Wright and Taylor

Leadership theory

Author Peter Wright is a lecturer in occupational psychology at the University of Bradford Management Centre. Frederick Winslow Taylor is a controversial figure in management history. His innovations in industrial engineering, particularly in time and motion studies, paid off in dramatic improvements in productivity. Taylor himself worked as laborer, then foreman, at the Midvale Steel Company.

Before research turned towards trying to identify the traits of successful leaders, leadership was seen as a skill that a gifted few were born with

Influence is a common theme in leadership definitions, but that an influential leader is not necessarily a good one.

Wright and Taylor focused on the importance of sound interpersonal communication skills in influencing and empowering the psychological adjustment and maturity of followers.

Wright and Taylor believed that leadership is based around behaviour and not position power.

For Example…
Managers: work long hours, mix trivial and important work, have short periods of time alone (between 30 and 90 minutes a day), and suffer many interruptions. So managers are not conductors but puppets: they are continually pulled by many strings. The author notes that only superb administrators can see through their daily haste to what is really important.

The realities of work mean developing a particular personality, so, overloaded with work, managers do things abruptly and superficially.

Leaders have to give the example. They have to do things to influence the future. They have to decide what activities their job should entail and what emphasis should be given to them. Leaders should then eliminate unnecessary activities, delegate wherever possible, and schedule important but not immediately pressing activities because “what gets scheduled gets done”. To minimize disruptions managers should set time aside for calls and queries. Managers who improve their skills free up more time. Skills that can be improved include: formal communications, administration, planning, stress management and interpersonal relationships.

A good leader is the one that adapts to the needs of the employees and not the one that pretends everyone to adapt to him.