Leadership can be defined as a process by which one individual influences others toward the attainment of group or organizational goals. Three points about the definition of leadership should be emphasized. First, leadership is a social influence process. Leadership cannot exist without a leader and one or more followers. Second, leadership elicits voluntary action on the part of followers. The voluntary nature of compliance separates leadership from other types of influence based on formal authority.
Finally, leadership results in followers' behavior that is purposeful and goal-directed in some sort of organized setting. Many, although not all, studies of leadership focus on the nature of leadership in the workplace. Leadership should be distinguished from management. Management involves planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling, and a manager is someone who performs these functions. A manager has formal authority by virtue of his or her position or office. Leadership, by contrast, primarily deals with influence. A manager may or may not be an effective leader.
A leader's ability to influence others may be based on a variety of factors other than his or her formal authority or position. In the sections that follow, the development of leadership studies and theories over time is briefly traced. Table 1 provides a summary of the major theoretical approaches. Historical Leadership Theories| Leadership Theory| Time of Introduction| Major Tenets| Trait Theories| 1930s| Individual characteristics of leaders are different than those of nonleaders. | Behavioral Theories| 1940s and 1950s| The behaviors of effective leaders are different than the behaviors of ineffective leaders.
Two major classes of leader behavior are task-oriented behavior and relationship-oriented behavior. | Contingency Theories| 1960s and 1970s| Factors unique to each situation determine whether specific leader characteristics and behaviors will be effective. | Historical Leadership Theories| Leadership Theory| Time of Introduction| Major Tenets| Leader-Member Exchange| 1970s| Leaders from high-quality relationships with some subordinates but not others. The quality of leader-subordinates relationship affects numerous workplace outcomes. | Charismatic
Leadership| 1970s and 1980s| Effective leaders inspire subordinates to commit themselves to goals by communicating a vision, displaying charismatic behavior, and setting a powerful personal example. | Substitutes foe Leadership| 1970s| Characteristics of the organization, task, and subordinates may substitute for or negate the effects of leadership behaviors. | HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT Three main theoretical frameworks have dominated leadership research at different points in time. These included the trait approach (1930s and 1940s), the behavioral approach (1940s and 1950s), and the contingency or situational approach (1960s and 1970s).
TRAIT APPROACH. The scientific study of leadership began with a focus on the traits of effective leaders. The basic premise behind trait theory was that effective leaders are born, not made, thus the name sometimes applied to early versions of this idea, the "great man" theory. Many leadership studies based on this theoretical framework were conducted in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Leader trait research examined the physical, mental, and social characteristics of individuals. In general, these studies simply looked for significant associations between individual traits and measures of leadership effectiveness.
Physical traits such as height, mental traits such as intelligence, and social traits such as personality attributes were all subjects of empirical research. The initial conclusion from studies of leader traits was that there were no universal traits that consistently separated effective leaders from other individuals. In an important review of the leadership literature published in 1948, Ralph Stogdill concluded that the existing research had not demonstrated the utility of the trait approach. Several problems with early trait research might explain the perceived lack of significant findings.
First, measurement theory at the time was not highly sophisticated. Little was known about the psychometric properties of the measures used to operationalize traits. As a result, different studies were likely to use different measures to assess the same construct, which made it very difficult to replicate findings. In addition, many of the trait studies relied on samples of teenagers or lower-level managers. Early trait research was largely atheoretical, offering no explanations for the proposed relationship between individual characteristics and leadership.
Finally, early trait research did not consider the impact of situational variables that might moderate the relationship between leader traits and measures of leader effectiveness. As a result of the lack of consistent findings linking individual traits to leadership effectiveness, empirical studies of leader traits were largely abandoned in the 1950s. LEADER BEHAVIOR APPROACH. Partially as a result of the disenchantment with the trait approach to leadership that occurred by the beginning of the 1950s, the focus of leadership research shifted away from leader traits to leader behaviors.
The premise of this stream of research was that the behaviors exhibited by leaders are more important than their physical, mental, or emotional traits. The two most famous behavioral leadership studies took place at Ohio State University and the University of Michigan in the late 1940s and 1950s. These studies sparked hundreds of other leadership studies and are still widely cited. The Ohio State studies utilized the Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ), administering it to samples of individuals in the military, manufacturing companies, college administrators, and student leaders.
Answers to the questionnaire were factor-analyzed to determine if common leader behaviors emerged across samples. The conclusion was that there were two distinct aspects of leadership that describe how leaders carry out their role. Two factors, termed consideration and initiating structure, consistently appeared. Initiating structure, sometimes called task-oriented behavior, involves planning, organizing, and coordinating the work of subordinates. Consideration involves showing concern for subordinates, being supportive, recognizing subordinates' accomplishments, and providing for subordinates' welfare.
The Michigan leadership studies took place at about the same time as those at Ohio State. Under the general direction of Rensis Likert, the focus of the Michigan studies was to determine the principles and methods of leadership that led to productivity and job satisfaction. The studies resulted in two general leadership behaviors or orientations: an employee orientation and a production orientation. Leaders with an employee orientation showed genuine concern for interpersonal relations. Those with a production orientation focused on the ask or technical aspects of the job. The conclusion of the Michigan studies was that an employee orientation and general instead of close supervision yielded better results. Likert eventually developed four "systems" of management based on these studies; he advocated System 4 (the participative-group system, which was the most participatory set of leader behaviors) as resulting in the most positive outcomes. One concept based largely on the behavioral approach to leadership effectiveness was the Managerial (or Leadership) Grid, developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton.
The grid combines "concern for production" with "concern for people" and presents five alternative behavioral styles of leadership. An individual who emphasized neither production was practicing "impoverished management" according to the grid. If a person emphasized concern for people and placed little emphasis on production, he was terms a "country-club" manager. Conversely, a person who emphasized a concern for production but paid little attention to the concerns of subordinates was a "task" manager. A person who tried to balance concern for production and concern for people was termed a "middle-of-the-road" manager.
Finally, an individual who was able to simultaneously exhibit a high concern for production and a high concern for people was practicing "team management. " According to the prescriptions of the grid, team management was the best leadership approach. The Managerial Grid became a major consulting tool and was the basis for a considerable amount of leadership training in the corporate world. The assumption of the leader behavior approach was that there were certain behaviors that would be universally effective for leaders.
Unfortunately, empirical research has not demonstrated consistent relationships between task-oriented or person-oriented leader behaviors and leader effectiveness. Like trait research, leader behavior research did not consider situational influences that might moderate the relationship between leader behaviors and leader effectiveness. CONTINGENCY (SITUATIONAL) APPROACH. Contingency or situational theories of leadership propose that the organizational or work group context affects the extent to which given leader traits and behaviors will be effective.
Contingency theories gained prominence in the late 1960s and 1970s. Four of the more well-known contingency theories are Fiedler's contingency theory, path-goal theory, the Vroom-Yetton-Jago decision-making model of leadership, and the situational leadership theory. Each of these approaches to leadership is briefly described in the paragraphs that follow. Introduced in 1967, Fiedler's contingency theory was the first to specify how situational factors interact with leader traits and behavior to influence leadership effectiveness.
The theory suggests that the "favorability" of the situation determines the effectiveness of task- and person-oriented leader behavior. Favorability is determined by (1) the respect and trust that followers have for the leader; (2) the extent to which subordinates' responsibilities can be structured and performance measured; and (3) the control the leader has over subordinates' rewards. The situation is most favorable when followers respect and trust the leader, the task is highly structured, and the leader has control over rewards and punishments.
Fiedler's research indicated that task-oriented leaders were more effective when the situation was either highly favorable or highly unfavorable, but that person-oriented leaders were more effective in the moderately favorable or unfavorable situations. The theory did not necessarily propose that leaders could adapt their leadership styles to different situations, but that leaders with different leadership styles would be more effective when placed in situations that matched their preferred style. Fiedler's contingency theory has been criticized on both conceptual and methodological grounds.
However, empirical research has supported many of the specific propositions of the theory, and it remains an important contribution to the understanding of leadership effectiveness. Path-goal theory was first presented in a 1971Administrative Science Quarterly article by Robert House. Path-goal theory proposes that subordinates' characteristics and characteristics of the work environment determine which leader behaviors will be more effective. Key characteristics of subordinates identified by the theory are locus of control, work experience, ability, and the need for affiliation.
Important environmental characteristics named by the theory are the nature of the task, the formal authority system, and the nature of the work group. The theory includes four different leader behaviors, which include directive leadership, supportive leadership, participative leadership, and achievement-oriented leadership. According to the theory, leader behavior should reduce barriers to subordinates' goal attainment, strengthen subordinates' expectancies that improved performance will lead to valued rewards, and provide coaching to make the path to payoffs easier for subordinates.
Path-goal theory suggests that the leader behavior that will accomplish these tasks depends upon the subordinate and environmental contingency factors. Path-goal theory has been criticized because it does not consider interactions among the contingency factors and also because of the complexity of its underlying theoretical model, expectancy theory. Empirical research has provided some support for the theory's propositions, primarily as they relate to directive and supportive leader behaviors.
The Vroom-Yetton-Jago decision-making model was introduced by Victor Vroom and Phillip Yetton in 1973 and revised by Vroom and Jago in 1988. The theory focuses primarily on the degree of subordinate participation that is appropriate in different situations. Thus, it emphasizes the decision-making style of the leader. There are five types of leader decision-making styles, which are labeled AI, AII, CI, CII, and G. These styles range from strongly autocratic (AI), to strongly democratic (G).
According to the theory, the appropriate style is determined by answers to up to eight diagnostic questions, which relate to such contingency factors as the importance of decision quality, the structure of the problem, whether subordinates have enough information to make a quality decision, and the importance of subordinate commitment to the decision. The Vroom-Yetton-Jago model has been criticized for its complexity, for its assumption that the decision makers' goals are consistent with organizational goals, and for ignoring the skills needed to arrive at group decisions to difficult problems.
Empirical research has supported some of the prescriptions of the theory. The situational leadership theory was initially introduced in 1969 and revised in 1977 by Hersey and Blanchard. The theory suggests that the key contingency factor affecting leaders' choice of leadership style is the task-related maturity of the subordinates. Subordinate maturity is defined in terms of the ability of subordinates to accept responsibility for their own task-related behavior. The theory classifies leader behaviors into the two broad classes of task-oriented and relationship-oriented behaviors.
The major proposition of situational leadership theory is that the effectiveness of task and relationship-oriented leadership depends upon the maturity of a leader's subordinates. Situational leadership theory has been criticized on both theoretical and methodological grounds. However, it remains one of the better-known contingency theories of leadership and offers important insights into the interaction between subordinate ability and leadership style. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
Although trait, behavioral, and contingency approaches have each contributed to the understanding of leadership, none of the approaches have provided a completely satisfactory explanation of leadership and leadership effectiveness. Since the 1970s, several alternative theoretical frameworks for the study of leadership have been advanced. Among the more important of these are leader-member exchange theory, transformational leadership theory, the substitutes for leadership approach, and the philosophy of servant leadership.
Leadership Definition : Peter Drucker : The forward to the Drucker Foundation's "The Leader of the Future" sums up leadership : "The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers. " To gain followers requires influence (see John Maxwell's definition below) but doesn't exclude the lack of integrity in achieving this. Indeed, it can be argued that several of the world's greatest leaders have lacked integrity and have adopted values that would not be shared by many people today.
Leadership Definition : John C Maxwell : In the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell sums up his definition of leadership as "leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less. " This moves beyond the position defining the leader, to looking at the ability of the leader to influence others - both those who would consider themselves followers, and those outside that circle. Indirectly, it also builds in leadership character, since without maintaining integrity and trustworthiness, the capability to influence will disappear.
Leadership Definition : Warren Bennis : Warren Bennis' definition of leadership is focused much more on the individual capability of the leader : "Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential. " Peter Drucker's Definition of Leadership For Drucker there is little (if any) difference between leadership and management by definition. Leadership is not about a list of attributes as no two leaders will exhibit the same list, nor is it about charisma or some king-like quality.
It is all about delivery of performance. Just like management. | The Foundations Effective leadership for Drucker is thinking through the organisation's mission and defining it. Then clearly and visibly establishing it. It is the leader who sets the goals and priorities with total clarity. Likewise it is up to the leader to define and maintain standards. Leadership Responsibility Effective leaders do not blame others. Because the leader is all too aware that ultimately it is they that take responsibility he (or she) does not fear powerful independent thinking subordinates.
Instead the strong leader does whatever they can to encourage and champion their team to become stronger themselves. The leader's task is to create the energy and vision where others might flourish. Leadership Trust Without trust the leader will not have any followers. Trust must be earned. This doesn't mean that the leader must be loved and nor does it mean that the followers must agree with everything the leader says or does. Instead the followers must believe that the leader means what they say they mean: that Churchillian leadership trait of Integrity.
There must be congruency between a leaders beliefs, his words and his actions. And these must be consistent. Peter Drucker on Leadership: More Doing than Dash from the Wall Street Journal, Jan. 6, 1988: Leadership is all the rage just now. "We'd want you to run a seminar for us on how one acquires charisma," the human-resources VP of a big bank said to me on the telephone -- in dead earnest. Books, articles and conferences on leadership and on the "qualities" of the leader abound. Every CEO, it seems, has to be made to look like a dashing Confederate cavalry general or a board-room Elvis Presley.
Leadership does matter, of course. But, alas, it is something different from what is now touted under this label. It has little to do with "leadership qualities" and even less to do with "charisma. " It is mundane, unromantic and boring. Its essence is performance. In the first place, leadership is not by itself good or desirable. Leadership is a means. Leadership to what end is thus the crucial question. History knows no more charismatic leaders than this century's triad of Stalin, Hitler and Mao -- the misleaders who inflicted as much evil and suffering on humanity as have ever been recorded.
But effective leadership doesn't depend on charisma. Dwight Eisenhower, George Marshall and Harry Truman were singularly effective leaders yet none possessed any more charisma than a dead mackerel. Nor did Konrad Adenauer, the chancellor who rebuilt West Germany after World War II. No less charismatic personality could be imagined than Abe Lincoln of Illinois, the raw-boned, uncouth backwoodsman of 1860. And there was amazingly little charisma to the bitter, defeated, almost broken Churchill of the inter-war years; what mattered was that he turned out in the end to have been right.
Indeed, charisma becomes the undoing of leaders. It makes them inflexible, convinced of their own infallibility, unable to change. This is what happened to Stalin, Hitler and Mao, and it is a commonplace in the study of ancient history that only Alexander the Great's early death saved him from becoming an ineffectual failure. Indeed, charisma does not by itself guarantee effectiveness as a leader. John F. Kennedy may have been the most charismatic person ever to occupy the White House. Yet few presidents got as little done. Nor are there any such things as "leadership qualities" or a "leadership personality. " Franklin D.
Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, Bernard Montgomery and Douglas MacArthur, were all highly effective -- and highly visible -- leaders during World War II. No two of them shared any "personality traits" or any "qualities. " What then is leadership if it is not charisma and not a set of personality traits? The first thing to say about it is that it is work -- something stressed again and again by the most charismatic leaders: Julius Caesar, for instance, or Gen. MacArthur and Field Marshal Montgomery, or, to use an example from business, Alfred Sloan, the man who built and led General Motors from 1920 to 1955.
The foundation of effective leadership is thinking through the organization's mission, defining it and establishing it, clearly and visibly. The leader sets the goals, sets the priorities, and sets and maintains the standards. He makes compromises, of course; indeed, effective leaders are painfully aware that they are not in control of the universe. (Only misleaders -- the Stalins, Hitlers, Maos -- suffer from that delusion. ) But before accepting a compromise, the effective leader has thought through what is right and desirable. The leader's first task is to be the trumpet that sounds a clear sound.
What distinguishes the leader from the misleader are his goals. Whether the compromise he makes with the constraints of reality -- which may involve political, economic, financial or people problems -- are compatible with his mission and goals or lead away from them determines whether he is an effective leader. And whether he holds fast to a few basic standards (exemplifying them in his own conduct) or whether "standards" for him are what he can get away with, determines whether the leader has followers or only hypocritical time-servers.
The second requirement is that the leader sees leadership as responsibility rather than as rank and privilege. Effective leaders are rarely "permissive. " But when things go wrong -- and they always do -- they do not blame others. If Winston Churchill is an example of leadership through clearly defining mission and goals, Gen. George Marshall, America's chief of staff in World War II, is an example of leadership through responsibility. Harry Truman's folksy "The buck stops here" is still as good a definition as any.
But precisely because an effective leader knows that he, and no one else, is ultimately responsible, he is not afraid of strength in associates and subordinates. Misleaders are; they always go in for purges. But an effective leader wants strong associates; he encourages them, pushes them, indeed glories in them. Because he holds himself ultimately responsible for the mistakes of his associates and subordinates, he also sees the triumphs of his associates and subordinates as his triumphs, rather than as threats. A leader may be personally vain -- as Gen.
MacArthur was to an almost pathological degree. Or he may be personally humble -- both Lincoln and Truman were so almost to the point of having inferiority complexes. But all three wanted able, independent, self-assured people around them; they encouraged their associates and subordinates, praising and promoting them. So did a very different person: Ike Eisenhower, when supreme commander in Europe. An effective leader knows, of course, that there is a risk: Able people tend to be ambitious. But he realizes that it is a much smaller risk than to be served by mediocrity.
He also knows that the gravest indictment of a leader is for the organization to collapse as soon as he leaves or dies, as happened in Russia the moment Stalin died and as happens all too often in companies. An effective leader knows that the ultimate task of leadership is to create human energies and human vision. The final requirement of effective leadership is to earn trust. Otherwise there won't be any followers -- and the only definition of a leader is someone who has followers. To trust a leader, it is not necessary to like him. Nor is it necessary to agree with him.
Trust is the conviction that the leader means what he says. It is a belief in something very old-fashioned, called "integrity. " A leader's actions and a leader's professed beliefs must be congruent, or at least compatible. Effective leadership -- and again this is very old wisdom -- is not based on being clever; it is based primarily on being consistent. After I had said these things on the telephone to the bank's human-resources VP, there was a long silence. Finally she said: "But that's no different at all from what we have known for years are the requirements for being an effective manager. Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. Peter Drucker Leadership is not magnetic personality - that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not "making friends and influencing people" - that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. Peter F. Drucker Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. Peter F. Drucker The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say "I".
And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say "I". They don't think "I". They think "we"; they think "team". They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but "we" gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done. Peter F. Drucker No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings. Peter Drucker Tom Peters' Definition of Leadership
Peters, characteristically, provides huge lengthy lists of what leadership is. | For him, leadership is a bunch of paradoxes (like much else): its both simple and complex, digging deep and soaring high, all about the people yet potentially lonely etc. Peters' favorite "Leaders are... " quote is one of 287 definitions he received from his enormous readership: "Leaders need to be the Rock of Gibralter on Rollerblades! " Here's my take on a Peters-style leaders to-do list: 1. Uncertainty is here to stay - you can be certain of that: be prepared to say "I don't know". 2. Be a dealer in hope - keep an eye out for Grand Possibilities.
Inspire others by throwing down a Great Challenge. 3. DO SOMETHING! Become an Action Figure. Life's too short to strive to be right first time. Get on with it. Behave like a venture capitalist: take lots of risks and make lots of bets. Keep churning your "portfolio" of interesting people and projects. 4. Accept mistakes as the Price of Greatness. 5. Bring people together. Create the shortest distance between talented people. Don't just order them about - "ordering" change is a stupid waste of time 6. Succession plan. Mentor, mentor, mentor. Encourage and cultivate the next generation of leaders 7.
Find the "freaks" for they shall inherit the Earth! 8. Deliver a forum for the "freaks" to showcase their groovy stuff 9. Protect them from the doom-mongers and naysayers 10. Cut from your organisation those who don't measure up - ruthlessly and charitably. 11. Promote the wackiest, youngest, coolest "freaks"! Often. 12. Make finding incredible talent your number one priority - actively and aggressively seek out the very best. Pay well for the very best. 13. Leadership is a confidence game. Act the part. 14. Get rid of all the clutter that undermines your sense of focus. Create a To-Don't list and add to it frequently! 5. Take a break - chill out. Let your projects mature. Don't try to control the "fruits of your boss work" 16. Love, Laugh, Smile and express your Passion for what you do The characteristics of a leader come through in our day to day interactions with those around us. Leaders come in all shapes, styles, and forms. If you stop to think about some of the leaders that have inspired you or even some that have infuriated you, the qualities of good leadership skills will become apparent. When we think about the characteristics of a leader, we often think of leaders that are dynamic, which calls each of us to act or to follow.
We could take an example, such as Hitler. He did not have the values that we should follow, but had that inspiration that could ignite a country. If we also stop to think about the leaders today in the US, we do not get the same vision of a leader that has a dynamism that is hard to resist, but rather a leader that has that ‘good to great’ quality. Often times these leaders are more quiet and reserved, embodying the vision of good leadership skills and calling each of us to action in a subtle way that can often times leave us asking why we’re buying what they’re selling. The answer is a simple.
The characteristics of a leader are not skills or behaviors that will be new to those that strive to master them, but will often times be the actions we all know we should be focused on, if we only had the time. Yes, developing good leadership skills take time, just like perfecting an idea or delivering on a project. Without an investment of time, very few people will have the skills to become the great leaders they envision. Let’s examine some if these traits in more depth. The Santa Clara University and the Tom Peters Group recently noted the following characteristics as key characteristics of a leader.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t find the complexity you were expecting as leadership is often promoted as that advanced skill few can attain. Key Characteristics of a Leader: * Honesty - Display sincerity, integrity, and candor in all your actions. Deceptive behavior will not inspire trust. * Competent - Your actions should be based on reason and moral principles. Do not make decisions based on childlike emotional desires or feelings. * Forward-looking Set goals and have a vision of the future. The vision must be owned throughout the organization.
Effective leaders envision what they want and how to get it. They habitually pick priorities stemming from their basic values. * Inspiring - Display confidence in all that you do. By showing endurance in mental, physical, and spiritual stamina, you will inspire others to reach for new heights. Take charge when necessary. * Intelligent - Read, study, and seek challenging assignments. * Fair-minded - Show fair treatment to all people. Prejudice is the enemy of justice. Display empathy by being sensitive to the feelings, values, interests, and well-being of others. Broad-minded - Seek out diversity. * Courageous - Have the perseverance to accomplish a goal, regardless of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Display a confident calmness when under stress. * Straightforward - Use sound judgment to make good decisions at the right time. * Imaginative - Make timely and appropriate changes in your thinking, plans, and methods. Show creativity by thinking of new and better goals, ideas, and solutions to problems. Be innovative! As you can see nothing revealed here is shocking, but skills we are all aware of, yet we take little time to practice.
Again, developing good leadership skills does take practice and a great deal of time. If it were easy there would be far more leaders and far less managers. A number of the characteristics of a leader fall into a greater category that many of the leading executives of today refer to as Emotional Intelligence. Achieving this level of leadership will inspire those around you and lead your teams to great heights. So what do you do with this ‘new’ information? It’s time to refocus on your core as a leader and to spend your time wisely on what you value and the values of your organization.
It is easy to get caught up in the daily fires that pop up but this can be the downfall of aspiring leaders. To achieve a true leadership style you must be able to maintain these traits through good times and bad and to continually focus on the behaviors regardless of the situation. Tom Peters on the Definition of Leadership Tom Peters’ offers his definition of leadership in the video below. He begins by expressing a truth that is more important than the definition itself. It is not often understood by those seeking to understand the shortcomings of leadership. Leadership in the 21st century AD is exactly what it was in the 21st century BC. Leadership is about the development, the inducement of people to grow way beyond where they believed they could go. Nothing has changed. ” Leadership hasn’t changed. Leadership is influence. Peters’ definition is summed up in this quote from Robert Altman's lifetime achievement Oscar acceptance speech: "The director allows an actor to become more than they've ever dreamed of being. " He says that great leaders are dealers in hope. He cites Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt as examples. Character and Traits in Leadership
Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing. — Warren Bennis, Ph. D. On Becoming a Leader Building Excellence Leaders do not command excellence, they build excellence. Excellence is “being all you can be” within the bounds of doing what is right for your organization. To reach excellence you must first be a leader of good character. You must do everything you are supposed to do. Organizations will not achieve excellence by figuring out where it wants to go, then having leaders do whatever they have to in order to get the job done, and then hope their leaders acted with good character.
This type of thinking is backwards. Pursuing excellence should not be confused with accomplishing a job or task. When you do planning, you do it by backwards planning. But you do not achieve excellence by backwards planning. Excellence starts with leaders of good and strong character who engage in the entire process of leadership. And the first process is being a person of honorable character. Character develops over time. Many think that much of a person's character is formed early in life. However, we do not know exactly how much or how early character develops.
But, it is safe to claim that character does not change quickly. A person's observable behavior is an indication of her character. This behavior can be strong or weak, good or bad. A person with strong character shows drive, energy, determination, self-discipline, willpower, and nerve. She sees what she wants and goes after it. She attracts followers. On the other hand, a person with weak character shows none of these traits. She does not know what she wants. Her traits are disorganized, she vacillates and is inconsistent. She will attract no followers. A strong person can be good or bad.
A gang leader is an example of a strong person with a bad character, while an outstanding community leader is one with both strong and good characteristics. An organization needs leaders with both strong and good characteristics, people who will guide them to the future and show that they can be trusted. Traits of a Good Leader Compiled by the Santa Clara University and the Tom Peters Group: * Honest — Display sincerity, integrity, and candor in all your actions. Deceptive behavior will not inspire trust. * Competent — Base your actions on reason and moral principles.
Do not make decisions based on childlike emotional desires or feelings. * Forward-looking — Set goals and have a vision of the future. The vision must be owned throughout the organization. Effective leaders envision what they want and how to get it. They habitually pick priorities stemming from their basic values. * Inspiring — Display confidence in all that you do. By showing endurance in mental, physical, and spiritual stamina, you will inspire others to reach for new heights. Take charge when necessary. * Intelligent — Read, study, and seek challenging assignments. * Fair-minded — Show fair treatment to all people.
Prejudice is the enemy of justice. Display empathy by being sensitive to the feelings, values, interests, and well-being of others. * Broad-minded — Seek out diversity. * Courageous — Have the perseverance to accomplish a goal, regardless of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Display a confident calmness when under stress. * Straightforward — Use sound judgment to make a good decisions at the right time. * Imaginative — Make timely and appropriate changes in your thinking, plans, and methods. Show creativity by thinking of new and better goals, ideas, and solutions to problems.
Be innovative! Leadership vs. Management: Characteristics of a Manager Let's begin by breaking down some key characteristics of a manager. This role in a typical company or organization will reflect a person who's primary focus is on managing a team of people and their activities. The role can differ by scope, types of roles, and can sometimes even be focused on efforts outside of true people management, for example project and process managers. One of the key characteristics of a manager is very basic in the sense that they are someone who was given their authority by the nature of their role.
They ensure work gets done, focus on day to day tasks, and manage the activities of others. Managers focus on tactical activities and often times have a more directive and controlling approach. Being tactical is not altogether a negative approach as this is a skill set that is greatly needed in business especially in the fast paced environments most of us work and live in. Being able to organize people to accomplish tasks can be a great asset. In many organizations, managers are often times the previous high performers at the employee level. Does this mean they are ready for the challenge of people management?
In many cases, the answer is no. To demonstrate solid characteristics of a manager, these previous high performers must be trained. While all types of people can manage, we will now examine what makes a manager a solid leader. Leadership vs. Management: Characteristics of a Leader Now if we look at the characteristics of a leader. When you hear the term, leader, a number of images may pop into your head. One phrase that may come to mind is "he or she is a born leader". This phrase does depict a great deal about the difference in managers and leaders as there are a great many distinctions.
To demonstate characteristics of a leader you must be more strategically focused and rather than directing employees through tasks, they inspire and motivate employees to drive themselves. Leaders are adapt in the art of Emotional Intelligence and apply it in a way that attains the best work out of their people. While a manager receives their authority based on their role, a leader's authority is innate in their approach. Good leadership skills are difficult to learn because they are far more behavioral in nature than those skills needed for management.
Think of how different it is to teach someone to manage a particular task with a handbook on how to perform it versus trying to teach someone to effectively negotiate a sale. One, is step by step while the other employs a number of soft skills that, if unfamiliar, can be very difficult to master. This is one reason that building characteristics of a leader can be so challenging for new managers. Leaders are also very focused on change. Recognizing that continual improvement can be achieved in their people and their activities can be a great step towards continued success.
Being able to lead their teams through change, rather than manage them through it has infinite rewards. A commonly coined phrase tells us that leadership is doing the right thing and management is doing things right. This illustrates how the two skill sets need to work together. In order to be fully rounded, you must have the ability to manage the day to day tasks and deliver results, while seeing the opportunity for change and the big picture. Demonstrating good leadership skills without the management skills to support it, will leave you with an inability to operationalize your visions.
Likewise, being a good manager without good leadership skills will cause continual challenges in motivating your team and producing the results you are trying to manage to. Being able to blend these two styles is truly a unique skill set. Keep in mind there are an abundance of managers in the world but very few truly embody the characteristics of a leader. Leadership: do traits matter? Shelley A. Kirkpatrick and Edwin A. Locke, University of Maryland Executive Overview The study ot leader traits has a long and controversial history.
While research shows that the possession of certain traits alone does not guarantee leadership success, fhere is evidence that effective leaders are different from other people in certain key respects. Key leader traits include: drive (a broad term which includes achievement, motivation, ambition, energy, tenacity, and initiative): leadership motivation (the desire fo lead but not to seek power as an end in itself): honesty and integrity: self-confidence (which is associated with emotional stability): cognitive ability: and knowledge of the business.
There is less clear evidence for traits such as charisma, creativity and flexibility. We believe that the key leader traits help the leader acquire necessary skills: formulate an organizational vision and an effective plan for pursuing it: and take the necessary steps to implement the vision in reality. Article Few issues have a more controversial history than leadership traits and characteristics. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, "great man" leadership theories were highly popular. These theories asserted that leadership qualities were inherited, especially by people from the upper class.
Great men were, born, not made (in those days, virtually all business leaders were men). Today, great man theories are a popular foil for so-called superior models. To make the new models plausible, the "great men" are endowed with negative as well as positive traits. In a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, for example. Slater and Bennis write, "The passing years have . . . given the coup de grace to another force that has retarded democratization—the 'great man' who with brilliance and farsightedness could preside wth dictatorial powers as the head of a growing organization. ' Such great men, argue Slater and Bennis, become "outmoded" and dead hands on "the flexibility and growth of the organization. " Under the new democratic model, they argue, "the individual is of relatively little significance. " Early in the 20th century, the great man theories evolved into trait theories. ("Trait" is used broadly here to refer to people's general characteristics, including capacities, motives, or patterns of behavior. ) Trait theories did not make assumptions about whether leadership traits were inherited or acquired. They simply asserted that leaders' characteristics are different from non-leaders.
Traits such as height, weight, and physique are heavily dependent on heredity, whereas others such as knowledge of the industry are dependent on experience and learning. The trait view was brought into question during the mid-century when a prominent theorist, Ralph Stogdill, after a thorough review of the literature concluded that "A person does not become a leader by virtue of the possession of some combination of traits. "^ Stogdill believed this because the research showed that no traits were universally associated with effective leadership and that 48 Kirkpatrick and Locke situational factors were also influential.
For example, military leaders do not have traits identical to those of business leaders. Since Stogdill's early review, trait theory has made a come back, though in altered form. Recent research, using a variety of methods, has made it clear that successful leaders are not like other people. 'The evidence indicates that there are certain core traits which significantly contribute to business leaders' success. Traits alone, however, are not sufficient for successful business leadership—they are only a precondition. Leaders who possess the requisite traits must take certain actions to be successful (e. . formulating a vision, role modeling, setting goals). Possessing the appropriate traits only makes it more likely that such actions will be taken and be successful. After summarizing the core leadership traits, we will discuss these important actions and the managerial implications. The Evidence: Traits Do Matter The evidence shows that traits do matter. Six traits on which leaders differ from non-leaders include: drive, the desire to lead, honesty/integrity, self-confidence, cognitive ability, and knowledge of the business. ^ These traits are shown in Exhibit 1. Drive
The first trait is labeled "drive" which is not to be confused with physical need deprivation. We use the term to refer to a constellation of traits and motives reflecting a high effort level. Five aspects of drive include achievement motivation, amibition, energy, tenacity, and initiative. Achievement. Leaders have a relatively high desire for achievement. The need for achievement is an important motive among effective leaders and even more important among successful entrepreneurs. High achievers obtain satisfaction from successfully completing challenging tasks, attaining standards of excellence, and developing better ways of doing things.
To work their way up to the top of the organization, leaders must have a desire to complete challenging assignments and projects. This also allows the leader to gain technical expertise, both through education and work experience, and to initiate and follow through with organizational changes. The constant striving for improvement is illustrated by the following manager who took charge of a $260 million industrial and office-products division:'' After twenty-seven months on the job, Tom saw his efforts pay off: the division had its best first quarter ever.
By his thirty-first month, Tom felt he had finally mastered the situation. . . . [Tom] finally felt he had the structure and management group in place to grow the division's revenues to $400 million and he now turned his attention to divesting a product group which no longer fit in with the growth objectives of the division. Drive: achievement, ambition, energy, tenacity, initiative Leadership Motivaton (personalized vs. socialized) Honesty and Integrity Self-confidence (including emotional stability) Cognitive Ability Knowledge of the Business
Other Traits (weaker support): charisma, creativity/originality, flexibility Exhibit 1. Leadership Traits 49 Academy of Management Executive Even at age 70, Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart discount stores, still attended Wal-Mart's Saturday morning meeting, a whoop-it-up 7:30 a. m. sales pep rally for 300 managers. Managers perform a large amount of work at an unrelenting pace. To perform well, a leader needs to constantly work toward success and improvement. Superior managers and executives are concerned with doing something better than they or other have ever done it.
For example, at PepsiCo only "aggressive achievers" survive. Similarly, Thomas Watson of IBM has been described as "driven throughout by a personal determination to create a company larger than NCR. "^ This brings us to a second related motive: ambition. Ambition. Leaders are very ambitious about their work and careers and have a desire to get ahead. To advance, leaders actively take steps to demonstrate their drive and determination. Ambition impels leaders to set hard, challenging goals for themselves and their organizations.
Walt Disney, founder of Walt Disney Productions, had a "dogged determination to succeed" and CE. Woolman of Delta Air Lines had "inexhaustible ambition. " Effective leaders are more ambitious than nonleaders. In their 20-year study, psychologists Ann Howard and Douglas Bray found that among a sample of managers at AT&T, ambition, specifically the desire for advancement, was the strongest predictor of success twenty years later. The following character sketches of two managers who successfully progressed illustrate the desire for advancement:^ want to be able to demonstrate the things I learned in college and get to the top," said Al, "maybe even be president. 1 expect to work hard and be at the third level within 5 years, and to rise to much higher levels in the years beyond that. I am specifically working on my MBA to aid in my advancement. If I'm thwarted on advancement, or find the challenge is lacking, I'll leave the company. [He] had been promoted to the district level [after 8 years] and certainly expected to go further. Although he still wouldn't pinpoint wanting to be president (his wife's dream for him), e certainly had a vice presidency (sixth level) in mind as early as year 2 in the study, after his first promotion. The following sketches characterize two less ambitious individuals: Even though Chet had the benefits of a college degree, his below-average scholastic performance did not fill him with confidence in his capabilities. He hedged a bit with his interviewer when asked about his specific aspirations, saying he wasn't sure what the management levels were. When pressed further, he replied, "I'd like to feel no job is out of my reach, but I'm not really possessed of a lot of ambition.
There are times when I just want to say, 'To hell with everything. ' " After [his] promotion to fhe second level, he looked more favorably upon middle management, but he still indicated he would not be dissatisfied to stay at the second level. [He] just seemed to take each position as it came; if he ever looked ahead, he didn't appear to look up. Energy. To sustain a high achievement drive and get ahead, leaders must have a lot of energy. Working long, intense work weeks (and many weekends) for many years, requires an individual to have physical, mental, and emotional vitality.
Leaders are more likely than nonleaders to have a high level of energy and stamina and to be generally active, lively, and often restless. Leaders have been characterized as "electric, vigorous, active, full of life" as well as possessing the "physical vitality to maintain a steadily productive work pace. "^ Even at age 70, Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart discount stores, still attended Wal-Mart's Saturday morning meeting, a whoop-it-up 7:30 a. m. sales pep rally for 300 managers. 50 Kirkpatrick and Locke
The need for energy is even greater today than in the past, because more companies are expecting all employees, including executives, to spend more time on the road visiting the organization's other locations, customers, and suppliers. Tenacity. Leaders are better at overcoming obstacles than nonleaders. They have the "capacity to work with distant objects in view" and have a "degree of strength of will or perseverance. "^ Leaders must be tirelessly persistent in their activities and follow through with their programs. Most organizational change programs take several months to establish and can take many years before the benefits are seen.
Leaders must have the drive to stick with these programs, and persistence is needed to ensure that changes are institutionalized. An example of heroic perseverance in the face of obstacles, from American history, is the tale of John Paul Jones, a captain in fhe newly formed American Navy. On September 25, 1779, John Paul Jones, aboard the Bonhomme Richard, engaged in battle with the English ship, Serapis off the cost of England. After being bombarded with cannon fire by the Serapis, having two old cannons explode causing a fire, and being fired at by their supposed ally, the Alliance, Jones appeared to have lost the battle.
When asked to surrender in the face of almost certain defeat, Jones made his immortal reply: "1 have not yet begun to fight. " Determined to sink the Serapis, Jones spotted an open hatch on the Serapis' deck and ordered a young sailor to climb into the rigging and toss grenades into the hatch, knowing the English had stored their ammunitions there. After missing with the first two grenades, the third grenade disappeared into the hatchway and was followed by a thunderous explosion aboard the Serapis. Engulfed in flames, the English captain surrendered to Jones.
Even though the entire battle had gone against him, John Paul Jones was determined not to give up, and it was this persistence that caused him to finally emerge victorious. It is not just the direction of action that counts, but sticking to the direction chosen. Effective leaders must keep pushing themselves and others toward the goal. David Glass, CEO of Wal-Mart, says that Sam Walton "has an overriding something in him that causes him to improve every day. . . . As long as I have known him, he has never gotten to the point where he's comfortable with who he is or how we're doing. Walt Disney was described as expecting the best and not relenting until he got it. Ray Kroc, of McDonald's Corporation, was described as a "dynamo who drove the company relentlessly. "^ Kroc posted this inspirational message on his wall: Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with great talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence, determination alone are omnipotent. Persistence, of course, must be used intelligently.
Dogged pursuit of an inappropriate strategy can ruin an organization. It is important to persist in the right things. But what are the right things? In today's business climate, they may include the following: satisfying the customer, growth, cost control, innovation, fast response time, and quality. Or, in Tom Peters' terms, a constant striving to improve just about everything. Initiative. Effective leaders are proactive. They make choices and take action that leads to change instead of just reacting to events or waiting for things to happen; 51 Acadetny of Management Executive that is, they show a high level of initiative.
The following two examples from consultant Richard Boyatzis of McBer and Company illustrate proactivity:'° / called the chief, and he said he couldn't commit the resources, so I called the budget and finance people, who gave me a negative response. But then I called a guy in another work group who said he was willing to make a trade for the parts I needed. I got the parts and my group was able to complete the repairs. One of our competitors was making a short, half-inch component and probably making $30,000-$40,000 a year on it. I looked at our line: we have the same product and can probably make it better and cheaper.
I told our marketing manager: "Let's go after that business. " I made the decision that we would look at it as a marketplace rather than looking at it as individual customers wanting individual quantities. I said, here's a market that has 30,000 pieces of these things, and we don't give a damn where we get the orders. Let's just go out and get them. We decided we were going to charge a specific price and get the business. Right now we make $30,000440,000 on these things and our competitor makes zero. Effective leaders must not only be full of drive and ambition, they must want to lead others.
Instead of sitting "idly by or [waitingj for fate to smile upon them," leaders need to "challenge the process. " Leaders are achievement-oriented, ambitious, energetic, tenacious, and proactive. These same qualities, however, may result in a manager who trys to accomplish everything alone, thereby failing to develop subordinate commitment and responsibility. Effective leaders must not only be full of drive and ambition, they must want to lead others. Power is an "expandable pie. " not a fixed sum: effective leaders give power to others as a means of increasing their own power. Leadership Motivation
Studies show that leaders have a strong desire to lead. Leadership motivation involves the desire to influence and lead others and is often equated with the need for power. People with high leadership motivation think a lot about influencing other people, winning an argument, or being the greater authority. They prefer to be in a leadership rather than subordinate role. The willingness to assume responsibility, which seems to coincide with leadership motivation, is frequently found in leaders. Sears psychologist Jon Bentz describes successful Sears executives as those who have a "powerful competitive drive for a position of . . . authority . . [andJ the need to be recognized as men of influence. "" Astronauts John Glenn and Frank Borman built political and business careers out of their early feats as space explorers, while other astronauts did not. Clearly, all astronauts possessed the same opportunities, but is was their personal makeup that caused Glenn and Borman to pursue their ambitions and take on leadership roles. Psychologist Warren Bennis and colleague Burt Nanus state that power is a leader's currency, or the primary means through whcih the leader gets things done in the organization. A leader must want to gain the power to exercise influence over others.
Also, power is an "expandable pie," not a fixed sum; effective leaders give power to others as a means of increasing their own power. Effective leaders do not see power as something that is competed for but rather as something that can be created and distributed to followers without detracting from their own power. Successful managers at AT&T completed sentence fragments in the following manner: .12 52 Kirkpatrick and Locke "When I am in charge of others I find my greatest satisfactions. " "The job I am best fit for is one which requires leadership ability. " "I depend on others to carry out my plans and directions. A manager who was not as successful completed the sentence fragment "Taking orders . . . " with the ending "is easy for it removes the danger of a bad decision. " Successful leaders must be willing to exercise power over subordinates, tell them what to do, and make appropriate use of positive and negative sanctions. Previous studies have shown inconsistent results regarding dominance as a leadership trait. According to Harvard psychologist David McClelland, this may be because there are two different types of dominance: a personalized power motive, or power lust, and a socialized power motive, or the desire to lead. ^ Personalized Power Motive. Although a need for power is desirable, the leader's effectiveness depends on what is behind it. A leader with a personalized power motive seeks power as an end in itself. These individuals have little self-control, are often impulsive, and focus on collecting symbols of personal prestige. Acquiring power solely for the sake of dominating others may be based on profound self-doubt. The personalized power motive is concerned with domination of others and leads to dependent, submissive followers. Socialized Power Motive.
In contrast, a leader with a socialized power motive uses power as a means to achieve desired goals, or a vision. Its use is expressed as the ability to develop networks and coalitions, gain cooperation from others, resolve conflicts in a constructive manner, and use role modeling to influence others. Individuals with a socialized power motive are more emotionally mature than those with a personalized power motive. They exercise power more for the benefit of the whole organization and are less likely to use it for manipulation.
These leaders are also less defensive, more willing to take advice from experts, and have a longer-range view. They use their power to build up their organization and make it successful. The socialized power motive takes account of followers' needs and results in empowered, independent followers. Successful leaders are open with their followers, but also discreet and do not violate confidences or carelessly divulge potentially harmful information. Honesty and Integrity Honesty and integrity are virtues in all individuals, but have special significance for leaders. Without these qualities, leadership is undermined.
Integrity is the correspondence between word and deed and honesty refers to being truthful or non-deceitful. The two form the foundation of a trusting relationship between leader and followers. In his comprehensive review of leadership, psychologist Bernard Bass found that student leaders were rated as more trustworthy and reliable in carrying out responsibilites than followers. Similarly, British organizational psychologists Charles Cox and Cary Cooper's "high flying" (successful) managers preferred to have an open style of management, where they truthfully informed workers about happenings in the company.
Morgan McCall and Michael Lombardo of the Center for Creative Leadership found that managers who reached the top were more likely to follow the following formula: "I will do exactly what I say I will do when I say I will do it. If I change my mind, I will tell you well in advance so you will not be harmed by my actions. "''' Successful leaders are open with their followers, but also discreet and do not violate confidences or carelessly divulge potentially harmful information. One subordinate in a study by Harvard's John Gabarro made the following remark about his new president: "He was so consistent in what he said and did, it was 53
Academy of Management Executive easy to trust him. " Another subordinate remarked about an unsuccessful leader, "How can I rely on him if I can't count on him consistently? "'^ Professors James Kouzes, Barry Posner, and W. H. Schmidt asked 1500 managers "What values do you look for and admire in your superiors? " Integrity (being truthful and trustworthy, and having character and conviction) was the most frequently mentioned characteristic. Kouzes and Posner conclude: Honesty is absolutely essential to leadership.
After all, if we are willing to follow someone, whether it be into battle or into the boardroom, we first want to assure ourselves that the person is worthy of our trust. We want to know that he or she is being truthful, ethical, and principled. We want to be fully confident in the integrity of our leaders. Effective leaders are credible, with excellent reputations, and high levels of integrity. The following description (from Gabarro's study) by one subordinate of his boss exemplifies the concept of integrity: "By integrity, I don't mean whether he'll rob a bank, or steal from the till.
You don't work with people like that. It's whether you sense a person has some basic principles and is willing to stand by them. " Bennis and Nanus warn that today credibility is at a premium, especially since people are better informed, more cautious, and wary of authority and power. Leaders can gain trust by being predictable, consistent, and persistent and by making competent decisions. An honest leader may even be able to overcome lack of expertise, as a subordinate in Gabarro's study illustrates in the following description of his superior: "I don't like a lot of the things he does, but he's basically honest.
He's a genuine article and you'll forgive a lot of things because of that. That goes a long way in how much I trust him. " Self-Confidence There are many reasons why a leader needs self-confidence. Being a leader is a very difficult job. A great deal of information must be gathered and processed. A constant series of problems must be solved and decisions made. Followers have to be convinced to pursue specific courses of action. Setbacks have to be overcome. Competing interests have to be satisfied. Risks have to be taken in the face of uncertainty.
A person riddled with self-doubt would never be able to take the necessary actions nor command the respect of others. Self-confidence plays an important role in decision-making and in gaining others' trust. Obviously,