How Does Leadership Style Influence Organizational Productivity?
Your approach to leadership impacts your organization’s ability to meet its obligations. An effective leader motivates, inspires and guides her subordinates to achieve established goals and objectives. Depending on how you make decisions, delegate responsibility, resolve conflicts and interact with employees, you can influence employee morale, retention, absenteeism and overall productivity.
Setting clear goals for your organization ensures that your employees know what is expected of them. The leadership style you use influences productivity, because it impacts employee morale. Autocratic leaders set goals without input from employees. If your goals are not specific, measurable, attainable, realistic or time-constrained, your employees may have difficulty achieving them. This leads to low morale and absenteeism, which leads to lower productivity, increased waste, more errors and lower customer satisfaction.
During disruptive times, such as when your company undergoes a change in executive management or a change in strategic direction to respond to market demands, your leadership style can help ensure that your employees make the necessary adjustments to maintain and improve operations. Use a leadership style to meet the needs of your staff and the current situation. For example, use participative leadership to gather input from your employees about process improvements. People performing the work typically have unique insight into ways to improve operations. Use a consensus decision-making style when everyone's endorsement of the change enables higher productivity.
Effective leaders communicate clearly and frequently to ensure employees understand the strategic direction and can take action. Your leadership style influences employee’s ability to interpret your message. For example, use a charismatic leadership style to communicate a vision, mission and company values. Inspire employees to work hard by providing a compelling picture of the future. During difficult economic time, clear and honest communication from leaders helps people focus on their work and not get distracted by rumors and conjecture about layoffs and other workforce changes.
The way you structure work tasks and provide leadership to your organization impacts productivity, because employees react to structure differently, depending on the situation. Use a transactional leadership style when work tasks are very clear and routine. Providing clear direction to employees enables them to get the job done in a timely manner. When procedures are not clearly documented or processes require improvement to generate the desired results, soliciting input from employees tends to result in improved operations. If you have experienced employees, using a laissez-faire leadership style gives your employees the freedom to manage their own work without interference. Morale tends to be higher when employees feel empowered to set their own deadlines and simply ask for help and support when they need it.