Theories 1. Great Man Theory 2. Trait Theory 3. Behavioral Theories a. Role Theory b. The Managerial Grid 4. Participative Leadership a. Lewin’s leadership styles b. Likert’s leadership styles 5. Situational Leadership a. Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership b. Vroom and Yetton’s Normative Model c. House’s Path-Goal Theory of Leadership 6. Contingency Theories a. Fiedler’s Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) Theory b. Cognitive Resource Theory c. Strategic Contingencies Theory 7. Transactional Leadership a. Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory 8.
Transformational Leadership a. Bass’ Transformational Leadership Theory b. Burns’ Transformational Leadership Theory c. Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Participation Inventory 1. Great Man Theory Assumptions Leaders are born and not made. Great leaders will arise when there is a great need. Description Early research on leadership was based on the the study of people who were already great leaders. These people were often from the aristocracy, as few from lower classes had the opportunity to lead. This contributed to the notion that leadership had something to do with breeding.
The idea of the Great Man also strayed into the mythic domain, with notions that in times of need, a Great Man would arise, almost by magic. This was easy to verify, by pointing to people such as Eisenhower and Churchill, let alone those further back along the timeline, even to Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and the Buddah. Discussion Gender issues were not on the table when the ‘Great Man’ theory was proposed. Most leaders were male and the thought of a Great Woman was generally in areas other than leadership. Most researchers were also male, and concerns about androcentric bias were a long way from being realized. . Trait Theory Assumptions People are born with inherited traits. Some traits are particularly suited to leadership. People who make good leaders have the right (or sufficient) combination of traits. Description Early research on leadership was based on the psychological focus of the day, which was of people having inherited characteristics or traits. Attention was thus put on discovering these traits, often by studying successful leaders, but with the underlying assumption that if other people could also be found with these traits, then they, too, could also become great leaders.
Stogdill (1974) identified the following traits and skills as critical to leaders. |Traits |Skills | |Adaptable to situations |Clever (intelligent) | |Alert to social environment |Conceptually skilled | |Ambitious and achievement-orientated |Creative |Assertive |Diplomatic and tactful | |Cooperative |Fluent in speaking | |Decisive |Knowledgeable about group task | |Dependable |Organised (administrative ability) | |Dominant (desire to influence others) |Persuasive | |Energetic (high activity level) |Socially skilled | |Persistent | | |Self-confident | | |Tolerant of stress | | |Willing to assume responsibility | | McCall and Lombardo (1983) researched both success and failure identified four primary traits by which leaders could succeed or ‘derail’: • Emotional stability and composure: Calm, confident and predictable, particularly when under stress. • Admitting error: Owning up to mistakes, rather than putting energy into covering up. • Good interpersonal skills: Able to communicate and persuade others without resort to negative or coercive tactics. • Intellectual breadth: Able to understand a wide range of areas, rather than having a narrow (and narrow-minded) area of expertise. Discussion
There have been many different studies of leadership traits and they agree only in the general saintly qualities needed to be a leader. For a long period, inherited traits were sidelined as learned and situational factors were considered to be far more realistic as reasons for people acquiring leadership positions. Paradoxically, the research into twins who were separated at birth along with new sciences such as Behavioral Genetics have shown that far more is inherited than was previously supposed. Perhaps one day they will find a ‘leadership gene’. 3. Behavioral Theory Assumptions Leaders can be made, rather than are born. Successful leadership is based in definable, learnable behavior. Description
Behavioral theories of leadership do not seek inborn traits or capabilities. Rather, they look at what leaders actually do. If success can be defined in terms of describable actions, then it should be relatively easy for other people to act in the same way. This is easier to teach and learn then to adopt the more ephemeral ‘traits’ or ‘capabilities’. Discussion Behavioral is a big leap from Trait Theory, in that it assumes that leadership capability can be learned, rather than being inherent. This opens the floodgates to leadership development, as opposed to simple psychometric assessment that sorts those with leadership potential from those who will never have the chance.
A behavioral theory is relatively easy to develop, as you simply assess both leadership success and the actions of leaders. With a large enough study, you can then correlate statistically significant behaviors with success. You can also identify behaviors which contribute to failure, thus adding a second layer of understanding. 3. a. Role Theory Assumptions People define roles for themselves and others based on social learning and reading. People form expectations about the roles that they and others will play. People subtly encourage others to act within the role expectations they have for them. People will act within the roles they adopt. Description
We all have internal schemas about the role of leaders, based on what we read, discuss and so on. We subtly send these expectations to our leaders, acting as role senders, for example through the balance of decisions we take upon ourselves and the decisions we leave to the leader. Leaders are influenced by these signals, particularly if they are sensitive to the people around them, and will generally conform to these, playing the leadership role that is put upon them by others. Within organizations, there is much formal and informal information about what the leader’s role should be, including ‘leadership values’, culture, training sessions, modeling by senior managers, and so on.
These and more (including contextual factors) act to shape expectations and behaviors around leadership. Role conflict can also occur when people have differing expectations of their leaders. It also happens when leaders have different ideas about what they should be doing vs. the expectations that are put upon them. Discussion Role expectations of a leader can vary from very specific to a broad idea within which the leader can define their own style. When role expectations are low or mixed, then this may also lead to role conflict. 3. b. The Managerial Grid Description Leaders may be concerned for their people and they also must also have some concern for the work to be done.
The question is, how much attention to they pay to one or the other? This is a model defined by Blake and Mouton in the early 1960s. |Concern for People |High |Country Club management | | | |Concern for Production (Task) | Impoverished management Minimum effort to get the work done. A basically lazy approach that avoids as much work as possible. Authority-compliance Strong focus on task, but with little concern for people. Focus on efficiency, including the elimination of people wherever possible. Country Club management
Care and concern for the people, with a comfortable and friendly environment and collegial style. But a low focus on task may give questionable results. Middle of the road management A weak balance of focus on both people and the work. Doing enough to get things done, but not pushing the boundaries of what may be possible. Team management Firing on all cylinders: people are committed to task and leader is committed to people (as well as task). Discussion This is a well-known grid that uses the Task vs. Person preference that appears in many other studies, such as the Michigan Leadership Studies and the Ohio State Leadership Studies. Many other task-people models and variants have appeared since then.
They are both clearly important dimensions, but as other models point out, they are not all there is to leadership and management. The Managerial Grid was the original name. It later changed to the Leadership Grid. 4. Participative Leadership Assumptions Involvement in decision-making improves the understanding of the issues involved by those who must carry out the decisions. People are more committed to actions where they have involved in the relevant decision-making. People are less competitive and more collaborative when they are working on joint goals. When people make decisions together, the social commitment to one another is greater and thus increases their commitment to the decision. Several people deciding together make better decisions than one person alone.
Style A Participative Leader, rather than taking autocratic decisions, seeks to involve other people in the process, possibly including subordinates, peers, superiors and other stakeholders. Often, however, as it is within the managers’ whim to give or deny control to his or her subordinates, most participative activity is within the immediate team. The question of how much influence others are given thus may vary on the manager’s preferences and beliefs, and a whole spectrum of participation is possible, as in the table below. |< Not participative |Highly participative > | Relationship / supportive | | |behavior | | |High |S3 | | |Partici- | | |pating | |Low |S2 | | |Selling | | | | | | | | | | | |S4 | | |Dele- | | |gating | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |S1 | | |Telling | | | | S1: Telling / Directing Follower: R1: Low competence, low commitment / Unable and unwilling or insecure Leader: High task focus, low relationship focus When the follower cannot do the job and is unwilling or afraid to try, then the leader takes a highly directive role, telling them what to do but without a great deal of concern for the relationship.
The leader may also provide a working structure, both for the job and in terms of how the person is controlled. The leader may first find out why the person is not motivated and if there are any limitations in ability. These two factors may be linked, for example where a person believes they are less capable than they should be may be in some form of denial or other coping. They follower may also lack self-confidence as a result. If the leader focused more on the relationship, the follower may become confused about what must be done and what is optional. The leader thus maintains a clear ‘do this’ position to ensure all required actions are clear.
S2: Selling / Coaching Follower: R2: Some competence, variable commitment / Unable but willing or motivated Leader: High task focus, high relationship focus When the follower can do the job, at least to some extent, and perhaps is over-confident about their ability in this, then ‘telling’ them what to do may demotivate them or lead to resistance. The leader thus needs to ‘sell’ another way of working, explaining and clarifying decisions. The leader thus spends time listening and advising and, where appropriate, helping the follower to gain necessary skills through coaching methods. Note: S1 and S2 are leader-driven. S3: Participating / Supporting
Follower: R3: High competence, variable commitment / Able but unwilling or insecure Leader: Low task focus, high relationship focus When the follower can do the job, but is refusing to do it or otherwise showing insufficient commitment, the leader need not worry about showing them what to do, and instead is concerned with finding out why the person is refusing and thence persuading them to cooperate. There is less excuse here for followers to be reticent about their ability, and the key is very much around motivation. If the causes are found then they can be addressed by the leader. The leader thus spends time listening, praising and otherwise making the follower feel good when they show the necessary commitment. S4: Delegating / Observing
Follower: R4: High competence, high commitment / Able and willing or motivated Leader: Low task focus, low relationship focus When the follower can do the job and is motivated to do it, then the leader can basically leave them to it, largely trusting them to get on with the job although they also may need to keep a relatively distant eye on things to ensure everything is going to plan. Followers at this level have less need for support or frequent praise, although as with anyone, occasional recognition is always welcome. Note: S3 and S4 are follower-led. Discussion Hersey and Blanchard (of ‘One Minute Manager’ fame) have written a short and very readable book on the approach.
It is simple and easy to understand, which makes it particularly attractive for practicing managers who do not want to get into heavier material. It also is accepted in wider spheres and often appear in college courses. It is limited, however, and is based on assumptions that can be challenged, for example the assumption that at the ‘telling’ level, the relationship is of lower importance. 5. b. Vroom and Yetton’s Normative Model Assumptions Decision acceptance increases commitment and effectiveness of action. Participation increases decision acceptance. Description Decision quality is the selection of the best alternative, and is particularly important when there are many alternatives.
It is also important when there are serious implications for selecting (or failing to select) the best alternative. Decision acceptance is the degree to which a follower accepts a decision made by a leader. Leaders focus more on decision acceptance when decision quality is more important. Vroom and Yetton defined five different decision procedures. Two are autocratic (A1 and A2), two are consultative (C1 and C2) and one is Group based (G2). A1: Leader takes known information and then decides alone. A2: Leader gets information from followers, and then decides alone. C1: Leader shares problem with followers individually, listens to ideas and then decides alone. C2: Leader shares problems with followers as a group, listens to ideas and then decides alone.
G2: Leader shares problems with followers as a group and then seeks and accepts consensus agreement. Situational factors that influence the method are relatively logical: • When decision quality is important and followers possess useful information, then A1 and A2 are not the best method. • When the leader sees decision quality as important but followers do not, then G2 is inappropriate. • When decision quality is important, when the problem is unstructured and the leader lacks information / skill to make the decision alone, then G2 is best. • When decision acceptance is important and followers are unlikely to accept an autocratic decision, then A1 and A2 are inappropriate. when decision acceptance is important but followers are likely to disagree with one another, then A1, A2 and C1 are not appropriate, because they do not give opportunity for differences to be resolved. • When decision quality is not important but decision acceptance is critical, then G2 is the best method. • When decision quality is important, all agree with this, and the decision is not likely to result from an autocratic decision then G2 is best. Discussion Vroom and Yetton (1973) took the earlier generalized situational theories that noted how situational factors cause almost unpredictable leader behavior and reduced this to a more limited set of behaviors. The ‘normative’ aspect of the model is that it was defined more by rational logic than by long observation.
The model is most likely to work when there is clear and accessible opinions about the decision quality importance and decision acceptance factors. However these are not always known with any significant confidence. 5. c. Path-Goal Theory of Leadership Description The Path-Goal Theory of Leadership was developed to describe the way that leaders encourage and support their followers in achieving the goals they have been set by making the path that they should take clear and easy. In particular, leaders: • Clarify the path so subordinates know which way to go. • Remove roadblocks that are stopping them going there. • Increasing the rewards along the route.
Leaders can take a strong or limited approach in these. In clarifying the path, they may be directive or give vague hints. In removing roadblocks, they may scour the path or help the follower move the bigger blocks. In increasing rewards, they may give occasional encouragement or pave the way with gold. This variation in approach will depend on the situation, including the follower’s capability and motivation, as well as the difficulty of the job and other contextual factors. House and Mitchell (1974) describe four styles of leadership: Supportive leadership Considering the needs of the follower, showing concern for their welfare and creating a friendly working environment.
This includes increasing the follower’s self-esteem and making the job more interesting. This approach is best when the work is stressful, boring or hazardous. Directive leadership Telling followers what needs to be done and giving appropriate guidance along the way. This includes giving them schedules of specific work to be done at specific times. Rewards may also be increased as needed and role ambiguity decreased (by telling them what they should be doing). This may be used when the task is unstructured and complex and the follower is inexperienced. This increases the follower’s sense of security and control and hence is appropriate to the situation. Participative leadership
Consulting with followers and taking their ideas into account when making decisions and taking particular actions. This approach is best when the followers are expert and their advice is both needed and they expect to be able to give it. Achievement-oriented leadership Setting challenging goals, both in work and in self-improvement (and often together). High standards are demonstrated and expected. The leader shows faith in the capabilities of the follower to succeed. This approach is best when the task is complex. Discussion Leaders who show the way and help followers along a path are effectively ‘leading’. This approach assumes that there is one right way of achieving a goal and that the leader can see it and the follower cannot.
This casts the leader as the knowing person and the follower as dependent. It also assumes that the follower is completely rational and that the appropriate methods can be deterministically selected depending on the situation. 6. Contingency Theory Assumptions The leader’s ability to lead is contingent upon various situational factors, including the leader’s preferred style, the capabilities and behaviors of followers and also various other situational factors. Description Contingency theories are a class of behavioral theory that contend that there is no one best way of leading and that a leadership style that is effective in some situations may not be successful in others.
An effect of this is that leaders who are very effective at one place and time may become unsuccessful either when transplanted to another situation or when the factors around them change. This helps to explain how some leaders who seem for a while to have the ‘Midas touch’ suddenly appear to go off the boil and make very unsuccessful decisions. Discussion Contingency theory is similar to situational theory in that there is an assumption of no simple one right way. The main difference is that situational theory tends to focus more on the behaviors that the leader should adopt, given situational factors (often about follower behavior), whereas contingency theory takes a broader view that includes contingent factors about leader capability and other variables within the situation. 6. a.
Fiedler’s Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) Theory Assumptions Leaders prioritize between task-focus and people-focus. Relationships, power and task structure are the three key factors that drive effective styles. Description Fiedler identified the a Least Preferred Co-Worker scoring for leaders by asking them first to think of a person with which they worked that they would like least to work with again, and then to score the person on a range of scales between positive factors (friendly, helpful, cheerful, etc. ) and negative factors (unfriendly, unhelpful, gloomy, etc. ). A high LPC leader generally scores the other person as positive and a low LPC leader scores them as negative.
High LPC leaders tend to have close and positive relationships and act in a supportive way, even prioritizing the relationship before the task. Low LPC leaders put the task first and will turn to relationships only when they are satisfied with how the work is going. Three factors are then identified about the leader, member and the task, as follows: • Leader-Member Relations: The extent to which the leader has the support and loyalties of followers and relations with them are friendly and cooperative. • Task structure: The extent to which tasks are standardised, documented and controlled. • Leader’s Position-power: The extent to which the leader has authority to assess follower performance and give reward or punishment.
The best LPC approach depends on a combination of there three. Generally, a high LPC approach is best when leader-member relations are poor, except when the task is unstructured and the leader is weak, in which a low LPC style is better. # |Leader-Member Relations |Task structure |Leader’s Position- power |Most Effective leader | |1 |Good |Structured |Strong |Low LPC | |2 |Good |Structured |Weak |Low LPC | |3 |Good |Unstructured |Strong |Low LPC | |4 |Good |Unstructured |Weak |High LPC | |5 |Poor |Structured |Strong |High LPC | |6 |Poor |Structured |Weak |High LPC | |7 |Poor |Unstructured |Strong |High LPC | |8 |Poor |Unstructured |Weak |Low LPC | |Discussion
This approach seeks to identify the underlying beliefs about people, in particular whether the leader sees others as positive (high LPC) or negative (low LPC). The neat trick of the model is to take someone where it would be very easy to be negative about them. This is another approach that uses task- vs. people-focus as a major categorisation of the leader’s style. 6. b. Cognitive Resource Theory Assumptions Intelligence and experience and other cognitive resources are factors in leadership success. Cognitive capabilities, although significant are not enough to predict leadership success. Stress impacts the ability to make decisions. Description
Cognitive Resource Theory predicts that: 1. A leader’s cognitive ability contributes to the performance of the team only when the leader’s approach is directive. When leaders are better at planning and decision-making, in order for their plans and decisions to be implemented, they need to tell people what to do, rather than hope they agree with them. When they are not better than people in the team, then a non-directive approach is more appropriate, for example where they facilitate an open discussion where the ideas of team can be aired and the best approach identified and implemented. 2. Stress affects the relationship between intelligence and decision quality.
When there is low stress, then intelligence is fully functional and makes an optimal contribution. However, during high stress, a natural intelligence not only makes no difference, but it may also have a negative effect. One reason for this may be that an intelligent person seeks rational solutions, which may not be available (and may be one of the causes of stress). In such situations, a leader who is inexperienced in ‘gut feel’ decisions is forced to rely on this unfamiliar approach. Another possibility is that the leader retreats within him/herself, to think hard about the problem, leaving the group to their own devices. 3. Experience is positively related to decision quality under high stress.
When there is a high stress situation and intelligence is impaired, experience of the same or similar situations enables the leader to react in appropriate ways without having to think carefully about the situation. Experience of decision-making under stress also will contribute to a better decision than trying to muddle through with brain-power alone. 4. For simple tasks, leader intelligence and experience is irrelevant. When subordinates are given tasks which do not need direction or support, then it does not matter how good the leader is at making decisions, because they are easy to make, even for subordinates, and hence do not need any further support. Discussion CRT arose out of dissatisfaction with Trait Theory.
Fiedler also linked CRT with his Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) Theory, suggesting that high LPC scores are the main drivers of directive behavior. A particularly significant aspect of CRT is the principle that intelligence is the main factor in low-stress situations, whilst experience counts for more during high-stress moments. 6. c. Strategic Contingencies Theory Description Intra-organizational power depends on three factors: problem skills, actor centrality and uniqueness of skill. If you have the skills and expertise to resolve important problems, then you are going to be in demand. And by the law of supply and demand, that gives your the upper hand in negotiations.
It also gives you power from the reciprocity created. If you work in a central part of the workflow of the organization, then what you do is very important. This gives you many opportunities to be noticed. It also means you are on the critical path, such that if your part of the company fails, the whole show stops. Again creating attention and giving you bargaining power. Finally, if you are difficult to replace, then if you do make enemies up the hierarchy, then they cannot just move you out or sideways. Example A production manager in an organization is in charge of a key manufacturing operation (centrality), and understands its complexities very well (uniqueness).
From a long experience, when things go wrong, he is very good at fixing things, both mechanically and with the unions. So what? Using it Get a job on the critical path through the organization. Become expert in problem solving in it. Acquire and defend knowledge and skills that nobody else has. Defending Do not let any one person become indispensable. 7. Transactional Leadership Assumptions People are motivated by reward and punishment. Social systems work best with a clear chain of command. When people have agreed to do a job, a part of the deal is that they cede all authority to their manager. The prime purpose of a subordinate is to do what their manager tells them to do. Style
The transactional leader works through creating clear structures whereby it is clear what is required of their subordinates, and the rewards that they get for following orders. Punishments are not always mentioned, but they are also well-understood and formal systems of discipline are usually in place. The early stage of Transactional Leadership is in negotiating the contract whereby the subordinate is given a salary and other benefits, and the company (and by implication the subordinate’s manager) gets authority over the subordinate. When the Transactional Leader allocates work to a subordinate, they are considered to be fully responsible for it, whether or not they have the resources or capability to carry it out.
When things go wrong, then the subordinate is considered to be personally at fault, and is punished for their failure (just as they are rewarded for succeeding). The transactional leader often uses management by exception, working on the principle that if something is operating to defined (and hence expected) performance then it does not need attention. Exceptions to expectation require praise and reward for exceeding expectation, whilst some kind of corrective action is applied for performance below expectation. Whereas Transformational Leadership has more of a ‘selling’ style, Transactional Leadership, once the contract is in place, takes a ‘telling’ style. Discussion Transactional leadership is based in contingency, in that reward or punishment is contingent upon performance.
Despite much research that highlights its limitations, Transactional Leadership is still a popular approach with many managers. Indeed, in the Leadership vs. Management spectrum, it is very much towards the management end of the scale. The main limitation is the assumption of ‘rational man’, a person who is largely motivated by money and simple reward, and hence whose behavior is predictable. The underlying psychology is Behaviorism, including the Classical Conditioning of Pavlov and Skinner’s Operant Conditioning. These theories are largely based on controlled laboratory experiments (often with animals) and ignore complex emotional factors and social values. In ractice, there is sufficient truth in Behaviorism to sustain Transactional approaches. This is reinforced by the supply-and-demand situation of much employment, coupled with the effects of deeper needs, as in Maslow’s Hierarchy. When the demand for a skill outstrips the supply, then Transactional Leadership often is insufficient, and other approaches are more effective. 7. a. Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory Description Leader-Member Exchange Theory, also called LMX or Vertical Dyad Linkage Theory, describes how leaders in groups maintain their position through a series of tacit exchange agreements with their members. In-group and out-group
In particular, leaders often have a special relationship with an inner circle of trusted lieutenants, assistants and advisors, to whom they give high levels of responsibility, decision influence, and access to resources. This in-group pay for their position. They work harder, are more committed to task objectives, and share more administrative duties. They are also expected to be fully committed and loyal to their leader. The out-group, on the other hand, are given low levels of choice or influence. This also puts constraints upon the leader. They have to nurture the relationship with their inner circle whilst balancing giving them power with ensuring they do not have enough to strike out on their own. The LMX process These relationships, if they are going to happen, start very soon after a person joins the group and follow three stages. 1. Role taking
The member joins the team and the leader assesses their abilities and talents. Based on this, the leader may offer them opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities. Another key factor in this stage is the discovery by both parties of how the other likes to be respected. 2. Role making In the second phase, the leader and member take part in an unstructured and informal negotiation whereby a role is created for the member and the often-tacit promise of benefit and power in return for dedication and loyalty takes place. Trust-building is very important in this stage, and any felt betrayal, especially by the leader, can result in the member being relegated to the out-group.
This negotiation includes relationship factors as well as pure work-related ones, and a member who is similar to the leader in various ways is more likely to succeed. This perhaps explains why mixed gender relationships regularly are less successful than same-gender ones (it also affects the seeking of respect in the first stage). The same effect also applies to cultural and racial differences. 3. Routinization In this phase, a pattern of ongoing social exchange between the leader and the member becomes established. Success factors Successful members are thus similar in many ways to the leader (which perhaps explains why many senior teams are all white, male, middle-class and middle-aged). They work hard at building and sustaining trust and respect.
To help this, they are empathetic, patient, reasonable, sensitive, and are good at seeing the viewpoint of other people (especially the leader). Aggression, sarcasm and an egocentric view are keys to the out-group wash-room. The overall quality of the LMX relationship varies with several factors. Curiously, it is better when the challenge of the job is extremely high or extremely low. The size of the group, financial resource availability and the overall workload are also important. Onwards and upwards The principle works upwards as well. The leader also gains power by being a member of their manager’s inner circle, which then can then share on downwards.
People at the bottom of an organization with unusual power may get it from an unbroken chain of circles up to the hierarchy. So what? Using it When you join a team, work hard to also join the inner circle. Take on more than your share of administrative and other tasks. Demonstrate unswerving loyalty. See your leader’s point of view. Be reasonable and supportive in your challenges to them, and pick your moments carefully. As a leader, pick your inner circle with care. Reward them for their loyalty and hard work, whilst being careful about maintaining commitment of other people. Defending If you want to be an ‘ordinary’ member of a team, play your part carefully.
There will be others with more power. If you want to lead an equal team, beware of those who curry favor. 8. Transformational Leadership Assumptions People will follow a person who inspires them. A person with vision and passion can achieve great things. The way to get things done is by injecting enthusiasm and energy. Style Working for a Transformational Leader can be a wonderful and uplifting experience. They put passion and energy into everything. They care about you and want you to succeed. Developing the vision Transformational Leadership starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers.
This vision may be developed by the leader, by the senior team or may emerge from a broad series of discussions. The important factor is the leader buys into it, hook, line and sinker. Selling the vision The next step, which in fact never stops, is to constantly sell the vision. This takes energy and commitment, as few people will immediately buy into a radical vision, and some will join the show much more slowly than others. The Transformational Leader thus takes every opportunity and will use whatever works to convince others to climb on board the bandwagon. In order to create followers, the Transformational Leader has to be very careful in creating trust, and their personal integrity is a critical part of the package that they are selling.
In effect, they are selling themselves as well as the vision. Finding the way forwards In parallel with the selling activity is seeking the way forward. Some Transformational Leaders know the way, and simply want others to follow them. Others do not have a ready strategy, but will happily lead the exploration of possible routes to the promised land. The route forwards may not be obvious and may not be plotted in details, but with a clear vision, the direction will always be known. Thus finding the way forward can be an ongoing process of course correction, and the Transformational Leader will accept that there will be failures and blind canyons along the way. As long s they feel progress is being made, they will be happy. Leading the charge The final stage is to remain up-front and central during the action. Transformational Leaders are always visible and will stand up to be counted rather than hide behind their troops. They show by their attitudes and actions how everyone else should behave. They also make continued efforts to motivate and rally their followers, constantly doing the rounds, listening, soothing and enthusing. It is their unswerving commitment as much as anything else that keeps people going, particularly through the darker times when some may question whether the vision can ever be achieved.
If the people do not believe that they can succeed, then their efforts will flag. The Transformational Leader seeks to infect and reinfect their followers with a high level of commitment to the vision. One of the methods the Transformational Leader uses to sustain motivation is in the use of ceremonies, rituals and other cultural symbolism. Small changes get big hurrahs, pumping up their significance as indicators of real progress. Overall, they balance their attention between action that creates progress and the mental state of their followers. Perhaps more than other approaches, they are people-oriented and believe that success comes first and last through deep and sustained commitment. Discussion
Whilst the Transformational Leader seeks overtly to transform the organization, there is also a tacit promise to followers that they also will be transformed in some way, perhaps to be more like this amazing leader. In some respects, then, the followers are the product of the transformation. Transformational Leaders are often charismatic, but are not as narcissistic as pure Charismatic Leaders, who succeed through a belief in themselves rather than a belief in others. One of the traps of Transformational Leadership is that passion and confidence can easily be mistaken for truth and reality. Whilst it is true that great things have been achieved through enthusiastic leadership, it is also true that many passionate people have led the charge right over the cliff and into a bottomless chasm.
Just because someone believes they are right, it does not mean they are right. Paradoxically, the energy that gets people going can also cause them to give up. Transformational Leaders often have large amounts of enthusiasm which, if relentlessly applied, can wear out their followers. Transformational Leaders also tend to see the big picture, but not the details, where the devil often lurks. If they do not have people to take care of this level of information, then they are usually doomed to fail. Finally, Transformational Leaders, by definition, seek to transform. When the organization does not need transforming and people are happy as they are, then such a leader will be frustrated.
Like wartime leaders, however, given the right situation they come into their own and can be personally responsible for saving entire companies. 8. a. Bass’ Transformational Leadership Theory Assumptions Awareness of task importance motivates people. A focus on the team or organization produces better work. Description Bass defined transformational leadership in terms of how the leader affects followers, who are intended to trust, admire and respect the transformational leader. He identified three ways in which leaders transform followers: • Increasing their awareness of task importance and value. • Getting them to focus first on team or organizational goals, rather than their own interests. • Activating their higher-order needs.
Charisma is seen as necessary, but not sufficient, for example in the way that charismatic movie stars may not make good leaders. Two key charismatic effects that transformational leaders achieve is to evoke strong emotions and to cause identification of the followers with the leader. This may be through stirring appeals. It may also may occur through quieter methods such as coaching and mentoring. Bass has recently noted that authentic transformational leadership is grounded in moral foundations that are based on four components: • Idealized influence • Inspirational motivation • Intellectual stimulation • Individualized consideration … and three moral aspects: • The moral character of the leader. The ethical values embedded in the leader’s vision, articulation, and program (which followers either embrace or reject). • The morality of the processes of social ethical choice and action that leaders and followers engage in and collectively pursue. This is in contrast with pseudo-transformational leadership, where, for example, in-group/out-group ‘us and them’ games are used to bond followers to the leader. Discussion In contrast to Burns, who sees transformational leadership as being inextricably linked with higher order values, Bass sees it as amoral, and attributed transformational skills to people such as Adolf Hitler and Jim Jones. 8. b. Burns’ Transformational Leadership Theory Assumptions
Association with a higher moral position is motivating and will result in people following a leader who promotes this. Working collaboratively is better than working individually. Description Burns defined transformational leadership as a process where leaders and followers engage in a mutual process of ‘raising one another to higher levels of morality and motivation. ‘ Transformational leaders raise the bar by appealing to higher ideals and values of followers. In doing so, they may model the values themselves and use charismatic methods to attract people to the values and to the leader. Burns’ view is that transformational leadership is more effective than transactional leadership, where the appeal is to more selfish concerns.
An appeal to social values thus encourages people to collaborate, rather than working as individuals (and potentially competitively with one another). He also views transformational leadership as an ongoing process rather than the discrete exchanges of the transactional approach. Discussion Using social and spiritual values as a motivational lever is very powerful as they are both hard to deny and also give people an uplifting sense of being connected to a higher purpose, thus playing to the need for a sense of meaning and identity. Ideals are higher in Maslow’s Hierarchy, which does imply that lower concerns such as health and security must be reasonably safe before people will pay serious attention to the higher possibilities. 9. c. The Leadership Challenge
James Kouzes and Barry Posner developed a survey (The Leadership Practices Inventory) that asked people which, of a list of common characteristics of leaders, were, in their experiences of being led by others, the seven top things they look for, admire and would willingly follow. And over twenty years, they managed ask this of seventy five thousand people. The results of the study showed that people preferred the following characteristics, in order: • Honest • Forward-looking • Competent • Inspiring • Intelligent • Fair-minded • Broad-minded • Supportive • Straightforward • Dependable • Cooperative • Determined • Imaginative • Ambitious • Courageous • Caring • Mature • Loyal • Self-controlled • Independent
The main part of the book discusses the five actions that Kouzes and Posner identify as being key for successful leadership: Model the way Modeling means going first, living the behaviors you want others to adopt. This is leading from the front. People will believe not what they hear leaders say but what they see leader consistently do. Inspire a shared vision People are motivated most not by fear or reward, but by ideas that capture their imagination. Note that this is not so much about having a vision, but communicating it so effectively that others take it as their own. Challenge the process Leaders thrive on and learn from adversity and difficult situations. They are early adopters of innovation.
Enable others to act Encouragement and exhortation is not enough. People must feel able to act and then must have the ability to put their ideas into action. Encourage the heart People act best of all when they are passionate about what they are doing. Leaders unleash the enthusiasm of their followers this with stories and passions of their own. Overall, it is difficult to ignore the combined views of 75,000 people. The placing of honesty first is notable and highlights the importance of telling the truth to those they would lead. The overall process identified is clearly transformational in style, which again has a strong focus on followers.