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Productivity in every organization is the primary concern of employers in both public and private organizations. The attitude of workers therefore becomes a major factor. The objective of the study is to assess the effect of leadership on staff productivity in Delta state civil service. The study which was arranged in five chapters relied much on primary and secondary data. The survey research method was adopted in eliciting information through questionnaire. The population of the study comprised both the junior and senior staff and other category of staff that are on political appointment in the seventeen ministries (17) and thirty two (32) extra ministerial departments of the twenty five local government councils (25) of Delta state totaling 39,256 (thirty nine thousand, two hundred and fifty six) The major findings showed that there was a reduction in staff productivity in the state civil service as a result of leadership ineffectiveness and autocracy which according to the study has resulted to inefficiency, low staff morale, truancy and migration of staff to other states of the federation. Based on the findings, the study recommended that because of the negative consequences of bad leadership on staff productivity, morale of staff, migration and labour turn over, Deltans must ensure that those to be appointed into leadership positions in the state meet some basic leadership requirements. checks and balances mechanism must be put in place to regulate the behaviour of our leaders at all times whether while in the office or after leaving the office and any one that violates any of the laws must be punished to serve as deterrent to others. 



The word leadership has been defined by many scholars

particularly in the field of public administration, to be one who exerts influence or makes things happen that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. If the leader causes changes that he intended, he is said to have exercised power, but if he causes changes that he did not intend or want, he has exercised influence but not power (McFarland 1969).

Chukwuemeka (2008) defined leadership simply as the art or process of influencing people.

Generally leadership has to do with influence and power, and any person who is endowed with these qualities in the context of a group, community or Nation has the personality of a leader. There are different types of leaders, some of which include intellectual leadership, opinion leadership, group leadership, social leadership, executive leadership, and administrative leadership.

Leadership can also be looked at from their styles and task. Fiedler (1969) identified two types of leadership which include task oriented leadership and interpersonal relations oriented leadership. He also identified three leadership styles (based on the use of authority) which include autocratic leadership, democratic leadership and independent leadership. But in this work, we shall categorize leadership into two types which are common in contemporary African societies, we shall consider their attributes and how they affect changes in the society.

According to Dike (2003), he identified two types of leadership that is common to African society. These are instrumental leadership and societal leadership. The main concern of the instrumental leader is how to use his office/position to achieve personal gains/goals (personal, close friends, cohorts, etc) community or National objectives are secondary to him. He may not be lacking in social or community commitment, but in practice, he gives more considerations/attentions to self over the interest of the society he governs. Such leaders will hold on to power for as long as their selfish private objectives are achieved. They do not care whether the community or region derives anything/benefit from their rule or not.

The “societal” leader on the other hand is a public servant first and only secondary a private person. He uses his position to promote community or national objectives. For him, power and influence are important only if they can be used to solve societal or human problem. He is ready to resign when he is convinced that he cannot influence changes to the benefit of the public. Given the antecedents of the nation’s post and present leaders, it is clear that the majorities of them were and are still, instrumentalists and naked opportunists.

It is only societal leaders that can motivate people to work because they have the interest of the work, Nation and the people, but instrumental leaders cannot motivate, this being the case, we want to see the type of leaders we have in Delta State whether instrumentalists or societalists. From time immemorial, this had been the case with most of our leaders and all efforts to make them see reason and change for better proved abortive.

Although there are some factors that sustain instrumental leaders in Nigeria/African.

Some of these factors are:

(1)        The guaranteed loyalty of the masses to leaders in Africa, and indeed in Nigeria the masses through socialization have come to internalize the norms of respect for authorities. They find it very different to criticize or challenge authority irrespective of what they do, although this is gradually changing. 

(2)        The title of office (chief, general, minister, commissioner etc). This allows its holder to insist on being treated like one and if the behaviour or performances of the leader and expectation from the public of the present leader is the same as that of the past leader, people may not worry about any change. They see it as the usual thing. (What is called the usual behaviour).

(3)        The deeds of Nigeria leaders-they are showered with lengthy eulogies composed during his life time by men who recite them in his honor at public gathering. As one man pointed out. Musicians have a tendency to sing the praises of leaders and men of wealth, not minding how corrupt they might be.

(4)        Seeing the leader as the “first citizen” or the “great comrade” the omnipresence and omnipotence leader. These were demonstrated in Zik and Awo of Nigeria, Nkrumah of Ghana and Idiamin of Uganda.

(5)        Weak or absence of institutional checks and balances. This has been a very big and serious problem in Nigeria. Both the military and the politicians are corrupt and treasury looter, because of the weak institutional checks and balances.

(6)        Availability of resources to tap and steal. African leaders particularly Nigeria leaders take undue advantage of these short comings and circumvent the few institutional restraints that are in place. Because the checked on power is not in place or are not in working order, it gave rise to instrumental leaders. Because these leaders have tested power and discovered that National money can be stolen with impunity, they all want to rule, those that are already there do not want to go and that is why election to position of authority in Nigeria is described as a “do or die affair” on this basis we now want to find out, how applicable is this to Delta State and what could be done to solve the problem so that the state can move forward. 

Productivity refers to the rate at which a worker, a country or

a company produces goods and services, the amount produced, compared with how much time, work and money is needed to produce them.  For productivity to increase, leaders must be able to motivate and coordinate their subordinates and other factors of production effectively. When the workers/subordinates are motivated, their morale will increase and they will be very happy, and when they are happy, productivity will increase.

Motivation on the other hand has to do with the morale of the staff to channel their behaviour in a given direction for increased productivity. Motivation is an inner state that energizes or moves and directs or channels behaviour towards goals. Motivation is a general term applying to the entire class of drives, desires, needs, wishes and similar forces. So managers must motivate their subordinates by satisfying their desires and inducing the subordinates to act in a desired manner. What motivates Mr. A may not motivate Mr. B, so managers must be able to discern and know how best to motivate their workers. Motivators are those things which induce an individual to perform. They may include higher pay, a prestigious title, a name on the office door, the acclaim of colleagues, provision of official car with the name of the institution inscribed on it, use of company uniform, security, opportunity to join clubs or unions in the office and a host of other things that give people a reason to perform. To be sure, while motivators reflect wants, they are the perceived rewards or incentives that sharpen the drive to satisfy these wants. They are also the means by which conflicting needs may be reconciled or one need maybe

accentuated so that it will be given priority over another.

A manager must be able to set up a very good incentive system to motivate his workers. For workers to be motivated, we need a good leader who can actually combine the incentives to meet the needs of both the employer and the employee so that the worker is happy and productivity increased, if workers are not happy, productivity will be affected, and a lot of loss or waste will occur. To avoid such lost and waste, there is the need to have a good leader that can combine the available resources to achieve set target and goals, and that is the purpose of this research.

A leader that is autocratic, selfish, or who does not care about the need of the workers would not be able to motivate anybody. Therefore there is the need for a societal or a servant leader to be able to influence and motivate the staff to work. When the morale of the workers are addressed by meeting their needs, they will be happy to work and even go extra mile to ensure that the objective of the organization is achieved because they know that if any thing bad happens to the company, they will be affected and so will do everything humanly possible to ensure that the organization succeed.

Before the creation of Delta State in 1991 (27th August, 91) the state was under Bendel State having it’s headquarter at Benin City, we had good leaders then. The bureaucrats were concerned with the growth of the state and the welfare of her workers. The workers then were made to realize that hard work pays notwithstanding the odds one would pass through. Leadership was then akin to priesthood. Leadership then means service, integrity, modeling, responsibility, maturity, partnership and above all, leadership comes first with a price.

Because we saw our leaders doing the right things then, the workers were motivated to work praying that one day they will become leaders as well. This brought rapid growth and

developments to the state. There were job opportunities for every body whether educated or not. While the educated ones were employed to work in government offices, others were engaged to work on the state farm settlements, rubber plantations and cocoa farms to mention a few. Standard of living was very high with very low rate of labour turnover and migration to other states of the federation. Only very few people were traveling abroad then because there was no need for it. 

Delta state was  then one of the largest producers of food crops like yam, Garri, plantain, potatoes and cash crops like rubber, palm oil, cocoa, timber and cotton to mention a few.  In fact, there was dignity of labour, value for hard work and value for money.

Shortly after the creation of the state and with the discovery of petroleum oil, more money was now being given to the state from the Federation account. In 1998, all the non-Deltas were transferred back to their various states and those who refused transfer were compulsorily retired.  Having succeeded in driving away the non Deltas, all the top and influential positions in the bureaucracy were shared by the Deltas.  Appointment into and promotions within the civil service proceeded on ethnic lines, qualifications or technical competence gave way to place of birth.  Under the circumstance it was impossible to speak of meritocracy, rationality, efficiency, productivity and all the familiar concepts of Weberian formulation.  This adversely affected productivity in the state. Similarly, the silent struggle for ascendancy between the administrative and political elite after driving away the non-Deltas succeeded only in merging politics with administration.  Commissioners were appointed to head the ministries and as the political heads of the ministries, their influence perverted all the norms of recruitment, promotion, termination and discipline in the public service. The state civil service now began to experience leadership problems such as autocracy, inefficiency, corruption, lack of integrity, injustice, incompetence, embezzlement, mismanagement etc, like their counterparts in the public sectors which now informed this research to actually assess the effect of leadership on staff productivity in the state civil service.  


One of the most fundamental problems militating against the Delta state civil service is low productivity. The leaders are autocratic and they adopted autocratic approach to handle issues in the state civil service. This lowers the morale of the staff and they are no longer happy to work and because they are not happy to work, productivity decreases. Because morale of the workers is being dampened, the rate of migration out of the state has also increased and this has also affected productivity negatively. Similarly, the politicians that were appointed to head top and sensitive positions in the state civil service lacked the required qualities to motivate the workers and because of their autocratic style of leadership, inefficiency and truancy became the order of the day in the state ministries and this further reduced productivity. Low morale due to lack of motivation, corruption, mismanagement, injustice and autocratic style of leadership promoted high rate of labour turnover which further reduced productivity.

Consequently, the overall performance of the staff has reduced greatly because they are no longer happy to do their work. The state that used to be one of the largest producers of some food and cash crops now has to depend on importation of essential goods and services to meet the need of her people. Previous researches on leadership focused mainly on the problems of leadership such as inefficiency, corruption, lack of integrity, incompetence, bad style, mismanagement, embezzlement, etc, but failed to address staff morale, relationship between leadership and productivity, and the effect of these leadership problems on staff performance and productivity particularly in the Delta state civil service. The following questions guide this study; 

1.   Is there any relationship between Leadership and Productivity?

2.   To what extent has the presence of incompetent bureaucrats in the state civil service responsible for the high rate of staff migration and labour turn over?

3.   Has autocratic style of leadership promoted inefficiency and truancy in the state civil service?

4.   To what extent has ethnicity affected the morale of the staff negatively and reduced productivity?


The general objective of this study is to assess the effect of leadership on staff productivity in the Delta State Civil Service. The specific objectives of the study are, therefore:

1.           To investigate if there is any relationship between leadership and productivity

2.           To investigate whether the bureaucrats in the state civil service are competent or not and the effect of their incompetence on staff migration and productivity. 

3.           To investigate whether the inefficiency and truancy observed in the state ministries is as a result of the autocratic style of leadership.

4.           To investigate whether the appointment and promotion of people into top and sensitive positions in the state civil service based on ethnicity instead of merit  actually affected the morale of the staff negatively and reduced productivity,


This work is undertaken out of the need to investigate the effect of leadership on staff productivity in the Delta State Civil Service. Consequently, a lot of gains are to be conceived from this study. In the past, many researches have been carried out on leadership and productivity of workers. Most of such researchers generalized their opinions or findings without taken into consideration the peculiar nature of the Delta state civil service (ethnicity). It is against this background that it is absolutely necessary and timely to embark upon this type of research so that we can ascertain and compare the effects of leadership on staff productivity and morale in the state with that of other states in Nigeria or even Africa to enable us confirm or disprove their assertion. In addition, the following people will benefit immensely from the work.

Firstly, this study and its findings will help the government to revert

to an ideal type of bureaucracy where appointments and

promotions into top and sensitive positions in the state civil service will be on merit and not on ethnicity.  This will encourage hard work, increase people’s morale and productivity. 

Secondly, the study and its findings will help the people (workers) to enjoy adequate provision of goods and services, infrastructures, increased salary and high standard of living. Promotions, transfers, retirements, pensions etc will be based on laid down rules and regulations and this will further discourage favoritism, delays, laziness, ethnicity, bribery and corruption to mention a few. 

Thirdly, the state will enjoy rapid development and growth and have enough goods and services to meet the need of the people.  Many people will be employed and the internally generated revenue for the state from PAYE taxes and other sources will increase and this can be used for further development of other sectors of the economy of the state. 

Similarly, the study and its findings will contribute significantly to existing literatures on the subject area, students and other researchers will benefit immensely from the work because of its contribution to knowledge and it will also stimulate further researches into the effect of leadership not only on productivity but on other areas of human endeavour not only in Delta State but in

Nigeria, Africa and other parts of the world. 


A research without a theoretical framework is like a house without a solid foundation.  Kaplan, (1980) cited in Chukwuemeka (2004) contends that a theory is a systematically organized knowledge of varying levels of generalization with a view to the eventual specification or relationships among empirical tests.

According to him, the test of a theory is the degree to which its formulation seems congruent with our own perception of the real world situation. Therefore a theory equips us with a way of looking

at reality. 

In the light of the foregoing, we can define theoretical framework as a broad umbrella made up of theoretical postulations (theories, perspective, models or paradigms) that researchers or writers can utilize as guides for understanding or analyzing a reality or phenomenon under study.

There are so many theories of leadership, but one of the most widely referred theories of leadership is the Fiedler contingency approach.  Although the theory is primarily one of analyzing leadership style, Fiedler suggested a contingency theory which implies that leadership is any process in which the ability of the leader to exercise influence depends upon the group task situation and the degree to which the leader’s style, personality and approach fit the group.  According to him, people become leaders not only because of the attribute of their personality but also because of various situational factors and the interaction between the leaders and the situation.  For the purpose of this study, the Fiedler contingency approach was adopted. This is because since leadership depends on situational factors and interactions between leaders and situations, the method or style that can work in the state ministry of Finance may not work in the Administrative department, the approach you may use to coordinate senior staff may not work with junior staff. Some people enjoyed working under a dictator while some would like to work under a democratic condition or leadership, while some people would prefer working under a task oriented leader, some would prefer a human relations oriented leader. Those in leadership positions in the Delta state civil service should therefore be allowed to identify what method or style of leadership to be adopted to improve the morale of the staff in their different ministries or departments so as to increase performance and productivity. 

Fielder (1967) discovered three critical dimensions of the situation that affect a leader’s most effective style.  These include; 

1.           Position Power:  This refers to the degree to which the power of a position as distinguished from other sources of power enables a leader to get the group members to comply with directions.  A leader with clear and considerable position power can easily obtain better fellowship than the one without such power. 

2.           Task structure:  where the leader can easily and clearly structure the task to be carried out by the group, people can easily be held responsible for the task to be performed and control will be easier.

3.           Leader- Member Relation:  This refers to the extent to which the group members like and trust a leader. When the members like their leader, they will easily follow him. Control and coordination becomes easier.

He identified four essential types of leadership which include; Dictatorial leader, Autocratic, Laissez-faire and Democratic leadership.  He also identified some qualities which a leader must possess. These include; Energy, Emotional stability, knowledge of human relations, objectivity, ability to motivate the subordinates, communication ability, technical ability, social skill and technical competence. 

This leadership theory concludes that leaders must be tactical, know all the different types of styles of leadership and know the best to apply at any given point in time.  According to him, there is no one best leadership style, but a leader must be able to access the situation at hand and decide the best style of leadership to apply in that situation to enable the objective to be achieved.  He concluded that there is no one best theory of leadership, no one best style, no one best way to lead people but that it all depends on the situation where the leader finds himself.  So leaders must be able to decide the best way to coordinate his people and the available resources to achieve the set target. 

         1.6   HYPOTHESES    

HYPOTHESES: Hypotheses are guides for the researcher on the main line of his study. They tend to serve as assumed answers to the principal questions raised in the study. The correctness of which shall be assessed in the course of the study (Chukwuemeka 2002). For the purpose of this study, the following hypotheses were tested.

1.           There is positive relationship between leadership and      productivity.

2.           The presence of incompetent bureaucrats in the state civil service is responsible for the high rate of staff migration and reduction in productivity. 

3.           The autocratic leadership style of the bureaucrats has promoted inefficiency and truancy in the state civil service. 

4.           The appointment and promotion of people into top and sensitive positions in the state civil service based on ethnicity instead of merit is responsible for the low staff morale and reduction in productivity.



This study focused on Delta State Civil Service and covered a period of 12 years (1998 – 2009). This period is so chosen because Delta State was created in 1991 but bureaucrats from Bendel State (mother State) were still in the management of the State Civil Service until 1997 when nonindigenes in the service were retired or advised to transfer their service back to their various states compulsorily and from 1998, the affairs of the State Civil Service was left in the hands of the Deltas.

                LIMITATION OF THE STUDY:

In any human Endeavour, there are always some constraints and this research work is not an exception.

(1)  The limited time given for the work made it very stressful.

(2)  Accessibility to some key officers of some ministries for interview was not possible, and even where possible in some cases, they refused to comment on some issues, claiming that they are not authorized to expose official secret, or not Competent to grant external interviews, but this does not in any way jeopardize the results of the work because the office of the head of service and the department of information gave us their maximum cooperation.

(3)  The cost of traveling to all the locations of the ministries within and outside the state capital was also a limiting factor, but I did my best to ensure that all the important offices and stations were visited. 

(4)  The fact that am pasturing and also in a full time employment made the work not too easy because I had to combined so many things together, but despite these limiting factors, I did my best to ensure the success of the work.

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