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AGED 260 Leadership Theory Analysis 2

Section: ADF Ninghui (Angel) Zhang

The Situational Approach The situational approach states that leaders behavior can be either directive or supportive. By mix-and-matching the two types, leadership can be described as four styles, which are delegating being neither supportive nor directive, supporting being supportive but not directive, coaching being both directive and supportive, and directing being directive but not supportive. The approach also suggests that leaders should adapt to subordinates competence and commitment level, by slightly adjusting among the four styles. Besides the unique two leadership components (directive or supportive), another characteristic that distinguishes this theory from others is that it emphasizes the importance of accommodating subordinates. The theories prior to this approach mainly talked about what traits leaders possess, what skills leaders need, etc. Unlike them, the situational approach stresses that leaders should change theirs styles under different situations. According to the Preferred Situational Leadership Style Questionnaire, my dominant leadership style is supporting, which means that Im very supportive but not enough directive sometimes. Because I dont tend to give strict and clear directions, I might not be effective enough when my subordinates are lack of competence. Another notable point from the result is that Im not very flexible in the styles, which is that I dont demonstrate directing and delegating a lot. Based on the result, I should try to provide specific direction if subordinates are not competent enough. At the same time, I should make sure that Im flexible enough to accommodate different subordinates needs.

Leader-Member Exchange The leader-member exchange (LMX) theory describes the relationship between a leader and subordinates. Two concepts introduced here are in-groups and out-groups. In groups are actively involved and are willing to take new challenges. On the other hand, those who dont bother taking new initiatives are out-groups. Essentially, working with ingroup is more effective and productive. The LMX theory also suggests that leaders establish a special relationship with subordinates where they allow subordinates to participate and to take responsibilities. In this way, all subordinates will become an in-group. The reason why this theory is unique is that it stresses the importance of interaction between leaders and their subordinates. This characteristic reinforces Northouses leadership definition, which also stresses the process of interaction and influence. This also makes me think of other theories we have learned. None of them have emphasized this aspect. For the questionnaire, I evaluated the relationship I share with my project manager for my consulting project. I scored a 21/35, which is moderate to low level of leadermember exchange. I realize that this is mainly due to that fact that I dont have any consulting experience before this case, and the project manager is reluctant sometimes to give me complicated tasks. As a result, Im leaning toward an out-group. It could also be that we havent known each other for a long time, which puts us in the acquaintance phase. In this phase, the exchange quality is expected to be moderate. For future development, I plan to polish my skills and try to get more involved within any organizations, in other words, to become an in-group. When I become the leader, I will make sure to establish trust and respect with all the subordinates, to unite them.

Servant Leadership The name of servant leadership is quite self-explanatory, which means that a leader should be a servant at the same time. Such leaders should also put subordinates in the first place and help them grow. Actually, both the leaders and the followers will be developing in such relationship, where they help each other as well as learn from each other. The theory is based on three components, being antecedent conditions, servant leader behaviors, and leadership outcomes. Unlike the situational approach, which suggests that leaders should sometimes be directive to accommodate subordinates needs, the servant leaders should not direct or control. Instead, they should be altruistic and empathetic, in order to ensure effective leadership. This is also different from what we would picture an image of leaders. The result I got from the Servant Leadership Questionnaire shows that Im good at conducting savant leadership behavior. Particularly, Im doing really well in creating value for the community. This is not a coincidence, but reflects my personal value of giving back to community. The result from this questionnaire reminds me of the situational approach. I appear to be a supportive leader, according to the result of the Preferred Situational Leadership Questionnaire. The two results both demonstrate that Im a supportive type of leader, and I care a lot about employees. My lowest score lies in empowering. I can kind of see how this is the case because I constantly think other people on the team are not competent enough to reach my expectation. Moving forward, I will expect to retain where Im doing excellent, which is to say that I care about my subordinates. At the same time, I will try to more allow subordinates to work independently. This will not only motivate them, but also save some of my time.

The Transformational Approach As a leadership theory that is widely discussed, the transformational approach focuses on helping followers to improve their performance and to develop their skills. Generally, transformational leadership can be related to charismatic and affective elements. In such relationship, the leader and the subordinates are closely bonded together through personal charisma and shared visions. A characteristic that sets this approach apart is that people transform through the close relationship. Both parties change and improve throughout the process of influencing. Another notable point is that leaders act like role models, as apposed to supervisors or bosses in tradition concepts. The transformational approach does not describe what a leader looks like, as the traits approach or the skills approach do. Neither does it categorize leadership into different styles, like style approach and situational leadership do. Yet, it includes seven factors that can potentially impact transformational leadership. From the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, the two factors that I score the highest are inspirational motivation and contingent reward. Being inspirational motivating means that I use emotional appeals to engage followers. I also motivate people I work with, to achieve a higher goal than original expectation. Contingent reward, being a transactional leadership factors, points out that I like using reward to remind followers of the payoffs if they can reach expectation. I do think the reward factor matches what I usually do. I think this is a good way to motivate subordinates. For future development, Im thinking to practice more about intellectual stimulation, which is the lowest score in my response. This can be achieved by challenging followers for new ideas concerning old topics.

Leadership Theory Summary In this course, we have learned a series of leadership theories. Many of them are similar in nature, while others are unique enough to stand out: traits approach and skills approach teach me what does leaders look like and what skills they possess, so that I know what to aim for. Although the two look similar, yet trait approach emphasizes that leaders are born, while skills approach stresses that leaders can be trained, and, thus, everyone can be a leader. Another two approaches that are similar which have always been put together are style approach and situational approach. Both of them introduce the idea of either being supportive or directive. However, situational approach moves one more step forward by demonstrating how leaders should meet followers needs by actively adjusting their leadership styles. This teaches me that there is no one right way to lead. Oppositely, we should stay flexible with the leadership style to accommodate different situations. Path-goal theory and transformational leadership both step in the area that leaders should help followers improve and achieve the goals. Being a relatively newer theory however, transformational leadership provides a broader range of characteristics and factors, but not a set list of specifically what leaders should do. These two leadership theories provide me with specific procedures to follow as of how to provide help. Both LMX and servant theory stress interaction between leaders and subordinates, where help and progress can happen both ways. A difference that distinguishes servant leaders from LMX and other theories is the idea of putting followers first, before anything else. Servant theory is actually the one closest to my style because I value people a lot, even

more than productivity or efficiency. I think as long as we have subordinates needs satisfied, everything will go smoothly A leadership role that I most recently conducted is the organizer and coordinator of my consulting case competition team. There are four members in the team, yet Im the only connection among other three students. To start with, all three of them dont have any experience relating to either consulting or case competition. Im the only one that has been through both. After we got the case, they seemed a little confused of how shall we start. I went ahead and tell them what I did for my last case competition and consulting project, just to give them a frame to begin. I tried to be as directive as possible at that point. I then invited everyone to add in anything that they think should be included in the case analysis. Meanwhile, I made sure that everyone respect each other and that the one raising idea could feel that s/he was valued. I did this because I want everyone to feel respected and to feel comfortable to speak. Later in the case, when everyone was clear with the goals and expectations, new issues arose-the team felt lack of motivation and slowed down in productivity. I noticed the change, so I bought everyone a chocolate/candy bar as well as told them that we were just a couple days away to the final presentation, in order to cheer them up. In this situation, Im demonstrating the supporting leadership style. I believe this is a real-life application of the situational approach. During teamwork, I had to slightly adjust the style from more of directing to supporting . Although I didnt realize that I was using the situational approach at the spot, I now understand how the theories taught in this class can be helpful for leadership skills advancement.