Organizational/ industrial psychology is the study of people’s behaviour and the way they conduct themselves in the work place. This is to understand who the people are, there needs, the way they react to different issues and the general character of a person. By understanding the people it can be so easy to align duties and tasks to be achieved in the organization by considering the well being of the workers (Anderson, 2002).
Leadership is a process of inspiring, motivating, encouraging, and influencing others to perform there work with enthusiasm towards achieving organizational set goals and objectives.
Leadership is paramount and a pillar to the success or failure of an organization in the workplace. As a leader, he or she must understand the workers or the people he is dealing and working with at all times within and without the organization. Leadership in an organization influences communication in that a good leader should be clear, precise, and clarify issues for people to easily understand what he or she want to communication or tell the people. Good communication with clarity ensures there is no communication barrier arising with the workers which may bring some misunderstanding and conflicts between workers and the leader (Nunnally and Bernstein, 1994).
Leadership at the workplace should be the one that is aimed at improving mutual relationship between the leader and the workers. Everybody in life prefer to be led by a person who understand them and ready to listen when the need arise believing in you that you are heading them to the right direction where they can benefit. Workers like and respect leaders who are transparent, frank, open, truthful, honest, understanding, and encouraging at all times. The workers are bound to commit themselves totally to working towards the achievement of the set goals and objectives of the organization since they have confidence in the leadership (Borman, 2003).
Positive and Negative Leadership
Leadership can be either positive or negative. Positive leadership is where the leader use rewards to encourage, motivate, and to inspire the workers to do what is expected of them without coercion or application of force. These rewards used include education, training, increasing pay, democratic space, and involving or consulting them before making decisions to feel part and parcel of the organization. Workers will understand that the leaders are concern with their welfare and what is expected from them (Raudenbush and Bryk, 2001). On the other hand, negative leadership is a type of leadership where a leader emphasizes on punishing or penalties on his or her employees. The leader dominates the workers and his or decisions are final and there is no debate or consultation about it. Employees or workers don’t feel secure with such a leader because he or she does not understand and therefore becoming source of fear to the workers. Workers feel that they are not part of what is happening in the work place since they are not respected before decisions are made. Decisions are just imposed on them without considering the impact on them and just forced to adopt it. Negative leadership is also characterize by workers being threatened that they can loose their jobs any time even before the end of the contract, sent for days off without payment, reprimanding the employees or workers in presence of other employees and the clients to the organization making them discouraged, demoralize, demotivated and depressed leading to poor performance in the organization which in the long run can impact on the reputation and image of the company negatively. Some of these leaders with negative leadership skills can even delay payment of their salaries or even dismiss the employees under unclear circumstance without paying them their dues (Borman, 2003). This kind of leadership is not good since it creates a lot of conflicts and misunderstanding between employees and the leadership in place. From the two leadership styles discussed above both of them influences workers either positively or negatively; but most workers prefer tension free leaders who understand them and workers will do the best work to the organization.
Leadership style is a manner, a way or an approach of providing direction to others by being a role model by formulating and implementing plans, inspiring and motivating employees towards achieving the best to them and to the organization. There are three major types of leadership styles, these are: authoritarian or autocratic style, participative or democratic style and finally delegative or free reign style.
Authoritarian also called autocratic style of leadership is whereby the leader dictates or tell the workers what they are suppose to do. The leader is the only decision maker in the organization and he or she expects the workers to accept it without even consulting them. This is a form of dictatorship and in most cases workers feel intimidated because in most cases they are got unaware on what they are suppose to accomplish. It is a leadership style which can best be used with those workers not motivated by working freely by themselves. Therefore, this style can be used to force them perform their tasks since they are unable to do their work without coercion. This style cannot work in an environment or a work place where employees like working and enjoying what they are doing (Borman, 2003).
Participative style of leadership also known as democratic style of leadership is whereby the leader does thorough consultation with the employees before arriving at a decision. The leader believe that the workers are of importance to the organization hence asks them to give their views. The decision made will have involve all employees and this motivates the employees to work extra hard to achieve organizational set goals and objectives. A leader who applies this leadership style in most cases succeed in his or her plans and all the workers will be always satisfied and willing to cooperate with him all the time he or she needs them. This is a type of leadership style which is satisfying and its impact is monitored and evaluated by the outcome or the excellent performance (Nunnally and Bernstein, 1994). In most cases the image or the reputation of the organization is usually good and many people always admires and would like to be identified with it. The leader appreciates that others should be given an opportunity to be involved in the decision making in the organization because a leader is not all knowing and can get some suggestions from the workers which can be of great importance to the organizations future plan. According to most workers interviewed in United Kingdom 1998 they considered this democratic leadership style as the best and practical in nature (Anderson, 2002).
Delegative or free reign is another type of leadership style whereby a leader allows the workers to make decisions and the leader still remains responsible for the decisions made by the workers. It is an important style of leadership whereby decisions can’t stop to be made and implemented in the organization in the absence of a leader. The leader in this case recognizes that as workers continuous to work in the organization, they gain some experience which can be allowed apply for them to gauge themselves on what they can achieve without their leaders. Infact, many writers of psychology and leadership books prefer this style of leadership since it ensure that there is continuity of responsible leaders since the incoming leaders are experienced and have the ability and capability to lead like any other leader since he or she is prepared psychologically and knows the possible challenges involved in leading and directing others in the organization.
This type of delegative style of leadership, a leader can easily know what the workers likes and dislikes and can know what to tell them and what not to. It will also be easier to understand how different workers react to different situations and challenges. Delegative style of leadership is also important for training the future leaders.
Apart from the three main types of leadership styles, there are other supportive styles which try to explain applicability of leadership in the workplace in trying to understand the psychology of workers. These styles include the following below:
Transformational and Transactional Leadership
Transformational type of leadership style is a whereby a leader takes a visionary position and focuses on the future and inspires workers or people to remain optimistic and hopeful about the future. These are leaders who go as per what workers want and plan for the future in advance to avoid disappointing people by not meeting their needs. Transformational leaders would want change in future and that is why they plan for it by being focus. They are hopeful and optimistic and ready to lead by example for a better tomorrow to the people or workers he or she is leading and directing (Anderson, 2002).
On the other hand, transactional type of leadership style is a situation where a leader creates a valuable and a positive change to his or her followers. This is based on a simple exchange between a leader and the followers by rewarding the effort applied by the workers to accomplish certain goal or objective. It is an effective style of leadership when people or workers efforts to reward the work well done; this encourages them to even improve further on their performance.
Rewards can includes increasing the salaries for the best performers, promotion, increasing allowances, giving them day offs with remunerations, and also they can be trained so as to gain much knowledge, skills, and competences on how to relate well with others at the work place. This will enhance mutual understanding and cooperation at workplace hence reducing regular conflicts and misunderstanding which can stall operations in an organization. Many workers prefer this type of leadership style because they benefit from it directly and it is a reward to an individual not a group or team based on ones effort. Workers will always like their leader because he or she is understanding and recognizes ones efforts (Borman, 2003).
Situational, Charismatic, and Visionary Leadership
Situational leadership is a type of leadership where a leader is chosen or emerges due to circumstances and conditions prevailing at that particular time. The leader knows the situation and can lead the rest well due to his understanding and may experience in that field. Situational leadership can work well in times of emergencies when the suppose leader is not their may be because of death, imprisonment, ill- health, mental problems or resignation due to confidential or personal reasons. An example to illustrate this is when the president or a leader of a country dies or he cannot attend his duties as expected due to an illness. A leader will therefore emerge or elected to lead on behalf of the other people. He or she must be aware of what is happening about the people around him for it to be easier for him to lead without encountering resistance or rejection.
Charismatic leadership is a type of leadership where a leader in charge of the people or workers creates his or own self image so strongly and powerful that people are naturally drawn on him very easily. This self image is his character and his success or achievement. A charismatic leader is always composed, high truth, value driven, and guides, nurtures others, passionate, propounding creative ideas, powerfully communicating, encouraging, motivating, and having a sense of determination (Nunnally and Bernstein, 1994).
Charismatic leadership is powerful if the lead understands what the he or she is leading and directing wants. The people will easily and willingly follow the charismatic leader based on his reputable character of being discipline, respectful, obedient, understanding and ready to listen to all without biasness, fear, favor, or discrimination. What matters most in this type of leadership are ones qualities that will make him or her to influence others very easily. Such a leader will lead without much resistance, conflict, misunderstanding, or fear of rejection. Such a leader is usually respected.
Visionary leadership is whereby a leader tries to understand his or her people and inspire them towards achieving certain set goals and objectives of the organization in the future. The leader has along term plan and for that reason therefore, the leader must understand what the workers want and influence them on how to achieve it (Borman, 2003). The leader always must understand the people he is leading so as to avoid conflicts arising but to promote mutual understanding and unity among all the people. In other words visionary leadership is about planning for a better future by involving all the people on board.
Qualities of a good leader
A good leader in an organization is paramount for the success or general improved performance within the organization. As a leader must first understand the people he or she is leading and directing. A leader’s major role usually is to inspire, encourage, and motivate the workers or people he is leading. The leader must possess the following qualities:
Focus and visionary – A focus and visionary leader is the one who plan for the future by involving the people he is leading. This quality is very important because it will motivate the people to be assured of a better tomorrow since they have confidence in their leader.
Passionate and understanding – This is a leader who listens to others opinions without fear, favor, or biasness. He or she cares about his peoples needs by being passionate and understanding them all the time at workplace (Borman, 2003).
Courageous – This is a very important quality all leaders must have to be able to influence others positively. This is a leader who lead the people from the front and ready to defend his or her people all the time come rain come sunshine.
It is quite clear from the discussion that leadership influences a lot at work place. Good leaders have positive impact on the people he or she is leading and directing. A wise leader will first try to understand his people based on industrial/organizational psychology. By understanding the workers makes it easy for the leader to influence them when making decisions without resistance or rejection. Leaders should therefore influence the people positive by applying the positive attributes like being understanding, caring, being passionate, and encouraging them all the time (Nunnally and Bernstein, 1994).
Organizational/industrial psychology training for the potential leaders should be taken seriously for the organizations to have leaders who inspire and motivates people to achieving organizations set goals and objectives. All organizations depend on the type of leadership for their success or failure. What only ought to be done is proper communication, maintaining good relationship and mutual understanding between the leader and the people he or she is leading and directing.
Power should also be used in the right manner without misusing it as a leader. A leader who uses his powers to suppress, dominate, punish, and to mistreat others is bound to failure and receive a lot of resistance and rejection from the people. A leader who does not listen and forces people to adopt his decisions without consulting or involving them is bound to be rejected by the people. For one to influence people to do what is expected to succeed in any project, one must know what people want (Anderson, 2002). Consulting or involving them is important because they will they are valued as part and parcel of the organization hence the leader will not be having a lot of work trying to convince people to do what is expected of them. This therefore brings us to the conclusion that organizational/industrial psychology is important for every leader if he or she wants to lead successfully and have an impact on the people at workplace.
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