GREAT At Training | Govindarajoo Ramu

War against Leadership

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War! What is this war against leadership? Who are the people creating the war against leadership? Leaders are constantly facing negative subordinates; they are disruptive and are the root cause to a toxic environment. How did these subordinates become negative and why do they want to be at opposite ends with their leaders?

No subordinate wants to be a failure; everyone wants to be good at what they do. Granted, there are those who come to work just for the pay check but there are only a handful of them. It is the leaders who shape their people; their leadership style causes the war.

Generally there are 5 different leadership styles. There is the laissez-faire leader who behaves more as a friend. They are friendly; however they do not provide direct supervision and fail to nurture those under their supervision. A laissez-faire’s subordinates creates a war primary due to the lack of supervision; they are angry with their leader for not being there when they needed their leader the most and for asking them for a solution instead of helping to generate a solution.

Next, there is the autocratic leader who makes decisions on their own without any inputs from their subordinates. Autocratic leader’s belief that they are equipped with making the best possible decision, because they possess the knowledge and experience. Their war is generally due to the lack in teamwork, where the leader has to function as part of the team. Their subordinates do not feel appreciated as their voices are never heard and even when they are, they are usually shot down.

Then we have the participative leader who values the inputs from their subordinates but holds the responsibility of making the final decision. A participative leader struggles with domineering subordinates who wants to look good in front of their peers. They tend to take up too much of time with their ideas and become defensive towards criticism. These subordinates create tension thus creating the war against the participative leader.

Now, with a transactional leader; they take delivery of tasks to perform and provide rewards or punishments to subordinates based on performance. We may think that this would be a fantastic leader style; however, subordinates may feel that they are emotionally attacked due to the black and white or factual nature of their leader. A transactional leader faces the fight between fact and motivation.

Finally we have the transformational leader who depends on high levels of communication with their subordinates to meet goals. Transformational leaders motivate employees and enhance productivity and efficiency through communication and high visibility; however the leaders focus on the big picture and delegate smaller tasks to accomplish goals. Subordinates who do not see the big picture are left at a loss because they require the relations between smaller tasks that lead to the bigger picture. The war that a transformational leader has to fight is information; subordinates with the lack of small information don’t see the connecting dots thus feel that their leader is not guiding them sufficiently.

As a leader, it is difficult to manage subordinates who are not breaking rules but are nevertheless problematic, such as the constant complainers, social misfits or self-made leaders. The effects of these behaviours may not be as noticeable as those of their more outrageous counterparts, but these “bad apples” can wreak just as much havoc on productivity, performance, and workplace morale.

To prevent war between a leader and subordinate; leaders need to be adaptive; they need to apply different leadership styles based on the situation; situational leadership. Leaders who are persistent lead with everything they have, they don’t leave any stone unturned and they don’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves but take responsibility for what they want and show determination till the very end. Passion has to be applied to their efforts in nurturing their people. A leader has to be patient in overcoming the many obstacles that people throw at them, dealing the obstacles with set principles or values will affect the direction of leading.

Great leaders are constantly learning and always trying to improve themselves. There is always something to work on or a new skill to master. A great leader inspires his people to outshine by driving passion into what they do. It is therefore important for all leaders to understand their genetic leadership and learn other leadership styles to drive our people towards optimum success.