Effective Leadership

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The style of leadership used by managers should depend upon the type of staff within a company. Different situations require different approaches and skills. It is wrong to say that there is one best style of leadership which can be applied in conjunction with all subordinates. Mullins seventh edition text book defines leadership as ‘a relationship through which one person influences the behaviour or actions of other people’. Boot et al (1977) refers to it as ‘one of the most fundamental aspects of management.’ The proof that there is no one best style of leadership lies with the number of leadership theories which exist in today’s society. From contingency theories to transformational theories, whether a firm is lead in an autocratic, democratic, or a laissez-faire structure, is reliant upon the culture, structure and task of the specific organisation. I will be using Marks and Spencer to illustrate concepts of leadership, exploring the idea that there is no one best style of leadership.

Marks and Spencer, ranked one of ‘the most admired companies in the UK’, was once considered a well trusted, expanding organisation, and was the benchmark to which many firms compared themselves. However, Marks and Spencer’s long term success was not to last, as ‘the company saw its sales stagnate, profits collapse, and market share fall’ Mellahi et al (2002). The firm needed to introduce a new strategy for the future, so with a new chairman, Peter Salsbury, closures of overseas branches, and division of roles, Marks and Spencer took its first steps to recovery. Marks and Spencer’s previous Path- Goal approach to leadership had meant that ‘the company had not changed its visions and aims for almost half a century’ MacMillan and Tampoe (2002)....

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... and is affected by a group of followers. This can be linked to Hersey and Blanchard’s ‘Maturity of Followers’ theory, as discussed later. Whitehead claims that ‘you don’t have to be a boss to be a leader’. As long as you possess the qualities that produce effective leadership, these skills will affect the group of followers positively. Whether this theory should be used within a specific organisation depends upon the particular circumstance in question.

It is the situational approach of leadership that is most important when discussing the statement in question. It focuses on the importance of the situation with regards to which leadership approach must be used. This is the main factor which will influence the style of leadership to be most successful. Despite this, some leaders who possess all the desired skills to become an effective leader, may not perform.

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