Leadership has been defined in many ways and the definition has evolved over the years. Luthans (1977) defines it as the way the leader can influence the followers. Winston (2006) defines a leader as, “A leader is one or more people who selects, equips, trains, and influences one or more follower(s) who have diverse gifts, abilities, and skills and focuses the follower(s) to the organization’s mission and objectives causing the follower(s) to willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and physical energy in a concerted coordinated effort to achieve the organizational mission and objectives.” Now, there can be many ways in which a leader leads the follower, which in business terms is defined as leadership style. The leadership styles are adopted by leaders according to the values they believe in. There has been an extensive debate on whether the leadership style has an impact on employees in terms of their performance, and their own job satisfaction or not. This research will identify the relationship between leadership style and employee job satisfaction through extensive research on the already published literature on this topic.
A critical review of different leadership styles by Khan (2015) explains various styles of leadership that are usually adopted by leaders. The autocratic style is one of the most discouraging of all the other styles where the leader does not consult the subordinates for any decision, rather dictates the orders and all kinds of power is just in the hands of the leader. Eric Gill (2014) explains it as “Autocratic leaders usually think of themselves as automobile engines that drive people under their command, whether it’s a mayor of a large city, a company CEO or an agency director.” Another kind of leadership style is democratic style which constantly works on involving employees in the organizational decisions and encourages and values the inputs of their employees, defines certain goals for them and the power is not in the hands of a single person. Laissez-faire style is another leadership style which is defined by Khan (2015) in which complete liberty is provided to the employees themselves, they are responsible for their solving their problems in their own way, leading their own way and deciding what is best for their own growth as well as the organizational growth. Another style is bureaucratic style in which everything is done according to the procedures and policies and a set of defined rules are followed by the employees to work in a certain environment. According to their own study conducted on various styles of leadership, they concluded that of all the styles, Laissez-faire was found to be least productive, while the other styles worked differently in different situations. Thus, there is not just one leadership style that can be labelled as most effective.
Job satisfaction as defined by Oshagbemi (1999) is that state of an individual where the person is in a positive emotional state due to the factors resulting from positive job experiences. A study conducted in South Africa by Schulze (2006) to study the factors that influence the job satisfaction of academics in higher education concludes that job satisfaction is directly and positively related to physical conditions, support and other benefits that are offered by the institution. This also includes support from higher authority or the leadership.
Herzberg et al. (1959) introduced a model to explain the concept of job satisfaction and found out the factors that can affect it. He explained that hygiene factors cannot be the reason of satisfaction but it can contract the effects of dissatisfaction, however, the motivational factors are somewhat responsible for job satisfaction and motivation can have effects that last longer than imaginable. But it is somewhat imperative to have both factors because the absence of hygiene factors can increase the chances of employees having job dissatisfaction.
Oshagbemi (1999) states that job satisfaction is related to the physical and emotional stability of an individual and must be taken into account very seriously by individuals in all fields. He further draws an interesting comparison of how employee job dissatisfaction can lead to other issues like deteriorating job performance, absenteeism and disinterest in the matters of the organization, while on the other hand employee job satisfaction can lead to innovation in various departments, nurturing of an environment that encourages and motivates employees to constantly learn through their work. He thus draws a clear picture of how job satisfaction among employees can change the whole atmosphere of an organization.
Chandrasekar (2011) wrote about how organizations in today’s world should focus on creating such a work environment that encourages workers to work in a more productive way that increases profits and enhances their ability and will to work and contribute towards the company. He further emphasized on the fact that the kind of interaction that takes place between the people working in an organization have a very important role to play in such situation as such connections contributes towards job satisfaction even more than monetary incentives. The human interactions that he talks about also include the interaction between the leader and the subordinates, which sheds a light over the fact that the way a leader interacts with employees plays a pivotal role in determining the level of employee job satisfaction.
A study conducted by Taylor (1998) to find out the principles that could be a major influence on productivity in the workplace. These principles included how the job is designed, how the employees are selected and then trained, how the employees work closely with one another and have proper task division in the workplace and what is the quality of leadership present for these employees. All these factors have an impact on employee productivity and then lead to employee job satisfaction and satisfactory performance. Taylor identified that these have a direct relationship with each other.
Fleishman (1973) talked about how these are two basic principles of leadership behavior, including defining structures and consideration; defining structures includes organizing the relationships between different groups of people working within an organization and how people communicate within the workplace, and consideration includes the level of trust, honesty and respect that is present between the leader and followers. He also identified that a proper balance of this relationship involves a certain level of tolerance which should come from both ways.
In contrast to that, the studies conducted also found out that less strong leadership resulted in bad performance from the employees and eventually dissatisfaction from the job for both employer and the employee. A study conducted by HR Focus (HR Zeroes in on productivity, 2005) suggests that better communications result in better work performance, since the impact of human connections go a long way and if employees feel that they can communicate in free space and are connected to their leaders in a personal manner it effects their attitude towards their work and their performance as well. And ineffective and distorted planning or designing of work and management is result of poor leadership, so leadership plays an important role in all aspects of the job as well as the relationship of people within the job (Pomeroy, 2006).
The importance of leadership roles in workplace is also stressed upon by Peters and Waterman (1982) in their book called, In Search of Excellence, in which they identified the role of leadership on the success of the organization. They found out that the factors contributing towards success are almost always seen in a strong leader and that strong leader always leads the organization in the right direction. They expressed their concerns in their book and identified that a successful leader is the one who involves their employees in everything, which can also be called as encouraging behavior depicted by the leadership.
Creech (1994) in his book about TQM also supports the idea of the kind of leadership that involves the employees in the changes happening within the organization. He identified this kind of behavior as encouraging to the employees as they then feel that they have some important role to play in the organization and thus are more satisfied with their jobs.
Schwartz (1987) in his study found out that that the leaders that follow democratic style can observe their workers to express high level of submissiveness while an autocratic environment results in workers being angry, depressed and exasperated. He also found out that democratic leaders make sure that they involve all the members of the team in discussions related to the organization and make sure that their voices are heard and their opinions are valued in an organization. In contrast to that, autocratic leadership discourages that and only works under the influence and power of one person i.e. leader.
Nwankwo (2001) and Enoch (1999) define autocratic leadership style as the one where the work is given priority over human values and workers are not given any kind of importance at all. The leader himself is responsible for all the decisions and orders are pushed towards the employees even against their will. They concluded that under such conditions there can be seen that employee job performance deteriorates as well as their satisfaction with the job.
A study conducted by Akor (2014) to analyze the effect of autocratic leadership style on job performance of Academic Librarians in Nigeria and it was seen that the autocratic leadership style adopted by them did not have any effect on job performance and their performance was somewhat on a low level than the ones that were following democratic leadership style.
Leadership might have less influence on job satisfaction of employees working in any organization, whether in teams or individually. But leadership does have an impact on how the employees work and the support of supervisors can have a huge impact on the performance of employees in any job and eventually affect the satisfaction that the employees associate with the job. So leadership is definitely considered constructive for the continuous development and improvement of the employees (Bass, 1997). Leadership style and its impact is also included in the main factors behind the satisfaction of a team (Campion et al., 1993)
A research conducted by Fernandez (2008) to examine the effects of leadership behavior on various aspects of the job found out that task-oriented behavior is directly related to job performance and but this kind of job is not related to job satisfaction. According to the study, task-oriented leaders tend to behave in a very authoritarian manner where they are the ones in power thus the employees may perceive them as directive, which results in a decreasing employee morale and job satisfaction. When observing relations-oriented leadership, it was found out that such kind of leadership affects the performance of employees in a very positive way due to positive and open communication between the leader and followers which gives the employees freedom to perform in and voice their opinions and ideas. All such motivational factors lead to job satisfaction. It can be observed that leaders today encourage innovation and creativity in work, thus the results of development-oriented behavior showed that it was directly related to job performance and thus refined the work of the employees and resulted in the achievement of employee job satisfaction.
A study conducted by Biswas (2012) was designed to study the aspects that affect the psychological climate of an organization. These aspects also included the kind of leadership that is present and in this case transformational leadership was taken into account during the study. The study concluded that the overall climate that the employee works in is affected by the kind of interaction the between the supervisor and the subordinates. This speaks so much about the kind of leadership style that the leader adopts. So this shows that if there is sufficient communication between the members working in an organization, the employees feel that they are working in a relaxed psychological environment and thus affects whether the employee is satisfied with the job or not.
A research was conducted by Yang and Kassekert (2010) to find out the implications of management reforms on job satisfaction. The study was mainly done on government departments and the results concluded that such institutions in the government should prioritize and focus on people to people interactions and communications and monitor such connections so that they know the workplace attitudes of their employees. Values like trust, honesty, innovative cultures, performance appraisal and effective leadership effect the way the employees feel about their job. Such attitudes affect the performance of employees in a certain organization and all these factors then lead to employees being satisfied with their jobs. Similar concepts can be applied to other institutions, departments and various organizations working to ensure that employees are satisfied with their job.
When the workers put their complete trust in their leadership, they seem to bring out positive impact on their work as they then start working with even greater motivation and dedication and thus eventually become even more committed to their job and achieve satisfaction with their jobs (Brockner et al. 1997; Davis et al. 2000). It is also argued that when people are satisfied with their leadership and have complete trust in them, then they are more acceptable towards the appraisal or performance-based evaluation system that the organization wants them to follow. This is because then the employees are completely committed towards their jobs.
Various researches have shown over the years that Charismatic leadership results in various outcomes including improved job performance, elevated morals, and eventually employee’s satisfaction with the job. Erez at al. (2008) that the charisma of the leader is positively related to the positive performance of the followers. It was also found out that their followers were more happy and satisfied with their job and environment than the followers of non-charismatic leaders. If we see the logical reasoning behind this, it can be argued that it is due to the fact that charismatic leaders provide the followers with goals and visions and tasks that are meaningful and inspiring. The goals provided by them are challenging and motivational and when the employees feel that their tasks are meaningful, they tend to be satisfied with their jobs and are thus happier to work under such leadership.
A study was conducted by Jiang (2014) to study the relationship between different leadership styles and the success of the project. The findings were very insightful as they revealed that leadership style do effect the project’s success and a positive leadership style goes a long way in the success of the project as well as the performance of the workers. Appropriate leadership affects the project in such a way that a leader can influence the workers to work in a team and ensure coherence with the project attributes. The team work will then result in the success of the project. The effect of the correct type of leadership may not have a direct link with the project’s success but it does contribute towards it in a positive way. And any project success leads to employees in believing in themselves and being highly satisfied with their job under a correct leadership.
In a study conducted by Griffin, Peterson and West (2001) to determine the relationship between job satisfaction and team work and the role of supervisor’s support, it was found out that for most of the companies that were observed during this research, job satisfaction had a direct and positive link with team work and team work has in most cases a positive impact on employee’s performance and thus eventually effects the satisfaction that the employees associate with that job. Also, if less teams were present in an organization it was perceived as weak supervisor’s support. Thus supervisor’s support is somewhat linked with effective working on teams and which eventually leads to job satisfaction in the minds of the employees. So this study also concludes that leadership’s support plays a vital role or central role in the functioning of teams and has a direct link with job satisfaction. Thus, in terms of job redesign strategies, most of the organizations consider the role of supervisor’s support, which may or may not have an effect on team work but definitely has a positive and direct impact on employees’ job satisfaction.
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