Leader s Actions


Leader's Actions

Increasingly, a marked change has occurred in the study of leadership. Rather than look at traits, situations, and behavior, the shift has been on actions or priorities and results. This does not imply, of course, that there is no attention to other areas but the focus is action that achieves desired results. What follows is an overview of insights by some of the leading thinkers.

In their best-selling book, The Leadership Challenge , James Kouzes and Barry Posner [20] identify five basic practices that leaders apply to achieve results.

  • Challenge what they refer to as the process

  • Inspire a shared vision

  • Enable others to act by encouraging collaborative endeavors and development

  • Model the way

  • Encourage the heart

While Kouzes and Posner stress these five practices, they also emphasize the importance of credibility. They imply that if a leader sacrifices credibility, the leader will have difficulty executing the practices above. Credibility of action, according to the authors, significantly determines whether or not people will follow. [21]

In Leaders , Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus [22] basically distinguish the difference between managers and leaders by the phrase: Managers do things right while leaders do the right things.

To do the right things, Bennis and Nanus [23] identify four competency areas:

  • Attention through vision

  • Meaning through communication

  • Trust through positioning

  • Deployment of self through positive self-regard

In Leadership , James MacGregor Burns distinguishes between two categories of leadership: transactional and transformational. A transactional leader is "when a person takes the initiative in making contact with others for the purpose of an exchange of valued things." [24] This idea is similar to Bennis and Nanus's doing things right. Burns refers to this idea as "values of means." [25] It is essentially what a manager does daily to sustain operations.

Transformational leadership is "when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality." [26] This idea is similar to doing the right things, motivating people to go beyond day-to-day activities. Leaders focus on, to use another term of Burns, "end-values." [27] In a sense, transactional leadership is of the head; transformational leadership is of the heart.

In Managing for Excellence , David Bradford and Allen Cohen identified four misperceptions of what a good leader does: knowing what goes on at all times, possessing the most technical knowledge, solving any problem that arises, and having sole responsibility for performance. They refer to these perceptions as a hero worship style. [28] This perception results in two types of managers: manager-as-master technician and manager-as-conductor.

The manager-as-master technician portrays the image of the "know-it-all" of work who can address every situation and know every answer. The manager-as-conductor manages through people but does so in a very task-oriented , command and control manner. [29]

Both types have harmful effects. These managers spread themselves "too thin," fail to use the talents and skills of subordinates , and demotivate. [30] As an alternative style, Bradford and Cohen propose the need for a new type of leader: manager-as-developer.

The manager-as-developer avoids being "all things to all people." Instead, he or she seeks to share responsibility and control with subordinates to develop them, while simultaneously pursuing a common vision. According to Bradford and Cohen, [31] these leaders actually augment performance, their own power, and control.

In Primal Leadership , David Goleman, Richard Boyatsis, and Annie McKee take a different perspective on leadership. Using Goleman's work on emotional intelligence (EI), they focus on the role of emotion in leading groups, referring to it as primal leadership. This shift is important because the emotional side of leadership has been ignored for a long time, focusing more on rationality. They observe that organizations tend to view emotions as disruptive to their otherwise orderly, rational institutions, and this causes them to overlook the powerful impact of those leaders who generate emotional resonance and enable people to contribute and grow. [32]

In the context of leadership, they define EI as how people handle themselves and relationships in different situations. [33] The authors highlight the effect of negative emotions by some leaders, which they refer to as negative displays of dissonant leadership. [34]

The opposite of dissonant leadership, which is synchronous with positive emotions, is resonant leadership. It involves leaders who are attuned to the feelings of subordinates, leaving them feeling enthusiastic, upbeat, and inspired. [35]

The authors contrast this perspective with the current overemphasis on the rationality of leadership, noting that intellect is not enough to designate someone as a leader. Leadership, they observe, involves motivating and inspiring , for example, to generate resonance. [36]

After careful analysis, they identify four leadership competencies that, in turn , lead to six leadership styles: self-awareness, self-management , social awareness, and relationship management. Self-awareness involves aspects like self-confidence , self-management like self-control, social awareness like empathy, and relationship management like conflict management. [37]

In both his books, Leadership Jazz and Leadership Is an Art , Max De Pree takes the view that leadership involves the heart more than the head and is less about domination of subordinates and more about serving them. De Pree says that leadership is an art that can only be learned over time through experience and building on relationships. [38]

De Pree insists on the view described above ” that leaders should function more as stewards of relationships, ensuring that followers realize their full potential by achieving results. He lists four tasks that enable leaders to do just that: leave behind assets and a legacy; provide and maintain momentum; be responsible for effectiveness; and develop, express, and defend civility and values. [39]

De Pree basically sees leadership consisting of multiple relationships that influence growth, participation, understanding, and diversity. He describes leadership as having a covenantal relationship, whereby a leader shares commitment to goals and processes and provides meaning. He contrasts covenantal relationships with the typical contractual relationship, similar to the transactional leadership described by Burns. A covenantal relationship involves people working together without focusing on meaning and growth potential. [40] De Pree recognizes that a covenantal relationship does not just happen. Leaders must also have and exhibit certain traits, such as integrity, vulnerability, humor, breadth, discernment , and courage. [41]

Although Peter Block (in Stewardship ) focuses more at a high level in an organizational context, his main points directly relate to the behavior of managers in general, but also when dealing with subordinates at all levels.

Block observes that traditional organizations are based on maintaining control, consistency, and predictability. This emphasis has resulted in organizations, at all levels, taking a patriarchal approach towards managing people. This emphasis is exhibited in a hierarchical organizational structure, for example, and imposition of constraints. Such an environment encourages indifference and passive- aggressive behavior, resulting in people who come to work not fully engaged. [42]

What is needed is stewardship, which he describes as being willing to be held accountable for achieving results, but in a manner of providing a service rather than exercising control or forcing compliance. [43]

The result of stewardship is a greater distribution of ownership, responsibility, and accountability of the work to do. People, too, become empowered, which means that people find their unique contributions based on making their own decisions about choices. [44]

Leaders who take the stewardship route will not find that path . It requires them to establish a social contract that relies on partnering and empowerment that, in turn, means not acquiescing to the desire for protection and control. [45]

In On Leadership , John W. Gardner, like Max De Pree, takes a "softer" view of leadership. He sees leadership as having a servant-leader who strives to bring out the best in subordinates and identifies nine tasks to leadership: envisioning goals, affirming values, motivating, managing, achieving workable unity, explaining, serving as a symbol, representing the group , and renewing. [46]

These tasks, of course, go beyond the typical responsibilities of managers. They enable and empower subordinates and other stakeholders. Gardner says that a leader recognizes the needs of followers, addresses them, and builds their confidence to achieve desired results. They must also remove constraints that inhibit the motivations of followers to do so. [47]

He avoids stating that no one single style is effective, however, observing that leaders have no single style and may, on occasion, act authoritatively if circumstances warrant it. [48]

He does, however, tackle the attributes of leaders. These attributes include not just being physical but also qualitative, such as the capacity to motivate, the need for achievement, the capacity to obtain and sustain trust, and the ability to be adaptable and flexible. [49]

Like Peter Block, Harold J. Leavitt, author of Corporate Pathfinders , addresses the concept of leadership obliquely. He observes that management in organizations has emphasized compartmentalization in style, giving preference to rationality and action. [50] He notes that very little emphasis has been placed on the visionary aspects of managing which deal more with the emotional side of leadership. This situation has not been without great cost because managers who deal with human emotions are perceived negatively, thereby relying on rational means. Yet, this reliance of rationality often creates problems. [51]

[20] James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge , Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1987, p. 14.

[21] James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge , Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1987, p. vii.

[22] Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, Leaders , Perennial Library, New York, 1985, p. 21.

[23] Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, Leaders , Perennial Library, New York, 1985, p. 62.

[24] James M. Burns, Leadership , Harper & Row, New York, 1979, p. 19.

[25] James M. Burns, Leadership , Harper & Row, New York, 1979, p. 426.

[26] James M. Burns, Leadership , Harper & Row, New York, 1979, p. 20.

[27] James M. Burns, Leadership , Harper & Row, New York, 1979, p. 426.

[28] David L. Bradford and Allen R. Cohen, Managing for Excellence , John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1984, pp. 10 “11.

[29] David L. Bradford and Allen R. Cohen, Managing for Excellence , John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1984, pp. 33 “45.

[30] David L. Bradford and Allen R. Cohen, Managing for Excellence , John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1984, pp. 55 “58.

[31] David L. Bradford and Allen R. Cohen, Managing for Excellence , John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1984, pp. 283 “289.

[32] David Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, Primal Leadership , Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2002, p. xi.

[33] David Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, Primal Leadership , Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2002, p. 6.

[34] David Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, Primal Leadership , Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2002, p. 19.

[35] David Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, Primal Leadership , Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2002, p. 20.

[36] David Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, Primal Leadership , Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2002, p. 27.

[37] David Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, Primal Leadership , Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2002, p. 256.

[38] Max De Pree, Leadership Is an Art , Dell, New York, 1989, p. 3.

[39] Max De Pree, Leadership Is an Art , Dell, New York, 1989, pp. 13 “21.

[40] Max De Pree, Leadership Is an Art , Dell, New York, 1989, pp. 58 “60.

[41] Max De Pree, Leadership Jazz , Dell, New York, 1992, pp. 220 “225.

[42] Peter Block, Stewardship , Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, 1993, p. 21.

[43] Peter Block, Stewardship , Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, 1993, p. xx.

[44] Peter Block, Stewardship , Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, 1993, p. 36.

[45] Peter Block, Stewardship , Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, 1993, p. 85.

[46] John W. Gardner, On Leadership , The Free Press, New York, 1990, pp. 11 “22.

[47] John W. Gardner, On Leadership , The Free Press, New York, 1990, p. 184.

[48] John W. Gardner, On Leadership , The Free Press, New York, 1990, p. 26.

[49] John W. Gardner, On Leadership , The Free Press, New York, 1990, pp. 48 “53.

[50] Harold J. Leavitt, Corporate Pathfinders , Penguin Books, New York, 1997, p. 2.

[51] Harold J. Leavitt, Corporate Pathfinders , Penguin Books, New York, 1997, p. 7.




Leading High Performance Projects
The Photoshop CS2 Speed Clinic: Automating Photoshop to Get Twice the Work Done in Half the Time
ISBN: 193215910X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 169

Similar book on Amazon

flylib.com © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: flylib@qtcs.net