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Organizational Behavior: Attitudes and Job Satisfaction, Essay Example

Pages: 14

Words: 3926

Essay

Leaders are defined as professionals who are considered to have mastered their given field and use their experience to motivate and delegate responsibilities to others. In addition, effective leaders improve the work experience of the individuals they manage by allowing them to learn more and therefore provide a greater contribution to their organization. While there are many different leadership styles, the most important characteristics of leaders are their abilities to communicate effectively with their team and to gain an understanding of problems in a manner that helps accomplish a resolution (Johnson & Hackman 2003). Some leaders are able to motivate their employees more effectively than others. Generally, it has been observed that leaders with positive and engaging attitudes that implement leadership styles that are reflective of these qualities contribute to a greater degree of job satisfaction (Kouzes et al. n.d.). Thus, it is valuable to understand how managers can act in order to ensure that they are able to optimize workplace efficiency as a byproduct of employee job satisfaction.

Overall, an individual’s understanding of leadership has the ability to contribute to employee perception of attitude. Since the individual manager has the potential to influence organizational behavior overall, it is valuable for these individuals to carefully consider how he or she will interact with employees and determine how to arrange the organizational structure in a manner that is conducive to positive interactions. When people are able to implement effective leadership skills and the appropriate leadership style for their teams, it becomes easier a person to influence others (Bateman & Snell 2014). This is a beneficial practice because when a leader has an attitude that allows him or her to naturally exert an influence on others, it becomes easier for this individual to lead workers in a positive manner. Since every manager or supervisor is different, it is important to consider that different people can have different personality traits that will allow a leader to accomplish influence among the employees. As a consequence, it is helpful for these individuals to determine which leadership style would be likely to contribute to job satisfaction in addition to general success in the organization.

Different types of leaders are needed in different situations, as the type of work that each individual motivates his or her employees to produce is unique in its results. To understand the styles of leadership that can be implemented on opposite sides of the spectrum, it is important to consider that leaders can either exhibit a totalitarian or democratic style (Bernard 2000). Totalitarian leaders command their teams with complete authority, allowing no room for commentary or questions. On the other hand, democratic leaders work closely with the members of their team, listening to their opinions, and ultimately allowing the team to make the decision. According to the literature, a majority of researchers believe that transactional and transformational leaders are the most effective. These leadership styles are sufficient intermediaries between totalitarian and democratic styles, and allow for the individual employee to work closely with the manager in order to achieve sufficient growth (Woods 2010). This growth will contribute to the development of job satisfaction because the caring attitude exhibited by transactional and transformational leaders makes employees feel that their employers are more invested in them. Therefore, they are more likely to feel that they are achieving personal growth, which will contribute to the likelihood that they will stay with this employer. On the other hand, employees that are in positions that lead the, to believe that their growth is student will have the opposite effect; employee turnover will be high in situations of low motivation.

Ultimately, the fact that employees are more satisfied when their leaders are motivation and willing to contribute to their personal professional development demonstrates that it is ideal for a leader to demonstrate power while allowing members of the team to contribute to the organization in a meaningful way. Transactional leadership focuses on the overall performance of a team while providing them with punishments for poor work or rewards for work well done (Bass 2008). Professionals believe that this method is ideal in emergency situations or should be enacted when it is essential for a project to follow a specific protocol closely. In a majority of situations however, researchers believe that transformational leadership is the most effective leadership style. Transformational leadership aims to motivate employees and allow them to increase their contribution to the team by strengthening the connection of each individual to the project. In this style of leadership, managers make their employees feel that the work they do contributes directly to the success or failure of the project, which drives their want to see positive results. Although the primary goal of the leader in this situation is to be the inspiration for the project, he or she offers the team helpful feedback and helps them fill gaps in knowledge if needed (Lowe et al. 1996).

The idea of principle-centered leadership dictated by Stephen Covey reflects the belief that transformational leadership is the most efficient leadership style (Covey 1991). Ultimately, it appears that individuals that fall into this category truly care about their work and strive to ensure that members of their team share this opinion and will be provided the resources necessary to be successful. As such, transformational leaders are synonymous with principle-centered leaders in a sense and are a complete opposite of totalitarian and laissez-faire leaders (Foster 2002). These are individuals who put an effort in ensuring the voices of their team are heard and actively participate in the project to ensure that goals are accomplished.

The most important characteristic of principle-centered leadership and transformational leadership is that these individuals tend to engage in lifelong learning. The ideal leader is aware that if he or she wishes to motivate a team and provide them with a greater conceptual understanding of a project, it is necessary to become immersed in knowledge. This ultimately allows the leader to determine why gaps in knowledge have arisen amongst members of the team and to provide them with information as necessary. Doing so may include the need to instruct these individuals how information could be obtained on their own. The best leaders are masters of their chosen field, and this needs to reflect in practice for the leader to adequately motivate the team. If the team members trust the expertise of their leaders, they are more likely to believe in their mission, and this belief will be reflected in their work.

An additional important similarity between principle-centered leadership and transformational leadership is that both of these individuals need to connect with their team and value their opinions. These individuals are aware that a project is best accomplished by combining the ideas an experiences of a series of individuals, rather than trusting the opinion of one. As a consequence, collaboration is an important value to be held in leadership. In this sense, totalitarian leaders aren’t really leaders at all, because they simply command rather than integrating the beliefs of their team members. Therefore, these individuals are not able to achieve unique and often the most effective results. Principle-centered leaders and transformational leaders are certainly focused on the goal at hand, but recognize that they should not rush a result if completing the project slowly in a collaborative manner is more likely to achieve an answer that is more valuable.

Another aspect that many principle-centered leaders and transformational leaders have in common is that many of them believe that their work is their life’s mission. As a consequence, the personal interests of these individuals are their work goals and vice versa. It is likely therefore, that these leaders spend a lot of their free time researching information about their field because this is what they enjoy doing. As a result, they are able to motivate their team well because their love and joy for their work projects onto them, often making their workers feel the same way. Totalitarian leaders fail to accomplish this because they are too concerned with the outcome, worrying little about the steps that are needed to get there. Because of this, their employees often feel rushed and that they are not significantly contributing to the organization. Furthermore, totalitarian leaders have little time to be enthusiastic about their work because they are only result driven (Woods 2010). As a consequence, many employees of totalitarian leaders have low morale and do not work effectively. Therefore, principle-centered leadership and transformational leadership is a natural solution to this problem and the individuals that employ these leadership styles from the beginning do not need to worry about a lack of employee motivation.

It is important to consider that any leader can be effective if they employee Covey’s eight characteristics of a principle-centered leader (Covey 1991). However, this leadership style is more likely to be attractive for individuals that already follow certain styles of leadership, such as transformational leadership mentioned above. Ultimately, the leaders that are interested in gaining more participating from their team in the decision making process are likely to benefit from this leadership style. For example, individuals that fall into the several different categories of participative leadership would be likely to adopt this style because they already believe that it is important to consider the opinions of employees. On the other hand, totalitarian leaders are unlikely to try to apply these leadership characteristics at all. However, it is important for managers to understand that if their goal is to ensure that their employees are able to work productively and effectively, it is imperative to begin to incorporate these characteristics into their leadership style.

While different leaders take advantage of different leadership styles in a manner that best suits their personality and personal beliefs, good leaders know that it may be necessary to change their leadership styles to ensure efficacy. As a consequence, the best leaders are truly those that can adapt to new situations and are interested in gaining an understanding of the options that are available to them (Joyce & Judge 2004). Therefore, these individuals are constantly aware of new leadership techniques and are willing to utilize them to determine if it allows their team to generate better results. A good leader then, is not born as an individual who is able to motivate others. Rather, a good individual is born with passion for their work and an ability to learn.

To fully provide a comprehensive understanding of organizational behavior, it is useful to generate an understanding of the differences between leadership styles with regards to their tendency to encourage an individual to engage in ethical actions. For example, the comparison between principle-centered and those with similar leadership characteristics therefore provides a stark contrast with individuals that exhibit authoritarian-like leadership styles. The major difference is clearly that the prior believes that it is the workers who allow the organization to thrive, while authoritarian leaders assume this responsibility for themselves (Day & Hamblin 1964). Therefore, principle-centered leaders believe that it is important to invest in the development of workers in order to produce better results, while authoritarian leaders see workers simply as a tool that can be used to accomplish their own means. As a consequence, it is clear that personality and definition of ethics plays a clear role in the selection and enacting of a particular leadership style. For authoritarian leaders, the ethical decision is the one that benefits the company, which is an opinion that contrasts the majority of the public.

In order to ensure that organization attitudes are able to continue to have a positive impact on employees and contribute to their perception of job satisfaction, it is also important for these individuals to engage in workplace ethics to ensure that employees are being treated fairly and appropriately. It is important to emphasize ethics in leadership styles because the ability to behave morally reinforces the trust and motivation of employees. Ultimately, workers that know that their leader is constantly working in their best interest will work harder and have more positive feelings about their job and their work. As a result, this will enhance employee retention and save the organization money. In addition, it will help increase the quality of the work produced in addition to the drive for employees to learn new things that will help their ability to perform in future projects. Ethics is therefore closely tied into the concept of success in the workforce. Employees who do not believe that their leader is behaving ethically will not be content with the organizational culture of their workplace and become more likely to resign, work slowly, and produce undesirable results.

Interestingly, studies have also revealed that positive attitudes are more discernable on female leaders. While it is certainly unreasonable to alter the gender of leaders in order to ensure that their attitude is more conducive to employee motivation and job satisfaction, it is reasonable to male employees to determine what characteristics about the female personality make them more likeable to their employees. The authors of “Transformational, Transactional, and Laissez-Faire Leadership Styles: A Meta-Analysis Comparing Women and Men” argue that more female supervisors enact transformational leadership compared to males (Eagly et al. 2003). Therefore, it is important to consider what contributes to this cause. In general, women are more likely to provide awards to workers for excellent work. In order to reinforce positive worker behavior, these rewards could range from simple praises to job promotions. While women are more likely to provide this type of feedback to workers, men leaders could easily adopt this principle by distributing relevant incentives to employees to encourage their improvement. This type of method improves worker motivation and therefore contributes to the development of work quality, so it is important for all leaders to take advantage of this understanding. Furthermore, this aspect of the female personality in addition to these female associated actions are more likely to contribute to the development of employee motivation. It is therefore reasonable for men who wish to adopt these traits to consider implementing transformational leadership into their practice.

A research study was conducted to confirm whether people would be able to participate in a program that would help them learn the skills of transformational leadership and apply them directly into practice. The experimental group in this experiment were individuals who received transformational leadership training and were asked to apply what they learned in their organizational setting. The control population did not receive this type of training. Overall, this was a beneficial study because it utilized a large sample size, indicating that the results generated in this experiment can be reasonably considered externally valid. Because this style of leadership was found to have a meaningful effect on employee performance, it is important for organizations to consider the value of transformational leaders in the workplace. Even though transformational leadership is considered to be a specific leadership style, it is important to consider that based on the information retrieved from this experiment, it is possible to train employees to implement this leadership method. Therefore, higher level managers can influence the efficacy of lower level managers by requiring them to follow this leadership method. Furthermore, the ability to learn and implement new leadership styles can be reasonably assessed by the human resources department when hiring new employees, which will allow organizations to hire only the individuals that are able to comply with these requirements. It is expected that workplace practices will become more meaningful if this type of transformative organizational culture is put in place. This understanding is also beneficial to individuals because it indicates that even if a different training program is used, it is possible to learn these skills in order to help apply transformational leadership skills in management practice (Dvir et al., 2002). It would be plausible for organizations that wish to improve their practice and implement a structure to encourage employee motivation to participate in such a program to ensure that managers are able to effectively transform their practices to benefit the organization.

Overall, it is important for supervisors to understand the different leadership styles in addition to what their implementation might mean for their businesses. While an authoritative style may work temporarily in some instances, it generally creates a sense of dissent among employees who feel that their knowledge and experience is not being respected. Transformative leadership is a close opposite to this method because it ensures that employees feel that they are able to grow within an organization, contributing to its success. In order for employees to work effectively, they must be made to feel that their work has meaning (Martindale 2011). Because transformational leaders are the best at ensuring this will be the case, it is important for supervisors to understand when elements of this method should be implemented in the workplace. Transformational leaders are more likely to implement employee training programs and other supports to help employees gain more advanced skills that they need to succeed at their jobs. Even a leader that was primarily authoritative can gain an understanding of how to adopt transformational behaviors and apply them to the workplace. However, it is likely that each individual implements these leadership styles according to his or her own preferences in addition to interpreting them in a manner that could most reasonably benefit their organization.

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who was well known for developing a principle known as “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, which humans should use to balance their physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization needs (Wahbah et al. 1976). Modern organizational professionals can use an understanding of this motivation theory in order to more effectively help leaders understand how to reach their employees. For employees to reach self-actualization, they must first have other needs met. For example, job satisfaction and motivation is likely to be the highest when an employee’s physiological needs are met (according to their ability to purchase food, clothing, and shelter), when they feel safe in their work environment (safety), when they feel appreciated (love), and finally when they feel that they are accomplished in their work (esteem). Thus, managers have the ability to become directly involved in the ability for their employees to achieve self-actualization.

In conclusion, transformational leaders tend to be the best motivators because they understand how to motivate employees, whether this is in terms of abstract or physical reward. Furthermore, transformation managers are able to create workplace efficiency as a byproduct of employee job satisfaction. Overall, the motivation that leaders provide to their employees contribute to the efficacy of their work practices, which in turn contribute to profitability of the organization. Under this leadership model, therefore, when the company benefits, the employees benefit as well. This is an important understanding because it allows employees to constantly strive to achieve greater results and it allows leaders to constantly strive to improve their attitudes in order to increase employee motivation and job satisfaction.

Bibliography

Bateman T, Snell S 2014, Management, McGraw-Hill Education.

Bass, B 2008, Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research & Managerial Applications (4th ed.), The Free Press, New York.

Bernard, M 2000, ‘The Future of Leadership in Learning Organizations’, Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 19-31.

Covey, SR 1991, Principle-centered leadership, Simon & Schuster, New York.

Day, RC & Hamblin RL 1964, ‘Some effects of close and punitive styles of supervision’. American Journal of Sociology, vol. 69, pp. 499-510.

Dvir T, Eden D, Avolio BJ, Shamir B 2002, ‘Impact of Transformational Leadership on Follower Development and Performance: A Field Experiment’, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 735-744.

Eagly, AH 2003, ‘Transformational, Transactional, and Laissez-Faire Leadership Styles:

A Meta-Analysis Comparing Women and Men’, Psychological Bulletin, vol. 129, no. 4, pp. 569-591.

Foster, DE 2002, ‘A Method of Comparing Follower Satisfaction with the Authoritarian, Democratic, and Laissez-faire Styles of Leadership’, Communication Teacher, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 4–6.

Johnson, CE & Hackman, MZ 2003, Leadership, a communication perspective (4 ed.), Waveland Press.

Joyce E., Judge TA 2004. ‘Personality and transformational and transactional leadership: a meta-analysis’, Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 89, no. 5, pp. 901-910.

Kouzes J, Posner B n.d. The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® ModeL. Available from: <http://www.leadershipchallenge.com/about-section-our- approach.aspx>. [2 December 2015].

Lowe, KB, Kroeck G, Sivasubramaniam, N 1996. ‘Effectiveness Correlates of Transformational and Transactional Leadership: A Meta-analytic Review of the Mlq Literature’, The Leadership Quarterly, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 385-425.

Martindale, N 2011, ‘Leadership Styles: How to handle the different personas’, Strategic Communication Management, vol. 15, no. 8, pp. 32–35.

Wahba, MA & Bridwell, LG 1976, ‘Maslow Reconsidered: A Review of Research on the Need Hierarchy Theory’, Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, vol. 15, pp. 212- 240.

Woods, AP 2010, ‘Democratic leadership: drawing distinctions with distributed leadership’, International Journal of Leadership in Education, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 3–36.

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