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Effective Leadership and Individual and Organisational Outcomes

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Leadership as defined by Robbins (2005) is the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of goals. All leadership styles are not suitable for every situation. Times have changed and so should the leadership styles. Hence, leadership effectiveness is dependent on the situation and we should be able to make a distinction between those situational conditions. Several approaches to separating key situational variables have been successful and have been recognized globally. These include the Hersey and Blanchard’s situational theory, leader-member exchange theory, and the path-goal and leader-participation models (Robbins, 2005). Each of which can influence employee behaviour and workplace productivity.

Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard developed the situational leadership theory (SLT) which is a contingency theory that focuses on followers’ readiness (Robbins, 2005). Hence, selecting the right leadership style depends on the extent to which the followers are willing and able to accomplish a specific task. In reality it is the followers or employees who accept or reject the leader. No matter what the leader does, effectiveness depends on the actions of the followers. Just like how parents need to give up control over children as they become mature and responsible, so do leaders. The most effective behaviour depends on the follower’s ability and motivation. For example, if the follower is unable and unwilling, the leader should give clear and precise directions. Employees with this extent of readiness usually exhibit deviant workplace behaviour and have high absenteeism and turn over. If the follower is unable and willing, the leader needs to be task oriented to compensate for the follower’s lack of ability and develop a strong relationship with the follower to get the follower to “buy into” the leader’s desire; if the follower is able and unwilling, the leader needs to use a supportive and participative style; and if the follower is able and willing, the leader does not have much to do. The ideal employees are those who are able and willing to complete their tasks under leadership that gives them freedom to make and implement decisions because they are responsible, experienced and mature. These types of employees become committed to the organisation, exhibit organisational citizenship behaviours and are highly satisfied or motivated by the job.

Furthermore, Robbins and Judge (2013) postulated that the leader-member exchange theory (LMX) supports that leader’s create in-groups and out-groups within the organisation. As a result of time pressures leaders establish a special relationship with a small group of their followers; the in-group. They are trusted, get a disproportionate amount of the leader’s attention and are more likely to receive special privileges. These persons usually share the same characteristics of the leader such as gender, attitude, demographic, personality or of a higher competence than the out-group. Research has shown that members of the in-group have a higher performance level, less turnover, engage in more helping or “citizenship” behaviours at work, and report greater satisfaction with their superior. Whereas, the out-group responds with negative work attitudes and higher levels of withdrawal behaviour. This then results in a decrease in work performance and productivity.

Additionally, the path-goal theory states that it is the leader’s job to assist followers in attaining their goals and to provide the necessary directions and/or support to ensure that their goals are compatible with the overall objectives of the group or organization (Robbins & Judge, 2013). In other words, effective leaders clarify employee’s paths to their work goals by providing necessary information, support or other resources. This makes the journey easier by removing



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