Leadership for A Critical Perspective

Describe about the Leadership for A Critical Perspective.


Leadership refers to the act of guiding and leading a group of people in an organization or it refers to the act of running an organization (Northouse, 2015).  Leadership relates to establishing clarity in terms of vision and mission and sharing this vision with other members of the team. It refers to the act of guiding and supervising the members of the group and providing information and necessary knowledge, which is critical for effective and efficient functioning of the group. A leader is obligated to safeguard and protect the interests of the members of the organization and the team. Thus, leadership is an important element, which comprises of directing, supervising and managing the members of an organization. The theories of leadership shed critical light on the roles and functions of a leader. The study stresses on the interrelationship between traits, motives and effectiveness of a leader.


Some of the theories of leadership are traits theory, skills theory, situational theory and contingency theory etc. The prostates of the Trait theory are regarding the fact that individuals possess some inherent qualities that determine their success in leadership roles. This assertion embarks on the point that personality and cognition psychology are the underlying point and aspect that determines the success of a leader. According to this theory, intelligence, grit, diligence and determination are the key contributing factors of the success of a leader.  The Skills Theory propounds on the fact that certain quotient of knowledge and skills are required for a leader to achieve success in the leadership style (Hall, 2013).  The skill theory establishes the fact that knowledge, sophisticated style and adequate learned skills are the key ingredients of leadership. The Contingency Theory is an important theory that depicts the relationship between the style of leadership and the setting of the organization (Daft, 2014). 

Some of the traits that an effective leader must possess are stability and control over emotions, enthusiasm, conscientiousness, strong mindedness, self confidence etc.  Some of the motives of leadership are profitability; smooth functioning of the team, elimination of conflicts, supervision of the performances, productivity of the team members etc.

A critical evaluation of certain leadership types assists in the establishment of interrelationship of traits, motives and effectiveness of leadership. Autocratic leadership style refers to leaders who bank on their own skill and ability without any contribution and input from the other members of the group. Such leaders have an authoritarian and dominance traits. These are the highlighting factors of this leadership style. They impose the will on the subordinates and the other members of the team. Complementary traits are “social boldness”, self-confidence and mental toughness. The suitability of this leadership is in situations when employees need critical supervision and direction. However, employees who demand for creativity and freedom oppose and detest against such leadership. Such leaders thrust on efficiency and effectiveness of an organization. The motives of authoritarian leaders are to maintain control over the members and be in charge of the activities and decisions that are taken (Bhatti et al. 2013). They emphasize on direct control over the members to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization. The effectiveness of such leadership style can be viewed to be rewarding in some situations. The overall impact is detrimental in the longer run. It is feasible in urgent and critical situations when the skill and expertise among members of team is low. However, such leadership style lead to protest and resentment from team members leading to disruption in operations and tension in the work atmosphere. A real life example of autocratic leadership could be the fascist group led by Benito Mussolini. Post World War II, the collapse of democratic government gave rise to autocratic leader like Benito Mussolini. The characteristics of his leadership style were authoritarian style, which was complemented by firmness, mental toughness and high level of dominance on the public. The fascist government embarked on national growth and economic development of the country. Fascism was a notable and one of the most remarkable government style and Mussolini had a revolutionary mindset and introduced a new era of leadership, which safeguarded and promoted the interest of the Italians (Rast, Hogg & Giessner, 2013).  However, with the introduction of democratic government and the brutal assaults by Italy on Greece and Albania, the fascist leader was labelled as a gangster and of making the citizens of Italy become directionless. In the longer run, it led to collapse of the government and the decline of Mussolini (Gregor, 2014). 

Transactional Leadership refers to the leadership style where the leaders and members of the team work together in a team in outlining and establishing the goals and objectives of a team. The leader fixes the responsibilities and duties of the members and provides them the direction to accomplish such goals. The leader provides rewards and penalties to members based on the performance of the members (Birasnav, 2014). Self confidence, social boldness and enthusiasm are the highlighting traits of such leaders. The motives of such leaders are to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization through team work. Such leadership is created with the intention of ensuring development and growth of the organization and to infuse innovations within the group. These leaders focus on efficiency of the existing procedures and rules (Avolio, & Yammarino, 2013). The effectiveness of such leadership style can be seen in situations, which demand quick and effective results. The leadership is effective in conditions and situations that where incentives and punishment act as an important factor in ensuring quality and productive results. However, such leadership is opposed on the grounds that it does not involve freedom to members of the team and scope to contribute to formulation of strategies and effective plans. One example of transactional leadership was John Buchannan. John Buchannan was the coach of the Australian Cricket Team. He motivated the Australian team with the purpose of winning games and maintaining their dominance on world cricket. He induced high level of commitment and sincerity among the player so that they contributed to the success of the team. Overall, he was successful in helping the team to maintain their invincibility and domination on world cricket during his tenure.

Transformational leadership refers to high and integrated level of communication between the leaders and the other members of the team. This style of leadership induces the participation of employees in decision making and formulating of strategies in order to meet the goals and objectives of the organizations. The qualities and traits of such leaders are strong communication skills, vision, enthusiasm, stability of emotions. The motives of such leaders are to establish delegation of authority and responsibility to members of the team so that the goals and objectives of the company are met. They aim at increasing the motivation and morale of the team members to increase productivity and profitability of the organization. The effectiveness of such leadership style can be seen in situations when there are requirements for growth and expansion of organizations. Such leadership helps in creating vision and incorporating innovation in the organization. Such leadership style is effective in providing inspiration to team members, which is needed to increase the morale of the employees and in turn increase the profitability of the organization. It is successful in bring radical and transformational changes in the organization.  However, such leadership style creates conflict due to differences of opinions and interest. Such leadership tend to depend too much on passion and certain aspects of practical application and reality.  A practical example of this leadership style is Mark Zuckerburg. He is successful in establishing the famous social networking platform named Facebook. He involves the feedbacks and suggestions of the support staff and other team members in formulation of strategies and methods that are used by the company (Tyssen, Wald & Spieth, 2014).  Consequently, it can be seen that such leadership style has been successful in establishing Facebook as one of the most successful social networking sites and it has a wide following among the social communities. Transformational leadership style has been highly successful in this case and has contributed to various innovations and flexibility in the functioning of the teams and organization (Sanghvi et al. 2013).

Democratic leadership style refers to that leadership style, in which the inputs and suggestions of the employees are valued and acknowledged. However, the final decision is made by the leaders according to their logic and discretion. Such leadership styles are created with the intention of increasing the morale and motivation of the employees and consequently help avoid resistance to change. The motive of such leadership style is to achieve the goals and objectives of the company with participation of the employees, which contributes to a healthy working atmosphere. The traits of such leaders are consciousness, honesty, intelligence, self confidence and mental toughness (Bhatti et al. 2013).  Such leadership style is effective in situations when quick decisions are needed for complex and complicated situations (Kane & Patapan, 2014). It is effective in establishing strong team spirit among members. However, it can cause certain hindrances in the form in time consuming issues that might occur in the process. One of the examples of democratic leadership relates to Dwight. D. Eisenhower. He applied this style of leadership in successfully helping the alliance forces to come to common terms regarding the line of attack. He was successful in forming a common front. This was a great achievement by him with democratic leadership application (Kane, & Patapan, 2014). 


On concluding the essay, it can be seen that there lies a significant relationship between traits, motives and effectiveness of a leader. There are various theories of leadership, which are appointed by leaders depending on their motives and qualities. The quality and traits of a leader are an important factor in determining the success of their leadership styles. The various real life examples of these leadership styles depict the relationship between the concepts and applications of such leadership styles. The various leadership types and styles have their own ingredients that contribute to its effectiveness and feasibility and the examples of such leadership style help in developing a cohesive and comprehensive study of the various leadership style.

Reference List

Avolio, B. J., & Yammarino, F. J. (Eds.). (2013). Transformational and charismatic leadership: The road ahead. Emerald Group Publishing.

Bhatti, N., Maitlo, G. M., Shaikh, N., Hashmi, M. A., & Shaikh, F. M. (2012). The impact of autocratic and democratic leadership style on job satisfaction.International Business Research, 5(2), 192.

Birasnav, M. (2014). Knowledge management and organizational performance in the service industry: The role of transformational leadership beyond the effects of transactional leadership. Journal of Business Research, 67(8), 1622-1629.

Daft, R. L. (2014). The leadership experience. Cengage Learning.

Gregor, A. J. (2014). Italian fascism and developmental dictatorship. Princeton University Press.

Hall, D. S. (2013, January). LEADERSHIP: THEORIES, STYLES AND VISIONING. In NAAAS Conference Proceedings (p. 36). National Association of African American Studies.

Kane, J., & Patapan, H. (Eds.). (2014). Good democratic leadership: on prudence and judgment in modern democracies. OUP Oxford.

Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.

Rast III, D. E., Hogg, M. A., & Giessner, S. R. (2013). Self-uncertainty and support for autocratic leadership. Self and Identity, 12(6), 635-649.

Tyssen, A. K., Wald, A., & Spieth, P. (2014). The challenge of transactional and transformational leadership in projects. International Journal of Project Management, 32(3), 365-375.

Zuckerberg, M. E., Sanghvi, R., Bosworth, A. G., Cox, C., Sittig, A., Hughes, C., … & Corson, D. (2016). U.S. Patent No. 9,241,036. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


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