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Leaders and Leadership: Factors That Influence Leaderships

Part II

Yaniv Shenhav

SWU “Neofit Rilski”



7. The Situational Approach in Exploring Leadership: Reddin’s Four Style Model

As opposed to the Traits Approach, which crowns the leader based upon his innate traits, and to the Behavioral approach, which portrays the condition process which the leader undergoes and conveys while inducing leadership and in social situations, which occur in group settings, the Situational Approach labels the leader, or portrays the prospect of leadership developing by the situation. In other words, it is the right person, at the right time, and in the right group. If an individual possesses the ability to interpret the situation, to be involved in it and modify his behavior according to the situation, he will be able maintain his leadership. When a leader is unable to interpret the given situation, he will fail (Fiedler, 1964, 1978; Friedman, 1992).

Behavior researcher William Reddin (1970) proposed a complex model, which addresses situational variables and leadership style variable. Reddin specified four basic leadership styles, constituting a consequence of placing of each leader on a continuum between two dimensions; the task orientation and the social orientation. Reddin argues that each of the basic styles may be either effective or ineffective, and there is importance not only to employing leadership style, but to matching the leader type to the led organization’s condition. Thus, there is no uniform, ideal leadership style for every place and every time. Rather, the set of traits is altered, and the style’s effectiveness is associated with the circumstances under which the leader acts. There are conditions which demand order fulfilling, such as crisis situations, where the task-oriented style is effective, or there may be situations where a task-oriented task may arouse resistance. Hence, Reddin presents a tri-dimensional theory, which examines leadership styles by the following three dimensions: task orientation, relationship orientation, effectiveness. Each of the above dimensions refer a continuum of traits, each standing by itself, thus a leader may be assessed differently in each dimension. An analysis based upon the three dimensions yields four leadership styles.

1) The “Dedicated” style – proves itself as an effective style; a leader who devotes most of his power to the task. As a “Benevolent Autocrat”, he is revealed as effective, thanks to his determination, intensity, and initiative, but as an ineffective leader the dedicated leader will become an “Autocrat”. He functions ineffectively and does not win his subordinates’ sympathy and support, he is critical and threatening, does not consult while making decision, but decides independently and demands full compliance.

2) The “Related” style is associated with a leader who extensively relates to his subordinates. As a developer, he is revealed as an effective leader, who works with collaboration, thanks to which, the two-way communication, understanding his subordinates, nurturing their talent, and encouraging them to demonstrate initiative and trusting him. However, when such a leader appears as a “Missionary”, his leadership will not be effective, causing him to act ineffectively, since most of his power is channeled toward casting a positive impression upon the subordinates at any cost, and on the tasks’ accounts, rendering himself dependent upon them.

3) The “Separated” style – such a leader follows instructions, observes every detail, acts irrationally, and is viewed as responsible. A “separated” leader is known as one little relating to both subordinates and the task, as a “Beaurocrat”. He is an effective leader, because he demonstrates responsibility, honesty, fairness, and loyalty in connection to following instructions and the customary procedures. As a “Deserter”, he will be ineffective, as neither does he take initiative, nor does he apply any effort beyond the required minimum.

4) The “Integrated” style – an effective leader who makes decision in a team setting, who extensively relates to his subordinates and to the task. As an “Executive”, he avoids emphasizing his power, but encourages and motivates his subordinates toward achieving the goals. As a “Compromiser” he is ineffective, since he acts out of weakness, submits to pressures, demonstrating an unassertive behavior and inability to make decision, thereby arousing mistrust among his subordinates.

In Reddin’s opinion, leadership effectiveness is a consequence of proper, circumstance-appropriate implementation of a leadership style. In other words, there is more than one leadership style which applies to a given situation. The variable, therefore, is the leadership style’s effectiveness, which is, as stated, subject to the leader’s selection.


8. The Situational Approach: Fiedler’s LPC Situational Dependence Model

Similarly to Reddin, Fiedler’s Situation-Dependence Model (1967), seeks to investigate who is the leader appropriate for a given situation, and what is the proper style by which the leader should act, according to his situation. According to Fiedler, there are two leader type groups. The former type is a “task-oriented” leader, aiming at performing the task at hand, and a “social” leader, who is oriented toward the relationships within the group. Both types constitute two extremes of a continuum, such that the highly “task-oriented” leader must be low in the social aspect, and vice versa. Those two patterns may be selected in accordance with the given situation. The Dependence Model assumes that the dependence of leader’s characteristics and the situation’s characteristics determines leadership effectiveness. Leaders of one type will be effective in certain situations, while other leaders will be effective in situations of different natures.

For the purpose of characterizing the leader and his style, Fiedler developed the LPC questionnaire for managers, in which the manager was instructed to reflect on the employee with whom he faced the greatest difficulties and discomfort at work, throughout his professional history. The questionnaire presented a scale of values, in which the manager was instructed to rank his feelings at work toward that employee. The numerical values were ranked upon a seven or eight point scales, and the feelings to be ranked were associated with relationships; for example, pleasant/unpleasant; supportive/not supportive; friendly/unfriendly. The manager was instructed to compute the points, which yielded a numerical value for his leadership style. Although the manager describes the employee, the score in Fiedler’s questionnaire is the manager’s. In other words, the questionnaire examines the manager’s attitude toward the employee, rather than the employee himself. In this questionnaire, the lower the manager’s rank, namely the more negative his description of the employee was, Fiedler concludes the manager’s LPC is low, and vice versa. The maximum score is 16*8, while the minimum score is 16*1. The significance of a high LPC implies people-orientation, while a low LPC indicates task-orientation. The questionnaire’s and the numerical value’s basic assumption is that a manager who was able to identify the positive parts of an individuals with whom he was facing difficulties at work was a person-oriented manager, while the manager who failed to identify the positive parts of his employee is, perhaps, task-oriented.

According to Fiedler, an individual’s leadership style is constant. It is viewed as some personality trait whose modification is impossible, or very difficult. Therefore, if a leader does not serve a given situation, he may be replaced, or the situation might be altered, but the individual’s leadership style may not be altered.

The Dependence Model consists of three dimensions, which facilitate investigating the effective leadership style:

A. The first dimension concerns the relationship of the leader and his subordinates; when the relationship is decent, the situation is convenient, but when the relationship is bad, the situation will be inconvenient.

B. The second dimension concerns the task structure. When the group’s goal is well-established, and the means for its achievement are clear, the task is well-structured, and the situation, in turn, is to the leader’s convenience. When the goal and the means for achieving thereof are vague, the task will not be structured, and the situation will be inconvenient.

C. The third dimension concerns the leader’s power position. This condition refers to the leader’s ability to reward his subordinates, or to penalize them. If he is able to either reward or penalize, he is in a strong position, and the situation will be convenient. If he is unable to do so, then he is in a weak position, and in an inconvenient situation.

Upon the foundation laid by the three dimensions, Fiedler formulated instruction as to the proper way of action in the various situations, suggesting when it will be proper to adopt a task-oriented leadership pattern, and when it will be proper to adopt a people-oriented behavior pattern. It is rightfully emphasized that an alteration in one of the dimensions alone requires a re-investigation of the proper leadership style and adoption of a situation-appropriate pattern.

- The required behavior when all three dimensions are marked (); task-oriented leadership; in order to influence the employees, the leader is required to orient toward achieving the goal.

- The required behavior when all three dimensions are marked (+); task-oriented leadership; when the leader has already gained influenced over his employees, he is to continue applying energy to the task.

- The required behavior in mixed situations (, +); social leadership; in order to lead the employees, the leader is to support and care for the employees, connecting them to the task at hand.


9. Modeling Leadership

An early conception of Formative Leadership was formulated by Burns (1978), within the framework of a descriptive research of political leaders. In his work, Burns portrayed formative leadership as a process where “leaders and subordinates cause one another to rise to higher levels of values and motivation”. Those leaders seek to extend the subordinates’ awareness by addressing higher ideals and moral values, such as freedom, justice, equality, peace, and humanitarianism, rather than to lower emotions, such as fear, greediness, jealousy, or hatred. He described leadership as “a current of developing interaction, in which leaders constantly arouse motivation responses among the subordinates, altering their behavior when they encountered responsiveness or resistance, through a constant process of flow and counter-flow”. In his opinion, formative leadership may be viewed as either a process in which individuals influence one another, and as a high, or social level process of power recruitment, so as to alter social systems and heal establishments.

Bass (1985) proposed a formative leadership theory, which complements Burns’ (1978) more primal ideas.  He maintains that the extent to which a leader is formative, is first and foremost measured in terms of his influence on his subordinates. A formative leader’s subordinates feel trust, admiration, loyalty, and respect toward the leader, and they are motivated to act than they expected to begin with. The leader molds and motivates subordinates in the following ways:

1) Enhancing subordinates’ awareness as for the importance of the task’s outcomes.

2) Persuading his subordinates to rise above their personal interests, in favor of the organization or the team.

3) Employing their higher-order needs.

Bass argues that formative leadership consists of three components; charisma, intellectual arousal, and consideration toward the individual. Charisma was described as a process through which influences subordinates by arousing intense emotions and identification with the leader, encouragement and developmental experiences.

A recent amended version of the theory added another formative behavior, called inspiration (or inspirational motivation), which is defined as the extent to which the leader conveys a vision in a heart-moving mode, implements symbols in order to focus his subordinates’ effort, demonstrating proper behavior. This version is presented in detail hereunder.


10. Formative Leadership – Leadership’s Full Range Model

Bass and Avolio developed the Leadership’s Full Range Model. which discusses the relationship of leadership style and effectiveness (Bass, Avolio, 1990). The model suggests that each leader, in his behavior, employs different leadership styles, which are placed on a continuum ranging from laissez faire, through rewarding leadership, to transformational leadership. Those leadership behaviors form a constant continuum in terms of effectiveness and leader’s activity. Leadership-characterizing transformational leadership is more effective and active than behaviors which characterizing rewarding leadership or laissez faire leadership.

The innovation in the proposed model is the hypothesis that transformational leadership complements rewarding leadership, enhancing leader’s effectiveness. It may not be effective on its own. Without rewarding leadership’s skills and behaviors, even highly inspirational transformational leaders will not be able to achieve their goals. However, according to the model, leaders’ ability to sweep their subordinates to demonstrate efforts and accomplishments beyond personal profitability stems from the transformational leadership. The hypothesis, upon which the model is based, is that leadership may be ranked by the scope of its influence’s effectiveness and activeness. Many researches found organization managers’ leadership styles to be correlated to those organizations’ level of performance. Apparently, the higher the manager’s/leader’s scale of formative leader is estimated, the higher the levels of performance of the organization he leads. The model consists of four main categories; Laissez Faire, Management by Exception – Passive and Active; Rewarding Leadership, and Formative Leadership. Those four categories are divided into eight different factors on a processive continuum.

1) Laissez Faire Leadership Style: The most prominent characteristic to that leader’s behavior is avoidance of taking a stand, making decisions, and, in fact, any action. As a matter of fact, this non-active type of leadership abolishes any attempt to influence. This leader’s subordinates, who receive no guidance or support, will usually demonstrate indifference and non-involvement, tending to focus upon their own goals, even if they contradict the organization’s or the group’s goals. However, this type of leadership will also allow the development of alternative leaders from among the participants themselves.

2) Management by Exceptions- Passive: This leadership, in fact, consists of identifying mistakes and their modification. Those leaders strongly believe the statement “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it”. They only focus upon putting out fires, namely, superficial solving of problems, making no effort to establish new, enhanced standards. The subordinates’ of a passive management by exceptions will be mainly motivated by the concern with the leader’s harsh response to any case of failure. Consequently, they managed to maintain the existing standard, at best, but will not exceed it.

3) Management by Exceptions – Active: This leadership style also focuses upon identifying exceptions, deviations, and failures to maintain the existing level. This leader actively follows potentially hazardous areas, where problems have aroused, or are about to arouse, attempting to identify and amend them as swiftly as possible. Subordinates of such leaders do not usually demonstrate high-level performance. Worse yet, leaders who dictate a policy “do not dare change lest you spoil” are risking by their employees’ avoiding basic risks and will show no initiative and “thinking out of the box” in their work.

4) Contingent Reward: A leader who extensively employs leadership on a contingent reward basis, emphasizing in his behavior the exchange aspects of leadership. That type of a leader will clearly establish goals, objectives, and set the reward for achieving thereof. The very establishment of objectives may be one-sided, on the leader’s part, but may also be based upon a negotiation of the leader and his subordinates. In this instance, the leader is active while performing the task, provides a constructive feedback, when his subordinates deserve it. The main motives underlying the subordinates’ willingness is profitability, the expected reward’s attractiveness, or, alternately, the scope of deterring from penalty.

The four stages presented above are capable of inducing collaboration with the leader on the subordinates’ part, based upon profitability considerations and meeting the required level of performance. However, reflecting upon ideal leadership figures, capable of guiding their subordinates toward levels of performance exceeding the basic requirements, stemming from inner commitment, rather than profitability considerations, entails examination of the following four model components, which refer to the Formative Leadership.

5) Individual Consideration: In this instance, the leader extensively implements individual consideration and attention, responding to his employees’ needs by means of guidance and mentoring. His underlying idea is supporting the employee to risk and attempt, without fear of being mistaken. The leader demonstrates understanding to his subordinates’ personal concerns, insisting on treating each as an individual with unique needs, rather than another small screw. The individual consideration reduces employees’ frustration, enhancing willingness to collaborate and the desire to contribute and grow.

6) Intellectual Stimulation: In this case, the leader’s approach is to question basic assumptions which guided the mode in which problems were handled previously. Rather, the subordinates are encouraged to inquire a problem from several points of view, not to handle the problems on behalf of the employee, but to provide the proper critical tools, which will facilitate them in solving the problem. A leader who employs intellectual consideration encourages his subordinates to question, to express openness to criticism, and to demonstrate utmost innovativeness in their solutions.

7) Inspirational Stimulation: A leader who motivates and inspires his subordinates by presenting a prospect for a different future. The implication of investing in the “here and now” is conveyed through a message suggesting a more attractive future, with which the subordinates profoundly identify. Plus, the leader conveys a message of his confidence in his ability to achieve that future, and great faith, enhancing their own expectations from themselves.

8) Idealized Influence: This leadership establishes a moral, behavioral model. Such leaders will demonstrate power, confidence, consistency, and tenacity. They are willing to sacrifice personal interests in order to assist others. They do not hesitate to take risk whenever necessary, and will not avoid assuming full responsibility for their subordinates’ actions. They employ power only if the task calls for it. Such a leader will be fully trust by his subordinates. They adopt his values, and his vision becomes their own. Bass and Avolio maintain that the leader employs the full range of behaviors. The very ability to fully employ that range distinguishes the effective leader from the non-effective leader, as leaders who frequently employ the formative leadership range will be the most effective leaders, while those who will frequently employ the rewarding leadership range will be less effective.

In conclusion, the phenomenon of leadership has been observed and researched for roughly 100 years and various scholars have tried to explain its development as well as examine the tools that enable its advancement. This paper provides a comprehensive overview and explanation of the leading approaches to leadership research.




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