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THE LINK BETWEEN

PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCIES
AND LEADERSHIP STYLES

Sherine Mitto
GR 509: Graduate Capstone Project
International College of the Cayman Islands
Table of Contents
Introduction

Theoretical Framework

Literature Review
Leadership Styles
Autocratic Leadership
Democratic Leadership
Laissez-faire Leadership
Transactional Leadership
Transformational leader
Professional Competencies

Methodology

Conclusion
Introduction
According to research, one's leadership style is the
way a person uses their abilities to lead other people.
As such, it is said that a manager's competence is a
critical part of their leadership style. While many
leaders are usually selected for their competence
alone, competence is something different from
leadership styles, and should not be confused.
However, studies have placed much emphasis on
leadership styles and not enough on a managers
professional competence. Due to that fact, this I
wrote a research paper that addresses the link
between professional competencies and leadership
styles as several studies indicate that there is an
association between the two.
Introduction Continued
The words "leader" and "manager" are frequently
used interchangeably; however, they mean two
entirely different things.
A leader is an individual who can motivate a group of people
to act towards achieving a common goal (Walters, 2016).
A manager controls and tells their employees what to do
(Walters, 2016).

There are many rationales for what makes a leader


different from a manger, but one thing is certain, a
manager can learn how to become a leader. By having
certain professional skills and competencies, a
manager will be able to adapt his or her leadership
styles to achieve organizational objectives and goals
(Ababneh, 2009).
Introduction
Competence is a critical part of the bigger
leadership picture. The word competencies are a
relatively new name for one's skills, knowledge,
virtues, and abilities.
Competence provokes confidence in a leader

The term "competence" first appeared in an article


authored by R.W. White in 1959 as a concept for
performance motivation; however, it was
popularized by Richard Boyatzis who used the
concept in relation to performance improvement
(Lorber & Skela Savi, 2011).
Theoretical Framework
Thomas Carlyle Great Man Theory
Research on leadership styles starting with this theory.
According to Carlyle, leaders are extraordinary people, born
with intrinsic attributes, designed to lead (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano
& Dennison, 2003).

Francis Galton Trait Theory


This theory focused on identifying different characteristics
and personality traits that connected successful leadership
styles across a variety of situations (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano &
Dennison, 2003).

Douglas McGregor - Behavioural Theory


This theory concentrated on what leaders actually do,
rather than on their qualities where distinctive patterns of
behavior are examined and categorized as 'styles of
leadership' (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano & Dennison, 2003).
Theoretical Framework Continued
Hersey Spencer and Ken Blanchard - Situational
Theory
This theory implies that different situations call for
different characteristics. It also proposes that there may
be differences in required leadership styles at the
various levels in the same organization (Bolden, Gosling,
Marturano & Dennison, 2003).

Saul Meghnagi Professional Competence


Meghnagi described professional competence as an
articulate and sophisticated combination of skills and
capabilities that result from a conceptual and functional
synthesis of theoretical aspects, linked to disciplinary
contents and current experience" (Camelo & Angerami, 2013).
Literature Review
According to Clawson (1999), the Industrial
Revolution established a paradigm shift to a new
theory of leadership where "ordinary" people
gained power by virtue of their skills and
competencies (Turey, 2017).
As a result, by the mid-1940's a post-bureaucratic
shift was made which moved toward everyone in an
organization taking responsibility for the
organization's success or failure (Turey, 2017 and Heckscher &
Donnellon, 1994).

At the end of the Industrial period, the influence of


complex thinking changed much of the foundation
of the consideration of human interaction and
leadership behavior (Porter-OGrady & Malloch, 2010 and Turey, 2017).
Literature Review
Although it is imperative that a leader become an
effective manager, being an effective manager and an
effective leader are two different things.

Hersey and Blanchard (2001) stated that management


is the process of working with and through individuals
and groups to accomplish organizational goals.
Whereas, Bolman and Deal (2003), said that a good
leader must also be able to make decisions effectively;
they should also possess the qualities of commitment,
vision, and strength.
Leadership Styles

Styles

Autocratic Democratic Laissez-faire

Transactional Transformational
Leadership Styles
Autocratic Leadership Styles
Also referred to as authoritarian leadership, is characterized
as domineering due to the individuals control over every
move or input for the group. This leadership style allows
managers to make policies and decisions alone without the
input of others (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano & Dennison, 2003 & "Authoritarian,
Democratic & Laissez-Faire Leadership Research", n.d.).

Democratic Leadership Styles


Also refers to as participative leadership, characterized by
collective decision-making, active employee involvement,
restrained criticism and fair praise. This type of leadership
styles values the input of their employees and peers in
relation to decision-making and projects as all workers are
supported to share thoughts, but the ultimate responsibility
of making the concluding decision rests with the
participative leader (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano & Dennison, 2003 &
"Authoritarian, Democratic & Laissez-Faire Leadership Research", n.d.).
Leadership Styles Continues
Laissez-faire Leadership Styles
Also refers to as delegative leadership, characterized as
uninvolved with their employees and followers as this leader is
hands-off and allows its staff to carry out all the decisions . This
type of leadership behavior or styles make no policies or decisions
and provide minimum guidance. As such, highly experienced and
trained employees requiring little supervision falls under the
laissez-faire leadership style ("Authoritarian, Democratic & Laissez-Faire Leadership
Research", n.d.).

Transactional Leadership Styles


Also refers to as managerial leadership, characterized as a
leadership style where the manager depends on rewards and
punishments to achieve optimal job performance from his
subordinates. This type of leadership is based on a transaction or
exchange where a manager and his employees set predetermined
goals together, and employees agree to follow the direction and
leadership of the manager to accomplish these targets (Rouse &
Pratt, 2017 and Bolden, Gosling, Marturano & Dennison, 2003)
Leadership Styles
Transformational Leadership Styles
This leadership approach depends on high levels of
communication from management to meet goals. A
leader using this method possesses confidence,
excellent communication, integrity, and sets a good
example in their goals to his subordinates. A
transformational leader gives employees independence
over particular jobs, as well as the authorization to
make decisions once they are trained. This type of
leader inspires people to look beyond their own
interests and focus on the interests and needs of the
organization (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano & Dennison, 2003 and Spahr 2015).
Professional Competencies
According to research, one's leadership style is the way
a person uses their abilities to lead other people. As
such, it is said that a manager's competence is a critical
part of their leadership style.

A focus on skill development and professional


competencies will develop better leadership. However,
skills needed for a particular position may change
depending on the specific leadership level in the
organization.
Professional Competencies
Decades of leadership research has outlined the successful
abilities and skills that are associated with leadership
effectiveness. By utilizing a competency approach, an
organization can determine what positions at which levels
require specific competencies. As such, here are ten (10)
professional competencies derived from several researchers :
Communication Interpersonal Skills

Teamwork Research & Analysis

Decision Making Influential Skills

Emotional/Intelligence Skills Area Expertise

Coaching an Training Peers/Subordinates Continuous Learning


Methodology
An interview was conducted
with 4 local managers, 2 males
& 2 females between the ages of 35-50 years of age.

Participant 1 - Manager and Program Coordinator of the


Department of Counseling Service for the Cayman Islands
Government
Participant 2 - Senior Programmer at Vega Asset
Management Holdings,
Participant 3 -Finance Manager at Department of Vehicle &
Equipment for the Cayman Islands Government
Participant 4 -General Manager at National Housing
Development Trust.

All 4 managers were asked the same 14 open-ended


questions .
Methodology - Results
1st Question: What does it mean to be
professionally competent?
All four interviewees gave a similar response where
Participant 1 said to have the knowledge and skills
necessary to adequately perform in the specific area or
capacity that one holds.
Participant 2 said enabling yourself to suit all your job
requirements, and performing to your fullest ability is
the definition of professionally competent
Participant 3 said to be capable of carrying out
responsibilities of your role
Participant 4 said to have the knowledge and skills
needed to complete a job or task.
2nd Question: List the top three professional
competencies needed to be a good leader, their
responses :

Participant 1 Accountability, responsibility and communication


skills.

Participant 2 "Communication skills, accountability, and level-


headedness."

Participant 3 Communication skills, accountability and goal-


setting skills.

Participant 4 Communication skills, interpersonal skills and


technical expertise.
3rd Question: What is the difference between a leader
and a manager? their responses:
Participant 1 The two are quite different where a manager focuses more on
the tasks to be done and deadlines to be met and a leader
supports the abilities of others, provides training and
knowledge which empowers the person to perform in their
respective role
Participant 2 Anyone could be a manager given the right job title and
responsibilities; however, a true leader takes much more interest in
the growth and development of the people in his or her team and
directs them by example
Participant 3 All leaders could be managers, but not all managers can be leaders.
She further explained that a leader had a clear view of the future
and where he or she would like to see the organization go; a leader
is also effectively able to impart this vision to others and get people
to adopt or share their point of view, whereas, a manager
delegates tasks and monitors the work of others
Participant 4 that a leader motivates and encourages others around them, while
a manager controls and tells other around them what to do
The participants also highlighted the character traits
of a good leader:

Participant 1 Ambitious, organized, honest, compassionate


and decisive.

Participant 2 Intelligence, empathy, and honesty."

Participant 3 Organized, intelligent, compassionate."

Participant 4 Honesty, intelligence, and innovation."


I then asked if the participants believed a managers
professional competencies affect their leadership style; If so,
how?
Participant 1 Most definitely. Professional competencies are the abilities that we have or
have learned therefore, these will play a role in how we are as a leader. From
the decisions we make, to the guidance we provide to employees, to the
working environment that is created.

Participant 2 Ideally it shouldnt. A leader should choose his leadership style based on the
situation, the project, the team and not his own personal competencies and
skills.

Participant 3 Yes in a way. Intellect is what allows a person to effectively impart information
to others. The lack of an educational background will hinder a persons ability
to properly communicate or relay messages to others.

Participant 4 I do believe a managers professional competencies affect their leadership


styles because if a manager is knowledgeable in their field of work then it
should be easy to effectively communicate what tasks they want completed in
detail and answer any questions their employees asks.
Conclusion
A managers professional competencies could
affect their leadership styles in the work
environment.
Researchers have identified several essential
professional competencies such as communication
skills, interpersonal skills, influential skills, etc. that are
consistent among successful leaders and their
organizations.
Each leadership style possessed its own
characteristics and objective of a leader.
A leadership style that inspires and motivates one
individual might plunge another into a poor
performance as noted above.
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