Before we begin the discussion on the various leadership models, it is essential that leadership, as a concept in itself, is explained and defined.
There is a difference between leader development and leadership development. Leadership development takes place at the individual level and focuses on developing an individual’s ability to learn from experience to integrate it into the practice of leading an organization.
Unlike leader development, leadership development takes place at the organizational level and covers the entire organization by creating significant connections with stakeholders and other external resources.
The effects of leadership create an economic and competitive advantage for an organization.
In short, leadership development is a continuous, holistic process that occurs throughout the entire organization, while leadership development focuses on improving and developing the capabilities of the leader alone.
Let’s see some leadership models and compare them.
Leadership models: genuine leadership
A genuine leader is someone who is aware of their values and who acts and leads accordingly.
The genuine leadership model includes four factors:
- Relational transparency,
- Balanced processing,
A genuine leader is someone with high self-awareness who understands their strengths and weaknesses and is aware of their impact on others.
Self-awareness means that the leader acquires self-awareness through interaction with others.
Relational transparency means that the leader is willing to communicate openly about their followers’ feelings and thoughts.
Balanced processing refers to the approach of using objective data to make final decisions.
Finally, morality allows the leader to self-regulate their behaviour by withstanding social and group pressures.
Leadership models: Situational leadership
Although this leadership model is popular and widely used in organizations, it has not actually been thoroughly explored.
Unlike genuine leadership, situational leadership emphasizes adaptation to the level of employee readiness to perform certain tasks, which depends on the willingness and competence of team members.
Therefore, as each employee differs in their availability and skills, the leader should adapt their leadership style accordingly.
The situational leadership model is structured in three situational factors:
- The level of direction of the task by the leader,
- The relationship between the leader and the employee,
- The expertise and trust of the employee.
Leadership models: Servant leadership
This is a leadership model in which the leader should overcome their ego by addressing the needs of their employees.
As stated by the “servant leadership” concept, the needs of employees become more important than the needs of the leader and therefore the leader “serves” employees to help them achieve success and meet their personal and professional needs.
The servant leader can reach the point of self-sacrificing behavior for the sake of employee happiness and well-being.
Leadership models: holistic leadership
An emerging model of leadership is the holistic approach that takes multiple aspects into account.
According to Schein, the dynamic and changing lifecycle of organizations requires four leadership roles that will help the leader manage the complexity and dynamics of organizations.
These four elements are:
- The role of animator, where the leader should convey energy and enthusiasm to his employees.
- The capacity of the leader to build the organizational culture by hiring employees with similar ways of thinking and exhibiting behaviors in line with the values and cultural characteristics of the company.
- The third role of the leader is to support culture, which means that the success of culture is preserved if change and growth are promoted. Therefore, leaders may need to adapt their leadership to the evolving identity of the organization..
- The fourth role is the leader as a agent of change. Psychologically, leaders must possess the emotional stability to create a safe environment for employees during the change process in order to reduce anxiety and resistance to change.
In this model, leadership is not about being the individual at the top of the hierarchy and in control of subordinates, rather it is about promoting humanistic values and methods of practice.
The holistic view of leadership enables organizations to be better prepared to solve problems by considering the interconnection of external networks, the different opinions expressed and embracing complexity as a whole.
In short, the role of the holistic leader is not limited to guiding the organization internally, but also extends to various roles that facilitate complex problem solving and effective implementation and adaptation to change.
Leadership models: charismatic leadership
A highly charismatic leader has a strong need to influence others, possesses a strong and firm belief in himself and his values, has the ability to inspire a high need for success in his employees, and has the capability to show competence through the articulation of potential rather than actual achievements.
The skill of the charismatic leader lies in imagining and inspiring employees and facilitating commitment by giving the impression that they – and the mission they follow – are extraordinary.
However, charisma as the only trait of leadership may not be enough to face a given situation adequately.
As a result, the charismatic trait of leadership can be treated as part of a leader, but not the only one.
Combination of multiple leadership models for greater success
Ultimately, best leadership practice derives from the synthesis of several positive aspects of different leadership models in order to maximize the effectiveness of each of them.
The best leadership effects can be achieved if the leader is open to different nuances and strengths of different leadership models instead of being limited to just one.
Furthermore, leadership practice should be collaborative and collective, facilitating mutual and 2-way communication because the leader can also learn from their team members or peers.
There are several situational and environmental factors of which the leader may not be aware but which others who collaborate with him or her are able to observe and share.
In these circumstances, it is very important that the leader is willing to listen to their employees and learn from their opinions to see reality with different perspectives.