Leadership can be termed as an influence process that involves working with and through others to accomplish common goals and objectives of an organization. Effective leadership requires a combination of proper leadership styles and strategies that enhance employee motivation hence performance. During organizations turbulent times, good leadership is seen as an effective remedy towards a successful sail through away from the challenges. As a result, there exists a close relationship between performance and effective leadership and therefore an organization that has an effective leader performs excellently. According to Hersey and Blanchard (1989), the leadership style chosen is determined by two behavioural categories including directive behavior that is task focused and supportive behavior which is keen on the establishment of a relationship between a leader and his subordinate. There are various approaches that describe effective leadership.
The first approach that addresses effective leadership is the situational or contingency approach that suggests that successful leadership involves the leader matching his/her style of leadership with the situation at hand. This approach emphasizes on the management of a team on an individual basis rather than as a group and therefore the leader should be able to handle every individual as a unit to solve their problems. Hersey and Blanchard further explain that the leadership style chose is dictated by two categories of behavior including supportive and directive behavior. Directive behavior in this case, supportive behavior emphasizes on establishing a warm relationship between the leader and his subordinates to enhance their level of productivity. A leader who is supportive provides a free and conducive environment to his subordinates giving them an opportunity to express their views and feelings regarding the on goings in the organization. Thi gives them an open minded approach to their work and therefore it becomes easy for them to express their feelings, suggestions and recommendations on how the organisation. He also knows about and listens to his/her subordinates, gives praise to and encourages his employees among others; this works to give the employees constant motivation and inspiration towards their work leading to high productivity even during turbulent times. On the other hand, a leader who is supportive sets and communicates priorities, goals and objectives and supervises all work acting as an overall in charge of the activities in the organisation.
There are four major leadership styles that can be used during turbulent times in an organisation including the supporting style which provides less direction and high support to individuals, the directing style which provides high levels of direction and less support to subordinates, the delegation style which involves low support and low direction to employees and the coaching style that provides a high level of direction and a low level of support. An effective leader should choose and adopt the most appropriate and effective combination according to the situation particularly during turbulent times to enhance productivity. However, Blanchard (1985) argues that there is no one leadership style that is always correct suggesting that every style can be effective but that depends on the situation and must be based on the leader’s judgment on an individual’s ability and willingness to perform a particular task otherwise referred to as an individual’s development level. This is also dependent on ones competence (ones knowledge and skills) and commitment (an individual’s level of motivation and self confidence).
The other approach to leadership that could be effective during turbulence times is the action centered approach to leadershiip which focuses on what the leader can do to enhance employee productivity. According to John A. (1983), an effective leader should be able to meet three areas of need including the need to maintain a focused and dependable team, the need to achieve the tasks and the need to meet the individual needs of the team members. A good leader should be aware of what is happening within his/ her team in terms of task achievement, team member needs and team maintenance; this should constantly be kept in a balance to ensure a sustained improvement in productivity.
In conclusion, effective leadership is a crucial component towards an organizations performance especially during turbulent times because of its ability to maintain increased levels of productivity and therefore its significance can not be down played. During these times, an organisation requires both transformational and transactional leadership who can set clear goals and objectives for the organisation, understand the needs of the organizations employees and put in place rewarding strategies that motivate them increasing their productivity levels. Leaders play a pivotal role in organizations through inspiring and motivating people to perform, the provision of vision and direction to the organisation and ensuring that people are aligned with the vision. Leaders participate in the planning and reviewing of organizational progress and recommend corrective action where necessary; this gives the organisation a cutting edge and ability to sail through turbulent times. They also motivate and encourage employees in their duties giving them morale to perform better hence increase in productivity. Leaders also encourage cooperation, collaboration through building of teams that work together towards the achievement of set goals and objectives; this leads to the creation of harmony in an organisation and work together towards its success.