21st Century economies are developing globally and so are human needs. In order to anticipate the challenges aroused by the 21st-century changes, leadership models need to be revised to survive in today’s global economy. There are 3 different leadership styles which have been discussed in the essay alongside with their advantages and disadvantages and what is the best use case of some leadership styles to overcome the challenges brought by 21-century advancement. In my view, no best leadership style can be applied to all the situations and scenarios.
In an authoritative leadership style, a leader never allows the employees to make decisions and strictly provides instructions to employees Egwunyenga (2010). An authoritative leader will usually leverage the centralised decision-making process without considering the opinion from the employees (Parsons, 2015). The authoritative leader will always set clear expectations and instructions about what, when and how it should be done and sometimes it may lead to a non-creative decision especially in the cases when employees are more experienced then leader.
An authoritative leadership style can be beneficial when people are reluctant to take the decision or responsibility and rapid decisions are required (Lewin, 1939). Authoritative leaders can develop reliable and devoted employees and act as the principle authority to maintain and establish orders (Parsons, 2015). Secondly, it can resolve major issues quickly because no one can challenge the principle authority as the leader does not need to explain the rationale behind their decision to employees hence saving a lot of time.
One of the major drawbacks of an authoritative leadership style is that the employees always depends on a leader’s decisions and instructions hence making it difficult for the organisation to survive in the leader’s absence. Also, employee’s talent is not recognised as their input is usually not considered which may eliminate the creativity and decision-making sense from the employee, hence lowering down their enthusiasm level. Finally, if something goes wrong then it always backfires on the leader as they made the decision.
On the contrary, the democratic leadership style enables employees to participate in the decision-making process and empowers them to have listened and the leader is there to guide employees (Mosely & Patrick, 2011). Also, the leader participates more in this style as they provide the organisation members to share their perceptions and opinions (Cherry, 2006). Democratic style makes an employee feel like the important people of the organisation.
Where democratic styles give an employee the power to get involved in the decision-making process it also complicates the situation at sometimes. One of the major drawbacks of democratic styles is endless meetings as ideas are mulled over by all the employees which result in scheduling more meetings ending up utilizing more time. Another disadvantage of the democratic style is it doesn’t work out well if the employees are not experienced or incompetent. Sometimes, democratic leadership style is used by the leaders, so that important decision-making process can be put off and hopes that there will be enough thrashing things out that will yield a blinding insight (Goleman, 2000). However, it may work well where the leader is uncertain about the decision and needs brainstorming or ideas from people. Another advantage of the democratic style is that as the employees get the chance to participate in the decision making and setting the benchmark for success, everyone in the democratic leadership model stays realistic about what can and what cannot be done.
Affiliative leadership style emphasis on the importance of the feelings and emotional bond between the leader and the follower (Koman & Wolff 2008). An affiliative leader pays strict attention to employees in terms of their emotional needs and their ability to work efficiently in their comfort level (Goleman & Boyatzis 2008). The affiliate leader prioritizes the organizational culture's emotional atmosphere, values, clear communication, and membership involvement to increase the result at a job (2008 Koman & Wolff). In order to avoid overdriving any global organization, the application of affiliate leadership style can discourage adverse human resource management as it guarantees that all staff are well cared for and have the opportunity to move within the organisation. (Boyatzis & Goleman 2008). This leadership style morally strengthens employees and encourage harmony amongst them. Also, benefits the organisation by keeping people motivated even in the most stressful working atmosphere as It believes in keeping people always on the front page.
However, affiliative leadership style usually is never used alone. As it mainly revolves around the employees and employees may leverage it which can lead to exploitation. Also, Affiliative leadership style provides less chance to get advice from a leader on how an employee can be improved so an employee needs to figure it out by themselves on how they can improve. So, it can lead an employee to failure if they need strict instructions from a leader. Hence, sometimes, affiliative style is used in conjunction with an authoritative style to as authoritative leaders can set goals and have a vision.
Ciulla (2004) noticed that "Globalisation has created a large number of new risks that require to improves leadership model – one that is, most importantly, collaboration". If the leadership cannot adapt to adjust itself according to these changes of globalisation, then it will make a ruinous effect on society. As noted by Coleman (2005): "Among the supposed negative impacts of globalisation is its cold-heartedness toward human misery". Hence, there is a requirement of a new leadership model that eradicates these globalisation issues and bring self-esteem, as communicated by Isaak (2005), we live in a globalised economy that should encourage a moral attitude and creates a developed economy where self-respect is given to both the individuals who give and the individuals who receive. Therefore, this globalisation needs a leader who will deal with every one of the features of globalisation to make great efforts to the general population of the public through various kinds of culture and societal direction. Surely the impact of globalization is unavoidable because of the change of economic and social from local protectionism to progression and deregulations. A couple of difficulties to accelerate globalization to the detriment of moral qualities. Thus, this may influence moral authority advancement. Affiliative leadership style is the best style to anticipate the challenge of globalisation as it revolves around the feelings and emotions of the people. Also, as mentioned by Varner and Beamer, local employees can help companies who are willing to penetrate international markets to help better understand the local market and workforce trends (Beamer and Varner, 2011). Moreover, it puts the followers on the front end and makes followers feel that they are valued which can encourage followers and employees to work hard and keep them motivated.
The 21st century has been referred to as the period of science and innovation. Innovation has been regarded as one of the imperative factors that impact the organisations and governments in today's world (Fullan, 2007). The fast advancement of innovation and globalisation has made this world quite small. The difficult part of technology is it's consistently changing and advancing nature and rivalry among the innovation specialist organization. Staying up with the latest with changing innovation is especially significant. Establishments falling behind in technology and innovation sector can't confront the pace of the world. Transformational and transactional leadership style, if adopted by an organisation can positively influence the adaption of the new innovative technology resulting in the progress of not only the individual employee but also the organisation. Providing technology training and support can improve the way an individual will implement the technology and its use to a high extent (Venkatesh, 1999).
One of the major 21-century changes that today’s organisations have adapted involves the encouragement of shifting momentum towards the flexible working environments which to some extent helps both employees and the organisations. In an organisation, flexibility can be defined as empowering the employees to decide when, where and how much time are they willing to spend to finish work related tasks (Bal & De Lange, 2014). However, flexibility can lead the employee to be lazy and may cause delays in achieving the targets if the task is not completed promptly. So, an authoritative leadership style can be used to overcome this issue as an authoritative leader has clear vision and goals, they can identify the time and effort required for a task and define the directions for an employee to achieve these goals and, they can provide the feedback to the employees if they are progressing in the right directions. So, in a flexible working environment, an authoritative style can work out the best by providing the right amount of flexibility while ensuring task completion with success.
In a nutshell, we can conclude that no one style of leadership is panacea to all situation and time. Deciding complex situations where there is no linear relationship among the factors and components involved is intricate in one hand and lots of decisions are to be made instantly and at very new complex situations in the next. The rational decision may not work or may not be applicable. The best leadership style depends on that challenge and various other factors such as the situation, organisational structure, goal and success criterion. So, we should always first analyse the challenge and then apply the best leadership style accordingly.
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