In truth, there are many different leadership styles and which is appropriate will depend on such things as the personality of the leader, the persona of the workforce, the business, the business structure and size, the industry, the product or service, the customers, the economic climate, the culture of the territory in which the business is based and where it has its client base.
There are so many factors that each style needs to be judged on its own merits in its own environment. The trick is of course, knowing which one is best for any given situation and also, having the skills, awareness and desire to adapt accordingly.
The bottom line, however, is that if the modern business wants to thrive in the ever changing fast moving 21st Century market place, it needs to:-
1. Make more of the resources (ie work force) it is paying for.
2. Keep people motivated and engaged, more likely to do a good job
3. Remove bottle necks by communicating more effectively
Technology has given us access to sophisticated data to help us make frequent, fast decisions about our businesses. Education and training has given us a workforce that can take responsibility and make intelligent decisions.
As a result, we perform more effectively when we move away from an ‘I say you do’ command and control approach, to more collaborative working where decision making is devolved.
We also believe that one of the keys to 21st Century business success is developing our communication skills to a highly sophisticated level.
The alternative is to be left behind by our competitors and as we said elsewhere – a business that is not open to change gets the success it deserves.
And a business which is open to change gets the success it deserves.
A recent CIPD survey called ‘Organisations of the Future: Designed to Win’ showed that a key driver of high performing companies is to have an empowered and engaged workforce.
But it also showed there was a gap between how Managers experienced their communication with employees and how those same communications were experienced by the employees.
Source: ‘Organisations of the Future: Designed to Win’ CIPD 2012
When you look at that gap between what Managers THINK they are doing and how it is PERCEIVED by their teams, we can see why there is a need to develop leadership and communication skills to the highest level.
ASHRIDGE BUSINESS SCHOOL – ASHRIDGE MANAGEMENT INDEX
2012/13 found a shortfall in leadership communication. A survey of over 1,100 managers indicated that top managers need to communicate more often and more clearly. Only 49% of top leaders spend enough time communicating with staff, and just 52% of top leaders are rated for communicating clearly.
There are also some well established theories which form the base of this modern approach to leadership.
McGREGOR X AND Y
The first is McGregor’s Theory X and Y (The Human Side of Enterprise – Douglas McGregor. Published by McGraw Hill) which describe two models of workplace motivation. Theory X states that people prefer to be directed and have little appetite for creative problem solving. Theory Y states that the capacity for creative problem solving lies within the organisation itself and not just at the top. Also, that people can be creative at work if properly motivated. McGregor believed that Theory Y managers are more likely than Theory X managers to develop trust – crucial to that feeling of empowerment and engagement
MASLOW HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
The second is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (A Theory of Human Motivation – Abraham H Maslow. Published by Black Curtain Press) which suggests that people have an inherent need to feel respected and often look to their workplace to find that.