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Examination of Leadership Approaches

Leadership is an integral skill that is essential for any human being to have to successfully run an organization. An organization’s success can not only be measured by its profitability but by the direction that an organization’s leadership has taken them. The culture of an organization is dictated by its leadership which in return shows the most crucial asset that a company has which is its people. The people of an organization need to be led to perform, flourish and show what great skills and capabilities they possess. As a part of leadership comes great skills which include several different approaches, behaviors and leadership model’s that have been used by all great leaders in many ways. The three essential types of behavioral leadership approaches are task-oriented, relationship-orientated and transformational leadership approaches.

Task-Oriented behavior is one of three behavioral leadership approaches that is a trait that is a behavior that can be used as a leadership approach. Task-orientated behavior leadership approach is a person exhibiting behavior of taken necessary steps to get the organizations objectives and goals done. It is a precise behavior on getting the tasks done at hand to achieve results. It requires allocating resources in the necessary areas to achieve the goals set out for that team, department or group of individuals tasked with a certain objective. There are several behaviors that are associated with task-oriented behavior which include planning, scheduling and implementing structure but there are two that are at the utmost importance which are initiating-structure leadership and transactional leadership. Initiating-structure leadership is a behavior that defines the roles of team members, develop structure for the team to comply with and basically what they must do to maximize their efforts. Transactional leadership is a behavior that establishes and clarify employees task and roles along with the requirements of those to fulfill what has been tasked to them. As a part of this behavior is to apply corrective action where needed even with rewards and not just punishment based on a specified measure of performance.

Relationship-oriented behavior is a leadership behavior that shows the interaction that the leadership has with its employees. A relationship-oriented leader is very personable, social, outgoing and a need to care for their employees. The three kinds of relationship-oriented behaviors are consideration, empowering leadership and servant leadership. Consideration is the leadership behavior that consists the leadership being concerned with the desires and needs to their employees. It is a big part of building the culture in the work place by creating respect and trust amongst everybody. Empowering leadership is another behavior that goes a little bit beyond just the emotional part of relationship-oriented leadership behavior which empowering leadership consist of the psychological aspect of it. This consists of the motivation, creativity and performance aspect of empowering leadership behavior. Servant leadership is the third part of relationship-oriented behavior which is a behavior that focuses on being a selfless leader and putting the needs of your employees before yours with the expectation that those employees will flourish and exceed performance expectations.

Transformational leadership behavior is the opposite of the previous two which this behavior consists of the employees putting the interests, goals and objectives of the organization before their own. This type of leadership is driven by two definite factors such as individual characteristics and organizational culture. Individual characteristics include a leader being very proactive, extroverted and adaptive to change very easily. The organizational culture is a culture that shows the flexibility of the culture of the work environment which tends to be very adaptive as well. It conveys the expectations, philosophy and values of the organization through this behavior.

Time is one thing that we can always count on to continue to produce great leaders. The 21st century has produced several and Barack Obama has stood out as a great leader. As a prominent leader he has shown great leadership skills, but he has dominant leadership style that stand out more than anything which is the transformational leadership style. There are 4 key behaviors of a transformational leader and he exhibited all four. The four key behaviors are charisma, idealized influence, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation. When President Obama was running he appealed a lot to the middle class and the youth of America through his life story of being raised by a single mother struggling to make ends meet. An absent father while he was on a quest for greatness. He showed his struggle to come from nothing and make it to Harvard Law to study Constitutional Law. He was no different than most kids who have experimented with marijuana in college but still was able to not get steered down the wrong path. This all turns out to votes in the end. The Washington Post stated that, “Young people were Obama’s best age group in 2012, voting for him 60-37, according to exit polls. They also turned out at a rate of 45 percent which, while lower than 2008, was still significantly higher than it was in the 1990s.” (Aaron Blake, 2014). Another example of showing his transformational leadership skills would have to be the olive branch that he extended world leaders including the embargo ridden island of Cuba through something as simple as the sport of baseball to help rekindle the relationship. As stated before, Barack Obama exhibited transformational leadership skills during his presidency and even now. The four key behaviors of transformational leadership skills are inspirational motivation, idealized influence, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation.

The behavioral leadership skills are just one perspective of how to approach leadership. Situational approaches such as the Contingency Leadership Model which was developed by Fred Fielder which is also called the Fielder’s Approach. The contingency leadership model can help decide what a person in a leadership position’s style is task-oriented or relationship oriented. It also helps determine which leadership is more effective or not based on the situation that has occurred. The Path-Goal Leadership Model which is also called the House’s Approach helps clarify the behavioral patterns that need to be followed to achieve the assigned organizational goals and objectives while maintaining a good support system for the employees. These two models have advantages and disadvantages, but they may have more potential advantages than behavioral leadership. There are many advantages and disadvantages to using different leadership approaches. Those advantages include being easy to adapt and include into their own style of leadership. The relationship between the leadership team and employee is forged into the relationship between the two versus the perspectives of the leadership models.

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