Must a leader always make waves in order to facilitate change?
Great leaders have been said to be catalysts of change because of their ability to motivate, to inspire and to make any group of individuals act as a cohesive working unit (House, 2004). While there are those who argue that a leader must always make waves in order to make a definite impact in any working environment, it has also been shown that an effective leader must be able to contextualize his actions and understand what the best course is given the environment he is working in (Warneka, 2006).
A leader does not necessarily have to make waves in order to make to facilitate change. There are many types of leadership styles that do not call for the application of any drastic actions or forceful management techniques. The problem with the idea that making waves is necessary to facilitate change is that the outcome and effect on the other members on the team may not react as intended and it may even have a negative effect (Torbert, 2004). This may result in team members being unable to communicate properly with the leader or with decreased productivity due to the sudden changes and major changes in the working environment brought about by the waves.
In popular leadership models such as Situational Leadership which was developed by Blanchard and Hersey in the late 1960s, the need for a flexible leader who was able to adapt leadership practices to suit the needs of the working environment was emphasized (Argyris, 1976). A good leader must be able to assess the situation and determine what the best approach is, whether it is by making waves or quietly empowering and inspiring the team members.
Leaders do not need to make waves to facilitate change. Other flexible and more effective means of quietly inspiring change are available and may even prove to have more of an impact than simply making waves.
Argyris, C. (1976) Increasing Leadership Effectiveness, Wiley, New York,
House, R. J. (2004) Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks
Torbert, W. (2004) Action Inquiry: the Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership, San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Warneka, T. (2006). Leading People the Black Belt Way: Conquering the Five Core Problems Facing Leaders Today. Asogomi Publications Intl. Cleveland, Ohio