leaders make things happen
13 Leadership Essentials
the key point
Not all managers are leaders and not all leaders are managers. In a managerial position, being a
leader requires understanding how to adapt one’s management style to the situation to generate
willing and effective followership. As shown in the Zappos example, the most successful leaders are
those who are able to generate strong cultures in which employees work together to get things done.
chapter at a glance
What Is Leadership?
What Are Situational Contingency Approaches to Leadership?
What Are Follower-Centered Approaches to Leadership?
What Are Inspirational and Relational Leadership Perspectives?
ETHICS IN OB
CEO PAY—IS IT EXCESSIVE?
FINDING THE LEADER IN YOU
LOOKING FOR LEADER MATCH AT GOOGLE
OB IN POPULAR CULTURE
PATH-GOAL AND REMEMBER THE TITANS
PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP AND PEACE
292 13 Leadership Essentials
Managers versus Leaders / Trait Leadership Perspectives /
Behavioral Leadership Perspectives
Most people assume that anyone in management, particularly the CEO, is a leader.
Currently, however, controversy has arisen over this assumption. We can all think
of examples where managers do not perform much, if any, leadership, as well as
instances where leadership is performed by people who are not in management.
Researchers have even argued that failure to clearly recognize this difference is a
violation of “truth in advertising” because many studies labeled “leadership” may
actually be about “management.”1
Managers versus Leaders
• Leadership is the
process of influencing
others and the process of
facilitating individual and
collective efforts to
A key way of differentiating between managers and leaders is to argue that the
role of management is to promote stability or to enable the organization to run
smoothly, whereas the role of leadership is to promote adaptive or useful
changes.2 Persons in managerial positions could be involved with both management and leadership activities, or they could emphasize one activity at the
expense of the other. Both management and leadership are needed, however,
and if managers do not assume responsibility for both, then they should ensure
that someone else handles the neglected activity. The point is that when we discuss leadership, we do not assume it is identical to management.
For our purposes, we treat leadership as the process of influencing others
to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the
process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives.3 Leadership appears in two forms: (1) formal leadership, which is exerted
by persons appointed or elected to positions of formal authority in organizations,
and (2) informal leadership, which is exerted by persons who become influential
because they have special skills that meet the needs of others. Although both
types are important in organizations, this chapter will emphasize formal leadership; informal leadership will be addressed in the next chapter.4
The leadership literature is vast—thousands of studies at last count—and
consists of numerous approaches.5 We have grouped these approaches into two
chapters: Leadership Essentials, Chapter 13, and Leadership Challenges and Organizational Change, Chapter 14. The present chapter focuses on trait and behavioral
Change Brings Out the Leader
Avon CEO Andrea Jung feels “there is a big difference
between being a leader and being a manager.” That
difference lies in being flexible and willing to change.
According to Jung, if you have difficulty with change you
will have a harder time being successful as a leader.
theory perspectives, cognitive and symbolic leadership perspectives, and transformational and charismatic leadership approaches. Chapter 14 deals with such
leadership challenges as how to be a moral leader, how to share leadership, how
to lead across cultures, how to be a strategic leader of major units, and, of course,
how to lead change. Many of the perspectives in each chapter include several
models. Although each of these models may be useful to you in a given work
setting, we invite you to mix and match them as necessary in your setting, just as
we did earlier with the motivational models discussed in Chapter 5.
Trait Leadership Perspectives
For over a century, scholars have attempted to identify the key characteristics that
separate leaders from nonleaders. Much of this work stressed traits. Trait perspectives assume that traits play a central role in differentiating between leaders
and nonleaders in that leaders must have the “right stuff.”6 The great person-trait
approach reflects the attempt to use traits to separate leaders from nonleaders.
This list of possible traits identified only became longer as researchers focused on
the leadership traits linked to successful leadership and organizational performance. Unfortunately, few of the same traits were identified across studies. Part
of the problem involved inadequate theory, poor measurement of traits, and the
confusion between managing and leading.
Fortunately, recent research has yielded promising results. A number of traits
have been found that help identify important leadership strengths, as outlined in
Figure 13.1. As it turns out, most of these traits also tend to predict leadership
Key traits of leaders include ambition, motivation, honesty, self-confidence,
and a high need for achievement. They crave power not as an end in itself but as
a means to achieve a vision or desired goals. At the same time, they must have
enough emotional maturity to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, and
have to be oriented toward self-improvement. Furthermore, to be trusted, they
must have authenticity; without trust, they cannot hope to maintain the loyalty of
their followers. Leaders are not easily discouraged, and they stick to a chosen
• Trait perspectives
assume that traits play a
central role in
leaders and nonleaders or
in predicting leader or
Energy and adjustment or stress tolerance: Physical vitality and emotional resilience
Prosocial power motivation: A high need for power exercised primarily for the benefit
Achievement orientation: Need for achievement, desire to excel, drive to success,
willingness to assume responsibility, concern for task objectives
Emotional maturity: Well-adjusted, does not suffer from severe psychological disorders
Self-confidence: General confidence in self and in the ability to perform the job of a leader
Integrity: Behavior consistent with espoused values; honest, ethical, trustworthy
Perseverance or tenacity: Ability to overcome obstacles; strength of will
Cognitive ability, intelligence, social intelligence: Ability to gather, integrate, and
interpret information; intelligence, understanding of social setting
Task-relevant knowledge: Knowledge about the company, industry, and technical aspects
Flexibility: Ability to respond appropriately to changes in the setting
Positive Impact on Leadership Success
Figure 13.1 Traits with
positive implications for
294 13 Leadership Essentials
course of action as they push toward goal accomplishment. At the same time,
they must be able to deal with the large amount of information they receive on a
regular basis. They do not need to be brilliant, but usually exhibit above-average
intelligence. In addition, leaders have a good understanding of their social setting
and possess extensive knowledge concerning their industry, firm, and job.
Even with these traits, however, the individual still needs to be engaged. To lead
is to influence others, and so we turn to the question of how a leader should act.
Behavioral Leadership Perspectives
• The behavioral
perspective assumes that
leadership is central to
performance and other
How should managerial leaders act toward subordinates? The behavioral perspective assumes that leadership is central to performance and other outcomes.
However, instead of underlying traits, behaviors are considered. Two classic
research programs—at the University of Michigan and at the Ohio State University—provide useful insights into leadership behaviors.
Michigan Studies In the late 1940s, researchers at the University of Michigan
sought to identify the leadership pattern that results in effective performance.
From interviews of high- and low-performing groups in different organizations,
the researchers derived two basic forms of leader behaviors: employee-centered
and production-centered. Employee-centered supervisors are those who place
strong emphasis on their subordinates’ welfare. In contrast, production-centered
supervisors are more concerned with getting the work done. In general, employeecentered supervisors were found to have more productive workgroups than did
the production-centered supervisors.8
These behaviors are generally viewed on a continuum, with employeecentered supervisors at one end and production-centered supervisors at the other.
Sometimes, the more general terms human-relations oriented and task oriented
are used to describe these alternative leader behaviors.
• A leader high in
consideration is sensitive
to people’s feelings.
• A leader high in
initiating structure is
concerned with spelling
out the task requirements
and clarifying aspects of
the work agenda.
• Leadership grid is an
approach that uses a grid
that places concern for
production on the horizontal
axis and concern for people
on the vertical axis.
Ohio State Studies At about the same time as the Michigan studies, an important leadership research program began at the Ohio State University. A questionnaire
was administered in both industrial and military settings to measure subordinates’
perceptions of their superiors’ leadership behavior. The researchers identified two
dimensions similar to those found in the Michigan studies: consideration and
initiating structure.9 A highly considerate leader was found to be one who is
sensitive to people’s feelings and, much like the employee-centered leader, tries
to make things pleasant for his or her followers. In contrast, a leader high in initiating structure was found to be more concerned with defining task requirements
and other aspects of the work agenda; he or she might be seen as similar to a
production-centered supervisor. These dimensions are related to what people
sometimes refer to as socioemotional and task leadership, respectively.
At first, the Ohio State researchers believed that a leader high in consideration, or socioemotional warmth, would have more highly satisfied or better performing subordinates. Later results suggested, however, that many individuals in
leadership positions should be high in both consideration and initiating structure.
This dual emphasis is reflected in the leadership grid approach.
The Leadership Grid Robert Blake and Jane Mouton developed the leadership
grid approach based on extensions of the Ohio State dimensions. Leadership grid
results are plotted on a nine-position grid that places concern for production on
the horizontal axis and concern for people on the vertical axis, where 1 is minimum concern and 9 is maximum concern. As an example, those with a 1/9
style—low concern for production and high concern for people—are termed
“country club management.” They do not emphasize task accomplishment but
stress the attitudes, feelings, and social needs of people.10
Similarly, leaders with a 1/1 style—low concern for both production and
people—are termed “impoverished,” while a 5/5 style is labeled “middle of the
road.” A 9/1 leader—high concern for production and low concern for people—
Participatory Leadership and Peace
In an unusual cross-cultural organizational behavior study, Gretchen Spreitzer
examined the link between business leadership practices and indicators of
peace in nations. She found that earlier research suggested that peaceful
societies had (1) open and egalitarian decision making and (2) social control
processes that limit the use of coercive power. These two characteristics are
the hallmarks of participatory systems that empower people in the collective.
Spreitzer reasoned that business firms can provide open egalitarian decisions
by stressing participative leadership and empowerment.
Spreitzer recognized that broad cultural factors could also be important.
The degree to which the culture is future oriented and power distance
appeared relevant. And she reasoned that she needed specific measures of peace. She selected two
major indicators: (1) the level of corruption and (2) the level of unrest. The measure of unrest was a
combined measure of political instability, armed conflict, social unrest, and international disputes. While
she found a large leadership database that directly measured participative leadership, she developed
the measures of empowerment from another apparently unrelated survey. Two items appeared relevant: the decision freedom individuals reported (decision freedom), and the degree to which they felt
they had to comply with their boss regardless of whether they agreed with an order (compliance).
You can schematically think of this research in
terms of the following model.
As one might expect with exploratory research,
the findings support most of her hypotheses but
not all. Participative leadership was related to less
corruption and less unrest, as was the futureParticipative Leadership
oriented aspect of culture. Regarding empowerment, there were mixed results; decision freedom
was linked to less corruption and unrest, but the
compliance measure was only linked to more
Do the Research Do you agree that when business used participatory leadership, it legitimated the
democratically based style and increased the opportunity for individuals to express their voice? What other
research could be done to determine the link between leadership and peace?11
Source: Gretchen Spreitzer, “Giving Peace a Chance: Organizational Leadership, Empowerment, and Peace,” Journal of
Organizational Behavior 28 (2007), pp. 1077–1095.
296 13 Leadership Essentials
has a “task management” style. Finally, a 9/9 leader, high on both dimensions, is
considered to have a “team management” style; this is the ideal leader in Blake
and Mouton’s framework.
Cross-Cultural Implications It is important to consider whether the findings of
the Michigan, Ohio State, and grid studies transfer across national boundaries. Some
research in the United States, Britain, Hong Kong, and Japan shows that the behaviors must be carried out in different ways in alternative cultures. For instance, British
leaders are seen as considerate if they show subordinates how to use equipment,
whereas in Japan the highly considerate leader helps subordinates with personal
problems.12 We will see this pattern again as we discuss other theories. The concept
seems to transfer across boundaries, but the actual behaviors differ. Sometimes the
differences are slight, but in other cases they are not. Even subtle differences in the
leader’s situation can make a significant difference in precisely the type of behavior
needed for success. Successful leaders adjust their influence attempts to the situation.
Situational Contingency Leadership
LEARNING ROADMAP Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency View / Path-Goal View of Leadership /
Hersey and Blanchard Situational Leadership Model / Substitutes for Leadership
• Prosocial power
motivation is power
oriented toward benefiting
The trait and behavioral perspectives assume that leadership, by itself, would
have a strong impact on outcomes. Another development in leadership thinking
has recognized, however, that leader traits and behaviors can act in conjunction
with situational contingencies—other important aspects of the leadership situation—to predict outcomes. Traits are enhanced by their relevance to the leader’s
situational contingencies.13 For example, achievement motivation should be most
effective for challenging tasks that require initiative and the assumption of personal responsibility for success. Leader flexibility should be most predictive in
unstable environments or when leaders lead different people over time.
Prosocial power motivation, or power oriented toward benefiting others,
is likely to be most important in situations where decision implementation
requires lots of persuasion and social influence. “Strong” or “weak” situations also
make a difference. An example of a strong situation is a highly formal organization with lots of rules, procedures, and policies. An example of a weak situation
is one that is ambiguous and unstructured. In a strong situation traits will have
less impact than in a weaker, more unstructured situation because the leader has
less ability to influence the nature of the situation. In other words, leaders can’t
show dynamism as much when the organization restricts them.
Traits may also make themselves felt by influencing leader behaviors (e.g., a
leader high in energy engages in directive, take-charge behaviors).14 In an attempt
to isolate when particular traits and specific combinations of leader behavior and
situations are important, scholars have developed a number of situational contingency theories and models. Some of these theories emphasize traits, whereas
others deal exclusively with leader behaviors and the setting.
Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency View
Fred Fiedler’s leadership contingency view argues that team effectiveness depends
on an appropriate match between a leader’s style, essentially a trait measure, and the
Situational Contingency Leadership 297
demands of the situation.15 Specifically, Fiedler considers situational control—the
extent to which a leader can determine what his or her group is going to do—and
leader style as important in determining the outcomes of the group’s actions and
To measure a person’s leadership style, Fiedler uses an instrument called the
least–preferred co-worker (LPC) scale. Respondents are asked to describe the
person with whom they have been able to work least well—their least preferred
co-worker, or LPC—using a series of adjectives such as the following two:
Unfriendly ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
Pleasant ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
____ ____ ____
____ ____ ____
Fiedler argues that high-LPC leaders (those describing their LPC very positively) have a relationship-motivated style, whereas low-LPC leaders have a taskmotivated style. Because LPC is a style and does not change across settings, the
leaders’ actions vary depending on the degree of situational control. Specifically,
a task-motivated leader (low LPC) tends to be nondirective in high- and lowcontrol situations, and directive in those in between. A relationship-motivated
leader tends to be the opposite. Confused? Take a look at Figure 13.2 to clarify
the differences between high-LPC leaders and low-LPC leaders.
Figure 13.2 shows the task-motivated leader as being more effective when
the situation is high and low control, and the relationship-motivated leader as
being more effective when the situation is moderate control. The figure also
shows that Fiedler measures situational control with the following variables:
• Situational control is
the extent to which leaders
can determine what their
groups are going to do and
what the outcomes of their
actions are going to be.
• The least-preferred
co-worker (LPC) scale is
a measure of a person’s
leadership style b ...
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