Today’s corporate world demands more leaders in an organisation than managers. The organisation and its people want to be lead by an able leader who has a clear vision and mission. A leader is always associated with encouraging and motivating its subordinates so they can do work more willingly. “It is a relationship through which one person influences the behaviour or actions of other people” (Mullins, 2013:369). Leadership as describes by Kurt Lewin is basically of three types. He categorizes leadership into three different styles based on the way a leader handles his employees (Cherry, 2012).
On a personal level, I believe that no particular leadership style is completely correct or wrong. Each one has its own set of advantages and limitations. In fact leadership styles also depend upon the situation of the task and the types of employees and teams associated with it. Most people agree that participative or democratic leadership is the best one. In spite of many good elements attached to it, it still has some drawbacks such as indecisiveness and time consumption (Anderson, 2011). Likewise authoritative or autocratic leadership which is generally perceived as a negative one does has its own side of benefits. Authoritative leadership does help in making quick decisions and stays in total control of the leader.
My vision of leadership is a mixed blend of both the authoritative and democratic leadership. A good leader is one who can change his way of direction based upon the situation and the workforce. Democratic consensus can be beneficial for business ethics but at the same time staying firm and rigid as an authoritative leader is also necessary.
Chanda Kochhar who happens to be the CEO and managing director of ICICI bank, India is my role model in terms of effective leadership. Leading the largest private bank of India in a male dominant society and steering away the bank from financial crisis is her biggest achievement. “She is the bank’s first female CEO overseeing some $93 billion in assets and 3,100 branches in 19 countries.” (Forbes, 2013).
Chanda Kochhar exhibits both democratic and authoritative leadership. She pays regular visits to the bank’s different branches unannounced and talks to various employees, trying to understand the issues and how to resolve them. She believes in constant feedback and improvement. She also lays a great emphasis on developing leadership. She further insists that “Every leader has certain great qualities, and every leader has some things that need to be worked on.” (Chandler, 2012). Being appointed as the CEO in 2009 during the peak of financial crisis, she had to take some strategic authoritative decisions. As an authoritative leader, she boldly faced the criticism of “Transactional errors which was previously presumed to be money laundering. This helped in slowly regaining the customer trust which was relevant for the bank’s growth” (Forbes, 2013)
My colleagues consider me to have a democratic style of leadership. This happened on several occasions during the seminars held in my MBA program at the university. I believe in mutual consensus of the team as I value the team most. This practice helps to develop a bond between the team members which is the most valued asset of a team. The results achieved as a consequence tend to last long. I first learned about my leadership qualities during the preparation of a debate. Upon taking Belbin’s team role test, I further discovered that I was an implementer. This further goes in sync with the democratic style of leadership. This type of leadership is equally valued in the investment banking sector wherein there is a constant interaction with the client and the team mates.
I would like to develop some authoritative leadership skills as well as I progress through my MBA. This would counter the limitations that arise due to the democratic style of leadership. I observed during the preparation of my debate that my group was slow in getting straight to the decisions which was eventually consuming time as well. This can be sorted out by applying an authoritative style. However too much practicing of authoritative leadership could also hamper the progress of the team as the ideas of one individual could not be forcefully imposed on others.
As said, an effective leadership could be a mix blend of both the authoritative and a democratic style of leadership. This helps in cutting down the conflicts and boosting the productivity of an individual or an organisation. I particularly like the leadership style of Chanda Kochhar who is a best example of this scenario.
Mullins, L.J. (2013) Management & Organisational Behaviour, 10th edition, Harlow: Pearson Education.
Anderson, P. (2011) Advanatages and disadvantages of democratic leadership styles, 12 Feb, [Online], Available: http://www.insidebusiness360.com/index.php/advanatages-and-disadvantages-of-democratic-leadership-styles-6070/ .
Chandler, C. (2012) Leading in the 21st century: An interview with Chanda Kochhar, Sept, [Online], Available: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/leading_in_the_21st_century/an_interview_with_chanda_kochhar .
Cherry, K. (2012) Lewin’s Leadership Styles, [Online], Available: http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/a/leadstyles.htm .
Forbes (2013) Power Women, [Online], Available: http://www.forbes.com/profile/chanda-kochhar/ .