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Megan Golembewski
Shane Gustafson
Rachael Jacobson
Kimberly Kampen
Dana Maland
Kristie Towne
Professor Leonard Edmonds
Communications 430
12 August 2013
Interview Paper: The Spectrum of Leadership
It can be said that the intangibles of leadership are vital to any group success, and to this
point, we wish to offer our own unique insight into the inherent values, attributes, and outcomes
of effective leadership. Whether leaders are born with leadership characteristics or developed
through time, age and experience is immaterial. What is crucial to leadership is the ability of the
leader to cultivate vision, drive, and accountability, to name a few important attributes. What the
interviewees further discovered and confirmed is that the people in a position of leadership all
seem to agree upon the necessity for strong leadership, and not just in the traditional sense of the
meaning. The interviewees offered tremendous and unique insight.
Based on the interviews conducted, leadership is not looking to any individual and/or
group for guidance, but for the fundamental need for direction to achieve results timely and
tactfully. The interviewees articulated that an effective leader leads by example and brings the
best out in those around them, and cultivates overall balance and wisdom. Additionally,
innovative leadership traits are developed through people who truly influence leaders throughout

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their lives. This appears to be a consensus as to how leaders are effectively molded, and how
they are constantly changing their views to communicate, persevere, and as one interviewee
named Don Buckley said to Shane, it is important to make a difference (personal
communication, Don Buckley, 28 July, 2013). Providing feedback and making subordinates feel
appreciated and valued was also a common consensus amongst the eclectic group of
interviewees, all with different backgrounds and demographics.
Another common paradigm of leadership that the interviewees shared was the
fundamental need to be an instrument of change for positive purposes, with tenacity and focus.
What was also a clear focal point of the interviews conducted is that empowerment given to
subordinates cultivates and fosters passion in followers, and allows those who are indeed
followers to potentially emerge and again inspire to perform. One interviewee who spoke to
Megan, Ms. Afaf Atlassy of Moroccan descent, personified that leaders can emerge by their
surroundings as well. She immigrated to America in her youth and was in essence molded into a
leader, by embracing our land of opportunity (personal communication, Afaf Atlassy, 31 July,
2013). A setting of an American business helped to widen her opportunities to emerge and evolve
as a leader.
With all of the interviewees being from different walks of life what was most
compelling, in addition to the aforementioned, is that all of the individuals involved in our
interviews of leadership articulated that leadership is a dynamic that really correlates to a calling;
rather than that of mere choice. As a result, it further galvanizes the fact that leaders, whether
created by the time-old axiom of nature versus nurture, also felt an innate desire to make a
difference in those around them. This desire, again from a standpoint of being a bona fide
consensus amongst those interviewed, was always for the betterment of those they have the

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privilege to lead.
The interviewees objectively corroborated Hackman and Johnsons synopses regarding
leadership, specifically regarding mentorship. In essence, the interviewees do indeed feel that
having a mentor is a terrific way to begin to cultivate leadership strategies and thought processes.
Cara Trujillo, a brand manager for the Gap denim franchise advised Kimberly, I was probably
most influenced and inspired by one of my district managers. She taught me the power of being
honest and direct with people that worked for me. She also taught me to be open to feedback and
to connect with my team (personal communication, Cara Trujillo, July 2013). Furthermore, as
Hackman and Johnson (381) allude to in the text it can be quite a cumbersome process to find a
proper mentor to develop leadership qualities, which the interviewees all agreed was paramount
for leadership development.
The spectrum of leadership involves having skilled strengths in the many attributes of
leadership. Hackman and Johnson (390) describe the internal process of developing a leader
from the inside out by incorporating examples from business consultant, acclaimed speaker, and
author, Stephen Covey. Covey argues that there are seven character principles or habits that
comprise a leader from the inside out. Another author described by Hackman and Johnson with a
similar school of thought is Kevin Cashman. Cashman describes his theory of inner leadership
development as seven pathways utilized together, not as a hierarchal structure but viewed
holistically as integrated pieces of a collective framework (392). Similarly, the interviewees
collectively argued that inherent values and attributes are the stepping-stones of effective
leadership. In Kristies interview with superintendent Nancy Lynch, Ed.D, the strongest
attributes of leadership are, know[ing] your core and what is important (personal
communication, Nancy Lynch, 2 August, 2013). Dr. Lynchs model of great leadership from the

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inside out falls in line with what Cashman believes; when you take the time to ask yourself as a
leader, What do I believe about myself, what do I believe about other people, what do I believe
about life, [and] what do I believe about leadership, your beliefs [are brought] to the forefront
and help to guide your leadership efforts (Hackman and Johnson 392). Subsequently, other
responses from our interviewees suggested that great leaders are most likely those who have
skilled strengths in communication, honesty, integrity, and who are focused on the betterment of
others in addition to being present and having an open-door policy with your constituents, being
accountable to stakeholders, and compassion; knowing your core beliefs and what you stand for.
Other characteristics include being ethical, creative, and having the ability to collaborate
with others in assertive but not aggressive ways. More importantly, leadership consisted of being
able to set goals and display the direction needed to achieve those goals. Leadership is also about
knowing your limits, knowing when to stretch, and finally, to allow others to succeed while
under your leadership. When others succeed, your path of leadership is successful. In Shanes
interview with Mr. Buckley, insight was offered about his belief that the strongest attributes of
leadership are, showing character, having strong listening skills, and being able to instill
confidence in others (personal communication, Don Buckley, 29 July, 2013). A leader, who has
the ability to focus not on personal success, but to promote others selflessly, is truly a leader who
cares for the success of those under him. The strengths and qualities of leaders are vital to
success. There are many combinations of strengths and skill sets that allow leaders to be
successful in many different fashions. It is with ongoing training and development that a leader
can grow his or her capacity to become a better leader.
We wanted to know if leaders are made or if they are born. The old time adage and
longtime philosophical discussion, nature versus nurture, brings about some interesting opinions

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when discussing the full spectrum of leadership and how one becomes a great leader. We asked
each of our interviewees, "are leaders born or can one learn to be a great leader?" Each
responded initially with a firm "leaders are made, no question", "one can learn to become a great
leader" and "anyone can learn to lead", (personal communication, Kevin Truelson, Afaf Attlassy,
Wade Caves, July and August, 2013). However, if we look at the last statement made by Mr.
Caves, his complete thought is, "I think that anyone can learn to lead, [but] to be a great leader is
probably more of a born trait (personal communication, Wade Caves, 1 August, 2013). Those
initial thoughts are interrupted in a majority of our interviews to go back to say, leaders are and
can be taught to lead. However, there is still some part of nature that determines greater
outcomes for those leaders who are born with certain leadership traits. It ends up that most of the
leaders we interviewed believe that although the general consensus is that leaders are made, there
are still additional, inherent traits in personality and analytical processes that one is born with
that tends to push them towards being better equipped by "nature" to lead.
Individual and peer perceptions about leadership can provide a helpful way for leaders to
grow and develop. As Hackman and Johnson (168) describe, discovering how peers assess a
leaders competence, trustworthiness, and dynamism is a great way for a leader to build
credibility. The interviews conducted support the three concepts in establishing leader credibility.
First, Rachaels interview with Mr. Truelson supported the idea of trustworthiness, as he stated
Peers see me as someone they can count on and rely on, no matter the situation (personal
communication, Kevin Truelson, 5 August, 2013). This level of trust that supporters have of their
leaders can ensure that they can rely on their leader and feel safe under this leadership. Next,
competence also helps establish credibility based on leaders experiences. Interviewee Mr.
Buckley stated I ran my own insurance agency for over twenty (20) years before recently

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retiring. Now I do what I can do for the HOA (personal communication, Don Buckley, 29 July,
2013). Followers can look up to their leader because they will have strong background
experience from which skills have been honed and knowledge has been created. Lastly, the
amount of confidence leaders have in their visions determines dynamism. Kristies interviewee,
Dr. Lynch, demonstrated dynamism when she stated, [they view me as] honest, dedicated
thoughtful and visionary as well (personal communication, Nancy Lynch, 2 August, 2013).
Encompassing dynamism allows followers to work harder so they can help their leader achieve
visions and goals. It is within these three concepts of peer and individual perception that a leader
can be established as credible.
Perceptions of the aforementioned concepts of credibility stem from feedback. Each
interviewee discussed that giving and receiving feedback is the only way to be aware of
leadership strengths and weaknesses. Hackman and Johnson (376) reaffirm those statements by
discussing that feedback provides knowledge that allows a leader to build on personal strengths
and address any weaknesses. The interviewees were all similar in that feedback has been an
integral part of leadership. Receiving feedback allows for a leader to learn from mistakes and
grow based on strengths. Giving feedback is a way for followers to get a sense of the leaders
vision and credibility. Without open and honest feedback, a leader might never be aware of areas
that need improvement.
Continuing the discussion of self-perception, the interviewees were asked why they
considered themselves to be a successful leader. Each interviewee discussed characteristics and
traits that were applied into leadership styles. Many of the interviewees discussed successful
leadership, and a pattern emerged into what Hackman and Johnson (125) would describe as
charismatic leadership. Charismatic leaders are skilled at building relationships and focusing on

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the team. Interviewees Ms. Trujillo, Ms. Gallego, and Ms. Attlassy all had mentioned that having
a passion for their team, and taking the time to create attainable goals, checking in, and tracking
success can greatly contribute to the success of a leader (personal communication, Affaf Attlassy,
Caroline Gallego, and Cara Trujillo, July and August, 2013). Through these communication
patterns of keeping in touch with team members, leaders emerge as charismatic, and success can
Continued success can be ensured through motivation and persistence. Development as a
leader can continue to grow through taking proactive approaches. Hackman and Johnson (375)
describe one aspect of proactive leadership development by seeking out leadership learning
opportunities. Danas interviewee, Caroline Gallego, a resident charge nurse, ensures continued
success by furthering her education and seeking opportunities. She stated, Im trying to keep
myself educated and trying to practice what Im learning (personal communication, Caroline
Gallego, 1 August, 2013). Keeping current with leadership research can help develop skills that
could contribute to continued success. Leaders are always learning, growing, and developing.
Maintaining knowledge, focusing on future goals, and never giving up have been agreed upon by
the interviewees as methods to ensure success.
It is a leaders primary goal to influence others to learn, grow, and develop as an
individual. Based on Hackman and Johnsons (21) readings, in order for successful leadership,
followers must take a principal part in the success of the organization or society. Certainly, it is
important to know what leaders define as success and failure in order to teach the followers with
the same expectations that will build valuable leadership skills.
In Kristies interview, Dr. Lynch stated that Sometimes the greatest successes come from
the greatest failures proving that not all first attempts succeed (personal communication, Nancy

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Lynch, 2 August, 2013). This quote summed up the various definitions that were given in
interviews about successes and failures but, most importantly, to never give up. Leadership in
various organizations is diverse and centered on who you are, how you act, what you do, and
how you work with others (Hackman and Johnson 11). It is important to understand that what
drives a leader is going to change in various environments. Success, as defined by Megans
interview with Ms. Attlassy, is when an employee accomplishes a certain goal (personal
communication, Afaf Attlassy, 2 August, 2013). , the definition of success to a performancebased manager may be different than the definition of success to a coach or inspirational leader.
Shanes interviewee, Mr. Buckley, defined success as being happy and making a difference
(personal communication, Don Buckley 29 July, 2013). However, none of these definitions are
incorrect; they are just catered to the needs of the organization. Failure for many leaders who
were interviewed was defined by not trying. In Kimberlys interview with Ms. Trujillo, Failure
is based on a teams performance and when there is low functioning and low morale (personal
communication, Cara, Trujillo, 1 August, 2013). Since leadership is based on learning and
developing from successes and failures of teams, these attempts must be utilized to learn from
past experiences.
Hackman and Johnson describe leader expectations as the Pygmalion effect, or What a
leader expects is often what a leader gets (259). Indeed, the expectations of a leader must be
realistic and attainable. If these goals are reachable, based on the Pygmalion effect, these
expectations can be met. In order for expectations to be met, employees must be motivated to do
their best at their job. This matches what Kimberlys interviewee, Ms. Trujillo, said about
expectations being attainable, Set the bar high and people will naturally strive to meet it, set the
bar low and people will think success is mediocrity (personal communication, Cara Trujillo, 1

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August, 2013.) It is vital for a leader to address his exact expectations for the team and each
individual. Not only is setting expectations important, but Hackman and Johnsons teachings
agree leaders first must have confidence in both leaders and followers abilities to learn (261). If
confidence is lacking in any area, individuals are hesitant to follow inconsistent or nervous
behaviors. After confidence is established, leaders must set proper expectations by making sure
teams have a common goal in sight. Megans interviewee, Ms. Attlassy, admitted that she sets
expectations as a team by making sure all individuals are on track and performing to reach the
same common goal (personal communication, Afaf Attlassy, 31 July, 2013.) This practice gives
all individuals the chance to perform their best and be held accountable to any results that may
reflect. Danas interviewee, Ms. Gallego, sets proper expectations by beginning with a team
huddle that ensures everyone on the floor knows what is going on and no one feels as if any
surprises will come up (personal communication, Caroline Gallego, 1 August, 2013). In order to
keep employees satisfied, it is important to set proper expectations from the beginning, so
employee morale remains high and leaders can continue to effectively communicate to others.
While setting team and follower expectations are crucial to successful leadership, another
significant factor is the communication style utilized by leaders to encourage, grow, and
empower teams and followers. Hackman and Johnson (38) indicate a leaders communication
style directly reflects their interpersonal and professional expectations of teams and followers.
Kimberlys interview with Mr. Caves was a perfect example of this when he stated, my strength
is a no-nonsense approach to how we conduct ourselves and our work lives. We have our
objective, we do what it takes to get there ethically, and with the best cost-benefit ratio option
available to us (personal communication, Wade Caves, 1 August, 2013). Mr. Caves chooses to
approach leadership using task-oriented communication. His concern for execution and

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intolerance for sloppiness may seem aggressive; however, as the General Merchandising
Manager for the Los Angeles District Gap, his primary goal is the efficient and timely
completion of the work.
The majority of community leaders interviewed for this paper preferred to communicate
with followers using an interpersonal-oriented style of communication. Megan and Kristie both
interviewed subjects who specifically named servant leadership as their personal leadership style.
Hackman and Johnson (358) identified four principles serving as the foundations for servant
leadership: concern for people; stewardship; equity or justice; and, high moral character. The
consensus of the remaining subjects was that being direct, honest, reliable, inclusive, and an
excellent listener were paramount attributes of an effective leader. These traits coincide with
Hackman and Johnsons (49) list of distinguishing interpersonal orientation attributes in which a
leader asks opinions, listens, and concentrates on the emotional wellbeing of followers. Since the
subjects for this paper were chosen because they have risen to the ranks of leadership within their
community, this overall alignment in chosen communication techniques points toward
interpersonal communication as a desirable trait in great leaders.
Hackman and Johnson (324) suggest an existing gap in gender leadership. They imply the
existence of a number of common hurdles and barriers to diversity women face in the transition
to leadership roles. Kristies interview with Dr. Lynch corroborated their findings. When Dr.
Lynch was asked if her gender has led to any discrimination or challenges toward achieving her
leadership goal, Dr. Lynch replied, YES! While schools are primarily staffed by women, fewer
women than men move into upper level administration. I experienced this more often when
trying to gain my first administrative position. Being a woman, who was not perceived as tough
as a man, I was passed over for several jobs (personal communication, Nancy Lynch, 2 August,

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2013). Dr. Lynchs statement mirrored the findings of Hackman and Johnson (325) when they
suggested that women are culturally thought of as less assertive and decisive as men. In contrast,
however, most of the women surveyed for this paper did not feel their gender hindered their
ascent towards management and leadership. Ms. Gallego stated in Danas interview, for me,
Ive been fortunate that my profession is predominantly female (personal communication,
Caroline Gallego, 1 August, 2013). This proclamation supports the theory that the scope of the
profession plays a role in whether or not gender bias is prevalent. In Kimberlys interview with
Ms. Trujillo, the same assertion was made when she said, I work in a very female friendly
environment and fashion/retail has a high ratio of females in leadership roles (personal
communication, Cara Trujillo, 1 August, 2013). As women with leadership aspirations choose
careers, consideration should be given to whether or not gender barriers continue to be obstacles
in their desired profession.
Effective and efficient leadership patterns are met and maintained by the drive and
passion to create a better environment. Characteristics and innate attributes within oneself have
been articulated throughout our series of interviews, describing various paths one takes in order
to understand what alternate resources they need. Materials and resources discussed throughout
our interviews were both tangible and non-tangible. Interviewee Mr. Caves described his best
resource as your own instincts. Train them to more quickly identify what is right and what isnt
and you will win (personal communication, Wade Caves, 1 August, 2013). Mr. Caves also takes
an interesting approach, in relation to Cashmans Balance Mastery concept illustrated by
Hackman and Johnson (393), in saying Ive also found that people who focus on having healthy
personal lives tend to have healthier and more productive work lives, or at the very least a better
outlook on their own development (personal communication, Wade Caves, 1 August, 2013).

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Approaching leadership from a personal perspective can help to uncover an even greater style of
During the interviews with multiple diverse and successful leaders, many suggested
seminars, workshops, and partnerships with other leaders that one may find inspiring and
influential. During Kristies interview, Dr. Lynch mentioned books by Bolman, Deal, and
Fullan. Becoming a Resonant Leader by Boyatzis and McKee. Mentorship programs if available
in the organization or field. Join professional organizations (personal communication, Nancy
Lynch, 2 August, 2013). Our chosen group of successful leaders saw these resources as an
intention to inspire, educate, and share knowledge that would benefit current and aspiring leaders
on their pathways to success.
Collectively, the interviewers found answers and diversity regarding successful
leadership strategy, deriving from the opinions and experiences of those believed to display
effective leadership. These leaders have coached us on what they believe to be the values and
attributes needed to maintain a steady reign of victory. Our chosen leaders defend the integrity
that effective leadership is foremost in the essence of their vision, in partnership of their passion,
and within the standards of their accountability. In agreement, the leaders referenced having
professed their calling for leadership and desire to influence their constituents to make a
Throughout the insight acknowledged, powerful leadership is reflective upon the ability
to lead through ones stakeholders and allow a successful path to their development.
Collaboratively, these successful leaders have indicated that individual and peer perception are
key elements involved in gaining credibility among ones team. We have communicated the
thoughts of our interviewees regarding the expectations of their followers. Our group stresses the

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importance of mentors, and those whom they have mentored, because of the difference in which
they have made in their own career path. While this mentorship is revealed in Hackman and
Johnsons approach to leadership, we have made the connection that this is also a common
denominator within our interviewees careers.
Within the explanations and experiences given, we remain inspired by the interviewee
leadership styles as each strives to reach a common goal, and adjust their communication styles
to inspire for improved performance. Moreover, the network which we have created during a
series of group interviews, mirrored by the intelligence and clarity that we have received from
our text, creates balance within our ability to understand the influence of leadership. By
comparing and contrasting the information provided by the interviews, we connect the
diversified opinions of those who we believe to be effective leaders.

Works Cited

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Hackman, Michael Z., and Craig E. Johnson. Leadership: A Communication Perspective (6th
ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2013. Print.