Management MCO101 – Unit 8A – Motivation, Leadership, Groups and Teams

Leadership vs. Management

A leader is best
When people barely know that she exists,
Not so good when people obey and acclaim him,
Worst when they despise her.
‘Fail to honor people,
They fail to honor you;’
But of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will all say, ‘We did this ourselves.’
( Lao Tzu)

The concept of “leadership” is pervading job advertisements, position descriptions, professional development programs and no doubt, job applicant résumés with great force. A distinction is often made between “leaders” and “managers”. A disturbing trend in some of the current writing on leadership is that being a leader is “good” whereas as being a manager is “bad”. Is this warranted and what about the “followers”? It is estimated that 42% of leaders spend up to 5 days at leadership development programs each year, with a further 28% attending more than 5 days. Yet only 10-15% of management training leads to sustained changes in practice.

What is the difference between management and leadership?

This is a question that has been asked more than once and also answered in different ways. Contrary to popular belief we are not all created with equal raw abilities. However we can say that the biggest difference between managers and leaders is the way they motivate the people who work or follow them, and this sets the tone for most other aspects of what they do. Many people, by the way, are both. They have management jobs, but they realise that you cannot buy hearts, especially to follow them down a difficult path, and so act as leaders too.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads and the boss drives.”

Harry Selfridge, developer of one of the largest department stores in London, stated: “The boss drives the people; the leader coaches them. The boss depends upon authority; the leader, on goodwill. The boss says, ‘I’; the leader, ‘We.’ The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown. The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how. The boss says, ‘Go’; the leader, ‘Let’s go!'” Which do you think is more effective? Being a leader or being the boss?

Quality of leadership is, arguably, central to the survival and success of groups and organizations. As The Art of War, the oldest known military text (circa 400 BC), puts it:

‘the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people’s fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril’ (Waging war [20]).

Leadership is defined in various ways; however, all of the definitions have common elements. In one of the most comprehensive definitions of leadership, Gary A. Yukl, in his book entitled: Leadership in Organizations, 4th ed., defines leadership as the process wherein an individual member of a group or organization influences the interpretation of events:

“the choice of objectives and strategies, the organization of work activities, the motivation of people to achieve the objectives, the maintenance of cooperative relationships, the development of skills and confidence by members, and the enlistment of support and cooperation from people outside the group or organization.”

This single definition includes individuals, groups, organizations, objectives/strategies, influence, and acceptance. In simplest terms, leadership is the ability to decide what is to be done and then to get others to want to do it. The purpose of leadership is to accomplish the mission. It involves putting people, things, time, and effort together to accomplish a group goal.

Let us consider some of the more obvious differences of managers to leaders…

Managers have subordinates

By definition, managers have subordinates – unless their title is honorary and given as a mark of seniority, in which case the title is a misnomer and their power over others is other than formal authority.

Authoritarian, transactional style

Managers have a position of authority vested in them by the company, and their subordinates work for them and largely do as they are instructed. Management style is transactional, in that the manager tells the subordinate what to do, and the subordinate does this not because they are a blind robot, but because they have been promised a reward (at minimum their salary) for doing so. The transactional leader works through creating clear structures whereby it is clear what is required of their subordinates, and the rewards that they get for following orders. Punishments are not always mentioned, but they are also well-understood and formal systems of discipline are usually in place.

Work focus

Managers are paid to get things done – as they are subordinates too – often within tight constraints of time and money. When the Transactional Leader allocates work to a subordinate, they are considered to be fully responsible for it, whether or not they have the resources or capability to carry it out. When things go wrong, then the subordinate is considered to be personally at fault, and is punished for their failure (just as they are rewarded for succeeding). Lower and middle managers, as subordinates of higher executive managers, thus naturally pass on this work focus to their subordinates.

Seek comfort

An interesting research finding about managers is that they tend to come from stable home backgrounds and led relatively normal and comfortable lives. This leads them to be relatively risk-averse and they will seek to avoid conflict where possible. In terms of people, they generally like to run a ‘happy ship’. The main limitation is the assumption of ‘rational man’, a person who is largely motivated by money and simple reward, and hence whose behavior is predictable. The underlying psychology is Behaviorism, including the Classical Conditioning of Pavlov and Skinner’s Operant Conditioning. These theories are largely based on controlled laboratory experiments (often with animals) and ignore complex emotional factors and social values.

In practice, there is sufficient truth in Behaviorism to sustain Transactional approaches. This is reinforced by the supply-and-demand situation of much employment, coupled with the effects of deeper needs, as in Maslow’s Hierarchy. When the demand for a skill outstrips the supply, then Transactional Leadership often is insufficient, and other approaches are more effective.

Leaders have followers

Leaders do not have subordinates – at least not when they are leading. Many organizational leaders do have subordinates, but only because they are also managers. But when they want to lead, they have to give up formal authoritarian control, because to lead is to have followers, and following is always a voluntary activity.

Charismatic, transformational style

Telling people what to do does not inspire them to follow you. You have to appeal to them, showing how following them will lead to their hearts’ desire. They must want to follow you enough to stop what they are doing and perhaps walk into danger and situations that they would not normally consider risking.

Leaders with a stronger charisma find it easier to attract people to their cause. As a part of their persuasion they typically promise transformational benefits, such that their followers will not just receive extrinsic rewards but will somehow become better people.

People focus

Although many leaders have a charismatic style to some extent, this does not require a loud personality. They are always good with people, and quiet styles that give credit to others (and takes blame on themselves) are very effective at creating the loyalty that great leaders engender.

I suppose that leadership at one time meant muscle; but today it means getting along with people.

I suppose that leadership at one time meant muscle; but today it means getting along with people.

Although leaders are good with people, this does not mean they are friendly with them. In order to keep the mystique of leadership, they often retain a degree of separation and aloofness.

This does not mean that leaders do not pay attention to tasks – in fact they are often very achievement-focused. What they do realize, however, is the importance of enthusing others to work towards their vision.

Seek risk

In the same study that showed managers as risk-averse, leaders appeared as risk-seeking, although they are not blind thrill-seekers. When pursuing their vision, they consider it natural to encounter problems and hurdles that must be overcome along the way. They are thus comfortable with risk and will see routes that others avoid as potential opportunities for advantage and will happily break rules in order to get things done.

A surprising number of these leaders had some form of handicap in their lives which they had to overcome. Some had traumatic childhoods, some had problems such as dyslexia, others were shorter than average. This perhaps taught them the independence of mind that is needed to go out on a limb and not worry about what others are thinking about you.

In summary

The table below summarizes the above (and more) and gives a sense of the differences between being a leader and being a manager. This is, of course, an illustrative characterization, and there is a whole spectrum between either ends of these scales along which each role can range. And many people lead and manage at the same time, and so may display a combination of behaviors.





Essence Change Stability
Focus Leading people Managing work
Have Followers Subordinates
Methods Problem solving Inspire and motivational
‘Acts a” Architect/Designer Builder/Producer
Objectives Means Ends
Aims Status-quo Change
Actions Do things right Do the right thing
Horizon Long-term Short-term
Seeks Vision Objectives
Approach Sets direction  Plans detail
Decision Facilitates Makes
Power Personal charisma Formal authority
Appeal to Heart Head
Energy Passion Control
Dynamic Proactive Reactive
Persuasion Sell Tell
Style Transformational Transactional
Exchange Excitement for work Money for work
Likes Striving Action
Wants Achievement Results
Risk Takes Minimizes
Rules Breaks Makes
Conflict Uses Avoids
Direction New roads Existing roads
Truth Seeks Establishes
Concern What is right Being right
Credit Gives Takes
Blame Takes Blames


Leadership facilitates the accomplishment of the work and develops the employee; nonleadership accomplishes the work at the expense of the employee.

Two more discussions on this subject can be found here and here

Two short video on leadership pt.1:

Short video on leadership pt.2

An Alternate View of Management vs. Leadership here

What Is Motivation?

Does your job motivate you?

In the most general of terms, motivation is the psychological feature that arouses an individual to action toward a desired goal. Motivation can also be the reason for an individual’s action or that which gives purpose and direction to behavior. In other words, motivation is an incentive that generates goal-directed behavior.

Motivational Theory

Motivation comes in many forms and what motivates one individual is not necessarily the same for their team members. Therefore, it is important to understand how motivation differs among individuals and how these differences affect the overall drive and determination of a team toward a goal.

To better understand the complexities of motivation researchers over the years have developed a number of theories to try to explain why people behave in the ways that they do and to try to predict what people actually will do, based on these theories. These theories, called motivational theories are often split into two categories –content theories and process theories.

Content theories center on finding what makes people tick or appeals to them. These theories suggest that people have certain needs and/or desires which have been internalized as they mature to adulthood. These theories look at what it is about certain people that make them want the things that they do and what things in their environment will make them do or not do certain things. Two popular content theories are Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Hertzberg’s Two Factor Theory.

Process theories focus on how and by what goals people are motivated. Process theories of motivation look at what people are thinking about when they decide whether or not to put effort into a particular activity. There are of a number of this type of approach to motivation theory one of which is Adam’s Equity Theory.

Industrial psychologists
have used these ideas on motivational theory to develop management theories based on what we have learned motivates individuals. Nearly all motivational theory, regardless of the approach outlines significant differences in how individuals are motivated on their own and how they are motivated when being part of a team.

Team motivation tends to be much more difficult. There are more possibilities to motivate a team, yet at the same time there are more motivational factors to fulfill for a team in order to gain motivation.

The Leadership Motivation Assessment

How motivated are you to lead?

The first and most basic prerequisite for leadership is the desire to lead. After all, becoming an effective leader takes hard work. If you’re not prepared to work hard at developing your leadership skills or if, deep down, you’re really not sure whether you want to lead or not, you’ll struggle to become an effective leader.

Are you motivated to lead? This assessment helps you find the answer.

Take the leadership motivation poll here.

How to Use the Tool:

To use this tool, show the extent to which you agree with each of the following statements on a scale running from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree).

Score Interpretation

Score Comment
10 – 19 This implies a low motivation to lead
20 – 39 This implies some uncertainty over your motivation to lead
40 – 50 This implies a strong motivation to lead.

Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ)

A major problem in leadership research and theory has been lack of agreement about which behavior categories are relevant and meaningful. It is difficult to integrate findings from five decades of research unless the many diverse leadership behaviors can be integrated in a parsimonious and meaningful conceptual framework. An emerging solution is a hierarchical taxonomy with three metacategories (task, relations, and change behavior). Confirmatory factor analysis of a behavior description questionnaire found more support for this taxonomy than for alternative models.

The Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ) was developed by the staff of the Personnel Research Board, The Ohio State University, as one project of the Ohio State Leadership Studies, directed by Dr. Carroll L. Shartle. The LBDQ provides a technique whereby group members may describe the behavior of the leader, or leaders, in any type of group or organization, provided the followers have had an opportunity to observe the leader in action as a leader of their group. The surveys and their manuals may be found here.

Leadership traits

Beliefs are what we hold dear to us and are rooted deeply within us. They could be assumptions or convictions that you hold true regarding people, concepts, or things. They could be the beliefs about life, death, religion, what is good, what is bad, what is human nature, etc.

Values are attitudes about the worth of people, concepts, or things. For example, you might value a good car, home, friendship, personal comfort, or relatives. Values are important as they influence a person’s behavior to weigh the importance of alternatives. For example, you might value friends more than privacy, while others might be the opposite.

are the knowledge and abilities that a person gains throughout life. The ability to learn a new skill varies with each individual. Some skills come almost naturally, while others come only by complete devotion to study and practice.

Traits are distinguishing qualities or characteristics of a person, while character is the sum total of these traits. As we discussed previously, there are hundreds of personality traits, but if we focus on a few that are crucial for a leader, they may include the following:

Leadership Traits

Leadership Traits

The more of the following you display as a leader, the more your followers will believe and trust in you.

[Compiled by the Santa Clara University and the Tom Peters Group]:

Leadership Behaviours

Often, we find two of these styles present in books and training materials. For example, concern for task is set against concern for people (after Blake and Mouton 1964); and directive is contrasted with participative leadership (for example, McGregor’s [1960] portrayal of managers as ‘Theory X’ or ‘Theory Y’). A Participative Leader, rather than taking autocratic decisions, seeks to involve other people in the process, possibly including subordinates, peers, superiors and other stakeholders.

Often, however, as it is within the managers’ whim to give or deny control to his or her subordinates, most participative activity is within the immediate team. The question of how much influence others are given thus may vary on the manager’s preferences and beliefs, and a whole spectrum of participation is possible, as in the table below.

The continium of leadership behaviour

The continium of leadership behaviour

If you have been on a teamwork or leadership development course then it is likely you will have come across some variant of this in an exercise or discussion.

Many of the early writers that looked to participative and people-centred leadership, argued that it brought about greater satisfaction amongst followers (subordinates). However, as Sadler (1997) reports, when researchers really got to work on this it didn’t seem to stand up. There were lots of differences and inconsistencies between studies. It was difficult to say style of leadership was significant in enabling one group to work better than another. Perhaps the main problem, though, was one shared with those who looked for traits (Wright 1996: 47). The researchers did not look properly at the context or setting in which the style was used. Is it possible that the same style would work as well in a gang or group of friends, and in a hospital emergency room? The styles that leaders can adopt are far more affected by those they are working with, and the environment they are operating within, than had been originally thought.

A printable questionnaire on whether a management style is ‘X’ or ‘Y’ can be found here.

A-Z of leadership behaviours here.

As the early researchers ran out of steam in their search for traits, they turned to what leaders did – how they behaved (especially towards followers). They moved from leaders to leadership – and this became the dominant way of approaching leadership within organizations in the 1950s and early 1960s. Different patterns of behaviour were grouped together and labelled as styles.

This became a very popular activity within management training – perhaps the best known being Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid (1964; 1978). Various schemes appeared, designed to diagnose and develop people’s style of working. Despite different names, the basic ideas were very similar. The four main styles that appear are:

· Concern for task. Here leaders emphasize the achievement of concrete objectives. They look for high levels of productivity, and ways to organize people and activities in order to meet those objectives.

· Concern for people. In this style, leaders look upon their followers as people – their needs, interests, problems, development and so on. They are not simply units of production or means to an end.

· Directive leadership. This style is characterized by leaders taking decisions for others – and expecting followers or subordinates to follow instructions.

· Participative leadership. Here leaders try to share decision-making with others.(Wright 1996: 36-7)

Blake/Moulton Leadership Grid

Balancing Task- and People-Oriented Leadership. When your boss puts you in charge of organizing the company Christmas party, what do you do first? Do you develop a time line and start assigning tasks or do you think about who would prefer to do what and try to schedule around their needs? When the planning starts to fall behind schedule, what is your first reaction? Do you chase everyone to get back on track, or do you ease off a bit recognizing that everyone is busy just doing his/her job, let alone the extra tasks you’ve assigned?

Your answers to these types of questions can reveal a great deal about your personal leadership style.

Some leaders are very task-oriented; they simply want to get things done. Others are very people-oriented; they want people to be happy. And others are a combination of the two. If you prefer to lead by setting and enforcing tight schedules, you tend to be more production-oriented (or task-oriented). If you make people your priority and try to accommodate employee needs, then you’re more people-oriented.

Neither preference is right or wrong, just as no one type of leadership style is best for all situations. However, it’s useful to understand what your natural leadership tendencies are, so that you can then working on developing skills that you may be missing.

A popular framework for thinking about a leader’s ‘task versus person’ orientation was developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in the early 1960s. Called the Managerial Grid, or Leadership Grid, it plots the degree of task-centeredness versus person-centeredness and identifies five combinations as distinct leadership styles.

Understanding the Model

The Managerial Grid is based on two behavioral dimensions:

* Concern for People – This is the degree to which a leader considers the needs of team members, their interests, and areas of personal development when deciding how best to accomplish a task

* Concern for Production – This is the degree to which a leader emphasizes concrete objectives, organizational efficiency and high productivity when deciding how best to accomplish a task.

Using the axis to plot leadership ‘concerns for production’ versus ‘concerns for people’, Blake and Mouton defined the following five leadership styles:

Blake/Moulton Leadership Grid

Blake/Moulton Leadership Grid

Country Club Leadership – High People/Low Production

This style of leader is most concerned about the needs and feelings of members of his/her team. These people operate under the assumption that as long as team members are happy and secure then they will work hard. What tends to result is a work environment that is very relaxed and fun but where production suffers due to lack of direction and control.

Produce or Perish Leadership – High Production/Low People

Also known as Authoritarian or Compliance Leaders, people in this category believe that employees are simply a means to an end. Employee needs are always secondary to the need for efficient and productive workplaces. This type of leader is very autocratic, has strict work rules, policies, and procedures, and views punishment as the most effective means to motivate employees. (See Theory X/Theory Y)

Impoverished Leadership – Low Production/ Low People

This leader is mostly ineffective. He/she has neither a high regard for creating systems for getting the job done, nor for creating a work environment that is satisfying and motivating. The result is a place of disorganization, dissatisfaction and disharmony.

Middle-of-the-Road Leadership – Medium Production/Medium People
This style seems to be a balance of the two competing concerns. It may at first appear to be an ideal compromise. Therein lies the problem, though: When you compromise, you necessarily give away a bit of each concern so that neither production nor people needs are fully met. Leaders who use this style settle for average performance and often believe that this is the most anyone can expect.

Team Leadership – High Production/High People
According to the Blake Mouton model, this is the pinnacle of managerial style. These leaders stress production needs and the needs of the people equally highly. The premise here is that employees are involved in understanding organizational purpose and determining production needs. When employees are committed to, and have a stake in the organization’s success, their needs and production needs coincide. This creates a team environment based on trust and respect, which leads to high satisfaction and motivation and, as a result, high production. (See Theory Y.)

Applying the Blake Mouton Managerial Grid

Being aware of the various approaches is the first step in understanding and improving how well you perform as a manager. It is important to understand how you currently operate, so that you can then identify ways of becoming competent in both realms.

Step One: Identify your leadership style.

* Think of some recent situations where you were the leader.
* For each of these situations, place yourself in the grid according to where you believe you fit.

Step Two: Identify areas of improvement and develop your leadership skills

* Look at your current leadership method and critically analyze its effectiveness.
* Look at ways you can improve. Are you settling for ‘middle of the road’ because it is easier than reaching for more?
* Identify ways to get the skills you need to reach the Team Leadership position. These may include involving others in problem solving or improving how you communicate with them, if you feel you are too task-oriented. Or it may mean becoming clearer about scheduling or monitoring project progress if you tend to focus too much on people.
* Continually monitor your performance and watch for situations when you slip back into bad old habits.

Step Three: Put the Grid in Context

It is important to recognize that the Team Leadership style isn’t always the most effective approach in every situation. While the benefits of democratic and participative management are universally accepted, there are times that call for more attention in one area than another. If your company is in the midst of a merger or some other significant change, it is often acceptable to place a higher emphasis on people than on production. Likewise, when faced with an economic hardship or physical risk, people concerns may be placed on the back burner, for the short-term at least, to achieve high productivity and efficiency.

Theories of leadership have moved on a certain amount since the Blake Mouton Grid was originally proposed. In particular, the context in which leadership occurs is now seen as an important driver of the leadership style used.

And in many situations, the “Team Leader” as an ideal has moved to the ideal of the “Transformational Leader”: Someone who, according to leadership researcher Bernard Bass:

* Is a model of integrity and fairness;
* Sets clear goals;
* Has high expectations;
* Encourages;
* Provides support and recognition;
* Stirs people’s emotions;
* Gets people to look beyond their self-interest; and
* Inspires people to reach for the improbable.

So use Blake Mouton as a helpful model, but don’t treat it as an “eternal truth”.

Key Points

The Blake Mouton Managerial Grid is a practical and useful framework that helps you think about your leadership style. By plotting ‘concern for production’ against ‘concern for people’, the grid highlights how placing too much emphasis in one area at the expense of the other leads to low overall productivity.

The model proposes that when both people and production concerns are high, employee engagement and productivity increases accordingly. This is often true, and it follows the ideas of Theories X and Y, and other participative management theories. While the grid does not entirely address the complexity of “Which leadership style is best?”, it certainly provides an excellent starting place to critically analyze your own performance and improve your general leadership skills.

Fiedler’s Contingency Theory

The Fiedler contingency model is a leadership theory of industrial and organizational psychology developed by Fred Fiedler (born 1922), one of the leading scientists who helped his field move from the research of traits and personal characteristics of leaders to leadership styles and behaviours.

Contingency Theory shows the relationship between the leader’s orientation or style and group performance under differing situational conditions. The theory is based on determining the orientation of the leader (relationship or task), the elements of the situation (leader-member relations, task structure, and leader position power), and the leader orientation that was found to be most effective as the situation changed from low to moderate to high control. Fiedler found that task oriented leaders were more effective in low and moderate control situations and relationship oriented managers were more effective in moderate control situations.

LPC scale and instructions can be found here.

Contingency Theory Definitions

Leader-member relations: The regard with which the leader and the group members hold one another determines, in part, the ability of the leader to influence the group and the conditions under which he or she can do so. A leader who is accepted by the group members is in a more favorable situation than one who is not.

Task structure: Factors that determine task structure are:

1.) can a decision be demonstrated as correct,
2.) are the requirements of the task understood by everyone,
3.) is there more than one way to accomplish the task, and
4.) is there more than one correct solution. If the group’s task is unstructured, and if the leader is no more knowledgeable that the group about how to accomplish the task, the situation is unfavorable.

Leader position power
: Position power is determined at its most basic level by the rewards and punishments which the leader officially has at his or her disposal for either rewarding or punishing the group members on the basis of performance. The more power the leader has, the more favorable the situation.



Situational Elements

Leader Orientation

Relationship Orientated
: (LPC score of 73 and above) Generally, high LPC leaders are more concerned with personal relations, more sensitive to the feelings of others, and better off at heading off conflict. They use their good relations with the group to get the job done. They are better able to deal with the complex issues in making decisions.

In high control situations, they tend to become bored and are no longer challenged. They may seek approval from their superiors ignoring their subordinates, or they may try to reorganize the task. As a result, they often become inconsiderate toward their subordinates, more punishing, and more concerned with performance of the task.

In moderate control situations, they focus on group relations. They reduce the anxiety and tension of group members, and thus reduce conflict. They handle creative decision making groups well. They see this situation as challenging and interesting and perform well in it.

In low control situations, they become absorbed in obtaining group support often at the expense of the task. Under extremely stressful situations, they may also withdraw from the leadership role, failing to direct the group’s work.

Task Oriented: (LPC score of 64 and below) Generally, low LPC leaders are more concerned with the task, and less dependent on group support. They tend to be eager and impatient to get on with the work. They quickly organize the job and have a no-nonsense attitude about getting the work done.
In moderate control situations, they tend to be anxious and less effective. This situation is often characterized by group conflict, which low LPC leaders do not like to handle. They become absorbed in the task and pay little attention to personal relations in the group. They tend to be insensitive to the feelings of their group members, and the group resents the lack of concern.

In high control situations, they tend to relax and to develop pleasant relations with subordinates. They are easy to get along with. As the work gets done, they do not interfere with the group or expect interference from their superiors.

In low control situations, they devote themselves to their challenging task. They organize and drive the group to task completion. They also tend to control the group tightly and maintain strict discipline. Group members often respect low LPC leaders for enabling them to reach the group’s goals in difficult situations. LPC scores between 65 and 72: If your score fall into this borderline area, you must carefully analyze your leadership style as you learn more about the relationship oriented and task oriented styles.

Note: There is no single leadership style that is effective in all situations. Rather, certain leadership styles are better suited for some situations than for others. Fiedler found that the effectiveness of the leader is “contingent” upon the orientation of the leader and the favorableness of the situation.

Path-Goal Theory

The Path-Goal Theory of Leadership was developed to describe the way that leaders encourage and support their followers in achieving the goals they have been set by making the path that they should take clear and easy.

In particular, leaders:

* Clarify the path so subordinates know which way to go.
* Remove roadblocks that are stopping them going there.
* Increasing the rewards along the route.

Leaders can take a strong or limited approach in these. In clarifying the path, they may be directive or give vague hints. In removing roadblocks, they may scour the path or help the follower move the bigger blocks. In increasing rewards, they may give occasional encouragement or pave the way with gold.

This variation in approach will depend on the situation, including the follower’s capability and motivation, as well as the difficulty of the job and other contextual factors.

House and Mitchell (1974) describe four styles of leadership:

Supportive leadership

Considering the needs of the follower, showing concern for their welfare and creating a friendly working environment. This includes increasing the follower’s self-esteem and making the job more interesting. This approach is best when the work is stressful, boring or hazardous.

Directive leadership

Telling followers what needs to be done and giving appropriate guidance along the way. This includes giving them schedules of specific work to be done at specific times. Rewards may also be increased as needed and role ambiguity decreased (by telling them what they should be doing).

This may be used when the task is unstructured and complex and the follower is inexperienced. This increases the follower’s sense of security and control and hence is appropriate to the situation.
Participative leadership

Consulting with followers and taking their ideas into account when making decisions and taking particular actions. This approach is best when the followers are expert and their advice is both needed and they expect to be able to give it.

Achievement-oriented leadership

Setting challenging goals, both in work and in self-improvement (and often together). High standards are demonstrated and expected. The leader shows faith in the capabilities of the follower to succeed. This approach is best when the task is complex.


Leaders who show the way and help followers along a path are effectively ‘leading’.

This approach assumes that there is one right way of achieving a goal and that the leader can see it and the follower cannot. This casts the leader as the knowing person and the follower as dependent.

It also assumes that the follower is completely rational and that the appropriate methods can be deterministically selected depending on the situation.

Situational Leadership Theory

According to Hersey and Blanchard (1996), situational leadership theory is based on the interaction among the dimensions of task behavior and relationship behavior, as well as follower readiness/maturity for performing a certain task. In their view, followers are the most critical factor in leadership proceedings. As followers differ, so does the suitable method of management. Thus, a “one size fits all” style of management does not exist. Situational leadership could quite arguably be the most successful theory of leadership from a sales and marketing standpoint. However, it has been all but disregarded in the literature. This may be an example of an excellent extension to practice – unfortunately, if the literature holds true, maybe it was not the best model to hit the big time.

Situational leadership
examines “how leaders can become effective in many different types of organizational settings involving a wide variety of organizational tasks” (Northouse, 2001, p. 55). Leadership style is “how you behave when you are trying to influence the performance of someone else and is a combination of directive and supportive behaviors” (Blanchard, Zigarmi & Zigarmi, 1985, p. 46). According to Blanchard, Zigarmi and Zigarmi (1985) directive behavior involves “clearly telling people what to do, how to do it, where to do it, and when to do it, and then loosely supervising their performance” while supportive behavior “involves listening to people, providing support and encouragement for their efforts, and then facilitating their involvement in problem-solving and decision making” (p. 46).

The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership theory is based on the amount of direction (task behavior) and amount of socio-emotional support (relationship behavior) a leader must provide given the situation and the “level of maturity” of the followers. Task behavior is the extent to which the leader engages in spelling out the duties and responsibilities to an individual or group. This behavior includes telling people what to do, how to do it, when to do it, where to do it, and who’s to do it. In task behavior the leader engages in one-way communication. Relationship behavior is the extent to which the leader engages in two-way or multi-way communications. This includes listening, facilitating, and supportive behaviors. In relationship behavior the leader engages in two-way communication by providing socio-emotional support. Maturity is the willingness and ability of a person to take responsibility for directing his or her own behavior. People tend to have varying degrees of maturity, depending on the specific task, function, or objective that a leader is attempting to accomplish through their efforts.

To determine the appropriate leadership style to use in a given situation, the leader must first determine the maturity level of the followers in relation to the specific task that the leader is attempting to accomplish through the effort of the followers. As the level of followers’ maturity increases, the leader should begin to reduce his or her task behavior and increase relationship behavior until the followers reach a moderate level of maturity. As the followers begin to move into an above average level of maturity, the leader should decrease not only task behavior but also relationship behavior.

Once the maturity level is identified, the appropriate leadership style can be determined. The four leadership styles are telling, selling, participating, and delegating. High task/low relationship behavior (S1) is referred to as “telling.” The leader provides clear instructions and specific direction. Telling style is best matched with a low follower readiness level. High task/high relationship behavior (S2) is referred to as “selling.” The leader encourages two-way communication and helps build confidence and motivation on the part of the employee, although the leader still has responsibility and controls decision making. Selling style is best matched with a moderate follower readiness level. High relationship/low task behavior (S3) is referred to as “participating.” With this style, the leader and followers share decision making and no longer need or expect the relationship to be directive. Participating style is best matched with a moderate follower readiness level. Low relationship/low task behavior (S4) is labeled “delegating.” This style is appropriate for leaders whose followers are ready to accomplish a particular task and are both competent and motivated to take full responsibility. Delegating style is best matched with a high follower readiness level.

Most of decision theory is normative or prescriptive, i.e. it is concerned with identifying the best decision to take, assuming an ideal decision maker who is fully informed, able to compute with perfect accuracy, and fully rational. The practical application of this prescriptive approach (how people should make decisions) is called decision analysis, and aimed at finding tools, methodologies and software to help people make better decisions.

Decision Style

Decision Style

The most systematic and comprehensive software tools developed in this way are called decision support systems.

Normative Decision Theory

Since it is obvious that people do not typically behave in optimal ways, there is also a related area of study, which is a positive or descriptive discipline, attempting to describe what people will actually do. Since the normative, optimal decision often creates hypotheses for testing against actual behaviour, the two fields are closely linked. Furthermore it is possible to relax the assumptions of perfect information, rationality and so forth in various ways, and produce a series of different prescriptions or predictions about behaviour, allowing for further tests of the kind of decision-making that occurs in practice.

Decision Tree Analysis – Choosing Between Options by Projecting Likely Outcomes

Decision Trees are useful tools for helping you to choose between several courses of action.

They provide a highly effective structure within which you can explore options, and investigate the possible outcomes of choosing those options. They also help you to form a balanced picture of the risks and rewards associated with each possible course of action.

This makes them particularly useful for choosing between different strategies, projects or investment opportunities, particularly when your resources are limited.
How to Use the Tool

You start a Decision Tree with a decision that you need to make. Draw a small square to represent this on the left hand side of a large piece of paper, half way down the page.

From this box draw out lines towards the right for each possible solution, and write a short description of the solution along the line. Keep the lines apart as far as possible so that you can expand your thoughts.

At the end of each line, consider the results. If the result of taking that decision is uncertain, draw a small circle. If the result is another decision that you need to make, draw another square. Squares represent decisions, and circles represent uncertain outcomes. Write the decision or factor above the square or circle. If you have completed the solution at the end of the line, just leave it blank.

Starting from the new decision squares on your diagram, draw out lines representing the options that you could select. From the circles draw lines representing possible outcomes. Again make a brief note on the line saying what it means. Keep on doing this until you have drawn out as many of the possible outcomes and decisions as you can see leading on from the original decisions.

An example of the sort of thing you will end up with is shown in Figure 1:

Consolidate or Develop New Product? Example Decision-Tree

Consolidate or Develop New Product? Example Decision-Tree

Once you have done this, review your tree diagram. Challenge each square and circle to see if there are any solutions or outcomes you have not considered. If there are, draw them in. If necessary, redraft your tree if parts of it are too congested or untidy. You should now have a good understanding of the range of possible outcomes of your decisions.

Evaluating Your Decision Tree

Now you are ready to evaluate the decision tree. This is where you can work out which option has the greatest worth to you. Start by assigning a cash value or score to each possible outcome. Make your best assessment of how much you think it would be worth to you if that outcome came about.

Next look at each circle (representing an uncertainty point) and estimate the probability of each outcome. If you use percentages, the total must come to 100% at each circle. If you use fractions, these must add up to 1. If you have data on past events you may be able to make rigorous estimates of the probabilities. Otherwise write down your best guess.

This will give you a tree like the one shown in Figure 2:

Calculating Tree Values

Once you have worked out the value of the outcomes, and have assessed the probability of the outcomes of uncertainty, it is time to start calculating the values that will help you make your decision.

Start on the right hand side of the decision tree, and work back towards the left. As you complete a set of calculations on a node (decision square or uncertainty circle), all you need to do is to record the result. You can ignore all the calculations that lead to that result from then on.
Calculating The Value of Uncertain Outcome Nodes

Where you are calculating the value of uncertain outcomes (circles on the diagram), do this by multiplying the value of the outcomes by their probability. The total for that node of the tree is the total of these values.

In the example in Figure 2, the value for ‘new product, thorough development’ is:

0.4 (probability good outcome) x $1,000,000 (value) = $400,000
0.4 (probability moderate outcome) x £50,000 (value) = $20,000
0.2 (probability poor outcome) x £2,000 (value) = $400 + $420,400

Figure 3 shows the calculation of uncertain outcome nodes:

Note that the values calculated for each node are shown in the boxes.

Calculating the Value of Decision Nodes

When you are evaluating a decision node, write down the cost of each option along each decision line. Then subtract the cost from the outcome value that you have already calculated. This will give you a value that represents the benefit of that decision.

Note that amounts already spent do not count for this analysis – these are ‘sunk costs’ and (despite the emotional cost) should not be factored into the decision.

When you have calculated these decision benefits, choose the option that has the largest benefit, and take that as the decision made. This is the value of that decision node.

Figure 4 shows this calculation of decision nodes in our example:

Decision Tree Diagram

In this example, the benefit we previously calculated for ‘new product, thorough development’ was $420,400. We estimate the future cost of this approach as $150,000. This gives a net benefit of $270,400.

The net benefit of ‘new product, rapid development’ was $31,400. On this branch we therefore choose the most valuable option, ‘new product, thorough development’, and allocate this value to the decision node.


By applying this technique we can see that the best option is to develop a new product. It is worth much more to us to take our time and get the product right, than to rush the product to market. And it’s better just to improve our existing products than to botch a new product, even though it costs us less.

Key Points

Decision trees provide an effective method of decision making because they:

* Clearly lay out the problem so that all options can be challenged.
* Allow us to analyze the possible consequences of a decision fully.
* Provide a framework to quantify the values of outcomes and the probabilities of achieving them.
* Help us to make the best decisions on the basis of existing information and best guesses.

As with all Decision Making methods, decision tree analysis should be used in conjunction with common sense – decision trees are just one important part of your Decision Making tool kit.

Improving leadership

The following suggestions are offered as ways to maximize leadership:

*Be technically and tactically proficient.

* Know yourself, and seek self-improvement.

* Know your people and look out for their welfare.

* Keep your people informed.

* Set the example. Be what you ask your people to be. Do what you ask your people to do.

* Ensure that the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished.

* Train your people as a team.

* Make sound and timely decisions.

* Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates.

* Employ your command in accordance with its capabilities.

* Seek responsibility, and take responsibility for your actions.

Additional considerations

It is appropriate to mention some additional considerations of leadership that may help one understand it more fully. These were presented by George Terry in his book, Principles of Management.

First, some irritations are almost always present in the leader-follower relationship. This is simply human nature. Many people are not well organized or self-motivated. They accept others to get them to do what they know should but will not be done unless leadership is present. The leader can be liked or disliked, but he must have the respect of his followers. They may not be overcome with affection for him, but they are glad to have the leader they have because they are getting somewhere.

Leadership requires followers. Leaders are created as the result of either formal or informal actions. Whatever the reason, to be effective the leader must retain and develop the continued acceptance and the confidence of the group members.

Time influences leadership. For example, most leaders are influenced somewhat by the time in which they live, as revealed by the opportunities which either exist or can be created during their active work life. We are all conditioned to a greater or less degree by the times in which we live. Furthermore, a time of emergency seems to bring about a greater emphasis on leadership. A good example of this is the September 11th tragedy in New York City and the embracement of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as leader.

Finally, a leader operates in the light of publicity; people know his achievements or failures. When the leader is successful, many will emulate his achievements, but a few will envy his accomplishments. There are always a few who delight in clamoring denial of a leader’s achievements. However, the successful leader is not deterred from his appointed goal by these minority cries. He continues to lead and remain a leader.

Your profession and your organization depend upon the quality of its leadership. Remember, good people will not stay forever in an organization lacking quality leadership. They will leave. Leadership is about action. Leaders get up and go. You will discover that every organization is perfectly aligned to get the result it is getting. Leadership is required to get the organization to its next level. What an opportunity and what a responsibility! It is all up to you. If you have vision plus ability and willingness to lead your profession and organization, then, to paraphrase William Faulkner, “Your organization will not merely endure, it will prevail.”

free chapter of a leadership book here

A hierarchical taxonomy of leadership behavior: integrating a half century of behavior research – a paper can be found here.

To view slides full page or to download them click HERE.

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