Issues in Leadership

The following are the major and important contemporary issues in leadership.
Issue No.1: Gender issue: Do males and females lead differently?
Research has shown that regardless of gender, people will traits associated with leadership- such as intelligence, confidence, and sociability- are more likely to be perceived as leaders. However, there is found some differences in leadership styles. For example, males tend to use a directive command and control style, while females tend to adopt a more democratic leadership style.

Issue No.2: Is there a biological basis for leadership?
There is increasing evidence indicating that leadership has biological roots. Two chemicals-serotonin and testosterone are found to have profound effect on becoming a leader. Increased levels of serotonin appear to improve sociability and control aggregation. Higher levels of testosterone increase competitive drive and they are found higher in the players like tennis.

Issue No.3: How does national culture affect the choice of leadership style?
National culture affects leadership style by way of the subordinate. Leaders cannot choose their styles at will. They are constrained by the cultural conditions that their subordinates have come to expect. For example, an autocratic style is compatible with high power distance and participation style is compatible with low power distance.

Issue No.4: How is the current popularity of empowerment affecting the way managers lead?
Empowerment is putting employees in charge of what they do. The problem with the current empowerment movement is that it ignores the extent to which leadership can be shared and the conditions facilitating success of shared leadership. Because of factors such as downsizing, higher employee skills commitment of organizations to continuous training, implementation of total quality management programs and introduction of self-managed teams, there seems to be no doubt that an increasing number of situations call for a more empowering approach to leadership.

Issue No.5: Since leaders are not leaders until they have followers, what can managers do to make employees more effective followers?
Successful organizations need effective follower, who can follow effective and efficient leaders. Following are some qualities of effective followers:
  • They manage themselves well. They can work independently and without close supervision.
  • They build their competence and focus their efforts for maximum impact.
  • They are committed to a purpose outside themselves.
  • They are courageous, honest and credible. They are critical thinkers who knowledge and judgement can be trusted.
Issue No.6: Is there a moral dimension to leadership:
Leadership is not value free. So we should look at the moral content of a leader’s goal and the means he/she uses to achieve those goals.

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