1.1 Background to the Study
Leadershipis a very important management function that involves harnessing of human and material resources for the attainment of organizational goals. Leadership has been viewed by many authors as a process whereby an individual exerts influence upon others in an organizational context.
Bowler and Seashore (1996) enumerated the basic functions of leadership to include:
It is expected therefore that in every organization, there should be a leader who will in addition to planning, organize and coordinate work, mobilize, inspire and utilize available human and material resources optimally for effective organizational growth and development. Leadership often emerges in a social context, in that it does not exist in a vacuum, but a phenomenon for people and by the people. The objectives of leadership are products of clear vision and its actions are dictated by great focus and a sense of mission. The way and manner leadership is conducted in any given situation, depends on the interplay of such factors as individual personality, work demand and the exigencies of the environment.
The extent to which any of these factors dominates one’s behavior determines to a large extent the person’s accumulation of natural or situational leadership traits.
Several arguments have been raised over time about the relationship between leadership and employee’s attitude. However, most scholars caution against tendencies to propose a cause-effective relationship because of the confounding effects of the interviewing variables.
For instance, a leadership characteristic determines leadership behavior, and consequently, the attitude of subordinates towards him and the work situation, Katz (1994).
And the view of Meornick (1991), democratic leader tend to affect employees more positively than authoritative leaders, while authoritative leaders tend to achieve production targets better than the former.
However, Petz (1952) theorized that what matters in the leader-subordinate relationship is not just the imposing attitudes of the leader, but also the enduring characteristics of the subordinates. He also advocated the principle of reciprocal influence and integration, according to him, subordinates expect their supervisors to exercise upward influence when dealing with problems which affects workers themselves, but when this is perceived asbeing limited, they develop unfavourable reactions.
Consequently, this will thwart the attainment of organizational objectives and effectiveness. However, organizational effectiveness depends to a great extent on the ways the various group in the organizational hierarchy are structured and integrated. Effective management should therefore develop effective group membership to which they owe loyalty. That is why effective leadership is necessary in any organization, as all activities that will promote organizational effectiveness are to a large extent measured by their productivity.