IS LEADERSHIP IMPORTANT IN MANAGING SUCCESSFUL ORGANISATIONS
Name: Ximing Chen
Student ID: 43365035
It brings to mind many images when talking about the word “leadership”. For instance, the political leaders like Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher who led their people went through hard times and directed their counties on the right track, the company executives who make directions and strategies for the company to win the competition, or simply the captain in the exploring ship who lead his or her sailors and the ship to the right destination. Although different people have different understanding of leadership, in general, leadership refers to “a capacity to move a group and/or organization through a process of change” (Schafer, 2010, p. 741). In an organisation, a leader’s major task includes developing a direction and a vision, delivering the vision to followers through communication and finally motivating and inspiring followers to achieve the vision (Lunenburg 2011). These capabilities and functionalities of leadership can deeply influence the organisational culture and commitment, innovation, staff communication and employee motivation and ultimately produce better business outcomes. Four prevailing leadership theories: Charismatic Leadership, Transformational Leadership, Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) and Ethical Leadership Theory, and their application in organisation provide a persuasive evidence to prove importance of leadership in managing successful orgnisations. However, the disadvatangs of leadership will also bring uncertainties to an organisation and lead to failures in business. Therefore, it is necessary for organisation leaders to choose the most appropriate leader style based on the specific case of the organisation and develop their leadership continually.
The first theory to be discussed is the Charismatic leadership. The concept of Charismatic leadership is derived from the German sociologist Max Weber’s study of ‘chrisma’ in early 20th century (Flynn & Staw 2004) and after that, charismatic leaders was described as people who have the certain personalities that distinguish them from ordinary people and it is their remarkable traits that impose profound and extraordinary effects on their followers, which generates the commitment and enthusiasm of people. Conger and Kanungo( 1998) developed the charismatic leadership and defined 3 stages of charismatic leadership process and behaviours in an organisation. First of all, charismatic leaders should determine the opportunities and limitations of the situation and the needs and preferences of the followers. Secondly, they should have a vision to adapt to those opportunities and needs. Thirdly, in order to deliver the vision and motivate followers to act upon the vision, charismatic leaders always engage in role modeling and unconventional behaviours to inspire followers. They usually demonstrate their own personal excitement, energy, empathy (the ability to listen, understand and share feelings) and confidence to support their followers to overcome the challenges and to perform better (Nadler &Tushman 1994).
As the most successful trait-driven leadership style, charismatic leadership has important implications for organizations in influencing employees’ attitude and behaviours and increasing their commitment and excitement to that organisation. A typical example could be the former CEO of Apple Inc----Steve Jobs who leveraged his revolutionary vision and unique personality to build a strong business empire (Faisalhrguy 2014). At the beginning of Apple Company, Jobs already has a strategic and inspirational vision that Apple should lead the personal computer market instead of being reactive. During his time in apple, he kept visualising and materiasing this unique vision with confidence and enthusiasm in his company. Except for the vision, Jobs also has the courage to take high personal risk