Australian Literacy Testing Centre

Promoting excellence in vocational education and training

Leadership

Leadership is the ability to get work done with and through others while simultaneously winning their respect, confidence, loyalty and willing co-operation.

Leadership training is critical because over time businesses take on the personality of their leaders. Leadership training and development can maximize productivity, shape the culture of the organisation and promote unity, teamwork and harmony amongst employees. To achieve this, key people must lead individuals and teams using an appropriate leadership style.

Managers and leaders

Are you a manager or a leader? Where does the distinction lie?
A manager is someone who can influence others through their formal (managerial) authority. Managers are appointed to their position.
Leaders are able to influence a group towards the achievement of goals regardless of their formal authority over the group. Leaders may be appointed, but often emerge naturally from within a group.

Which style of leadership is best?

The situational leadership model assumes that different situations warrant different leadership styles.

Suppose there is a problem cutting down on scrap in a manufacturing department. The supervisor may consult in a group meeting with all workers and let them decide on an approach to the problem (consultative style).

The supervisor then informs the inspector of what the plan is, leaving it up to him to adjust his inspection techniques accordingly (laissez-faire style). The supervisor then tells the scrap collector how he wants the scrap sorted (autocratic style). In this case, three styles are used to get the job done.

The need for a leader to possess the ability to use a combination of styles is supported by the realisation that people will respond in different ways to various forms of leadership.
Some people need the somewhat heavy handed autocratic approach because that's how they best respond. They need to be told and directed. In fact they want it that way. On the other hand some people will resent being told and not asked.
Some people don't want to be involved in the decision-making. They do not see it as their responsibility. Others just want to be allowed to get on with the job with no interference at all. To operate effectively a supervisor must know his / her staff and be aware of what motivates each individual and act accordingly.
However, it must be kept in mind that peoples' attitudes and motivators can be changed and one of the best ways to do this is by handing responsibility and trust to the individual. This can result in a change in attitude and provide increased job satisfaction, an increased level of morale and participation, and an improvement in the "team" approach in the workplace. The outcome is improved performance and increased productivity.
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