A type of leadership style that has been characterized as being effective in post 1980’s years is the control and command style. In today?s society, Charismatic Leadership and Transformational Leadership are the predominantly researched types. Much of the leadership literature in the period from 1950 to 1980 was concerned with supervisors and middle management (Yukl, 2002). Behavioral theories that were the predominant model to measure effective leadership made way for The New Leadership theories representing the effectiveness of Charismatic and Transformational Leadership.
Yukl (1999) states that theories of transformational and charismatic leadership provide important insights about the nature of effective leadership. Hunt (1999) states that the increasing disillusionment with leadership research?s value provided a strong impetus for a paradigm shift to new leadership in the 1980’s. This brought into play an increasing range of topics from other areas and other fields to enlarge and enrich the study of leadership, such as psychology and sociology.
Along with this incorporation of other disciplines to enlarge the understanding of leadership, the remit of leadership within organisations appeared to change. The new leadership approach entails extending the traditional leaders role into that of a manager of meaning (Bryman, 1996; cited by Hunt, 1999). The symbiotic aspect of visionary leadership (Shamir, 1999; cited by Hunt, 1999) held a deeper effect than superficial compliance and the emphasis on supervision. Another aspect is that it emphasizes the importance of emotional reactions of followers in response to a transcendent vision.
As Yukl (1999) states, unlike traditional leadership theories, which emphasised rational processes, theories of transformational and charismatic leadership emphasise emotions and values. The newer theories also acknowledged the importance of symbolic behavior and the role of the leader in making events meaningful for followers. Yukl (1999) states that these theories assisted in our understanding of how a leader can influence followers to make self-sacrifices to commit to difficult objectives, and provided an explanation for the exceptional influence some leaders have on followers. As Yukl (1999) continues, this all added to the understanding of leadership processes.
The leaders of the twenty fist century organizations have followers who seek autonomy and more challenging work. Bass (1998) states this is done by moving more responsibility downwards. Within this structural shift in organizations the flattening organizational hierarchy is increasingly composed of educated professionals. These educated professionals see themselves as colleagues rather than in strict superior-subordinate relationships. Further Bass (1998) states, increasingly, leaders are being encouraged to empower their followers by developing them into high-involvement teams focused on quality and cost-effectiveness as well as quantity of output of production and service. Therefore, the communication structure within the organization has dramatically changed.
Nonetheless, the decisions still seem to stay with the higher echelons. Tourish and Pinnington (2002: 167) suggest “a new ethic of managerial leadership, in which both sides recognize the need to cross the line frequently between leadership and followership.” Again this sounds easy in theory, but it may be not so easy for leaders to adapt to this suggestion and possibly presents a challenge to twentieth century leadership that they should take on board.
This would allow the organization to develop these talents from within, in preference to the costly business of new staff recruitment. Similarly, Kotter and Heskett?s (1992; cited by Bryman,A. et al, 1996) research led them to conclude that adaptive cultures are an important factor in commercial success and that leaders play a key role in fostering them, and without followers the leader would be redundant.
‘No man is an island’, and, as Biggart and Hamilton (cited by Bryman 1996: 437) have argued, if leadership is embedded in social and cultural beliefs and values, then leadership cannot be fully understood apart from the context in which it exists. Within the domain of the leader culture, researching a modus operandi of the internal organization’s subjects communication with each other may be helpful in trying to understand effective leadership processes.
It would seem imperative to understanding and achieving effective leadership that tools that aid in communication are utilized, as communication is a two-way operation and a Charismatic/ Transformational leader has to be able to communicate the vision. For effective communication both sender and receiver of the communication have to have clarity of the content of the communication. It would seem prudent if both were open to each other.
The importance of effective communication skills within leadership processes. Noir (2002) argues that communication is the real work of leadership. Again, the participation of the follower is necessary. Kotter (2002) states that knowing your audience is also essential. As the research has shown, great communicators have an appreciation for position – they understand the people they are trying to reach and what they can?t or can hear (Kotter, 2002). Badaracco (2002) says “knowing your audience is the ability to listen. Communication can?t always follow the top-down model.” With the fluidity of the information in business today, leaders need to be masterful listeners; they need to be able to receive as well as send.
As Clutterbuck and Hirst (2002) state, effective leaders are also effective communicators. The more self aware the manager is, the easier it will be to have a two way effective communication. There again, self-and-other awareness on the part of the follower would surely be deemed important. Until research conducted by Savoly and Mayer in 1990 the competency of emotional intelligence constructs such as self-and-other awareness, empathy and active listening skills have not been high priority in measuring leadership effectiveness, whether the focus is on leader, follower or both. Clutterbuck (2002) goes on to say that a major challenge is how to persuade top management to take the communication elements of their leadership roles seriously.
Tourish et al (1999: 221) State that “there is nothing mysterious about good communication and within the field of communication studies a great deal of study has been conducted.” Nevertheless, active listening and empathy, it would seem, are an oversight on the part of the research community as these constructs could be classed as communication tools, combining emotion with cognition. George (2002) states that investigating how leader capabilities in the emotion domain or their Emotional Intelligence contribute to their effectiveness certainly seems worthy of future empirical research and theorizing within the leadership/follower process.
As communication within the leadership process is essential it could be argued the forgotten side of leadership development and effectiveness evolves around the leaders awareness or lack of it of his own and others styles of interacting within the communication process. Tourish et al (1999) state that “Communicators refer to the people involved. Personal attributes such as age, gender, dress, disposition of those involved influence our own actions and our reactions to the behaviors of others. This it could be stated all add to the message within the communication.”
Tourish et al (1999) state that an important attribute of communication is what is termed as Emotional Intelligence: “this attribute is the ability to persuade and to motivate others, to empathize and build relationships, to handle one?s own and other people?s emotion. To give honest feedback sensitively, to form alliances, to monitor one?s own behavior and to read organizational politics. It refers to the core skills of social awareness and communication.”
Yukl (2002) argues that emotional intelligence is relevant for leadership effectiveness in many ways, For example emotional intelligence can help leaders solve complex problems and make better decisions. Effective leadership involves communication skills that involve the leader and follower and their perceptions and influences toward each other (Yukl, 2002). Emotional Intelligence means to be able to communicate with awareness.