The Axis of Leadership in the Context of Labor Relations
In today’s context, characterized by a rapid globalization and diversification of the workplace, understanding different leadership styles is not only crucial, but becomes a real key to success within an organization. Whether we’re talking about the corporate environment or that of small businesses, the way a leader manages his team can have significant repercussions on their productivity and well-being.
Through the lens of a real event that took place in a company in Făgăraș, this case study aims to provide a deep analysis of two leadership styles predominantly adopted globally: the egalitarian style and the hierarchical style. We will try to unravel the thread of events, shedding light on the particularities of each leadership style and how they can influence, for better or worse, the dynamics of a team.
Dynamics of the Leadership Concept:
Egalitarian versus Hierarchical
As cross-cultural collaboration becomes the norm, it is more important than ever to have a deep understanding of how different leadership approaches can influence interpersonal relationships and performance within an organization. So we will explore the defining characteristics of each leadership style and try to identify strategies by which a leader can effectively navigate the complexity caused by different leadership style preferences and expectations. Through this endeavor, we hope to provide valuable insights and practical recommendations to guide contemporary leaders towards more empathetic and effective management.
- The egalitarian style places great emphasis on collaboration and open communication. Here, the leader is seen more as a facilitator than a traditional commander. In this configuration, hierarchical boundaries are more blurred, which encourages a fluid dynamic and free exchange of ideas among all team members. It is an environment where participants are encouraged to take responsibility and express their opinions without fear of reprisal.
- This approach promotes equality and mutual respect, creating a work environment where individuals feel valued and have the opportunity to actively contribute to the decision-making process. In such an environment, innovation and creativity are cultivated, thanks to the freedom employees have to come up with ideas and share their unique perspective.
- On the other hand, the hierarchical style brings with it a well-defined structure, where the roles and responsibilities of each team member are clearly delineated. The leader, in this context, assumes a more directive role that often resembles a parental role in that he protects, guides and provides direction to the team.
- This approach can build a stable work environment based on mutual respect, loyalty and obedience, creating a work environment where the rules are clear and where there is a stable chain of command. However, this style can often limit creativity and individual initiative, as all important decisions are made by the leader and subordinates have less room to express their own opinions or share feedback.
In an organization where hierarchical leadership predominates, situations can arise where employees feel less valued or understood, given the greater distance between the boss and subordinates, which can lead, in some cases, to a drop in morale and job satisfaction.
The attitude like: “I showed him what he has to do, now to get to work”, will not work very well. A construction company from Făgăraş found this out recently after all 45 employees from India were ready to leave en masse to other employers.
A short investigation also showed the reason: their direct boss and Romanian colleagues ignored them almost completely.
Among the Asian colleagues there will be some who will prove to be quicker to learn and helpful in communicating with others. Avoid calling these intermediaries ‘boss’ or ‘manager’, if the title is not an official one. There is a high chance that it will get to their head and become very difficult with their fellow nationals.
Tips for an effective working relationship between Romanians and Asians
- Clarifying the hierarchy: It is crucial to clearly explain the hierarchy and mutual expectations in the team, ensuring that each member understands their role and responsibilities.
- Empathy and Care: Leaders should demonstrate care and commitment to the team by providing constant support and guidance.
- Identifying the Right Intermediaries: Identifying the most appropriate intermediaries who can facilitate team communication without creating a sense of superiority.
Both leadership styles come with their advantages and disadvantages, and a deep understanding of them is vital to choosing the most suitable style according to the specific context and needs of an organization. An effective leader will know how to navigate between these two styles, adapting according to the situation and the characteristics of his team, in order to create a harmonious and productive work environment.