Leadership styles and job productivity of university library staff: interrogating the Nexus.

Author:Segun-Adeniran, Chidi Deborah


Libraries as hubs of information and knowledge need to possess a high degree of effectiveness and efficiency in the process of carrying out their services which centres on meeting the diverse information needs of library users. It is as a result of the expected level of effectiveness and efficiency that the issue of leadership in libraries cannot be downplayed. Leadership simply involves influencing or affecting a group of people to take collective action in a particular direction in order to achieve an organizational goal. Verber (2011) opined that leadership could be viewed as community mobilization, initiation and motivation of employees and involvement in their development. Hulbert (1998) also defined leadership as 'the ability to guide or move people in a particular direction and is a quality that must be able to induce, persuade and motivate others to identify with the goals of an institution. The University Library is an organised formal institution and therefore has a laid down leadership pattern usually headed by the University librarian.

Every organisation or institution is established with laid down objectives which are expected to be attained and human beings are pivotal to the achievement of these set objectives. We can therefore assert that humans are highly instrumental in any organization (Shafie, Baghersalimi and Barghi, 2013). They can be referred to as the fuel used for driving the attainment of these objectives. The set objectives of any organisation or institution cannot be achieved without the calculated and effective input of human beings; hence we can say there is a positive relationship between the effective human factor available in an organisation and the level of achievement of the set objectives of that organization.

Like any tool or machinery, humans need to be treated properly in order to get the best output from them it is therefore paramount that employers and managers take without levity the issues of employee satisfaction in order to heighten the level of output and general performance. To get maximum result, organisations or institutions need to have a leader or manager that can effectively discharge his duties through the instrumentation of apt leadership styles. It is important to note that there are various kinds of leadership styles that can be employed in an organisation and each leadership style has its own peculiar advantage and disadvantage (Johnson, 2015). The underlining factor is that whatever style being used should be appropriate to positively influence the behaviour of the followers in a way to enhance the achievement of the objective of the organization.

Statement of Problem

The library as an organised institution has the ultimate objective of meeting the information needs of its clientele and that must be met through the instrumentation of human beings hence, human beings can unequivocally be referred to as the drivers of any organization (Shafie, Baghersalimi and Barghi, 2013). Similarly, Akinyemi and Ifijeh (2012) reiterated that for libraries to achieve their objectives, they require the diligent inputs of human resources made up of individuals occupying various cadres. These human resources in turn need to be properly managed by competent individuals who make use of the instrumentality of good leadership styles.

Hence the concern of this study is to ascertain through literature the relationship between leadership styles and job productivity of librarians.

Issues in Leadership Styles and Libraries

According to Ogbah (2013), leadership can be defined as the manner in which the leader executes and motivates his subordinates towards accomplishing the organizational goal. Similarly, Rarick (1987) explained leadership as 'the ability to convince and persuade others to act on the basis of greater knowledge or competence, reasoned argument and fairness'. Leadership therefore can be explained as the skill or ability to steer people positively or negatively towards to actualization or achievement of a set of goals and objectives. In order to achieve this, a leader usually takes whatever step and actions necessary and is usually prepared to take responsibility for the product of his action either positive or negative.

The level of effectiveness of a leader can be measured by the value of output produced and the value of output is easily measured by the kind of leadership style being employed by that leader, hence Obiwuru et al. (2011) noted that 'leadership styles are predictors to leadership effectiveness whereby leadership style in an organization is one of the factors that play significant role in enhancing or retarding the interest and commitment of the individuals in the organization'. There are a number of leadership styles that are being practiced in different organisations today but this study will be limited to just five leadership styles and they include:

* Autocratic leadership style

* Democratic leadership style

* Transactional leadership style

* Transformational leadership style and

* Laissez-affaire leadership style

Autocratic Leadership styles are usually practiced by authoritative leaders. This kind of leadership style is highly non-participative, that is little or no input or feedback is required from other members of the organisation. Nayab (2011) noted that the autocratic leadership style believes that...

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