Over the decades, numerous studies have been conducted on the behaviour and roles of leaders, including topics such as charismatic leadership and transactional leadership (Bass, 1985; Bass & Riggio, 2006). More recently, the focus on leadership research has shifted to transformational leadership, which has an impact not only on organisational performance and task-related role performance, but also a positive impact on employees’ attitude and emotional encouragement (Bass ; Riggio, 2006). Northhouse (2016) asserts that within all these theories, frameworks, and approaches to leadership, there is an underlying message leaders need to have a variety of factors working in their favour. Effective leadership is not simply based on a set of attributes, behaviours, or influences.
Leaders should have a wide range of abilities and approaches that they can draw upon and apply. Factors that influence the style or combination of styles of leadership a leader will use can depend on the following, as identified by Klenke, (2007). The first factor that will determine the style of leadership or combinations of leadership will depend on the type of person the leader is. This incorporates the leader’s behaviour and the trust of the team members (Klenke, 2007). Klenke (2007) also maintains that a leader should have the information to make informed decisions or the team members should have similar information. Leaders with a keen strength as a doer know how to make things happen. This is the type of leader who takes a calculated risk and acts after consulting with the various stakeholders. Leaders with this strength are always selling their teams’ ideas and plans within and outside the organisation. This creates a conducive environment for innovative ideas to come to the fore, because the team members know that their leader will sell such ideas to other people. These ideas can be positive or negative influences. Klenke (2007) argues that too often leaders underestimate the power and influence of a certain group of people in the team. This means that when decisions are executed human resource problems may be experienced. These characteristics of a leader increase organisational cohesion, trust and a sense of belonging. As social beings, people want to belong to or be in positive relationships. A sense of belonging is needed to be instilled in each team member and will ensure that the team member will do everything for the team or the leader. Strategic thinking implies that leaders have the strength to keep everyone in the group or organisation on what could be. These are the leaders who encourage and motivate their team member to think about the future. This is of utmost importance in today’s dynamic global environment in which organisations operate (Klenke, 2007).
According to Klenke (2007) the second determinant of the style of leadership that will be employed by a leader will depend on the team members. This include the team members’ level of knowledge and experience, level of dependency, ability to take responsibility, involvement in the issue/s, level of training and experience of team members and to what extent the leader is confident about the task/issue at hand. Griffin (2014) refers to it as substitutes for leadership. He argues that if team members have the ability, expertise, need for independence and professional orientation it will reduce the behaviour of the leader. The characteristics of the leadership team also determine the type of leadership the leader will choose. To enhance the trust of the followers in the leader a study conducted by Clifton over a period of 40 years.
Rath and Conchie (2013) concludes that four requirements are needed for a great leadership team. These four requirements are: the time available to complete the task or address the issue/s; the internal culture of the organisation; the level of unity amongst the group; and the level of seriousness of the issue/s. Other factors may be stress, type of task to be completed, policies and procedures in place to accomplish the task or dissolve the conflict (Rath ; Conchie, 2013). These factors may individually or in combination dictate the style of leadership a leader will use. The urgency and severity of the task to be completed or conflict that needs to be resolved can determine the style of leadership or the combination of leadership styles that will be effective in the given circumstances. The negative impact of these factors may be limited if there are trust and respect between the leader and the team members and amongst the team members. A good working relationship and effective communication between the leader and the team members are of utmost importance to ensure that the most applicable and effective style of leadership is chosen by the leader.
In addition Bradberry and Greaves (2012) found that adaptive leadership skills are fundamental and set great leaders apart. Adaptive leadership is a unique combination of skills, perspectives and guided effort to make true excellence possible. These combinations are discussed below. Leaders should know how to integrate what their followers think, what they want to hear and how they want to hear it with the relevant facts. This will let followers feel respected and valued. To effectively make use of these skills leaders should make fair decisions; communicate how the decision was reached to the followers and the effect or impact of them on the followers. True leaders are those leaders who are really concerned about the well-being of their followers. True characteristics of an effective leader are that they are transparent and forthcoming. True leaders earn the respect of their followers because their actions and words are the same. To become a leader the leader should have integrity, credibility and the ability to capitalise on the difference amongst people that will ensure the followers maximum contribution which may leads to achievement of better results (Bradberry ; Greaves 2012).
Leaders who are of the opinion that they have nothing more to learn to develop their team members will never know the true hidden potential of their followers (Bradberry ; Greaves 2012). To develop and set an example to their followers’ leaders should engage themselves in a process of lifelong learning. This will ensure that they will continuously develop their own abilities and will then provide their people with ample opportunities to develop their own abilities and build new skills. This study defines leadership as a process whereby a person influences team members with their free consent, to achieve the goals of the organisation and to the benefit of all stakeholders at large.