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Leadership Assignment: An Overview Of Lateral Leadership


Task: Write a leadership assignment illustratingan in-depth definition of lateral leadership effect. Also, discuss few advantages and disadvantages.


The report on leadership assignmentwill provide an overview about lateral leadership that is known to bring individuals together in an organization thus generating new perspectives. This leadership style shows that leadership is not at all about making followers but equipping individuals with the aptitude as well as prospects to initiate agency. The report will also describe the advantages as well asdisadvantagesthat are related to lateral leadership.

Lateral Leadership effect
Lateral leadership is defined as peer leadership that has an explicit impact on the horizontal level. According to Koçak(2019), every individual has leadership accountability towards their peers irrespective of their location in the artificial hierarchy. It has been stated that incorporatinglateral leadership has the ability to develop overall organizational efficiency as well as productivity in an organization. In other words, the implementation of lateral leadership avoids bottlenecking of ideas while they flow up the command chain. Lateral leadership has a positive effect as it initiates a learning procedure.This in turn makes it easier to find out ways that will help to work, enable as well as support individuals to take proprietorship of major aspects that will lead to development in the organization.Klein (2020) stated that an individual can get things done even when he is not the boss. Lateral leadership indicates leadership that is without authority as well as disciplinary management.In lateral leadership perspective, the role played by a leader is to create a different leader.

Advantagesof lateral leadership
The advantages of lateral leadership are as follows:

Enhanced team spirit: Lateral leadershipinitiates successful incorporation of projects where every individual works jointly in the form of clockwork. This in turn unavoidablybinds employees together as well as promotes team spirit immensely (Klein, 2020). Promoting open communication: Lateral leadership initiates transparent or open communication that in turn helps the employees to take seamless as well as wide-rangingdecisions.

Reinforcedpersonal commitment by employees: If an individual is able to receive support while making decisions, they gain more confidence in themselves. As a result, they become more committed towards accomplishingobjectives in a company.
Individual promotion: Every employee as a part of lateral leadership gets picked where he stands. Individual promotion gets accomplished through positive influence that a leader has on their associates (Stangel-Meseke, 2019). Moral error culture: Diligence is regarded imperative that gets cultivated within the structure of coaching. Lateral leadership celebrates humanity thus not punishing someone who made a mistake. A positive error cultureinitiates a positive impact on motivating staffs.

Disadvantages of lateral leadership
There are various disadvantages of lateral leadership. The implementation or adoption of lateral leadership style could be challenging in the real-life context. Lateral leadership could be expensive for an organization. There are various big organizations which have been following the style of vertical management. For these organizations, shifting to lateral leadership could be difficult. The employees of the organization might misuse the disciplinary authority over each other (Thrassou, Orfanos and Tsoukatos, 2018). This might be inappropriate for the organization. The employees being used to the previous hierarchical management style across the workplace, might try and exploit their authority when subject to lateral leadership.

There are many advantages of lateral leadership as mentioned in the above section. However, this lateral leadership also has a shadow side to it, which cannot be overlooked. A very big disadvantage of the lateral leadership is that team motivation demands more effort. The lateral leadership to be successful requires a lot of self-discipline and motivation on the part of the employees. To maintain the appropriate level of enthusiasm and motivation, the employees of the organization have to invest a lot of energy and time in the process of boosting the morale and motivating the team members. As opined by Klein (2020), unless the lateral leader is able to co-decide, moderate and steer, the team members tend to think only of their own interests. This leads to gradual loss of the team spirit.

Moreover, the lateral leadership increases the expectations from the leaders. The leader is responsible for controlling and assuming the role of an ideal mentor or coach, without being a supervisor. This lateral leadership style thus, demands a high level of persuasiveness, empathy, negotiation and time management skills (Strathausen, 2015). This is hardly present in most of the leaders, which makes lateral leadership difficult to execute.

Besides, the decision-making path becomes quite unclear due to the lateral leadership effect. As the lateral leadership allows every employee to take a decision, there is a high possibility of overlapping decisions. This might also make room for a culture where decision avoidance prevails. As per Stangel-Meseke(2019), the lateral leadership effect is a problem here, as decision-making process becomes unpleasant and also lacks discipline. The accountability of decision-making is less as there is not one but many responsible for taking a particular decision. This situation could be avoided in case of hierarchical leadership style. Another disadvantage of the lateral leadership style is that the tasks cannot be properly delegated among the workforce. In lateral leadership, there is no individual who has the sole authority to give instructions. There could be a lot of work pending for which the individual team members are responsible, but no one does it as they lack the responsibility of submitting their task to the leader (Koçak, 2019). There is a need for one person who would have the authority to delegate tasks among the team members. If this is not done, task delegation would be ineffective. Few employees would be working while others would wash their hands off their tasks. This would aggravate the frustration and work burden of few, leading them to overwork.

Furthermore, lateral leadership effect is unpopular as it results in the creation of a power vacuum. The employees in the organizations need a leader to look up to and a structure to work in. This need is an integral part of the human psyche. Few people take up the role of leaders, while other prefer to follow and idealize one leader. In the absence of a leader, the power vacuum will be formed within the organization.

To conclude, lateral leadership style could be high beneficial for organization as it promotes open communication, fosters team spirit, reinforces personal commitment, etc. However, for large organizations which have been practicing hierarchical leadership for a long time, adapting to lateral leadership style would be challenging. The lateral leadership could lead to poor productivity and low output generation due to absence of work delegation, effective decision-making and power vacuum.

Klein, S., 2020.Trust, Understanding and the use of Power–three forces that make up Lateral Leadership. Journal for advanced Research in applied Sciences, 7(1), pp.16-22.
Klein, S., 2020. The Impact of Lateral Leadership as a Management Tool.BOD GmbH DE. Koçak, R.D., 2019. Leadership without hierarchy and authority: Lateral leadership. International Journal of Social Inquiry, 12(2), pp.657-680.
Stangel-Meseke, M., 2019. Practical Wisdom: A Key to a Successful Implementation of Lateral Leadership.Leadership assignment In Practical Wisdom and Diversity (pp. 161-187). Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden.
Strathausen, R., 2015. Lateral Leadership. In Leading When You’re Not the Boss (pp. 85-91). Apress, Berkeley, CA. Thrassou, A., Orfanos, D. and Tsoukatos, E., 2018. Linking motivational leadership with creativity. In Innovation and Capacity Building (pp. 77-108). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.


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