotional, qualitative, interdependent, emphasis on freedom, faith in others, rely on trust.
Furthermore, Leaders must be reptilian because organizations are challenged to survive in a competitive environment. People need order, stability, routines, and resources to perform productively. Reptilians crave power and authority to improve the odds that an organization will survive. Leaders must also be Mammalians because organizations are composed of human beings free to choose their affiliations. Also, people need attention, room to grow, and someone to believe in them in order to do their best, learn and be creative.
Leaders need to be aware that people possess the knowledge and ideas the organization needs to thrive. They are hungry for inspiration, challenge, and recognition. Maturing as a leader means being able to diagnose what type of leadership is needed and deploying the strategy that is likely to work best. Therefore effective leader must learn to adopt any of the following to any specific situation faced. The Classic Entrepreneur. Leadership is about the thrill of competition and the quest for success. No-nonsense variables, such as costs, quality, profit margins, and savvy deals, are the metrics that matter. Sure, these leaders care about the values their company stands for, but it’s the dollars-and-cents value proposition that matters most The Modern Missionary.
Leadership focuses more on adding value that making money. It is more about running organizations for a cause rather than profit and is averse to risk-taking. The Problem Solver. These Leaders are always in the forefront to face challenges. They take charge and are the first to identify new opportunities by sourcing information from people around them but later learn their experience. They are mostly concerned with what it takes to get the job done The Solution Finder. This Leadership style is always after results and centers on incremental results and concrete solution. The mindset is that of humility, modesty, and ambition.
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