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Basic Approaches to Leadership

Eh! Je suis leur chef, il fallait bien les suivre. (Ah well! I am their leader, I really ought to follow them.) Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin After studying this chapter, you should be able to: LEARNING OBJECTIVES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Contrast leadership and management. Summarize the conclusions of trait theories. Identify the limitations of behavioral theories. Describe Fiedler’s contingency model. Explain Hersey and Blanchard’s situational theory. Summarize leader-member exchange theory. Describe the path-goal theory. Identify the situational variables in the leader-participation model.

Andrea Jung: Giving Avon a Much Needed Makeover

Can one person make a difference in an organization’s performance? Andrea Jung, chairman and CEO of Avon Products Inc. (see photo), is proving one can.1 Jung joined Avon in 1994 after working for retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. Her original task at Avon was to create a global brand. And that’s what she did. Jung integrated and standardized the company’s logo, packaging, and ads to create a uniform image; and she pushed for the current corporate slogan, “The company for women.” Based on her success in improving Avon’s marketing focus, the company’s board appointed her chairman and CEO in November 1999. The company that Jung took over was in deep trouble. The day of the “Avon Lady” seemed to have passed. Fewer women were signing on as Avon reps and sales were sagging. But after only 4 weeks in her new job, Jung had a turnaround plan worked out. Avon would launch an entirely new line of businesses, develop blockbuster products, begin selling Avon products in retail stores, and significantly expand international sales. She added 46 percent to Avon’s research-and-development budget to get blockbusters to market faster. This led to the launching of Retroactive, an antiaging skin cream that has become a runaway hit, and new lines of vitamins and therapy oils. She breathed new life into the ranks of the “Avon Ladies.” To rebuild the company’s salesforce, she created a multilevel marketing program that rewards current salespeople for signing up new reps. The number of sales reps is now increasing for the first time in years. Finally, by

aggressively moving into international markets, Avon now gets almost two-thirds of its $6.2 billion in sales from outside the United States. After 6 years on the job, Jung’s leadership has truly made a difference in Avon’s performance. Since Jung took over as CEO, profits have grown by an average of 21.5 percent per year. And Avon’s stock price has increased 142 percent, compared to a mediocre performance of the S&P-500 stock index over the same time period. As Andrea Jung is demonstrating at Avon, leaders can make a difference. In this chapter, we’ll look at the basic approaches to determining what makes an effective leader and what differentiates leaders from nonleaders. First, we’ll present trait theories. They dominated the study of leadership up to the late 1940s. Then we’ll discuss behavioral theories, which were popular until the late 1960s. Finally, we’ll introduce contingency theories, which are currently the dominant approach to the field of leadership. But before we review these three approaches, let’s first clarify what we mean by the term leadership.

What Is Leadership?
Leadership and management are two terms that are often confused. What’s the difference between them? John Kotter of the Harvard Business School argues that management is about coping with complexity.2 Good management brings about order and consistency by drawing up formal plans, designing rigid organization structures, and monitoring results against the plans. Leadership, in contrast, is about coping with change. Leaders establish direction by developing a vision of the future; then they align people by communicating this vision and inspiring them to overcome hurdles. Robert House of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania basically concurs when he says that managers use the authority inherent in their designated formal rank to obtain compliance from organizational members.3 Management consists of implementing the vision and strategy provided by leaders, coordinating and staffing the organization, and handling day-to-day problems. Although Kotter and House provide separate definitions of the two terms, both researchers and practicing managers frequently make no such distinctions. So we need to present leadership in a way that can capture how it is used in theory and practice. We define leadership as the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals. The source of this influence may be formal, such as that provided by the possession of managerial rank in an organization. Because management positions come with some degree of formally designated authority, a person may assume a leadership role simply because of the position he or she holds in the organization. But not all leaders are managers, nor, for that matter, are all managers leaders. Just because an organization provides its managers with certain formal rights is no assurance that they will be able to lead effectively. We find that nonsanctioned leadership—that is, the ability

to influence that arises outside the formal structure of the organization—is often as important or more important than formal influence. In other words, leaders can emerge from within a group as well as by formal appointment to lead a group. One last comment before we move on: Organizations need strong leadership and strong management for optimal effectiveness. In today’s dynamic world, we need leaders to challenge the status quo, to create visions of the future, and to inspire organizational members to want to achieve the visions. We also need managers to formulate detailed plans, create efficient organizational structures, and oversee day-to-day operations.

Trait Theories
Throughout history, strong leaders—Buddha, Napoleon, Mao, Churchill, Thatcher, Reagan—have all been described in terms of their traits. For example, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister of Great Britain, she was regularly described as confident, iron-willed, determined, and decisive.

The trait theories of leadership focus on personal characteristics of the leader. For example, in describing the leadership of American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, the media use terms such as intelligent, sociable, self-confident, straightforward, responsible, articulate, energetic, and ethical. Trait theories of leadership differentiate leaders from nonleaders by focusing on personal qualities and characteristics. Individuals like Margaret Thatcher, South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and American Express chairman Ken Chenault are recognized as leaders and described in terms such as charismatic, enthusiastic, and courageous. The search for personality, social, physical, or intellectual attributes that would describe leaders and differentiate them from nonleaders goes back to the earliest stages of leadership research. Research efforts at isolating leadership traits resulted in a number of dead ends. For instance, a review in the late 1960s of 20 different studies identified nearly 80 leadership traits, but only 5 of these traits were common to 4 or more of the investigations.4 By the 1990s, after numerous studies and analyses, about the best thing that could be said was that most “leaders are not like other people,” but the particular traits that were isolated varied a great deal from review to review.5 It was a pretty confusing state of affairs. A breakthrough, of sorts, came when researchers began organizing traits around the Big Five personality framework (see Chapter 4).6 What became clear was that most of the dozens of traits that emerged in various leadership reviews could be subsumed under one of the Big Five and that this approach resulted in consistent and strong support for traits as predictors of leadership. For instance, ambition and energy—two common traits of

And they covered all levels of management: For instance. and Arthur Andersen. Recent studies are indicating that another trait that may indicate effective leadership is emotional intelligence (EI). is what inspires people to stay with a leader when the going gets rough. The mere fact that someone cares is more often than not rewarded with loyalty. The survey found that these managers all considered ethics. when organized around the Big Five.8 But why is EI so critical to effective leadership? A core component of EI is empathy. conscientious (individuals who are disciplined and keep commitments they make).7 But results show that extraversion is more strongly related to leader emergence than to leader effectiveness. though not quite as strong as extraversion. in some cases. and open (individuals who are creative and flexible) do seem to have an advantage when it comes to leadership. and an endless supply of terrific ideas but still not make a great leader. a person can have outstanding training. and values near the top of their competency requirements. it is better to think of them in terms of the more general trait of extraversion. they must command respect. Respondents were 54 percent male and 46 percent female.7. On a 5-point scale. which we discussed in Chapter 8. 28 percent were senior managers and 48 percent were either in beginning or middle-level management positions. Advocates of EI argue that without it. Overall. This may be especially true as individuals move up in an organization. The traits of agreeableness and emotional stability weren’t as strongly correlated with leadership. with 5 as most important. Leaders who are extraverted (individuals who like being around people and are able to assert themselves). illegal) practices by executives at companies like Enron. Empathetic leaders can sense others’ needs. it does appear that the trait approach does have something to offer. and are able to read the reactions of others. a compelling vision. Conscientiousness and openness to experience also showed strong and consistent relationships to leadership. integrity. has found that extraversion is the most important trait of effective leaders. As one leader noted. this competency received a mean score of 4. This is not totally surprising since sociable and dominant people are more likely to assert themselves in group situations. WorldCom. . They need to be perceived as honest and reliable. Rather than focusing on these two specific traits.leaders—are part of extraversion. Tyco. This shouldn’t have been surprising given that the survey took place very soon after national headlines were revealing unethical (and. Hence the importance of ethics. a highly analytical mind. Respondents believed that for leaders at the top of organizations to be effective. listen to what followers say (and don’t say). suggesting that good leaders do have key traits in common. especially for the people with whom you work. integrity.”9 Managers Speak Out on Leadership Competencies Training magazine and The Center for Creative Leadership surveyed more than 250 managers to identify what leadership competencies they thought are most important for success today. A comprehensive review of the leadership literature. “The caring part of empathy. and values.

depending on the respondent’s level in the organization. In its absence all else may turn to ashes. For example.”11 Despite these claims for its importance. Behavioral Theories The failures of early trait studies led researchers in the late 1940s through the 1960s to go in a different direction. and passionately. Bush. One reviewer noted.Certain leadership competencies were viewed as more valuable. the survey found that communication (4. EI is being viewed as a panacea for many organizational malaises with recent suggestions that EI is essential for leadership effectiveness.8.”12 But until more rigorous evidence accumulates. They began looking at the behaviors exhibited by specific leaders.89). First. Though John Kerry was believed by many Americans to be smarter. And he won. to some degree. Greenstein argues that the lack of EI was the undoing of Presidents Johnson. we can’t be confident about the connection.69) on the importance scale. Ninety percent of seniorlevel managers placed developing a vision as highest in importance. he lost the election. traits can predict leadership. For mid-level managers. presidential historian Fred Greenstein argues that EI is the most important predictor of presidential greatness. “Speculating about the practical utility of the EI construct might be premature. more knowledgeable. He warns. Second. with ethics receiving a mean rating of 4. Nixon. Twenty years ago. But this was probably due to the lack of a valid framework for classifying and organizing traits. pp.13 The fact that an individual exhibits the traits and others consider that person to be a leader does not necessarily mean that the leader is successful at getting his or her group to achieve its goals. traits do a better job at predicting the emergence of leaders and the appearance of leadership than in actually distinguishing between effective and ineffective leaders.7) was just ahead of ethics (4. “In 2004 Kerry had more policy smarts. But Bush had more people smarts. the evidence suggested otherwise. “Beware the presidential contender who lacks emotional intelligence. They wondered if there was something unique in the way that effective leaders behave. Source: Based on J. At senior management levels. As one commentator put it. “Leadership in Corporate America. and likely to do a better job on the key issues compared to George W. September 2002. He ran the more emotionally resonant campaign—speaking clearly. the link between EI and leadership effectiveness is much less investigated compared to other traits. we offer two conclusions. the highest importance went to the ability to construct and articulate a clear vision (4. The Big Five seems to have rectified that. Despite such warnings. EI is critical. Carter.” Training. simply. but only 19 percent of mid-level managers included vision among their most important competencies. Why? Some believe that Kerry had lower EI than Bush. and. Indeed. Based on the latest findings. 66–77. Siebel Systems Chairman Tom Siebel and Oracle CEO . Clinton.”10 Emotional intelligence may have also played a key role in the 2004 presidential election. at the highest levels of leadership. Schettler. To use contemporary examples.

The leader characterized as high in initiating structure could be described as someone who “assigns group members to particular tasks. for it meant that the supply of leaders could be expanded.” “expects workers to maintain definite standards of performance.” and “emphasizes the meeting of deadlines. intense. However. respect for employees’ ideas. Consideration is described as the extent to which a person is likely to have job relationships that are characterized by mutual trust. if there were specific behaviors that identified leaders. we could train people to be leaders. The person shows concern for followers’ comfort. The difference between trait and behavioral theories. Ohio State Studies The most comprehensive and replicated of the behavioral theories resulted from research that began at Ohio State University in the late 1940s. Beginning with over a thousand dimensions. if behavioral studies were to turn up critical behavioral determinants of leadership. in terms of application. is friendly and approachable. AOL Time Warner’s CEO Richard Parsons rates high on consideration behavior. In contrast.” Larry Ellison and Tom Siebel exhibit high initiating structure behavior. First. A leader high in consideration could be described as one who helps employees with personal problems. and regard for their feelings. and satisfaction. Trait theories assume leaders are born rather than made. lies in their underlying assumptions. and treats all employees as equals. They called these two dimensions initiating structure and consideration. Trait research provides a basis for selecting the “right” persons to assume formal positions in groups and organizations requiring leadership. His leadership style is very people-oriented. emphasizing cooperation and consensus-building. status. then we could teach leadership—we could design programs that implanted these behavioral patterns in individuals who desired to be effective leaders. work relationships. let’s consider the practical implications of the behavioral approach. well-being. autocratic. If training worked. It includes behavior that attempts to organize work. Does this suggest that autocratic behavior is a preferred style for all leaders? In this section. they eventually narrowed the list to two categories that substantially accounted for most of the leadership behavior described by employees. however. This was surely a more exciting avenue. Initiating structure refers to the extent to which a leader is likely to define and structure his or her role and those of employees in the search for goal attainment.15 Researchers at Ohio State sought to identify independent dimensions of leader behavior. it would have implications quite different from those of the trait approach. If the behavioral approach to leadership were successful.16 . we look at three different behavioral theories of leadership to answer that question. we could have an infinite supply of effective leaders.14 And they both rely on a common leadership style—tough-talking. and goals.Larry Ellison have been very successful in leading their companies through difficult times.

the results of the Ohio State studies were thought to be disappointing. ranks high in initiating structure. In fact. was more strongly related to higher levels of group and organization productivity and more positive performance evaluations. Production-oriented leaders tended to be associated with low group productivity and lower job satisfaction. Siebel’s leadership style emphasizes cutting costs in order to meet his company’s profitability goals. most leadership researchers use the terms synonymously. One 1992 review concluded. at about the same time as those being done at Ohio State. they took a personal interest in the needs of their employees and accepted individual differences among members. cut travel spending in half. At one time.19 The conclusions arrived at by the Michigan researchers strongly favored the leaders who were employee-oriented in their behavior. Siebel quickly devised a new budget and cost-cutting plan. “Overall. After forecasting a shrinking market for his firm’s software. had similar research objectives: to locate behavioral characteristics of leaders that appeared to be related to measures of performance effectiveness. the research based on a two-factor conceptualization of leadership behavior has added little to our knowledge about effective leadership. tended to emphasize the technical or task aspects of the job—their main concern was in accomplishing their group’s tasks. Employee-oriented leaders were associated with higher group productivity and higher job satisfaction. and pared recruiting costs from $8 million to $1 million.18 Leaders who were employeeoriented were described as emphasizing interpersonal relations. in contrast. In other words. chairman and CEO of Siebel Systems. A review of 160 studies found that both initiating structure and consideration were associated with effective leadership. however. and the group members were a means to that end. the followers of leaders who were high in consideration were more satisfied with their jobs and more motivated and also had more respect for their leader. The Michigan group also came up with two dimensions of leadership behavior that they labeled employee-oriented and production-oriented. Initiating structure.”17 However. the Ohio State studies garnered . These dimensions—employee-oriented and production-oriented—are closely related to the Ohio State dimensions. a more recent review suggests that this two-factor conceptualization was given a premature burial. Although the Michigan studies emphasized employee-oriented leadership (or consideration) over production-oriented leadership (or initiating structure). and production-oriented leadership is similar to initiating structure. He laid off 10 percent of employees. consideration was more strongly related to the individual.Thomas Siebel. Specifically. University of Michigan Studies Leadership studies undertaken at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center. The production-oriented leaders. Employeeoriented leadership is similar to consideration.

but.9 style. . The context matters too. they do not guarantee a leader’s success. like the trait theories. would have been a great civil rights leader at the turn of the twentieth century. Jr. Future research is needed to integrate these approaches. For example. depicted in Exhibit 12-1. it seems unlikely that Martin Luther King. Would Ralph Nader have risen to lead a consumer activist group had he been born in 1834 rather than 1934.” which essentially represent the Ohio State dimensions of consideration and initiating structure or the Michigan dimensions of employee-oriented and productionoriented. add to our understanding of leadership effectiveness. the grid offers a better framework for conceptualizing leadership style than for presenting any tangible new information in clarifying the leadership quandary. yet he was in the 1950s and 1960s. Based on the findings of Blake and Mouton. do appear to be more effective. Leaders who have certain traits. as contrasted.9 (laissez-faire type) style. or in Costa Rica rather than Connecticut? As important as trait theories and behavioral theories are in determining effective versus ineffective leaders. has 9 possible positions along each axis. The Managerial Grid A graphic portrayal of a two-dimensional view of leadership style was developed by Blake and Mouton. for example.20 They proposed a managerial grid (sometimes also now called the leadership grid) based on the styles of “concern for people” and “concern for production. Unfortunately. the behavioral theories. the dominating factors in a leader’s thinking in regard to getting results. we can’t be sure there is a connection. creating 81 different positions in which the leader’s style may fall.21 Unfortunately. and who display consideration and structuring behaviors. Missing is consideration of the situational factors that influence success or failure. because it doesn’t really convey any new information in addition to the Ohio State and the University of Michigan research. For example. you would think that conscientious leaders (conscientiousness is a trait) are more likely to be structuring (structuring is a behavior).more research attention and suggested that both consideration and initiating structure are important to effective leadership. rather. managers were found to perform best under a 9. The grid does not show results produced. Trait theories and behavioral theories aren’t the last word on leadership. Perhaps trait theories and behavioral theories should be integrated. And maybe extraverted leaders (extraversion is a trait) are more likely to be considerate (consideration is a behavior). with a 9. The grid.1 (authority type) or 1.22 Exhibit 12-1 The Managerial Grid Summary of Trait Theories and Behavioral Theories Judging from the evidence..

she failed to execute HP’s strategy and deliver on promises to improve the company’s profits and stock price.1 (What’s My Leadership Style?) and answer the following questions. In 2004. In spite of an abrasive style that included frequently humiliating employees in front of their peers and led to rapid turnover among top managers. Over a 14-year period. which had driven off many competent executives. Wachner settled. Five months later.000. this style worked.444 in fines and disgorged earnings.328. Although Fiorina brought to HP experience and expertise in marketing and sales.24 After leading Hewlett-Packard as CEO for 6 years. Fortune magazine anointed her “America’s most successful businesswoman. online.B. And for a number of years. Self Assessment Library: What’s My Leadership Style? In the Self-Assessment Library (available on CD. 1. though. Fiorina’s failure in leading HP illustrates . Then.” But times change and Wachner didn’t. The Self-Assessment feature will help you identify your leadership style. was now alienating creditors and licensers as well as employees.23 Beginning in 1998. In June 2001. Wachner sued Warnaco for $25 million in severance pay. In 1987. Wachner’s style worked for most of the 1990s. the restructuring committee of Warnaco’s board of directors fired Wachner. hurt by a reduction in demand for its products and a fast-eroding market share. the company’s business began to unravel. she transformed Warnaco into a $2. The story doesn’t quite end there. stating that she lacked the leadership skills needed to move the company forward. In fact. think about the type of leader you are aspiring to be.Before you move on to the next section. Wachner’s headstrong approach and brash tactics. and in print) take assessment II. Did you score as task-oriented (task-oriented is the same as initiating structure under the Ohio State studies and production-oriented under the University of Michigan studies) or people-oriented (people-oriented is the same as consideration under the Ohio State studies and employee-oriented under the University of Michigan studies)? Do you think a leader can be both task-oriented and people-oriented? Do you think there are situations in which a leader has to make a choice between the two styles? Do you think your leadership style will change over time? Why or why not? 2. Warnaco was forced to file for bankruptcy protection. the SEC charged Wachner for securities fraud for issuing a false and misleading press release about Warnaco’s earnings. 3. Carly Fiorina was asked by HP’s board of directors to resign. Contingency Theories Linda Wachner had a reputation as being a very tough boss.2 billion company whose products ranged from Calvin Klein jeans to Speedo swimsuits. in 1993. They eventually settled for $452. Wachner became CEO of Warnaco. a struggling $425million-a-year apparel company. agreeing to pay a total of $1.

he can determine their basic leadership style. supportive–hostile). and the path-goal and leaderparticipation models. Several approaches to isolating key situational variables have proven more successful than others and. whereas style y would be more suitable for condition b. So he begins by trying to find out what that basic style is. as a result. the respondent is primarily interested in productivity and thus would be labeled taskoriented. That is. The LPC questionnaire contains sets of 16 contrasting adjectives (such as pleasant–unpleasant. If the least preferred coworker is described in relatively positive terms (a high LPC score). relates to the 84 percent who score in either the high or low range of the LPC. leader-member exchange theory. But what were the conditions a. It asks respondents to think of all the coworkers they have ever had and to describe the one person they least enjoyed working with by rating that person on a scale of 1 to 8 for each of the 16 sets of contrasting adjectives. In contrast. We shall consider five of these: the Fiedler model. Fiedler created the least preferred coworker (LPC) questionnaire for this purpose. About 16 percent of respondents score in the middle range. and style z for condition c.the premise of contingency theories that leadership effectiveness is dependent on situational influences. The relationship between leadership style and effectiveness suggested that under condition a. efficient–inefficient. it purports to measure whether a person is task-or relationship-oriented. Fiedler would label you relationship-oriented. and so forth? It was one thing to say that leadership effectiveness was dependent on the situation and another to be able to isolate those situational conditions. Fiedler Model The first comprehensive contingency model for leadership was developed by Fred Fiedler. Identifying Leadership Style Fiedler believes a key factor in leadership success is the individual’s basic leadership style. The failure by researchers in the mid-twentieth century to obtain consistent results led to a focus on situational influences.25 The Fiedler contingency model proposes that effective group performance depends on the proper match between the leader’s style and the degree to which the situation gives control to the leader. b. style x would be appropriate. c.26 Such individuals cannot be classified as either relationship-oriented or task-oriented and thus fall outside the theory’s predictions. open–guarded. therefore. . In Wachner’s case. have gained wider recognition. The rest of our discussion. Hersey and Blanchard’s situational theory. if you essentially describe the person you are least able to work with in favorable terms. if the least preferred coworker is seen in relatively unfavorable terms (a low LPC score). then the respondent is primarily interested in good personal relations with this coworker. what worked in 1990 didn’t work in 2000. Linda Wachner’s rise and fall illustrates that predicting leadership success is more complex than isolating a few traits or preferable behaviors. Fiedler believes that based on the respondents’ answers to this LPC questionnaire.

the more highly structured the job. and the stronger the position power. These are leader-member relations. Defining the Situation After an individual’s basic leadership style has been assessed through the LPC. a very favorable situation (in which the leader would have a great deal of control) might involve a payroll manager who is well respected and whose employees have confidence in her (good leader-member relations). Fiedler states the better the leader-member relations.Fiedler assumes that an individual’s leadership style is fixed. Task structure:The degree to which the job assignments are procedurized (that is. task structure is either high or low. Position power:The degree of influence a leader has over power variables such as hiring. and respect members have in their leader 2. In this job. firing. and position power is either strong or weak. As we’ll show. promotions. They are defined as follows: 1. the more control the leader has. it is necessary to match the leader with the situation. Fiedler has identified three contingency dimensions that. the Fiedler model proposes matching them up to achieve maximum leadership effectiveness. report filing—are specific and clear (high task structure). and salary increases The next step in the Fiedler model is to evaluate the situation in terms of these three contingency variables. by mixing the three contingency dimensions. for which the activities to be done—such as wage computation. he argues. For example. this is important because it means that if a situation requires a task-oriented leader and the person in that leadership position is relationship-oriented. and position power. define the key situational factors that determine leadership effectiveness. task structure.27 Based on his research. discipline. and the job provides considerable freedom for her to reward and punish her employees (strong position power). there are potentially eight different situations or categories in which leaders could find themselves (see Exhibit 12-2). Leader-member relations:The degree of confidence. Fiedler concluded that task-oriented . Exhibit 12-2 Findings from the Fiedler Model Matching Leaders and Situations With knowledge of an individual’s LPC and an assessment of the three contingency dimensions. However. either the situation has to be modified or the leader replaced if optimal effectiveness is to be achieved. the leader has very little control. structured or unstructured) 3. Altogether. an unfavorable situation might be the disliked chairperson of a voluntary United Way fund-raising team. Leader-member relations are either good or poor. check writing. trust.

That “situation” would be defined by evaluating the three contingency factors of leader-member relations. how would you apply them? You would seek to match leaders and situations. Fiedler has condensed these eight situations down to three. . a manager can put a right-handed pitcher or a left-handed pitcher into the game. III. you can change the leader to fit the situation—as in a baseball game.32 Cognitive Resource Theory More recently. while relationship-oriented leaders perform best in moderate control situations. But remember that Fiedler views an individual’s leadership style as being fixed.30 But there are problems with the LPC and the practical use of the model that need to be addressed. First. there is considerable evidence to support at least substantial parts of the model. For instance. for example. Evaluation As a whole. if a group situation rates as highly unfavorable but is currently led by a relationship-oriented manager. reconceptualized the former’s original theory.29 If predictions from the model use only three categories rather than the original eight. reviews of the major studies that tested the overall validity of the Fiedler model lead to a generally positive conclusion. It’s often difficult in practice to determine how good the leader-member relations are. the group’s performance could be improved by replacing that manager with one who is task-oriented. Individuals’ LPC scores would determine the type of situation for which they were best suited. So Fiedler would predict that when faced with a category I. there are really only two ways in which to improve leader effectiveness. however. Given Fiedler’s findings. task structure. Therefore. So. and disciplinary actions. That could be done by restructuring tasks or increasing or decreasing the power that the leader has to control factors such as salary increases. Joe Garcia. Fiedler and an associate. how structured the task is. Relationship-oriented leaders. the logic underlying the LPC is not well understood and studies have shown that respondents’ LPC scores are not stable. and how much position power the leader has. the contingency variables are complex and difficult for practitioners to assess.31 Also. they focused on the role of stress as a form of situational unfavorableness and how a leader’s intelligence and experience influence his or her reaction to stress. II. In recent years. and position power. promotions. VII. They call this reconceptualization cognitive resource theory. That is.leaders tend to perform better in situations that were very favorable to them and in situations that were very unfavorable (see Exhibit 12-2). there is ample evidence to support Fiedler’s conclusions.33 Specifically. or VIII situation. depending on the situational characteristics of the hitter.28 He now says that task-oriented leaders perform best in situations of high and low control. task-oriented leaders perform better. perform better in moderately favorable situations—categories IV through VI. The second alternative would be to change the situation to fit the leader.

real learning typically ends after about 2 years. So another reason that leadership experience isn’t strongly related to leadership performance is undoubtedly due to variability of situations. experience alone is generally a poor predictor of leadership.and high-stress situations. In spite of its newness. For that matter. follower characteristics differ. Similarly. So one problem with trying to link experience with leadership effectiveness is not paying attention to the quality and diversity of the experience. organizations usually require several years of experience at one managerial level before a person can be considered for promotion. it’s the level of stress in the situation that determines whether an individual’s intelligence or experience will contribute to leadership performance. post office administrators. 20 years of experience is nothing more than 1 year of experience repeated 20 times! In even the most complex jobs. conversely. the importance of a leader’s intelligence and experience to effectiveness differs under low. But the evidence doesn’t support this view. shop supervisors. cognitive resource theory is developing a solid body of research support. almost all new and unique situations have been experienced. “It’s Experience That Counts!” The belief in the value of experience as a predictor of leadership effectiveness is very strong and widespread. management believes that experience counts.The essence of the new theory is that stress is the enemy of rationality. This says nothing about the quality of experience. a study confirmed that when the stress level was low and the leader was . Unfortunately. a leader’s experience correlates negatively with performance under low stress but positively under high stress. research and development teams. Jobs differ. A second problem is that there is variability between situations that influence the transferability or relevance of experience. Moreover. One flaw in the “experience counts” logic is the assumption that length of time on a job is actually a measure of experience.36 Organizations carefully screen outside candidates for senior management positions on the basis of their experience. Studies of military officers. have you ever filled out an employment application that didn’t ask about previous experience or job history? Clearly. The fact that one person has 20 years’ experience while another has 2 years’ doesn’t necessarily mean that the former has had 10 times as many meaningful experiences.34 In fact. And. and school principals tell us that experienced managers tend to be no more effective than the managers with little experience. It’s difficult for leaders (or anyone else. By then. Situations in which experience is obtained is rarely comparable to new situations. according to Fiedler and Garcia. Fiedler and Garcia found that a leader’s intellectual abilities correlate positively with performance under low stress but negatively under high stress. support resources differ. Too often. organizational cultures differ. So. and so on. for that matter) to think logically and analytically when they’re under stress.

This leader-follower relationship is consistent with Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership theory. This is an important dimension that has been overlooked or underemphasized in most leadership theories. so too should leaders. Tennessee. which Hersey and Blanchard argue is contingent on the level of the followers’ readiness. Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Theory Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard have developed a leadership model that has gained a strong following among management development specialists. we should clarify two points: Why focus on the followers? and What do they mean by the term readiness? The emphasis on the followers in leadership effectiveness reflects the reality that it is the followers who accept or reject the leader. and mature employees. when the leader was willing to tell people what to do). Regardless of what the leader does. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.37 This model—called situational leadership theory (SLT)—has been incorporated into leadership training programs at over 400 of the Fortune 500 companies.38 Situational leadership is a contingency theory that focuses on the followers. if a leader is nondirective. the leader needs to give clear and specific directions. The term readiness. Successful leadership is achieved by selecting the right leadership style. intelligence is of little help because the leader is afraid to put these smarts to use to tell people what to do. experienced. if followers are unable and willing. intelligence was of little help because the leader was too cognitively taxed to put smarts to good use. Kristen Cardwell is an infectious diseases researcher at St. Similarly. The most effective behavior depends on a follower’s ability and motivation. Cardwell and other medical researchers at the hospital have a high level of follower readiness. refers to the extent to which people have the ability and willingness to accomplish a specific task. So SLT says if a follower is unable and unwilling to do a task. These results are exactly what cognitive resource theory predicts. the leader needs to display high task orientation to compensate for the followers’ lack of ability and high relationship . As responsible.directive (that is. and over one million managers a year from a wide variety of organizations are being taught its basic elements.35 And in high-stress situations. Before we proceed. as defined by Hersey and Blanchard. SLT essentially views the leader-follower relationship as analogous to that between a parent and a child. they are both able and willing to complete their tasks under leadership that gives them freedom to make and implement decisions. effectiveness depends on the actions of the followers. intelligence was important to a leader’s effectiveness. Just as a parent needs to relinquish control as a child becomes more mature and responsible. Hersey and Blanchard identify four specific leader behaviors—from highly directive to highly laissez-faire.

For example. and are more likely to receive special privileges. Yet research efforts to test and support the theory have generally been disappointing. SLT has an intuitive appeal. These individuals make up the in-group—they are trusted. followers who have a mastery orientation develop closer leader-member exchanges because such employees turn to their supervisors for sources of valuable information and experience that can provide employees with prospects for skill development and self-improvement that can further benefit the company. and if the employee is both able and willing. but there is evidence that leaders tend to choose in-group members because they have attitude and personality characteristics that are similar to the leader’s or a higher level of competence than out-group members42 (see Exhibit 12-3). the leadership theories we’ve covered to this point have largely assumed that leaders treat all their followers in the same manner. But think about your experiences in groups. So in spite of its intuitive appeal and wide popularity. fewer of the preferred rewards that the leader controls. Just precisely how the leader chooses who falls into each category is unclear.41 But for the LMX relationship to remain intact. any enthusiastic endorsement. the leader and the follower must invest in the relationship. leaders establish a special relationship with a small group of their followers. It acknowledges the importance of followers and builds on the logic that leaders can compensate for ability and motivational limitations in their followers. get a disproportionate amount of the leader’s attention. communicating frequently with a supervisor appears to be helpful only for high LMX employees.orientation to get the followers to “buy into” the leader’s desires. if followers are able and unwilling. probably because supervisors perceive frequent communication from low LMX employees as annoying and a waste of their time. at least at this time. That is. Did you notice that leaders often act very differently toward different people? Did the leader tend to have favorites who made up his or her “in-group”? If you answered “Yes” to both these questions. the leader doesn’t need to do much.39 Why? Possible explanations include internal ambiguities and inconsistencies in the model itself as well as problems with research methodology in tests of the theory. they assume leaders use a fairly homogeneous style with all of the people in their work unit. Leader-Member Exchange Theory For the most part. Leaders induce LMX by rewarding those employees with whom they want a closer linkage and punishing those with whom they do not. you’re acknowledging the foundation of leader-member exchange theory. and have leaderfollower relations based on formal authority interactions. has to be cautioned against.40 The leader-member exchange (LMX) theory argues that because of time pressures. the leader needs to use a supportive and participative style.44 The . The theory proposes that early in the history of the interaction between a leader and a given follower. Other followers fall into the out-group. the leader implicitly categorizes the follower as an “in” or an “out” and that relationship is relatively stable over time. They get less of the leader’s time.43 However.

46 These positive findings for in-group members shouldn’t be totally surprising given our knowledge of the self-fulfilling prophecy (see Chapter 5).47 Path-Goal Theory Developed by Robert House. The participative leader consults with followers and uses their suggestions . More specifically. path-goal theory extracts elements from the Ohio State leadership research on initiating structure and consideration and the expectancy theory of motivation. greater satisfaction with their superior. There is a danger to being part of the inner circle. your fortunes may rise and fall with your leader. and higher overall satisfaction than will the out-group. that these disparities are far from random. The term path-goal is derived from the belief that effective leaders clarify the path to help their followers get from where they are to the achievement of their work goals and to make the journey along the path easier by reducing roadblocks. eventually his closest associate. their inner circle usually goes with them. Leader Behaviors House identified four leadership behaviors. and that followers with ingroup status will have higher performance ratings.key point to note here is that even though it is the leader who is doing the choosing. When CEOs are ousted. Leaders invest their resources with those they expect to perform best. support.45 Research to test LMX theory has been generally supportive. though. and gives specific guidance as to how to accomplish tasks. As part of the inner circle. When Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski was given the boot. was also forced to resign. it is the follower’s characteristics that are driving the leader’s categorizing decision. although he was well regarded on Wall Street and was thought to be one of the executives who best understood the intricacies of Tyco’s business. CFO Mark Swartz. leaders treat them as such and unwittingly fulfill their prophecy. The supportive leader is friendly and shows concern for the needs of followers. schedules work to be done. Exhibit 12-3 Leader-Member Exchange Theory Few followers would want to be outside a leader’s inner circle. for example. lower turnover intentions. or other resources necessary for them to achieve their goals. And “knowing” that in-group members are the most competent.48 The Theory The essence of path-goal theory is that it’s the leader’s job to provide followers with the information. The directive leader lets followers know what is expected of them. the theory and research surrounding it provide substantive evidence that leaders do differentiate among followers.

the following are illustrations of predictions based on path-goal theory: • • • • • Directive leadership leads to greater satisfaction when tasks are ambiguous or stressful than when they are highly structured and well laid out. Achievement-oriented leadership will increase employees’ expectancies that effort will lead to high performance when tasks are ambiguously structured. the formal authority system. House assumes leaders are flexible and that the same leader can display any or all of these behaviors depending on the situation. For example. A review of the evidence suggests mixed support. and the work group) and those that are part of the personal characteristics of the employee (locus of control. testing path-goal theory has not proven to be easy. Contingency Variables and Predictions As Exhibit 12-4 illustrates. Supportive leadership results in high employee performance and satisfaction when employees are performing structured tasks. path-goal theory proposes two classes of contingency variables that moderate the leadership behavior–outcome relationship—those in the environment that are outside the control of the employee (task structure.” Another review concluded that the lack of support was “shocking and disappointing. The achievement-oriented leader sets challenging goals and expects followers to perform at their highest level. Environmental factors determine the type of leader behavior required as a complement if follower outcomes are to be maximized. and perceived ability).”49 These conclusions have been challenged by others who argue that adequate tests of the theory have yet to be conducted.before making a decision. while personal characteristics of the employee determine how the environment and leader behavior are interpreted. Employees with an internal locus of control will be more satisfied with a participative style.50 Thus. experience. Directive leadership is likely to be perceived as redundant among employees with high perceived ability or with considerable experience. “These results suggest that either effective leadership does not rest in the removal of roadblocks and pitfalls to employee path instrumentalities as path-goal theories propose or that the nature of these hindrances is not in accord with the proposition of the theories. it is safe to say that the jury is still out regarding the . As the authors of this review commented. In contrast to Fiedler. Exhibit 12-4 The Path-Goal Theory Evaluation Due to its complexity. So the theory proposes that leader behavior will be ineffective when it is redundant with sources of environmental structure or incongruent with employee characteristics.

53 Criticism has tended to focus on variables that have been omitted and on the model’s overall complexity.validity of path-goal theory. as determined by different types of situations. Although Vroom and Jago have developed a computer program to guide managers through all the decision branches in the revised model. that may remain the case for some time to come. Importance of using participation as a tool for developing follower decision skills Research testing both the original and revised leader-participation models has not been encouraging. and experience are important situational variables. Time constraints on the leader that may limit follower involvement 10. The model was a decision tree incorporating seven contingencies (whose relevance could be identified by making “yes” or “no” choices) and five alternative leadership styles. at least from a practical point of view. intelligence. The 12 contingency variables are listed in Exhibit 12-5.51 Recognizing that task structures have varying demands for routine and nonroutine activities. Exhibit 12-5 Contingency Variables in the Revised Leader-Participation Model 1. Whether costs to bring geographically dispersed members together is justified 11. although the revised model rates higher in effectiveness. Vroom and Yetton’s model was normative—it provided a sequential set of rules that should be followed in determining the form and amount of participation in decision making. How well structured the problem is 5. Yet the leader-participation model fails to include them. Importance to the leader of minimizing the time it takes to make the decision 12. Importance of obtaining follower commitment to the decision 3. Whether followers “buy into” the organization’s goals 7. Whether there is likely to be conflict among follower over solution alternatives 8. Leader-Participation Model Victor Vroom and Phillip Yetton developed a leader-participation model that related leadership behavior and participation in decision making. But more important. Because it is so complex to test. Importance of the decision 2. Whether followers have the necessary information to make a good decision 9. it’s not very realistic to expect .54 Other contingency theories demonstrate that stress. Whether the leader has sufficient information to make a good decision 4.52 The revised model retains the same five alternative leadership styles—from the leader’s making the decision completely alone to sharing the problem with the group and developing a consensus decision—but adds a set of problem types and expands the contingency variables to 12. Whether an autocratic decision would receive follower commitment 6. these researchers argued that leader behavior must adjust to reflect the task structure. is the fact that the model is far too complicated for the typical manager to use on a regular basis. More recent work by Vroom and Arthur Jago has resulted in a revision of this model.

. empirically supported contingency variables that you should consider when choosing your leadership style. and he rewards employees by sharing profits with them. founder and CEO of JetBlue Airlines. Neeleman’s goal is to make JetBlue the most cost-efficient airline with the best customer service. The company says that the program gives its future leaders a broad. Vroom and his associates have provided us with some specific. So what can you gain from this brief review? Additional insights into relevant contingency variables. To achieve this goal. they are forced to become leaders. For example. In addition. unconventional solutions to complex problems. international perspective on business issues and makes it more likely that they will find creative. PwC hopes that its managers will be better-equipped to handle issues in any culture in which they conduct business. participants of the Ulysses Program tout its benefits.practicing managers to consider 12 contingency variables. We obviously haven’t done justice in this discussion to the model’s sophistication. In essence. and five leadership styles in trying to select the appropriate decision process for a specific problem. unload luggage. David Neeleman. eight problem types. Neeleman shows how vital each employee’s work is to JetBlue’s success by helping pass out snacks. The managers were forced to rely less on quick technologies and more on forging connections by cultivating relationships with diverse clients. the managers quickly learned to communicate in a more traditional way—face-to-face. Cultivating an International Perspective: A Necessity for Leaders ACCOUNTING AND CONSULTING FIRM PRICEWATER houseCoopers (PwC) is serious about expanding the worldview of its up-and-coming leaders. Without PowerPoint presentations and e-mail. participants can realize what they are able to accomplish when they do not have access to their usual resources. By experiencing diversity first-hand at what is perhaps its extreme. PwC sent one group of managers on an 8-week consulting assignment in the Namibian outback. and clean planes. Nevertheless. which sends the company’s potential leaders to foreign countries to gain knowledge and experience in cultural diversity. Their job? To help village leaders deal with the growing AIDS crisis. he fosters a sense of ownership in JetBlue’s success by sending monthly e-mails to each employee about the company’s finances and competitor rankings. The jury is still out on whether the program is effective at increasing the global leadership skills of those who participate. and other companies have taken notice—Johnson & Johnson and Cisco Systems are just two of several companies that have adopted similar programs. is an achievement-oriented leader. So the company started the Ulysses Program.

conscientiousness. a behavior. And we base our position by looking at two very basic assumptions that underlie leadership training.” Business Week. level of situational stress. Point Counterpoint: The Perils of Leadership Training Organizations spend billions of dollars on leadership training every year. and follower characteristics such as personality. and openness to experience show strong and consistent relationships to leadership. We don’t. recent efforts using the Big Five personality framework has generated much more encouraging results. the evidence indicates that relevant situational variables would include the task structure of the job. or an ability. The behavioral approach’s major contribution was narrowing leadership into taskoriented and people-oriented styles. They further can’t even agree on whether leaders really make a difference in organizational outcomes. and even outward-bound adventures. Unfortunately. findings indicate we aren’t so good at teaching people to lead. some experts have persuasively argued that leadership is merely an attribution made to explain organizational successes and failures. a style. the leader’s intelligence and experience. ability. There are several possible explanations. weekend retreats. We do seem to be able to teach individuals about leadership. For instance. “It Takes a Village—And a Consultant. level of group support. Specifically. for it’s the leader who usually provides the direction toward goal attainment. They establish “fast tracks” for high-potential individuals for them to gain a variety of the “right kinds of experience.Source: Based on J. They appoint mentors. a more accurate predictive capability should be valuable in improving group performance. Summary and Implications for Managers Leadership plays a central part in understanding group behavior. p. Porges.55 The first assumption is that we know what leadership is.” We propose that much of this effort to train leaders is probably a waste of money. but they may actually have little influence over organizational outcomes. which themselves occur by chance. Hempel. They send managers and manager-wannabes to a wide range of leadership training activities— formal MBA programs. leadership seminars. and S. and motivation. a characteristic. September 6. Experts can’t agree if it’s a trait. 76. The early search for a set of universal leadership traits failed. the traits of extraversion. 2004. The evidence here is not very encouraging. A major breakthrough in our understanding of leadership came when we recognized the need to develop contingency theories that included situational factors. To the degree that personality is a critical element in . However. a role. Leaders are the people who get credit for successes and take the blame for failures. Therefore. experience. At present. The second basic assumption is that we can train people to lead.

But more and more evidence is accumulating from the best management journals. by his or her actions. facilitates the movement of a group of people toward the achievement of a common goal. In fact. the company has experienced spectacular growth—including shareholder gains of 54. Leadership training exists. Although there are certainly disagreements over the exact definition of leadership. correct poor performance. Would a company like General Electric spend literally tens of millions of dollars each year on leadership training if it didn’t expect a handsome return? We don’t think so! And the ability to lead successfully is why a company like Forest Laboratories willingly paid its CEO. even if certain theories could actually guide individuals in leadership situations and even if individuals could alter their style. What traits predict leadership? What is initiating structure? Consideration? Do initiating structure and consideration predict a leader’s effectiveness? What is the managerial grid? Contrast its approach to leadership with the approaches of the Ohio State and Michigan groups.20 percent over the past 5 years alone.”58 What about the effectiveness of leadership programs? They vary.59 Many of these studies have used rigorous experimental designs and objective outcomes. because it works. Decision makers are. and is a multi-billion-dollar industry. more than $92 million in 2004. 6. at least in part. Under Solomon’s leadership. Howard Solomon. some people may not have been born with the right personality traits. Trace the development of leadership research. 4. Questions for Review 1. motivate their followers to higher levels of productivity. vigorously exploit opportunities. 5. it simply isn’t credible to argue that we can’t teach people to lead. A review of the leadership literature. most academics and businesspeople agree that leadership is an influence process whereby an individual. 3. Thus. rational.56 A second explanation is that there is no evidence that individuals can substantially alter their basic leadership style. and lead the organization toward its objectives. inherited. led two academics to conclude that the research shows “a consistent effect for leadership explaining 20 to 45 percent of the variance on relevant organizational outcomes. for the most part. the complexity of those theories make it nearly impossible for any normal human being to assimilate all the variables and be capable of enacting the right behaviors in every situation. 2. Do leaders affect organizational outcomes? Of course they do. Successful leaders anticipate change.leadership effectiveness. showing that we can train people to be better leaders. there is evidence that leadership is.57 A third possibility is that. in fact. What are Fiedler’s three contingency variables? .

When you assume the benefits of leadership. physical intimidation. Develop an example in which you operationalize the Fiedler model. 2. former head of General Electric. fear.” The other group member will argue “Leaders don’t really matter because most of the things that affect an organization’s success or failure are outside a leader’s control. Review trait theories in the context of the “nature versus nurture” debate. Yet he lied under oath (causing him to lose his law license) and “managed” the truth. One group member will argue “Leaders are the primary determinant of an organization’s success or failure. 3. What are the contingency variables in the path-goal theory? 10. Consider a few examples: Bill Clinton successfully led the United States through 8 years of economic expansion. He also ruthlessly preached firing the lowestperforming 10 percent of the company’s employees every year. Develop an example in which you operationalize SLT. What are its implications of LMX theory for leadership practice? 9. When the 15 minutes are up. What contribution does cognitive resource theory make to leadership? 8. and control. These include manipulation. provided the leadership that made GE the most valuable company in America. What are the implications if leaders are inflexible in adjusting their style? Questions for Critical Thinking 1. summarizing its unified position. Team Exercise: Debate: Do Leaders Really Matter? Break the class into groups of two. form into teams of six. After the dyad debates. Jack Welch. The teams have 15 minutes to reconcile their arguments and to develop a unified position. Those close to him were committed and loyal followers. verbal attacks. Ethical Dilemma: Do Ends Justify the Means? The power that comes from being a leader can be used for evil as well as for good.7. lying. But many highly successful leaders have relied on questionable tactics to achieve their ends. then you have 10 minutes to conduct your debate. 4.” Take 10 minutes to develop your arguments. you also assume ethical burdens. . each team should be prepared to make a brief presentation to the class. Three from each of these groups should have taken the “pro” argument on leadership and three should have taken the “con” side. Develop an example in which you operationalize the path-goal theory.

No longer would she be able to participate in water-cooler gossip or shrug off an employee’s chronic lateness. Meeting the Ethical Challenges in Leadership (Thousand Oaks.” Questions . shareholders. Johnson. “It was a little bit challenging to be suddenly giving directives to peers. She started as a customer service representative with the company. CA: Sage.” She admits that this style alienated just about everyone with whom she worked. Cheryl Kahn was promoted to director of catering for the Glazier Group of restaurants in New York City. then leapfrogged over colleagues in a series of promotions. presidents understood foreign relations or made as much progress in building international cooperation than did Richard Nixon. Should leaders be judged solely on their end achievements? Or do the means they choose also reflect on their leadership qualities? Are employees. She says she found her new role to be daunting. Rob Carstons. when just the day before you were one of them. It’s strange walking into a room and the whole conversation changes.” Linda McGee is now president of Medex Insurance Services in Baltimore. With the promotion.’ And was forgetting that my friends were also in transition. Her fast rise created problems. E. They all were promoted within their organizations into management positions. But his accomplishments are largely overshadowed by the meanness. 4–5.‘It’s my way or the highway. “At first I was like a bulldozer knocking everyone over. talks about the uncertainty he felt after being promoted to a manager from a junior programmer. Colleagues “would say. People don’t want to be as open with you when you become the boss. and that was not well received. Maryland. And yet.000 workers he laid off. dirty tricks. and Linda McGee have something in common. 2001). she realized that things would never be the same again.S. Few U. Case Incident 1: Moving from Colleague to Supervisor Cheryl Kahn.’ God only knows what they talked about behind my back. I was saying. a technical manager at IBM in California. You try to be careful not to offend anyone. Rob Carstons.” Tell that to the 17. Cisco has returned to profitability. and duplicity he exhibited during his tenure in the White House. pp. ‘Oh. here comes the big cheese now.Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers laid off nearly 20 percent of his workforce and commented that the tough times were “likely to be just a speed bump. And each found the transition a challenge. and society too quick to excuse leaders who use questionable means if they are successful in achieving their goals? Is it impossible for leaders to be ethical and successful? Source: Based on C.

Four years after graduating from Columbia and working as a community organizer in Chicago. and Bill Clinton. a Democrat. In 1990. Obama attempted to run for the U. Though his father has had a tremendous effect on Obama’s astute cultural awareness. Koeppel. Senate. Source: Based on D.” The New York Times. Obama joined a small civil rights firm in Chicago. Obama attended Columbia University in New York. 2. and they aren’t debating whether or not he should run but whether he should run in 2012 or 2016. he was chosen by famous attorney Laurence Tribe to be Tribe’s research assistant. Tribe. as well as a keen intellect. March 16. Obama ran for the Illinois state senate and won. “A Tough Transition: Friend to Supervisor. There. a four-term former member of the activist group the Black Panthers. But working there was not enough for Obama—politics was where his true aspirations lie. who also teaches constitutional law. the 43-year-old Obama. How did Obama. but he seized opportunities as they arose. 4. The Democratic Party is already debating Obama’s prospects of becoming president.S. “I’ve known senators. 2003. p.. After growing up in Honolulu. the self-proclaimed “skinny kid with a funny name” become one of the most popular political candidates in the Democratic Party today? Ask people who’ve watched him and they might say he possesses certain personality traits. and. His mother was a white native of Kansas. when he and his mother lived in Indonesia. In January 2005. he left the family when Obama was two and rarely saw Obama throughout his childhood. in 1996.” Obama continued on a path into politics. Following law school. Obama’s early years were a mix of struggles. except during the ages of 6 to 10. the first African American to have accomplished such a feat. On the fast track. Obama attended Harvard Law School. A lot of new managers err in selecting the right leadership style when they move into management. presidents. could help new leaders deal with this transition? Do you think it’s easier or harder to be promoted internally into a formal leadership position than to come into it as an outsider? Explain. 3. BU-12. as a result of his successes. his father a black immigrant from Kenya. Martin Luther King. His father later died in a car accident in Kenya when Obama was 21. He left the Chicago firm. Obama . if any. he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review. said of Obama. He just seems to have the surest way of calmly reaching across what are impenetrable barriers to many people.1.S. Case Incident 2: Barack Obama Political analysts and the media have compared Illinois State Senator Barack Obama to historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln. Congress against Bobby Rush. I’ve never known anyone with what seems to me more raw political talent. became the only African American in the current U. Jr. and that these have quickly propelled him to the upper political ranks of government. Why do you think this happens? What does this say about leadership and leadership training? Which leadership theories.

Ripley. .com. 2003. 60. and J. What traits might Barack Obama possess that contribute to his strong leadership ability? Does Obama’s case support a trait perspective of leadership? Why or why not? From a behavioral perspective of leadership. what does Obama do to strengthen his success as a leader? Is Obama’s popularity and success a result of “nature. and his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention was an example of that quality. Obama took the podium and began speaking about his idea of a country without racism and fear.” or both? What factors can you think of to support your answer? Source: Based on P.” Business Week.” Obama has been described by political analysts as very self-aware. Stated Congresswoman Gwen Moore during a rally for Senator Russ Feingold. November 11. “Obama’s Ascent. Obama’s whirlwind ride to the U. Endnotes 1 Based on G. 53. January 13. pp. 2005. Douglas Wilder concurs. “In no other country on earth is my story even possible.theage. “I think what people are most hungry for in politics right now is authenticity. which exemplifies diversity in many ways.” Time. p. 2004. Bacon. 2.lost. Obama stated.Forbes. Though it may be difficult to say exactly what separates Obama from other political (October 29. p. “Avon Calling—Lots of New Reps. (www. but his persistence led him to the 2004 senate election. N. (www. On July 27th.” So far. 2004). Thigpen. “This young man has set Illinois on fire and set America on fire. Many say that he is extremely charismatic. Senate has left even him a bit surprised by his tremendous popularity. 2003.” Business Week. E. “Jung: Avon CEO Lauds Global Portfolio.” Time. Levine. He’s the future of the Democratic Party!” Former Virginia Governor L. speaking for the general public. a country not led by politicians who are born into wealth. Obama’s fame is continuing to grow. Jr. in which he won by a large margin against prominent African American Republican Alan Keyes. 2004). p. “What’s going on? I’m not entirely sure.” Questions 1. “Avon gaining a profile in China.” The Age. 74–78.” he said. 60–61. 3. “The Best Managers. “Obama could be president.” Forbes. April 18. “Barack (December 30. many say that he “just has that something.” “nurture. McCabe.. Speaking of his background.” Obama has a knack for rousing people’s attention. and A.S. as evidenced by his ability to tie his own experiences into an engaging political speech in which he portrayed himself as an ordinary citizen. There’s nothing to stop him. Byrnes. June 2. D.

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