A Traditional Definition Of Leadership Management Essay

A traditional definition of leadership: Leadership is an interpersonal influence directed toward the achievement of a goal or goals.

Three important parts of this definition are the terms interpersonal, influence, and goal.

· Interpersonal means between persons. Thus, a leader has more than one person (group) to lead.

· Influence is the power to affect others.

· Goal is the end one strives to attain.

Basically, this traditional definition of leadership says that a leader influences more than one person toward a goal.

The definition of leadership used in this course follows.

LEADERSHIP is a dynamic relationship based on mutual influence and common purpose between leaders and collaborators in which both are moved to higher levels of motivation and moral development as they affect real, intended change. (Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg, NUTS! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success, Bard Press, 1996, p. 298)

Three important parts of this definition are the terms relationship, mutual, and collaborators. Relationship is the connection between people. Mutual means shared in common. Collaborators cooperate or work together.

This definition of leadership says that the leader is influenced by the collaborators while they work together to achieve an important goal.

Leadership versus Management

A leader can be a manager, but a manager is not necessarily a leader. The leader of the work group may emerge informally as the choice of the group. If a manager is able to influence people to achieve the goals of the organization, without using his or her formal authority to do so, then the manager is demonstrating leadership.

According to John P. Kotter in his book, A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs From Management (The Free Press, 1990), managers must know how to lead as well as manage. Without leading as well as managing, today’s organizations face the threat of extinction. Management is the process of setting and achieving the goals of the organization through the functions of management: planning, organizing, directing (or leading), and controlling. A manager is hired by the organization and is given formal authority to direct the activity of others in fulfilling organization goals. Thus, leading is a major part of a manager’s job. Yet a manager must also plan, organize, and control. Generally speaking, leadership deals with the interpersonal aspects of a manager’s job, whereas planning, organizing, and controlling deal with the administrative aspects. Leadership deals with change, inspiration, motivation, and influence. Management deals more with carrying out the organization’s goals and maintaining equilibrium.

The key point in differentiating between leadership and management is the idea that employees willingly follow leaders because they want to, not because they have to. Leaders may not possess the formal power to reward or sanction performance. However, employees give the leader power by complying with what he or she requests. On the other hand, managers may have to rely on formal authority to get employees to accomplish goals.

Trait Theories

In the 1920’s and 1930’s, leadership research focused on trying to identify the traits that differentiated leaders from non-leaders. These early leadership theories were content theories, focusing on “what” an effective leader is, not on ‘how’ to effectively lead. The trait approach to understanding leadership assumes that certain physical, social, and personal characteristics are inherent in leaders. Sets of traits and characteristics were identified to assist in selecting the right people to become leaders. Physical traits include being young to middle-aged, energetic, tall, and handsome. Social background traits include being educated at the “right” schools and being socially prominent or upwardly mobile. Social characteristics include being charismatic, charming, tactful, popular, cooperative, and diplomatic. Personality traits include being self-confident, adaptable, assertive, and emotionally stable. Task-related characteristics include being driven to excel, accepting of responsibility, having initiative, and being results-oriented.

Trait theories intended to identify traits to assist in selecting leaders since traits are related to leadership effectiveness in many situations. The trait approach to understanding leadership supports the use of tests and interviews in the selection of managers. The interviewer is typically attempting to match the traits and characteristics of the applicant to the position. For example, most interviewers attempt to evaluate how well the applicant can work with people.

Trait theory has not been able to identify a set of traits that will consistently distinguish leaders from followers. Trait theory posits key traits for successful leadership (drive, desire to lead, integrity, self-confidence, intelligence, and job-relevant knowledge) yet does not make a judgment as to whether these traits are inherent to individuals or whether they can be developed through training and education. No two leaders are alike. Furthermore, no leader possesses all of the traits. Comparing leaders in different situations suggests that the traits of leaders depend on the situation. Thus, traits were de-emphasized to take into account situational conditions (contingency perspective).

Behavioral Theories

The behavioral theorists identified determinants of leadership so that people could be trained to be leaders. They developed training programs to change managers’ leadership behaviors and assumed that the best styles of leadership could be learned.

Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor described Theory X and Theory Y in his book, The Human Side of Enterprise. Theory X and Theory Y each represent different ways in which leaders view employees. Theory X managers believe that employees are motivated mainly by money, are lazy, uncooperative, and have poor work habits. Theory Y managers believe that subordinates work hard, are cooperative, and have positive attitudes.

Theory X is the traditional view of direction and control by managers.

1. The average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid if he or she can.

2. Because of this human characteristic of dislike of work, most people must be controlled, directed, and threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort toward the achievement of organizational objectives.

3. The average human being prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition, wants security above all.

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Theory X leads naturally to an emphasis on the tactics of control – to procedures and techniques for telling people what to do, for determining whether they are doing it, and for administering rewards and punishment. Theory X explains the consequences of a particular managerial strategy. Because its assumptions are so unnecessarily limiting, it prevents managers from seeing the possibilities inherent in other managerial strategies. As long as the assumptions of Theory X influence managerial strategy, organizations will fail to discover, let alone utilize, the potentialities of the average human being.

Theory Y is the view that individual and organizational goals can be integrated.

1. The expenditures of physical and mental effort in work are as natural as play or rest.

2. External control and the threat of punishment are not the only means for bringing out effort toward organizational objectives.

3. Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement.

4. The average human being learns, under proper conditions, not only to accept but also to seek responsibility.

5. The capacity to exercise a relatively high degree of imagination, ingenuity, and creativity in the solution of organizational problems in widely, not narrowly, distributed in the population.

6. Under the condition of modern industrial life, the intellectual potentialities of the average human being are only partially utilized.

Theory Y’s purpose is to encourage integration, to create a situation in which an employee can achieve his or her own goals best by directing his or her efforts toward the objectives of the organization. It is a deliberate attempt to link improvement in managerial competence with the satisfaction of higher-level ego and self-actualization needs. Theory Y leads to a preoccupation with the nature of relationships, with the creation of an environment which will encourage commitment to organizational objectives and which will provide opportunities for the maximum exercise of initiative, ingenuity, and self-direction in achieving them.

Ohio State and University of Michigan

Studies conducted at the Ohio State University and the University of Michigan identified two leadership styles and two types of leader behaviors. The Ohio State study identified two leadership styles: considerate and initiating structure. The University of Michigan study classified leaders’ behaviors as being production- or employee-centered. The primary concern of leaders with considerate and employee-centered style is the employee’s welfare. The primary concern of leaders with initiating-structure and production-centered styles is achieving goals. Research findings on which dimension is most important for satisfaction and productivity are inconclusive. However, employee oriented leaders appear to be associated with high group productivity and job satisfaction.

University of Iowa

Another approach to leader behavior focused on identifying the best leadership styles. Work at the University of Iowa identified democratic (participation and delegation), autocratic (dictating and centralized) and laissez-faire styles (group freedom in decision making). Research findings were also inconclusive.

The Managerial Grid

The dimensions identified at the University of Michigan provided the basis for the development of the managerial grid model developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton. It identifies five various leadership styles that represent different combinations of concern for people and concern for production. Managers who scored high on both these dimensions simultaneously (labeled team management) performed best.

The five leadership styles of the managerial grid include impoverished, country club, produce or perish, middle-of-the road, and team. The impoverished style is located at the lower left-hand corner of the grid, point (1, 1). It is characterized by low concern for both people and production. The primary objective of the impoverished style is for managers to stay out of trouble. The country club style is located at the upper left-hand corner of the grid, point (1, 9). It is characterized as a high concern for people and a low concern for production. The primary objective of the country club style is to create a secure and comfortable atmosphere and trust that subordinates will respond positively. The produce or perish style is located at the lower right-hand corner of the grid, point (9,1). A high concern for production and a low concern for people characterize it. The primary objective of the produce or perish style is to achieve the organization’s goals. To accomplish the organization’s goals, it is not necessary to consider employees’ needs as relevant. The middle-of-the-road style is located at the middle of the grid, point (5, 5). A balance between workers’ needs and the organization’s productivity goals characterize it. The primary objective of the middle-of-the-road style is to maintain employee morale at a level sufficient to get the organization’s work done. The team style is located at the upper right-hand of the grid, point (9, 9). It is characterized by a high concern for people and production. The primary objective of the team style is to establish cohesion and foster a feeling of commitment among workers.

Contingency Theories

Successful leaders must be able to identify clues in an environment and adapt their leader behavior to meet the needs of their followers and of the particular situation. Even with good diagnostic skills, leaders may not be effective unless they can adapt their leadership style to meet the demands of their environment.

Fiedler’s Contingency Model

Leadership Theory and Research: Perspectives and Directions (Academic Press Inc (HBJ), 1993) was a tribute to Fred Fiedler’s 40 year study of leadership and organizational effectiveness. The editors, Martin M. Chemers and Roya Ayman, write of Fiedler’s contribution: “The realization that leadership effectiveness depends on the interaction of qualities of the leader with demands of the situation in which the leader functions, made the simplistic “one best way” approach of earlier eras obsolete.”

Fred E. Fiedler’s contingency theory postulates that there is no best way for managers to lead. Situations will create different leadership style requirements for a manager. The solution to a managerial situation is contingent on the factors that impinge on the situation. For example, in a highly routinized (mechanistic) environment where repetitive tasks are the norm, a certain leadership style may result in the best performance. The same leadership style may not work in a very dynamic environment.

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Fiedler looked at three situations that could define the condition of a managerial task:

1. Leader member relations: How well do the manager and the employees get along?

2. The task structure: Is the job highly structured, fairly unstructured, or somewhere in between?

3. Position power: How much authority does the manager possess?

Managers were rated as to whether they were relationship oriented or task oriented. Task oriented managers tend to do better in situations that have good leader-member relationships, structured tasks, and either weak or strong position power. They do well when the task is unstructured but position power is strong. Also, they did well at the other end of the spectrum when the leader member relations were moderate to poor and the task was unstructured. Relationship oriented managers do better in all other situations. Thus, a given situation might call for a manager with a different style or a manager who could take on a different style for a different situation.

These environmental variables are combined in a weighted sum that is termed “Favorable” at one end and “unfavorable” at the other. Task oriented style is preferable at the clearly defined extremes of “favorable” and “unfavorable” environments, but relationship orientation excels in the middle ground. Managers could attempt to reshape the environment variables to match their style.

Another aspect of the contingency model theory is that the leader-member relations, task structure, and position power dictate a leader’s situational control. Leader-member relations are the amount of loyalty, dependability, and support that the leader receives from employees. It is a measure of how the manager perceives he or she and the group of employees is getting along together. In a favorable relationship the manager has a high task structure and is able to reward and or punish employees without any problems. In an unfavorable relationship the task is usually unstructured and the leader possesses limited authority. The spelling out in detail (favorable) of what is required of subordinates affects task structure.

Positioning power measures the amount of power or authority the manager perceives the organization has given him or her for the purpose of directing, rewarding, and punishing subordinates. Positioning power of managers depends on the taking away (favorable) or increasing (unfavorable) the decision-making power of employees.

The task-motivated style leader experiences pride and satisfaction in the task accomplishment for the organization, while the relationship-motivated style seeks to build interpersonal relations and extend extra help for the team development in the organization. There is no good or bad leadership style. Each person has his or her own preferences for leadership. Task-motivated leaders are at their best when the group performs successfully such as achieving a new sales record or outperforming the major competitor. Relationship-oriented leaders are at their best when greater customer satisfaction is gained and a positive company image is established.

Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership

The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership theory is based on the amount of direction (task behavior) and amount of socio-emotional support (relationship behavior) a leader must provide given the situation and the “level of maturity” of the followers. Task behavior is the extent to which the leader engages in spelling out the duties and responsibilities to an individual or group. This behavior includes telling people what to do, how to do it, when to do it, where to do it, and who’s to do it. In task behavior the leader engages in one-way communication. Relationship behavior is the extent to which the leader engages in two-way or multi-way communications. This includes listening, facilitating, and supportive behaviors. In relationship behavior the leader engages in two-way communication by providing socio-emotional support. Maturity is the willingness and ability of a person to take responsibility for directing his or her own behavior. People tend to have varying degrees of maturity, depending on the specific task, function, or objective that a leader is attempting to accomplish through their efforts.

To determine the appropriate leadership style to use in a given situation, the leader must first determine the maturity level of the followers in relation to the specific task that the leader is attempting to accomplish through the effort of the followers. As the level of followers’ maturity increases, the leader should begin to reduce his or her task behavior and increase relationship behavior until the followers reach a moderate level of maturity. As the followers begin to move into an above average level of maturity, the leader should decrease not only task behavior but also relationship behavior.

Once the maturity level is identified, the appropriate leadership style can be determined. The four leadership styles are telling, selling, participating, and delegating. High task/low relationship behavior (S1) is referred to as “telling.” The leader provides clear instructions and specific direction. Telling style is best matched with a low follower readiness level. High task/high relationship behavior (S2) is referred to as “selling.” The leader encourages two-way communication and helps build confidence and motivation on the part of the employee, although the leader still has responsibility and controls decision making. Selling style is best matched with a moderate follower readiness level. High relationship/low task behavior (S3) is referred to as “participating.” With this style, the leader and followers share decision making and no longer need or expect the relationship to be directive. Participating style is best matched with a moderate follower readiness level. Low relationship/low task behavior (S4) is labeled “delegating.” This style is appropriate for leaders whose followers are ready to accomplish a particular task and are both competent and motivated to take full responsibility. Delegating style is best matched with a high follower readiness level.

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House’s Path-Goal Model

The path-goal theory developed by Robert House is based on the expectancy theory of motivation. The manager’s job is viewed as coaching or guiding workers to choose the best paths for reaching their goals. “Best” is judged by the accompanying achievement of organizational goals. It is based on the precepts of goal setting theory and argues that leaders will have to engage in different types of leadership behavior depending on the nature and demands of the particular situation. It’s the leader’s job to assist followers in attaining goals and to provide direction and support needed to ensure that their goals are compatible with the organization’s.

A leader’s behavior is acceptable to subordinates when viewed as a source of satisfaction, and motivational when need satisfaction is contingent on performance, and the leader facilitates, coaches and rewards effective performance. Path goal theory identifies achievement-oriented, directive, participative and supportive leadership styles. In achievement-oriented leadership, the leader sets challenging goals for followers, expects them to perform at their highest level, and shows confidence in their ability to meet this expectation. This style is appropriate when the follower suffers from a lack of job challenge. In directive leadership, the leader lets followers know what is expected of them and tells them how to perform their tasks. This style is appropriate when the follower has an ambiguous job. Participative leadership involves leaders consulting with followers and asking for their suggestions before making a decision. This style is appropriate when the follower is using improper procedures or is making poor decisions. In supportive leadership, the leader is friendly and approachable. He or she shows concern for followers’ psychological well being. This style is appropriate when the followers lack confidence.

Path-Goal theory assumes that leaders are flexible and that they can change their style, as situations require. The theory proposes two contingency variables (environment and follower characteristics) that moderate the leader behavior-outcome relationship. Environment is outside the control of followers-task structure, authority system, and work group. Environmental factors determine the type of leader behavior required if follower outcomes are to be maximized. Follower characteristics are the locus of control, experience, and perceived ability. Personal characteristics of subordinates determine how the environment and leader are interpreted. Effective leaders clarify the path to help their followers achieve their goals and make the journey easier by reducing roadblocks and pitfalls. Research demonstrates that employee performance and satisfaction are positively influenced when the leader compensates for the shortcomings in either the employee or the work setting.

Vroom, Yetton, Jago Leader-Participation Model

The Vroom, Yetton, Jago leader-participation model relates leadership behavior and participation to decision making. The model provides a set of sequential rules to determine the form and amount of participative decision making in different situations. It is a decision tree, requiring yes and no answers incorporating contingencies about task structure and alternative styles.

The following contingency questions must be answered to determine the appropriate leadership style in the leader-participation model.

· Quality Requirement: How important is the technical quality of this decision?

· Commitment Requirement: How important is subordinate commitment to the decision?

· Leader’s Information: Do you have sufficient information to make a high-quality decision?

· Problem Structure: Is the problem well structured?

· Commitment Probability: If you were to make the decision yourself, are you reasonably certain that your subordinates would be committed to the decision?

· Goal Congruence: Do subordinates share the organizational goals to be attained in solving this problem? · Subordinate Conflict: Is conflict among subordinates over preferred solutions likely?

· Subordinate Information: Do subordinates have sufficient information to make a high-quality decision?

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership blends the behavioral theories with a little dab of trait theories. Transactional leaders, such as those identified in contingency theories, guide followers in the direction of established goals by clarifying role and task requirements. However, transformational leaders, who are charismatic and visionary, can inspire followers to transcend their own self-interest for the good of the organization. Transformational leaders appeal to followers’ ideals and moral values and inspire them to think about problems in new or different ways. Leader behaviors used to influence followers include vision, framing, and impression management. Vision is the ability of the leader to bind people together with an idea. Framing is the process whereby leaders define the purpose of their movement in highly meaningful terms. Impression management is a leader’s attempt to control the impressions that others form about the leader by practicing behaviors that make the leader more attractive and appealing to others. Research indicates that transformational, as compared to transactional, leadership is more strongly correlated with lower turnover rates, higher productivity, and higher employee satisfaction.

A transformational leader instills feelings of confidence, admiration and commitment in the followers. He or she is charismatic, creating a special bond with followers, articulating a vision with which the followers identify and for which they are willing to work. Each follower is coached, advised, and delegated some authority. The transformational leader stimulates followers intellectually, arousing them to develop new ways to think about problems. The leader uses contingent rewards to positively reinforce performances that are consistent with the leader’s wishes. Management is by exception. The leader takes initiative only when there are problems and is not actively involved when things are going well. The transformational leader commits people to action and converts followers into leaders.

Transformational leaders are relevant to today’s workplace because they are flexible and innovative. While it is important to have leaders with the appropriate orientation defining tasks and managing interrelationships, it is even more important to have leaders who can bring organizations into futures they have not yet imagined. Transformational leadership is the essence of creating and sustaining competitive advantage.

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