The Trait Theory of leadership considers it as a heroic act of the person and it is believed that the person is special. The person possesses some unique qualities, skills, abilities and personality traits which make him different than others and sets him up as a great leader. Considering the other way round, leaders are not created but they are born with their special sets of qualities and skills. Many businesses turn towards the individuals who possess the skills and abilities to motivate other people and support others to achieve their goals. It is believed that the ones who are in power deserve to be there due to their special endowment. It also implies that the traits of the person remain stable over time and across different clusters. Later when the great women theory also emerged, the theory was recognised as the great person theory.
The theory is simple to understand and implement. People are more likely to believe and support their leaders and also to follow the orders and instructions. Thus, compliance becomes easy when a person is believed and trusted.
As the theory believes that great leaders are born and not created, thus, it will make people blindly follow without even considering anything. It might neglect people who possess the right skills and qualities but are not generally accepted people just because the person is not believed to be a born leader. Thus, the efforts of people to acquire skills, qualities and develop abilities to make themselves effective leader, are all false in this regard. Further, the other skills and limitations of the born leader are also neglected in light of their position.
This theory came into place with the realization that there is no perfect leadership style that can fit all the situations. The theory considers that the best-fit leadership style depends on the situation and every situation may demand a different kind of leadership style. Thus, it is tried to predict the styles which are best for different situations. There are certain factors in every situation that decide whether a particular leader or leadership style can manage the situation efficiently or not. Thus, the theory does not place much importance on the abilities or skills of the leader because the emphasis is more on the situation which decides the best leader and his/her style. This model is proposed by Fiedler and therefore, known as Fiedler Contingency Model of Leadership. As per the model, a leader is most effective when his traits match with the requirement of the situation and environment around. The performance of people with different skills can vary in different situations. Further, an equal opportunity is also present for everyone who can prove the worth and value in the required situation.
This style of leadership is supported by a large number of empirical studies and has also been tested widely. The model is also predictive and there exist methods to evaluate both the situation and the least preferred co-worker. Further, expectations from the leader are reduced and the focus in on matching the right person with the situation. It can turn out to be a valuable tool in case of management change or reorganization.
The model fails to extensively put forward the reasons for the leader's effectiveness in varied situations. Further, least preferred co-worker (LPC) scale is debatable and it is difficult to understand how LPC can relate with the leadership style of the person. Moreover, this theory might put a question on the career of the leader as every situation requires a new leader which is hard in the practical scenario.
According to Maslow's need hierarchy, there are five levels of needs for an individual. For a leader, it is necessary to understand these need levels of the team. I always try to define and understand these needs of my team members and also give them the opportunity to fulfil them. I, as a leader or manager, make sure that my team becomes good in their profession and thus, along with understanding their needs, I make them understand the needs of their patients too. Patient's needs should be understood at different levels so that the right care can be provided. The needs can emerge at any time and in any situation even without the order. Thus, I sometimes try to remember the old events where I faced similar situation and also evaluate the kind of leadership style that I adopted that time. Along with this, I also remind myself other leaders who were a source of inspiration for me so that I can remind learning from their actions too.
Participative management style is appropriate in scenarios where the needs are of different levels. It also helps adults to express themselves in a better way and thus, provides us with the opportunity to extend care for them in an efficient manner. For the team, it could be difficult
to understand the fourth and fifth level need of the adults due to lack of experience. Thus, it is my duty to guide them for the same. Further, the needs can differ for each individual depending on the part they have played in their life or their work throughout their life. Adults should be dealt with accordingly and even their anger should also be understood as the need at some level.
A great leader or manager is the one who helps the team members to achieve their goals and direct the efforts in the right direction. I, as an effective leader always ensure that my team members put their efforts in the right direction and I always instruct them to deal with the patients in such a manner that they find the care effective and respectful. My role as a leader or manager is to handle my team appropriately and to give them instructions for the right and wrong practices. I use my abilities and skills to guide the team and if I find anyone inappropriately handling the patient, I correct them immediately. Following the trait style of leadership, I understand that my basic responsibility is to motivate and encourage everyone even when the situation is adverse or the patient does not accept the person. I always stand for my team and help them to deal with varied situations.
In order to meet the requirements of the role and work with individuals and teams, I apply the management style which is the most appropriate. I believe that democratic style is always the best but in certain situations when strict actions are required, autocratic style also works. In a senior role, it is more important to apply the skills, qualities and abilities in such a manner that people under the team learns the best way to care for adults. This should be such that even in my absence, people are well aware of the way should work. It is significant to provide care which matches their personal life and is in line with their lifestyle and the way they have lived.
Contingency theory states that a great leader is the one who understands the need of the situation and proves his/her calibre. Thus, in the case of adult care, a leader must understand the needs of different types of patients and should train the team accordingly. The team is the true representation of the leader's effectiveness and therefore, the team must know about working with different kinds of adults. As a leader, I will make my team work within different situations and will give equal chance to them so that they can take care of different adults. It is my duty to make them flexible as per the need of different adults so that every time they meet a different personality, they are capable to handle efficiently. I feel that laissez-faire style is very effective and I mostly go for this style only to give my team freedom so that they can handle things on their own. However, whenever, I find that there is any distraction or the adult could feel uncomfortable, I interrupt and guide the team members.
Further, for new caretakers, I supervise everything including the care plan, activities included and diet chart. In the case of experienced caretakers, I involve less but make sure that they are right in their approach to provide care and support to the individual. At times, I also motivate, support, encourage and mentor the staff. A happy caretaker can take care of the individual in a better way, hence, it is important that the team remains motivated and happy. As the model suggests, the approach for every patient should be different and I make sure the same.
Though the theory seems to be quite straight forward and simple to implement in practice but in reality, there come many challenges to implement it. As per the Maslow's need hierarchy, an individual's needs are satisfied step by step once the lower levels are done. However, in reality, it happens that for many individuals sometimes the upper-level needs are of more significance as compared to the lower level needs. Without the completion of the lower level needs, the individual strives for the satisfaction of upper-level factors. It becomes, difficult to understand the reason for dissatisfaction or demotivation of a person in such a case. Further, for some people, the lower level needs can be a permanent source of motivation which is opposed to the theory. While handling with both the team and the adults, these barriers can prove to be difficult.
The strategies to overcome these barriers can be to keep the team motivated and to maintain a strong inter-personal relationship with them. When it happens, the team becomes more open with me and tell the problems. When the reason for demotivation or dissatisfaction is known clearly, it is easier to address them and gain the confidence of the team members. It is also applicable when the team works with the adults. Thus, maintaining a good relationship, open communication and existence of informal communication along with the formal of communication can prove helpful to deal with the barriers. Further, the team should understand that any need can come at any time without following the hierarchy. Thus, Maslow’s theory should be considered to understand the kinds of need that individuals have and then it should be understood differently for different person.
In this regard, the strengths can include the team’s knowledge of different kinds of patients with different needs and leader’s strong relationship with the team members. Weaknesses can include lack of attention during mentoring and guidance and lack of adaptability by the team.
Opportunities include a better understanding of the needs of the patients which open up future pathways for a bright career. Threats are ignorance in the initial stage which can lead to negative long-term results.
There is a long list of traits that an individual should possess to fit the framework of this theory. However, it is not always necessary that every person possesses those characteristics and especially the physical features that are expected in the model. Further, those who have become a leader as per the parameter of this theory might not get acceptance among the team or can be under-estimated. It can result in a lack of co-operation and support of the teammates. I believe that under such a situation, along with the parameters of the framework, the acceptance of the team members should be considered so that the barriers can be overcome. Strategically the barriers can be in the form of ineffective teamwork. Further, when this leadership does not fit the situation, the team members' performance will also be adversely affected. Further, not every team requires a leader with the same characteristics and thus, team management might not be successful. To manage change and manage quality, the barriers can be in the form of not adhering to the leader's instructions or not following orders the way they should be.
All these barriers can be overcome by the leader by understanding the needs of the teams and the patients. Once the team assumes that the leader is capable to deal with the problems, support the team and undertakes the work which the team members find difficult, the leadership style will prove to be a boon. As the followers will readily accept the manager and the adult will also receive sufficient care and satisfaction.
The SWOT analysis shows that there are high chances of better management of the team due to the trust of the members. Weakness can be poor team control, opportunity can involve best good care and support and threat can be lack of learning.
Contingency theory is being applied as per the requirement of the situation. However, it is difficult to define the requirement in each situation and thus, strategically it is difficult to define which leader or leadership traits are applicable in the given situation. Further, the assumption that one leader cannot fit all the situation, makes it difficult to assess and manage individual and team performance. When one leader or the same leadership style is not considered appropriate, it creates confusion and thus, team management also becomes difficult. Change management and quality management under such circumstances become questionable as it is difficult to maintain both the leadership and the team members.
These barriers can be overcome by understanding which skill sets of the same individual fit the most of the situation. Further, I always try to understand the leadership style which is the need of the particular scenario. In this way, the barriers can be overcome.
Strength: Requirements of the teams and the patients as per the situation can be met
Weaknesses: Sometimes difficult to assess the exact requirement and the best of leadership style
Opportunities: People become flexible according to the situation and thus, skill sets and capability enhance
Threats: Sometimes a wrong style might also be chosen
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