Academic journal article Management : Journal of Contemporary Management Issues

The Relationship between Managers' Leadership Styles and Motivation

Academic journal article Management : Journal of Contemporary Management Issues

The Relationship between Managers' Leadership Styles and Motivation

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

Companies today face strong/fierce competition which creates numerous and considerable challenges. Hence, the need for a continuous improvement of company's effectiveness and efficiency by creating competitive advantage in order to survive arises. For this purpose, every company must, among other things, exploit the full potential of its employees, and leadership plays a crucial role in the process. It is considered that leadership is the key factor in directing all organizational components towards effective accomplishment of organizational goals (Burns, 1978) and it needs to provide interaction between all members of the organization. Leaders set goals and lead their followers in accomplishing them (Chaleff, 1995), and it is crucial how dedicated to these goals the followers are (Kelley, 1992). The survival of an organization lies in its ability to preserve its effectiveness and in its preparedness to accomplish its mission and goals (Northouse, 2007), which are being achieved with the support of effective leadership. However, in order for leadership to be effective, it is necessary that the leadership style is compatible with the motivational needs of the followers (Argyris, 1976; Maslow, 1954), otherwise the effectiveness will decrease. By definition, leadership is closely related to human resources, which are considered today the key factor of every company's success. Therefore, a company cannot be successful without skilful leadership, without initiation of follower's activity and without encouraging employees' high motivation and engagement.

Experience has shown that leadership and motivation are in a mutual interaction - the most motivated followers have the most motivated leadership and vice versa. Therefore, the understanding of motivation is a powerful management's mean in achieving company's goals. Namely, understanding the behavior, foresighting, directing, changing, and even controlling the behavior in organizations are all necessary preconditions for effective leadership aimed at achieving company's goals, mission, and vision (Blanchard/Hersey, 1993, p. 13). It is considered that motivated and satisfied individuals can ensure survival and growth of a company in a dynamic and highly uncertain environment because of the strong influence leadership has on employees' individual performances and their involvement in achieving company's goals (Hellriegel et al., 1992, p. 477). In other words, delivering high performances is directly connected with the relationship between leadership style and followers' motivational needs. This fact has encouraged many researches which have tried to provide an answer which leadership style is the most appropriate. This quest has resulted in significant leadership theories - from trait theory, through the behavioral and contingency theory, to the contemporary approaches to leadership such as transactional, transformational, interactive, and servant leadership. There are numerous authors who have contributed to these theories and approaches - from Mayo and Lewin, McGregor, Argyris and Likert, to Fiedler, Yetton, Vroom, Handy, Bennis, Yammarino, Greenleaf and numerous others.

Numerous researches of relationship between leadership style and motivation have shown that leadership style influences motivation. Mehta et al. (2003), for example, in their researches on leadership style, motivation, and performances, showed that different leadership styles influence motivation. They claimed that participative, supportive and directive leadership styles made the employees more motivated which in return resulted in higher level of performance. Bass/Avolio (1999) in their studies established a correlation between transformational leadership style and motivation. Storseth (2004) has found that the leadership style that was people-oriented was a key predictor for work motivation. Many other researches have also confirmed these results leading to a widely spread opinion about the linkages between leadership styles and employees' motivation. …

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