Reflection Essay on Leadership Styles

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Introduction

David Goleman argues that there exists a relationship between the six key leadership styles, an organization’s climate, and the elements of emotional intelligence. Goleman presents several ways through which the three concepts influence each other, whereby emotional intelligence according to Goleman, forms the basis of effective leadership in an organization. Goleman postulates that every leadership style emanates from the different components of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as an individual’s ability to manage him or herself effectively, as well as ensuring effective management of the relationships that one is engaged in (Goleman, 2000). Emotional intelligence is divided into four major capabilities, which include social awareness, social skill, self-management, and self-awareness, whereby each capability comprises of several corresponding traits or sets of competencies.

Self-awareness comprises of such traits as self-confidence, accurate self-assessment, and emotional self-awareness. On the other hand, the key traits that make up the self-management capability include initiative, achievement orientation, self-control, trustworthiness, adaptability, and conscientiousness. Further, the traits that make up social awareness include empathy, service orientation, and organizational awareness. Finally, the social skill capability comprises of such traits as developing others, change catalyst, communication, building bonds, teamwork and collaboration, influence, and visionary leadership (Goleman, 2000). Therefore, Goleman believes that emotional intelligence influences an individual’s style of leadership, whereby in his study, he noted that effective leaders demonstrate strengths in six or more emotional intelligence competencies. Additionally, he noted that leaders who lacked such strengths are less effective in their leading duties.

Goleman identifies six major leadership styles that emerge from the stated components of emotional intelligence. The leadership styles include the democratic, affiliative, coaching, pacesetting, coercive and authoritarian leadership styles. According to Goleman, the leadership style that a leader adopts plays a crucial role in influencing an organization’s working environment (Goleman, 2000). The effectiveness of an organization’s working environment is determined by several factors including, the employees’ flexibility in terms of employing their creativity and innovation without the interference of undesirable organizational goals and policies, the employees’ sense of responsibility to the organization, the clarity of an organization’s values and mission among the employees, the level of employee commitment towards achieving the overall organizational goals, the level of standards set in the organization, and the degree of accuracy regarding performance feedback and the aptness of rewards.

While leadership styles such as the democratic, affiliative, coaching, and pacesetting styles positively influence the working environment, the authoritative and the coercive leadership styles may influence the working climate negatively. Coercive leadership demands immediate feedback, while authoritarian leadership mobilizes people to move towards a particular vision, whereby in such cases, employees’ creativity and innovation is discouraged, a factor that leads to poor organizational performance. On the other hand, democratic, affiliative, pacesetting, and coaching leadership helps in the creation of an effective working environment by encouraging employee innovation and creativity through building consensus through participation, developing employees for the future, motivating employees towards self-direction and excellence. Moreover, Goleman notes that although other factors such as the prevailing economic conditions and the level of competition influence organizational performance, the leadership style that is utilized in an organization plays one of the greatest roles in influencing performance, whereby the working climate, which is largely influenced by the leadership style accounts for approximately a third of the organization’s performance (Goleman, 2000).

Further, Goleman notes that leadership styles, emotional intelligence, and the working climate influence organizational performance. I think Goleman makes a compelling case for his position because he extensively examines the relationship between the three elements, and how they contribute to the organizational performance. For instance, he argues that the components of emotional intelligence influence the six types of leadership styles, whereby leaders are classified according to the emotional intelligence traits that they possess. Moreover, he argues that the leadership style that a leader demonstrates influences the working climate, whereby the working climate is a major determinant of organizational performance (Goleman, 2000). For instance, leadership styles such as the democratic, affiliative, and coaching enhance employee innovation and creativity, as well boost employee motivation, therefore contributing to high organizational performance.

However, in cases where the leadership style that is employed hinders employee creativity, innovation, or participation in the decision-making process, the organization is likely to record poor performance since employees are not effectively motivated. Additionally, Goleman emphasizes the need to employ different leadership styles, since organizations present different situations that call for different leadership styles to ensure that an ideal working climate is maintained at all times. He argues that effective leaders should demonstrate mastery of at least four or more styles, whereby he states that affiliative, coaching, democratic, and authoritarian leadership styles create the most effective climate for business performance.

Symbolism of the Golf Bag

Goleman utilizes the golf bag symbol to demonstrate the manner in which effective leaders operate to maintain an effective working climate for high organizational performance. According to Goleman, a golf pro’s bag contains a number of clubs, whereby during the game, he or she chooses the best club according to the demand of the shoot. Similarly, effective leaders are skilled at the different leadership styles, whereby they apply the most suitable style in the different organizational situations (Goleman, 2000). The factors that may influence the most appropriate leadership style may include the level of competition in the market, the economic factors affecting the industry within which an organization operates, and the company policies among others. Moreover, the leadership style that a leader applies may be influenced by the nature of the employees or followers.

For instance, in cases where a leader is concerned about the achievement of the organizational vision within a given period, he may apply the authoritarian leadership style, since it focuses on the strict adherence to the set rules, regulations, and policies that facilitate the achievement of the vision promptly. On the other hand, in cases where the organization is facing extreme competition in the market, the leader may focus on motivating the employees to promote higher performance, whereby the employees may be encouraged through allowing their participation in the decision-making process, or by encouraging their creativity and innovation in coming up with new and more effective ways of doing work. In cases where the leader focuses on boosting performance and motivating employees, he or she may apply such leadership styles as the democratic, coaching, and the affiliative leadership styles.

Additionally, the symbolism emphasizes on the leader’s ability to anticipate the future challenges, and effectively implementing the most appropriate leadership tools to ensure that such challenges do not interfere with the performance of the organization. Effective leaders can assess the situation of the organization, and determine the leadership needs that are required to ensure the future success of the organization. For instance, a leader should be in a position to determine when employees are not motivated and implement the necessary motivational tools on time. In cases where leaders fail to predict the needs of the organization on a timely basis, the organization is likely to record poor performance in the future, or collapse in extreme cases (Have, Have, Huijsmans & Eng, 2015).

My Primary Style of Leadership

My primary style of leadership is the democratic leadership style, whereby I allow all the members of my teams to participate in the decision-making process. On the other hand, my least preferred leadership style is the coercive leadership style, which emphasizes on the strict compliance with the issued orders. The styles of leadership that I would like to add to my repertoire are the affliative, coaching, and authoritative leadership styles, which are crucial in ensuring that I become a flexible leader for effective management of the different situations that emerge in organizations.

The impact of my primary style of leadership, democratic leadership, on organizational climate is high organizational performance and high levels of motivation among the employees. The democratic style of leadership engages employees in the decision-making process, an element that leads to a more motivated team since the employees are allowed to make decisions that align with their needs at the workplace (Myran, 2003). Further, the democratic style of leadership encourages employee creativity and innovation, since it gives employees the freedom to make decisions on the most appropriate approaches of executing duties. As a result, the employee creativity and innovation contributes to the development of more effective and cost-efficient methods of doing work, which further leads to high organizational performance. In conclusion, the components of emotional intelligence that I need to develop to become more effective in democratic leadership include empathy, and helping in the development of others as well as mobilizing people towards the achievement of the organizational vision. I can develop in these areas through pursuing a leadership course, leadership training programs and workshops, and through mentorship programs.

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