Leadership in Hospitality Industry
Leadership in Hospitality Industry
In the beginning of this report it would be essential to say what
leadership is and its history. According to James MacGregor Burns,
“leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on
The study of leadership has been important to humans since the dawn of the
civilization. The concepts of leadership, leader, and follower are
represented in Egyptian hieroglyphics written 5000 years ago. Between 400
and 300BC the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle wrote about leadership
and the requirements, characteristics, and education of leaders
Leadership is central to the human condition (Wren, 1995) and has been
found to be important to all societies, although specific patterns of
behavior vary over time and across cultures (Bass,
Although we can see that leadership is being an ancient notion there was no
evidence of existence of the word leadership in the English language until
the yearly nineteenth century. According to Bass (1990), the appearance of
the concept of leadership in political, sociological, and organizational
writings was usually accompanied by a unique and ambiguous definition
(http://www.emeraldinsight.com). Bryman (1992) defines leadership as “a
social process in which leaders influence followers to achieve group
goals”. Although leadership described in many cases as a process, most of
the theories and researches look at the person to understand the nature of
History of leadership
Leadership can be defined by three phases:
. Leader’s traits
. Leader’s behaviors; and
. Leader’s qualities
From the turn of the twentieth century through the 1940s, leadership
research focused on identifying traits that distinguish leaders from non-
leaders (http://www.emeraldinsight.com). As example we can see Stogdill’s
review of the leader trait research.
This research was based on the idea that leaders were born, not made, and
the key to success was simply in identifying those people who were born to
be great leaders (http://www.emeraldinsight.com). Nevertheless a lot of
work was done to identify the trait, the research failed to identify a
universal set of traits that differentiated effective leaders.
In the early 1950s a second major thrust appeared. This thrust looked at
leader behaviors in an attempt to determine what successful leaders do, not
how they look to others (Halpin and Winer, 1957)
Two primary, independent factors were identified by these studies:
. Consideration; and
. Initiation structures.
“The impact of this work was in part the notion that leadership was not
necessarily an inborn trait, but instead effective leadership methods could
be taught to employees” (Saal and Knight, 1988). A lot of progress was made
in identifying what behaviors differentiated leaders from followers so that
the behaviors could be taught (http://www.emeraldinsight.com).
Another impact of this work has to do with the broadening of management’s
focus to include both people-oriented activities along with task-oriented
activities (http://www.emeraldinsight.com). These studies helped categorize
leaders based on their behavior.
Another approach dealt with the interaction between the leader’s traits,
the leader’s behaviors, and the situation in which the leader exists
Contingency theories make the assumption that the effects of one variable
on leadership are contingent on other variables. In other words, meaning
that leadership could be different in every situation. Although he found
that certain leadership styles were more effective in certain situations,
the contingency approach was more theoretical.
Culture as well plays an important role in leadership research. According
to Schein, 1985, culture related issues must be clearly identified in order
for leaders to be successful. It is important to notice that one of the
aspects of the culture is change. Therefore, leaders must be able to adapt
to the change in order to be more successful. Also some words have to be
said about culture management as another important aspect of leadership.
“Culture management deals with the ability of leaders to know and
understand what the organizational culture is, modifying that culture to
meet the needs of the organization as it progresses” (Horner,
http://www.emeraldinsight.com). Therefore, it is obvious that leaders need
to work within the culture to be most successful.
Leadership and motivation
The study of motivation is extremely important as all the above theories
depend on it. This study “suggests that leadership is less a specific set
of behaviors than it is creating an environment in which people are
motivated to produce and in the direction of the leader. By creating the
right environment, one in which people want to be involved and feel
committed to their work, leaders are able influence and direct the
activities of others” (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com). Herzberg
(1964) differentiated between elements in the work place that led to
employee satisfaction and elements that led to employee dissatisfaction.
These elements can be thought as motivators as employees are motivated to
achieve them. For example, Herzberg labeled hygiene factors as they are
necessary to keep employees from dissatisfaction (Horner,
Moreover, there are some need theories that people have needs for certain
results. One of these theories is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which
suggests that some needs are more basic than the others and people are
motivated to satisfy them (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).
Certainly, work satisfy some of these needs, but some people have more
advanced needs and it is essential to know whether leaders can develop an
environment that will satisfy those needs. One more theory by Alderfer
(1969) suggests that there are only three needs that can be. They are:
existence needs, relatedness needs, and growth needs. His theory was based
on the thought that people can move up and down the hierarchy and can be
motivated by many needs at any one time.
Let’s look now at another need theory, which called Murray’s (1938)
manifest needs theory. His view about people’s needs what that that people
can experience a variety of needs, such as need for achievement or need for
power and that is not necessary that everyone would have the same needs.
There are also some additional motivation theories such as expectancy
theory, equity theory, goal setting, and reinforcement. Each of this has
implications for the approach leaders can take to dealing with followers
(Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com). The reason why motivation theories
are added to leadership issue is that because of the emphasis on the
followers themselves and what causes them to act, instead of focusing on
Therefore, “leadership is not only the process and activity of the person
who is in leadership position, but also encompasses the environment this
leader creates and how this leader responds to the surroundings, as well as
the particular skills and activities of the people being led” (Horner,
The transformational-transactional leadership
“Transactional leadership stems from more traditional view of workers and
organizations, and it involves the position power of the leader to use
followers for task completion” (Burns, 1978). “Transformational leadership,
however, searches for ways to help motivate followers by satisfying higher-
order needs and more fully engaging them in the process of the work” (Bass,
“Transformational leaders can initiate and cope with change, and they
create something new out of old. They build strong relationships with
others while supporting and encouraging each individual’s development”
A very interesting theory of “Super Leadership is offered by Manz and Sims
(1991). They challenge the traditional paradigm of leadership as one person
doing something to other people (Manz and Sims, 1991). Instead, they
suggest, “the most appropriate leader is one who can lead others to lead
themselves” (Manz and Sims, 1991, p.18). They suggest that leaders become
great by unleashing the potential and abilities of followers, consequently
having the knowledge of many people instead of relying solely on their own
skills and abilities (Horner, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).
To understand better what is transforming leadership lets look at it as at
the “body”, which consists of the heart, and head and hands. There are
three aspects of leadership: supervisory, strategic and inspirational. They
are going to be discussed more detailed further down.
“The most universally encountered aspect of leadership is the
“inspirational” leadership of the heart. The essential, distinguishing the
feature of inspirational leadership is that it never resorts to the use of
coercive power or authority” (Nicholls, http://www.emeraldinsight.com). To
energize enthusiastic followers, inspirational leaders create a compelling
“vision”, which changes peoples view at the world around them. Another
change that “vision” creates is that people change way they relate to one
There are two ways of affecting people minds by creating a “vision”. First
one is that it clarifies understanding, and the second one is that it
encourages alignment. So we can see that by its impact on the people’s
personal beliefs, the leader’s vision builds the psychological ground for
Nichols defines it as “that activity which stimulates purposeful activity
in others by changing the way they look at the world around them and relate
A strategic leadership can be called a “nominal” head of the organization.
The leader’s responsibility in this kind of leadership is the creation of
an effective organization (Nicholls, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).
There are two principal components of the strategic leadership: path-
finding and culture-building. First relates an organization to the business
environment and the second one helps to people into membership of an
organization. The role of the organizational leadership is to identify what
organization it will be and where it is going. A very important thing to
say is that managers must look beyond the routine daily operations in order
“to find a better way” (Nicholls, http://www.emeraldinsight.com). In
strategic leadership managers must use their head to ensure the
effectiveness of the organization.
A supervisory leadership is the job of the mangers hands. Every manager is
familiar with this kind of leadership in his or her particular situation.
In other they are familiar with the job that has to be done and the people
that will do that job.
The concept of charisma comes to us from Romans. Also in the New Testament
it refers to gift from the Holy Spirit. Max Weber used this term for
theological use. He viewed charisma as “a pure form of authority based on
of the gift of diving grace” (Weber, 1968).
Contemporary conceptualization of charismatic leadership have become
inclusive of more leaders as the concept changed over the time
“The concept of charisma has fertilized the study of leadership. The term
has taken on a number of different, but over planning meanings: leaders’
magical qualities; emotional bond between leader and led etc.” (Paul et al,
A lot of theories of charismatic leadership appeared. These theories did
not emphasise the role of charisma, instead they take a look at leader’s
vision and values. For example, “Berlew (1974) suggested that leaders who
attempt to bring change in organizations were similar to charismatic
leaders trying to effect changes in society”
House (1977) defined charismatic leadership as “a leader who has a high
degree of charismatic effects on followers. According to House, followers
of charismatic leader become more self-confident and can set and accept
All of the contemporary charismatic leadership theories include elements
related to a leader’s emphasis on a purpose, vision, or mission (House and
Gender differences in leadership styles
Over the past two decades there is a debate about whether female and male
managers have different leadership styles.
Though the early 1990s the research showed that there were no gender
differences in leadership styles. Even though a lot of researches support
the view that there are no gender differences in leadership styles, some
differences were identified. Those differences were identified based on
self-reported data collected from a sample of male and female accountants
(Burke et al, http://www.emeraldinsight.com).
According to Powel (1993), intuitive reasoning suggest that early
socialization patterns develop different qualities in women and men that
would likely result in variations in leadership styles. The earlier
research found a lack of for the notion that women utilize different
leadership styles than do men (Bass, 1981) (Burke et al,
“A major influence on effective performance in the hospitality industry is
the nature of the manager-subordinate relationship. This entails the
process of leadership and the choice of an appropriate style of managerial
behaviour” (Mullins, 1998, p.397).
A good manager should have solid character traits, leadership skills and
good management ethics. The good question is: “What is the difference
between managing and leading?”
One leadership teacher defined it as follows:
|MANAGER |LEADER |
|Administers |Innovates |
|Is a copy |Is an original |
|Maintains |Develops |
|Focuses on |Focuses on people |
|system+structure |Inspires trust |
|Relies on control |Has a long-range |
|Has a short-range view |perspective |
|Asks how and when |Asks what and why |
|Has an eye on the bottom|Has an eye on the |
|line |horizon |
|Initiates |Originates |
|Accepts status quo |Challenges it |
|Does things right |Does the right thing |
In the beginning of development of the hospitality industry, when a lot of
the hospitality organizations were family owned, leadership was associated
with ownership. However, with a growth of hospitality organizations, a more
broadly based approach to the appointment and development of leaders were
needed. According to Walker, “the real key to leadership involves
developing appropriate personality characteristics and the talents of other
members of the organization” (Mullins, 1998, p. 403).
Moreover, “Walker identifies some of the most important indicators of the
appropriate temperament for leadership:
. Self-control (leaders should be above average in their ability to
. Sense of value (respect the intangible, spiritual side of life).
. Drive (a strong drive is an advantage in any assignment).
. Moodiness (the manager should be optimistic, cheerful and generally
capable of maintaining morale and team spirit).
. Sensitivity (the one who is sensitive to himself is sensitive and to
others, so have a high potential to managerial success).
. Defence of ideas (managers should be willing and able to support and
defend their own ideas).
. Self-awareness (the person needing less recognition for individual
contribution is more successful for managerial success).
. Balance (the ability to defend their ideas and a low degree of self-
consciousness, coupled with a high degree of sensitivity to other
people) (Mullins, 1998, p.403).
According to Mullins, a number of recent articles showed that the
hospitality industry had occurred a dramatic change and that the importance
and benefits of transformational leadership are more obvious.
“A lot of researches show that demographic style of leadership is more
likely to produce effective performance from work groups. Also a human
relations, people oriented approach is more likely to lead to job
satisfaction and group cohesiveness” (Mullins, 1998, p.424).
However, it is not always that demographic ways of leadership are the best.
Sometimes, it happens that autocratic style of leadership is more
“There is no one best style of leadership which will result in the
maintenance of morale among the group members and high work performance.
There are many variables, which underlie the effectiveness of managerial
leadership in the hospitality industry, including:
. The type and nature of establishment, its goals and objectives, and
the organizational culture and climate
. The characteristic of the manager, personality, attitudes, abilities,
value system and personal credibility
. The characteristics of subordinates, their needs and expectations,
motivation and commitment, and their knowledge, confidence and
. The basis of the leadership relationship and the type of power and
. The relationships between the manager and the group, and among
members of the group
. The type of problem and nature of the manager’s decisions
. The nature of the tasks to be achieved, the extend to which they are
structured or routine, the technology and work organization
. The organization structure and systems of management
. The nature and influence of the external environment” (Mullins, 1998,
In this work a lot of theories of leadership were covered. Despite it, the
leadership issue still remains not well understood. Leaders have to be
aware of the times, because they are changing faster than we can imagine.
Leaders’ knowledge and practice must accommodate themselves to these
changes if they do not want to be left behind
References and Bibliography
MULLINS J. LAURIE (1998). Managing people in the Hospitality industry.
3rd edition. British Library Cataloguing in Publication data.
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leadership styles and management skills. Women in Management
Review. Vol.16, No 5, pp.244-256. Available from:
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Team Performance Management. Vol.3, No 4, pp.270-287.
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transformational leadership and work satisfaction. Women in
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4. McCRIMMON MITCH (1995), Bottom-up leadership. Executive
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5. NICHOLLS JOHN (1994), The “Heart, Head and Hands” of Transforming
Leadership. Leadership and Organization Development Journal.
Vol.15, No 6, pp.8-15. http://www.emeraldinsight.com (03/04/2003)
6. PAUL JIM, COSTLEY L. DAN, HOWELL P. JON AND DORFMAN W. PETER
(2002), The mutability of charisma in leadership research.
Management Decision. Vol. 40, No 1, pp.192-200.
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