Introduction (Psychology and Mental Health)
Much of the behavior of individuals is shaped and influenced by other people. Someone who has relatively more influence over others—for better or worse—can be called a leader. This influence can arise naturally through personal interactions, or it may be attributed to a structuring of relationships whereby one person is designated as having power over, or responsibility for, the others.
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Consideration Versus Initiating Structure (Psychology and Mental Health)
In general, theories of leadership make a distinction between two broad types of behavior. One type, often called consideration, revolves around the leader’s relationship with the group members. The leader who exhibits this type of behavior shows warmth, trust, respect, and concern for the group members. Communication between the leader and the group is two-way, and group members are encouraged to participate in decision making. The second type of leader behavior concerns initiating structure. This construct refers to a direct focus on performance goals. The leader who is high in initiating structure defines roles, assigns tasks, plans work, and pushes for achievement.
Over the years, theorists differed in their views on the optimal mix of consideration and initiating structure in their conceptions of the ideal leader. Those advocating a human-relations approach saw leadership success resulting from high consideration and low initiating structure. Others, however, argued for the intuitive appeal of a leader being high on both dimensions. Research soon revealed that there was no single best combination for every leader in every position.
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Contingency Theory (Psychology and Mental Health)
One approach to the study of leadership, Fred Fiedler’s contingency theory, is founded on the assumption that effective leadership depends on the circumstances. Every leader is assumed to have either a work focus or a worker focus. This is measured by the “least-preferred coworker” scale. By asking people a series of questions about the person with whom they have worked least well, the procedure permits an evaluation of the degree to which one can keep work and relationships separate.
Three characteristics of a situation are deemed important in determining which style will work best. First and most important is the quality of the relations between the leader and members of the group. To assess leader-member relations, a leader is asked to use a five-point scale to indicate extent of agreement or disagreement with statements such as “My subordinates give me a good deal of help and support in getting the job done.” After scoring the leader’s responses to such items, the leader-member relations are characterized as “good” or “poor.”
The second most important feature of a situation is the amount of task structure. A situation is classified as “high” or “low” depending on the leader’s rating of the frequency with which various statements are true. The statements ask whether there is a quantitative evaluation of the task, whether roles are clearly defined, whether there are specific goals,...
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Transformational Leaders (Psychology and Mental Health)
Using an alternative perspective, Bernard Bass conceptualizes leadership as a transaction between followers and their leader. He sees most leadership as characterized by recognizing what followers want and trying to see that they get what they want—assuming that the followers’ behavior warrants it. In short, the leader and followers exchange rewards and promises of rewards for the followers’ cooperation. A minority of leaders are able to motivate their followers to accomplish more than they originally expected to accomplish. This type of leader is called “transformational.” A transformational leader affirms the followers’ beliefs about the values of outcomes; moves followers to consider the interests of the team, organization, or nation above their own self-interests; and raises the level of needs that followers want to satisfy. Among those who may be called transformational leaders are Alfred Sloan, for his reformation of General Motors; Henry Ford, for revolutionizing U.S. industry; and Lee Iacocca, for revitalizing the Chrysler Corporation. Although transformational leadership has been found in a wide variety of settings, the research on its effectiveness has been almost exclusively conducted by Bass and his colleagues.
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Gender and Cultural Differences in Leadership (Psychology and Mental Health)
There has been much speculation about the differences between men and women in their leadership abilities. Psychologists examine these differences by performing controlled studies. In two field studies of leadership in the United States Military Academy at West Point, Robert Rice, Debra Instone, and Jerome Adams asked participants (freshmen) in a training program to evaluate their squad leaders (juniors and seniors). The program consisted of two parts. First there was a six-week period of basic training covering military protocol, tradition, and skill (such as weapon use and marching). The second part was a field training program covering combat-oriented tasks (such as fabricating bridges, driving tanks, directing artillery fire, and conducting reconnaissance exercises). About 10 percent of the leaders in each program were women. The participants’ responses on questionnaires showed the men and women to be comparable in terms of their success as leaders and in the nature of their leadership styles. This conclusion is in agreement with the observations of real operational leadership roles at the academy.
Although sex differences in leadership effectiveness appear to be minimal, there appear to be other group characteristics that are important determinants of leadership behavior. For example, in 1981 Frank Heller and Bernhard Wilpert reported different influence styles for managers from different...
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Leadership Style Research (Psychology and Mental Health)
Regardless of the extent to which there are differences among various groups of people, it is clear that there remain individual differences in leadership style. What are the implications for attempts to improve leadership effectiveness if there is no single best leadership style for all situations? One approach is to select the leader who exhibits those characteristics that are most appropriate for the situation.
Another approach, promoted by Fiedler and colleagues, is to engineer the situation to match the characteristics of the leader. That is, people cannot change the extent of task performance or employee orientation in their leadership styles, but they can change the characteristics of their situations. The program to accomplish this uses a self-taught learning process. First the person fills out a questionnaire designed to assess leadership style. Then the characteristics of that individual’s situation, leader-member relations, task structure, and position power are measured. Finally, the person is taught to change the situation to mesh with his or her personality. This might involve such tactics as influencing the supervisor to alter position power or redesigning work to modify task structure. A test of this process was conducted by Fiedler and Martin Chemers in 1984 at Sears, Roebuck, and Company. They implemented eight hours of leader-matching training in two of five randomly selected stores. The other...
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Assessing Leadership Types (Psychology and Mental Health)
There have been other applications of leadership research that recommend that the leader choose the appropriate behavior. Victor Vroom and Philip Yetton urge leaders to adopt one of four leadership types. The autocratic leader solves the problem independently, with or without information from subordinates. A consultative leader shares the problem with individual subordinates or with the group and obtains ideas and suggestions that may or may not influence the final decision. A group leader shares the problem with an individual, and together they find a mutually agreeable solution, or with a group that produces a consensus solution that the leader implements. A delegatory leader gives the problem to a single subordinate, offering relevant information but not exerting any influence over the subordinate’s decision.
Which of the above four types of leadership is advocated depends on the answers to a series of questions about the need for a quality solution, the amount of information available to the leader and subordinates, the structure of the problem, and attitudes of subordinates. The questions are arranged in a decision tree, so that at each step the leader answers “yes” or “no” and then proceeds to the next step. Vroom has developed a training program based on this model. It has several components. First is an explanation of the theory. Trainees practice using the theory to describe leader behavior and...
(The entire section is 294 words.)
Leader Behavior Research (Psychology and Mental Health)
Concerns about leadership are evident in nearly every aspect of society. Problems such as illiteracy, inferior education, and environmental destruction are routinely attributed to misguided leadership, ineffective leadership, or an absence of leadership. Within organizations, leaders are held accountable for the work of their subordinates and the ultimate success of the organization. Because of its obvious importance, psychologists have pursued the study of leadership with the goal of developing explanations about the factors that contribute to effective leadership.
One popular conception of leadership is that it is a personality trait. If so, people vary in the extent to which they have leadership abilities. It would also be logical to expect that people in positions of leadership will have different personality characteristics from those who are followers. Yet surprisingly, the results of a large number of studies comparing the traits of leaders and followers have revealed only a few systematic differences. For example, those who are in positions of leadership appear to be, on average, slightly more intelligent and self-confident than followers; however, the magnitude of such differences tends to be small, so there is considerable overlap between leaders and followers. One problem in using this evidence to conclude that individual differences in personality determine leadership is that the traits noted may be the...
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Sources for Further Study (Psychology and Mental Health)
Bass, Bernard M. Bass and Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership. 3d ed. New York: Free Press, 1990. A complete review of the research of Bass, Stogdill, and others on differences among leaders. Somewhat technical; for advanced students.
__________. Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations. New York: Free Press, 1985. Readable and thorough examination of the work of Bass and others on leadership research and practice. Emphasis on charismatic and transformational leadership.
Brady, Chris, and Orrin Woodward. Launching a Leadership Revolution: Mastering the Five Levels of Influence. New York: Business Plus, 2008. Using examples from history, the authors outline the elements of successful leadership, including learning, performing, expanding the team, trusting, and creating a legacy.
Kouzes, James M., and Barry Z. Posner. The Leadership Challenge. 4th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Written in a down-to-earth style, this resource, written by two experts in the field of leadership, combines history and interviews with current leaders to chart a course for those wishing to develop leadership skills.
Smith, Blanchard B. “The TELOS Program and the Vroom-Yetton Model.” In Crosscurrents in Leadership, edited by James G. Hunt and Lars L. Larson. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1979. A description of the work of the Kepner Tregoe...
(The entire section is 232 words.)
Leadership (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
The ability to take initiative in planning, organizing, and managing group activities and projects.
In any group of people, there are those who step forward to organize people and events to achieve a specific result. In organized activities, leaders can be designated and, in informal contexts, such as a party, they may emerge naturally. What makes certain people into leaders is open to debate. Luella Cole and Irma Nelson Hall have written that leadership "seems to consist of a cluster
of traits, a few inborn but most of them acquired or at least developed by contact with the environment." Psychologists have also defined leadership as a mentality, as opposed to aptitude, the assumption being that mentalities can be acquired. Leaders can be "idea generators" or "social facilitators." Leaders have their own leadership style, and that style may not transfer from one situation to another.
Child psychologists who study girls, and particularly educators and...
(The entire section is 451 words.)
Leadership (Encyclopedia of Public Health)
Leadership is the process through which an individual tries to influence another individual or a group of individuals to accomplish a goal. Leadership is valued in our culture, especially when it helps to achieve goals that are beneficial to the population, such as the enactment of effective preventive-health policies. An individual with leadership qualities can also improve an organization and the individuals in it, whether it be a teacher who works to get better teaching materials and after-school programs or an employee who develops new ideas and products and influences others to invest in them.
Leadership can be exhibited in a variety of ways and circumstances. Mothers and fathers show leadership in raising their children with good values and encouraging them to develop to their potential. Teachers show it in inspiring students to learn and to develop their intellectual capacity. Health care workers can be leaders and develop services that meet the needs of the communities they serve, or work in collaboration with other organizations to create cost-effective, prevention-oriented programs and services.
Many studies have been done and many books and articles have been published on this subject. Through this work a consistent set of leadership attributes has emerged. An effective leader does most, if not all, of the following:
- Challenge the Processearch out challenging opportunities, take risks, and learn from mistakes.
- Inspire others to come together and agree on a future direction or goal/i> create a shared vision by thinking about the future, having a strong positive vision, and encouraging others to participate.
- Help others to actelp others to work together, to cooperate and collaborate by developing shared goals and building trust, and help to make others stronger by encouraging them to develop their skills and talents.
- Set an exampleehave in ways that are consistent with professed values and help others to achieve small gains that keep them motivated, especially when a goal will not be achieved quickly.
- Encourage othersecognize each individual's contributions to the success of a project.
Another way of defining leadership is to acknowledge what people value in individuals that are recognized as leaders. Most people can think of individuals they consider to be leaders. Research conducted in the 1980s by James Kouzes and Barry Posner found that a majority of people admire, and willingly follow, people who are honest, forward-looking, inspiring, and competent
An individual who would like to develop leadership skills can profit from the knowledge that leadership is not just a set of exceptional skills and attributes possessed by only a few very special people. Rather, leadership is a process and a set of skills that can be learned.
(SEE ALSO: Careers in Public Health; Community Organization; Public Health Leadership Institute)
Kouzes, J. M., and Posner, B. Z. (1995). The Leadership Challenge, 2nd edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Pointer, D. D., and Sanchez, J. P. (1993). "Leadership: A Framework for Thinking and Acting." In Health Care Management: A Text in Organization Theory and Behavior, 3rd edition. eds. S. Shortell and A. Kaluzny. New York: Wiley.
Leadership (Encyclopedia of Business and Finance)
Leadership is a fascinating subject for many people. The term conjures up a familiar scene of a powerful, heroic, triumphant individual with a group of followers returning home after winning a national championship or a war against the evil enemy. They all march through town surrounded by a crowd waving flags. Or an enthusiastic orator delivers an energetic speech, hands waving in the air, to thousands of people gathered in a plaza.
The widespread fascination with leadership may be because of the impact that leadership has on everyone's life. Stories of heroic leadership go back thousands of years: Moses delivering thousands of Hebrews from Egypt or Alexander the Great building a great empire. Why were certain leaders able to inspire and mobilize so many people, and how did they achieve what they achieved? There are so many questions to which we want answers, but many remain as puzzling as ever. In recent decades, many researchers have undertaken a systematic and scientific study of leadership.
Leadership is defined in so many different ways that it is hard to come up with a single working definition. Leadership is not just a person or group of people in a high position; understanding leadership is not complete without understanding interactions between a leader and his or her followers. Neither is leadership merely the ability or static capacity of a leader. We need to look into the dynamic nature of the relationship between leader and followers. In these unique social dynamics, all the parties involved attempt to influence each other in the pursuit of goals. These goals may or may not coincide: Participants actively engage in defining and redefining the goal for the group and for themselves.
Putting all these into a comprehensive statement: Leadership is a process in which a leader attempts to influence his or her followers to establish and accomplish a goal or goals. In order to accomplish the goal, the leader exercises his or her power to influence people. That power is exercised in earlier stages by motivating followers to get the job done and in later stages by rewarding or punishing those who do or do not perform to the level of expectation. Leadership is a continuous process, with the accomplishment of one goal becoming the beginning of a new goal. The proper reward by the leader is of utmost importance in order to continually motivate followers in the process.
What does leadership do for an organization? If we define leadership as a process involving interactions between a leader and followers, usually subordinate employees of a company, leadership profoundly affects the company: It defines or approves the mission or goal of the organization. This goal setting is a dynamic process for which the leader is ultimately responsible. A strong visionary leader presents and convinces followers that a new course of action is needed for the survival and prosperity of the group in the future. Once a goal is set, the leader assumes the role of ensuring successful accomplishment of the goal. Another vital role of leadership is to represent the group/organization and link it to the external world in order to obtain vital resources to carry out its mission. When necessary, leadership has to defend the organization's integrity.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL AND EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP
What does it take to make leadership successful or effective? Early students of leadership examined great leaders throughout history, attempting to find traits that they shared. Among personality traits that they found were determination, emotional stability, diplomacy, self-confidence, personal integrity, originality, and creativity. Intellectual abilities included judgmental ability, knowledge, and verbal communication ability. In addition, physical traits cannot be ignored, such as age, height, weight, and physical attractiveness.
It is not only inborn personality traits that are important but also styles and behaviors that a person learns. Strong autocratic leaders set their goals without considering the opinions of their followers, then command their followers to execute their assigned tasks without question. Consultative leaders solicit the opinions and ideas of their followers in the goal-setting process but ultimately determine important goals and task assignments on their own. Democratic or participative leaders participate equally in the process with their followers and let the group make decisions. Extremely laid-back leaders, so called laissez-faire leaders, let the group take whatever action its members feel is necessary.
Inspired and led by Renis Likert, a research team at the University of Michigan studied leadership for several years and identified two distinct styles, which they referred to as job-centered and employee-centered leadership styles. The job-centered leader closely supervises subordinates to make sure they perform their tasks following the specified procedures. This type of leader relies on reward, punishment, and legitimate power to influence the behavior of followers. The employee-centered leader believes that creating a supportive work environment ultimately is the road to superior organizational performance. The employee-centered leader shows great concern about the employees' emotional well-being, personal growth and development, and achievement.
A leadership study group at Ohio State University, headed by Harris Fleishman, found similar contrasts in leadership style, which they referred to as initiating structure and consideration. The leadership style of initiating structure is similar to the job-centered leadership style, whereas consideration is similar to the employee-centered leadership style. It was the initial expectation of both research groups that a leader who could demonstrate both high initiating structure (job centered) and high consideration (employee centered) would be successful and effective in all circumstances.
Many students of leadership today believe that there is no one best way to lead, believing instead that appropriate leadership styles vary depending on situations. Fred Fiedler (1967), for instance, believes that a task-oriented leadership style is appropriate when the situation is either extremely favorable or extremely unfavorable to the leader. A favorable situation exists when the relationship between the leader and followers is good, their tasks are well-defined, and the leader has strong power; when the opposite is true, an unfavorable situation exists. When the situation is moderately favorable, a people-oriented leadership style is appropriate. Some theorists suggest that situational factorshe type of task, nature of work groups, formal authority system, personality and maturity level of followers, experience, and ability of followersre critical in determining the most effective leadership style. For instance, when followers are inexperienced and lack maturity and responsibility, the directive leadership style is effective; when followers are experienced and willing to take charge, supportive leadership is effective.
LEADERSHIP IN A MULTICULTURAL SETTING
One major situational factor is the cultural values of the followers. People who have different cultural norms and values require different leadership styles. In a highly collective society such as Japan, the Philippines, Guatemala, or Ecuador, where the social bond among members is very strong and people look out for one another, a strong patriarch at the top of the social hierarchy tends to emerge as an effective leader. Such a leader is not only accepted by the followers but is also expected to protect their interests. China's Deng Xiao-Ping, whose influence continues even after his death, is a case in point.
On the other hand, in an extremely individualistic society, such as the United States (Hofstede, 1980), where the social bonds are loose and individuals are expected to take care of themselves, success and achievement are admired, and a competitive and heroic figure is likely to emerge as a leader. It is no surprise that John F. Kennedy became such a charismatic figure in the United States. His energetic and inspirational speeches are still vividly remembered.
CHARISMATIC AND TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP
Regardless of culture and time, however, a great leader is remembered for his or her charisma, which means "divinely inspired gift" in Greek. Charismatic leaders have profound effects on followers. Through their exceptional inspirational and verbal ability, they articulate ideological goals and missions, communicate to followers with passion and inspiration, set an example in their own behaviors, and demand hard work and commitment from followers, above and beyond normal expectation.
Building on charismatic leadership, Bernard Bass (1985) proposed a theory of transformational leadership. Bass views leadership as a process of social exchange between a leader and his or her followers. In exchange for desired behaviors and task accomplishment, a leader provides rewards to followers. This nominal social exchange process is called transactional leadership. In contrast, a transformational leader places a higher level of trust in his or her followers and demands a much higher level of loyalty and performance beyond normal expectations. With unusual charismatic qualities and inspirational person-to-person interactions, a transformational leader transforms and motivates followers to make extra efforts to turn around ailing organizational situations into success stories. Lee Iacocca, when he took over Chrysler as CEO in 1979 and turned around this financially distressed company, was considered an exemplary transformational leader. He was able to convince many people, including employees and the U.S. Congress, to support the ailing company and to make it a success.
WAYS WOMEN LEAD
Leadership qualities such as aggressiveness, assertiveness, taking charge, and competitiveness are traditionally associated with strong, masculine characters. Even women executives tended to show these characteristics in the traditional corporate world. In fact, many of these women executives were promoted because they were even more competitive and assertive than their male counterparts. These successful women executives often sacrificed a family life, which their male counterparts did not necessarily have to do.
The business world is changing, however. Today, much research has found that women leaders are different from their male counterparts in management style: Women leaders tend to be more concerned with consensus building, participation, and caring. They often are more willing than men to share power and information, to empower employees, and to be concerned about the feelings of their subordinates.
Such an interactive and emotionally involved leadership style is not necessarily negative in today's business environment. Indeed, some researchers find it to be highly effective. Internally, a culturally diverse work force demands more interactive and collaborative coordination. Externally, culturally diverse customers demand more personable and caring attention. A caring and flexible management style serves such diverse employees and customers better than traditional methods of management.
LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
John Kotter (1988) distinguishes leadership from management. Effective management carefully plans the goal of an organization, recruits the necessary staff, organizes them, and closely supervises them to make sure that the initial plan is executed properly. Successful leadership goes beyond management of plans and tasks. It envisions the future and sets a new direction for the organization. Successful leaders mobilize all possible means and human resources; they inspire all members of the organization to support the new mission and execute it with enthusiasm. When an organization faces an uncertain environment, it demands strong leadership. On the other hand, when an organization faces internal operational complexity, it demands strong management. If an organization faces both an uncertain environment and internal operational complexity, it requires both strong leadership and strong management.
Bass, Bernard M. (1985). Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectation. New York: Free Press.
Bass, Bernard M. and Avolio, Bruce, J. (1994). Improving Organizational Effectiveness Through Transformational Leadership. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Bennis, Warren G. (1959). "Leadership Theory and Administrative Behavior: The Problem of Authority." Administrative Science Quarterly 4: 259-260.
Conger, Jay A., and Kanungo, Rabindra.(1987). "Toward a Behavioral Theory of Charismatic Leadership in Organizational Settings." Academy of Management Review 12: 637-647.
Daft, Richard L. (1999). Leadership: Theory and Practice. New York: Dryden Press.
Fiedler, Fred E. (1967). A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Graef, C. L. (1993). "The Situational Leadership Theory: A Critical Review." Academy of Management Review 8: 285-296.
Hall, Richard H. (1982). Organizations: Structure and Process. New York: Prentice Hall.
Hofstede, Geert (1980). Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Howell, Jane M. (1988). "Two Faces of Charisma: Socialized and Personalized Leadership in Organizations." In Jay A. Conger and Rabindra N. Kanungo, eds., Charismatic Leadership: The Elusive Factor in Organizational Effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
House, Robert J. (1996). "Path-Goal Theory of Leadership: Lessons, Legacy and a Reformulated Theory." Leadership Quarterly 7: 323-352.
Hughes, Richard L., Ginnet, Robert C., and Curphy, Gordon J. (1996). Leadership: Enhancing the Lessons of Experience. Chicago: Irwin.
Kirkpatrick, S.A., and Locke, Edwin A. (1996). "Direct and Indirect Effects of Three Core Charismatic Leadership Components on Performance and Attitudes." Journal of Applied Psychology 81: 36-51.
Kotter, John P. (1988). The Leadership Factor. New York: Free Press.
Meindl, James R. (1990). "On Leadership: An Alternative to the Conventional Wisdom." In B. M Staw and L.L. Cummings, eds., Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 12. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Meindl, James R., Ehrlich, S.B., and Dukerich, J.M. (1985). "The Romance of Leadership." Administrative Science Quarterly 30: 78-102.
Trice, Harry M., and Beyer, Janis M. (1991). "Cultural Leadership in Organizations." Organization Science 2: 149-169.
Yuke, Gary. (1998). Leadership in Organizations, 4th ed. New York: Prentice Hall.
Leadership (Encyclopedia of Business)
A plethora of information on leaders and leadership can be found in libraries, bookstores, journals, and business magazines and periodicals. The body of this material is often intensely scholarly, such as the article "A Meta-analysis of the Relation between Personality Traits and Leadership Perceptions: An Application of Validity Generalization Procedures," written by R. G. Lord and others, which appeared in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Other material is often intensely popular, such as Leadership Secrets of the Rogue Warrior: A Commando's Guide to Success by the consummate "Rogue Warrior" and ex-navy seal Richard Marcinko; or Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way by Dan Carrison and Rod Walsh. In between these two extremes are books such as Leadership: Theory and Practice by Peter Northouse, a professor of communication at Western Michigan University. Books such as the latter are strongly based in leadership theory but nonetheless take a practical approach to the presentation of this data and information. In essence, books like these bridge scholarship and a more popular approach to leadership. They are well suited for those seeking a serious but not necessarily a strict scholarly approach to the subject.
TRAIT AND PROCESS APPROACHES
Leadership can be defined in numerous ways depending on the theoretical telescope one uses to view the subject. From the 19th century to the present day there have been two general approaches to leadershiprait and process. The trait approach preceded the process approach and is best described by the popular phraseHe's a born leader." The trait perspective put forth the concept that some people are born with certain qualities necessary to leadership roles. These innate personality characteristics or traits are thus an integral part of leadership. Based on this conception of leadership, numerous investigators began compiling lists of personality traits and ancillary "ability characteristics" associated with leadership. Two summations were done of the approximately 190 trait-related leadership studies done between 1904 and 1970. The first summation done in 1948 found that leaders differed from other group members in terms of intelligence, alertness, insight, responsibility, initiative, persistence, self-confidence, and sociability. The second summation, done in 1970, found leaders having the following ten characteristics: drive for responsibility and task completion; vigor and persistence in pursuit of goals; "venturesomeness" and originality in problem solving; drive to exercise initiative in social situations; self-confidence and sense of personal identity; willingness to accept consequences of decision and action; readiness to absorb interpersonal stress; willingness to tolerate frustration and delay; ability to influence other people's behavior; and the capacity to structure social interaction systems to the purpose at hand. Intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability are the five leadership traits that consistently reappear in many of these studies. Lists of ability and physical characteristics included such things as speech fluency and height or body type.
In the post-World War II period, criticism of the trait approach to leadership began mounting. While not denying that leaders often displayed certain predictable traits, critics claimed that this approach failed to take into account environmental or situational factors affecting leadership. Why, critics asked, do people with leadership traits become leaders in some situations but not others? Why is it that some people embodying leadership qualities never become leaders? One approach to leadership theory that attempts to answer these questions is the style approach.
' Whereas the trait approach emphasizes the personality characteristics of the leader, the style approach emphasizes the behavior of the leader," Northouse wrote. The style approach attempts to analyze how leaders act in certain situations and what they do to attain and maintain their leadership positions in certain situations. In this context, leadership began being studied not only in terms of the leader but also in terms of those being led and the environment in which leadership activities take place. The style approach views leadership as a process and thus ushers in a "modern" definition of leadership: "Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal." Leadership is thus a process that occurs within the context of a group and is marked by influence and goal attainment. Leadership is a transactional event. Leadership is interactive, occurring between a leader and his or her followerst is not just the result of innate characteristics or traits.
It is important to note that leadership, while sharing some of the characteristics of management, is nonetheless a much different activity. Management seeks to avoid chaos by pursuing order and stability; leadership, however, seeks "adaptive and constructive change."
As they relate to leadership, two types of behavior, task and relationship, are apparent from studies investigating the style approach. Task behavior is associated with goal attainment while relationship behavior is synonymous with interpersonal relations. Interpersonal behavior of this sort is generally associated with creating a comfortable psychological environment for subordinates, especially as it relates to how subordinates feel about themselves, other group members, and the general circumstances they find themselves in. Closely related to relationship behavior are two issues leader's concern for production and a leader's concern for people. In attempting to map these issues, researchers construct a leadership or management grid that correlates five major leadership styles: authority compliance; country club management; impoverished management; middle of-the-road management; and team management.
The first style, authority-compliance, emphasizes task completion over people and is result driven. A leader choosing this style, according to Northouse, is controlling, demanding, hard-driving, and often overpowering. The antithesis of authority-compliance is country club management, which is marked by concern for interpersonal relationships and an agreeable and uncontroversial work climate. An impoverished manager is distant, oftentimes indifferent, and equally unconcerned with task fulfillment and interpersonal relationships. Middle-of-the-road managers, as the term implies, seek expediency and a balance between task achievement and interpersonal relationships. The team management style is equally concerned with interpersonal relations and task fulfillment. Team management encourages full participation, which encourages subsequent commitment and involvement. Two offshoots are the paternal/maternal style of leadership, which employs both authority compliance and country club styles but manages to keep them separate. "This is the 'benevolent dictator' who acts in a gracious manner but does so for the purpose of goal accomplishment," Northouse wrote in his book. An opportunistic leader or manager uses all five styles, either alone or in various combinations, as the situation demands.
Another approach to leadership studies is the situational approach, the basic premise of which is that different situations demand different types of leadership. A situation, within this context, is a "set of values and attitudes with which the individual or group has to deal in a process of activity and with regard to which this activity is planned and its results appreciated. Every concrete activity is the solution of a situation." Situations can be complicated affairs and generally have five elements: the structure of interpersonal relationships within the group; the characteristics of the group as a whole; the characteristics of the group's environment from which members come; physical constraints on the group; and the perceptual representation, within the group and among its members, of these elements and the "attitudes and values engendered by them" (from the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, edited by David L. Sills). Situational influences thus constrain the leader who must adapt his or her style of leadership to the situation at hand. Situational leadership, according to Northouse, has both a directive and a supportive dynamic. A situationally motivated leader realizes that the skills and motivation of any group member are not static and the mix of the leader's supportive and directive activities must likewise change with the situation.
Closely related to the situational approach is what has become known as contingency theory. The contingency theory of leadership was formulated by University of Illinois research psychologist F.E. Fiedler in his landmark 1964 article, "A Contingency Model of Leadership Effectiveness." Contingency theory posits that effective leadership is contingent on the proper meld of leadership style and situation. Fiedler and his associates studied leaders in a variety of contexts but mostly military. "After analyzing the styles of hundreds of leaders who were both good and bad," according to Northouse, "Fiedler and his colleagues were able to make empirically grounded generalizations about which styles of leadership were best and which styles were worst for a given organizational context."
Within the outline of contingency theory there are two styles of leadership: task-motivated and relationship-motivated. Task, of course, refers to task accomplishment, and relationship-motivation refers to interpersonal relationships. Fiedler measured leadership style with his "Least Preferred Co-Worker Scale" (LPC scale.) Those leaders scoring high on this scale are relationship motivated while those scoring low are task oriented. According to Fiedler those leaders scoring low on this scale are most effective in very favorable and very unfavorable situationshen things, according to Northouse, are either going well or are out of control. Leaders who score high on this scale are most effective in moderately favorable situations. An important point of contingency theory is that any one leader will not necessarily be effective in all situations.
Central to contingency theory is concept of the situation, which is characterized by three factors. The first, leader-member relations, deals with the general environment of the group and the positive feelings (or lack thereof) such as loyalty and confidence that the group has for its leader. The second, task structure, is related to task clarity, the means to task accomplishment, and task finalization. The third, position power, relates to the amount of reward-punishment authority the leader has over members of the group.
Contingency theory has survived over the decades as a viable measurement of leadership effectiveness because it is grounded in empirical research; researchers who have followed Fiedler have likewise validated contingency theory with their own research. Contingency theory has also been proved to have 'predictive powers"' in determining the probability of success of specific individuals acting as leaders in specific situations. Contingency theory is also popular among leaders or potential leaders as it does not expect leaders to be equally effective in all situations. "Contingency theory matches the leader and the situation," wrote Northouse, "but does not demand that the leader fit every situation."
Contingency theory, although providing some answers, generally falls short in trying to explain why individuals with certain leadership traits are effective in some situations but not others. For instance: Why are task motivated leaders most effective in extreme situations but not as effective in moderately favorable situations? Fiedler's contingency theory has also come under criticism (some self-imposed) because of the awkwardness and input shortfalls of the LPC scale.
EVOLUTION OF LEADERSHIP THEORY
It is important to keep in mind how leadership theory has evolved over the decades. The trait approach focused entirely on innate characteristics of leadersersonality characteristics that the individual had little direct control over. The trait approach was modified somewhat by the style approach that looked at the behavior of people in leadership roles rather than their personality characteristics. The situational approach and the subsequent contingency theory represented a major shift in the approach to leadership theory by looking at the context or situation in which leadership activities took place and environmental influences on leadership effectiveness. Since Fiedler's contingency theory there have been numerous other approaches to leadership studies, such as the path-goal theory, the leader-member exchange theory, transformational leadership, the team leadership theory, and the psychodynamic approach. These, like the contingency theory, have moved away from emphasizing the individual leader and instead look at various environmental and interpersonal influences on leadership.
These various theories of leadership have spilled over into related fields such as social and political biography and especially leadership analyses of women and minorities. "Leaders are essentially individuals who have the ability to understand their own times, who express or articulate programs or policies that reflect the perceived interests and desires of particular groups, and who devise instruments or political vehicles that enhance the capacity to achieve effective change," wrote Manning Marable in the introduction to his book, a study of leadership in the black community. This definition closely parallels the definition given earlier by Northouse, who described leadership as a process during which the leader influences change in pursuit of common group goals.
WOMEN AND LEADERSHIP
Following World War II women began entering and staying in the job market in greater and greater numbers for a wide variety of social and economic reasons. As women stayed in the job market they likewise began working in positions of leadership, which prompted gender-based studies of leadership styles and effectiveness. Generally speaking it was found that women in leadership positions tend to adopt an interpersonal style of leadership. Based on numerous studies, a list of leadership characteristics generally shared by women includes: the use of consensus in decision making; viewing power in relationship terms as something to be shared; encouraging productive approaches to conflict; the building of supportive work environments; and the promotion of diversity in the workplace. This contrasts with the general leadership styles of men, which tend to be more hierarchical and authority oriented. One researcher believes that these gender-based differences in leadership styles are due to women traditionally working in "service" roles, such as mothers, teachers, nurses and volunteers. These are roles in which women are generally cooperative, gentle, understanding, and supportive, whereas men have traditionally occupied roles that have been more competitive and authoritative.
In many ways women are also redefining leadership. Mary S. Hartman, director of the Institute for Women's Leadership at Rutgers University, has edited Talking Leadership: Conversations with Powerful Women. In this book 13 well-known women, often regarded as leaders, are interviewed on a variety of topicsncluding leadership. The women interviewed are socially and politically active and range from New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman to Susan Berresford, the first woman president of the Ford Foundation. Surprisingly, Hartman found that while some of the women interviewed relished their role as leaders, others were troubled with the label. The latter were either uncomfortable with the traditional and oftentimes negative associations with the term or were wary of the media habit of building up leaders only then to turn and demolish them. Others regarded leaders as non-egalitarian. All of the women interviewed, however, saw themselves as agents of change fulfilling at least in part the definition of a leader. Carrison and Walsh, in a chapter entitled "A Few Good Women," however, maintain that "gender has absolutely nothing to do with leadership."
As stated earlier, the popular press is replete with books and articles on leadership. Generally speaking these sources can be informative and often entertaining to read. They often inform through the use of analogy (i.e., building your leadership tripod) and anecdotes while seldom backing up their contentions, regardless of validity, with hard facts or data. The major shortcoming of these books and articles, which are largely based on narrow and oftentimes specific personal experiences, is their lack of an encompassing theoretical framework to which a reader can plug in a variety of situations or scenarios. The award, however, for succinct advice to potential leaders goes to Richard Marcinko, who maintains that the most meaningful statement an effective leader can utter is "follow me!"
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