Strategic Leadership Research: Leadership Quarterly Essay

Question:

Describe about the Strategic Leadership Research of Leadership Quarterly?

Answer:

Introduction

Leadership is highly essential to businesses in the modern day business environment because it is the efficient leadership capabilities of leaders that decide the overall success of the organisation. However, in understanding the effectiveness of leadership, it is essential to evaluate different important approaches to leadership that are available to leaders in performing the management of their business activity. With the passage of time, there have been different important leadership styles and approaches that have emerged. An analysis of such different leadership style and approach would prove to be highly efficient in understanding the effectiveness of leadership as practiced. Apart from this, the human resource manager of an organisation is responsible for performing the management of different important areas of an organisation. One of the important areas that is performed by human resource management is the preparation of job description. This is an important activity by the human resource manager of an organisation (Boal and Hooijberg, 2001).

This report is aimed at analysing different important leadership approaches to leadership. The analysis not only evaluates different such approaches to leadership, but it discusses the circumstances under which different approach can be utilised. Apart from this, the report also includes the preparation of job description for the job of senior chemical engineer. Based on the entire analysis, the findings would be summarised in the conclusion section of this report.

Different Approaches to the Study of Leadership

Leadership is an important way of performing the management of an organisation. However, in practising efficient leadership, an analysis of the existing literature suggests that there are different important approaches that are being followed for the purpose of efficiently practising leadership by leaders. Northouse (2011) has indicated about the different approaches to leadership that have been popular and followed across organisations. These are identified as trait approach to leadership, behavioural approach, situational approach, relational approach, new leadership approach and emerging approach. These approaches to leadership have gained popularity in different time periods. As for example, the trait approach to leadership has been in practice since 1900s and this is followed by the importance gained by the behavioural approach during 1940s. The situational approach to leadership was practices since 1970s. The other approaches such as relational, new leadership and emerging approaches to leadership have gained popularity recently in 1990s and 2000 (Hunt, 1999). An analysis of these leadership approaches along with the situations in which they could be applied is performed as follows:

Trait Approach: This has been the oldest and most significant approach to leadership. This particular approach to leadership looks for the important traits as possessed by leaders such as physical, mental or personality traits. The innate qualities as possessed by leaders are primarily considered in respect to this trait approach to leadership. The leaders possess certain specific traits that make them different from others. As for example, Steve Jobs was known for his charisma, as his ability to articulate his vision made people to follow him. Leaders possess specific traits which make them different, and these could be in terms of adaptability, extraversion, dominance, self-confidence, adjustment, conservatism, integrity, flexibility, stability and many more. The specific abilities allow leaders in handling different complex situations efficiently (Barbuto, 2005).

Behavioural Approach: This is another approach to leadership that has been extensively popular within leaders, and this particular approach to leadership is self-explanatory, as it explains that the focus has been towards the behaviour of leaders i.e. what leaders do and how they react and take decisions and actions. By studying the specific behaviour of leaders, it could be possible to identify the best predictor of his/her leadership influences and this lead to the identification of best determinants of his/her leadership success. There are two broad categories of behaviour as identified such as task oriented leaders and people oriented leaders. The task oriented leaders are concerned with structuring the roles and responsibilities for their subordinates whereas the people oriented leaders are concerned with employee feelings and treatments to employees.

Situational Leadership Approach: Situational leadership is another important approach to leadership, and this approach to leadership indicates that different situations demand different types of leadership to be practiced. Situational approach to leadership has been refined positively since their evolution and it include important theories of leadership such as path goal theory and contingency theory. The path goal theory indicates the ways in which leaders perform the employment of motivational strategy in enhancing the performance of employees, and thereby in achieving the goals. Contrary to this, the contingency theory is concerned with matching the leadership style with that of the specific situational variables. As per this situational leadership approach to managing followers, there can be different ways in which leaders can perform the management of their followed depending on the situation. There can be different leadership styles possible on the basis of situation and these could be supporting, coaching, directing, and delegating (Judge and Piccolo, 2004).

Relational Approach: Relational approach to leadership is an important approach to performing the management of followers. In this approach to managing followers, there has been specific element being paid attention by leader while trying to manage their followers. In addition to focusing on traits, characters and functions, the leaders in this relational approach pays adequate attention towards building up relations with the followers so that they can be utilised positively in meeting out the goals that are expected out of them. This relational approach therefore pays attention towards an additional factor in performing the management of followers within organisation (Kahreh, Ahmadi and Hashemi, 2011).

New Leadership Approach: The new leadership approach has started gaining importance since 1980s and this approach accounts for the application of most recent theories in leadership that are popular within modern day leaders. An analysis indicates that this leadership approach accounts for the development of transformational leadership theory which has been highly applied by the modern day leaders in performing their role and responsibilities within organisations. The transformational leadership theory as emerged is mainly because of such new leadership theory. This new leadership approach has been highly relevant during 1990s and during that time, there has been various such transformational leaders being originated that were responsible for transforming the entire organisations. The best examples in this respect can be the CEO of Apple Steve Jobs, as Jobs brought revolution in the computing industry during 1990s. His transformational abilities are the best example of this new leadership approach being highly popular during this period (Goethals and Sorenson, 2007).

Emerging Leadership Theory: This approach to leadership development indicates the leadership practices that are being undertaken in the 21st century business environment. The emerging approach to leadership indicates that there are diverse range of approaches that are considered by the leaders in performing their responsibilities in the modern day organisations. The modern day leaders are required to be highly intelligent in managing their followers because they are mainly from diverse backgrounds and at the same time, the modern day leaders are responsible for performing diverse range of activities as a part of their primary goals. They need to work in a highly advanced environment condition that requires the application of advanced technological systems and more. They are not only required to manage employees, but the emerging leaders need to maintain the growth of the organisation with that of the external environment. There has been huge responsibility being evident on the modern day leaders and as a result, they are required to make use of diverse application of their skills and abilities in discharging their roles and responsibilities in an efficient manner (Ireland and Hitt, 2005).

Circumstances when Leadership Approaches can be Implemented: As analysed above, there are different approaches to leadership that are being practiced by leaders. However, in respect to their applicability is concerned, they can be applied across different circumstances. As for instance, the trait theory as analysed above implies that leaders possess specific traits which make them efficient over others. As a result, this leadership approach can be applied in situations when there is a need for specific actions requiring key talent application by the leader. As for example, a leader with the trait of creativity and innovation should be considered in situations where new innovative products are required from the organisation Apart from this, the behavioural leadership approach is suitable when an appropriate behaviour is required to be shown by the followers depending on the situations. As for example, a leader following the behavioural approach can change his/her behaviour when he/she visits different countries for business purpose. According to different cultures, changes to the behaviour can be undertaken to address the situation in a positive way (Cunningham and Harney, 2012).

The relational approach is identified as suitable when the focus has been towards developing relations with the followers. As a result, the situation requiring a close relation or requiring personal attention of the leaders is considered as the most effective in applying this particular relational approach by the leader in handling the situation. The new leadership approach and the emerging leader approach are suitable in the modern day business environment situations whereby leaders have to manage various important aspects related to the business. As for example, the modern day leaders are required to perform large number of tasks including setting up of strategic goals, managing employees in getting them accomplished, follow up and many more. These types of circumstances requiring the application of multiple skills and abilities should be considered through the application of these emerging approaches to leadership. The situations requiring major change should also involve the application of new leadership approach so that the goals could be positively accomplished (Emery and Barker, 2007).

Preparation of Job Description

This section of analysis is now aimed at preparing a job description based on the case scenario. The scenario as provided implies that the job description is required for the position of senior chemical engineer. Job description basically indicates about the task related roles and responsibilities that are required to be carried out by the responsible person appoint for a specific position. The information such as which the position reports, including the qualification of the person applied, skills needed, salary range and also the job roles that are required to be performed (DuBrin, 2011). In the given case, the job description for the position of senior chemical engineer is indicated as follows:

Job Description for Senior Chemical Engineer

Senior Chemical Engineer

Reports to: Engineering Director

Department: Engineering Department

Date: 23-3-2015

Job Summary: The job of the senior chemical engineer is to perform the management of entire engineering department by managing all the activities such as coordination with senior managers and subordinates and getting the tasks done through supervisors.

Essential Functions: As a part of the senior chemical engineer, the responsible person is required to perform the following major functions:

To establish coordination with the senior management especially the engineering director of the company.

To design and develop the policies and undertaking strategic decisions aimed at exploring new growth opportunities for business.

To supervise the chemical engineers working in the company in getting the tasks accomplished as per strategic goals.

To supervise the cost engineer and document controller by addressing their technical and general queries and assisting them in their tasks in achieving organisational goals.

To look for achieving appropriate control of costs so that the operational efficiency could contribute towards improved achievement of the organisational goals.

Description of Tasks in Detail: This position of senior chemical engineer is aimed at managing the entire engineering department of the organisation. There are wide number of chemical engineers that are already working across the organisation. So the task of the senior chemical engineer includes proper management of these chemical engineers as operating across the organisation. A proper coordination with them means that the senior manager is required to analyse their performance, identify any issues in their performances, resolve any identification of threats to the performance processes of such chemical engineers, assist them through applying his/her own technical knowledge so that customer queries can be addressed positively, and providing them adequate level of support so that they can achieve excellence in their performances (Lussier and Achua, 2009).

Apart from providing assistance to the chemical engineers, the senior chemical supervisor is also responsible for handling cost engineer and document controllers. The responsibility is therefore to perform the management of all the areas related to the engineering department. The management of cost of operation is an important task and it should be performed with care to ensure overall organisation’s efficiency. As a result, the senior chemical manager is required to interact with the cost engineers and decides on strategies aimed at achieving overall reduction of the cost in performing its management. Apart from this, it is also essential that there should be appropriate level of documentation that should be maintained by the responsible personnel so that the growth and progress of the organisation can be efficiently traced. In this respect, the senior chemical engineer is also required to interact with the document controller in making it sure that the documents are properly maintained and well organised.

In addition to coordinating with the controller department and also the chemical engineering supervisors, the position of senior chemical engineer requires the consideration of appropriate level of coordination with the senior management. Apart from achieving operational efficiency through coordinating with the managers at lower level, the senior management is also required to be consulted. They need to be properly informed about the performance conditions so that strategic decisions including the further expansion process could be further carried out. It is essential that the senior chemical engineer is required to report the performance and also to provide suggestions with respect to the areas that could further be enhanced. These are some of the responsibilities that are required to be performed by the senior chemical engineer of the organisation.

Conclusion

This report involved a critical analysis of the different approaches to performing the study of leadership and also the circumstances under which they could be applied. The performance of analysis revealed findings that there are various important leadership approaches that could be utilised by leaders in efficiently handling their followers. The most important ones as identified are mainly in terms of trait approach, behavioural approach, situational approach, relational approach, emerging and new leadership approach. The analysis has indicated that these approaches have gained relevance over the years, and trait approach to leadership was identified as the oldest approach to leading people. On the basis of analysis as performed, it has been evaluated that there are different situations under which these leadership approaches can be utilised. As for instance, when the focus has been towards maintaining personal relations in getting the tasks accomplished, the relational approach to leadership is highly efficient. Similarly, when specific behaviour is required to be followed, the behavioural approach is needed to consider. Thus, the analysis indicated that there are different approaches to leadership and they have their relevance across different situations. The job description has also been provided with respect to the role of senior chemical engineer and the roles and responsibilities of the senior managers are highlighted.

References

Boal, K.B. and Hooijberg, R. (2001), ‘Strategic Leadership Research: Moving On’, Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 11 (4), pp.515-549.

Barbuto, J.E. (2005), ‘Motivation and Transactional, Charismatic, and Transformational Leadership: A Test of Antecedents. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 11(4): 216-235.

Cunningham, J. and Harney, B. (2012), ‘Strategy and Strategists’, Oxford University Press.

DuBrin, A.J. (2011), Essentials of Management, 9th ed., Cengage Learning.

Emery, C.R. and Barker, K.J. (2007), ‘The effect of transactional and Transformational leadership styles on the organizational commitment and job satisfaction of customer contact personnel. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, 11(1): 77-90.

Ercetin, S.S. (2012), ‘Discussions About Leadership: In Different Fields’, iUniverse.

Goethals, G.R. and Sorenson, G.J. (2007), ‘The Quest for a General Theory of Leadership’, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Hunt, J. G. (1999), ‘Transformational/charismatic leadership's transformation of the field: An historical essay’, The Leadership Quarterly, 10(2): 129-144.

Ireland, R.D. and Hitt, M.A. (2005), ‘Achieving and maintaining strategic competitiveness in the 21st century: The role of strategic leadership’, Academy of Management Executive, Vol. 19 (4), pp. 63-77.

Judge, T. A., and Piccolo, R. F. (2004), ‘Transformational and transactional leadership: A meta-analytic test of their relative validity’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(5): 755-768.

Kahreh, M.S., Ahmadi, H., and Hashemi, A. (2011), ‘Achieving competitive advantage through empowering employees: An empirical study’, Far East Journal of Psychology and Business,3(2): 26-37.

Lussier, R.N. and Achua, C.F. (2009), Leadership: Theory, Application, & Skill Development, 4th ed., Cengage Learning.

Northouse, P.G. (2011), ‘Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice’, SAGE.

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