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Effective Leadership in the Face of Change

Autor:   •  March 9, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  3,487 Words (14 Pages)  •  475 Views

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Effective Leadership in the Face of Change

ORGD 6340

Thomas E. Hughes II

University of the Incarnate Word


Introduction

If one thing is inevitable, its change.  No matter the environment, change occurs all the time. Change management is no easy task.  It is one thing to manage subordinates, it is another to have those subordinates follow your lead.  The nature, scope, urgency, and intensity of the change requires different kinds of leadership to initiate and sustain positive change.  While there are many theories, strategies, and models a leader has at their disposal, the appropriate choice can often be elusive.  The appropriate leadership style depends on the environment and the led.  Two types of leadership that help initiate change is participative leadership and autocratic leadership.  While both styles serve the same purpose, it is up a leader to determine which is appropriate and when.

Participative/Democratic Leadership

Leaders are expected to be problem-solvers.  One way a leader can solve a problem is through participative leadership.  Edwin A. Locke, a professor of leadership and motivation at University of Maryland defines participative leadership as any power sharing arrangement in which workplace influence is shared among individuals who are otherwise not equal in a hierarchical structure (Gill, 2015).  The participative style of leadership encourages employees to be part of the decision making process.  Additionally, it requires a leader to be a coach, mentor, and facilitator.  [Participative leadership as the ability to produce high quality work for long periods of time and builds trust, cooperation, esprit de core, and high morale.  Additionally participative leaders help employees evaluate their performance, develop goals, encourages growth, and recognizes achievement] (Cherry, n.d.). A useful theory at the disposal of a participative leader is Appreciative Inquiry.

Appreciative inquiry is a form of action research that attempts to create new theories/ideas/images that aid in the developmental change of a system (Cooperrider & Srivastva, 1987).  Leaders strive to maximize performance not only in their organizations but also in their people.  Participative leaders start by using inquiry.  The goal of inquiry is to stimulate creativity and innovation by including people that in turn provide their ideas and perspective.  This enables an exchange of knowledge and ideas and fosters engagement, commitment to a shared future, and collaborative action (Whitney, 2010).  Further, it seeks to look at when and how an organization operates at its best so that the future can be built on these successes.  It is important to note that AI does not dismiss or ignore problems, it simply takes a problem or issue and frames it into a positive way of thinking.  “Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina has clearly demonstrated that human beings flourish, gain confidence, and perform well in the presence of positive emotions. She puts forth a three-to-one ratio as the appropriate balance of positive to negative emotions” (Whitney, 2010). That being said, it is up to a participative leader to develop a work environment of positive emotion.  By doing so, the participative leader is able to instill and draw out positive emotions such as hope, enthusiasm, resilience, creativity and ultimately performance.  Further, participative leaders possess certain qualities, strengths, and capacities.  The first is inclusion.  They are able to actively engage diverse groups of people in all kinds of conversations and decisions (Whitney, 2010).  The second is inquiry which was discussed previously.  The third is consistently highlighting and acknowledging strengths.  The fourth is providing inspiration.  The final and possibly the most important is quality is integrity.  Participative leaders are not only authentic and true to their subordinates, they are also authentic and true to themselves (Whitney, 2010).  Participative leaders lead the way in their organization through word and deed.  They do and say what they mean.  At the same time, it is important to know in what situations to be a participative leader.

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