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DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE LEADERS

Brian Raybon ­ Troy State University Tish Matuszek ­ Troy University ABSTRACT This research paper is an evaluation of leadership theories and approaches to leadership development. Within the context of organizations, leadership occurs when one group member modifies the motivation or competencies of others in the group. Individuals are found to lead through five key practices: challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart. A review and evaluation of several popular trait, behavioral, and situational theories of leadership is presented and concludes that effective leadership involves elements of all three categories of theories. Evidence points to the fact that leadership can and is learned beginning at a very young age and continuing throughout life. Learning leadership skills is found to result from three principal methods: trial and error, observation of others, and education. Finally, a leadership development proposal is offered for organizations wishing to begin or reinvigorate a development program. The paper is primarily intended for managers who are (or should be) responsible for leadership development, but is also valuable for individuals interested in their own development.

The need for effective leadership within organizations presents ongoing concerns for all organizations. However, with the current pace of technological change, the impact of globalization, and the increasingly high costs of making poor decisions, effective leadership has never been more important to the financial success of organizations. Organizations must begin now to effectively train their leaders of tomorrow. To that end, organizations need to implement effective leadership development programs that offer a balance of trial and error experience, observation of others, and education. LITERATURE REVIEW The Handbook of Leadership defines leadership as "an interaction between members of a group. Leaders are agents of change; persons whose acts affect other people more than other people's acts affect them. Leadership occurs when one group member modifies the motivation or competencies of others in the group" (Bass, 1990, p. 21). Simply stated, "leaders are individuals who influence other individuals to do what they might not do in the absence of the leader's influence" (Gibson, Invancevich, Donnelly, & Konopaske, 2003, p. 298). Within the context of this paper, these leaders are individuals, usually managers, who influence their employees to change their behavior in an effort to accomplish the goals of the organization. According to Kouzes and Posner (1995), individuals lead through key practices: challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart. It follows then that an effective leader is one who is able to accomplish organizational goals through effectively implementing these key practices.

The difference between leadership and management now becomes important. Managers are tasked with such functions as planning, organizing and controlling. These actions may or may not involve leadership. Leadership, as defined above involves modifying the motivation or competencies of members of the group being led (Gibson et al., 2003, p. 299). Therefore, managers may or may not practice leadership in the execution of their duties. Indeed, research as well as anecdotal evidence indicates that few managers are truly effective leaders. But, is leadership needed for an organization to achieve and sustain a competitive advantage, and to maximize profits? Many CEOs think so. In a 2002 survey of Chief Executive magazine readers, 78.6% of respondents rated leadership development as either "the most" important or "one of the top five" factors in achieving competitive advantage. And what are they doing about it? Not much. Only 44.2% of the respondents said they, "have created and communicated a leadership strategy. And only half (50.1%) said their organization has a shared understanding of what effective leadership looks like" (What CEOs Think, 2002). LEADERSHIP THEORIES Popular theories on leadership fall into one of three categories: trait, behavioral, or situational. The following is an overview of major theories, offered as background for the discussion of leadership development. Trait Theory The trait theory of leadership contends that leadership is a function of the characteristics of the individual. Many research studies have found strong correlation between a number of individual characteristics and leadership success. Research confirms that successful leaders often have the ability to get along with others and to cause their followers to accomplish work. Extroversion, a primary personality factor has been demonstrated to be a valid predictor of performance (Thomasa, Dickson, & Bliese, 2001). Successful leaders appear also to have a high need for power and achievement, and a low need for affiliation (Gibson et al., 2003, p. 302). The US Army maintains a belief, "that possessing certain personal values and motives is one of the prime prerequisites for effective leadership" (Thomasa et al., 2001). One study of US Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets found that extraversion was positively related to leadership success. That is, extraverted individuals tended to receive high leadership ratings (Thomasa et al., 2001). A study of the relationship between learning and leadership found strong support for the fact that better learners, "consistently engaged in leadership practices [defined as challenging, inspiring, enabling, and modeling] more frequently than did those in the lower learning category" (Brown & Posner, 2001). Trait theory has been demonstrated to be helpful in identifying leaders and potential leaders, and in defining the traits that should be cultivated in leadership development efforts, but it does little to account for the interaction between people and their environment. To become a truly effective leader in today's turbulent organizational environments, one must be more than a collection of good leader characteristics. Leaders must be prepared to face countless, increasingly more complex situations.

Behavior Theories Leadership behavior theories investigate the idea that an individuals actions impacts the individual's effectiveness as a leader. This group of theories examines behaviors and their impact on such things as production and satisfaction of followers. The majority of the theories are grounded in the assumption that leaders are called upon to accomplish a task, and they must accomplish the task through the efforts of their followers. Leadership behavior theories developed by Rensis Likert and researchers at the University of Michigan (UM) as well as researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) found two distinct styles of leadership: job-centered and employee centered (described as initiating structure and consideration, respectively, in the OSU research). The jobcentered leader focuses on completing the task, while the employee-centered leader focuses on the people doing the work. These theories are valuable insofar as they offer definition of the two primary leadership behaviors from which leaders may approach followers. Much like trait theory, behavior theory does little to account for the interaction between people and their environment ­ the situation. Situational Theories Situational theories of leadership recognize that the right leadership behavior depends primarily on the situation. An effective leader must be able to adapt to different situations and the personalities, abilities and motivations of the subordinates involved (Gibson et al., 2003, p. 307). The following is a review of four such theories. Note that the discussion of some of the theories actually involves a review of the application model rather than the underlying theory. Such a review is more beneficial in the context of this discussion, where the purpose is to discuss and evaluate methodology. The Fiedler contingency model posits that the performance of groups depends on the interaction between leadership style and situational favorableness. Without probing into the specifics of the situations and styles, it is important to note that Fiedler believed that leaders could not operate from both the task- motivated and relationship- motivated styles, and suggested that organizations change the situation to fit the leader rather than the leader to fit the situation (Gibson et al., 2003, p. 310). This is contrary to most popular theory and research that indicates that effective leaders can adapt leadership style to fit the situation. House's (1971) path-goal model contends that, leaders are effective when they positively impact productivity. Increased productivity is a manfestation of improved motivation, performance, and satisfaction in the emplo yee. The model identifies four leadership behaviors: directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented. The directive leader tends to communicate expectations to subordinates. The supportive leader tends to treat subordinates as equals. The participative leader tends to consult with subordinates on decisions. The achievement-oriented leader tends to set high goals for subordinates and expects improvements in performance. This model stresses that leaders should increase rewards available to followers for certain behaviors, and clarify the manner in which the awards can be obtained. Unlike the Fiedler Model, the path- goal model does suggest that an effective leader can practice all four leadership behaviors, and should depending on the situation.

Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory (Graen & Uhl Bien, 1995) postulates that, much like parent-children relationships, behavior is inconsistent across leadersubordinate relationships. Each relationship is unique, and the nature and quality of that unique relationship determines the manager's and the subordinate's behaviors. The LMX approach sees two classifications of subordinates: in- group members and out-group members. The in-group members, as the name suggests are free to interact with the leader, with whom they probably share a common bond and value system. The out-group members tend to share less with the leader, have less access to the leader, and are seen as having less in common with the leader. Unfortunately, because of the lower quality of relationship that an out-group member shares with his or her leader, this can become a self- fulfilling prophecy. Out-group members may receive less challenging assignments and receive little positive reinforcement. The emphasis of the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership (H-B) model is on followers and their level of maturity. Understanding the follower's "readiness" (the ability and willingness of subordinates to take responsibility for their own behavior) is key to the leader's effective assessment of the situation and subsequent leadership style decision. H-B stresses that readiness varies depending on the task. Follower readiness varies by task and the leader must accurately diagnose readiness in each situation. Hersey goes on to interestingly cha racterize the model as "organized common sense" (Blackwell, 2000).

The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory Degree of followers readiness to assume personal responsibility R1 R2 R3 R4 Unable ­ Unwilling Unable ­ Willing Able ­ Unwilling Able ­ Willing S1 Telling: Instructing and supervising S2 S3 Participating: Sharing and facilitating S4 Delegating: Coaching and assisting

Selling: Explaining and clarifying Leadership behavior appropriate to the situation Table 1. Adapted from "Organizations: Behavior, Structure, Processes" by Gibson et al., 2003, p. 315

Table 1 above illustrates the range of readiness and the corresponding recommended leadership styles identified by Hersey-Blanchard. As subordinate maturity increases, the leadership style moves to a more relationship- motivated style from a taskmotivated style. Summary Is leadership a function of an individual's abilities and personality, a product of the behavior of the individual, or is it related solely to the leadership style employed in a particular situation? The position taken in this paper is that effective leadership involves all of the above. Can these abilities, personality traits, behaviors and styles be learned? The preponderance of evidence indicates that all are learned beginning at a very young age and continuing throughout life. James MacGregor Burns stated it well in the

following quote, "I think that today with all the help that able students receive from their families, colleges, grants, and peers, most Americans ­ but by no means all ­ can become anything they want to become" (Bailey, 2001). Learning to Lead Accepting that leadership traits, behaviors and styles are all important to effective leadership, and that all are learned throughout life, raises another question: How does one learn to lead effectively? "In analyzing thousands of case studies, Kouzes and Posner (1995) found that people reported learning how to lead from three sources: trial and error, observation of others, and education" (Brown & Posner, 2001). Successful leadership development within organizations requires that a culture of learning be created and nurtured, and that individuals be able and committed to learn. Leadership development involves building the capacity for people to, "learn their way out of problems that could not have been predicted" (Day, 2000) or problems that result from the breakdown of organizational structures. Peter Senge (1996) adds that organizations must move from a problem-solving approach to a learning approach. Organizations are addicted to problem solving, which explains why the same problems keep getting fixed over and over. In a learning approach, "you think about your thinking" (Mahoney, 1997). And, leadership development must become a continuous process rather than a discrete event (Zenger, Ulrich & Smallwood, 2000). Trial and Error Experience gained on the job is an important factor in leadership development. The Center for Creative Leadership (n.d.) offers that, "Experiences that combine assessment, challenge and support are more likely to be key, developmental times." Brown and Posner (2003) conclude that, "research over the past two decades underscores that the majority of leadership skills are learned from naturally occurring experiences in the work place." And Peter Senge (1996) believes that learning comes down to what individuals do on a regular basis. Individuals learn from their work. Trial and error approaches rely on experience as the teacher. What can organizations do to foster, and even accelerate, this development? Organizations may use techniques such as job rotation, job enlargement, and action learning as ways to enhance and accelerate learning by experience. Some organizations also encourage participation in volunteer organizations as a means to gain valuable experience while offering a service to community (Friedman, 2001; Volunteerism, 2001). Job rotation is a practice of rotating individuals from one job to another to afford the opportunity to gain more varied experience through differing roles, responsibilities and tasks. Similarly, job enlargement offers varied experience through expanded roles, responsibilities and tasks, but within the same job. Sometimes characterized as "stretch" assignments, these opportunities offer individuals solid learning and often, high visibility opportunities (Byham, 2000). However, these methods fall short if management is unwilling to delegate authority and to genuinely challenge those being developed. If experience teaches, then challenging experience teaches best (Kouzes & Posner, 2003). Action learning is based on the assumption that people learn most effectively when working on real-time problems within their job scope. Action learning is most

often tied to organizational goals and has a business imperative. Effective action learning tends to offer a great deal of challenge (Day, 2000). Borrowing from Robert Bjork, it's one thing to learn to fire a rifle while birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and you're lying on a soft, clean mat aiming at a target that doesn't move. It's quite another to fire a rifle while you sit in mud with the thundering noise of tanks and mortars and someone a few yards away firing at you (Zenger et al., 2000). While that may be a bit melodramatic, it drives home the point that leadership development should prepare individuals to perform in realistic, pressure situations. Action learning presents that opportunity. Ford Motor Company has an action learning program that challenges participants to expand their creative abilities and refine their critical thinking skills through work on projects that have business impact in terms of customer satisfaction, cost reduction, or enhanced revenue. The program uses extensive feedback, individual and group work, accountability, and "leader-teacher" opportunities to develop new capabilities for leadership. Ford's goal is to, "become a company where leadership represents intellectual capital at such a level that it will out learn, out compete, and out lead all of the competitio n" (Friedman, 2001). Observation of Others "People become the leaders they observe" (Kouzes & Posner, 2003). For organizations with weak leadership, this can become a self-perpetuating path to failure. If organizations wish to develop aspiring talent into the types of leaders that further the vision and goals of the organization, then they must allow those individuals to observe leaders who possess the desired characteristics. Organizations that have strong leaders should initiate a formal process by whic h leadership knowledge can be passed to the next generation of leaders. A formal mentoring program can be effective in facilitating this transfer of knowledge. The mentoring process involves the pairing of experienced, effective leaders, usually from within the organization, with less experienced, developing leaders for the purpose of training the less experienced leaders (Richards, 1997). A survey of companies involved in leadership development has shown that mentoring is one of the most successful development efforts. Coaching by outside resources can also be an effective way to accelerate learning through observation. A leadership coach plays several important roles. A coach is an expert in leadership development (or other specific discipline such as performance management or emotional intelligence) who provides guidance. A coach should be a partner who challenges a leader's thinking by asking thought-provoking questions and by providing feedback. A coach should serve as a trusted advisor, and an objective outside resource. Coaching can and ultimately should result in better leadership decisions (Zust, 2001). The 360-degree feedback is a technique that does not fit neatly within one of the three categories of learning presented herein, but has been shown to have value when used in conjunction with follow-up mentoring and/or coaching. 360-degree feedback is a method for systematically collecting perceptions of an individual's performance from an entire circle of relevant viewpoints. Feedback sources often include peers, direct reports, supervisors, and may include some external stakeholders. The effectiveness of the

method is linked solely to the individual's willingness to accept the feedback as useful and to address what others see as deficiencies (Day, 2000). Kouzes and Posner (2003) summarize the importance of the observation of others as follows, "it's absolutely essential to the growth and development of leaders ­ or of anyone, for that matter ­ that they're exposed to the behaviors they're expected to produce." Education Public and custom executive development programs, and a hybrid of the two, consortium programs have tremendous educational value, but often have little impact on a leader's ability to produce results. (A consortium program consists of an education provider and several long-term member organizations.) The problem is that if relatively short one- to two-week development courses are the sum total of an organization's leadership development program, then the learning will not be reinforced in the workplace and individuals will view development as an event and not a process (Lawler, 2000; Kur & Bunning, 1996). At a minimum, however, benefit is gained through interaction with leaders from other organizations, exposure to creative thinkers, and the fresh perspective that can be seen when away from the organization (Zenger et al., 2000; Kur & Bunning, 1996). There are many effective graduate and executive education programs that offer the educational value described above through training in many specific areas (Bailey, 2001). Organizations should choose programs that offer sound training in the abilities and behaviors that have been demonstrated as positively related to leadership success. Both graduate and shorter-term executive education programs, if possible, should be a part of a leadership development program. Organizations may also choose to educate individuals internally; however, most organizations lack the financial resources to institute and maintain a program that can effectively educate individuals on larger, more strategic topics. Public, custom and consortium programs can be cost-effective alternatives to internal development programs (Lawler, 2000). A LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL The research referenced within this paper points to a three-pronged approach to leadership development within organizations. First, formal education and training should be used to train future leaders in specific areas of need and to expose aspiring leaders to leaders of other organizations, to creative thinkers, and to offer the fresh perspective that can be seen when away from the organization (Zenger et al., 2000). Second, the observation of others through mentoring and coaching programs should be included. It is essential to the development of leaders that they are exposed to the behaviors that they are expected to produce (Kouzes & Posner 2003). Finally, leadership must be developed through challenging trial and error experiences on the job. Where does an organization that has no real leadership development program begin? Similar to Ford Motor Company, an organization should begin (or reinvigorate) their program by creating a sense of urgency for leadership development (Friedman, 2001). This sense of urgency must be propagated from the highest levels of management.

Next, the organization should work to create a climate of learning where new leaders are challenged, supported and encouraged. Organizations should orient the training with organizational goals and ensure that the development process has a positive business impact. Finally, organizations should measure results. Link competencies to results and measure those results (Zenger et al., 2000). CONCLUSION Organizations can and should be developing their next generation of leaders today. Through the implementation of a three-pronged leadership development program that offers a balance of trial and error experience, observation of others, and education, fostered by a supportive yet challenging environment, organizations can deve lop effective leaders who are willing and able to challenge organizational processes, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, and encourage the heart.

REFERENCES Bailey, J. (2001). Leadership Lessons from Mount Rushmore: An Interview with James MacGregor Burns. Leadership Quarterly, 12(1), 113 ­ 128. Retrieved April 5, 2003, from EBSCOhost database, TSU Library. Bass, B. M. (1990). Stodgill's Handbook of Leadership. New York: Free Press. Blackwell, C.W. (2000). Lessons in Leadership An Interview with Paul Hersey. Retrieved April 1, 2003, from http://situational.com/home/downloads/LessonsInLeadership.pdf Brown, L. M. & Posner, B. Z. (2001). Exploring the Relationship Between Learning and Leadership. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 22(5/6), 274. Retrieved April 3, 2003, from ProQuest database, TSU Library. Byham, W. C. (2000). How to Create a Reservoir of Ready-Made Leaders.Training&Development, 54(3), 29 ­ 33. Retrieved April 11, 2003, from EBSCOhost database, TSU Library. Center for Creative Leadership Online. (n.d.). Three Keys to Development: Assessment,Challenge and Support. Retrieved April 5, 2003, from http://www.ccl.org/connected/enews/articles/0202acs.htm Day, D. V. (2000). Leadership Development: A Review in Context. Leadership Quarterly, 11(4), 581 ­ 614. Retrieved April 5, 2003, from EBSCOhost database, TSU Library. Friedman, S. D. (2001). Leadership DNA: The Ford Motor Story. Training & Development, 55(3), 23 ­ 30. Retrieved April 11, 2003, from EBSCOhost database, TSU Library. Gibson, J. L.; Invancevich, J. M.; Donnelly, Jr., J. H.; & Konopaske, R. (2003). Organizations: Behavior, Structure, Processes. (Eleventh Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin. Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (1995). The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (2003). Challenge is the Opportunity for Greatness. Leader to Leader, (28). Retrieved April 8, 2003, from http://www.leadertoleader.org/leaderbooks/121/spring2003/kouzes.html Kur, E. & Bunning, R. (1996). A Three-Track Process for Executive Leadership Development. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 17(4), 4 ­ 12. Retrieved April 8, 2003, from ProQuest database, TSU Library.

Lawler, W. (2000). The Consortium Approach to Grooming Future Leaders. Training & Development, 54(3), 53 ­ 58. Retrieved April 11, 2003, from EBSCOhost database, TSU Library. Mahoney, A. I. (1997). Senge, Covey and Peters on Leadership Lessons. Association Management, 49(1), 62 ­ 67. Retrieved April 7, 2003, from EBSCOhost database, TSU Library. Richards, R. (1997). Lending a Hand to the Leaders of Tomorrow. Association Management, 49(1), 35 ­ 38. Retrieved April 7, 2003, from EBSCOhost database, TSU Library. Senge, P. M. (1996). The Ecology of Leadership. Leader to Leader, (2). Retrieved April 7, 2003, from http://www.leadertoleader.org/leaderbooks/121/fall96/senge.html Thomasa, J. L., Dickson, M. W., & Bliese, P. D. (2001). Values Predicting Leader Performance in the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Assessment Center: Evidence for a Personality-Mediated Model. Leadership Quarterly, 12(2), 181 ­ 197. Retrieved April 5, 2003, from EBSCOhost database, TSU Library. Volunteerism and Leadership: A great partnership. (2001). Retrieved April 9, 2003, from http://www.emergingleader.com/article3.shtml What CEOs Think: A Leadership Survey from CCL and Chief Executive Magazine. (2002, October). Center for Creative Leadership e-Newsletter. Retrieved April 5, 2003, from http://www.ccl.org/connected/enews/articles/1002chiefexecmag.htm Zenger, J., Ulrich, D. & Smallwood, N. (2000). The New Leadership Development. Training & Development, 54(3), 22 ­ 28. Retrieved April 11, 2003, from EBSCOhost database, TSU Library. Zust, C. W. (2001). Need a Trusted Advisor? Hire an Executive Coach. Retrieved April 9, 2003, from http://www.emergingleader.com/article18.shtml

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