Leadership researchers have also recently identified a number of new and important issues. Some of these contemporary issues in leadership are:
1. Do males and females lead differently?
Research shows that women prefer more people oriented and participative style. They are more cooperative in their leadership style. Women leaders are more preferable when situation demands more team work and participation. Other sides, Men are more likely to use a directive command and control style. They rely on formal authority of their position for their influence base. Women are more successful in negotiations.
2. Providing team leadership
The issue is that most of the today’s leaders are group leaders. They are not trained to handle the change to teams. Time demands team work but most of our leaders are trained to manage groups. Teams are more interactive, conflicting and need open communication than groups. The challenge in front of most organizations is how to train group leaders to convert them into team leaders.
3. Leading through empowerment
The success of team leadership depends upon the team empowerment. For teams to be effective, managers must empower their members to make decisions. Empowerment means giving employees the authority, skills and freedom to perform their tasks. Empowerment and shared leadership is not free from conditions. How much to share and control? There is no easy answer.
Leadership is a mutual influence process. Not only leaders influence followers, followers also influence leaders’ behavior and success. A leader may behave differently towards males and females, older and younger people, and those with similar as opposed to different personal backgrounds from his or her own.
5. National culture as an added contingency variable
Leaders are not free to choose their style as per their desire-it is also contingent upon national culture. Subordinates from different cultures value things differently from each other and that all leaders need to take these differences into account as they behave.
6. Is there a biological basis for leadership?
The researchers have found that effective leaders possess a unique biochemical mixture of hormones and brain chemistry that helps them build social alliances and cope with stress. But this concept is not free from criticism. The controversy is: whether leaders’ position gives rise to biochemical mixture or vice-versa.
7. Is there moral dimension to leadership?
Unethical leaders are more likely to use their charisma to enhance power over followers, directed toward self-serving ends. Leadership is not value free. Before we judge any leader to be effective, we should consider both the means used by the leader to achieve his or her goals and the moral content of those goals.