Leadership approaches and strategy



Types of Leaders


  1. Transactionary Leaders – The relationship between the leader and the follower is seen in terms of Trade and Exchange i.e. gives a reward in exchange for success, loyalty and compliance.

Traits of transactional leadership include:

  • It’s a responsive leadership style
  • It’s about following the rules
  • It’s about rewards and punishments
  • Productivity wins
  • Culture fit – work within the culture
  • Motivation “what’s in it for me”
  • Management exception
  • It’s a push leadership style
  1. Transformational Leaders – The role of these leaders is seen as inspiring and motivating others to work at a level beyond mere compliance.  The aim of the transformational leaders is to bring a positive change in the follower’s behaviour e.g. Charismatic Leaders.  Their leadership is based on personal quality or charisma of the leaders

Traits of transformational leadership include:

  • It’s a proactive leadership style
  • It’s about winning the hearts and minds of your people
  • It’s about motivation and inspiration
  • Creativity and long term change wins
  • Culture add – people add to the culture through their ideas
  • Motivation “what’s best for the company”
  • It’s a pull leadership style
  1. Visionary Leaders – These are leaders with a vision and they have the ability to imagine or foresee the future prospects and potential of the organization. They translate their imagination into a vision of what the firm should be in the future.  The vision gives a general sense of direction to the company.  The visionary leader inspires the followers towards the attainment of the vision.  The visionary leader is able to create scenario in abstract.


Theories of Leadership

  • Trait Theories
  • Behavioural leadership theories
  • Situational Leadership theories


  1. Trait Theories

These theories assume that leaders are born but not made.  They argue that leadership consists of certain inherited characteristics or personality traits that distinguish leaders from followers.  This theory focuses on the man (leader) but not the job.  It suggests the attention should be given to selection of leaders with the leadership traits rather than training for leadership.


There are several supporters of this theory among them is Rosemary Stewart.  Generally the following traits are identified as being unique in a person that makes him/her a leader,

    • Confidence
    • Initiative
    • Ambition
    • Foresight
    • Human relation skills
    • Judgment
    • Drive and Zeal
    • Dependability
    • Fairness
    • Cooperativeness
    • Natural energy and enthusiasm
    • Assertiveness and confidence
    • Decisiveness
    • intelligence


  1. Behavioural Theories

These theories are based on the assumption that effective leadership is as a result of what leaders do or how they behave as opposed to the traits they possess.


According to the theories, managers can either be Job centered or worker centered.  He can be autocratic or democratic.  He can be close to the worker or not close to the workers e.g. managers can have different styles of leading.  There are several behavioural style theories which include:-

  1. a) Ashridge Management College Model

This model talks of four styles or behaviours that a manager could have i.e.

  • Tell Style – The leader here makes all the decisions and issues instructions which must be obeyed without question
  • Sell or Persuasive Style – The leader here still makes all the decisions but believes that subordinates need to be persuaded for them to carry them out properly.
  • Consult Style – The leader discusses with subordinates and takes their views into consideration but he has the final say.
  • Joint Style – The leader and the followers makes decision based on consensus and agreement.


  1. c) Lewin, Lippit White

This model identifies three types of leadership styles;

  • Autocratic style
  • Democratic style
  • Laissez Faire -Free reign.
  1. d) Blake and Moulton Managerial grid
Concern for the work





















This is a two-dimension matrix developed Blake and Moulton.  The concern for people is shown in the vertical axes while the concern for production and job is shown on the horizontal axes.  The grid represents 5 major leadership styles representing the degree of concern for people and for production.

  1. Coordinate (1, 1) – This is known as impoverished leadership style (lacking in all aspects). Here the manager has little concern for the workers and little concern for the job.
  2. Coordinate 1, 8) – This is known as country club management style and there is low concern for production and high concern for the people. The leader is thoughtful, comfortable and friendly but has little concern for production.
  3. Coordinate (8, 8)Team Management leadership style. The concern of the leader/managers is high for the workers and high for the job.  The leader seeks high output through committed people.
  4. Coordinate (8,1) Task Management style – There is high concern for the job and production while the workers needs are ignored.
  5. Coordinate (5, 5)Middle road leadership style. There is medium concern for both the job and the workers.  The leaders try to balance and trade off concern for production in exchange for satisfactory level of motivation.


  1. Situational/Contingent Leadership Theories

The contingency approach suggests that the situational factors must be considered.  One kind of behaviour may work in one setting and not in another.


The goal of contingency approach is to identify situational variables that managers need to consider in assessing how different forms of leadership will be received.  Leaders need to adopt their styles to situations and the need of the people.  Some of the theories in this style include,

  • Fiedlers theory



  1. Fiedlers Theories


  1. Fiedlers’ contingency theory of leadership

According to Fred Fiedler, effective leadership depends on the following 3 elements in the work situations that help to determine which leadership style will be effective.

  1. Leader member relations – This is the most important influence on the manager’s power and effectiveness. If a manager gets along well with the rest of the group, if the group members respect the manager for reasons of personality, character or ability, then the manager may not have to rely on formal ranking of authority. On the other hand a manager who is disliked or distrusted may be less able to lead informally and may have to rely on directives to accomplish group goals.
  2. Task structure – This is the 2nd most important variable in the work situation. A highly structured task is one with clearly defined step step procedures or instructions for the task. Group members therefore have a very clear idea on what they are expected to do. Managers under such situations exercise little directives. Where tasks are unstructured managers have to be more directive in their approach in order for the group members to accomplish their tasks. (Authoritarian leadership style is used.)
  • Positional powers – Some positions such as those of MD, CEO or other senior managerial positions carry a great deal of power and authority. Thus high positional power simplifies a leader’s task of influencing subordinates. While less positional power/authority makes a leader’s task more difficult.


He also identified two types of leadership behaviours on the basis of their relationship with subordinates.  This includes,

  • Psychologically close managers (PCM)
  • Psychologically Distance Managers (PDM)
  • PCM – This is leadership behaviour where the leader is close to the worker. This closeness will depend on whether the situation is favourable or unfavourable.  A favourable situation is where the leader is right, tasks are clearly defined, and leaders have powers, which are backed high-level management.
  • PDM – this is where the leader creates a distance between himself and the worker. The leader here, has formalized roles, he is withdrawn and reserved.  They prefer formal consultation rather than taking opinion informally.  Fiedler suggests that PDM is best for extremes.  PCM is best for moderately favourable.  The effectiveness of the leader will depend or appropriate matching of the leadership style and the degree of favourableness.


Leadership Skills

  1. Communication skills
  2. Ability to make decisions
  3. Must have interpersonal skills
  4. Conceptual skills – This relates to the ability to see things in broader terms which other people cannot see
  5. Entrepreneurial skills i.e. ability to spot opportunities
  6. Intellectual stimulation i.e. the leader should be able to stimulate the intellect of the followers encouraging them to question issues
  7. Idealized influence – i.e. the leader should be a role model showing high ethical standards and taking risks on-behalf of the followers thereattracting admiration, respect and imitation the followers.


Factors influencing leadership style and effectiveness.

  1. Leader personality and experience – manager’s values, background and experience will affect his leadership style. A manager who has had experience in exercising little supervision and who values the self fulfillment needs of subordinates may adopt employee-oriented leadership style. A manager who distrusts subordinates or who would like to manage all activities himself would adopt authoritarian leadership style.
    • Expectation of supervisors – a superior who favours task-oriented style may cause a manager to adopt that style of leadership. A superior who favours employee-oriented style may encourage a manager to be democratic in his leadership style.
    • Subordinate’s characteristics and expectations – The response of subordinates to the manager’s leadership style influences effectiveness of a manager as a leader. Highly skilled employees will require less directive approach while unskilled labourers would need authoritarian leadership style. The expectations of subs who have had employee centred managers in the past may expect a new manager to have a similar approach.
    • Task requirements / structures – Jobs that require precise instructions or which are not well-structured demand a more task oriented leadership style than jobs which are highly structured and whose operating procedures can be left largely to individual employees
    • Organizational climate and policies – The personality or climate of an organization influences employee’s behaviour including the behaviour of its managers. In organizations where the climate requires strict accountability of results, managers tend to supervise and control subordinates strictly. In organizations which lays emphasis on participative management style, managers tend to be democratic in their leadership styles.
    • Peer expectations and behaviour – one’s fellow managers are an important reference group to him/her. Managers form friendship with their colleagues in the organization and the opinions of those colleagues influence their leadership style. A manager who is more democratic in his style of leadership may be influenced to be authoritarian when his colleagues are authoritarian leaders.
    • Qualification and experience of a manager – A highly trained and skilled manager has the ability to succeed and be effective in different leadership situations..


Difference between Management and leadership.

Managers  Leaders
Focus on goals Focus on vision
Ask “how” and “when” Ask “what” and “why”
Provide tasks Provide direction
Create stability Create change
Think of the short-term Think of the long-term











Ethical leadership.

leadership demonstrating and promoting ‘normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relations

It Involves putting people into management and leadership positions who will promote and be an example of appropriate, ethical conduct in their actions and relationships in the workplace.

Traits of Ethical Leaders.

  1. Justice

An ethical leader is fair and just. They have no favorites, and everyone is treated equally. Ethical leadership eliminates biased treatment based on gender, ethnicity, nationality or any other factor.

  1. Respect for Others

An ethical leader demonstrates respect for all members of the team listening compassionately, valuing diverse contributions and considering opposing viewpoints.

  1. Transparency

Ethical leaders convey facts transparently, no matter how unpopular the facts may be. These leaders understand that transparency breeds trust, empowering others to make their own decisions with the information they need.

  1. Humane Behavior

Being humane is one of the most revealing traits of a leader who is ethical and moral. Ethical leaders place importance on being kind and act in a manner that is always beneficial to the greater good.

  1. Focus on Team Building

Ethical leaders foster a sense of community and team spirit within the organization. When an ethical leader strives to achieve goals, it’s not just about a personal mission. They make genuine efforts to achieve objectives that benefit the entire organization — not just themselves.

  1. Encourages Initiative

Under an ethical leader, employees thrive. Employees are rewarded for coming up with innovative ideas and are encouraged to do what it takes to improve the way things are done. Employees are praised for taking the first step rather than waiting for somebody else to do it for them.

  1. Leadership Example

The ethical leader has high expectations for themselves and others. They demonstrate unwavering commitment to their ideals not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. Leaders also expect others to lead example.

  1. Values Awareness

An ethical leader regularly promotes the high values and expectations they hold. By regularly communicating and discussing values, they ensure that there is consistent understanding and compliance across the company.



Conflict Resolution Mechanism.

  • Avoiding

Avoiding is when people just ignore or withdraw from the conflict. They choose this method when the discomfort of confrontation exceeds the potential reward of resolution of the conflict. While this might seem easy to accommodate for the facilitator, people aren’t really contributing anything of value to the conversation and may be withholding worthwhile ideas. When conflict is avoided, nothing is resolved.

  • Competing

Competing is used people who go into a conflict planning to win. They’re assertive and not cooperative. This method is characterized the assumption that one side wins and everyone else loses. It doesn’t allow room for diverse perspectives into a well informed total picture. Competing might work in sports or war, but it’s rarely a good strategy for group problem solving.

  • Accommodating

Accommodating is a strategy where one party gives in to the wishes or demands of another. They’re being cooperative but not assertive. This may appear to be a gracious way to give in when one figures out s/he has been wrong about an argument. It’s less helpful when one party accommodates another merely to preserve harmony or to avoid disruption. Like avoidance, it can result in unresolved issues. Too much accommodation can result in groups where the most assertive parties commandeer the process and take control of most conversations.

  • Collaborating

Collaborating is the method used when people are both assertive and cooperative. A group may learn to allow each participant to make a contribution with the possibility of co-creating a shared solution that everyone can support.

  • Compromising

Another strategy is compromising, where participants are partially assertive and cooperative. The concept is that everyone gives up a little bit of what they want, and no one gets everything they want. The perception of the best outcome when working compromise is that which “splits the difference.” Compromise is perceived as being fair, even if no one is particularly happy with the final outcome.


  • Negociation
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration





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