Regardless of acknowledging the importance of leadership, however, there remains a few unknown as to what leadership really is or how to define it. In a review of leadership research, (Stogdill, 1974) concluded that there are “as many definitions of leadership as there are people who are trying to define it. Defining leadership comprises of two fundamental difficulties. Leadership is a complex construct open to various interpretation. Everybody has their own understanding of what leadership is, based on their experience and/or learning, which is difficult to capture in a short definition.
Secondly, the way in which leadership is understood is influenced by one’s theoretical stance. (Stogdill, 1974) states that, there are those who view leadership as the consequence of a set of traits or characteristics possessed by ‘leaders’, whilst others view leadership as a social process that emerges from group relationships. Such different views always result in a difference of views about what leadership is.
(Nicholls, 1994), defines it in three distinctly different aspects, the Heart, Head and Hands or (inspirational, strategic and supervisory). The “heart and/or inspirational” leader, touching people’s feelings and beliefs, to stimulate them with enthusiasm. While the “head or the strategic” leader, is about taking hard strategic decisions to create an organization that is effective. The “Hands and/or supervisory” leadership style is a “hands-on” approach to get efficient performance from your subordinates.
These three leadership styles are about the effect of the leader on individually, people or collectively, relative to their environment. The section below explores in depth what each of these three distinctly different leadership styles entails.
Heart/Inspirational Leadership is a leader who is about energizing and creating a sense of direction and purpose for employees and excitement and momentum for change. It involves stimulating individuals and/or people to strive towards a persuasive vision of the future by embracing organizational values in all aspects of their daily work. It includes offering clear goals and objectives and ensures that those who are led work as a team towards a shared purpose. It also includes the provision of the required resources and motivational support every employee need to grow and the enablement and liability to take ownership for their own success.
This leadership style is effective in motivating employees in be productive and efficient. This leadership style is characterised by sort term plan and with short-term planning as part of this leadership style, this leadership ensures that its visions for the organization is realized. This is partly because of the autonomy given to subordinates makes them able to carry out their tasks, because the motivation comes from within. Heart/Inspirational Leadership is also composed of a structure that is clear and concise. A Heart/Inspirational leadership is effective when it comes to increase in production and cutting down costs. These are since this leadership style has short-term goals that make it easy for employees to get things done.
At the core of Heart/Inspirational leadership style is to promote a culture of respect, fairness, trust and honesty where people feel appreciated and valued for their unique contribution. This leadership style also recognizes individuals’ achievements, knowledge and capabilities and demonstrates an openness to others’ ideas or to being influenced about another person (e.g., believing that others have something valuable to say or offer, no matter what position(s) they hold). It also facilitates open and honest dialogue and creates a safe environment to learn, give and receive feedback.