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Business Leadership Discussion response

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Business Leadership

Week 4 IQ 1

Hande Saganak


We have been discussing about some leadership approaches, traits and theories to be able to understand how leadership works and can be measured for over three weeks. Every approach has individual importance separately on the way of our learning steps and discovery.

Trait approach concentrates on leaders’ personality like intelligence, integrity, self – confidence, determination and sociability (Northouse, 2013, pp. 23). It can describe a charismatic leader perfectly. Psychologists searched for to identify and categorize the personal traits which make them leaders by comparing the traits by ineffective and effective leaders. Even it was a big step for measuring leadership, isolating behavior did not work and it became a task that trying to find out what effective leaders did before to reach their goals (Kanji, 2008, pp. 418).

When we come to the Skills Approach we can discover more measurable trait that affects leaders’ ability, effectiveness and successes in the organization. It does not categorize leader as same in every situation. Needs of skills (technical, human, conceptual) are changing according to their management levels in the organization (Northouse, 2013, pp. 45-46). Even all the good clarifying information it is still not good enough to describe or measure leadership alone.

Style Approach and Situational Approach showed us how leaders’ behaviors in different situation affect the organizations’ success. And these two approaches helped us to understand better Contingency Theory which actually describes how leaders’ styles match better in different situations which affects the leaders and organizations success (Northouse, 2013, pp. 123).

Even all the information helps us a lot, there are still some missing paces in leadership. And in this week’s IQ we are pulling the steps together with considering also vision, goal, and followers by Path – Goal Theory and Leader – Member Exchange Theory.

Path – Goal Theory

Path – Goal Theory explains that particular leadership behavior is more successful to motivate particular people characteristic and particular task to reach the common goal. So every individual leader behavior has different effects on organization motivation (Northouse, 2013, pp. 138). Path – Goal Theory is very successful as much as being very complex. But when we look at the major mechanisms; if a leader behavior, subordinate characteristics and task characteristics suit each other the organization has enough motivation to reach to their goal (Northouse, 2013, pp. 139).

Sarian Bouma gives wonderful examples about how she had been motivating their employees. She helps them to solve their problems by hiring good lawyer for example, makes them proud of themselves with nice words and makes them feel more belong in where they are (Bouma, 2010). After all I don’t believe she could lose any situation with her employers.

Leader – Member Exchange Theory

Leader – Member Exchange Theory (LMX) clarifies the relation between leaders and followers and their interactions (Northouse, 2013, pp. 161). The theory suggests and describes two groups which are needed to be identified very clearly.

1- In Group who work directly with the leader. They have special relationship and common goal and vision. They are followers and dedicate their selves. This relationship is high quality and trust plays most important role.

2- Out Group members follow only the directions. Both leaders and out group members are fair to each other but out group members don’t get special attention on them (Northouse, 2013, pp. 168 – 1969).

The theory should be well understood. It does not mean any diversity when talking about out and in groups. But it is likely to be misunderstood by some organizations.

For example I am leading the Agricultural part in the company and there are some other departments too which I have a relationship with. So we also work with horticultural department, watering department and shipping department too. But my ‘in group’ is agricultural department and I do extra things for my workers as much as other department leaders do for theirs too. Those extras are very important for me to motivate them to focus on their job. On the other hand I am trying to keep a nice and fair relationship with others. I don’t think anybody feels bad about it as the followers also feel their supporters and know where they belong. It could have been bad if other departments’ leaders treaded them badly.

Total Quality Management and Business Excellence Model

Kanji indicates the importance of the organizational work which is needed to be done all together. So people need a vision which inspires them to make an extra collective job, positive energy, nice working environment, and good collaboration (Kanji, 2008, pp.420). And he indicates another important issue for leadership ‘continuous quality improvement’ which requires mission, vision, strategy, values and key issues (Kanji, 2008, pp.422).


Leadership complexity has another view with its values and followers. On the other hand more clear to understand how organizations can become and sustain successful in the end. Communications is very important for people to remember their values and goals and lack of trust can destroy everything which could hardly just build.

There are three most important components; leaders, followers and situation that leaders and followers are in it. Then we have chance to understand how important the leaders’ roles, abilities and behaviors, motivating and satisfying followers and being a transformational leaders to be able to answer every situation where the organization in (Boseman, 2008, pp.37).

Working on all these approaches and theories helps me to look my organization more clearly. Most of the time, we don’t realize our faults without seeing any reactions. But this module gives me more opportunity to realize the mistakes we have done.


• Boseman, G. (2008) “Effective leadership in a changing world”, Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 62 (3), pp.36-38, Business Source Premier. Available from:

• Bouma, S. (2010) “The benefits of promoting from within” Fifty Lessons Ltd. Available from:

• Kanji, G.K. (2008) “Leadership is prime: how do you measure Leadership Excellence?” Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 19 (4), pp.417-427, Business Source Complete [Online]. Available from:

• Northouse, P.G. (2013) Leadership: theory and practice. 6th ed. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc. pp. 19-184.

– Chapter 2, “Trait Approach”

– Chapter 3, “Skills Approach”

– Chapter 4, “Style Approach”

– Chapter 5, “Situational Approach”

– Chapter 6, “Contingency Theory”

– Chapter 7, “Leader-Member Exchange Theory”

Last Updated on May 25, 2023

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