Leadership styles can vary entirely between different businesses; sometake a fully democratic approach, with power shared between many employees, tothe other end of the scale, a very autocratic workplace where there is oneclear leader and there is little power shared between the other employees. Numerous theories and models have beenwritten in relation to leadership in business, many of which are still relevantin the workplace today. The theory I feel is still up to date with the modern businessworkplace is the Tannenbaum and Schmidt continuum. This theory looks at how the power andcontrol within a business is shared from management downwards.
From left to right it gets less Manageroriented and more Subordinate oriented, with the Degree of freedom awarded tosubordinates enhanced as the manager uses less authority on their employees (Babou, 2008). This theory was first published in 1973 as anextended and more updated version of the model Lewin and Lippitt produced in1938. At one end of the scale there isManager (task) oriented whereby the manager comes up with the idea before hetells his subordinates what to do. Thismeans the employees have very minimal power in the situation and areessentially puppets for the manager. This structure will however be useful in places where there is little,if any, margin for error such as in the military or in a trade such as ajoinery or a manufacturing business. SteveJobs is famed for this kind of approach in his early days at Apple as hismindset was very rigid and he had his ideas which he wanted to implement andstruggled to listen to the contributions of others.
This may have felt necessary for him at thetime, due to the seemingly impossible deadlines they had to meet so there waslimited time to even communicate ideas and address areas for improvement,however it led to him receiving a lot of criticism from. This leadership style does have benefits asit allows faster decisions however being fully autocratic is seem as outdatednow as more businesses opt for involving the subordinates in the businessdecision making process. On the otherend of the scale there is a very democratic mode of leadership, also known assubordinate oriented, where the employees have a large degree of freedom withthe manager sacrificing control to be shared within the business. The employees have as much power in thisstyle as the manager does in the previously mentioned mode of leadership withall people involved with the business able to contribute their own ideas andthen as a team they decide on the most suited option to take. Apple are a great example of this with SteveJobs as Apple would not be anywhere near the business it is today if it wasn’tfor Steve Jobs learning how to adapt his business style to be democratic and totake other ideas other than his own on board.Google are famed for their approach to leadership with the treatment oftheir employees being exceptional and them building an environment which issaid to boost creativity for its employees to be able to think more forthemselves and come up with great ideas. Google search engine was founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page whilstthey were pursuing their doctorates at Stanford University (Gill, 2016). Following advice of more experienced businessmen they hired Eric Schmidt in 2001 having been impressed by hiscredentials.
The 3 men (Brin, Page andSchmidt) then aimed to find experienced members to form smaller democraticteams which they did and to this day Google remain all for a democraticleadership style and this is shown in the way they treat their staff.Relating to Google’s well-rounded approach to leadership is the nexttheory in leadership, the Functional/Group approach. This approach to leadership states that theskills required within leadership are based on the situation with which you findyourself in and also it assumes that leadership skills can be learnt and taughtwhen required. “Successful companiesseek those out who possess leadership potential and expose them to experiencesdesigned to develop that potential” (Kotter, 1990). I feel this is a valid statement as it meansthat great leaders do not have to be born and they can be nurtured anddeveloped so anybody who has the potential can fulfil the qualities needed tobe a leader.
Adair’s action centredleadership approach. Linking in to thisideal is Adair’s Action Centred Leadership approach (1979). This states that great leaders must meet all3 of the areas within the diagram and find a perfect balance between task, teammaintenance and individuals. This modeltoo states that you can train to become a leader. The 3 elements John Adair shows in thediagram each vary. Task, or taskcompletion, states how some people will be driven by achievement in completion. Team maintenance, or team work, states thatpeople be encouraged to work as one unit to form a synergy and all aim towardsthe same common goal.
The third element ofthis leadership model is individuals, or individualism, in which the leaderencourages all staff to ensure they don’t lose their own identity within theworkplace. Despite this model being from1979 I feel it is still very relevant today as it depicts every aspects of whata leader should be.