Concepts of Leadership

I used to think that running an organization was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don't think that's quite it; it's more like jazz. There is more improvisation. — Warren Bennis Good leaders are made not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience (Jago, 1982). This guide will help you through that process. To inspire your workers into higher levels of teamwork, there are certain things you must be, know, and, do. These do not come naturally, but are acquired through continual work and study. Good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills; they are NOT resting on their laurels.

Definition of Leadership
The meaning of a message is the change which it produces in the image. — Kenneth Boulding in The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society
Before we get started, lets define leadership. Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. This definition is similar to Northouse's (2007, p3) definition — Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership knowledge and skills. This is called Process Leadership (Jago, 1982). However, we know that we have traits that can influence our actions. This is called Trait Leadership (Jago, 1982), in that it was once common to believe that leaders were born rather than made. These two leadership types are shown in the chart below (Northouse, 2007, p5):

While leadership is learned, the skills and knowledge processed by the leader can be influenced by his or hers attributes or traits, such as beliefs, values, ethics, and character. Knowledge and skills contribute directly to the process of leadership, while the other attributes give the leader certain characteristics that make him or her unique. Skills, knowledge, and attributes make the Leader, which is one of the:

Four Factors of Leadership
There are four major factors in leadership (U.S. Army, 1983):

You must have an honest understanding of who you are, what you know, and what you can do. Also, note that it is the followers, not the leader or someone else who determines if the leader is successful. If they do not trust or lack confidence in their leader, then they will be uninspired. To be successful you have to convince your followers, not yourself or your superiors, that you are worthy of being followed.

Different people require different styles of leadership. For example, a new hire requires more supervision than an experienced employee. A person who lacks motivation requires a different approach than one with a high degree of motivation. You must know your people! The fundamental starting point is having a good understanding of human nature, such as needs, emotions, and motivation. You must come to know your employees' be, know, and do attributes.

You lead through two-way communication. Much of it is nonverbal. For instance, when you “set the example,” that communicates to your people that you would not ask them to perform anything that you would not be willing to do. What and how you communicate either builds or harms the relationship between you and your employees.

All situations are different. What you do in one situation will not always work in another. You must use your judgment to decide the best course of action and the leadership style needed for each situation. For example, you may need to confront an employee for inappropriate behavior, but if the confrontation is too late or too early, too harsh or too weak, then the results may prove ineffective. Also note that the situation normally has a greater effect on a leader's action than his or her traits. This is because while traits may have an impressive stability over a period of time, they have little consistency across situations (Mischel, 1968). This is why a number of leadership scholars think the Process Theory of Leadership is a more accurate than the Trait Theory of Leadership. Various forces will affect these four factors. Examples of forces are your relationship with your seniors, the skill of your followers, the informal leaders within your organization, and how your organization is organized.

Boss or Leader?
Although your position as a manager, supervisor, lead, etc. gives you the authority to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organization (called Assigned Leadership), this power does not make you a leader, it simply makes you the boss (Rowe, 2007). Leadership differs in that it makes the followers want to achieve high goals (called Emergent Leadership), rather than simply bossing people around (Rowe, 2007). Thus you get Assigned Leadership by your position and you display Emergent Leadership by influencing people to do great things.

Bass' Theory of Leadership
Bass' theory of leadership states that there are three basic ways to explain how people become leaders (Stogdill, 1989; Bass, 1990). The first two explain the leadership development for a small number of people. These theories are:

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Some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles. This is the Trait Theory. A crisis or important event may cause a person to rise to the occasion, which brings out extraordinary leadership qualities in an ordinary person. This is the Great Events Theory. People can choose to become leaders. People can learn leadership skills. This is the Transformational or Process Leadership Theory. It is the most widely accepted theory today and the premise on which this guide is based.

Total Leadership
What makes a person want to follow a leader? People want to be guided by those they respect and who have a clear sense of direction. To gain respect, they must be ethical. A sense of direction is achieved by conveying a strong vision of the future.

When a person is deciding if she respects you as a leader, she does not think about your attributes, rather, she observes what you do so that she can know who you really are. She uses this observation to tell if you are an honorable and trusted leader or a self-serving person who misuses authority to look good and get promoted. Selfserving leaders are not as effective because their employees only obey them, not follow them. They succeed in many areas because they present a good image to their seniors at the expense of their workers.




The basis of good leadership is honorable character and selfless service to your organization. In your employees' eyes, your leadership is everything you do that effects the organization's objectives and their well-being. Respected leaders concentrate on (U.S. Army, 1983):

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what they are [be] (such as beliefs and character) what they know (such as job, tasks, and human nature) what they do (such as implementing, motivating, and providing direction).

What makes a person want to follow a leader? People want to be guided by those they respect and who have a clear sense of direction. To gain respect, they must be ethical. A sense of direction is achieved by conveying a strong vision of the future.

The Two Most Important Keys to Effective Leadership
According to a study by the Hay Group, a global management consultancy, there are 75 key components of employee satisfaction (Lamb, McKee, 2004). They found that:

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Trust and confidence in top leadership was the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization. Effective communication by leadership in three critical areas was the key to winning organizational trust and confidence: 1. 2. 3. Helping employees understand the company's overall business strategy. Helping employees understand how they contribute to achieving key business objectives. Sharing information with employees on both how the company is doing and how an employee's own division is doing — relative to strategic business objectives.

So in a nutshell — you must be trustworthy and you have to be able to communicate a vision of where the organization needs to go. The next section, Principles of Leadership, ties in closely with this key concept.

Principles of Leadership
To help you be, know, and do, follow these eleven principles of leadership (U.S. Army, 1983). The later chapters in this Leadership guide expand on these principles and provide tools for implementing them:
1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement - In order to know yourself, you have to understand your be, know, and do, attributes. Seeking self-improvement means continually strengthening your attributes. This can be accomplished through self-study, formal classes, reflection, and interacting with others. 2. Be technically proficient - As a leader, you must know your job and have a solid familiarity with your employees' tasks. 3. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions - Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. And when things go wrong, they always do sooner or later — do not blame others. Analyze the situation, take corrective action, and move on to the next challenge. 4. Make sound and timely decisions - Use good problem solving, decision making, and planning tools. 5. Set the example - Be a good role model for your employees. They must not only hear what they are expected to do, but also see. We must become the change we want to see - Mahatma Gandhi 6. Know your people and look out for their well-being - Know human nature and the importance of sincerely caring for your workers. 7. Keep your workers informed - Know how to communicate with not only them, but also seniors and other key people. 8. Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers - Help to develop good character traits that will help them carry out their professional responsibilities. 9. Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished - Communication is the key to this responsibility. 10. Train as a team - Although many so called leaders call their organization, department, section, etc. a team; they are not really teams...they are just a group of people doing their jobs. 11. Use the full capabilities of your organization - By developing a team spirit, you will be able to employ your organization, department, section, etc. to its fullest capabilities.

Attributes of Leadership
If you are a leader who can be trusted, then those around you will grow to respect you. To be such a leader, there is a Leadership Framework to guide you:


BE a professional. Examples: Be loyal to the organization, perform selfless service, take personal responsibility. BE a professional who possess good character traits. Examples: Honesty, competence, candor, commitment, integrity, courage, straightforwardness, imagination. KNOW the four factors of leadership — follower, leader, communication, situation. KNOW yourself. Examples: strengths and weakness of your character, knowledge, and skills. KNOW human nature. Examples: Human needs, emotions, and how people respond to stress. KNOW your job. Examples: be proficient and be able to train others in their tasks. KNOW your organization. Examples: where to go for help, its climate and culture, who the unofficial leaders are. DO provide direction. Examples: goal setting, problem solving, decision making, planning. DO implement. Examples: communicating, coordinating, supervising, evaluating. DO motivate. Examples: develop morale and esprit de corps in the organization, train, coach, counsel.

Every organization has a particular work environment, which dictates to a considerable degree how its leaders respond to problems and opportunities. This is brought about by its heritage of past leaders and its present leaders.

Goals, Values, and Concepts
Leaders exert influence on the environment via three types of actions:
1. 2. 3. The goals and performance standards they establish. The values they establish for the organization. The business and people concepts they establish.

Successful organizations have leaders who set high standards and goals across the entire spectrum, such as strategies, market leadership, plans, meetings and presentations, productivity, quality, and reliability. Values reflect the concern the organization has for its employees, customers, investors, vendors, and surrounding community. These values define the manner in how business will be conducted. Concepts define what products or services the organization will offer and the methods and processes for conducting business.

These goals, values, and concepts make up the organization's personality or how the organization is observed by both outsiders and insiders. This personality defines the roles, relationships, rewards, and rites that take place.

Roles and Relationships
Roles are the positions that are defined by a set of expectations about behavior of any job incumbent. Each role has a set of tasks and responsibilities that may or may not be spelled out. Roles have a powerful effect on behavior for several reasons, to include money being paid for the performance of the role, there is prestige attached to a role, and a sense of accomplishment or challenge. Relationships are determined by a role's tasks. While some tasks are performed alone, most are carried out in relationship with others. The tasks will determine who the role-holder is required to interact with, how often, and towards what end. Also, normally the greater the interaction, the greater the liking. This in turn leads to more frequent interaction. In human behavior, its hard to like someone whom we have no contact with, and we tend to seek out those we like. People tend to do what they are rewarded for, and friendship is a powerful reward. Many tasks and behaviors that are associated with a role are brought about by these relationships. That is, new task and behaviors are expected of the present role-holder because a strong relationship was developed in the past, either by that roleholder or a prior role-holder.

Culture and Climate
There are two distinct forces that dictate how to act within an organization: culture and climate. Each organization has its own distinctive culture. It is a combination of the founders, past leadership, current leadership, crises, events, history, and size (Newstrom, Davis, 1993). This results in rites: the routines, rituals, and the “way we do things.” These rites impact individual behavior on what it takes to be in good standing (the norm) and directs the appropriate behavior for each circumstance. The climate is the feel of the organization, the individual and shared perceptions and attitudes of the organization's members (Ivancevich, Konopaske, Matteson, 2007). While the culture is the deeply rooted nature of the organization that is a result of long-held formal and informal systems, rules, traditions, and customs; climate is a short-term phenomenon created by the current leadership. Climate represents the beliefs about the “feel of the organization” by its members. This individual perception of the “feel of the organization” comes from what the people believe about the activities that occur in the organization. These activities influence both individual and team motivation and satisfaction, such as:

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How well does the leader clarify the priorities and goals of the organization? What is expected of us? What is the system of recognition, rewards, and punishments in the organization? How competent are the leaders? Are leaders free to make decisions? What will happen if I make a mistake?

Organizational climate is directly related to the leadership and management style of the leader, based on the values, attributes, skills, and actions, as well as the priorities of the leader. Compare this to “ethical climate” — the feel of the organization about the activities that have ethical content or those aspects of the work environment that constitute ethical behavior. The ethical climate is the feel about whether we do things right; or the feel of whether we behave the way we ought to behave. The behavior (character) of the leader is the most important factor that impacts the climate. On the other hand, culture is a long-term, complex phenomenon. Culture represents the shared expectations and self-image of the organization. The mature values that create tradition or the “way we do things here.” Things are done differently in every organization. The collective vision and common folklore that define the institution are a reflection of culture. Individual leaders, cannot easily create or change culture because culture is a part of the organization. Culture influences the characteristics of the climate by its effect on the actions and thought processes of the leader. But, everything you do as a leader will affect the climate of the organization. For information on culture, see Long-Term Short-Term Orientation

The Process of Great Leadership
The road to great leadership (Kouzes & Posner, 1987) that is common to successful leaders:

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Challenge the process - First, find a process that you believe needs to be improved the most. Inspire a shared vision - Next, share your vision in words that can be understood by your followers. Enable others to act - Give them the tools and methods to solve the problem. Model the way - When the process gets tough, get your hands dirty. A boss tells others what to do, a leader shows that it can be done. Encourage the heart - Share the glory with your followers' hearts, while keeping the pains within your own.

Next Steps
Go to the next chapter: The Four Pillars: Leadership, Management, Command, and Control

Return to the main Leadership Site

Perform a Leadership Activity:
Leadership Self-Assessment Survey (short version) Leadership Self-Assessment Survey (long version) Culture and Climate

Bass, Bernard (1990). From transactional to transformational leadership: learning to share the vision. Organizational Dynamics, 18, (3), Winter, 1990, 19-31. Ivancevich, J., Konopaske, R., Matteson, M. (2007). Organizational Behavior and Management. New York: McGrawHill Irwin. Jago, A. G. (1982). Leadership: Perspectives in theory and research. Management Science, 28(3), 315-336. Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (1987). The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Lamb, L. F., McKee, K. B. (2004). Applied Public Relations: Cases in Stakeholder Management. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Routledge. Mischel, W. 1968. Personality and Assessment . New York: Wiley. Newstrom, J. & Davis, K. (1993). Organization Behavior: Human Behavior at Work. New York: McGraw-Hill. Northouse, G. (2007). Leadership theory and practice. (3rd ed.) Thousand Oak, London, New Delhe, Sage Publications, Inc. Rowe, W. G. (2007). Cases in Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Stogdill, R. M.(1989). Stogdill's Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of Theory and Research. Bass, B. (ed.) New York: Free Press. U.S. Army. (October 1983). Military Leadership (FM 22-100). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Leadership, Management, Command, & Control
The four pillars of an organization are Leadership, Management, Command, and Control. They are important for every leader and manager to understand because they directly drive the organization. Used properly, the business will grow; used improperly, the business will sink. These are not distinct processes, but rather concepts that all leaders perform in order to build and strengthen their organizations.

As the above diagram shows, the four pillars overlap, thus they are not separate processes. This blending gives the organization the ability to focus on opportunities and deal with threats:

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Leadership drives the interpersonal aspects of the organization, such as moral and team spirit. Management deals with the conceptual issues of the organization, such as planning and organizing. Command guides the organization with well thought-out visions that makes it effective. Control provides structure to the organization in order to make it more efficient.

Benefits of the Four Processes

Command and Control
Command is the imparting of a vision to the organization in order to achieve and end-goal.. It does this by formulating a well-thought out vision and then clearly communicating it. It emphasizes success and reward. That is, the organization has to be successful to survive and in turn reward its members (both intrinsically and extrinsically). An example would be visioning a process that helps to increase informal learning and make it more effective. A bad vision would be implementing a social media tool, such as a wiki or Twitter. This is because social media tools are the means rather than an end-goal. That is, they are more like specific objectives that enable you to achieve your endgoal (vision). Now you might implement a social media tool as explained below, but the real goal is to increase interactions that lead to informal learning, while a supporting process is the tool itself. Visions do not have to come from the top, but rather anywhere in the organization. Informal leaders are often good sources of visions, however if the vision requires resources, then they normally need the support of a formal leader.

In contrast, Control is the process used to establish and provide structure in order to deal with uncertainties. Visions normally produce change, which in turn produce tension. These tensions or uncertainties bust be dealt with so they do not impede the organization. For example, the organization might implement a new social media tool to enable its worker to interact with others and aid the process of informal learning more effectively. After implementing the tool the leader might ask, “Is the tool we provided to increase the effectiveness of informal learning really working?” Thus control is also used to measure and evaluate. Inherent in evaluation is efficiency—the act of examining the new tool often leads to processes that make it more efficient. This can be good because it can save money and often improve a tool or process. The danger of this is if the command process is weak and the control process is strong then it can make efficiency the end-goal. That is, it replaces effectiveness with efficiency. A good example of this is our present economy that caused many organizations to perform massive layoffs. Now the same organizations are complaining that they can't find qualified workers. Efficiency over road effectiveness—they failed to realize that they would need a trained workforce in the future.

Leadership and Management
Management's primary focus is on the conceptual side of the business, such as planning, organizing, and budgeting. It does the leg work to make visions reality. Do NOT equate the term “management" with “controlling people." Management is more about ensuring that the organization's resources are allocated wisely, rather than trying to control people. In fact, good managers know that trying to control others is extremely difficult if not impossible. Thus management helps to acquire, integrate, and allocate resources in order to accomplish goals and task. Going back to the above example of increasing informal learning by implementing a new social media tool, the managers must look at the real goal, rather than the tool. The real goal is to increase informal learning and human interactions in order to make them more effective, not to put into place a media tool. If the tool becomes the primary goal, then the wrong polices could be put into place that decrease its value as an informal learning tool, for example, implementing a policy that no one in the company can ask a question on Twitter as it might make us look stupid or our competitors will know what we are trying to do. This policy removes the real purpose of the tool—enabling the employees to learn informally from each other. Secondly, if the focus is only on the tool, then other options are omitted, such as tearing down cubicles and creating spaces where people can meet. In contrast, Leadership deals with the interpersonal relations such as being a teacher and coach, instilling organizational spirit to win, and serving the organization and workers.

The Synergy of the Four Pillars

While all four processes have their place, they are not implemented separately, but rather in concert. In the example of implementing a new social media tool for increasing informal learning:

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Command communicates the vision or goal to the best people who can implement it. Through the process it also adjusts to new knowledge and refines the vision. Management allocates the resources and helps to organize the activities that will make it a reality. This is normally a continuous process, rather than a single activity. Leadership helps to guide, coach, and motivate the people to do their best throughout the entire process. Control reduces risks, which in turn makes the process more efficient.

The four pillars need to be in harmony with each other. As the diagram below show, when one or more of them is too strong, the organization falls out of balance:

Likewise, if any of the pillars become too weak, it drives the organization out of balance:

Thus the four pillars must consistently be weighed against each other to ensure they are in a proper balance that allows the organization to grow and prosper.

Next Steps

Go to the next chapter: Leadership Models Activity: SWOT Analysis Main Leadership Menu

Collins, E. and Devanna, M. (1990). The Portable MBA. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Department of the. Army (1987). Command, Leadership, And Effective Staff Support. The Information Management Support Center Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310-6602, October 1996. Ret rived December 1, 2011 from: Department of the. Army (1987). Leadership and Command at Senior Levels. FM 22-103. Washington: GPO.

Leadership Models
Leadership models help us to understand what makes leaders act the way they do. The ideal is not to lock yourself in to a type of behavior discussed in the model, but to realize that every situation calls for a different approach or behavior to be taken. Two models will be discussed, the Four Framework Approach and the Managerial Grid.

Four Framework Approach
In the Four Framework Approach, Bolman and Deal (1991) suggest that leaders display leadership behaviors in one of four types of frameworks: Structural, Human Resource, Political, or Symbolic.

This model suggests that leaders can be put into one of these four categories and there are times when one approach is appropriate and times when it would not be. That is, any style can be effective or ineffective, depending upon the situation. Relying on only one of these approaches would be inadequate, thus we should strive to be conscious of all four approaches, and not just depend on one or two. For example, during a major organization change, a Structural leadership style may be more effective than a Symbolic leadership style; during a period when strong growth is needed, the Symbolic approach may be better. We also need to understand ourselves as each of us tends to have a preferred approach. We need to be conscious of this at all times and be aware of the limitations of just favoring one approach.

Structural Framework
In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a social architect whose leadership style is analysis and design. While in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a petty tyrant whose leadership style is details. Structural Leaders focus on structure, strategy, environment, implementation, experimentation, and adaptation.

Human Resource Framework
In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a catalyst and servant whose leadership style is support, advocating, and empowerment. while in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a pushover, whose leadership style is abdication and fraud. Human Resource Leaders believe in people and communicate that belief; they are visible and

accessible; they empower, increase participation, support, share information, and move decision making down into the organization.

Political Framework
In an effective leadership situation, the leader is an advocate, whose leadership style is coalition and building. While in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a hustler, whose leadership style is manipulation. Political leaders clarify what they want and what they can get; they assess the distribution of power and interests; they build linkages to other stakeholders, use persuasion first, then use negotiation and coercion only if necessary.

Symbolic Framework
In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a prophet, whose leadership style is inspiration. While in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a fanatic or fool, whose leadership style is smoke and mirrors. Symbolic leaders view organizations as a stage or theater to play certain roles and give impressions; these leaders use symbols to capture attention; they try to frame experience by providing plausible interpretations of experiences; they discover and communicate a vision. For an activity, see Bolman and Deal's Four Framework Approach.

Managerial Grid
The Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid, also known as the Leadership Grid (1985) uses two axis:
1. 2. "Concern for people" is plotted using the vertical axis "Concern for task or results" is plotted along the horizontal axis.

They both have a range of 0 to 9. The notion that just two dimensions can describe a managerial behavior has the attraction of simplicity. These two dimensions can be drawn as a graph or grid:

Most people fall somewhere near the middle of the two axis — Middle of the Road. But, by going to the extremes, that is, people who score on the far end of the scales, we come up with four types of leaders:

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Authoritarian — strong on tasks, weak on people skills Country Club — strong on people skills, weak on tasks Impoverished — weak on tasks, weak on people skills Team Leader — strong on tasks, strong on people skills

The goal is to be at least in the Middle of the Road but preferably a Team Leader — that is, to score at least between a 5,5 to 9,9. In addition, a good leader operates at the extreme ends of the two scales, depending upon the situation.

Authoritarian Leader (high task, low relationship)

Leaders who get this rating are very much task oriented and are hard on their workers (autocratic). There is little or no allowance for cooperation or collaboration. Heavily task oriented people display these characteristics: they are very strong on schedules; they expect people to do what they are told without question or debate; when something goes wrong they tend to focus on who is to blame rather than concentrate on exactly what is wrong and how to prevent it; they are intolerant of what they see as dissent (it may just be someone's creativity), so it is difficult for their subordinates to contribute or develop.

Team Leader (high task, high relationship)
These leaders lead by positive example and endeavor to foster a team environment in that all team members can reach their highest potential, both as team members and as people. They encourage the team to reach team goals as effectively as possible, while also working tirelessly to strengthen the bonds among the various members. They normally form and lead some of the most productive teams.

Country Club Leader (low task, high relationship)
These leaders predominantly use reward power to maintain discipline and to encourage the team to accomplish its goals. Conversely, they are almost incapable of employing the more punitive coercive and legitimate powers. This inability results from fear that using such powers could jeopardize relationships with the other team members.

Impoverished Leader (low task, low relationship)
These leaders use a “delegate and disappear” management style. Since they are not committed to either task accomplishment or maintenance; they essentially allow their team to do whatever it wishes and prefer to detach themselves from the team process by allowing the team to suffer from a series of power struggles. The most desirable place for a leader to be along the two axes at most times would be a 9 on task and a 9 on people — the Team Leader. However, do not entirely dismiss the other three. Certain situations might call for one of the other three to be used at times. For example, by playing the Impoverished Leader, you allow your team to gain selfreliance. Be an Authoritarian Leader to instill a sense of discipline in an unmotivated worker. By carefully studying the situation and the forces affecting it, you will know at what points along the axes you need to be in order to achieve the desired result. For an activity, see The Leadership Matrix.

Next Steps
Go to Leadership and Human Behavior Return to the main Leadership Page

Blake, R. R. & Mouton, J. S. (1985). The Managerial Grid III: The Key to Leadership Excellence. Houston: Gulf Publishing Co. Bolman, L. & Deal, T. (1991). Reframing Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Leadership & Human Behavior
As a leader, you need to interact with your followers, peers, seniors, and others; whose support you need in order to accomplish your goals. To gain their support, you must be able to understand and motivate them. To understand and motivate people, you must know human nature. Human nature is the common qualities of all human beings. People behave according to certain principles of human nature. Human needs are an important part of human nature. Values, beliefs, and customs differ from country to country and even within group to group, but in general, all people have a few basic needs. As a leader you must understand these needs because they can be powerful motivators.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Unlike others researchers in the earlier days of psychology, Abraham Maslow's based his theory of human needs on creative people who used all their talents, potential, and capabilities (Bootzin, Loftus, Zajonc, Hall, 1983). His methodology differed from most other psychological researchers at the time in that these researchers mainly observed mentally unhealthy people. Maslow (1970) felt that human needs were arranged in a hierarchical order that could be divided into two major groups: basic needs and metaneeds (higher order needs):


Basic Needs are physiological, such as food, water, and sleep; and psychological, such as affection, security, and self-esteem. These basic needs are also called “deficiency needs” because if they are not met by an individual, then that person will strive to make up the deficiency.


Metaneeds or being needs (growth needs). These include justice, goodness, beauty, order, unity, etc. Basic needs normally take priority over these meta needs. For example, a person who lacks food or water will not normally attend to justice or beauty needs.

These needs are normally listed in a hierarchical order in the form of a pyramid to show that the basic needs (bottom ones) must be met before the higher order needs:

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5. Self-actualization — know exactly who you are, where you are going, and what you want to accomplish. A state of well-being. 4. Esteem — feeling of moving up in world, recognition, few doubts about self.

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3. Belongingness and love — belong to a group, close friends to confide with. 2. Safety — feel free from immediate danger. 1. Physiological — food, water, shelter, sex.

Maslow posited that people want and are forever striving to meet various goals. Because the lower level needs are more immediate and urgent, then they come into play as the source and direction of a person's goal if they are not satisfied. A need higher in the hierarchy will become a motive of behavior as long as the needs below it have been satisfied. Unsatisfied lower needs will dominate unsatisfied higher needs and must be satisfied before the person can climb up the hierarchy. Knowing where a person is located on the pyramid will aid you in determining effective motivators. For example, motivating a middle-class person (who is in range 4 of the hierarchy) with a certificate will have a far greater impact than using the same motivator to effect a minimum wage person from the ghetto who is desperately struggling to meet the first couple of needs. It should be noted that almost no one stays in one particular hierarchy for an extended period. We constantly strive to move up, while at the same time various forces outside our control try to push us down. Those on top get pushed down for short time periods, i.e., death of a loved-one or an idea that does not work, while those on the bottom get pushed up, i.e., come across a small prize. Our goal as leaders therefore is to help people obtain the skills and knowledge that will push them up the hierarchy on a more permanent basis. People who have their basic needs met become much better workers as they are able to concentrate on fulfilling the visions put forth to them, rather than consistently struggling to make ends meet.

Criticisms and Strengths
The above statements may be considered generalizations. Maslow's theory has often been criticized because we can find exceptions to it, such as the military, police, firefighters, etc. who will risk their safety for the well-being of others or parents who will sacrifice their basic needs for their children. However, there are very few theories that are not flawed in that once we start drilling down to individualistic levels, then the theory or generalization often starts to fall apart. For example, even Newton's theory of physics, which later became laws, fell apart once we were able to drill down to the atomic level. A recent study (Tay, Diener, 2011) discovered that as hypothesized by Maslow (1954), people tend to achieve basic and safety needs before other needs. However, fulfilling the various needs has relatively independent effects on a person's Subjective Well-Being. Thus rather than being a pyramid with the basic human needs arranged in a hierarchical order, it is more like a box with the basic human needs scattered within and depending on the situation and/or environment, different needs rise to the top to compensate for the deficient needs. Maslow's theory remains a classic because rather than looking at psychology as strictly the study of the mentally ill, his theory was based upon healthy persons. And being one of the first humanistic ones, it has its share of flaws.

Expansion of the Pyramid

In Maslow's (1971) later years, he become more interested in the higher order or metaneeds and tried to further distinguish them. Maslow theorized that the ultimate goal of life is self-actualization, which is almost never fully attained but rather is something we try to always strive for. He later theorized that this level does not stop, it goes on to self-transcendence, which carries us to the spiritual level, e.g. Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Dalai Lama, or even poets, such as Robert Frost. Maslow's self-transcendence level recognizes the human need for ethics, creativity, compassion and spirituality. Without this spiritual or transegoic sense, we are simply animals or machines. This expansion of the higher order needs is shown here:

Note that the four meta needs (above the inner pyramid) can be pursued in any order, depending upon a person's wants or circumstances, as long as the basic needs have all been met:

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8. Self-transcendence — a transegoic (see Note below) level that emphasizes visionary intuition, altruism, and unity consciousness. 7. Self-actualization — know exactly who you are, where you are going, and what you want to accomplish. A state of well-being. 6. Aesthetic — to do things not simply for the outcome but because it's the reason you are here on earth — at peace, more curious about the inner workings of all things. 5. Cognitive — to be free of the good opinion of others — learning for learning alone, contribute knowledge. 4. Esteem — feeling of moving up in world, recognition, few doubts about self. 3. Belongingness and love — belong to a group, close friends to confide with. 2. Safety — feel free from immediate danger. 1. Physiological — food, water, shelter, sex.

Note: Transegoic means a higher, psychic, or spiritual state of development. The trans is related to transcendence, while the ego is based on Freud's work. We go from preEGOic levels to EGOic levels to transEGOic. The EGO in all three terms are used in the Jungian sense of consciousness as opposed to the unconscious. Ego equates with the personality.
In addition,just as in his earlier model, we may be in a state of flux — we shift between levels (Maslow, 1968). For example there may be peak experiences for temporary self-actualization and self-transcendence. These are our spiritual or creative moments.

Characteristics of self-actualizing people:
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Have better perceptions of reality and are comfortable with it. Accept themselves and their own natures. Lack of artificiality. They focus on problems outside themselves and are concerned with basic issues and eternal questions. They like privacy and tend to be detached. Rely on their own development and continued growth. Appreciate the basic pleasures of life (e.g. do not take blessings for granted). Have a deep feeling of kinship with others. Are deeply democratic and are not really aware of differences. Have strong ethical and moral standards. Are original, inventive, less constricted and fresher than others

Going Beyond Maslow
While the research of Maslow's theory has undergone limited empirical scrutiny, it still remains quite popular due to its simplicity and being the start of the movement away from a totally behaviorist/reductionistic/mechanistic approach to a more humanistic one. In addition, a lot of concerns are directed at his methodology in that he picked a small number of people that he declared self-actualizing and came to the conclusion about self-actualization. However, he understood this and thought of his work as simply a method of pointing the way, rather than being the final say. In addition, he hoped that others would take up the cause and complete what he had begun. Which brings us to the next models. Other researchers have taken up his cause and furthered refined them, mostly in the area of organizations and work. Herzberg, Alderfer, and McGregor's research are all closely tied to Maslow's theory.

Herzberg's Hygiene and Motivational Factors
Frederick Herzberg was considered one of the most influential management consultants and professors of the modern postwar era. Herzberg was probably best known for his challenging thinking on work and motivation. He was considered both an icon and legend among visionaries such as Abraham Maslow, Peter Drucker, and Douglas MacGregor. Herzberg (1966) is best known for his list of factors that are based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, except his version is more closely related to the working environment:

Hygiene or Dissatisfiers:
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Working conditions Policies and administrative practices Salary and Benefits

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Supervision Status Job security Co-workers Personal life

Motivators or Satisfiers:
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Recognition Achievement Advancement Growth Responsibility Job challenge

Hygiene or dissatisfiers factors must be present in the job before motivators can be used to stimulate a person. That is, you cannot use motivators until all the hygiene factors are met. Herzberg's needs are specifically job related and reflect some of the distinct things that people want from their work as opposed to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs which reflect all the needs in a person's life. Building on this model, Herzberg coined the term job enrichment — the process of redesigning work in order to build in motivators by increasing both the number of tasks that an employee performs and the control over those tasks. It is associated with the design of jobs and is an extension of job enlargement (an increase in the number of tasks that an employee performs).

McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y
Douglas McGregor (1957) developed a philosophical view of humankind with his Theory X and Theory Y — two opposing perceptions about how people view human behavior at work and organizational life. McGregor felt that organizations and the managers within them followed either one or the other approach:

Theory X
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People have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever possible. People must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to achieve the organizational objectives. People prefer to be directed, do not want responsibility, and have little or no ambition. People seek security above all else.

In an organization with Theory X assumptions, management's role is to coerce and control employees.

Theory Y
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Work is as natural as play and rest. People will exercise self-direction if they are committed to the objectives (they are NOT lazy). Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement. People learn to accept and seek responsibility. Creativity, ingenuity, and imagination are widely distributed among the population. People are capable of using these abilities to solve an organizational problem. People have potential.

In an organization with Theory Y assumptions, management's role is to develop the potential in employees and help them to release that potential towards common goals. Theory X is the view that traditional management has taken towards the workforce. Most organizations are now taking the enlightened view of theory Y (even though they might not be very good at it). A boss can be viewed as taking the theory X approach, while a leader takes the theory Y approach. Notice that Maslow, Herzberg, and McGregor's theories all tie together:

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Herzberg's theory is a micro version of Maslow's theory that is focused in the work environment. McGregor's Theory X is based on workers caught in the lower levels (1 to 3) of Maslow's theory due to bad management practices, while his Theory Y is for workers who have gone above level 3 with the help of management.


McGregor's Theory X is also based on workers caught in Herzberg's Hygiene Dissatisfiers, while Theory Y is based on workers who are in the Motivators or Satisfiers section.

Leadership & Human Behavior

Alderfer's Existence/Relatedness/Growth (ERG)
Clayton Alderfer's (1969) Existence/Relatedness/Growth (ERG) Theory of Needs postulates that there are three groups of needs:


Existence - This group of needs is concerned with providing the basic requirements for material existence, such as physiological and safety needs. This need is satisfied by money earned in a job so that one may buy food, shelter, clothing, etc.


Relationships - This group of needs centers upon the desire to establish and maintain interpersonal relationships. Since people normally spend approximately half of their waking hours on the job, this need is normally satisfied to some degree by their coworkers.


Growth - These needs are met by personal development. A person's job, career, or profession provides significant satisfaction of growth needs.

Alderfer's ERG theory states that more than one need may be influential at the same time. If the gratification of a higher-level need is frustrated, the desire to satisfy a lower-level need will increase. He identifies this phenomenon as the "frustration & shy aggression dimension." Its relevance on the job is that even when the upper-level needs are frustrated, the job still provides for the basic physiological needs upon which one would then be focused. If, at that point, something happens to threaten the job, the person's basic needs are significantly threatened. If there are no factors present to relieve the pressure, the person may become desperate and panicky. Notice that Alderfer's ERG theory is built upon Maslow's, however it does differ. First he collapses it from five needs to three. And unlike Maslow, he did not see these needs as being a hierarchy in which one climbs up, but rather being more of a continuum:

While there has not been a lot of research on Alderfer's theory, most contemporary theories and related studies tend to give it stronger support than Maslow's theory.

Vroom's Expectancy Theory

Vroom's Expectancy Theory (1964)states that an individual will act in a certain way based on the expectation (belief) that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual. This motivational model has been modified by several people, to include Porter and Lawler (1968). Vroom's Expectancy Theory is written as a formula:

Valence x Expectancy x Instrumentality = Motivation
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Valence (Reward) = the amount of desire for a goal (What is the reward?) Expectancy (Performance) = the strength of belief that work related effort will result in the completion of the task (How hard will I have to work to reach the goal?) Instrumentality (Belief) = the belief that the reward will be received once the task is completed (Will they notice the effort I put forth?)

The product of valence, expectancy, and instrumentality is motivation. It can be thought of as the strength of the drive towards a goal. For example, if an employee wants to move up through the ranks, then promotion has a high valence for that employee. If the employee believes that high performance will result in good reviews, then the employee has a high expectancy. However, if the employee believes the company will not promote from within, then the employee has low instrumentality, and the employee will not be motivated to perform better.

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