Contemporary Issues in Leadership

Leadership is the process of influencing the behavior of others to work willingly and enthusiastically for achieving predetermined goals. It may be seen in terms of relationship between a leader and his followers (individuals / groups) which arises out of their functioning for common goals. The followers work willingly to achieve goal, thus there is no coercive force which induces the followers to work.
LEADERS AS Shapers of Meaning Framing Issues. Framing is a way to use language to manage meaning. It’s a way for leaders to influence how events are seen and understood.
Contemporary roles relating to lead team as managing the conflicts; coaching to improve team member performance; used to serve as troubleshooters. It seems to respond in a group in which they have to participate with the leader. It involves mentor who is a senior employee who sponsors and supports a less experienced employee. Leadership can be taught online as it builds trust in the working environment of the organization.

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Challenges facing to leadership can be on the basis of qualities attributed as leaders are intelligent, ongoing, have strong verbal skills, understanding, are aggressive and industrious. Actually they perceive or project the appearance of being a leader. Many people today are seeking to understand — and many people are writing about — the concept and practices of leadership.. The concept of leadership is relevant to any aspect of ensuring effectiveness in organizations and in managing change.
There has been an explosion of literature about leadership lately. Leading is a very human activity — we’re all human — so there are many people who consider themselves experts on leadership. There are a great many reasons for the popularity of the topic, including that organizations are faced with changes like never before. Understanding the concept of leadership requires more than reading a few articles or fantasizing about what great leaders should be.
Contemporary issues includes [1] out of the box thinking; [2]leading by example; [3]globalization;[ 4]changing group dynamics; [5]technology; [6]quick decision making; [7]dealing with change and uncertainty; [8]mentoring; [9]ethical behavior; [10] recruiting and retaining quality workers. Now, managerial and leadership effectiveness depends on the ability to gain the trust of the followers. A recent survey in U.S. employees found that only half trusted their senior manager. Also the bad practices of corporations in the U.S. like the leaders of ENRON, WORLDCOM, etc that were accused of engaging in activities like secret loans, insider trading, manipulating profit figures, evading taxes all these has lost the confidence and trust of employees and investors, supplier, customers in senior executives.
Unfortunately, many people make strong assertions about leadership without ever really understanding a great deal about leadership. Leaders need basic intelligence and job related knowledge but this is not enough. They are necessary but not sufficient. It is emotional intelligence that makes him a star performer. These are:

Self-awareness exhibited by self confidence, realistic self assessment and a sense of humor.
Self management. Exhibited by trustworthiness, integrity, and comfort with ambiguity, openness to change.
Self motivation: exhibited by strong drive to achieve, optimism, and high organizational commitment.
Empathy cross cultural sensitivity, expertise in building talents.

However, subsequent scientific studies find that leaders are not exceptionally brilliant, splendid speakers or highly energetic. Instead, leaders know how to forge relationships and accomplish tasks. In fact, analysts find that leaders’ ability to accomplish tasks is even more important than their interpersonal skills.
Leadership Personalities
Academic studies achieve varied results when they try to isolate the characteristics of effective leaders. In work done in 1948 that is still well-regarded, scholar Ralph Stogdill proposed that leaders have five “clusters” of characteristics that make them good at leading. The five are: “capacity (intelligence, judgment); achievement (knowledge, scholarship); responsibility (dependability, aggressiveness, self control, and desire to excel); participation (activity, sociability, cooperation, adaptability)” and “status (position, popularity).” In 1990, subsequent research identified five more factors that leaders have in common: they are reliable, agreeable, extroverted, and emotionally stable and open to new experiences. Current theory proposes that anyone can become a leader to some degree if he or she can:

Be confident about taking action, and controlling his or her life.
Use power in “pro-social” ways that extend beyond personal gain or narcissism.
Develop personal vision by seeing the future impact of today’s actions.

Leaders must have vision, a future view of events. Good leaders have the ability to convey their visions and make the future unfold as they hope it will. This generally begins with writing a vision statement, a process that often goes badly. Commonly, vision statements are confusing. They tend to cite goals that are really associated with strategies and objectives, not vision. To craft an effective vision statement, write a brief, memorable declaration. Then share your vision; make it more tangible by telling stories and using metaphors.
Good leaders consistently align their actions with their verbal messages. They see their followers in a positive light, and care about their well being. Strong leaders provide the proper support to help their followers accept new challenges. Leaders assist others in finding meaning in their work and in their lives.
Emotional Intelligence
Leaders forge relationships with groups or individuals. The individual relationships tend to be more intellectual but, in both cases, good leader’s exhibit highly developed “emotional” or “social intelligence.” They are self-aware, socially skilled, disciplined and able to deal capably with other people. People with emotional intelligence think before they act, focus on their goals, understand other people’s emotions and have the skill to establish common grounds for discussion.
In this instance, scholars concluded that even the most talented executive cannot succeed without emotional intelligence. Some major corporations that wanted to encourage future leaders in their ranks hired psychologists to sort out leadership characteristics. The psychologists found that leaders are smart and have solid, long-term vision, but that their emotional intelligence is twice as important as either intellect or vision. One study shows that companies where the employees have high emotional intelligence earn higher profits. The reverse is also demonstrably true. A workforce marked by a lack of emotional intelligence can mean lower profits.
Leaders can learn emotional intelligence. People who know their limitations can plan to avoid stressful situations or to work around events that tug at their weaknesses. One-on-one training is the best way to learn how to improve your emotional intelligence. Such training focuses on correcting undesirable social habits, such as acting impulsively or being a bad listener. Because this process requires people to correct brain-based emotional drives, it is time-consuming.
Theory of Leadership
Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. Definitions more inclusive of followers have also emerged. Alan Keith of Genentech states that, “Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.” According to Ken Ogbonnia “effective leadership is the ability to successfully integrate and maximize available resources within the internal and external environment for the attainment of organizational or societal goals.”
Leadership remains one of the most relevant aspects of the organizational context. However, defining leadership has been challenging and definitions can vary depending on the situation. According to Ann Marie E. McSwain, Assistant Professor at Lincoln University, “leadership is about capacity: the capacity of leaders to listen and observe, to use their expertise as a starting point to encourage dialogue between all levels of decision-making, to establish processes and transparency in decision-making, to articulate their own values and visions clearly but not impose them. Leadership is about setting and not just reacting to agendas, identifying problems, and initiating change that makes for substantive improvement rather than managing change.”
The following sections discuss several important aspects of leadership including a description of what leadership is and a description of several popular theories and styles of leadership. This article also discusses topics such as the role of emotions and vision, as well as leadership effectiveness and performance, leadership in different contexts, how it may differ from related concepts (i.e., management), and some critiques of leadership as generally conceived.
Trait Theory
Trait theory tries to describe the types of behavior and personality tendencies associated with effective leadership. In modern times, Thomas Carlyle (1841) can be considered one of the forerunners of trait theory, seeking to identify the talents, skills and physical characteristics of men who rose to power
Although trait theory has an intuitive appeal, difficulties may arise in proving its tenets, and opponents frequently challenge this approach. The “strongest” versions of trait theory see these “leadership characteristics” as innate, and accordingly label some people as “born leaders” due to their psychological makeup. On this reading of the theory, leadership development involves identifying and measuring leadership qualities, screening potential leaders from non-leaders, then training those with potential. In response to criticisms of the trait approach, researchers have begun to assess leader attributes using the leadership attribute pattern approach.
Behavioral and style Theories
In response to the criticism of the trait approach, theorists began to research leadership as a set of behaviors, evaluating the behavior of ‘successful’ leaders, determining behavior taxonomy and identifying broad leadership styles. David McClelland, for example, saw leadership skills, not so much as a set of traits, but as a pattern of motives. He claimed that successful leaders will tend to have a high need for power, a low need for affiliation, and a high level of what he called activity inhibition (one might call it self-control
The researchers evaluated the performance of groups of eleven-year-old boys under different types of work climate. In each, the leader exercised his influence regarding the type of group decision making, praise and criticism (feedback), and the management of the group tasks (project management)
Situational and contingency Theories
Situational theory also appeared as a reaction to the trait theory of leadership. This theory assumes that different situations call for different characteristics; according to this group of theories, no single optimal psychographic profile of a leader exists. According to the theory, “what an individual actually does when acting as a leader is in large part dependent upon characteristics of the situation in which he functions.”
Some theorists started to synthesize the trait and situational approaches. The descriptive models of leadership climates, defining three leadership styles and identifying in which situations each style works better. The authoritarian leadership style, for example, is approved in periods of crisis but fails to win the “hearts and minds” of their followers in the day-to-day management; the democratic leadership style is more adequate in situations that require consensus building; finally, the laissez faire leadership style is appreciated by the degree of freedom it provides, but as the leader does not “take charge”, he can be perceived as a failure in protracted or thorny organizational problems. Thus, theorists defined the style of leadership as contingent to the situation, which is sometimes classified as contingency theory. Four contingency leadership theories appear more prominently in the recent years: Fiedler contingency model, Vroom-Yetton decision model, the path-goal theory, and the Hersey-Blanchard situational theory.
Functional Theory
Functional leadership theory is a particularly useful theory for addressing specific leader behaviors expected to contribute to organizational or unit effectiveness. This theory argues that the leader’s main job is to see that whatever is necessary to group needs is taken care of; thus, a leader can be said to have done their job well when they have contributed to group effectiveness and cohesion (Fleishman et al., 1991; Hackman & Wageman, 2005; Hackman & Walton, 1986). While functional leadership theory has most often been applied to team leadership (Zaccaro, Rittman, & Marks, 2001), it has also been effectively applied to broader organizational leadership as well (Zaccaro, 2001). In summarizing literature on functional leadership (see Kozlowski et al. (1996), Zaccaro et al. (2001), Hackman and Walton (1986), Hackman & Wageman (2005), Morgeson (2005)), Klein, Zeigert, Knight, and Xiao (2006) observed five broad functions a leader performs when promoting organisation’s effectiveness. These functions include: (1) environmental monitoring, (2) organizing subordinate activities, (3) teaching and coaching subordinates, (4) motivating others, and (5) intervening actively in the group’s work.
Leader as a communicator the framing
Framing is a way of communicating to shape meaning.
It’s a way for leaders to influence how others see and understand events.
Selecting and highlighting one or more events while excluding others.
It is the ability of the leader to influence others to act beyond their self interests
Two contemporary theories of leadership with a common theme.

Charismatic leadership
Transformational leadership

Charismatic Leadership
The Charismatic Leader gathers followers through dint of personality and charm, rather than any form of external power or authority.
The searchlight of attention
It is interesting to watch a Charismatic Leader ‘working the room’ as they move from person to person. They pay much attention to the person they are talking to at any one moment, making that person feel like they are, for that time, the most important person in the world.
Charismatic Leaders pay a great deal of attention in scanning and reading their environment, and are good at picking up the moods and concerns of both individuals and larger audiences. They then will hone their actions and words to suit the situation.
Pulling all of the strings
Charismatic Leaders use a wide range of methods to manage their image and, if they are not naturally charismatic, may practice assiduously at developing their skills. They may engender trust through visible self-sacrifice and taking personal risks in the name of their beliefs. They will show great confidence in their followers. They are very persuasive and make very effective use of body language as well as verbal language.
Deliberate charisma is played out in a theatrical sense, where the leader is ‘playing to the house’ to create a desired effect. They also make effective use of storytelling, including the use of symbolism and metaphor.
Many politicians use a charismatic style, as they need to gather a large number of followers. If you want to increase your charisma, studying videos of their speeches and the way they interact with others is a great source of learning. Religious leaders, too, may well use charisma, as do cult leaders.
Leading the team
Charismatic Leaders, who are building a group, whether it is a political party, a cult or a business team, will often focus strongly on making the group very clear and distinct, separating it from other groups. They will then build the image of the group, in particular in the minds of their followers, as being far superior to all others.
The Charismatic Leader will typically attach themselves firmly to the identify of the group, such that to join the group is to become one with the leader. In doing so, they create an unchallengeable position for themselves.
Key characteristics of charismatic leadership

Vision and articulation;
Sensitivity to the environment;
Sensitivity to member needs;
Personal risk taking;
Performing unconventional behavior

Vision and articulations

Has a vision
Expressed as an idealized goal
The goal proposes a future better than the status quo
Is able to clarify the importance of the vision in terms that are understandable to others.

Personal risk

Willing to take on high personal risk
Incur high costs
Engage in self sacrifice to achieve the vision

Sensitivity to follower’s needs

Perspective of other’s abilities
Responsive to other’s needs and feelings.

Unconventional behavior

Engages in behaviors in behaviors that are novel and counter to norms.

Personality of charismatic leaders

Self confident
Achievement oriented
Articulate an over arching goal
Communicate high performance expectations
Empathize the needs of their followers
Project a powerful confident and dynamic presence
Captivating and engaging voice tone

Three step process of becoming a charismatic leader
An individual needs to develop an aura of charisma by maintaining an optimistic view, using passion as a catalyst for generating enthusiasm and communicating with the whole body, not just with words.
.An individual draws others in by creating a bond that inspires others to follows.
. An individual brings out the potential in followers by tapping into their emotions.
Charismatic Leadership Issues
People following these leaders will be exerting extra effort, express greater satisfaction.
Charismatic effectiveness and situation
Charisma works best when:
The follower’s task has an ideological component
There is a lot of stress and uncertainty in the environment
The leader is at the upper level of the organization
Followers have low self-esteem and self-worth
Dark Side of Charisma
Ego-driven charismatic allow their self-interest and personal goals to override the organization’s goals
Very effective leaders who possess the four typical leadership traits:
Individual competency
Team skills
Managerial competence
Ability to stimulate others to high performance
Plus one critical new trait
A blend of personal humility and professional will
Personal ego-needs are focused toward building a great company
Take responsibility for failures and give credit to others for successes
Prided them on developing strong leaders inside the firm who could direct the company to greater heights after they were gone.
Transactional and transformational Theories
The transactional leader (Burns, 1978) is given power to perform certain tasks and reward or punish for the team’s performance. It gives the opportunity to the manager to lead the group and the group agrees to follow his lead to accomplish a predetermined goal in exchange for something else. Power is given to the leader to evaluate, correct and train subordinates when productivity is not up to the desired level and reward effectiveness when expected outcome is reached.
The transformational leader (Burns, 1978) motivates its team to be effective and efficient. Communication is the base for goal achievement focusing the group on the final desired outcome or goal attainment. This leader is highly visible and uses chain of command to get the job done. Transformational leaders focus on the big picture, needing to be surrounded by people who take care of the details. The leader is always looking for ideas that move the organization to reach the company’s vision.
Ten Lessons for Leaders and Leadership Developers
In the early 1980’s we set upon a quest to discover what it took to become a leader. We wanted to know the common practices of ordinary men and women when they were at their leadership best–when they were able to take people to places they had never been before. Strategies, tactics, skills, and practices are empty (or worse yet, manipulative and exploitative) unless we understand the fundamental human aspirations that connect leaders and constituents. Leadership is certainly not conveyed in a gene, and it’s most definitely not a secret code that can’t be understood by ordinary folks.
Our analysis of thousands of cases and surveys from over a dozen years of research has revealed a consistent pattern of exemplary leader- ship practices and fundamental constituent expectations. But knowing that the portrait emerging from the study of personal-best leadership experiences was only a partial picture, we also explored the expectations that the constituents have of people they would be willing to follow. What we’ve learned from studies specifically with college student leaders over the past five years has only strengthened our fundamental appreciation that Leadership is not a mysterious, mystical, or ethereal concept–one that is somehow beyond the scope and imagination of the vast majority of people. Our research has shown us that leadership is an observable, learnable set of practices. Indeed, the belief that leadership can’t be learned is a far more powerful deterrent to development than is the nature of the leadership.
Where Are Our Future Leaders?
Who will lead us into the twenty-first century? It is time for us to decide. A generation ago the objective of African-American activists was to destroy racial segregation and integrate mainstream political and economic institutions. Instead we must recognize that one of the root causes of our divisions and social unrest is an absence of creative, dynamic leadership. Oppressed people need leaders to liberate them. Many of us accomplished these goals. But despite examples of individual success, there remains a simmering leadership crisis that can split our community apart. This common experience of racial oppression gave us a sense of solidarity and interdependence. Black physicians depended on Black patients; Black lawyers and accountants served Black clients.
With desegregation, many affluent African-Americans moved from the ghetto into integrated suburbs. Graduates of Howard and Spelman now end their children to Harvard and Swarthmore. In the cities, our sense of community has gradually deteriorated. Millions of our young people are trapped in a destructive web of inferior schools, violence, drugs, and unemployment. Historically the social classes in the Black community were bound together by Jim Crow segregation laws. Blacks on welfare and Black Ph.D.’s alike were ordered to the back of the bus or denied work because of their race. We can’t depend on the political system–the Democrats or Republicans–or the corporate world to solve our problems; all too often their policies have contributed to them. These leaders must be women and men with vision who have the capacity to articulate the common grievances and goals of the community.
How Women Can Find Mentors
in a World with Few Role Models
Do women have a tougher time finding mentors than men? That’s what women managers tell me, time and again. The rest must find their own mentors. Here’s some advice. (Minorities and others who have trouble finding role models in upper management can learn about creative ways to build mentoring relationships, as well.)
Few women hold positions of power, the story goes. Meanwhile, members of the predominant mentoring class–white males–are too busy seeking clones of themselves. And this serves as an effective barrier to top-level jobs. So what’s to be done? A number of local and even national programs are increasing mentoring opportunities for women, but they only reach a handful of those needing guidance.
Wanted: Company Change Agents
The most sought-after person in today’s workplace is someone known as a change leader, a new breed of middle manager who’s in short supply. Very different from your run-of-the-mill general managers, these mavericks get big results when you need them. They are focused, determined, willing to break rules, and great at motivating their troops.
But how do you identify these people in your organization? How do you build a cadre of such quirky but essential agents of change? McKinsey & Co. director Jon R. Katzenbach has some answers. For the past three years he and a team of six McKinsey partners have been studying middle-manager change agents at organizations from Compaq Computer to Mobil to the New York City Transit. The fruit of this research is the forthcoming book Real Change Leaders. Katzenbach recently sat down with Stratford Sherman, a member of Fortune’s board of editors, to discuss what he learned.
Why are midlevel change leaders so important to today’s organizations?
For some time now companies have wanted to change the behaviors and skills of large numbers of their employees. They’re not, however, very good at that yet. I don’t see many victories; I don’t think even GE would claim complete victory. You can create a good program-like [former CEO] John Akers’s plan in the early 1990s to transform IBM–but it doesn’t work. Something goes wrong in the middle ranks of the company, and all the admonitions from the top don’t get through. For large-scale transformations, you need a critical mass of change leaders in the middle of the organization.
Leadership and emotions
Leadership can be perceived as a particularly emotion-laden process, with emotions entwined with the social influence process. In an organization, the leaders’ mood has some effects on his/her group. These effects can be described in following method:
The mood of individual group members. The leaders transmit their moods to other group members through the mechanism of emotional contagion. Mood contagion may be one of the psychological mechanisms by which charismatic leaders influence followers. Group members with leaders in a positive mood experience more positive mood than do group members with leaders in a negative mood.
The affective tone of the group. Group affective tone is an aggregate of the moods of the individual members of the group and refers to mood at the group level of analysis. Groups with leaders in a positive mood have a more positive affective tone than do groups with leaders in a negative mood. Group affective tone represents the consistent or homogeneous affective reactions within a group.
Group processes like coordination, effort expenditure, and task strategy. Public expressions of mood impact how group members think and act. For example, expressions of positive moods by leaders signal that leaders deem progress toward goals to be good. The group members respond to those signals cognitively and behaviorally in ways that are reflected in the group processes. When people experience and express mood, they send signals to others. Leaders signal their goals, intentions, and attitudes through their expressions of moods.
In research about client service, it was found that expressions of positive mood by the leader improve the performance of the group, although in other sectors there were other findings.
Beyond the leader’s mood, his behavior is a source for employee positive and negative emotions at work. Examples – feedback giving, allocating tasks, resource distribution. Since employee behavior and productivity are directly affected by their emotional states, it is imperative to consider employee emotional responses to organizational leaders Emotional intelligence, the ability to understand and manage moods and emotions in the self and others, contributes to effective leadership in organizations. Leadership is about being responsible. The leader creates situations and events that lead to emotional response. Certain leader behaviors displayed during interactions with their employees are the sources of these affective events. Leaders shape workplace affective events.
Leadership styles
Leadership styles refer to a leader’s behavior. It is the result of the philosophy, personality and experience of the leader.
Laissez Fair
Dictator Leaders
A leader who uses fear and threats to get the jobs done. As similar with a leader who uses an autocratic style of leadership, this style of leader also makes all the decisions.
Autocratic or Authoritarian Leaders
Under the autocratic leadership styles, all decision-making powers are centralized in the leader as shown such leaders are dictators.
They do not entertain any suggestions or initiative from subordinates. The autocratic management has been successful as it provides strong motivation to the manger. It permits quick decision-making as only one person decides for the whole group, and keeps it to them until they feel it is needed by the rest of the group. An autocratic leader does not trust anybody.
Participative or Democratic Leaders
The democratic leadership style favors decision-making by the group as shown, such as leader gives instruction after consulting the group.
He can win the cooperation of his group and can motivate them effectively and positively. The decisions of the democratic leader are not unilateral as with the autocrat because they arise from consultation with the group members and participation by them.
Laissez Faire or Free Rein Leaders
A free rein leader does not lead, but leaves the group entirely to itself as shown; such a leader allows maximum freedom to subordinates.
They are given a freehand in deciding their own policies and methods. Free rein leadership style is considered better than the authoritarian style. But it is not as effective as the democratic style.
Transactional and Transformational Leadership
Transactional Leaders
Leaders who guide or motivate their followers in the direction of established goals by clarifying role and task requirements
Transformational Leaders
Inspire followers to transcend their own self-interests for the good of the organization; they can have a profound and extraordinary effect on followers
Not opposing, but complementary, approaches to leadership
Great transformational leaders must also be transactional; only one type is not enough for success
Characteristics of the Two Types of Leaders
Contingent Reward:
Contracts exchange of rewards for effort, promises rewards for good performance, recognizes accomplishments
Management by Exception:
Active: Watches and searches for deviations from rules and standards, takes corrective action
Passive: Intervenes only if standards are not met

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