Comparing Leadership Models
The presence of multiple leadership styles that one can choose from does not imply that leaders are restricted in terms of the styles they use. Leadership styles vary based on various factors including the people under leadership, the situations in which leadership is demonstrated, and the outcomes expected from leadership decisions. The effectiveness of a leadership style will also depend on who is applying it and to what extent he/she adheres to that style in decision making. In most cases, the evolution of leadership styles enables organizations and leaders to grow in one way or the other. As an organization grows in the number of employees it has, for instance, the leadership style also has to evolve to match the evolving needs of the organization. Different leadership styles are suitable for different situations, and leadership stories form an excellent starting point for explaining the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of a leadership style.
Chapter 12: Sharing is Performing
The story of AirBnB, through the initiation and leadership by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, demonstrates a perfect example of participative/democratic leadership in which employees at all levels of the organizational hierarchy are involved in decision making to a certain extent. The organization’s customers are also included in the decision-making process in as far as their interests are concerned. Through the leadership of the two individuals, guided specifically by Chesky’s beliefs and principles, a small idea from a student grew into a viable business that expanded into a multibillion business (Gallagher, 2014). Accordingly, this story is proof that participative leadership is effective towards promoting equality in the workplace. Chesky’s response to his housemate situation was informed by the awareness that there is constantly a need for a bed and breakfast solution from people who may not necessarily consider hotels as a viable option.
In seeking a bed and breakfast solution, participation is mandatory since the clients have significant say into what would fit their needs. Similarly, employees at any bed and breakfast have to develop communication practices that foster the building of relationships between the clients and the organization. It is only in this way that AirBnB can consistently attract customers and build its profitability. The participative leadership approach encourages proper communication across organizational hierarchies, enables leaders to ask for the opinions of their followers in decision making, and increases job satisfaction and creativity among employees (Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy, 2014). In the hospitality industry, the relationship between employees and the clients is really important to business success. As such, leaders have to create an environment in which employees are not only satisfied with their jobs but are also willing and communicative about their needs. This is the kind of environment that was created by Chesky, hence promoting the capacity of employees to create positive relationships with the clients.
Chapter 13:Authoritarian Leadership
The second leadership story is that of the first female president of South Korea, Park Guen-hye. The preconception of Park’s leadership as potentially democratic and thus beneficial to the country was considered a probable foundation for democratic elective process. However, it appears that the leadership eventually turned out to be authoritative. From corrupt dealings to forceful donations, all activities by the presidency and those close to it proved to be unfair to the country and its citizens. Additionally, religious leadership also appears to have had an influence on the country’s president. Authoritative leadership led to the impeachment of the president as the nation realized that her decision making was not in accordance with the hoped-for democracy. While Park Guen-hye may not have been individually corrupt, her association with others gave them the opportunity to steal from the public.
From Park’s story, authoritative leadership may not be effective for an elective position or even for leadership in a situation with several people with varying interests. As a national leader, understanding the needs of one’s people is crucial for effective leadership. Moreover, there should not be any favoritism or discrimination among the different members of the community. In a national leadership context, other leadership styles such as participative leadership may be suitable for different circumstances. A certain degree of authoritarian rule is required to ensure that planned progress is achieved (Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy, 2014). For instance, the circumstances in which Park found herself could have been averted had she used her authoritarian rule to prevent rather than protect corruption. Participative leadership could be more suitable where public participation is required to foster a cause that has the probability of being beneficial to the nation. The choice of the right leadership style in the right circumstances defines situational leadership, which is the most suitable for a national leader.
Chapter 15: Organizational Culture and Structure
GitHub and Chris Wanstrath give another descriptive leadership story that highlights a lot in reference to the choice of leadership style and how it influences decision making. Accordingly, this story also confirms that the organizational structure plays an important role in the choice of leadership style. The choice of leadership style and the organizational structure have a cause-effect relationship in that wrong choice of leadership style can result in a chaotic organizational structure. Similarly, the wrong organizational structure can destabilize the application of a leadership style. GitHub illustrates how the leadership influences organizational structures and the performance of all employees (Bort & Weinberger, 2016). The organizational structure is also intertwined with the concept of culture, which can be difficult to change regardless of the style of leadership employed. In this essence, the organizational culture may promote or hinder the practice of effective leadership even where the right people are in position, as evidenced in the case of GitHub.
A situational leadership approach enables leaders to examine the circumstances under which they need to make decisions and then make decisions that ensure that the organization moves in the right direction. Such a style is beneficial in many ways including through its ability to initiate transformation, through employee inspiration, and by encouraging high level of employee involvement. Each of these would have helped in the development of the right organizational structure at GitHub.
Considering the three different situations, it is improbable to say exactly which leadership style is the best among the three.The choice of leadership style should be more dependent on the people being led and on the needs of the different groups rather than on the personal choice of the leader. From an examination of the highlighted situations, it is clear that a combination of authoritarian, democratic, and situational leadership can be used successfully, with varying degree of application of each leadership style based on the specific context of application and the people involved. From this analysis, therefore, it is deductible that no leadership style is independently satisfactory or effective no matter the circumstances under application.
Bort, J., & Weinberger, M. (2016, February 6). GitHub is undergoing a full-blown overhaul as execs and employees depart. Business Insider. Retrieved from www.businessinsider.com/github-the-full-inside-story-2016-2;
Gallagher, L. (2017, March 24). Why Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky is among the world’s greatest leaders. Fortune. Retrieved from fortune.com/2017/03/24/airbnb-brian-chesky-worlds-greatest-leaders/;
Nanjundeswaraswamy, T.S., & Swamy, D.R. (2014). Leadership styles. Advances in Management, 7(2), 57-61. Retrieved from www.mnsu.edu/activities/leadership/leadership_styles.pdf