Leadership Substitutes

920 words | 4 page(s)

A wide variety of individuals, tasks and organizations have resulted in a change in leaders’ behavior and also the relationship between the superiors and the subordinates in an organization. Some of the factors that have contributed to these changes include characteristics of the subordinate, task and the features of the organization.

Characteristics of the subordinates have contributed to the changes in both leader’s behavior and how the superiors and the subordinates relate. Notably, ability, experience, training and knowledge have made them believe in themselves that they can perform their duties without relying on guidelines from their immediate superiors professional orientation; those following this route accredit themselves having the required skills and knowledge to perform their tasks under no supervision or instructions from their immediate superiors. Most of these individuals want to be their bosses and work best under minimum or no supervision. They also prefer advice from colleagues irrespective of the organization they are serving.

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Furthermore, the nature of the task has also lead to changes in the relationship between the superiors and the subordinates in the organizational sector. Unambiguous, routine and methodically invariant tasks require minimal or no guideline to perform since the individual responsible for such tasks has vast experience in performing the task. Therefore, one knows each day’ requirement or the procedure for the task is given. Further, no other instructions are needed since the individual can easily follow the procedure given. A task can provide feedback as to how well the task occurred. If the task can provide its feedback as regards accomplishment, then no immediate instructions or supervision is required. Some tasks seem satisfying; therefore, no guideline from the immediate superior is required. For instance, some of the highly specialized tasks in the medical sector where emergency are attended to or in the operation theater minimal or no guideline should be issued if any they should be issued appropriately and in a friendly way to avoid confusing the task performer.

Additionally, some physiognomies of the organization have chiefly contributed to these vagaries. One leadership substitute is inflexibility of the organization. It refers to the organization’s inability to adapting to the environment owing to some documented policies that limit it to bending towards the changes occurring in its working environment either within or outside the organization. An organizational formulation entails the following unequivocal plans; clear goals and the area of responsibility. Explicit plans favoring subordinates independences may result to a distant relationship between the superiors and the subordinate. Clear goals and the area of responsibility enable the employees to know and understand what is expected of them thus able them to work under no commands. A cohesive close knit and interdependent workgroup minimizes the need for directives from the immediate superior. Additionally, those employees who can easily work as a team requires few guidelines since they can consult harmoniously, discuss in a friendly manner, and help each other in accomplishing the task in case of need. Spatial distance between the superiors and the subordinate organizations has adopted the locked office layout. Noteworthy, those in the landlocked layout, or the supervisor’s offices are located away from the working station may result in a distance relationship between the subordinates and the supervisors, which make the employees rely more on horizontal consultancy to vertical consultancy. Another leadership substitute is needed independences where most employees work best when given freedom to perform the tasks. This calls for the organization to set debates where all employees can air the views and opinions freely without fearing any threats from their seniors.

Leadership substitutes have various effects on the organization, leader’s behavior and the relationship between superiors and subordinates. A study has shown that some of the substitutes have affected the leadership process and also the organizational structure. Employees’ ability, training, experiences, and knowledge enable them to perform the required task effectively under minimal and or no supervision. This may alter the organization’s structure since it may opt to sack some of the supervisors. The employee may also have the ability to perform different tasks effectively thus eliminating those who can only perform only one task. Consequently, there is job satisfaction. Professional orientation results in individuals giving credence to their horizontal colleagues or the vertical colleagues. These individuals might be more knowledgeable than the superior, and this might result to the person looking down the superiors. An Organizational formulization entails explicit plans on how to achieve the organization’s vision and mission. Additionally, it shows how an organization will compete healthily, setting clear goals and the area of responsibility. Notably, the organization’s policy or staff contract ensures that the employees clearly understand what is expected of them thus minimal. Another leadership substitute is indifference towards organizational rewards. For instance, for a subordinate to be rewarded especially with a promotion the person’s immediate superior is consulted and gives his or her view towards the person performance. In some cases, the superior have nothing to do with the subordinate’s promotion or rewarding especially where the task provides feedback concerning accomplishment or where the public view is used to judge the rewarding. It is worth noting that routine and methodically invariant task requires job satisfaction. Most of the factors that serve as leadership substitutes seem interrelated and their effects interconnected.

In conclusion, leadership substitutes are considerably recommendable, and organization should give them space to develop. However, this does not merit elimination of leaders in organizations. Instead, organizations should adapt and accommodate both the leaders and the leadership substitutes.

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