Leadership and Teamwork Theories: Their Relevance in Today's World

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 2465 |

Pages: 5|

13 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Words: 2465|Pages: 5|13 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Action Centred Leadership: Balancing Task, Team, and Individual
  2. William Ouchi's Theory Z: a Cultural Approach to Management
  3. Elton Mayo's Human Relations Approach and Bruce Tuckman's Group Formation Model
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

Leadership, Management and Teamwork are all a part of understanding and studying one’s behaviour in organizations and then using this to manage people’s behaviour in organisations. In order for people to be motivated to do work and complete objectives these three elements should be executed successfully so then they would commit to their objectives and they won’t feel as though they are being forced to do so. Different approaches to the study of teamwork and leadership are explored in the essay as their relevance to today's workplace structure. 

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To begin with a definition, Leadership is “the process of influencing others to understand and agree what needs to be done and how to do it.” Some may argue that leaders are born and not made because they possess the particular qualities or traits that amazing leaders would normally possess and the Traits/Qualities approach will further explain this. Although this approach doesn’t have a fully developed theory it was one of the earliest theories into leadership because it focuses on the individual leader and their norms, values and personality which are best for a great leader. Trait researchers have established a collective list of characteristics that a successful leader would portray which would include either behavioural traits, personality, or the skills that they possessed.

There are a few traits that a successful leader would have and some of these were confidence, integrity, emotional stability, social skills, general cognitive capacity, initiative and lastly charisma. Researchers later on discovered that there were only a few qualities that would differentiate someone from being a leader or a follower but according to Martin and Fellenz, research in the 1950’s found that only 5% of these favourable traits were common. This theory solely sees this leadership qualities as innate and that they can’t be learned but in modern society it has been seen that within organizations these traits can be learned that is why this theory is not very relevant in the work place today because in order for any individual to become the best at something they must be allowed the opportunity to be trained the skills that would then benefit their activity.

Another theory which explain leadership is the Functional/Group approach. This theory suggests that leader’s should make it their main priority to make sure that the needs of their group is met because they have then done their job successfully and have put in their efforts into make sure that the group is working effectively and cohesively. Leadership is also assumed to be a set of skills that can be learned and not necessarily innate.

Action Centred Leadership: Balancing Task, Team, and Individual

Adair’s Action Centred Leadership is the most known theory for functional leadership because it suggests that great leaders should have full control over the three main areas in the action centred model which are Task, Team maintenance and Individuals. Each of these elements overlap with each other so if one is weak e.g. the individual, it could affect the performance of the team and how well the task is done. It is key that in order for balanced to be maintained the leader should have full power over all three elements because when they do it gets the results that are desired, increases motivation and also productivity.

In my personal experience with regards to the Traits approach I do believe that certain people are just born to be leaders because they naturally portray the qualities that a great leader would tend to have. When working through a simulation in university I was placed in a group with many others to complete the task at hand but many of us had not known each other previously. In the midst of this one individual lead us all throughout the simulation giving tasks and roles for us to do and we all complied with it but we never chose the individual to be a leader. It was a silent agreement between everyone that this individual would be the leader because of the qualities they naturally possessed and portrayed that we automatically thought that he would be best to lead us.

Although some may say that Management and Leadership are quite the same they actually are not because managers make things happen because they achieve these objectives that leaders set through the efforts of their employees and it is said to be Martin and Fellenz, 2010, p.190 &p. 196 “A process that involves the major functions of planning, organising and deploying resources in order to achieve goals'. This shows that managers make sure that the goals and objectives set are reached by the individuals but they are also there to ensure the welfare of their employees and McGregor’s X and Y theory will support this. He developed two theories that clarify manager’s beliefs and how this would affect their managerial styles, the theory X approach is said to be a “hands on” approach because the manager tends to think cynically about their employees and think that they’re unmotivated and don’t want to put in the effort to complete their work because they dislike it. They tend to take on an authoritative style so that they can force/control their employees to complete the aims and intentions set and offer incentives to their employees because they feel as though they need to be enticed in order for the goals to be achieved because they have no motivation to work. In recent times the X theory has not been utilized and it’s not really relevant in big organizations because nowadays people don’t like to feel like they are being controlled to do work but they sometimes do tend to use it, when necessary, because they employ a vast number of employees and are given strict deadlines which are required to be met.

Theory Y explains that managers believe that their employees take pride in their work and do it more effectively on their own so they tend to trust them to do it on their own and this is known as a participative management style. Organizations which utilize theory Y always give employees frequent opportunities for improvement of their skills because they encourage to openly communication with their employees rather than control them. McGregor explained that this theory has become more popular across organizations in the past and it has been proven to be effective in recent times as well and this is because when this approach is utilized employees tend to choose more meaningful careers that offer them with more than just money.

However this McGregor’s X and Y theory tends to get criticized because it has a simplistic approach because there are sometimes occasions where a Theory Y manager may have to utilize a Theory X approach with their employees.

In my personal experience when working with Superdrug I can say that my manager had a participative management style. This is because she would never force us to do the activities that were given to use but she would trust that we would complete them to our own abilities. This was effective because being allowed to solve problems in my own way made me more self-motivated to complete the tasks and I enjoyed taking ownership of my work which then allowed me to be promoted to a Team Leader.

William Ouchi's Theory Z: a Cultural Approach to Management

Another management Theory that will be discussed is as an approach to management is William Ouchi’s Theory Z Style of Management which is also known as the Japanese method of management . His theory explained how the norms and values of one’s culture formed their managerial style which were similar to clan cultures. It suggested that the cultural values instilled into the employees would increases their commitment to their work and the primary characteristics of Ouchi’s theory were Collective decision making, Long term employment, strong relations and Informal control.

In an organization for it too run smoothly so employees won’t feel as if their being forced to do work managers should be involving their employees in decisions concerning their work. When this happens they feel as though they are a part of the organisation and aren’t only there for the money because they feel valued and because of this it will increase their commitment to making sure that the decision made is being upheld to the standard that it needs to be.

Long term employment simply states that if the employees feels as though they will have a job in the future this security guarantees that employees will be more loyal towards the organization.

Strong relations between employees within the organization is an obligation because they need to take into consideration that their employees have personal lives of their own. The concern of the health and happiness of their employees should be one of their priorities because they made need some support in difficult circumstances they may have.

Lastly informal control suggest that organizations should be working in cohesively like a team so that everyone can share their resources. This would then give the employee their own responsibility which previously mentioned in Y theory is essential because they are more motivated to complete the objectives.

Ouchi’s theory is still highly relevant in today’s workplace, although it may be long-standing, because it emphasises on how managers should connect with their employees to reach the optimum level of employee satisfaction.

Lastly, Teamwork is needed in an organization because it allows individuals to comprehend how well people work in teams. Teamwork is said to be “groups of two or more people who interact and influence each other, are mutually accountable for achieving common objectives and perceive themselves as a social entity”. Organizations find that when their employees work in teams more work is done effectively because they are coming together to share their ideas and solutions to problems that they may encounter.

Elton Mayo's Human Relations Approach and Bruce Tuckman's Group Formation Model

Elton Mayo’s Human relations approach highlights the importance of social relations between employees and managers because productivity did not depend on how much work they were doing or how much they were getting paid but on how well they interacted with their colleagues in the work place which then advised managers to take more interest in their employees. This explains how teamwork is effect in the workplace because as human we tend to need a sense of love, according to Maslow’s hierarchy, because we want to belong in a certain group and those feelings then increase the motivation of an individual portraying a certain behaviour.

Bruce Tuckman presented the five stage model of group formation which were Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning so that individuals could improve themselves as a group. This was important because a group takes time to be formed because the members have to familiarize themselves with other team members and understand what they will be doing. From this they will then begin to form roles and responsibilities that the team will have to follow and it is also important that the leader of the team to involve everyone and make sure that they comprehend what is expected from them.

Once these roles and responsibilities are established usually this is when the storming phase begins because individual tends to not follow the boundaries set in the forming stage and this leads to conflict between the members which can risk the team to fail e.g. one member may not agree on who is leading the team so they may try to take that role away from the current leader. The leader of the team must take control of this situation and restore balance because if the conflict is unresolved then the motivation of the members will decrease and this sometimes cause for teams to find it difficult to complete the project.

In the norming stage usually the members begin to resolve their conflict and respect one another. Once this happens they tend to socialize among each other and share information and ideas for the project which increase team morale and their commitment towards the objective.

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In conclusion, in order for an organization to thrive them must be able to balance management, teamwork and leadership cohesively because one factor may be the downfall of the other. Organizations need to understand that managers need to socialize more with their employees because it increase productivity, Leaders should know how to influence their employees to complete objectives set and delegate their work to others and lastly, that working in teams tends to be more effective than making employees work on their own because it demotivates them. Having the perfect balance of all three factors is a difficult task but it is not one that is impossible to achieve.


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Leadership and Teamwork Theories: Their Relevance in Today’s World. (2023, August 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“Leadership and Teamwork Theories: Their Relevance in Today’s World.” GradesFixer, 14 Aug. 2023,
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Leadership and Teamwork Theories: Their Relevance in Today’s World [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 14 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from:
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