Contingency Theories of Leadership

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Leadership is the ability to form a team and help it to set goals based on personal authority (Kippenberger, & NetLibrary, 2002). Frank Fiedler suggested the contingency theories of leadership. These theories are based on the idea that, for a man to emerge as the leader, the situation should be emerged where this person can realize him/herself (Vecchio, 2007). To become a leader, besides the talent it is necessary to devote much time to the development of special skills both professional and personal. Leadership is a talent that should be improved by the continuous improvement (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2009). 

Leadership style oriented on the relationship is characterized by a significant degree of delegation of tasks, a developed system of training and taking care of the employees’ work. Moreover, it is as well described by trust, respect and warmth of relationships, according to the wishes and interests of the employees.

Therefore, leadership style that is focused on the human relationships is better to use in the companies concentrated on the effective communication system development. For example, when the company should create a new strategic plan and the necessary information should be collected and analysed. On this situation, it is rather effective and efficient to delegate different tasks for the departments that are working in this sphere. For instance, the marketing department can collect data and analyze failures of the marketing campaign resulted into the low selling levels of goods produced by the company. Furthermore, the leadership style that focuses on human relationships would be rather effective to use in cases the company or department is working with the new technology or product invention.

According to the analyzed above aspect of contingency theory proposed by Fiedler, it is the most effective in moderately favorable situations for the head: when there is a big team of workers and they are artists, the manager with such style is not enough powered mostly to provide the full co-operation of subordinates. Nevertheless, contrary to the unfavorable situation, a subordinate is not actively looking for any excuse to disturbance. Most of the employees in general tend to do what the manager wants from them, if the one explains why this should be done. If the manager is too much focused on the task, he/she risks antagonize the performers and, thereby, promote their potential drawbacks of this style. This focus on the task reduces the impact of the head.

Leadership style oriented on the task accomplishment and obtaining a positive result is used in cases where the head poses for the employees difficult, realistic and easy measured tasks. High task orientation is characterized, in particular, by the emphasis on timeliness, performance, and organizational factors.

The potential benefits of a task-oriented leadership style are: speed of action and decision, a unity of purposes and a strict control over the work of subordinates. Thus, for the success of the company’s production the autocratic style is an effective tool to achieve goals of the organization, provided by the willing of employees to cooperate with the supervisor. In this situation, leadership style focused on the task would be the most appropriate because the relationship between managers and subordinates are good already. Therefore, managers do not need to spend a lot of time to maintain these relationships. In addition, since the head has a considerable power, and the problem is routine, subordinates obey the instructions of the head, and almost do not need help. As follows, the role of the leader in this case is to talk about what to do.

As a conclusion, it is necessary to note that leadership style, which suits best to the defined situation and is the most preferable for subordinates, depends on two factors: personal characteristics of subordinates, and the requirements and impact of the environment on the situation. In other words, when subordinates observed a great need for the self-esteem and belonging, the style focused on human relationships will be the most suitable. However, if there is a strong subordinates’ necessity for autonomy and self-expression, they are likely to prefer the task-oriented leadership style. Since their first instinct is to concentrate on the task and execute it, they prefer when manager tells them what to do and entrusts them to watch out for the problem’s solution.

I think situational leadership is the ability of a specific person to act effectively in some situations. Thus, situational leader is a person who can lead a team to combat the effects of the conditions’ combination. I am really convinced that I am a situational leader: there were a lot of situations in my life, when I became a leader in a moment and the next time other people were asking me about different methods to escape or solve the situation. For me, to be a situational leader means to take a responsibility in the cases when others do not want to do this. I can speak about myself as a situational leader only in the cases of the spontaneous situations and during different school campaigns’ organization. Nonetheless, I cannot call myself a situational leader of the organization since I have no experience in the management of a big amount of people.

Therefore, I can say from my experience I use both styles of leadership – the focused on the relationship and task-oriented ones. This fickleness happens because I am being involved in different situations. For example, when my team was working under the course project and I was its leader, my leadership style was task-oriented. I applied it since I knew for sure that everything my tam needs is motivation, plan and strict deadlines. When my friends and I were organizing a birthday party, I used the focused on the relationship style. I just told people what should be done, who was doing the specific task and then controlled the process a little. All the preparations were done perfectly. The reason was that we were free to communicate and help each other, to delegate the tasks and brainstorm the new ideas. Thus, I can stress that now I am a situational leader, who uses different leadership styles. However, everything can change when I will become the boss.

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