Leadership & Human Behavior 2:
Vision is at the very core of leadership. Take vision away from a leader, and you cut out their heart; It’s the fire that ignites the passion of followers – (Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership [Zondervan, 2002])
Human needs are an essential part of human nature. Values, Beliefs, and Customs differ from country to country and even from group to group, but in general, all people have a few basic needs. To inspire others 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 continually work and study to improve their leadership skills; they are NOT resting on their laurels.
Character development has a role to play in leadership. Character is the total of personal traits an individual possesses that make him what he is; Character has particular reference to moral qualities, ethical standards, and principles that guide a person’s conduct and cause him to choose one course of action over another. A good leader must exhibit Integrity. One vital aspect of a good leader is honesty and Integrity. The dictionary defines Integrity as the Soundness of moral principles and character, uprightness, and honesty. Integrity means living by the laws – both God’s laws and that of Society. A person who lives by Integrity will aim to do right and to wrong no one; His conscience will be evident both God-ward and manward.
Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs in a way that makes an organization or a group 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. It is called Process Leadership (Jago, 1982).
However, we know that we have traits that can influence our actions. That 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 Northouse, 2007, p5 chart below:
While leadership is learned, the skills and knowledge processed by the leader are influenced by his or her attributes or traits: such as beliefs, values, ethics, and character. Knowledge and skills contribute directly to the leadership process, while the other attributes give the leader specific characteristics that make him or her unique. There are four significant factors in leadership (U.S. Army, 1983):
You must honestly understand who you are, what you know, and what you can do. Also, note that the followers, not the leader or someone else, determine if the leader is successful. They will be uninspired if they do not trust or lack confidence in their leader. To be successful, you must 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 understanding human nature well, such as needs, emotions, and motivation.
You lead through two-way communication. Much of it is non-verbal. For instance, when you “set the example,” that communicates to your people that you would not ask them to perform anything you would not be willing to do. 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 action and the leadership style needed for each situation. For example, you may need to confront an employee for inappropriate behavior. Still, if the confrontation is too late or too early, too harsh or too weak, the results may prove ineffective. Also, note that the situation typically affects a leader’s actions more than his or her traits. That is because while traits may have impressive stability over some time, they have little consistency across situations (Mischel, 1968). That is why several leadership scholars think the Process Theory of Leadership is 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.
Sometimes you need to examine yourself or ask if you are a Boss or a Leader.
Although your position gives you the authority to accomplish specific tasks and objectives in a group or 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 three basic ways to explain how people become leaders (Stogdill, 1989; Bass, 1990). The first two explain leadership development for a small number of people. These theories are:
- Some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles. That 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. That is the Great Events Theory.
- People can choose to become leaders. People can learn leadership skills. That is the Transformational or Process Leadership Theory. It is the most widely accepted theory today and the premise on which this guide is based.
Leadership models help us to understand what makes leaders act the way they do. The ideal is not to lock yourself into a behavior discussed in the model but to realize that every situation requires a different approach or behavior. 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 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. Any style can be effective or ineffective, depending on 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 significant organizational change, a Structural leadership style may be more effective than a Symbolic leadership style; when substantial 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 must be conscious of this at all times and aware of the limitations of favoring one approach.
In a practical 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 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.