Non-Positional Leadership Styles Compared Essay

Non-Positional Leadership Styles ComparedThere are many leadership styles that an individual can use to manage personnel.

Many people have different opinions on which leadership style is the best for an organization to put into practice to be successful. This paper will summarize and discuss two articles on leadership. The first article written by Mitch McCrimmon (2005) defines his concept of thought leadership and compares it to traditional positional leadership. The second article written by Daniel Goleman (1998) explains his concept of leadership based on emotional intelligence. Each author explains why his leadership style is important for the overall success of an organization. Although these leadership styles are different, they share many similarities.

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The Thought Leadership ConceptIn the article “Thought leadership: a radical departure from traditional, positional leadership,” author Mitch McCrimmon (2005) compares traditional positional leadership to his concept of thought leadership. He does this by using examples to compare how thought leadership differs from the other leadership styles when they are put into action. He also describes the main characteristics of thought leadership explaining the major difference between each.His claim is that thought leadership is shown by an employee when he or she proposes a new idea or suggests a process improvement for an organization. Once the employee recognized the need for change, he or she would challenge the current process within the organization, share their ideas with others in the organization and then to try to get their idea implemented (McCrimmon, 2005).According to the author, thought leadership is a competitive tool used to motivate creativity among employees – it’s a way for organizations to receive input and ideas from the lowest levels up. For an individual to show attributes of thought leadership, he or she does not necessarily have involvement with managing personnel or leading a team to achieve specific goals. Any organization can adapt thought leadership, but its focus is on those that mainly rely on innovation for success (McCrimmon, 2005).

As the author explains in the article, thought leadership differs from shared or distributed leadership in that the managerial fundamentals are removed from the leadership process. Individuals do not have to have an authoritative position within an organization to be a leader. There is no formal training or specialized skills for an individual to be a thought leader. Since this style utilizes an individual’s own knowledge and thought process, any employee can demonstrate this leadership style (McCrimmon, 2005).Shared and Distributed Leadership ConceptShared or distributed leadership, as explained in the article, utilize the managerial skills of organizing, executing, coordinating and decision making to achieve an expected outcome. The author claims this style of leadership can empower all team members to make decisions within the team to ensure they reach a specific goal.

The leadership decisions for organizing and executing the tasks within the team can be shared among all members. Although all team members work together, there is still usually one individual who initially will take the lead in the group to motivate or direct the team and then manage the progress until they reach their goal (McCrimmon, 2005).Emotional IntelligenceIn the article “The Emotional Intelligence of Leaders”, author Daniel Goleman (1998) describes his opinion on the importance of emotional decisions when it comes to great leadership. He does this by explaining how the brain works in regards to the emotions and the decisions an individual will chose to make. He provides the results of studies that were completed about emotional intelligence as it relates to an individuals performance. He also discusses the elements of emotional intelligence and how they apply to leadership, giving examples of each.The author explains that the brain processes all information an individual receives before making a decision. During the process the brain will use a combination of emotional and thought processes to make the decision and react to any given situation.

He tells us that there are five aspects of emotional intelligence, which is the basis for an individual to be a successful leader. He also states the aspects of emotional intelligence can be taught to others to make an organization a more effective work environment  (Goleman, 1998).Basis for Emotional IntelligenceGoleman (1998) states that an individual has to be tuned in to his or her own emotions and behaviors to be an effective leader.  He claims a good leader is aware of who he or she is and is comfortable in their own skin. They know their boundaries and they understand how to use them.

He also states that these individuals are able to identify their strengths and weaknesses and properly utilize them when making a decision. They are also able to control their emotions and not act on impulse. The article suggests that great leaders will think things through before making an appropriate decision. An individual has to be able to deal with stressful situations without over reacting (Goleman, 1998).Goleman (1998) explains that an effective leader is able to assist others to overcome any situation. They find a way to focus on the positive and react appropriately when things do not go as expected.

An effective leader is empathetic towards the needs of others. He or she is able to understand and deal with the emotional requirements of others. He or she will understand the importance of building relationships and respecting others. An individual will also know how to direct their emotional behaviors. An effective leader will be positive and levelheaded no matter what outcome a situation brings (Goleman, 1998).Promoting Emotional IntelligenceAs Goleman (1998) explains in his article, an effective leader will not only understand the attributes of emotional intelligence in themselves, they will also provide a positive impact in developing these attributes in their employees. They need to provide clear and concise instructions, be supportive, and ensure employees have the tools to be successful.

Expectations must be stated to ensure employees are not set down a path to fail. Since the author ‘s claim is that individuals can be taught the elements of emotional intelligence, an employer must be able to identify those who may need improvement in these areas and provide training to increase the overall effectiveness of the organization. The process is long and cannot be done over night. It means changing the original behavior of an individual and motivating them to change something they have done their entire life  (Goleman, 1998).DiscussionEach author makes a claim that their leadership style will increase the effectiveness of a leader and therefore the overall success of an organization.

My view is that Goleman (1998) provides a more convincing view that emotional intelligence will produce a more effective leader. His examples of how emotional intelligence impacts an organization were more persuasive. Although McCrimmon (2005) used many good examples to support his theory on thought leadership, the same success can be achieved when leaders implement emotional intelligence.When leaders demonstrate the characteristics and qualities that are found in an emotional leader, the same outcome can be seen in organizations that adapt thought leadership.

When an employee feels an emotional bond to the organization, he or she will strive to improve the overall success of the organization (Goleman, 1998). An individual can show leadership traits by stepping in and assisting a coworker when in need. The military has a hierarchy of positional leadership but many in those positions do not know how to lead or manage others.

The concept is to respect and obey the position no matter who is sitting in that seat. Goleman’s (1998) concept of emotional intelligence allows individuals to respect the person as well as the position. A levelheaded leader who understands their emotions and does not over react to situations will be more effective. Showing an individual you care about their well being will increase their productivity.ReferencesGoleman, D. (1998).

The emotional intelligence of leaders. Leader to Leader, (10), 20-26. Retrieved from, M.

(2005). Thought leadership: a radical departure from traditional,positional leadership. Management Decision, 43(7/8), 1064-1079. doi:10.1108/00251740510610062 


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