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Enhancing the Lessons of Experience Seventh Edition
Richard L. Hughes
Robert C. Ginnett
Gordon J. Curphy
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Published by McGraw-Hill/Irwin, a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1221 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY, 10020. Copyright © 2012, 2009, 2006, 2002, 1999, 1996, 1993 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All
rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored
in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written consent of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., including,
but not limited to, in any network or other electronic storage or transmission, or broadcast for distance learning.
Some ancillaries, including electronic and print components, may not be available to customers outside the
United States.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 DOC/DOC 1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ISBN 978-0-07-811265-2
MHID 0-07-811265-6

Vice president and editor-in-chief: Brent Gordon
Executive director of development: Ann Torbert
Managing development editor: Laura Hurst Spell
Development editor: Jane Beck
Vice president and director of marketing: Robin J. Zwettler
Marketing director: Amee Mosley
Associate marketing manager: Jaime Halteman
Vice president of editing, design, and production: Sesha Bolisetty
Project manager:   Dana   M.   Pauley
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Typeface: 10/12 Palatino
Compositor: Aptara®, Inc.
Printer: R. R. Donnelley
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hughes, Richard L.
Leadership : enhancing the lessons of experience / Richard L. Hughes, Robert C. Ginnett,
Gordon J. Curphy. — 7th ed.
p. cm.
Includes index.
ISBN-13: 978-0-07-811265-2 (alk. paper)
ISBN-10: 0-07-811265-6 (alk. paper)
1. Leadership. I. Ginnett, Robert C. II. Curphy, Gordon J. III. Title.
HM1261.H84 2012
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About the Authors
Rich Hughes has served on the faculties of both the Center for Creative
Leadership (CCL) and the U.S. Air Force Academy. CCL is an interna-
tional organization devoted to behavioral science research and leadership
education. He worked there with senior executives from all sectors in the
areas of strategic leadership and organizational culture change. At the Air
Force Academy he served for a decade as head of its Department of Be-
havioral Sciences and Leadership. He is a clinical psychologist and a grad-
uate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has an MA from the University of
Texas and a PhD from the University of Wyoming .
Robert Ginnett is an independent consultant specializing in the leader-
ship of high-performance teams and organizations. He is the developer of
the Team Leadership Model, © which provides the theoretical framework
for many interventions in organizations where teamwork is critical. This
model and its real-time application have made him an internationally rec-
ognized expert in his field. He has worked with hundreds of organiza-
tions including Novartis, Prudential, Fonterra, Mars, GlaxoSmithKlein,
Boston Scientific, Daimler Benz, NASA, the Defense and Central Intelli-
gence Agencies, the National Security Agency, United and Delta Airlines,
Textron, and the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force. Prior to work-
ing independently, Robert was a senior fellow at the Center for Creative
Leadership and a tenured professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where
he also served as the director of leadership and counseling. Additionally,
he served in numerous line and staff positions in the military, including
leadership of an 875-man combat force in the Vietnam War. He spent over
10 years working as a researcher for the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, focusing his early work in aviation crew resource
management, and later worked at the Kennedy Space Center in the post-
Challenger period. Robert is an organizational psychologist whose educa-
tion includes a master of business administration degree, a master of arts,
a master of philosophy, and a PhD from Yale University.
Gordy Curphy is the president of C3, a human resource consulting firm
that helps public and private sector clients achieve better results through
people. Gordy has over 25 years of leadership and technical expertise in
job analysis and competency modeling; hourly staffing systems; multirater
feedback systems; performance management design and implementation;
leadership development design, delivery, and evaluation; survey construc-
tion, administration, and analysis; assessment center methodology;
executive coaching, training, and team building; succession planning;
team and organizational effectiveness; and strategic and business planning.
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iv About the Authors
Prior to forming his own consulting firm, Gordy spent 10 years as a vice
president of institutional leadership at the Blandin Foundation and as a
vice president and general manager at Personnel Decisions International.
He is an industrial/organizational psychologist and a graduate of the U.S.
Air Force Academy. He has an MA from the University of St. Mary’s and a
PhD in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of
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The first edition of this popular, widely used textbook was published in
1993, and the authors have continually upgraded it with each new edition
including this one—the seventh. For this newest edition I’ve written some-
thing of a new foreword.
In a sense, no new foreword is needed; many principles of leadership
are timeless. For example, their references to Shakespeare and Machiavelli
need no updating. However, they have refreshed their examples and an-
ecdotes, and they have kept up with the contemporary research and writ-
ing of leadership experts. Ironically, one of their most riveting new
examples falls into the “Dark Side of Leadership” chapter, where they in-
clude the horrific example of Richard Fuld, the CEO who presided over
the disintegration, destruction, and bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the
fourth-largest investment bank in the world. Over a five-year period
(when he was paid a total of $300,000,000), Fuld kept stretching the rubber
band of increasingly risky investments while at the same time stretching
another rubber band of tricky financial reporting until they both snapped
simultaneously, bringing the world’s financial system close to the brink of
disaster. His actions cost the jobs of 25,000 employees and the loss of bil-
lions of dollars by investors. Yeoman work by other leaders avoided the
brink but could not prevent a painful economic recession. This brutal ex-
ample, in a perverse way, once again emphasizes the power of leadership.
Such examples keep this book fresh and relevant; but the earlier fore-
word, reprinted here, still captures the tone, spirit, and achievements of
these authors’ work:
Often the only difference between chaos and a smoothly functioning
operation is leadership; this book is about that difference.
The authors are psychologists; therefore the book has a distinctly psy-
chological tone. You, as a reader, are going to be asked to think about lead-
ership the way psychologists do. There is much here about psychological
tests and surveys, about studies done in psychological laboratories, and
about psychological analyses of good (and poor) leadership. You will of-
ten run across common psychological concepts in these pages, such as
personality, values, attitudes, perceptions, and self-esteem, plus some not-
so-common “jargon-y” phrases like double-loop learning, expectancy
theory, and perceived inequity. This is not the same kind of book that
would be written by coaches, sales managers, economists, political scien-
tists, or generals.
Be not dismayed. Because these authors are also teachers with a good
eye and ear for what students find interesting, they write clearly and
cleanly, and they have also included a host of entertaining, stimulating
snapshots of leadership: cartoons, quotes, anecdotal Highlights, and
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vi Foreword
personal glimpses from a wide range of intriguing people, each offered as
an illustration of some scholarly point.
Also, because the authors are, or have been at one time or another,
together or singly, not only psychologists and teachers but also children,
students, Boy Scouts, parents, professors (at the U.S. Air Force Academy),
Air Force officers, pilots, church members, athletes, administrators, insatia-
ble readers, and convivial raconteurs, their stories and examples are drawn
from a wide range of personal sources, and their anecdotes ring true.
As psychologists and scholars, they have reviewed here a wide range
of psychological studies, other scientific inquiries, personal reflections of
leaders, and philosophic writings on the topic of leadership. In distilling
this material, they have drawn many practical conclusions useful for cur-
rent and potential leaders. There are suggestions here for goal setting, for
running meetings, for negotiating, for managing conflict within groups,
and for handling your own personal stress, to mention just a few.
All leaders, no matter what their age and station, can find some useful
tips here, ranging over subjects such as body language, keeping a journal,
and how to relax under tension.
In several ways the authors have tried to help you, the reader, feel what
it would be like “to be in charge.” For example, they have posed quanda-
ries such as the following: You are in a leadership position with a budget
provided by an outside funding source. You believe strongly in, say, Topic
A, and have taken a strong, visible public stance on that topic. The head of
your funding source takes you aside and says, “We disagree with your
stance on Topic A. Please tone down your public statements, or we will
have to take another look at your budget for next year.”
What would you do? Quit? Speak up and lose your budget? Tone down
your public statements and feel dishonest? There’s no easy answer, and
it’s not an unusual situation for a leader to be in. Sooner or later, all lead-
ers have to confront just how much outside interference they will tolerate
in order to be able to carry out programs they believe in.
The authors emphasize the value of experience in leadership develop-
ment, a conclusion I thoroughly agree with. Virtually every leader who
makes it to the top of whatever pyramid he or she happens to be climbing
does so by building on earlier experiences. The successful leaders are those
who learn from these earlier experiences, by reflecting on and analyzing
them to help solve larger future challenges. In this vein, let me make a sug-
gestion. Actually, let me assign you some homework. (I know, I know, this is
a peculiar approach in a book foreword; but stay with me—I have a point.)
Your Assignment: To gain some useful leadership experience, per-
suade eight people to do some notable activity together for at least two
hours that they would not otherwise do without your intervention. Your
only restriction is that you cannot tell them why you are doing this.
It can be any eight people: friends, family, teammates, club members,
neighbors, students, working colleagues. It can be any activity, except that
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Foreword vii
it should be something more substantial than watching television, eating,
going to a movie, or just sitting around talking. It could be a roller-skating
party, an organized debate, a songfest, a long hike, a visit to a museum, or
volunteer work such as picking up litter or visiting a nursing home. If you
will take it upon yourself to make something happen in the world that
would not have otherwise happened without you, you will be engaging
in an act of leadership with all of its attendant barriers, burdens, and plea-
sures, and you will quickly learn the relevance of many of the topics that
the authors discuss in this book. If you try the eight-person-two-hour ex-
perience first and read this book later, you will have a much better under-
standing of how complicated an act of leadership can be. You will learn
about the difficulties of developing a vision (“Now that we are together,
what are we going to do?”), of motivating others, of setting agendas and
timetables, of securing resources, of the need for follow-through. You may
even learn about “loneliness at the top.” However, if you are successful,
you will also experience the thrill that comes from successful leadership.
One person can make a difference by enriching the lives of others, if only
for a few hours. And for all of the frustrations and complexities of leader-
ship, the tingling satisfaction that comes from success can become almost
addictive. The capacity for making things happen can become its own
motivation. With an early success, even if it is only with eight people for
two hours, you may well be on your way to a leadership future.
The authors believe that leadership development involves reflecting on
one’s own experiences. Reading this book in the context of your own lead-
ership experience can aid in that process. Their book is comprehensive,
scholarly, stimulating, entertaining, and relevant for anyone who wishes
to better understand the dynamics of leadership, and to improve her or
his own personal performance.
David P. Campbell
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Perhaps by the time they are fortunate enough to have completed six edi-
tions of a textbook, it is a bit natural for authors to believe something like,
“Well, now we’ve got it just about right . . . there couldn’t be too many
changes for the next edition” (that is, this one). But as our experience con-
sistently has been since the first edition, the helpful suggestions of users
and reviewers always provide helpful grist for improvement. The changes
made in this edition are far more extensive than we would have predicted
a year ago, and we believe this edition is better because of them.
We have made a number of significant changes to this book’s structure
and format as well as the kind of normal updates you would expect (such
as adding timely references, including new Highlights, and pruning dated
stories). Let us briefly review here some of the major changes to this edi-
tion. Some of these can be characterized as a generalized effort to better
integrate material covered in multiple chapters in previous editions into
single chapters in this edition. For example, we have combined material
from the first two chapters in all previous editions into the first chapter of
this edition with an overall leaner and more consolidated treatment of the
material. As another example, we have moved material about mentoring,
coaching, and development planning from the chapter about leader be-
havior into the chapter about leader development while also eliminating
material from earlier editions of the development chapter that over time
had become somewhat out of date.
Another major change is the complete elimination of the chapter about
assessing leadership. We struggled with this chapter through all previous
editions in our efforts to adequately cover material that we believe important
but that to many others is dry and perhaps not that important in an introduc-
tory course. We finally concluded that the cost of an entire chapter that either
was not covered by many of our textbook users, or was found problematic by
others who did, was simply not worth it. (Sneakily, we must admit that a lit-
tle of that material might have found its way into other chapters.)
The chapter now called “Leadership, Ethics and Values” also includes
many changes. There is an extended treatment of ethical leadership, and
more explicit linkages are drawn among ethics, values, ethical leadership,
authentic leadership, and servant leadership. In the spirit of consolidation
and integration, some material about character development from other
chapters in the previous edition is now included in this chapter instead.
Finally, the “Leading across Cultures” section, which was in the “Leader-
ship and Values” chapter of our sixth edition, is now part of “The Situa-
tion” chapter in this edition because it fits better there thematically.
Speaking about our chapter addressing the role of the situation in lead-
ership, it also has undergone other significant changes. In general, these
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Preface ix
changes represent our effort to reorient the chapter more toward leader-
ship issues than toward organizational behavior or management. Thus
the chapter not only discusses the leadership challenges of leading glob-
ally but also explores the topic of organizational culture. The chapter also
takes a new look at the role of leadership in dealing with increasing envi-
ronmental change.
The final major change to this edition reorganizes the content covered
in our sections about leadership skills into four chapters, each one now
representing the final chapter in each of the book’s four parts, and each
chapter focusing on a distinctive aspect of a leader’s challenges. There
also are two new skills added: “Creating a Compelling Vision” and “Your
First 90 Days as a Leader.”
There are other changes to the seventh edition as well, though they are
generally smaller in scope and less systematic than those just mentioned.
For example, greater attention is now given to LMX theory in the “Contin-
gency Theories” chapter; leading virtual teams gets more extended treat-
ment in “Groups, Teams, and Their Leadership”; and new Highlights and
Profiles in Leadership appear throughout the book.
As always, we are indebted to the superb editorial staff at McGraw-
Hill/Irwin, including Jane Beck, our editorial coordinator, Laura Spell, the
managing development editor, Dana Pauley, the project manager, and
Jaime Halteman, our marketing manager. They all have been wise, sup-
portive, helpful, and pleasant partners in this process, and it has been our
good fortune to know and work with such a professional team. And as we
noted at the beginning of this preface, we are also indebted to the individu-
als whose evaluations and constructive suggestions about the previous
edition provided the foundation for many of our revisions. We are grateful
for the scholarly and insightful comments from all of our reviewers:
John Anderson
Walsh College
Mark Arvisais
Towson University
David Lee Baker
Kent State University
Herbert Barber
Virginia Military Institute
Erich Baumgartner
Andrews University
Ellen Benowitz
Mercer County Community
Kenneth Campbell
North Central College
Cheree Causey
University of Alabama–Tuscaloosa
Jeewon Cho
Montclair State University
Marie Gould
Peirce College
Donald Howard Horner
U.S. Naval Academy
Osmond Ingram Jr.
Dallas Baptist University
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x Preface
Once again we dedicate this book to the leaders of the past
from whom we have learned, the leaders of today whose
behaviors and actions shape our ever-changing world, and
the leaders of tomorrow who we hope will benefit from the
lessons in this book as they face the challenges of change and
globalization in an increasingly interconnected world.
Richard L. Hughes
Robert C. Ginnett
Gordon J. Curphy
Karen Jacobs
LeTourneau University
Donna Rue Jenkins
National University
Lanny Karns
Stacey Kessler
Montclair State University
Paulette Laubsch
Charles Changuk Lee
Chestnut Hill College
John Michael Lenti
University of South Carolina
Kristie Loescher
University of Texas–Austin
Lt. Col. Thomas Meriwether
Virginia Military Institute
Howard Rudd
College of Charleston
Cdr. Stephen Trainor
U.S. Naval Academy
Dennis Veit
University of Texas–Arlington
Deborah Wharff
University of North Carolina–
Eric Williams
University of Alabama–Tuscaloosa
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Brief Contents
Leadership Is a Process, Not a
Position 1
Chapter 1: What Do We Mean by
Leadership? 2
Chapter 2: Leader
Development 43
Chapter 3: Skills for Developing
Yourself as a
Leader 88
Focus on the Leader 117
Chapter 4: Power and
Infl uence 118
Chapter 5: Leadership, Ethics and
Values 150
Chapter 6: Leadership
Attributes 188
Chapter 7: Leadership
Behavior 242
Chapter 8: Skills for Building
Personal Credibility and
Infl uencing Others 277
Focus on the Followers 317
Chapter 9: Motivation, Satisfaction,
and Performance 331
Chapter 10: Groups, Teams, and
Their Leadership 390
Chapter 11: Skills for Developing
Others 436
Focus on the Situation 473
Chapter 12: The Situation 473
Chapter 13: Contingency Theories of
Leadership 520
Chapter 14: Leadership and
Change 556
Chapter 15: The Dark Side of
Leadership 607
Chapter 16: Skills for Optimizing
Leadership as Situations
Change 657
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Preface viii
Leadership Is a Process, Not a
Position 1
Chapter 1
What Do We Mean by Leadership? 2
Introduction 2
What Is Leadership? 3
Leadership Is Both a Science and an Art 5
Leadership Is Both Rational and Emotional 6
Leadership and Management 8
Leadership Myths 11
Myth: Good Leadership Is All Common Sense 11
Myth: Leaders Are Born, Not Made 12
Myth: The Only School You Learn Leadership from
Is the School of Hard Knocks 13
The Interactional Framework for Analyzing
Leadership 15
The Leader 16
The Followers 18
The Situation 26
Illustrating the Interactional Framework:
Women in Leadership Roles 27
There Is No Simple Recipe for Effective
Leadership 34
Summary 35
Chapter 2
Leader Development 43
Introduction 43
The Action–Observation–Reflection
Model 46
The Key Role of Perception in the Spiral of
Experience 49
Perception and Observation 49
Perception and Reflection 51
Perception and Action 52
Reflection and Leadership
Development 54
Single- and Double-Loop Learning 54
Making the Most of Your Leadership
Experiences: Learning to Learn from
Experience 57
Leader Development in College 59
Leader Development in Organizational
Settings 61
Action Learning 64
Development Planning 66
Coaching 69
Mentoring 74
Building Your Own Leadership Self-
Image 78
Summary 78
Chapter 3
Skills for Developing Yourself as a
Leader 87
Your First 90 Days as a Leader 88
Before You Start: Do Your Homework 88
The First Day: You Get Only One Chance to Make
a First Impression 89
The First Two Weeks: Lay the Foundation 90
The First Two Months: Strategy, Structure, and
Staffing 92
The Third Month: Communicate and Drive
Change 93
Learning from Experience 94
Creating Opportunities to Get Feedback 95
Taking a 10 Percent Stretch 95
Learning from Others 96
Keeping a Journal 96
Having a Developmental Plan 97
Building Technical Competence 98
Determining How the Job Contributes to the
Overall Mission 100
Becoming an Expert in the Job 100
Seeking Opportunities to Broaden Experiences 101
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Contents xiii
Building Effective Relationships with
Superiors 101
Understanding the Superior’s World 102
Adapting to the Superior’s Style 103
Building Effective Relationships with
Peers 104
Recognizing Common Interests and Goals 104
Understanding Peers’ Tasks, Problems, and
Rewards 105
Practicing a Theory Y Attitude 105
Development Planning 106
Conducting a GAPS Analysis 107
Identifying and Prioritizing Development Needs:
Gaps of GAPS 109
Bridging the Gaps: Building a Development
Plan 110
Reflecting on Learning: Modifying Development
Plans 110
Transferring Learning to New Environments 112
Focus on the Leader 117
Chapter 4
Power and Influence 118
Introduction 118
Some Important Distinctions 118
Power and Leadership 121
Sources of Leader Power 122
A Taxonomy of Social Power 125
Expert Power 125
Referent Power 126
Legitimate Power 128
Reward Power 129
Coercive Power 130
Concluding Thoughts about French and Raven’s
Power Taxonomy 133
Leader Motives 134
Influence Tactics 137
Types of Influence Tactics 138
Influence Tactics and Power 139
A Concluding Thought about Influence
Tactics 142
Summary 142
Chapter 5
Leadership Ethics and Values 150
Introduction 150
Leadership and “Doing the Right
Things” 150
Values, Ethics, and Morals 152
Are There Generational Differences in
Values? 154
Moral and Ethical Reasoning and Action 157
Why Do Good People Do Bad Things? 166
Ethics and Values-Based Approaches to
Leadership 168
The Roles of Ethics and Values in
Organizational Leadership 172
Leading by Example: the Good, the Bad,
and the Ugly 174
Creating and Sustaining an Ethical
Climate 176
Summary 181
Chapter 6
Leadership Attributes 188
Introduction 188
Personality Traits and Leadership 189
What Is Personality? 189
The Five Factor or OCEAN Model of
Personality 192
Implications of the Five Factor or OCEAN
Model 196
Personality Types and Leadership 201
The Differences between Traits and Types 201
Psychological Preferences as a Personality
Typology 202
Implications of Preferences and Types 205
Intelligence and Leadership 208
What Is Intelligence? 208
The Triarchic Theory of Intelligence 210
Implications of the Triarchic Theory of
Intelligence 213
Intelligence and Stress: Cognitive Resources
Theory 218
Emotional Intelligence and Leadership 220
What Is Emotional Intelligence? 220
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xiv Contents
Can Emotional Intelligence Be Measured and
Developed? 225
Implications of Emotional Intelligence 226
Summary 229
Chapter 7
Leadership Behavior 242
Introduction 242
Studies of Leadership Behavior 244
Why Study Leadership Behavior? 244
The Early Studies 246
The Leadership Grid 250
Competency Models 252
The Leadership Pipeline 255
Community Leadership 259
Assessing Leadership Behaviors: Multirater
Feedback Instruments 262
Summary 268
Chapter 8
Skills for Building Personal
Credibility and Influencing
Others 277
Building Credibility 277
The Two Components of Credibility 278
Building Expertise 278
Building Trust 279
Expertise × Trust 281
Communication 283
Know What Your Purpose Is 285
Choose an Appropriate Context and Medium 285
Send Clear Signals 286
Actively Ensure That Others Understand the
Message 287
Listening 288
Demonstrate Nonverbally That You Are
Listening 289
Actively Interpret the Sender’s Message 289
Attend to the Sender’s Nonverbal Behavior 290
Avoid Becoming Defensive 290
Assertiveness 291
Use “I” Statements 293
Speak Up for What You Need 295
Learn to Say No 295
Monitor Your Inner Dialogue 295
Be Persistent 296
Conducting Meetings 296
Determine Whether It Is Necessary 297
List the Objectives 297
Stick to the Agenda 298
Provide Pertinent Materials in Advance 298
Make It Convenient 298
Encourage Participation 298
Keep a Record 299
Effective Stress Management 299
Monitor Your Own and Your Followers’ Stress
Levels 302
Identify What Is Causing the Stress 302
Practice a Healthy Lifestyle 303
Learn How to Relax 303
Develop Supportive Relationships 303
Keep Things in Perspective 304
The A-B-C Model 304
Problem Solving 306
Identifying Problems or Opportunities for
Improvement 306
Analyzing the Causes 307
Developing Alternative Solutions 308
Selecting and Implementing the Best Solution 308
Assessing the Impact of the Solution 309
Improving Creativity 309
Seeing Things in New Ways 309
Using Power Constructively 311
Forming Diverse Problem-Solving Groups 311
Focus on the Followers 317
The Potter and Rosenbach
Followership Model 320
The Curphy Followership Model 323
Chapter 9
Motivation, Satisfaction, and
Performance 331
Introduction 331
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Contents xv
Defining Motivation, Satisfaction, and
Performance 332
Understanding and Influencing Follower
Motivation 338
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: How Does Context
Affect Motivation? 340
Achievement Orientation: How Does Personality
Affect Motivation? 344
Goal Setting: How Do Clear Performance Targets
Affect Motivation? 346
The Operant Approach: How Do Rewards and
Punishment Affect Motivation? 351
Empowerment: How Does Decision-Making
Latitude Affect Motivation? 355
Motivation Summary 360
Understanding and Influencing Follower
Satisfaction 362
Global, Facet, and Life Satisfaction 364
Three Theories of Job Satisfaction 369
Affectivity: Is the Cup Half Empty or Half
Full? 370
Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory: Does Meaningful
Work Make People Happy? 372
Organizational Justice: Does Fairness
Matter? 374
Summary 376
Chapter 10
Groups, Teams, and Their
Leadership 390
Introduction 390
Individuals versus Groups versus
Teams 391
The Nature of Groups 393
Group Size 394
Developmental Stages of Groups 396
Group Roles 396
Group Norms 400
Group Cohesion 402
Teams 406
Effective Team Characteristics and Team
Building 406
Ginnett’s Team Leadership Model 410
Outputs 410
Process 410
Inputs 415
Leadership Prescriptions of the Model 415
Creation 415
Dream 416
Design 416
Development 417
Diagnosis and Leverage Points 418
Concluding Thoughts about Ginnett’s Team
Leadership Model 422
Virtual Teams 424
Summary 428
Chapter 11
Skills for Developing Others 436
Setting Goals 436
Goals Should Be Specific and Observable 437
Goals Should Be Attainable but
Challenging 437
Goals Require Commitment 438
Goals Require Feedback 439
Providing Constructive Feedback 439
Make It Helpful 441
Be Specific 442
Be Descriptive 442
Be Timely 443
Be Flexible 443
Give Positive as Well as Negative Feedback 444
Avoid Blame or Embarrassment 444
Team Building for Work Teams 444
Team-Building Interventions 445
What Does a Team-Building Workshop
Involve? 446
Examples of Interventions 447
Building High-Performance Teams: The
Rocket Model 448
Mission 450
Talent 450
Norms 451
Buy-In 452
Power 453
Morale 453
Results 454
Implications of the Rocket Model 455
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xvi Contents
Delegating 457
Why Delegating Is Important 457
Delegation Frees Time for Other
Activities 457
Delegation Develops Followers 458
Delegation Strengthens the
Organization 458
Common Reasons for Avoiding Delegation 458
Delegation Takes Too Much Time 458
Delegation Is Risky 458
The Job Will Not Be Done as Well 459
The Task Is a Desirable One 459
Others Are Already Too Busy 459
Principles of Effective Delegation 459
Decide What to Delegate 459
Decide Whom to Delegate To 460
Make the Assignment Clear and Specific 460
Assign an Objective, Not a Procedure 460
Allow Autonomy, but Monitor
Performance 461
Give Credit, Not Blame 461
Coaching 462
Forging a Partnership 463
Inspiring Commitment: Conducting a GAPS
Analysis 464
Growing Skills: Creating Development and
Coaching Plans 465
Promoting Persistence: Helping Followers Stick to
Their Plans 466
Transferring Skills: Creating a Learning
Environment 467
Concluding Comments 468
Focus on the Situation 473
Chapter 12
The Situation 475
Introduction 475
The Task 480
How Tasks Vary, and What That Means for
Leadership 480
Problems and Challenges 482
The Organization 484
From the Industrial Age to the Information Age 484
The Formal Organization 486
The Informal Organization: Organizational
Culture 489
A Theory of Organizational Culture 495
An Afterthought on Organizational Issues for
Students and Young Leaders 498
The Environment 498
Are Things Changing More Than They
Used To? 499
Leading across Societal Cultures 502
What Is Societal Culture? 506
The GLOBE Study 506
Implications for Leadership
Practitioners 511
Summary 512
Chapter 13
Contingency Theories of
Leadership 520
Introduction 520
Leader–Member Exchange (LMX)
Theory 521
Concluding Thoughts about the
LMX Model 522
The Normative Decision Model 523
Levels of Participation 523
Decision Quality and Acceptance 523
The Decision Tree 525
Concluding Thoughts about the Normative
Decision Model 528
The Situational Leadership® Model 530
Leader Behaviors 530
Follower Readiness 532
Prescriptions of the Model 532
Concluding Thoughts about the Situational
Leadership® Model 533
The Contingency Model 535
The Least Preferred Coworker Scale 535
Situational Favorability 537
Prescriptions of the Model 538
Concluding Thoughts about the Contingency
Model 540
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Contents xvii
The Path–Goal Theory 542
Leader Behaviors 542
The Followers 543
The Situation 545
Prescriptions of the Theory 546
Concluding Thoughts about the Path–Goal
Theory 547
Summary 549
Chapter 14
Leadership and Change 556
Introduction 556
The Rational Approach to Organizational
Change 557
Dissatisfaction 560
Model 561
Process 564
Resistance 567
Concluding Comments about the Rational
Approach to Organizational Change 570
The Emotional Approach to Organizational
Change: Charismatic and Transformational
Leadership 573
Charismatic Leadership: A Historical Review 573
What Are the Common Characteristics of
Charismatic and Transformational
Leadership? 580
Leader Characteristics 581
Vision 581
Rhetorical Skills 582
Image and Trust Building 582
Personalized Leadership 583
Follower Characteristics 584
Identification with the Leader and the
Vision 584
Heightened Emotional
Levels 585
Willing Subordination to the
Leader 585
Feelings of Empowerment 585
Situational Characteristics 586
Crises 586
Social Networks 587
Other Situational Characteristics 587
Concluding Thoughts about the
Characteristics of Charismatic and
Transformational Leadership 587
Bass’s Theory of Transformational and
Transactional Leadership 590
Research Results of Transformational and
Transactional Leadership 592
Summary 594
Chapter 15
The Dark Side of Leadership 607
Introduction 607
Bad Leadership 610
Managerial Incompetence 614
Managerial Derailment 620
The Six Root Causes of Managerial
Incompetence and Derailment 628
Stuff Happens: Situational and Follower Factors in
Managerial Derailment 630
The Lack of Organizational Fit: Stranger in a
Strange Land 632
More Clues for the Clueless: Lack of Situational and
Self-Awareness 635
Lack of Intelligence, Subject Matter Expertise, and
Team-Building Know-How: Real
Genius 637
Poor Followership: Fire Me, Please 640
Dark-Side Personality Traits: Personality as a
Method of Birth Control 643
Summary 648
Chapter 16
Skills for Optimizing Leadership as
Situations Change 657
Creating a Compelling Vision 657
Ideas: The Future Picture 658
Expectations: Values and Performance
Standards 659
Emotional Energy: The Power and the
Passion 660
Edge: Stories, Analogies, and Metaphors 661
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xviii Contents
Managing Conflict 662
What Is Conflict? 662
Is Conflict Always Bad? 663
Conflict Resolution Strategies 664
Negotiation 668
Prepare for the Negotiation 668
Separate the People from the Problem 668
Focus on Interests, Not Positions 668
Diagnosing Performance Problems
in Individuals, Groups, and
Organizations 669
Expectations 670
Capabilities 670
Opportunities 671
Motivation 671
Concluding Comments on the Diagnostic
Model 671
Team Building at the Top 671
Executive Teams Are Different 672
Applying Individual Skills and
Team Skills 672
Tripwire Lessons 673
Punishment 676
Myths Surrounding the Use of Punishment 677
Punishment, Satisfaction, and Performance 678
Administering Punishment 682
Index 686
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Is a Process,
Not a Position
If any single idea is central to this book, it is that leadership is a process,
not a position. The entire first part of this book explores that idea. One is
not a leader—except perhaps in name only—merely because one holds a
title or position. Leadership involves something happening as a result of
the interaction between a leader and followers.
In Chapter 1 we define leadership and explore its relationship to con-
cepts such as management and followership, and we also introduce the
interactional framework. The interactional framework is based on the idea
that leadership involves complex interactions between the leader, the fol-
lowers, and the situations they are in. That framework provides the orga-
nizing principle for the rest of the book. Chapter 2 looks at how we can
become better leaders by profiting more fully from our experiences, which
is not to say that either the study or the practice of leadership is simple.
Part 1 concludes with a chapter focusing on basic leadership skills. There
also will be a corresponding skills chapter at the conclusion of each of the
other three parts in this book.
LeadershipFollowers Situation
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Chapter 1
What Do We Mean by
In the spring of 1972, an airplane flew across the Andes mountains car-
rying its crew and 40 passengers. Most of the passengers were members
of an amateur Uruguayan rugby team en route to a game in Chile. The
plane never arrived. It crashed in snow-covered mountains, breaking
into several pieces on impact. The main part of the fuselage slid like a
toboggan down a steep valley, coming to rest in waist-deep snow. Al-
though a number of people died immediately or within a day of the im-
pact, the picture for the 28 survivors was not much better. The fuselage
offered little protection from the extreme cold, food supplies were scant,
and a number of passengers had serious injuries from the crash. Over
the next few days, several surviving passengers became psychotic and
several others died from their injuries. The passengers who were rela-
tively uninjured set out to do what they could to improve their chances
of survival.
Several worked on “weatherproofing” the wreckage; others found
ways to get water; and those with medical training took care of the in-
jured. Although shaken by the crash, the survivors initially were confi-
dent they would be found. These feelings gradually gave way to despair
as search and rescue teams failed to find the wreckage. With the passing
of several weeks and no sign of rescue in sight, the remaining passengers
decided to mount expeditions to determine the best way to escape. The
most physically fit were chosen to go on the expeditions because the thin
mountain air and the deep snow made the trips difficult. The results of the
trips were both frustrating and demoralizing: the expedition members de-
termined they were in the middle of the Andes mountains, and walking
out to find help was believed to be impossible. Just when the survivors
thought nothing worse could possibly happen, an avalanche hit the
wreckage and killed several more of them.
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 3
The remaining survivors concluded they would not be rescued, and
their only hope was for someone to leave the wreckage and find help.
Three of the fittest passengers were chosen for the final expedition, and
everyone else’s work was directed toward improving the expedition’s
chances of success. The three expedition members were given more food
and were exempted from routine survival activities; the rest spent most of
their energies securing supplies for the trip. Two months after the plane
crash, the expedition members set out on their final attempt to find help.
After hiking for 10 days through some of the most rugged terrain in the
world, the expedition stumbled across a group of Chilean peasants tend-
ing cattle. One of the expedition members stated, “I come from a plane
that fell in the mountains. I am Uruguayan . . .” Eventually 14 other survi-
vors were rescued.
When the full account of their survival became known, it was not with-
out controversy. It had required extreme and unsettling measures: the sur-
vivors had lived only by eating the flesh of their deceased comrades.
Nonetheless, their story is one of the most moving survival dramas of all
time, magnificently told by Piers Paul Read in Alive . 1 It is a story of trag-
edy and courage, and it is a story of leadership.
Perhaps a story of survival in the Andes is so far removed from every-
day experience that it does not seem to hold any relevant lessons about
leadership for you personally. But consider some of the basic issues the
Andes survivors faced: tension between individual and group goals, deal-
ing with the different needs and personalities of group members, and
keeping hope alive in the face of adversity. These issues are not so differ-
ent from those facing many groups we’re a part of. We can also look at the
Andes experience for examples of the emergence of informal leaders in
groups. Before the flight, a boy named Parrado was awkward and shy, a
“second-stringer” both athletically and socially. Nonetheless, this unlikely
hero became the best loved and most respected among the survivors for
his courage, optimism, fairness, and emotional support. Persuasiveness in
group decision making also was an important part of leadership among
the Andes survivors. During the difficult discussions preceding the ago-
nizing decision to survive on the flesh of their deceased comrades, one of
the rugby players made his reasoning clear: “I know that if my dead body
could help you stay alive, then I would want you to use it. In fact, if I do
die and you don’t eat me, then I’ll come back from wherever I am and
give you a good kick in the ass.” 2
What Is Leadership?
The Andes story and the experiences of many other leaders we’ll intro-
duce to you in a series of profiles sprinkled throughout the chapters
provide numerous examples of leadership. But just what is leadership?
Lives of great men all
remind us
We can make our
lives sublime
And, departing, leave
behind us
Footprints on the
sands of time.
Henry Wadsworth
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4 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
People who do research on leadership disagree more than you might
think about what leadership really is. Most of this disagreement stems
from the fact that leadership is a complex phenomenon involving the
leader, the followers, and the situation. Some leadership researchers have
focused on the personality, physical traits, or behaviors of the leader; oth-
ers have studied the relationships between leaders and followers; still oth-
ers have studied how aspects of the situation affect how leaders act. Some
have extended the latter viewpoint so far as to suggest there is no such
thing as leadership; they argue that organizational successes and failures
often get falsely attributed to the leader, but the situation may have a
much greater impact on how the organization functions than does any
individual, including the leader. 3
Perhaps the best way for you to begin to understand the complexities
of leadership is to see some of the ways leadership has been defined.
Leadership researchers have defined leadership in many different ways:
• The process by which an agent induces a subordinate to behave in a
desired manner. 4
• Directing and coordinating the work of group members. 5
• An interpersonal relation in which others comply because they want to,
not because they have to. 6
• The process of influencing an organized group toward accomplishing
its goals. 7
• Actions that focus resources to create desirable opportunities. 8
• Creating conditions for a team to be effective. 9
• Getting results through others (the ends of leadership), and the ability
to build cohesive, goal-oriented teams (the means of leadership). Good
leaders are those who build teams to get results across a variety of
situations. 10
• A complex form of social problem solving. 11
As you can see, definitions of leadership differ in many ways, and these
differences have resulted in various researchers exploring disparate as-
pects of leadership. For example, if we were to apply these definitions to
the Andes survival scenario described earlier, some researchers would
focus on the behaviors Parrado used to keep up the morale of the survi-
vors. Researchers who define leadership as influencing an organized
group toward accomplishing its goals would examine how Parrado man-
aged to convince the group to stage and support the final expedition.
One’s definition of leadership might also influence just who is considered
an appropriate leader for study. Thus each group of researchers might
focus on a different aspect of leadership, and each would tell a different
story regarding the leader, the followers, and the situation.
Although having many leadership definitions may seem confusing, it
is important to understand that there is no single correct definition. The
The halls of fame are
open wide and they are
always full. Some go in
by the door called
“push” and some by the
door called “pull.”
Stanley Baldwin,
British prime
minister in the
Remember the difference
between a boss and a
leader: a boss says,
“Go!”—a leader says,
“Let’s go!”
E. M. Kelly 
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 5
various definitions can help us appreciate the multitude of factors that
affect leadership, as well as different perspectives from which to view it.
For example, in the first definition just listed, the word subordinate seems
to confine leadership to downward influence in hierarchical relation-
ships; it seems to exclude informal leadership. The second definition
emphasizes the directing and controlling aspects of leadership, and
thereby may deemphasize emotional aspects of leadership. The empha-
sis placed in the third definition on subordinates’ “wanting to” comply
with a leader’s wishes seems to exclude any kind of coercion as a leader-
ship tool. Further, it becomes problematic to identify ways in which a
leader’s actions are really leadership if subordinates voluntarily comply
when a leader with considerable potential coercive power merely asks
others to do something without explicitly threatening them. Similarly, a
key reason behind using the phrase desirable opportunities in one of the
definitions was precisely to distinguish between leadership and tyranny.
And partly because there are many different definitions of leadership,
there is also a wide range of individuals we consider leaders. In addition
to stories about leaders and leadership we will sprinkle through this
book, we will highlight several in each chapter in a series of Profiles
in Leadership. The first of these is Profiles in Leadership 1.1, which
highlights Peter Jackson.
All considered, we find that defining leadership as “the process of in-
fluencing an organized group toward accomplishing its goals” is fairly
comprehensive and helpful. Several implications of this definition are
worth further examination.
Leadership Is Both a Science and an Art
Saying leadership is both a science and an art emphasizes the subject of
leadership as a field of scholarly inquiry, as well as certain aspects of the
practice of leadership. The scope of the science of leadership is reflected in
the number of studies—approximately 8,000—cited in an authoritative
reference work, Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research,
and Managerial Applications. 12 However, being an expert on leadership re-
search is neither necessary nor sufficient for being a good leader. Some
managers may be effective leaders without ever having taken a course or
training program in leadership, and some scholars in the field of leader-
ship may be relatively poor leaders themselves.
However, knowing something about leadership research is relevant
to leadership effectiveness. Scholarship may not be a prerequisite for
leadership effectiveness, but understanding some of the major research
findings can help individuals better analyze situations using a variety of
perspectives. That, in turn, can tell leaders how to be more effective.
Even so, because skills in analyzing and responding to situations vary
greatly across leaders, leadership will always remain partly an art as
Any fool can keep a
rule. God gave him a
brain to know when to
break the rule.
General Willard
W. Scott 
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6 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
well as a science. Highlight 1.1 provides further perspective on how the
art and science of leadership are represented in somewhat distinctive
research traditions.
Leadership Is Both Rational and Emotional
Leadership involves both the rational and emotional sides of human ex-
perience. Leadership includes actions and influences based on reason and
logic as well as those based on inspiration and passion. We do not want to
cultivate merely intellectualized leaders who respond with only logical
predictability. Because people differ in their thoughts and feelings, hopes
and dreams, needs and fears, goals and ambitions, and strengths and
weaknesses, leadership situations can be complex. People are both ratio-
nal and emotional, so leaders can use rational techniques and emotional
appeals to influence followers, but they must also weigh the rational and
emotional consequences of their actions.
Peter Jackson
When Peter Jackson read The Lord of the Rings trilogy
at the age of 18, he couldn’t wait until it was made
into a movie; 20 years later he made that movie
himself. In 2004 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of
the King took home 11 Academy Awards, winning
the Oscar in every category for which it was nomi-
nated. This tied the record for the most Oscars ever
earned by one motion picture. Such an achievement
might seem unlikely for a producer/director whose
film debut was titled Bad Taste, which it and subse-
quent works exemplified in spades. Peter Jackson
made horror movies so grisly and revolting that his
fans nicknamed him the “Sultan of Splatter.” None-
theless, his talent was evident to discerning eyes—at
least among horror film aficionados. Bad Taste was
hailed as a cult classic at the Cannes Film Festival,
and horror fans tabbed Jackson as a talent to follow.
When screenwriter Costa Botes heard that The
Lord of the Rings would be made into a live action
film, he thought those responsible were crazy. Pre-
vailing wisdom was that the fantastic and complex
trilogy simply could not be believably translated
onto the screen. But he also believed that “there was
no other director on earth who could do it justice”
(Botes, 2004). And do it justice he obviously did.
What was it about the “Sultan of Splatter’s” leader-
ship that gave others such confidence in his ability to
make one of the biggest and best movies of all time?
What gave him the confidence to even try? And
what made others want to share in his vision?
Peter Jackson’s effectiveness as a leader has been
due in large part to a unique combination of per-
sonal qualities and talents. One associate, for exam-
ple, called him “one of the smartest people I know,”
as well as a maverick willing to buck the establish-
ment. Jackson is also a tireless worker whose early
successes were due in no small part to the combina-
tion of his ambition and dogged perseverance
(Botes, 2004). His initial success was driven largely
by his budding genius in making films on a low
budget and with virtually no other staff. In reading
others’ comments who worked with him on the
LOTR project, however, it’s clear that his leadership
continued to develop over the years. It was his abil-
ity to communicate a shared vision and inspire such
extraordinary work from an incredibly large staff
that made LOTR so spectacularly successful.
Source: Adapted from Costa Botes, Made in New Zealand:
The Cinema of Peter Jackson,, May 2004.
A democracy cannot fol-
low a leader unless he is
dramatized. A man to be
a hero must not content
himself with heroic vir-
tues and anonymous ac-
tion. He must talk and
explain as he acts—
William Allen
White, American
writer and editor,
Emporia Gazette 
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 7
A full appreciation of leadership involves looking at both these sides of
human nature. Good leadership is more than just calculation and plan-
ning, or following a checklist, even though rational analysis can enhance
good leadership. Good leadership also involves touching others’ feelings;
emotions play an important role in leadership too. Just one example of
this is the civil rights movement of the 1960s, which was based on emo-
tions as well as on principles. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired many
people to action; he touched people’s hearts as well as their heads.
The Academic and Troubadour Traditions
of Leadership Research
On a practical level, leadership is a topic that al-
most everyone is interested in at one time or an-
other. People have a vested interest in who is
running their government, schools, company, or
church, and because of this interest thousands of
books and articles have been written about the
topic of leadership. Curphy and Hogan believe
these works can be divided into two major camps.
The academic tradition consists of articles that use
data and statistical techniques to make inferences
about effective leadership. Because the academic
tradition is research based, for the most part these
findings are written for other leadership researchers
and are virtually uninterpretable to leadership prac-
titioners. As such, leadership practitioners are often
unfamiliar with the research findings of the aca-
demic tradition.
The second camp of leadership literature is the
troubadour tradition. These books and articles
often consist of nothing more than the opinions or
score-settling reminiscences of former leaders.
Books in the troubadour tradition, such as Who
Moved My Cheese?, What the CEO Wants You to
Know, Winning, and Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the
Greatest Leadership Role Model of all Time, are wildly
popular, but it is difficult to separate fact from fiction
or determine whether these opinions translate to
other settings. People who are unfamiliar with the
findings of the academic tradition and the limita-
tions of the troubadour tradition find it difficult to
differentiate research findings from opinion.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to improving the
practice of leadership is to give practitioners timely,
easily digestible, research-grounded advice on how
to effectively lead others. The knowledge accumu-
lated from 90 years of leadership research is of tre-
mendous value, yet scientists have paid little
attention to the ultimate consumers of their
work—leaders and leaders-to-be. Leadership prac-
titioners often want fast answers about how to be
more effective or successful and understandably
turn to popular books and articles that appear to
provide timely answers to their practical concerns.
Unfortunately, however, the claims in the popular
literature are rarely based on sound research; they
oversimplify the complexities of the leadership
process; and many times they actually offer bad
advice. Relatively little weight is given to well-
researched leadership studies, primarily because
the arcane requirements of publishing articles in
scholarly journals make their content virtually un-
readable (and certainly uninteresting) to actual
leadership practitioners. One of the primary objec-
tives of this book is to make the results of leader-
ship research more usable for leaders and
Sources: G. J. Curphy, M. J. Benson, A. Baldrica, and
R. T. Hogan, Managerial Incompetence (unpublished man-
uscript, 2007); G. J. Curphy, “What We Really Know about
Leadership (But Seem Unwilling to Implement)” (presenta-
tion given to the Minnesota Professionals for Psychology
and Applied Work, Minneapolis, MN, January 2004);
R. T. Hogan, Personality and the Fate of Organizations
(Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007).
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8 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
Aroused feelings, however, can be used either positively or negatively,
constructively or destructively. Some leaders have been able to inspire oth-
ers to deeds of great purpose and courage. On the other hand, as images of
Adolf Hitler’s mass rallies or present-day angry mobs attest, group frenzy
can readily become group mindlessness. As another example, emotional
appeals by the Reverend Jim Jones resulted in approximately 800 of his
followers volitionally committing suicide.
The mere presence of a group (even without heightened emotional
levels) can also cause people to act differently than when they are alone.
For example, in airline cockpit crews, there are clear lines of authority
from the captain down to the first officer (second in command) and so on.
So strong are the norms surrounding the authority of the captain that
some first officers will not take control of the airplane from the captain
even in the event of impending disaster. Foushee 13 reported a study
wherein airline captains in simulator training intentionally feigned inca-
pacitation so the response of the rest of the crew could be observed. The
feigned incapacitations occurred at a predetermined point during the
plane’s final approach in landing, and the simulation involved condi-
tions of poor weather and visibility. Approximately 25 percent of the first
officers in these simulated flights allowed the plane to crash. For some
reason, the first officers did not take control even when it was clear the
captain was allowing the aircraft to deviate from the parameters of a safe
approach. This example demonstrates how group dynamics can influ-
ence the behavior of group members even when emotional levels are not
high. (Believe it or not, airline crews are so well trained that this is not an
emotional situation.) In sum, it should be apparent that leadership in-
volves followers’ feelings and nonrational behavior as well as rational
behavior. Leaders need to consider both the rational and the emotional
consequences of their actions.
Leadership and Management
In trying to answer “What is leadership?” it is natural to look at the
relationship between leadership and management. To many, the word
management suggests words like efficiency, planning, paperwork, proce-
dures, regulations, control, and consistency. Leadership is often more
associated with words like risk taking, dynamic, creativity, change, and vision.
Some say leadership is fundamentally a value-choosing, and thus a
value-laden, activity, whereas management is not. Leaders are thought
to do the right things, whereas managers are thought to do things right. 14, 15
Here are some other distinctions between managers and leaders: 16
• Managers administer; leaders innovate.
• Managers maintain; leaders develop.
• Managers control; leaders inspire.
If you want some ham,
you gotta go into the
Huey Long,
governor of
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 9
• Managers have a short-term view; leaders, a long-term view.
• Managers ask how and when; leaders ask what and why.
• Managers imitate; leaders originate.
• Managers accept the status quo; leaders challenge it.
Zaleznik 17 goes so far as to say these differences reflect fundamentally
different personality types: leaders and managers are basically different
kinds of people. He says some people are managers by nature; other peo-
ple are leaders by nature. One is not better than the other; they are just
different. Their differences, in fact, can be useful because organizations
typically need both functions performed well. For example, consider
again the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1960s. Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. gave life and direction to the civil rights movement in America.
He gave dignity and hope of freer participation in national life to people
who before had little reason to expect it. He inspired the world with his
vision and eloquence, and he changed the way we live together. America
is a different nation today because of him. Was Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. a leader? Of course. Was he a manager? Somehow that does not seem
to fit, and the civil rights movement might have failed if it had not been
for the managerial talents of his supporting staff. Leadership and man-
agement complement each other, and both are vital to organizational
With regard to the issue of leadership versus management, the authors
of this book take a middle-of-the-road position. We think of leadership
and management as closely related but distinguishable functions. Our
view of the relationship is depicted in Figure 1.1, which shows leadership
and management as two overlapping functions. Although some functions
performed by leaders and managers may be unique, there is also an area
of overlap. In reading Highlight 1.2, do you see more good management
in the response to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, more good leader-
ship, or both?
Leadership Management
Leadership and
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10 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
The Response of Leadership to a Natural Disaster
Much has been written about the inadequate
response of local, state, and federal agencies
to  Hurricane Katrina. It may be instructive to
compare the response of government agencies to
a natural disaster on a different coast a century
earlier: the San Francisco earthquake and fire
of 1906.
While the precipitant disaster was the earth-
quake itself, much destruction resulted from the
consequent fire, one disaster aggravating the im-
pact of the other. Because of the earthquake, util-
ity poles throughout the city fell, taking the
high- tension wires they were carrying with them.
Gas pipes broke; chimneys fell, dropping hot
coals into thousands of gallons of gas spilled by
broken fuel tanks; stoves and heaters in homes
toppled over; and in moments fires erupted
across the city. And because the earthquake’s first
tremors also broke water pipes throughout the
city, fire hydrants everywhere suddenly went dry,
making fighting the fires virtually impossible. In
objective terms, the disaster is estimated to have
killed as many as 3,000 people, rendered more
than 200,000 homeless, and by some measures
caused $195 billion in property loss as measured
by today’s dollars.
How did authorities respond to the crisis when
there were far fewer agencies with presumed
response plans to combat disasters, and when
high-tech communication methods were unheard
of? Consider these two examples:
• The ranking officer assigned to a U.S. Army
post in San Francisco was away when the
earthquake struck, so it was up to his deputy to
help organize the army’s and federal govern-
ment’s response. The deputy immediately ca-
bled Washington, D.C., requesting tents,
rations, and medicine. Secretary of War William
Howard Taft, who would become the next U.S.
president, responded by immediately dispatch-
ing 200,000 rations from Washington State. In
a matter of days, every tent in the U.S. Army
had been sent to San Francisco, and the lon-
gest hospital train in history was dispatched
from Virginia.
• Perhaps the most impressive example of lead-
ership initiative in the face of the 1906 disaster
was that of the U.S. Post Office. It recovered its
ability to function in short order without losing
a single item that was being handled when the
earthquake struck. And because the earthquake
had effectively destroyed the city’s telegraphic
connection (telegrams inside the city were
temporarily being delivered by the post office),
a critical question arose: How could people
struck by the disaster communicate with their
families elsewhere? The city postmaster imme-
diately announced that all citizens of San
Francisco could use the post office to inform
their families and loved ones of their condition
and needs. He further stipulated that for out-
going private letters it would not matter whether
the envelopes bore stamps. This was what was
needed: Circumstances demanded that people
be able to communicate with friends and fam-
ily whether or not they could find or pay for
Perhaps this should remind us that modern
leadership is not necessarily better leadership,
and that leadership in government is not always
bureaucratic and can be both humane and
Source: Adapted from S. Winchester, A Crack in the Edge
of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake
of 1906 (New York: Harper Perennial, 2006).
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 11
Leadership Myths
Few things pose a greater obstacle to leadership development than certain
unsubstantiated and self-limiting beliefs about leadership. Therefore, be-
fore we begin examining leadership and leadership development in more
detail, we will consider what they are not. We will examine several beliefs
(we call them myths) that stand in the way of fully understanding and
developing leadership.
Myth: Good Leadership Is All Common Sense
At face value, this myth says one needs only common sense to be a good
leader. It also implies, however, that most if not all of the studies of leader-
ship reported in scholarly journals and books only confirm what anyone
with common sense already knows.
The problem, of course, is with the ambiguous term common sense. It
implies a common body of practical knowledge about life that virtually
any reasonable person with moderate experience has acquired. A simple
experiment, however, may convince you that common sense may be less
The Romance of Leadership
This text is predicated on the idea that leaders can
make a difference. Interestingly, though, while
businesspeople generally agree, not all scholars do.
People in the business world attribute much of a
company’s success or failure to its leadership. One
study counted the number of articles appearing in
The Wall Street Journal that dealt with leadership
and found nearly 10 percent of the articles about
representative target companies addressed that
company’s leadership. Furthermore, there was a
significant positive relationship between company
performance and the number of articles about its
leadership; the more a company’s leadership was
emphasized in The Wall Street Journal, the better
the company was doing. This might mean the
more a company takes leadership seriously (as
reflected by the emphasis in The Wall Street Journal),
the better it does.
However, the study authors were skeptical
about the real utility of leadership as a concept.
They suggested leadership is merely a romanti-
cized notion—an obsession people want and need
to believe in. Belief in the potency of leadership
may be a cultural myth that has utility primarily
insofar as it affects how people create meaning
about causal events in complex social systems.
The behavior of leaders, the authors contend,
does not account for much of the variance in an
organization’s performance. Nonetheless, people
seem strongly committed to a basic faith that indi-
vidual leaders shape organizational destiny for
good or ill.
As you read this book and come to appreciate
how many factors affect a group’s success besides
the talents of the individual leader, you might pay a
price for that understanding. As you appreciate the
complexity of leadership more, the romance of
leadership might slightly diminish.
Source: J. R. Meindl, S. B. Ehrlich, and J. M. Dukerich,
“The Romance of Leadership,” Administrative Science
Quarterly 30 (1985), pp. 78–102.
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12 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
common than you think. Ask a few friends or acquaintances whether the
old folk wisdom “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true or false.
Most will say it is true. After that ask a different group whether the old
folk wisdom “Out of sight, out of mind” is true or false. Most of that
group will answer true as well, even though the two proverbs are
A similar thing sometimes happens when people hear about the results
of studies concerning human behavior. On hearing the results, people
may say, “Who needed a study to learn that? I knew it all the time.” How-
ever, several experiments 18, 19 showed that events were much more sur-
prising when subjects had to guess the outcome of an experiment than
when subjects were told the outcome. What seems obvious after you
know the results and what you (or anyone else) would have predicted
beforehand are not the same thing. Hindsight is always 20/20.
The point might become clearer with a specific example; read the
following paragraph:
After World War II, the U.S. Army spent enormous sums of money on
studies only to reach conclusions that, many believed, should have been
apparent at the outset. One, for example, was that southern soldiers were
better able to stand the climate in the hot South Sea islands than northern
soldiers were.
This sounds reasonable, but there is a problem: the statement here is
exactly contrary to the actual findings. Southerners were no better than
northerners in adapting to tropical climates. 20 Common sense can often
play tricks on us.
Put a little differently, one challenge of understanding leadership may
be to know when common sense applies and when it does not. Do leaders
need to act confidently? Of course. But they also need to be humble
enough to recognize that others’ views are useful, too. Do leaders need to
persevere when times get tough? Yes. But they also need to recognize
when times change and a new direction is called for. If leadership were
nothing more than common sense, there should be few, if any, problems in
the workplace. However, we venture to guess you have noticed more than
a few problems between leaders and followers. Effective leadership must
be something more than just common sense.
Myth: Leaders Are Born, Not Made
Some people believe being a leader is either in one’s genes or not; others
believe that life experiences mold the individual and that no one is born
a leader. Which view is right? In a sense, both and neither. Both views
are right in that innate factors as well as formative experiences influence
many sorts of behavior, including leadership. Yet both views are wrong
to the extent they imply leadership is either innate or acquired; what
matters more is how these factors interact. It does not seem useful, we
If you miss seven balls
out of ten, you’re bat-
ting three hundred and
that’s good enough for
the Hall of Fame. You
can’t score if you keep
the bat on your shoulder.
Walter B. Wriston,
chairman of
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 13
believe, to think of the world as composed of two mutually exclusive
types of people, leaders and nonleaders. It is more useful to address
how each person can make the most of leadership opportunities he or
she faces.
It may be easier to see the pointlessness of asking whether leaders are
born or made by looking at an alternative question of far less popular in-
terest: Are college professors born or made? Conceptually the issues are the
same, and here too the answer is that every college professor is both born
and made. It seems clear enough that college professors are partly “born”
because (among other factors) there is a genetic component to intelligence,
and intelligence surely plays some part in becoming a college professor
(well, at least a minor part!). But every college professor is also partly
“made.” One obvious way is that college professors must have advanced
education in specialized fields; even with the right genes one could not
become a college professor without certain requisite experiences. Becom-
ing a college professor depends partly on what one is born with and partly
on how that inheritance is shaped through experience. The same is true of
More specifically, research indicates that many cognitive abilities and
personality traits are at least partly innate. 21 Thus natural talents or char-
acteristics may offer certain advantages or disadvantages to a leader. Con-
sider physical characteristics: A man’s above-average height may increase
others’ tendency to think of him as a leader; it may also boost his own
self-confidence. But it doesn’t make him a leader. The same holds true for
psychological characteristics that seem related to leadership. The stability
of certain characteristics over long periods (for example, at school
reunions people seem to have kept the same personalities we remember
them as having years earlier) may reinforce the impression that our basic
natures are fixed, but different environments nonetheless may nurture or
suppress different leadership qualities.
Myth: The Only School You Learn Leadership from Is the
School of Hard Knocks
Some people skeptically question whether leadership can develop
through formal study, believing instead it can be acquired only through
actual experience. It is a mistake, however, to think of formal study and
learning from experience as mutually exclusive or antagonistic. In fact,
they complement each other. Rather than ask whether leadership devel-
ops from formal study or from real-life experience, it is better to ask
what kind of study will help students learn to discern critical lessons
about leadership from their own experience. Approaching the issue in
such a way recognizes the vital role of experience in leadership develop-
ment, but it also admits that certain kinds of study and training can im-
prove a person’s ability to discern important lessons about leadership
Never reveal all of your-
self to other people; hold
back something in re-
serve so that people are
never quite sure if they
really know you.
Michael Korda,
author, editor
Progress always in-
volves risks. You can’t
steal second base and
keep your foot on first.
Frederick B. Wilcox
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14 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
from experience. It can, in other words, accelerate the process of learn-
ing from experience.
We argue that one advantage of formally studying leadership is that
formal study provides students with a variety of ways of examining a
particular leadership situation. By studying the different ways researchers
have defined and examined leadership, students can use these definitions
and theories to better understand what is going on in any leadership situ-
ation. For example, earlier in this chapter we used three different leader-
ship definitions as a framework for describing or analyzing the situation
facing Parrado and the survivors of the plane crash, and each definition
focused on a different aspect of leadership. These frameworks can simi-
larly be applied to better understand the experiences one has as both a
leader and a follower. We think it is difficult for leaders, particularly nov-
ice leaders, to examine leadership situations from multiple perspectives;
but we also believe developing this skill can help you become a better
leader. Being able to analyze your experiences from multiple perspectives
may be the greatest single contribution a formal course in leadership can
give you. Maybe you can reflect on your own leadership over a cup of cof-
fee in Starbucks as you read about the origins of that company in Profiles
in Leadership 1.2.
Howard Schultz
Starbucks began in 1971 as a very different com-
pany than we know it as today. The difference is
due in large part to the way its former CEO, How-
ard Schultz, reframed the kind of business Star-
bucks should be. Schultz joined Starbucks in 1981
to head its marketing and retail store operations.
While on a trip to Italy in 1983, Schultz was amazed
by the number and variety of espresso bars
there—1,500 in the city of Turin alone. He con-
cluded that the Starbucks stores in Seattle had
missed the point: Starbucks should be not just a store
but an experience—a gathering place.
Everything looks clearer in hindsight, of course,
but the Starbucks owners resisted Schultz’s vision;
Starbucks was a retailer, they insisted, not a restau-
rant or bar. Schultz’s strategic reframing of the
Starbucks opportunity was ultimately vindicated
when—after having departed Starbucks to pursue
the same idea with another company—Schultz had
the opportunity to purchase the whole Starbucks
operation in Seattle, including its name.
Despite today’s pervasiveness of Starbucks
across the world, however, and the seeming obvi-
ousness of Schultz’s exemplary leadership, the
Starbucks story has not been one of completely
consistent success. After Schultz retired as Star-
bucks CEO when it was a global megabrand, the
company’s performance suffered to the point
Schultz complained that it was “losing its soul.”
He was asked to return as CEO in 2008, and it ap-
pears he has resurrected Starbucks by bringing
new attention to the company’s operating effi-
ciency and by admitting, in effect, that some of
his own earlier instinctive approach to company
strategy and management may no longer be
sufficient for the new global scale of Starbucks
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 15
The Interactional Framework for Analyzing Leadership
Perhaps the first researcher to formally recognize the importance of the
leader, follower, and situation in the leadership process was Fred Fiedler. 22
Fiedler used these three components to develop his contingency model of
leadership, a theory of leadership that will be discussed in more detail in
Chapter 13. Although we recognize Fiedler’s contributions, we owe per-
haps even more to Hollander’s 23 transactional approach to leadership. We
call our approach the interactional framework.
Several aspects of this derivative of Hollander’s approach are worthy
of additional comment. First, as shown in Figure 1.2, the framework
depicts leadership as a function of three elements—the leader, the follow-
ers, and the situation. Second, a particular leadership scenario can be
examined using each level of analysis separately. Although this is a useful
way to understand the leadership process, we can understand the process
even better if we also examine the interactions among the three elements,
or lenses, represented by the overlapping areas in the figure. For example,
we can better understand the leadership process if we not only look at the
leaders and the followers but also examine how leaders and followers af-
fect each other in the leadership process. Similarly, we can examine the
leader and the situation separately, but we can gain even further under-
standing of the leadership process by looking at how the situation can
constrain or facilitate a leader’s actions and how the leader can change
different aspects of the situation to be more effective. Thus a final impor-
tant aspect of the framework is that leadership is the result of a complex
set of interactions among the leader, the followers, and the situation.
These complex interactions may be why broad generalizations about
leadership are problematic: many factors influence the leadership process
(see Highlight 1.3 on page 11).
Followers Situation
An Interactional
Framework for
Source: Adapted from
E. P. Hollander, Leadership
Dynamics: A Practical Guide
to Effective Relationships
(New York: Free Press, 1978).
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16 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
An example of one such complex interaction between leaders and follow-
ers is evident in what have been called in-groups and out-groups. Some-
times there is a high degree of mutual influence and attraction between the
leader and a few subordinates. These subordinates belong to the in-group
and can be distinguished by their high degree of loyalty, commitment, and
trust felt toward the leader. Other subordinates belong to the out-group.
Leaders have considerably more influence with in-group followers than
with out-group followers. However, this greater degree of influence has a
price. If leaders rely primarily on their formal authority to influence their
followers (especially if they punish them), then leaders risk losing the high
levels of loyalty and commitment followers feel toward them. 24
The Leader
This element examines primarily what the leader brings as an individual to
the leadership equation. This can include unique personal history, inter-
ests, character traits, and motivation.
Source: BIZZARO (NEW) © Dan Pirari. King Features Syndicate.
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 17
Leaders are not all alike, but they tend to share many characteristics.
Research has shown that leaders differ from their followers, and effective
leaders differ from ineffective leaders, on various personality traits, cogni-
tive abilities, skills, and values. 25 – 30 Another way personality can affect
leadership is through temperament, by which we mean whether a leader
is generally calm or is instead prone to emotional outbursts. Leaders who
have calm dispositions and do not attack or belittle others for bringing
bad news are more likely to get complete and timely information from
subordinates than are bosses who have explosive tempers and a reputa-
tion for killing the messenger.
Another important aspect of the leader is how he or she achieved
leader status. Leaders who are appointed by superiors may have less
credibility with subordinates and get less loyalty from them than leaders
who are elected or emerge by consensus from the ranks of followers.
Often emergent or elected officials are better able to influence a group to-
ward goal achievement because of the power conferred on them by their
followers. However, both elected and emergent leaders need to be sensi-
tive to their constituencies if they wish to remain in power.
More generally, a leader’s experience or history in a particular organiza-
tion is usually important to her or his effectiveness. For example, leaders
promoted from within an organization, by virtue of being familiar with its
culture and policies, may be ready to “hit the job running.” In addition,
leaders selected from within an organization are typically better known by
others in the organization than are leaders selected from the outside. That is
likely to affect, for better or worse, the latitude others in the organization are
willing to give the leader; if the leader is widely respected for a history of
accomplishment, she may be given more latitude than a newcomer whose
track record is less well known. On the other hand, many people tend to
give new leaders a fair chance to succeed, and newcomers to an organiza-
tion often take time to learn the organization’s informal rules, norms, and
“ropes” before they make any radical or potentially controversial decisions.
A leader’s legitimacy also may be affected by the extent to which fol-
lowers participated in the leader’s selection. When followers have had a
say in the selection or election of a leader, they tend to have a heightened
sense of psychological identification with her, but they also may have
higher expectations and make more demands on her. 31 We also might
wonder what kind of support a leader has from his own boss. If followers
sense their boss has a lot of influence with the higher-ups, subordinates
may be reluctant to take their complaints to higher levels. On the other
hand, if the boss has little influence with higher-ups, subordinates may be
more likely to make complaints to these levels.
The foregoing examples highlight the sorts of insights we can gain
about leadership by focusing on the individual leader as a level of analy-
sis. Even if we were to examine the individual leader completely, how-
ever, our understanding of the leadership process would be incomplete.
I must follow the people.
Am I not their leader?
Benjamin Disraeli,
19th-century British
prime minister
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18 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
The Followers
Followers are a critical part of the leadership equation, but their role has
not always been appreciated, at least in empirical research (but read
Highlight 1.4 to see how the role of followers has been recognized in lit-
erature). For a long time, in fact, “the common view of leadership was
that leaders actively led and subordinates, later called followers,
passively and obediently followed.” 32 Over time, especially in the last cen-
The crowd will follow a
leader who marches
twenty steps in advance;
but if he is a thousand
steps in front of them,
they do not see and do
not follow him.
Georg Brandes
“I’ll be blunt, coach. I’m having a problem with this ‘take a lap’ thing of
yours . . .”
Source: © Tribune Media Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 19
tury, social change shaped people’s views of followers, and leadership
theories gradually recognized the active and important role that followers
play in the leadership process. 33 Today it seems natural to accept the
important role followers play. Highlight 1.5 suggests some interesting
interactions between leadership and followership in an arena familiar
to you.
One aspect of our text’s definition of leadership is particularly worth
noting in this regard: Leadership is a social influence process shared
among all members of a group. Leadership is not restricted to the influ-
ence exerted by someone in a particular position or role; followers are part
of the leadership process, too. In recent years both practitioners and schol-
ars have emphasized the relatedness of leadership and followership. As
Burns 34 observed, the idea of “one-man leadership” is a contradiction in
Obvious as this point may seem, it is also clear that early leadership
researchers paid relatively little attention to the roles followers play in the
The First Band of Brothers
Many of you probably have seen, or at least heard
of, the award-winning series Band of Brothers that
followed a company of the famous 101st Airborne
division during World War II. You may not be aware
that an earlier band of brothers was made famous
by William Shakespeare in his play Henry V.
In one of the most famous speeches by any of
Shakespeare’s characters, the young Henry V tried
to unify his followers when their daring expedition
to conquer France was failing. French soldiers fol-
lowed Henry’s army along the rivers, daring them
to cross over and engage the French in battle. Just
before the battle of Agincourt, Henry’s rousing
words rallied his vastly outnumbered, weary, and
tattered troops to victory. Few words of oratory
have ever better bonded a leader with his followers
than Henry’s call for unity among “we few, we
happy few, we band of brothers.”
Hundreds of years later, Henry’s speech is still a
powerful illustration of a leader who emphasized
the importance of his followers. Modern leadership
concepts like vision, charisma, relationship
orientation, and empowerment are readily evident
in Henry’s interactions with his followers. Here are
the closing lines of Henry’s famous speech:
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
Shakespeare’s insights into the complexities of
leadership should remind us that while modern re-
search helps enlighten our understanding, it does
not represent the only, and certainly not the most
moving, perspective on leadership to which we
should pay attention.
Source: N. Warner, “Screening Leadership through
Shakespeare: Paradoxes of Leader–Follower Relations
in Henry V on Film,” The Leadership Quarterly 18 (2007),
pp. 1–15.
All men have some weak
points, and the more
vigorous and brilliant a
person may be, the more
strongly these weak
points stand out. It is
highly desirable, even
essential, therefore, for
the more influential
members of a general’s
staff not to be too much
like the general.
Major General
Hugo Baron
von Freytag-
Loringhoven, anti-
Hitler conspirator
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20 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
leadership process. 35, 36 However, we know that the followers’ expecta-
tions, personality traits, maturity levels, levels of competence, and moti-
vation affect the leadership process too. 37- 40
The nature of followers’ motivation to do their work is also important.
Workers who share a leader’s goals and values, and who feel intrinsically
rewarded for performing a job well, might be more likely to work extra
hours on a time-critical project than those whose motivation is solely
Even the number of followers reporting to a leader can have significant
implications. For example, a store manager with three clerks working for
him can spend more time with each of them (or on other things) than can
a manager responsible for eight clerks and a separate delivery service;
chairing a task force with 5 members is a different leadership activity than
chairing a task force with 18 members. Still other relevant variables in-
clude followers’ trust in the leader and their degree of confidence that he
A Student’s Perspective on Leadership and Followership
Krista Kleiner, a student at Claremont-McKenna
College and active in its Kravis Leadership Institute,
has offered these reflections on the importance for
both students and college administrators of taking
seriously the opportunities provided in the classroom
for developing leadership and followership skills.
She notes that the admissions process to college
(as well, we might add, as postcollege job searches)
typically places significant emphasis on a person’s
leadership experience and abilities. Usually this is
reflected in something like a list of “leadership posi-
tions held.” Unfortunately, however, this system
tends to overemphasize the mere acquisition of
leadership titles and pays insufficient attention to
the domain that is the most central and common
element of student life: the classroom learning en-
vironment. Outstanding learning, she argues, is to
a significant degree a collaborative experience be-
tween the formal leader (the teacher) and the infor-
mal followers (the students). The learning
experience is directly enhanced by the degree to
which effective participation by students contrib-
utes to their classroom groups, and this requires
good leadership and good followership. The quality
of one’s contribution to the group could be
assessed via peer surveys, the results of which
would be made available to the teacher. The sur-
veys would assess dimensions of student contribu-
tions like these:
• Which students displayed particularly helpful
leadership in work groups you participated in,
and what did they do that was effective?
• Which students displayed particularly helpful
followership in work groups you participated in
that supported or balanced the leadership that
emerged in the group or that was helpful to fel-
low group members?
• How have you contributed to the learning expe-
rience of your peers through your leadership–
followership role in the classroom? How have
you grown as a constructive leader and con-
structive follower through these experiences?
We hope these ideas challenge you to be a
leader in your own student life and especially in this
leadership course.
Source: K. Kleiner, “Rethinking Leadership and Follower-
ship: A Student’s Perspective,” in R. Riggio, I. Chaleff, and
J. Lipman-Blumen (eds.), The Art of Followership: How
Great Followers Create Great Leaders and Organizations
(San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008), pp. 89–93.
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 21
Followership Styles
The concept of different styles of leadership is rea-
sonably familiar, but the idea of different styles of
followership is relatively new. The very word
follower has a negative connotation to many, evok-
ing ideas of people who behave like sheep and
need to be told what to do. Robert Kelley, however,
believes that followers, rather than representing the
antithesis of leadership, are best viewed as collabo-
rators with leaders in the work of organizations.
Kelley believes that different types of followers can
be described in terms of two broad dimensions. One
of them ranges from independent, critical thinking
at one end to dependent, uncritical thinking on the
other end. According to Kelley, the best followers
think for themselves and offer constructive advice or
even creative solutions. The worst followers need to
be told what to do. Kelley’s other dimension ranges
from whether people are active followers or passive
followers in the extent to which they are engaged in
work. According to Kelley, the best followers are
self-starters who take initiative for themselves,
whereas the worst followers are passive, may even
dodge responsibility, and need constant supervision.
Using these two dimensions, Kelley has suggested
five basic styles of followership:
1. Alienated followers habitually point out all the
negative aspects of the organization to others.
While alienated followers may see themselves as
mavericks who have a healthy skepticism of the
organization, leaders often see them as cynical,
negative, and adversarial.
2. Conformist followers are the “yes people” of or-
ganizations. While very active at doing the orga-
nization’s work, they can be dangerous if their
orders contradict societal standards of behavior
or organizational policy. Often this style is the
result of either the demanding and authoritarian
style of the leader or the overly rigid structure of
the organization.
3. Pragmatist followers are rarely committed to
their group’s work goals, but they have learned
not to make waves. Because they do not like to
stick out, pragmatists tend to be mediocre per-
formers who can clog the arteries of many orga-
nizations. Because it can be difficult to discern
just where they stand on issues, they present an
ambiguous image with both positive and nega-
tive characteristics. In organizational settings,
pragmatists may become experts in mastering
the bureaucratic rules which can be used to pro-
tect them.
4. Passive followers display none of the characteris-
tics of the exemplary follower (discussed next).
They rely on the leader to do all the thinking.
Furthermore, their work lacks enthusiasm.
Lacking initiative and a sense of responsibility,
passive followers require constant direction.
Leaders may see them as lazy, incompetent, or
even stupid. Sometimes, however, passive
followers adopt this style to help them cope
with a leader who expects followers to behave
that way.
5. Exemplary followers present a consistent picture
to both leaders and coworkers of being inde-
pendent, innovative, and willing to stand up to
superiors. They apply their talents for the benefit
of the organization even when confronted with
bureaucratic stumbling blocks or passive or
pragmatist coworkers. Effective leaders appreci-
ate the value of exemplary followers. When one
of the authors was serving in a follower role in a
staff position, he was introduced by his leader to
a conference as “my favorite subordinate be-
cause he’s a loyal ‘No-Man.’ ”
Exemplary followers—high on both critical di-
mensions of followership—are essential to organi-
zational success.
Leaders, therefore, would be well advised to
select people who have these characteristics and,
perhaps even more importantly, create the condi-
tions that encourage these behaviors.
Source: Adapted from R. Kelley, The Power of Followership
(New York: Doubleday Currency, 1992).
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22 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
or she is interested in their well-being. Another aspect of followers’ rela-
tions to a leader is described in Profiles in Leadership 1.3.
In the context of the interactional framework, the question “What is
leadership?” cannot be separated from the question “What is follower-
ship?” There is no simple line dividing them; they merge. The relationship
between leadership and followership can be represented by borrowing a
concept from topographical mathematics: the Möbius strip. You are prob-
ably familiar with the curious properties of the Möbius strip: when a strip
of paper is twisted and connected in the manner depicted in Figure 1.3, it
has only one side. You can prove this to yourself by putting a pencil to any
point on the strip and tracing continuously. Your pencil will cover the en-
tire strip (that is, both “sides”), eventually returning to the point at which
Paul Revere
A fabled story of American history is that of Paul
Revere’s ride through the countryside surrounding
Boston, warning towns that the British were com-
ing so local militia could be ready to meet them. As
a result, when the British did march toward Lexing-
ton on the following day, they faced unexpectedly
fierce resistance. At Concord the British were
beaten by a ragtag group of locals, and so began
the American Revolutionary War.
It has been taken for granted by generations of
Americans that the success of Paul Revere’s ride lay
in his heroism and in the self-evident importance of
the news itself. A little-known fact, however, is that
Paul Revere was not the only rider that night. A fel-
low revolutionary by the name of William Dawes
had the same mission: to ride simultaneously
through a separate set of towns surrounding Bos-
ton to warn them that the British were coming. He
did so, carrying the news through just as many
towns as Revere did. But his ride was not successful;
those local militia leaders weren’t aroused and did
not rise up to confront the British. If they had been,
Dawes would be as famous today as Paul Revere.
Why was Revere’s ride successful when Dawes’s
ride was not? Paul Revere started a word-of-mouth
epidemic, and Dawes did not, because of differing
kinds of relationships the two men had with others. It
wasn’t, after all, the nature of the news itself that
proved ultimately important so much as the nature
of the men who carried it. Paul Revere was a gre-
garious and social person—what Malcolm Gladwell
calls a connector. Gladwell writes that Revere was “a
fisherman and a hunter, a cardplayer and a theater-
lover, a frequenter of pubs and a successful busi-
nessman. He was active in the local Masonic Lodge
and was a member of several select social clubs.”
He was a man with a knack for always being at the
center of things. So when he began his ride that
night, it was Revere’s nature to stop and share the
news with anyone he saw on the road, and he
would have known who the key players were in
each town to notify.
Dawes was not by nature so gregarious as Re-
vere, and he did not have Revere’s extended social
network. It’s likely he wouldn’t have known whom to
share the news with in each town and whose doors
to knock on. Dawes did notify some people, but not
enough to create the kind of impact that Revere did.
Another way of saying this is simply to note that the
people Dawes notified didn’t know him the way that
Revere was known by those he notified.
It isn’t just the information or the ideas you have
as a leader that make a difference. It’s also whom
you know, and how many you know—and what
they know about you.
Source: Adapted from Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping
Point (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2002).
Never try to teach a pig
to sing; it wastes your
time and it annoys the
Paul Dickson,
baseball writer
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 23
you started. To demonstrate the relevance of this curiosity to leadership,
cut a strip of paper. On one side write leadership, and on the other side
write followership. Then twist the strip and connect the two ends in the
manner of the figure. You will have created a leadership/followership Mö-
bius strip wherein the two concepts merge, just as leadership and follow-
ership can become indistinguishable in organizations. 41
This does not mean leadership and followership are the same thing.
When top-level executives were asked to list qualities they most look for
Stow this talk. Care
killed a cat. Fetch ahead
for the doubloons.
Long John Silver, in
Robert Louis
Treasure Island
He who would eat the
fruit must climb the
Scottish proverb
Source: © Tribune Media Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.
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24 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
and admire in leaders and followers, the lists were similar but not identi-
cal. 42 Ideal leaders were characterized as honest, competent, forward-
looking, and inspiring; ideal followers were described as honest,
competent, independent, and cooperative. The differences could become
critical in certain situations, as when a forward-looking and inspiring sub-
ordinate perceives a significant conflict between his own goals or ethics
and those of his superiors. Such a situation could become a crisis for the
individual and the organization, demanding a choice between leading
and following.
As the complexity of the leadership process has become better under-
stood, the importance placed on the leader–follower relationship itself has
undergone dynamic change. 43 , 44 One reason for this is an increasing
pressure on all kinds of organizations to function with reduced resources.
Reduced resources and company downsizing have reduced the number of
managers and increased their span of control, which in turn leaves follow-
ers to pick up many of the functions traditionally performed by leaders.
Another reason is a trend toward greater power sharing and decentral-
ized authority in organizations, which create greater interdependence
among organizational subunits and increase the need for collaboration
among them. Furthermore, the nature of problems faced by many organi-
zations is becoming so complex and the changes are becoming so rapid
that more and more people are required to solve them.
These trends suggest several different ways in which followers can take
on new leadership roles and responsibilities in the future. For one thing,
followers can become much more proactive in their stance toward organi-
zational problems. When facing the discrepancy between the way things
are in an organization and the way they could or should be, followers can
play an active and constructive role collaborating with leaders in solving
problems. In general, making organizations better is a task that needs to
be “owned” by followers as well as by leaders. With these changing roles
for followers, it should not be surprising to find that qualities of good fol-
lowership are statistically correlated with qualities typically associated
with good leadership. One recent study found positive correlations be-
tween the followership qualities of active engagement and independent
thinking and the leadership qualities of dominance, sociability, achieve-
ment orientation, and steadiness. 45
The Leadership/
Möbius Strip
If you act like an ass,
don’t get insulted if
people ride you.
Yiddish proverb
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 25
In addition to helping solve organizational problems, followers can
contribute to the leadership process by becoming skilled at “influencing
upward.” Because followers are often at the levels where many organiza-
tional problems occur, they can give leaders relevant information so good
solutions are implemented. Although it is true that some leaders need to
become better listeners, it is also true that many followers need training
in expressing ideas to superiors clearly and positively. Still another way
followers can assume a greater share of the leadership challenge in the
future is by staying flexible and open to opportunities. The future por-
tends more change, not less, and followers who face change with positive
anticipation and an openness to self-development will be particularly
valued and rewarded. 46
Thus, to an ever-increasing degree, leadership must be understood in
terms of both leader variables and follower variables, as well as the interac-
tions among them. But even that is not enough—we must also understand
the particular situations in which leaders and followers find themselves.
Aung San Suu Kyi
In 1991 Aung San Suu Kyi already had spent two
years under house arrest in Burma for “endanger-
ing the state.” That same year she won the Nobel
Peace Prize. Like Nelson Mandela, Suu Kyi is an in-
ternational symbol of heroic and peaceful resis-
tance to government oppression.
Until the age of 43, Suu Kyi led a relatively quiet
existence in England as a professional working
mother. Her life changed dramatically in 1988 when
she returned to her native country of Burma to visit
her sick mother. That visit occurred during a time of
considerable political unrest in Burma. Riot police had
recently shot to death hundreds of demonstrators in
the capital city of Rangoon (the demonstrators had
been protesting government repression). Over the
next several months, police killed nearly 3,000 people
who had been protesting government policies.
When hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy
demonstrators staged a protest rally at a prominent
pagoda in Rangoon, Suu Kyi spoke to the crowd.
Overnight she became the leading voice for free-
dom and democracy in Burma. Today she is the
most popular and influential leader in her country
even though she’s never held political office.
What prepared this woman, whose life was
once relatively simple and contented, to risk her
life by challenging an oppressive government?
What made her such a magnet for popular sup-
port? Impressive as Aung San Suu Kyi is as a pop-
ulist leader, it is impossible to understand her
effectiveness purely in terms of her own personal
characteristics. It is impossible to understand it in-
dependent of her followers—the people of Burma.
Her rapid rise to prominence as the leading voice
for democracy and freedom in Burma must be
understood in terms of the living link she repre-
sented to the country’s greatest modern hero—
her father. He was something of a George
Washington figure in that he founded the
Burmese Army in 1941 and later made a successful
transition from military leadership to political
leadership. At the height of his influence, when
he was the universal choice to be Burma’s first
president, he was assassinated. Suu Kyi was two
years old. Stories about his life and principles in-
delibly shaped Suu Kyi’s own life, but his life and
memory also created a readiness among the Bur-
mese people for Suu Kyi to take up her father’s
mantle of leadership.
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26 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
The Situation
The situation is the third critical part of the leadership equation. Even if
we knew all we could know about a given leader and a given set of fol-
lowers, leadership often makes sense only in the context of how the
leader and followers interact in a particular situation (see Profiles in
Leadership 1.4 and 1.5).
Bill Gates’s Head Start
Belief in an individual’s potential to overcome great
odds and achieve success through talent, strength,
and perseverance is common in America, but usu-
ally there is more than meets the eye in such suc-
cess stories. Malcolm Gladwell’s best seller Outliers
presents a fascinating exploration of how situa-
tional factors contribute to success in addition to
the kinds of individual qualities we often assume
are all-important. Have you ever thought, for ex-
ample, that Bill Gates was able to create Microsoft
because he’s just brilliant and visionary?
Well, let’s take for granted he is brilliant and
visionary—there’s plenty of evidence of that. The
point here, however, is that’s not always enough
(and maybe it’s never enough). Here are some of
the things that placed Bill Gates, with all his intel-
ligence and vision, at the right time in the right
• Gates was born to a wealthy family in Seattle
that placed him in a private school for seventh
grade. In 1968, his second year there, the
school started a computer club—even before
most colleges had computer clubs.
• In the 1960s virtually everyone who was learn-
ing about computers used computer cards, a
tedious and mind-numbing process. The com-
puter at Gates’s school, however, was linked to a
mainframe in downtown Seattle. Thus in 1968
Bill Gates was practicing computer program-
ming via time-sharing as an eighth grader; few
others in the world then had such opportunity,
whatever their age.
• Even at a wealthy private school like the one
Gates attended, however, funds ran out to cover
the high costs of buying time on a mainframe
computer. Fortunately, at about the same time,
a group called the Computer Center Corpora-
tion was formed at the University of Washington
to lease computer time. One of its founders, co-
incidentally a parent at Gates’s own school,
thought the school’s computer club could get
time on the computer in exchange for testing
the company’s new software programs. Gates
then started a regular schedule of taking the bus
after school to the company’s offices, where he
programmed long into the evening. During one
seven-month period, Gates and his fellow com-
puter club members averaged eight hours a day,
seven days a week, of computer time.
• When Gates was a high school senior, another
extraordinary opportunity presented itself. A
major national company (TRW) needed pro-
grammers with specialized experience—exactly,
as it turned out, the kind of experience the kids
at Gates’s school had been getting. Gates suc-
cessfully lobbied his teachers to let him spend a
spring doing this work in another part of the
state for independent study credit.
• By the time Gates dropped out of Harvard after his
sophomore year, he had accumulated more than
10,000 hours of programming experience. It was,
he’s said, a better exposure to software develop-
ment than anyone else at a young age could have
had—and all because of a lucky series of events.
It appears that Gates’s success is at least partly an
example of the right person being in the right place
at just the right time.
Source: Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
(New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2008).
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 27
This view of leadership as a complex interaction among leader, fol-
lower, and situational variables was not always taken for granted. To
the contrary, most early research on leadership was based on the as-
sumption that leadership is a general personal trait expressed indepen-
dently of the situation in which the leadership is manifested. This view,
commonly known as the heroic theory , has been largely discredited
but for a long time represented the dominant way of conceptualizing
leadership. 47
In the 1950s and 1960s a different approach to conceptualizing leader-
ship dominated research and scholarship. It involved the search for ef-
fective leader behaviors rather than the search for universal traits of
leadership. That approach proved too narrow because it neglected im-
portant contextual, or situational, factors in which presumably effective
or ineffective behaviors occur. Over time, the complexities of interac-
tions among leader, follower, and situational variables increasingly have
been the focus of leadership research. 48 (See Chapters 6, 7, and 13 for
more detailed discussions of leader attributes, leader behaviors, and for-
mal theories of leadership that examine complex interdependencies be-
tween leader, follower, and situational variables.) Adding the situation to
the mix of variables that make up leadership is complicated. The situa-
tion may be the most ambiguous aspect of the leadership framework; it
can refer to anything from the specific task a group is engaged in to
broad situational contexts such as the remote predicament of the Andes
survivors. One facet of the complexity of the situation’s role in leader-
ship is examined in Highlight 1.7.
Illustrating the Interactional Framework:
Women in Leadership Roles
Not long ago if people were asked to name a leader they admired, most of
the names on the resulting list could be characterized as “old white guys.”
Today the names on that same list would be considerably more heteroge-
neous. That change—which we certainly consider progress—represents a
useful illustration of the power of using the interactional framework to
understand the complexities of the leadership process.
A specific example is women in leadership roles, and in this section
we’ll examine the extent to which women have been taking on new lead-
ership roles, whether there are differences in the effectiveness of men
and women in leadership roles, and what explanations have been of-
fered for differences between men and women in being selected for and
succeeding in positions of leadership. This is an area of considerable ac-
ademic research and popular polemics, as evident in many recent arti-
cles in the popular press that claim a distinct advantage for women in
leadership roles. 49
You’ve got to give loy-
alty down, if you want
loyalty up.
Donald T. Regan,
former CEO and
White House
chief of staff 
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28 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
It is clear that women are taking on leadership roles in greater numbers
than ever before. On the other hand, the actual percentage of women in
leadership positions has stayed relatively stable. For example, a report re-
leased in 2010 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office indicated
that women comprised an estimated 40 percent of managers in the U.S.
workforce in 2007 compared with 39 percent in 2000. 50 And the percentage
of women in top executive positions is considerably less encouraging. In a
2009 study by the nonprofit organization Catalyst, women made up only
13.5 percent of senior executive positions; almost 30 percent of companies
in the Fortune 500 had no women in those top positions. 51
Although these statistics are important and promising, problems still
exist that constrain the opportunity for capable women to rise to the
highest leadership roles in organizations (see Highlight 1.8). Many
Decision Making in a Complex World
Decision making is a good example of how leaders
need to behave differently in various situations. Un-
til late in the 20th century, decision making in gov-
ernment and business was largely based on an
implicit assumption that the world was orderly and
That process is actually still effective in simple
contexts characterized by stability and clear cause-
and-effect relationships that are readily apparent.
Not all situations in the world, however, are so sim-
ple, and new approaches to decision making are
needed for situations that have the elements of
what we might call complex systems: large num-
bers of interacting elements, nonlinear interactions
among those elements by which small changes can
produce huge effects, and interdependence among
the elements so that the whole is more than the
sum of the parts. The challenges of dealing with
the threat of terrorism are one example of the way
predictable enough for virtually all decision making
to involve a series of specifiable steps: assessing the
facts of a situation, categorizing those facts, and
then responding based on established practice. To
put that more simply, decision making required
managers to sense, categorize, and respond.
complexity affects decision making, but it’s impact-
ing how we think about decision making in busi-
ness as well as government. To describe this change
succinctly, the decision-making process in complex
contexts must change from sense, categorize, and
respond to probe, sense, and respond.
In other words, making good decisions is about
both what decisions one makes and understanding
the role of the situation in affecting how one makes
Source: D.F. Snowden and M.E. Boone, “A Leader’s
Framework for Decision Making,” Harvard Business Re-
view, November 2007, pp. 69–76.
The Situation The Leader’s Job
Simple: predictable and orderly; right
answers exist.
Complex: flux, unpredictability, ambiguity,
many competing ideas, lots of unknowns.
Ensure that proper processes are in place, follow best
practices, and communicate in clear and direct ways.
Create environments and experiments that allow
patterns to emerge; increase levels of interaction and
communication; use methods that generate new ideas
and ways of thinking among everyone.
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 29
studies have considered this problem, a few of which we’ll examine here.
In a classic study of sex roles, Schein 52 , 53 demonstrated how bias in sex
role stereotypes created problems for women moving up through mana-
gerial roles. Schein asked male and female middle managers to complete
a survey in which they rated various items on a five-point scale in terms
of how characteristic they were of men in general, women in general, or
successful managers. Schein found a high correlation between the ways
both male and female respondents perceived “males” and “managers,”
but no correlation between the ways the respondents perceived “females”
and “managers.” It was as though being a manager was defined by attri-
butes thought of as masculine. Furthermore, it does not appear that the
situation has changed much over the past two decades. In 1990 manage-
ment students in the United States, Germany, and Great Britain, for ex-
ample, still perceived successful middle managers in terms of
characteristics more commonly ascribed to men than to women. 54 One
area where views do seem to have changed over time involves women’s
perceptions of their own roles. In contrast to the earlier studies, women
today see as much similarity between “female” and “manager” as be-
tween “male” and “manager.” 55 To women, at least, being a woman and
being a manager are not contradictory.
There have been many other studies of the role of women in manage-
ment. In one of these, Breaking the Glass Ceiling, 56 researchers documented
Insights of a Woman Who Broke the Glass Ceiling
Kim Campbell has distinguished herself in many
ways. She was Canada’s first female prime minister,
and she now chairs the Council of Women World
Leaders. In 2002 she was interviewed about the
challenges and opportunities for women rising into
senior leadership positions in organizations, and
here are two brief excerpts of what she said:
You’ve held many positions that are tradition-
ally filled by men. What’s the greatest obstacle
you’ve encountered?
There is a deeply rooted belief that women are
not competent and can’t lead. That’s because there’s
an overlap in people’s minds between the qualities
that we associate with leadership and the qualities
that we associate with masculinity—decisiveness,
aggressiveness, competence. There is much less
overlap between leadership qualities and those we
associate with being feminine—an inclination to-
ward consensus building, to be communal, expres-
sive, nurturing. That’s why for many people it was
rather disturbing that I was prime minister. A woman
wasn’t supposed to be prime minister. I wasn’t enti-
tled to be there.
You’ve said that having women in leadership
is more important now than ever. Why now?
We’re living in a time when we see the frightening
limitations of masculine cultures. Cultures that are to-
tally masculine can give rise to fundamentalisms—
they can be intolerant, narrow, violent, corrupt,
antidemocratic. That’s at a state level. At a corporate
level, a macho culture made Enron possible.
Source: Excerpted from Harvard Business Review, 2002,
pp. 20–21.
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30 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
the lives and careers of 78 of the highest-level women in corporate America.
A few years later the researchers followed up with a small sample of those
women to discuss any changes that had taken place in their leadership
paths. The researchers were struck by the fact that the women were much
like the senior men they had worked with in other studies. Qualitatively,
they had the same fears: They wanted the best for themselves and for their
families. They wanted their companies to succeed. And not surprisingly,
they still had a drive to succeed. In some cases (also true for the men) they
were beginning to ask questions about life balance—was all the sacrifice
and hard work worth it? Were 60-hour workweeks worth the cost to fam-
ily and self?
More quantitatively, however, the researchers expected to find signifi-
cant differences between the women who had broken the glass ceiling and
the men who were already in leadership positions. After all, the popular
literature and some social scientific literature had conditioned them to ex-
pect that there is a feminine versus a masculine style of leadership, the
feminine style being an outgrowth of a consensus/team-oriented leader-
ship approach. Women, in this view, are depicted as leaders who, when
compared to men, are better listeners, more empathic, less analytical,
more people oriented, and less aggressive in pursuit of goals.
In examining women in leadership positions, the researchers collected
behavioral data, including ratings by both self and others, assessment cen-
ter data, and their scores on the California Psychological Inventory. Con-
trary to the stereotypes and popular views, however, there were no
statistically significant differences between men’s and women’s leader-
ship styles. Women and men were equally analytical, people oriented,
forceful, goal oriented, empathic, and skilled at listening. There were
other differences between the men and women, however, beyond the
question of leadership styles. The researchers did find (and these results
must be interpreted cautiously because of the relatively small numbers
involved) that women had significantly lower well-being scores, their
commitment to the organizations they worked for was more guarded than
that of their male counterparts, and the women were much more likely to
be willing to take career risks associated with going to new or unfamiliar
areas of the company where women had not been before.
Continued work with women in corporate leadership positions has
both reinforced and clarified these findings. For example, the lower scores
for women in general well-being may reflect the inadequacy of their sup-
port system for dealing with day-to-day issues of living. This is tied to the
reality for many women that in addition to having roles in their compa-
nies they remain chief caretakers for their families. Further, there may be
additional pressures of being visibly identified as proof that the organiza-
tion has women at the top.
Other types of differences—particularly those around “people
issues”—are still not evident. In fact, the hypothesis is that such supposed
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 31
differences may hinder the opportunities for leadership development of
women in the future. For example, turning around a business that is in
trouble or starting a new business are two of the most exciting opportuni-
ties a developing leader has to test her leadership abilities. If we apply the
“women are different” hypothesis, the type of leadership skills needed for
successful completion of either of these assignments may leave women off
the list of candidates. However, if we accept the hypothesis that women
and men are more alike as leaders than they are different, women will be
found in equal numbers on the candidate list.
Research on women leaders from medium-sized, nontraditional orga-
nizations has shown that successful leaders don’t all come from the same
mold. Such women tended to be successful by drawing on their shared
experience as women, rather than by adhering to the “rules of conduct”
by which men in larger and more traditional organizations have been suc-
cessful. 57 Survey research by Judith Rosener identified several differences
in how men and women described their leadership experiences. Men
tended to describe themselves in somewhat transactional terms, viewing
leadership as an exchange with subordinates for services rendered. They
influenced others primarily through their organizational position and au-
thority. The women, on the other hand, tended to describe themselves in
transformational terms. They helped subordinates develop commitment
to broader goals than their own self-interest, and they described their in-
fluence more in terms of personal characteristics like charisma and inter-
personal skill than mere organizational position.
According to Rosener, such women leaders encouraged participation
and shared power and information, but went far beyond what is com-
monly thought of as participative management. She called it interactive
leadership. Their leadership self-descriptions reflected an approach based
on enhancing others’ self-worth and believing that the best performance
results when people are excited about their work and feel good about
How did this interactive leadership style develop? Rosener concluded
it was due to these women’s socialization experiences and career paths.
As we have indicated, the social role expected of women has emphasized
that they be cooperative, supportive, understanding, gentle, and service-
oriented. As they entered the business world, they still found themselves
in roles emphasizing these same behaviors. They found themselves in
staff, rather than line, positions, and in roles lacking formal authority over
others so that they had to accomplish their work without reliance on for-
mal power. What they had to do, in other words, was employ their so-
cially acceptable behavioral repertoire to survive organizationally.
What came easily to women turned out to be a survival tactic. Although
leaders often begin their careers doing what comes naturally and what fits
within the constraints of the job, they also develop their skills and styles
over time. The women’s use of interactive leadership has its roots in
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32 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
socialization, and the women interviewees believe that it benefits their
organizations. Through the course of their careers, they have gained con-
viction that their style is effective. In fact, for some it was their own suc-
cess that caused them to formulate their philosophies about what
motivates people, how to make good decisions, and what it takes to maxi-
mize business performance. 37
Rosener called for organizations to expand their definitions of effective
leadership—to create a wider band of acceptable behavior so both men and
women will be freer to lead in ways that take advantage of their true talents.
The extent of the problem is suggested by data from a study looking at how
CEOs, almost all male, and senior female executives explained the paucity
of women in corporate leadership roles. Figure 1.4 compares the percent-
ages of CEOs versus female executives who endorsed various possible ex-
planations of the situation. It is clear that the CEOs attributed it primarily to
inadequacies in the quantity and quality of experience of potential women
Source: © Tom Cheney, The New Yorker Collection,
Neither shall you allege
the example of the many
as an excuse for doing
Exodus 23.2 
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 33
candidates for the top spots, whereas the females themselves attributed it to
various forms of stereotyping and bias.
A more recent study sheds additional light on factors that affect the rise
of women in leadership positions. 58 It identifies four general factors that
explain the shift toward more women leaders.
The first of these is that women themselves have changed. That’s evident in
the ways women’s aspirations and attitudes have become more similar to
those of men over time. This is illustrated in findings about the career as-
pirations of female university students; 59 in women’s self-reports of traits
such as assertiveness, dominance, and masculinity; 60, 61 and in the value
that women place on characteristics of work such as freedom, challenge,
leadership, prestige, and power. 62 The second factor is that leadership roles
have changed, particularly with regard to a trend toward less stereotypi-
cally masculine characterizations of leadership. Third, organizational prac-
tices have changed. A large part of this can be attributed to legislation
prohibiting gender-based discrimination at work, as well as changes in
organizational norms that put a higher priority on results than on an “old
boy” network. Finally, the culture has changed. This is evident, for example,
in the symbolic message often intended by appointment of women to im-
portant leadership positions, one representing a departure from past prac-
tices and signaling commitment to progressive change.
Finally, in addition to the glass ceiling, another recently identified chal-
lenge for women is called the glass cliff . The glass cliff refers to the in-
triguing finding that female candidates for an executive position are more
Lack of significant
general management
or line experience
Women not in pipeline
long enough
Male stereotyping and
Exclusion from informal
Inhospitable corporate
What Prevents Women from Advancing to Corporate Leadership?
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34 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
likely to be hired than equally qualified male candidates when an organi-
zation’s performance is declining. At first that may seem like good news
for women, but the picture is not quite so positive. When an organiza-
tion’s performance is declining, there is inherently an increased risk of
failure. The increased likelihood of women being selected in those situa-
tions may actually reflect a greater willingness to put women in precari-
ous positions; 63 it could also, of course, represent an increased willingness
to take some chances when nothing else seems to be working.
There Is No Simple Recipe for Effective Leadership
To fill the gaps between leadership research and practice, this book will
critically review major findings about the nature of leadership as well as
provide practical advice for improving leadership. As our first step in that
journey, the next chapter of the book will describe how leadership develops
through experience. The remainder of the book uses the leader–follower–
situation interaction model as a framework for organizing and discussing
various theories and research findings related to leadership. In this study, it
will become clear that while there is no simple recipe for effective leader-
ship, there are many different paths to effective leadership.
As noted previously, it is important to understand how the three do-
mains of leadership interact—how the leader, the followers, and the situ-
ation are all part of the leadership process. Understanding their interaction
is necessary before you can draw valid conclusions from the leadership
you observe around you. When you see a leader’s behavior (even when it
may appear obviously effective or ineffective to you), you should not au-
tomatically conclude something good or bad about the leader, or what is
the right way or wrong way leaders should act. You need to think about
the effectiveness of that behavior in that context with those followers.
As obvious as this advice sounds, we often ignore it. Too frequently we
look at just the leader’s behavior and conclude that he or she is a good
leader or a bad leader apart from the context. For example, suppose you
observe a leader soliciting advice from subordinates. Obviously it seems
unreasonable to conclude that good leaders always ask for advice or that
leaders who do not frequently ask for advice are not good leaders. The
appropriateness of seeking input from subordinates depends on many
factors, such as the nature of the problem or the subordinates’ familiarity
with the problem. Perhaps the subordinates have a lot more experience
with this particular problem, and soliciting their input is the correct action
to take in this situation.
Consider another example. Suppose you hear that a leader did not ap-
prove a subordinate’s request to take time off to attend to family matters.
Was this bad leadership because the leader did not appear to be taking care
of her people? Was it good leadership because she did not let personal
Little things affect little
Benjamin Disraeli,
British prime
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Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 35
matters interfere with the mission? Again, you cannot make an intelligent
decision about the leader’s actions by looking at the behavior itself. You
must always assess leadership in the context of the leader, the followers,
and the situation.
The following statements about leaders, followers, and the situation
make these points a bit more systematically:
• A leader may need to respond to various followers differently in the
same situation.
• A leader may need to respond to the same follower differently in differ-
ent situations.
• Followers may respond to various leaders quite differently.
• Followers may respond to each other differently with different leaders.
• Two leaders may have different perceptions of the same followers or
All of these points lead to one conclusion: the right behavior in one
situation is not necessarily the right behavior in another situation. It does
not follow, however, that any behavior is appropriate in any situation. Al-
though we may not be able to agree on the one best behavior in a given
situation, we often can agree on some clearly inappropriate behaviors.
Saying that the right behavior for a leader depends on the situation is not
the same thing as saying it does not matter what the leader does. It merely
recognizes the complexity among leaders, followers, and situations. This
recognition is a helpful first step in drawing meaningful lessons about
leadership from experience.
Summary We have defined leadership as the process of influencing an organized
group toward achieving its goals. The chapter also looked at the idea that
leadership is both a science and an art. Because leadership is an immature
science, researchers are still struggling to find out what the important
questions in leadership are; we are far from finding conclusive answers to
them. Even individuals with extensive knowledge of leadership research
may be poor leaders. Knowing what to do is not the same as knowing
when, where, and how to do it. The art of leadership concerns the skill of
understanding leadership situations and influencing others to accomplish
group goals. Formal leadership education may give individuals the skills
to better understand leadership situations, and mentorships and experi-
ence may give individuals the skills to better influence others. Leaders
must also weigh both rational and emotional considerations when at-
tempting to influence others. Leadership sometimes can be accomplished
through relatively rational, explicit, rule-based methods of assessing situ-
ations and determining actions.
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36 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
Nevertheless, the emotional side of human nature must also be ac-
knowledged. Leaders are often most effective when they affect people at
both the emotional level and the rational level. The idea of leadership as a
whole-person process can also be applied to the distinction often made
between leaders and managers. Although leadership and management
can be distinguished as separate functions, there is considerable overlap
between them in practice.
Leadership is a process in which leaders and followers interact dynam-
ically in a particular situation or environment. Leadership is a broader
concept than that of leaders, and the study of leadership must involve
more than just the study of leaders as individuals. The study of leadership
must also include two other areas: the followers and the situation. In ad-
dition, the interactive nature of these three domains has become increas-
ingly important in recent years and can help us to better understand the
changing nature of leader–follower relationships and the increasing com-
plexity of situations leaders and followers face. Because of this complex-
ity, now, more than ever before, effective leadership cannot be boiled
down to a simple recipe. It is still true, however, that good leadership
makes a difference, and it can be enhanced through greater awareness of
the important factors influencing the leadership process.
Key Terms leadership, 4
academic tradition, 7
tradition, 7
management, 8
framework, 15
leader, 15
dependent, uncritical
thinking, 21
active followers, 21
passive followers, 21
heroic theory, 27
leadership, 31
glass cliff, 33
followers, 15
situation, 15
interactions, 15
in-group, 16
out-group, 16
followership, 19
independent, critical
thinking, 21
1. We say leadership involves influencing organized groups toward
goals. Do you see any disadvantages to restricting the definition to
organized groups?
2. How would you define leadership ?
3. Are some people the “leader type” and others not the “leader type”?
If so, what in your judgment distinguishes them?
4. Identify several “commonsense” notions about leadership that, to
you, are self-evident.
5. Does every successful leader have a valid theory of leadership?
6. Would you consider it a greater compliment for someone to call you a
good manager or a good leader? Why? Do you believe you can be both?
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7. Do you believe leadership can be studied scientifically? Why or why not?
8. To the extent that leadership is an art, what methods come to mind for
improving one’s “art of leadership”?
9. According to the interactional framework, effective leader behavior
depends on many variables. It follows that there is no simple pre-
scription for effective leader behavior. Does this mean effective lead-
ership is merely a matter of opinion or subjective preference?
10. Generally leaders get most of the credit for a group’s or an organiza-
tion’s success. Do you believe this is warranted or fair?
11. What are some other characteristics of leaders, followers, and situa-
tions you could add to those listed in Figure 1.2?
Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 37
1. Describe the best leader you have personally known or a favorite leader
from history, a novel, or a movie.
2. In this activity you will explore connotations of the words leadership
and management. Divide yourselves into small groups and have each
group brainstorm different word associations to the terms leader and
leadership or manager and management. In addition, each group should
discuss whether they would prefer to work for a manager or for a
leader, and why. Then the whole group should discuss similarities and
differences among the respective perceptions and feelings about the
two concepts.
Richard Branson Shoots for the Moon
The Virgin Group is the umbrella for a variety of business ventures rang-
ing from air travel to entertainment. With close to 200 companies in over
30 countries, it is one of the largest companies in the world. At the head of
this huge organization is Richard Branson. Branson founded Virgin over
30 years ago and has built the organization from a small student magazine
to the multibillion-dollar enterprise it is today.
Branson is not your typical CEO. Branson’s dyslexia made school a
struggle and sabotaged his performance on standard IQ tests. His teachers
and tests had no way of measuring his greatest strengths—his uncanny
knack for uncovering lucrative business ideas and his ability to energize
the ambitions of others so that they, like he, could rise to the level of their
Richard Branson’s true talents began to show themselves in his late
teens. While a student at Stowe School in England in 1968, Branson de-
cided to start his own magazine, Student. Branson was inspired by the
student activism on his campus in the 1960s and decided to try something
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different. Student differed from most college newspapers or magazines; it
focused on the students and their interests. Branson sold advertising to
major corporations to support his magazine. He included articles by min-
isters of Parliament, rock stars, intellectuals, and celebrities. Student grew
to become a commercial success.
In 1970 Branson saw an opportunity for Student to offer records
cheaply by running ads for mail-order delivery. The subscribers to Stu-
dent flooded the magazine with so many orders that his spin-off dis-
count music venture proved more lucrative than the magazine
subscriptions. Branson recruited the staff of Student for his discount
music business. He built a small recording studio and signed his first
artist. Mike Oldfield recorded “Tubular Bells” at Virgin in 1973; the al-
bum sold 5 million copies, and Virgin Records and the Virgin brand
name were born. Branson has gone on to start his own airline (Virgin
Atlantic Airlines was launched in 1984), build hotels (Virgin Hotels
started in 1988), get into the personal finance business (Virgin Direct
Personal Finance Services was launched in 1995), and even enter the
cola wars (Virgin Cola was introduced in 1994). And those are just a few
highlights of the Virgin Group—all this while Branson has attempted to
break world speed records for crossing the Atlantic Ocean by boat and
by hot air balloon.
As you might guess, Branson’s approach is nontraditional—he has no
giant corporate office or staff and few if any board meetings. Instead he
keeps each enterprise small and relies on his skills of empowering peo-
ple’s ideas to fuel success. When a flight attendant from Virgin Airlines
approached him with her vision of a wedding business, Richard told her
to go do it. He even put on a wedding dress himself to help launch the
publicity. Virgin Brides was born. Branson relies heavily on the creativ-
ity of his staff; he is more a supporter of new ideas than a creator of
them. He encourages searches for new business ideas everywhere he
goes and even has a spot on the Virgin Web site called “Got a Big Idea?”
In December 1999 Richard Branson was awarded a knighthood in the
Queen’s Millennium New Year’s Honours List for “services to entrepre-
neurship.” What’s next on Branson’s list? He recently announced that
Virgin was investing money in “trying to make sure that, in the not too
distant future, people from around the world will be able to go into
space.” Not everyone is convinced that space tourism can become a fully
fledged part of the travel industry, but with Branson behind the idea it
just might fly.
1. Would you classify Richard Branson as a manager or a leader? What
qualities distinguish him as one or the other?
2. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, followers are part of the leader-
ship process. Describe the relationship between Branson and his fol-
38 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
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3. Identify the myths of leadership development that Richard Branson’s
success helps to disprove.
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Leadership and Effectiveness?” American Psychologist 49 (1994), pp. 493–504.
11. M.D. Mumford, S. J. Zaccaro, F. D. Harding, T. O. Jacobs, and E. A. Fleishman,
“Leadership Skills for a Changing World,” Leadership Quarterly 11, no. 1 (2000),
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12. B. M. Bass, Bass and Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership, 3rd ed. (New York: Free
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16. W. G. Bennis, On Becoming a Leader (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1989).
17. Zaleznik, “The Leadership Gap.”
End Notes
Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 39
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18. P. Slovic and B. Fischoff, “On the Psychology of Experimental Surprises,” Jour-
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19. G. Wood, “The Knew-It-All-Along Effect,” Journal of Experimental Psychology:
Human Perception and Performance 4 (1979), pp. 345–53.
20. P. E. Lazarsfeld, “The American Soldier: An Expository Review,” Public Opin-
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21. For example, A. Tellegen, D. T. Lykken, T. J. Bouchard, K. J. Wilcox, N. L. Segal,
and S. Rich, “Personality Similarity in Twins Reared Apart and Together,”
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 54 (1988), pp. 1031–39.
22. Fiedler, A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness.
23. E. P. Hollander, Leadership Dynamics: A Practical Guide to Effective Relationships
(New York: Free Press, 1978).
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Press, 1975).
25. R. M. Stogdill, “Personal Factors Associated with Leadership: A Review of the
Literature,” Journal of Psychology 25 (1948), pp. 35–71.
26. R. M. Stogdill, Handbook of Leadership (New York: Free Press, 1974).
27. R. T. Hogan, G. J. Curphy, and J. Hogan, “What We Know about Personality:
Leadership and Effectiveness,” American Psychologist 49 (1994), pp. 493–504.
28. R. G. Lord, C. L. DeVader, and G. M. Allinger, “A Meta-Analysis of the Rela-
tionship between Personality Traits and Leadership Perceptions: An Applica-
tion of Validity Generalization Procedures,” Journal of Applied Psychology 71
(1986), pp. 402–10.
29. R. M. Kanter, The Change Masters (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983).
30. E. D. Baltzell, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia (New York: Free Press, 1980).
31. E.P. Hollander and L.R. Offermann. Power and Leadership in Organizations.”
American Psychologist 45 (1990), pp. 179–89.
32. S. D. Baker, “Followership: The Theoretical Foundation of a Contemporary
Construct,” Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 14, no. 1 (2007),
p. 51.
33. Baker, “Followership.”
34. J. M. Burns, Leadership (New York: Harper & Row, 1978).
35. B. M. Bass, Bass and Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership, 3rd ed. (New York: Free
Press, 1990).
36. Stogdill, Handbook of Leadership.
37. C. D. Sutton and R. W. Woodman, “Pygmalion Goes to Work: The Effects of
Supervisor Expectations in the Retail Setting,” Journal of Applied Psychology 74
(1989), pp. 943–50.  
38. L. I. Moore, “The FMI: Dimensions of Follower Maturity,” Group and Organiza-
tional Studies 1 (1976), pp. 203–22.  
39. T. A. Scandura, G. B. Graen, and M. A. Novak, “When Managers Decide Not
to Decide Autocratically: An Investigation of Leader-Member Exchange and
Decision Influence,” Journal of Applied Psychology 52 (1986), pp. 135–47.  
40 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
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40. C. A. Sales, E. Levanoni, and D. H. Saleh, “Satisfaction and Stress as a Function
of Job Orientation, Style of Supervision, and the Nature of the Task,” Engineer-
ing Management International 2 (1984), pp. 145–53.
41. Adapted from K. Macrorie, Twenty Teachers (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
42. J. M. Kouzes and B. Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordi-
nary Things Done in Organizations (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987).
43. R. Lippitt, “The Changing Leader–Follower Relationships of the 1980s,” Jour-
nal of Applied Behavioral Science 18 (1982), pp. 395–403.
44. P. Block, Stewardship (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1992).
45. G. F. Tanoff and C. B. Barlow, “Leadership and Followership: Same Animal,
Different Spots?” Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, Summer
2002, pp. 157–65.
46. P. M. Senge. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organi zation
(New York: Doubleday/Currency, 1990) .
47. V. Vroom and A. G. Jago, “The Role of the Situation in Leadership,” American
Psychologist 62, no. 1 (2007), pp. 17–24.
48. Vroom and Jago, “The Role of the Situation in Leadership.”
49. For example, M. Conlin, “The New Gender Gap: From Kindergarten to Grad
School, Boys Are Becoming the Second Sex,” BusinessWeek, May 26, 2003.
50. GAO, Women in Management: Female Managers’ Representation, Character-
istics, and Pay, GAO-10-1064T (Washington, D.C.: September 28, 2010).
52. V. Schein, “The Relationship between Sex Role Stereotypes and Requisite
Management Characteristics,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 57, 1973,
pp. 95–100.  
53. V. Schein, “Relationships between Sex Role Stereotypes and Requisite Man-
agement Characteristics among Female Managers, Journal of Applied Psychol-
ogy 60, 1975, pp. 340–44.
54. V. Schein and R. Mueller, “Sex Role Stereotyping and Requisite Management
Characteristics: A Cross Cultural Look, Journal of Organizational Behavior 13,
1992, pp. 439–447.
55. O. C. Brenner, J. Tomkiewicz, and V. E. Schein, “The Relationship between Sex
Role Stereotypes and Requisite Management Characteristics Revisited,” Acad-
emy of Management Journal 32 (1989), pp. 662–69.
56. A. M. Morrison, R. P. White, and E. Van Velsor, Breaking the Glass Ceiling (Read-
ing, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1987).
57. J. B. Rosener, “Ways Women Lead,” Harvard Business Review 68 (1990), pp. 119–25.
58. A. H. Eagly and L. L. Carli, “The Female Leadership Advantage: An Evalua-
tion of the Evidence,” The Leadership Quarterly 14 (2003), pp. 807–34.
59. A. W., Astin, S. A. Parrrott, W. S. Korn, and L. J. Sax, The American Freshman:
Thirty Year Trends (Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, Univer-
sity of California, 1997).
Chapter 1 What Do We Mean by Leadership? 41
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60. J. M. Twenge, “Changes in Masculine and Feminine Traits over Time: A Meta-
analysis,” Sex Roles 36 (1997), pp. 305–25.  
61, J. M. Twenge, “Changes in Women’s Assertiveness in Response to Status and
Roles: A Cross-Temporal Meta-analysis, 1931–1993,” Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 81, (2001), pp. 133–45.
62. A. M. Konrad, J. E. Ritchie, Jr., P. Lieb, and E. Corrigall, “Sex Differences and
Similarities in Job Attribute Preferences: A Meta-analysis.” Psychological Bulle-
tin 126 (2000), pp. 593–641.
63. S. A. Haslam and Ryan, M. K., “The Road to the Glass Cliff: Differences in the
Perceived Suitability of Men and Women for Leadership Positions in Succeed-
ing and Failing Organizations,” The Leadership Quarterly 19 (2008), pp. 530–46.
42 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
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Chapter 2
Leader Development
In Chapter 1 we discussed the importance of using multiple perspectives
to analyze various leadership situations. It’s also true that there are mul-
tiple paths by which one’s own leadership is developed. That’s what this
chapter is about: how to become a better leader. As an overview, we begin
this chapter by presenting a general model that describes how we learn
from experience. Next we describe how perceptions can affect a leader’s
interpretation of, and actions in response to, a particular leadership situa-
tion and why reflection is important to leadership development. The
chapter also examines several specific mechanisms often used to help
leaders become better leaders.
Perhaps a word here might be useful about titling this chapter leader de-
velopment. We have done so deliberately to distinguish the phrase from lead-
ership development. Although the two may seem synonymous to the reader,
they have come to be treated by scholars and practitioners in the field as
having distinct meanings. That wasn’t always the case. Until a decade or so
ago, scholars and practitioners, too, considered them essentially synony-
mous. Gradually, however, it became useful to use leader development when
referring to methods intended to facilitate growth in an individual’s perspec-
tives or skills. For example, training designed to develop one’s skill in giv-
ing feedback to another person would be considered leader development.
Over the past decade, though, the term leadership has taken on a somewhat
richer meaning transcending a focus on individual-level characteristics and
skills even when the focus is on developing such qualities in many individu-
als. Paralleling a gradual shift in understanding that leadership is a process
in which many people in an organization share in complex and interdepen-
dent ways (as we discussed in Chapter 1), the term leadership development
has come to designate a focus on developing shared properties of whole
groups or social systems such as the degree of trust among all the members
of a team or department, or on enhancing the reward systems in an organi-
zation to better encourage collaborative behavior. 1 Although such things
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44 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
are frequently addressed throughout this text, the focus of this chapter
will be on processes and methods designed to foster individual-level
growth—hence the choice of chapter title.
And one more thing before we get into those substantive parts of the
chapter: it might be useful to start with a fundamental question about the
value of an academic course in leadership. Before the authors wrote this
textbook, we and other colleagues taught an undergraduate course in lead-
ership required of all cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Undergraduate
courses in leadership are fairly common now, but they weren’t in the 1980s.
For many decades the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Military Acad-
emy were among the few undergraduate schools offering such courses.
Because undergraduate leadership courses were somewhat uncommon
then, the idea of an academic course in leadership was a novel idea to
many faculty members from other departments. Some were openly skep-
tical that leadership was an appropriate course for an academic depart-
ment to offer. It was a common experience for us to be asked, “Do you
really think you can teach leadership?” Usually this was asked in a tone of
voice that made it clear the questioner took it for granted that leadership
couldn’t be taught. Colleagues teaching leadership courses at other insti-
tutions have found themselves in similar situations.
Over time, we formulated our own response to this question, and it still
reflects a core belief we continue to hold. Not coincidentally, that belief
has been hinted at in the subtitle to every edition of our text: Enhancing the
Lessons of Experience . Let us describe how that idea represents the answer
to those skeptical questioners, and also how reflecting on their questions
shaped these authors’ thinking about one important objective of an aca-
demic course in leadership.
Just to be clear, we don’t disagree completely with the premise of those
skeptical questioners. We don’t believe that merely taking a one-semester
college course in leadership will make one a better leader. However, we
believe strongly that it can lay a valuable foundation to becoming a better
leader over time.
Here’s our reasoning. If you accept that leadership can be learned
(rather than just “being born” in a person), and if you also believe that the
most powerful lessons about leadership come from one’s own experience,
then the matter boils down to the process of how we learn from experi-
ence. If one important factor in learning from experience pertains to how
complex or multifaceted your conceptual lenses are for construing experi-
ence, then it’s no big stretch to claim that becoming familiar with the com-
plex variables that affect leadership gives you a greater variety of ways to
make sense of the leadership situations you confront in your own life. In
that way, completing a college course in leadership may not make you a
better leader directly and immediately, but actively mastering the con-
cepts in the course can nonetheless accelerate the rate at which you learn from
the natural experiences you have during and subsequent to your course.
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 45
For efficiency, organizations that value developing their leaders usually
create intentional pathways for doing so. In other words, leader develop-
ment in most large organizations is not left to osmosis. There typically are
structured and planned approaches to developing internal leaders or
leaders-to-be. Formal training is the most common approach to develop-
ing leaders, even when research consistently shows that it’s not the most
effective method. It should not be surprising, then, that organizational
members are often not satisfied with the opportunities generally provided
within their organizations for developing as leaders. A recent study of
more than 4,500 leaders from over 900 organizations found that only half
were satisfied with their developmental opportunities. 2
Findings like that do not prove that leader development opportunities
are inherently inadequate or poorly designed. It must be remembered,
for example, that developmental opportunities by their nature typically
are not free despite whatever long-term advantages might accrue from
them for both the individual and the organization. It would seem desir-
able, then, to ensure that developmental opportunities are provided
based on our best understanding of leader development processes. Mor-
gan McCall has summarized some of the key things we’ve learned about
leader development over the last several decades in these seven general
points: 3
• To the extent that leadership is learned at all, it is learned from experi-
ence. In fact, about 70 percent of variance in a person’s effectiveness in a
leadership role is due to the results of her experience; only 30 percent is
due to heredity.
• Certain experiences have greater developmental impact than others in
shaping a person’s effectiveness as a leader.
• What makes such experiences valuable are the challenges they present
to the person.
• Different types of experience teach different leadership lessons.
• Some of the most useful experiences for learning leadership come in
the jobs we’re assigned to, and they can be designed to better enhance
their developmental richness.
• Obstacles exist to getting all the developmental experiences we may
desire, but we can still get many of them through our own diligence
and with some organizational support.
• Learning to be a better leader is a lifelong pursuit with many twists and
Of course we’re not going to look at just these seven points! A fitting
way to continue the chapter might be to look at Highlight 2.1, which iden-
tifies the most critical skills leaders will need in the years ahead. The fea-
ture offers several ideas for what leadership skills you might want to
develop further. But knowing what you want to learn is only half the
Leadership, like swim-
ming, cannot be learned
by reading about it.
Henry Mintzberg,
Leadership and learning
are indispensable to each
John F. Kennedy  
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46 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
answer. It’s also important to understand how to learn about leadership—
and that’s what we turn to next.
The Action–Observation–Reflection Model
Consider for a moment what a young person might learn from spending
a year working in two very different environments: as a staff assistant in
the U.S. Congress or as a carpenter on a house construction crew. Each
activity offers a rich store of leadership lessons. Working in Congress,
for example, would provide opportunities to observe political leaders
both onstage in the public eye and backstage in more private moments.
It would provide opportunities to see members of Congress interacting
with different constituencies, to see them in political defeat and political
victory, and to see a range of leadership styles. A young person could
also learn a lot by working on a building crew as it turned plans and
materials into the reality of a finished house: watching the coordination
with subcontractors, watching skilled craftspeople train younger ones,
watching the leader’s reactions to problems and delays, watching the
leader set standards and ensure quality work. At the same time, a person
could work in either environment and not grow much if he or she were
not disposed to. Making the most of experience is key to developing
What Skills Will Successful Leaders Need?
The Conference Board is a not-for-profit organization
that conducts research, assesses trends, and makes
forecasts about management to help businesses
strengthen their performance and better serve soci-
ety. In 2002 it identified critical skills leaders will need
to be successful in the year 2010. The list, of course,
is no longer a projection for the future; but the skills
are still important ones:
• Cognitive ability—both raw “intellectual horse-
power” and mental agility.
• Strategic thinking, especially with regard to
global competition.
• Analytical ability, especially the ability to sort
through diverse sources of information and see
what’s most important.
• The ability to make sound decisions in an envi-
ronment of ambiguity and uncertainty.
• Personal and organizational communication skills.
• The ability to be influential and persuasive with
different groups.
• The ability to manage in an environment of
diversity—managing people from different
cultures, genders, generations, and so on.
• The ability to delegate effectively.
• The ability to identify, attract, develop, and
retain talented people.
• The ability to learn from experience.
Are your experiences in college developing
these skills in you? Which of these skills might you
want to develop further, and what experiences
might best help you do so?
Source: From A. Barrett and J. Beeson, “Developing
Business Leaders for 2010,” The Conference Board, 2002.
Reprinted with permission of The Conference Board,
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 47
Experience Experience
What happened?
• Results
• Impact on others
How do you look at it now?
How do you feel about it now?
What did you do?
The Spiral of
one’s leadership ability. In other words, leadership development de-
pends not just on the kinds of experiences one has but also on how one
uses them to foster growth. A study of successful executives found that
a key quality that characterized them was an “extraordinary tenacity in
extracting something worthwhile from their experience and in seeking
experiences rich in opportunities for growth.” 4
But how does one do that? Is someone really more likely to get the lessons
of experience by looking for them? Why is it not enough just to be there?
Experiential learning theorists, such as Kolb, 5 believe people learn more
from their experiences when they spend time thinking about them. These
ideas are extended to leadership in the action–observation–reflection
(A-O-R) model, depicted in Figure 2.1, which shows that leadership develop-
ment is enhanced when the experience involves three different processes:
action, observation, and reflection. If a person acts but does not observe the
consequences of her actions or reflect on their significance and meaning,
then it makes little sense to say she has learned from an experience. Because
some people neither observe the consequences of their actions nor reflect on
how they could change their actions to become better leaders, leadership
development through experience may be better understood as the growth
resulting from repeated movements through all three phases rather than
merely in terms of some objective dimension like time (such as how long one
has been on the job). We believe the most productive way to develop as a
leader is to travel along the spiral of experience depicted in Figure 2.1.
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48 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
Perhaps an example from Colin Powell’s life will clarify how the spiral
of experience pertains to leadership development. Powell held positions
at the highest levels of U.S. military and civilian leadership as Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Secretary of State, but in 1963 he was a
26-year-old officer who had just returned to the United States from a com-
bat tour in Vietnam. His next assignment would be to attend a month-
long advanced airborne Ranger course. Near the end of the course, he was
to parachute with other troops from a helicopter. As the senior officer on
the helicopter, Powell had responsibility for ensuring it went well. Early
in the flight he shouted for everyone to make sure their static lines were
secure—these are the cables that automatically pull the parachutes open
when people jump. Nearing the jump site, he yelled for the men to check
their hookups one more time. Here are his words describing what hap-
pened next:
Then, like a fussy old woman, I started checking each line myself, pushing
my way through the crowded bodies, running my hand along the cable and
up to each man’s chute. To my alarm, one hook belonging to a sergeant was
loose. I shoved the dangling line in his face, and he gasped. . . . This man
would have stepped out of the door of the helo and dropped like a rock. 6
What did Powell learn from this experience?
Moments of stress, confusion, and fatigue are exactly when mistakes hap-
pen. And when everyone else’s mind is dulled or distracted the leader
must be doubly vigilant. “Always check small things” was becoming an-
other one of my rules. 7
Let us examine this incident in light of the A-O-R model. Action refers to
Powell’s multiple calls for the parachutists to check their lines. We might
speculate from his self-description (“like a fussy old woman”) that Powell
might have felt slightly uncomfortable with such repeated emphasis on
checking the lines, even though he persisted in the behavior. Perhaps you,
too, sometimes have acted in a certain manner (or were forced to by your
parents) despite feeling a little embarrassed about it, and then, if it was
successful, felt more comfortable the next time acting the same way. That
seems to be what happened with Powell here. The observation phase refers
to Powell’s shocked realization of the potentially fatal accident that would
have occurred had he not double-checked the static lines. And the reflection
phase refers to the lesson Powell drew from the experience: “Always check
the small things.” Even though this was not a totally new insight, its im-
portance was strongly reinforced by this experience. In a real sense Powell
was “spiraling” through a lesson he’d learned from other experiences too,
but embracing it even more this time, making it part of his style.
We also should note that Powell himself described his learning in a
manner consistent with our interactional framework. He emphasized the
situational importance of the leader’s attention to detail, especially during
We shall not cease
from exploration
And the end of all our
Will be to arrive where
we started
And know the place for
the first time.
T. S. Eliot  
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 49
moments of stress, confusion, and fatigue, when mistakes may be most
likely to happen. Finally, it’s worth noting that throughout Powell’s auto-
biography he discusses many lessons he learned from experience. A key
to his success was his ability to keep learning throughout his career.
The Key Role of Perception in the Spiral of Experience
Experience is not just a matter of what events happen to you; it also
depends on how you perceive those events. Perception affects all three
phases of the action–observation–reflection model and thus plays an im-
portant role in what anyone will extract from a leadership course or from
any leadership situation. Human beings are not passive recorders of expe-
riences that happen to them; rather, people actively shape and construct
their experiences. To better understand how perception affects experience,
we will examine its role in each part of the action–observation–reflection
model. We will begin with the stage that seems to correspond most di-
rectly with perception—the observation phase.
Perception and Observation
Observation and perception both deal with attending to events around us.
Both seem to take place spontaneously and effortlessly, so it is easy to re-
gard them as passive processes. Our usual mental images of the percep-
tual process reflect this implicit view. For example, it is a common
misconception that the eye operates essentially like the film in a continu-
ously running camera. The fallacy of this passive view of perception is
that it assumes we attend to all aspects of a situation equally. However,
we do not see everything that happens in a particular leadership situation,
nor do we hear everything. Instead we are selective in what we attend to
and what we, in turn, perceive. One phenomenon that demonstrates this
selectivity is called perceptual set. Perceptual sets can influence any of
our senses, and they are the tendency or bias to perceive one thing and not
another. Many factors can trigger a perceptual set, such as feelings, needs,
prior experience, and expectations. Its role in distorting what we hear
proved a costly lesson when a sympathetic airline pilot told his depressed
copilot, “Cheer up!” The copilot thought the pilot had said, “Gear up,”
and raised the wheels while the plane was still on the ground. 8 Try your
own ability to overcome perceptual set with the following exercise. Read
through this narrative passage several times:
Make sure you have read it to yourself several times before going any
further. Now go back to the text and count the number of times the letter F
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50 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
How many did you count? Three? Four? Five? Six? Most people do not
get the correct answer (six) the first time. The most frequent count is three;
perhaps that was how many you saw. If you did not find six, go back and
try again. The most common error in this seemingly trivial task is over-
looking the three times the word of appears. People easily overlook it be-
cause the word of has a v sound, not an f sound. Most people unconsciously
make the task an auditory search task and listen for the sound of F rather
than look for the shape of F; hence they find three F s rather than six. Listen-
ing for the sound constitutes a counterproductive perceptual set for this
task, and having read the passage several times before counting the F s only
exaggerates this tendency. Another reason people overlook the word of in
this passage is that the first task was to read the passage several times. Be-
cause most of us are accomplished readers, we tend to ignore small words
like of —they disappear from our perceptual set. Then, when we are asked
to count the number of F s, we have already defined the passage as a read-
ing task, so the word of is really not there for us to count. See Highlight 2.2
to learn about other factors that can affect our observational effectiveness.
There are strong parallels between this example of a perceptual set and
the perceptual sets that come into play when we are enrolled in a leader-
ship course or observe a leadership situation. For example, your instruc-
tor for this class may dress unstylishly, and you may be prejudiced in
thinking that poor dressers generally do not make good leaders. Because
of your biases, you may discount or not attend to some things your in-
structor has to say about leadership. This would be unfortunate because
your instructor’s taste in clothes has little to do with his or her ability to
teach (which is, after all, a kind of leadership).
It’s not what we don’t
know that hurts, it’s
what we know that ain’t
Will Rogers
On Being Observant and Lucky and Learning from Experience
It’s often said that some people have all the luck.
Do you think that’s true—are some people luckier
than others? Richard Wiseman, a professor at the
University of Hertfordshire, has written a book
about just that question, and his findings are rele-
vant to the role observation plays in our spiral of
In one of his experiments, Wiseman placed ad-
vertisements in national newspapers asking for peo-
ple to contact him who felt either consistently lucky
or consistently unlucky. In one experiment, he gave
both self-described lucky and unlucky people a
newspaper to read and asked them to look it over
and tell him how many photographs were inside.
Halfway through the paper he’d put a half-page
message with two-inch lettering saying, “Tell the
experimenter you have seen this and win $250.”
The advertisement was staring everyone in the
face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it
whereas the lucky people tended to notice it. One
reason may be related to the fact that Wiseman
claims unlucky people are somewhat more anxious
than lucky people, and that might disrupt their
ability to notice things that are unexpected.
How observant are you, and might developing
your own observation skills help you learn from ex-
perience more effectively?
Source: Adapted from Richard Wiseman, The Luck Factor
(New York: Miramax Books, 2003).
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 51
A similar phenomenon takes place when one expects to find mostly
negative things about another person (such as a problem employee). Such
an expectation becomes a perceptual set to look for the negative and look
past the positive things in the process. Stereotypes about gender, race, and
the like represent powerful impediments to learning because they func-
tion as filters that distort one’s observations. For example, if you do not
believe women or minorities are as successful as white males in influenc-
ing others, you may be biased to identify or remember only instances
where a woman or minority leader failed, and discount or forget instances
where women or minority members succeeded as leaders. Unfortunately
we all have similar biases, although we are usually unaware of them.
Often we become aware of our perceptual sets only when we spend time
reflecting about the content of a leadership training program or a particu-
lar leadership situation. Still another factor affecting the role observation
plays in our ability to learn from experience is described in Highlight 2.2.
Perception and Reflection
Perceptual sets influence what we attend to and what we observe. In ad-
dition, perception also influences the next stage of the spiral of experi-
ence—reflection—because reflection is how we interpret our observations.
Perception is inherently an interpretive, or a meaning-making, activity.
One important aspect of this is a process called attribution.
Attributions are the explanations we develop for the behaviors or ac-
tions we attend to. For example, if you see Julie fail in an attempt to get
others to form a study group, you are likely to attribute the cause of the
failure to dispositional factors within Julie. In other words, you are likely
to attribute the failure to form a study group to Julie’s intelligence, per-
sonality, physical appearance, or some other factor even though factors
beyond her control could have played a major part. This tendency to over-
estimate the dispositional causes of behavior and underestimate the envi-
ronmental causes when others fail is called the fundamental attribution
error. 9 People prefer to explain others’ behavior on the basis of personal
attributions even when obvious situational factors may fully account for
the behavior.
On the other hand, if you attempted to get others to form a study group
and failed, you would be more likely to blame factors in the situation for
the failure (there was not enough time, or the others were not interested,
or they would not be good to study with). This reflects a self-serving
bias 10 —the tendency to make external attributions (blame the situation)
for one’s own failures yet make internal attributions (take credit) for one’s
successes. A third factor that affects the attribution process is called the
actor/observer difference. 11 This refers to the fact that people who are
observing an action are much more likely than the actor to make the fun-
damental attribution error. Consider, for example, a student who gets a
bad score on an exam. The person sitting next to her ( an observer) would
Common sense is the
collection of prejudices
acquired by age 18.
Albert Einstein
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52 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
tend to attribute the bad score to internal characteristics (not very bright,
weak in this subject) whereas the student herself would be more likely to
attribute the bad score to external factors ( the professor graded unfairly).
Putting these factors together, each of us tends to see our own success as
due to our intelligence, personality, or physical abilities, but others’ suc-
cess as more attributable to situational factors or to luck.
We note in concluding this section that reflection also involves higher
functions like evaluation and judgment, not just perception and attribu-
tion. We will address these broader aspects of reflection, which are crucial
to learning from experience, just ahead.
Perception and Action
We have seen how perception influences both the observation and reflec-
tion stages in the spiral of experience. It also affects the actions we take. For
example, Mitchell and his associates 12 – 14 have examined how perceptions
and biases affect supervisors’ actions in response to poorly performing
subordinates. In general, these researchers found that supervisors were
biased toward making dispositional attributions about a subordinate’s
substandard performance and, as a result of these attributions, often
recommended that punishment be used to remedy performance deficits.
“Just don’t make any personal appearances until after the election.”
Source: Reprinted from The Saturday Evening Post Magazine © 1964. The Saturday Evening Post Society.
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 53
Another perceptual variable that can affect our actions is the self-fulfilling
prophecy, which occurs when our expectations or predictions play a
causal role in bringing about the events we predict. It is not difficult to see
how certain large-scale social phenomena may be affected this way. For
example, economists’ predictions of an economic downturn may, via the
consequent decreased investor confidence, precipitate an economic crisis.
But the self-fulfilling prophecy occurs at the interpersonal level, too. A
person’s expectations about another may influence how he acts toward
her, and in reaction to his behavior she may act in a way that confirms his
expectations. 15 An illustrative interaction sequence is shown in Figure 2.2.
Some of the best evidence to support the effects of self-fulfilling proph-
ecies on leadership training was collected by Eden and Shani in the con-
text of military boot camp. 16 They conducted a field experiment in which
they told leadership instructors their students had unknown, regular, or
high command potential. However, the students’ actual command poten-
tial was never assessed, and unknown to the instructors, the students
were actually randomly assigned to the unknown, regular, or high com-
mand potential conditions. Nevertheless, students in the high-potential
condition had significantly better objective test scores and attitudes than
the students in the unknown- or regular-potential conditions, even though
instructors simultaneously taught all three types of students. Somehow
the students picked up on their instructor’s expectations and responded
accordingly. Thus merely having expectations (positive or negative) about
Person 1 Person 2
1. Has expectations of other person
(I’ve heard she’s nice).
2. Behaves ambigously (might
be seen as friendly).
3. Expectancy confirmed
(she does seem personable).
4. Initiates positive interaction
toward other person.
5. Responds in a friendly manner.
6. Expectation further strengthened.
7. Self-concept change? (it’s
easy for me to meet others).
The Role of Expectations in Social Interaction
Source: From Edward E. Jones, “Interpreting Interpersonal Behavior: The Effects of Expectancies,” Science 234, 3, October 1986,
p. 43. Reprinted with permission from AAAS.
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54 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
others can subtly influence our actions, and these actions can, in turn,
affect the way others behave.
Reflection and Leadership Development
Perhaps the most important yet most neglected component of the action–
observation–reflection model is reflection. Reflection is important because
it can provide leaders with a variety of insights into how to frame prob-
lems differently, look at situations from multiple perspectives, or better
understand subordinates. However, most managers spend relatively little
time on this activity, even though the time spent reflecting about leader-
ship can be fruitful. The importance of reflection in developing executive
competence continues to be a major element of advancing scholarly
thought and practice. 17
One reason the reflection component is often neglected may be time
pressure at work. Leaders are usually busy working in pressure-filled situ-
ations and often do not have time to ponder all the possible consequences
of their actions or reflect on how they could have accomplished a particu-
lar action better. Sometimes it takes an out-of-the-ordinary experience to
focus one’s attention on developmental challenges (see Highlight 2.3). In
addition, some leaders may not be aware of the value of reflection in lead-
ership development. Intentional reflection might even prompt one to see
potential benefits in experience not initially considered relevant to leader-
ship in organizational settings (see Highlight 2.4).We hope this section will
clarify the value of reflection and, in so doing, complement the emphasis,
throughout the remainder of the book, on looking at leadership from dif-
ferent perspectives.
Single- and Double-Loop Learning
It is difficult for leaders to fundamentally change their leadership style
without engaging in some kind of reflection. Along these lines, Argyris 18
described an intensive effort with a group of successful chief executive
officers who became even better leaders through increased self-awareness.
His model for conceptualizing this growth is applicable to any level of
leader and is worth considering in more detail.
Argyris said that most people interact with others and the environment
on the basis of a belief system geared to manipulate or control others, and
to minimize one’s own emotionality and the negative feelings elicited
from others. This belief system also tends to create defensive interper-
sonal relationships and limits risk taking. People “programmed” with this
view of life (as most of us are, according to Argyris) produce group and
organizational dynamics characterized by avoidance of conflict, mistrust,
conformity, intergroup rivalry, misperceptions of and miscommunications
with others, ineffective problem solving, and poor decision making.
Being ignorant is not so
much a shame as being
unwilling to learn.
Benjamin Franklin  
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 55
Most important for our purposes here, this belief system generates a
certain kind of learning that Argyris called single-loop learning. Single-
loop learning describes a kind of learning between the individual and the
environment in which learners seek relatively little feedback that may sig-
nificantly confront their fundamental ideas or actions. There is relatively
little public testing of ideas against valid information. Consequently, an
actor’s belief system becomes self-sealing and self-fulfilling, and little
time is spent reflecting about the beliefs. Argyris used the term single-loop
learning because it operates somewhat like a thermostat: individuals learn
only about subjects within the comfort zone of their belief systems. They
might, for example, learn how well they are achieving a designated goal.
They are far less likely, however, to question the validity of the goal or the
values implicit in the situation, just as a thermostat does not question its
Leadership Development Dilemmas for Women
The Women’s Leadership Program, offered by the
Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), emphasizes re-
ceiving feedback, improving self-awareness, and set-
ting leadership and life goals. Members of the CCL
staff conducted a series of interviews with 60 execu-
tive women who had attended the program, and
identified several salient issues these women were
struggling with. Four particular themes stood out:
Wholeness and authenticity: These executive
women desired to have whole and full lives. They
felt job demands had forced their lives to be-
come one-dimensional. Often they felt they had
given up important parts of themselves: creativ-
ity, friendliness, musical talent, athletic perfor-
mance, and so forth. Sometimes they felt their
organizations required them to ignore or sup-
press some part of their true selves to succeed.
Clarity: After the program, many women devel-
oped great clarity about their own strengths,
weaknesses, values, needs, priorities, and goals
as leaders.
Connection: Many women expressed concerns
that they did not have the degree of interper-
sonal connectedness with others they would
have preferred. They expressed a desire for
closer friendships and family ties. Many said
they felt isolated in their organizations, with
few confidants of either gender.
Control: One of the strongest themes identified
in the interviews was the need to feel more in
control. This need was manifested in a number
of different ways, including the need to feel
more comfortable exercising authority and a
need to deal differently with organizational
situations that made them feel helpless. Many
women also expressed a desire to become
more politically sophisticated.
To reflect on the overall findings of the study, it
is encouraging that virtually all of these executive
women believed they were continuing to grow
both personally and professionally. The experiences
of this group of executive women certainly support
the view that development persists throughout life.
Are any of these dilemmas issues for college stu-
dents as well as executives? If so, do you believe
they are any more problematic for female than for
male students?
Source: Adapted from P. Ohlott, “Change and Leader-
ship Development: The Experience of Executive Women,”
Leadership in Action 19, no. 5 (1999), pp. 8–12.
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56 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
temperature setting. That kind of self-confrontation would involve double-
loop learning.
Double-loop learning involves a willingness to confront one’s own
views and an invitation to others to do so, too. It springs from an appre-
ciation that openness to information and power sharing with others can
lead to better recognition and definition of problems, improved communi-
cation, and increased decision-making effectiveness. Mastering double-
loop learning can be thought of as learning how to learn. With considerable
collective work, including the difficult task of working through personal
blind spots, Argyris’s group of leaders did move to this stage. In other
words, through reflection they learned how to change their leadership
styles by questioning their assumptions about others, their roles in the
organization, and their underlying assumptions about the importance of
their own goals and those of the organization.
The Relevance of Women’s Personal Experiences to Their
Leadership Effectiveness
Record numbers of women are active in the mana-
gerial workforce. Not surprisingly, a widespread
perception has arisen that the relationship between
work and nonwork domains of women’s lives is
almost inherently one of conflict. Managerial
women are described as constantly torn between
the demands of their managerial and personal
roles. Less attention has been paid to the question
of possible benefits of combining employment and
personal roles.
Psychologists have studied how the roles
women play in their personal lives can affect their
effectiveness at work. In telephone interviews with
women managers, they asked this question (among
others): Are there any dimensions or aspects of your
personal life that enhance your professional life? Six
themes characterized the women’s responses:
• Opportunities to enrich interpersonal skills like mo-
tivating, respecting, and developing others—
honed at home in raising children—are
transferable to motivating, developing, and
directing employees.
• Psychological benefits from overcoming obsta-
cles, taking risks, and succeeding in personal
arenas bolster esteem, self-confidence, energy,
and courage.
• Emotional support and advice from friends and
family who act as sounding boards and motiva-
tors allow one to vent feelings in a safe environ-
• Handling multiple tasks such as planning and
juggling a busy family’s schedules develops
administrative skills such as prioritizing and
• Personal interests and background provide skills
and helpful perspectives for understanding and
connecting with people at work.
• Leadership opportunities in volunteer, commu-
nity organization, or family settings provide
leadership lessons and increase comfort in au-
thority roles.
Source: Adapted from: M. N. Ruderman, Patricia J.
Ohlott, K. Panzer, and Sara N. King, “Benefits of Multiple
Roles for Managerial Women,” Academy of Management
Journal 45, no. 2 (2002), pp. 369–86.
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 57
Making the Most of Your Leadership Experiences: Learning to
Learn from Experience
This section builds on the ideas previously introduced in this chapter by
giving leadership practitioners a few suggestions to enhance learning from
experience. For decades, researchers have been studying the role of learn-
ing from experience as an important developmental behavior for people in
executive positions. Although this research has contributed a great deal to
what people need to learn to be successful (see Highlight 2.5 for a compari-
son of lessons men and women managers learn from experience), less is
known about the process of learning or how we learn to be successful.
Bunker and Webb 19 asked successful executives to list adjectives de-
scribing how they felt while working through powerful learning events
What Do Men and Women Managers Learn from Experience?
For a quarter century or so, significant numbers of
women have been represented in the management
ranks of companies. During that period companies
have promoted large pools of high-potential
women, but relatively few of them have achieved
truly top-level positions. Several factors probably
Why would there be any learning differences
between the genders? One hypothesis is that men
and women managers tend to have different career
patterns. For example, there is some evidence that
women receive fewer truly challenging develop-
mental opportunities. Do you believe there is any
account for this, but one possibility is that men and
women learn differently from their work experi-
ences. Researchers have studied how male and fe-
male executives describe the important lessons
they’ve learned from their career experiences, and
there are some interesting differences between the
genders as well as significant overlap.
difference at your school between the opportuni-
ties provided to male and female students?
Source: Adapted from E. Van Velsor and M. W. Hughes,
Gender Differences in the Development of Managers: How
Women Managers Learn from Experience (Technical Report
No. 145) (Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leader-
ship, 1990).
Most Frequent Lessons for
Men and Women
Directing and motivating
Basic management values.
How to work with executives.
Understanding other people’s
Dealing with people over whom
you have no authority.
Handling political situations.
For Men Only
Technical/professional skills.
All about the business.
Coping with ambiguous
Shouldering full responsibility.
Persevering through adversity.
For Women Only
Personal limits and blind spots.
Taking charge of career.
Recognizing and seizing
Coping with situations beyond
your control.
Knowing what excites you.
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58 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
and potent developmental experiences. Their typical responses were a
combination of both positive and negative feelings:
Negatives Positives
Pained Challenged
Fearful Successful
Frustrated Proud
Stressed Capable
Anxious Growing
Overwhelmed Exhilarated
Uncertain Talented
Angry Resourceful
Hurt Learning
This pattern strongly supports the long-hypothesized notion of a mean-
ingful link between stress and learning. 20 The learning events and devel-
opmental experiences that punctuate one’s life are usually—perhaps
always—stressful. 21-24
Bunker and Webb note that executives try to be successful without ex-
periencing stress. They are most comfortable when they can draw on a
proven repertoire of operating skills to tackle a challenge they have con-
quered in the past. Combined with the organizational pressure to have
“proven performers” in important positions, there is a tremendous initial
pressure to “continue to do what we’ve always done.” In stressful situa-
tions, this tendency may become even more powerful. What results is one
of the great challenges of adult development: the times when people most
need to break out of the mold created by past learning patterns are the
times when they are most unwilling to do so. Being able to go against the
grain of one’s personal historical success requires an unwavering commit-
ment to learning and a relentless willingness to let go of the fear of failure
and the unknown.
To be successful, learning must continue throughout life, beyond the
completion of one’s formal education. The end of extrinsically applied
education should be the start of an education that is motivated intrinsi-
cally. At that point the goal of studying is no longer to make the grade,
earn a diploma, and find a good job. Rather, it is to understand what is
happening around one, to develop a personally meaningful sense of what
one’s experience is about. 25
This applies to the specific challenge of becoming and remaining an effec-
tive leader, too. People who lead in modern organizations need to be en-
gaged in a never-ending learning process. 26 Ron Riggio of the Kravis
Leadership Institute characterized this challenge well in observing that or-
ganizational leaders are practitioners of leadership at the same time they
must continue to be students of leadership. “The practice of leadership,
Anyone who stops
learning is old, whether
at 20 or 80. Anyone
who keeps learning
stays young. The great-
est thing in life is to
keep your mind young.
Henry Ford  
Teach a highly educated
person that it is not a
disgrace to fail and that
he must analyze every
failure to find its cause.
He must learn how to
fail intelligently, for
failing is one of the
greatest arts in the
Charles F.
Kettering, inventor,
pioneer, and
corporate leader  
What would a man be
wise; let him drink of
the river
That bears on its bosom
the record of time;
A message to him every
wave can deliver
To teach him to creep till
he knows how to climb.
John Boyle O’Reilly  
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 59
just like the practice of medicine, or law, or any other profession, is a con-
tinual learning process. The complexity of these professions means that
one can always improve and learn how to do it better. The wise leader
accepts this and goes through the sometimes painful process of personal
leader development.” 27
Leader Development in College
Virtually everyone using this text is taking a college course in leadership
for academic credit. But one academic course in leadership is only part of
what at some schools is an entire curriculum of leadership studies. Rig-
gio, Ciulla and Sorenson, representing three different institutions, have
described the rise and key elements of leadership studies programs in
liberal arts colleges, and note that there are now nearly 1,000 recognized
leadership development programs in institutions of higher education. 28
Few, of them, though, are curriculum-based programs that offer aca-
demic credit in the form of, for example, an academic minor. As such
programs continue to increase in number, several features should guide
their design.
Oprah Winfrey
In January 2007 doors opened for the first class of
girls at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy
near Johannesburg, South Africa. The first admis-
sions included about 150 seventh and eighth grade
girls, with plans to expand to more than 400 girls
in the seventh through twelfth grades by 2011.
Winfrey’s vision is that the academy will help de-
velop the future women leaders of South Africa.
This will be one more accomplishment for a woman
who has her own television show, publishes two
different magazines, was nominated for an Acad-
emy Award for acting in The Color Purple, made Dr.
Phil famous, and whose recommendation can virtu-
ally guarantee a book’s commercial success. She
may be the most influential woman in the world.
No one would have predicted this from the
poor and troubled family conditions she was born
into. Her Grandmother Hattie Mae, however, who
raised Oprah during her first six years, saw some-
thing special in her from the beginning. She taught
Oprah to read before the age of 3, and at church
Oprah was known as “the preacher” because of her
ability to recite Bible verses. As a teenager in school
she was voted “most popular girl,” and she placed
second in a national competition for dramatic inter-
pretation. At 18 she won the Miss Black Tennessee
beauty pageant.
Even from an early age there were glimpses of
the direction Oprah’s life would take. As a child she
played games “interviewing” everything from her
corncob doll to crows on the fence, but her true
start in broadcasting came at the age of 17 when
she worked part-time at a local radio station while
attending college. She became the youngest news
anchor and the first black female news anchor at
WLAC-TV in Nashville. In 1976 she moved to anchor
the news in Baltimore, and in 1978 she became co-
host of a local TV talk show. She moved to Chicago
to host a talk show there, first airing in 1984; months
later it was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. Its first
national broadcast was in 1986, and the rest, as they
say, is history. But Oprah is still making history—not
only in virtually every facet of media but also in her
philanthropic efforts to develop a generation of
women leaders in South Africa.
Good flutists learn from
experience; unfortu-
nately, so do bad flut-
I took a great deal o’
pains with his educa-
tion, sir; let him run the
streets when he was
very young, and shift
for his-self. It’s the only
way to make a boy
sharp, sir.
Charles Dickens,
Pickwick Papers  
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60 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is one of the most famous and successful
business leaders in the world, even if also known as
having a temperamental, aggressive, and demand-
ing style with others. At the age of 20, with partner
Steve Wozniak, he helped launch the personal com-
puter revolution with Apple Computer and ulti-
mately through its premier PC, the Macintosh.
After leaving Apple, he founded another company,
NeXT Computer, and in 1986 he bought a com-
puter animation company called Pixar. The com-
pany’s first film, Toy Story, made history by being
the first entirely computer-animated feature film.
Now back at Apple, Jobs has created even further
revolutions in consumer technology products with
the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
In 2005 Jobs delivered the commencement ad-
dress at Stanford. In that address he talked about
one of the most difficult and yet most valuable
experiences of his life: getting fired from Apple,
the company that he had helped found. He and
Wozniak started Apple, he said, in 1970 in his
parents’ garage. In 10 years it had grown into a
$2 billion company. He could not believe it, amid
that success, when he was fired by Apple’s board
of directors. “How can you get fired from a com-
pany you started? What had been the focus of my
entire adult life was gone, and it was devastat-
ing.” Yet now, reflecting on the opportunities that
he was able to take advantage of because he left
Apple, Jobs said to the graduating class, “I didn’t
see it then, but it turned out that getting fired
from Apple was the best thing that ever could
have happened to me.”
The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you
believe is great work. And the only way to do great
work is to love what you do.
Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t
used to an environment where excellence is
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a
At liberal arts institutions, leadership studies programs should be mul-
tidisciplinary. As you will notice in this text, the field of leadership encom-
passes a broad range of disciplines including psychology, organizational
behavior, history, education, management, and political science, to name
just a few. Also, leadership studies need to be academically authorized
courses of study (obvious as this may seem, one challenge to it was evi-
dent in the anecdote shared in the introduction to this chapter). Another
important feature is that leadership programs need to deliberately culti-
vate values represented in the broader field, especially those that are par-
ticularly salient at each local institution. These values could include social
responsibility and the expectation to become engaged in one’s commu-
nity; in such cases service learning is a common part of the programs. In
other programs, global awareness is another guiding value. Finally, con-
sistent with requirements across higher education, leadership studies pro-
grams should focus on expected developmental outcomes, with associated
assessment and evaluation to determine program effectiveness. 29
Some key curricular components of college-based leadership studies
programs include coursework examining foundational theories and con-
An educated man can
experience more in a day
than an uneducated
man in a lifetime.
Seneca, Roman
statesman, 1st
century A.D.  
All rising to a great
place is by a winding
Francis Bacon,
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 61
cepts in leadership (the kind this textbook is intended to support). In ad-
dition, coursework in ethics is vital to leadership studies. As just
mentioned, service learning and other experiential learning opportunities
should be provided and integrated with the classroom elements of the
program. An understanding of group dynamics is critical to effective lead-
ership, and its development requires student experiences interacting with
others; leadership studies inherently require a social dimension of experi-
ence. Finally, as implied by the interdisciplinary nature of leadership stud-
ies, a variety of faculty from many different departments and disciplines
should be involved in the program. 30
Within leadership studies programs, various leader development
methods may be used beyond service learning. Some courses or program
elements might involve individualized feedback to students in the form
of personality, intelligence, values, or interest test scores or leadership be-
havior ratings. Case studies describe leadership situations and are used
as a vehicle for leadership discussions. Role playing is also a popular
methodology. In role playing, participants are assigned parts to play (such
as a supervisor and an unmotivated subordinate) in a job-related scenario.
Role playing has the advantage of letting trainees actually practice rele-
vant skills and thus has greater transferability to the workplace than do
didactic lectures or abstract discussions about leadership. Simulations
and games are other methods of leader development. These are relatively
structured activities designed to mirror some of the challenges or deci-
sions commonly faced in the work environment. A newer approach puts
participants in relatively unfamiliar territory (such as outdoors rather
than offices) and presents them physical, emotionally arousing, and often
team-oriented challenges.
Leader Development in Organizational Settings
The title of this section does not imply that colleges and universities are
not organizations; obviously they are. Nonetheless, college-based leader-
ship studies differ in some significant ways from leader development pro-
grams one finds in the corporate sector or in the military. Most obvious,
perhaps, is the fact that the essential purpose of college-based programs is
to prepare students for their ultimate productive service as citizens,
including in their own vocations. Our focus in this section is on methods
of leader development provided in organizations not just for the individ-
ual’s personal development but also (and maybe primarily) for the orga-
nization’s benefit. Although all of the relatively short-term development
methods just mentioned are used routinely in organizational programs,
some of the most potent work-based leader development methods are
longer-term in nature.
There are numerous leadership training programs aimed particularly
toward leaders and supervisors in industry or public service. In many
ways these have strong parallels to both the content and techniques used
Tell me and I’ll forget;
show me and I may
remember; involve me
and I’ll understand.
Chinese proverb  
How few there are who
have the courage to own
their own faults, or reso-
lution enough to mend
Benjamin Franklin
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62 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
What Do Children Believe about Leadership? “Wut Do
Ldrs Do?”
A 5-year-old girl wrote and illustrated an un-
prompted “book” for her grandfather, a friend of
the authors. We’ve included a few of the pages
here. They convey what at least some young chil-
dren believe are important qualities of leaders.
You might ask yourself how valid this character-
ization is . . . and in what ways it is likely to be
shaped by experiences between kindergarten and
adulthood. The words are written entirely with a
5-year-old’s phonetic spelling, so you’ll need to
be creative in interpreting the qualities!
If we were to apply our A-O-R model here,
would you say this 5-year-old was learning from her
By Hailey Bemis Age 5
Translation Frame A: What do
leaders do?
Translation Frame B: They call
911 if someone gets hurt.
Translation Frame C: They get
people excited to learn.
Translation Frame D: They be
nice to people.
Translation Frame E: They help
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 63
in university-level courses on leadership. However, these programs tend
to be more focused than a university course that typically lasts an entire
semester. The content of industry programs also depends on the organiza-
tional level of the recipients; programs for first-level supervisors focus on
developing supervisory skills such as training, monitoring, giving feed-
back, and conducting performance reviews with subordinates. Generally
these programs use lectures, case studies, and role-playing exercises to
improve leadership skills. The programs for midlevel managers often
focus on improving interpersonal, oral communication, and written com-
munication skills, as well as giving tips on time management, planning,
and goal setting. These programs rely more heavily on individualized
feedback, case studies, presentations, role playing, simulations, and
in-basket exercises to help leaders develop. With in-basket exercises, par-
ticipants are given a limited amount of time to prioritize and respond to a
number of notes, letters, and phone messages from a fictitious manager’s
in-basket. This technique is particularly useful in assessing and improving
a manager’s planning and time management skills. In leaderless group
discussions, facilitators and observers rate participants on the degree of
persuasiveness, leadership, followership, or conflict each member mani-
fests in a group that has no appointed leader. These ratings are used to
give managers feedback about their interpersonal and oral communica-
tion skills.
In reviewing the general field of leadership development and training,
Conger offered this assessment: “Leadership programs can work, and
work well, if they use a multi tiered approach. Effective training depends
on the combined use of four different teaching methods which I call per-
sonal growth, skill building, feedback, and conceptual awareness.” 31 Some
programs seek to stimulate leadership development by means of emotion-
ally intense personal growth experiences such as river rafting, wilderness
survival, and so forth. Leadership development through skill building in-
volves structured activities focusing on the sorts of leadership skills fea-
tured in the final section of this book. Some approaches to leadership
development emphasize individualized feedback about each person’s
strengths and weaknesses, typically based on standardized assessment
methods. Feedback-based approaches can help identify “blind spots” an
individual may be unaware of, as well as help prioritize which aspects of
leadership development represent the highest priorities for development
focus. Still other sorts of programs develop leadership by emphasizing its
conceptual or intellectual components. An example of this approach
would be an emphasis on theory and the use of case studies, common in
many MBA programs. There are merits in each of these approaches, but
Conger was on solid ground when he emphasized the value of combining
elements of each.
In a related vein, others have emphasized that leader development in
the 21st century must occur in more lifelike situations and contexts. 32
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64 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
Toward that end, they have advocated creating better practice fields for
leadership development analogous to the practice fields whereon skills in
competitive sports are honed, or practice sessions analogous to those in
music training wherein those skills are sharpened. Increasingly leadership
development is occurring in the context of work itself. 33
Leadership programs for senior executives and CEOs tend to focus on
strategic planning, developing and communicating a vision, public rela-
tions, and interpersonal skills. Many times the entire senior leadership of
a company will go through a leadership program at the same time. One
goal of such a group might be to learn how to develop a strategic plan for
their organization. To improve public relations skills, some programs
have CEOs undergo simulated, unannounced interviews with television
reporters and receive feedback on how they could have done better.
In the following sections we discuss research surrounding four popular
and increasingly common methods of leader development: action learn-
ing, development planning, coaching, and mentoring.
Action Learning
Perhaps the best way to appreciate the nature of action learning is to con-
trast it with more traditional training programs . The latter term refers to
leadership development activities that typically involve personnel attend-
ing a class, often for several days or even a week. In such classes, many of
the kinds of developmental activities already mentioned might be
included such as exercises, instrument-based feedback, and various presen-
tations on different aspects of leadership. The key point is that attendance
at a training program inherently involves time away from immediate job
responsibilities. And while the various exercises presumably address
many common leadership issues such as communication, conflict, feed-
back, and planning, the inevitably artificial nature of such activities make
transfer back to the actual work situation more difficult.
Action learning, on the other hand, is the use of actual work issues and
challenges as the developmental activity itself. The basic philosophy of
action learning is that for adults in particular, the best learning is learning
by doing . Furthermore, action learning often is conducted in teams of work
colleagues who are addressing actual company challenges; the members
of action learning teams are placed into problem-solving roles and are
expected to reach team decisions concerning the challenge or problem,
and formally present their analysis and recommendations to others (often
senior executives in their own company). Importantly, action learning also
involves built-in opportunities for feedback and reflection for the partici-
pants about the perceived quality of their analysis and recommendations
as well as, ideally, about aspects of their respective individual strengths
and weaknesses as leaders working on the collaborative project together.
In the past 15 years or so, action learning has gone from being a relatively
rare development vehicle to being found in many companies’ internal
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 65
portfolios of leader development opportunities. Unfortunately, however, its
demonstrated effectiveness for leader development, as distinguished from
its use in generating fresh ideas for thorny company problems, has not kept
pace with its increasing popularity and widespread use.
There are many reasons for this—not the least of which is that the links
between a particular action learning project and its leadership challenges
may be tenuous. Too often personnel are assigned to action learning teams
assuming that they’ll inevitably learn critical leadership lessons along the
way; it usually doesn’t happen so easily. If it were easy and automatic, we
should expect more “leadership learning” from the experience of one’s
Innovative Approaches to Leader Development
Several well-established methods of leader develop-
ment are highlighted in this chapter such as coach-
ing and mentoring, but many innovative
approaches are also worth noting. We’ve listed a
few of them here, grouped into two broad catego-
ries: arts-based approaches and technology-based
Some arts-based approaches may be described as
“projective” because they involve some form of
artistic creation or interpretation that allows par-
ticipants to reveal inner thoughts and feelings
(the name projective was originally associated
with the Rorschach Inkblot test, a projective psy-
chological test). For example, visual images (such
as photographs or artwork) can provide a stimu-
lus for a person to elaborate on in describing
some leadership theme (the best team I’ve ever
been on, what it feels like to work in this com-
pany, or the like). It’s striking how rich and candid
a person’s reflections typically are when made in
response to something tangible like an evocative
image. Another projective technique would be to
use simple building materials (like Legos) and in-
struct participants to create some depiction (per-
haps of their organizational structure or strategy).
Critical skills such as demonstrating empathy can
be learned with dramatic and theatrical training
(especially valuable for medical personnel). And
films, which often have high emotional impact,
can be used to facilitate rich discussions of various
leadership issues.
Video games and virtual reality simulations also
open new doors for leadership development be-
cause they share several distinctly advantageous
characteristics for training and development. For
one thing, they require speedy thought and action.
Actions that might take weeks or longer to unfold
in real life can be compressed into hours or min-
utes, and thus the pace of leadership can be height-
ened. These venues also encourage risk taking, and
leadership roles in gaming or virtual reality contexts
are often temporary, involving frequent swapping
of roles. Even the U.S. Air Force has developed vir-
tual reality simulations for leadership development
in situations that are complex, ambiguous, and
highly interdependent.
What kinds of experiences at your college might
be untapped leadership laboratories?
Sources: S. S. Taylor and D. Ladkin, “Understanding
Arts-Based Methods in Managerial Development,” Acad-
emy of Management Learning & Education 8, no. 1 (2009),
pp. 55–69;
B. Reeves, T. W. Malone, and T. O’Driscoll, “Leadership’s On-
line Labs,” Harvard Business Review, May 2008, pp. 59–66;
R. L. Hughes, and A. Stricker, “Outside-in and Inside-out
Approaches to Transformation,” in D. Neal, H. Friman,
R. Doughty, and L. Wells (eds.), Crosscutting Issues in Inter-
national Transformation: Interactions and Innovations
among People, Organizations, Processes, and Technology
(Washington, DC: Center for Technology and National
Security Policy, National Defense University, 2009).
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66 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
primary job and not need action learning at all. Furthermore, the very
time-critical, high-visibility, and all-too-real elements that can make action
learning problems so engaging and popular also often require a work
pace that does not allow the kind of reflection we know is an important
part of leader development. A final reason we’ll mention here for why ac-
tion learning projects may not achieve their desired leader development
outcomes is because teams at work often fall prey to the same kinds of
problems that you probably have experienced in team-based projects in
your own academic coursework. It’s one thing to call something a project
requiring teamwork; it’s quite another thing for the actual work on that
project to truly reflect good teamwork. In poorly designed and supported
action learning projects, the work might be dominated by one person or
by just one perspective within the organization. Action learning holds
great promise but has not yet delivered uniform results. 34
Development Planning
How many times have you resolved to change a habit, only to discover
two months later that you are still exhibiting the same behaviors? This is
often the fate of well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions. Most people do
not even make such resolutions because the failure rate is so high. Given
this track record, you might wonder if it is possible to change one’s behav-
ior, particularly if an existing pattern has been reinforced over time and is
exhibited almost automatically. Fortunately, however, it is possible to
change behavior, even long-standing habits. For example, many people
permanently quit smoking or drinking without any type of formal pro-
gram. Others may change after they gain insight into how their behavior
affects others. Some will need support to maintain a behavioral change
over time, whereas others seem destined to never change. 35 , 36, 37
Managers seem to fall into the same categories; some managers change
once they gain insight, others change with social and organizational sup-
port, and others may not ever change. But do people just fall into one of
these groups by accident? Is there any way to stack the odds in favor of
driving behavioral change? Research provides several suggestions that
leaders can take to accelerate the development of their own leadership
skills, and we can use the development pipeline depicted in Figure 2.3 to
categorize them. 38-43 They suggest five critical behavioral change ques-
tions, and leaders must provide positive answers to all five questions if
they want to maximize the odds of enduring behavior change taking
Question 1: Do leaders know what behaviors need to change? Leaders are
capable of exhibiting hundreds of different behaviors, but do they pre-
cisely know which behaviors they need to start, stop, or keep doing to
build effective teams or achieve better results? The insight component of
the development pipeline is concerned with giving leaders accurate feed-
back on their strengths and development needs, and 360-degree feedback
When you’re in a new
job where you’re
stretched, your focus
should be on learning,
not getting an A.
Mary Dee Hicks,
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 67
can provide useful information in this regard. Other sources of informa-
tion about development needs can come from the results of an assessment
center, a performance appraisal, or direct feedback from others.
Question 2: Is the leader motivated to change these behaviors? The next step
in developing one’s own leadership skills is working on development
goals that matter. No leader has all of the knowledge and skills necessary
to be successful; as a result most leaders have multiple development
needs. Leaders need to determine which new skills will have the highest
personal and organizational payoffs and build development plans that
address these needs. The development plan should be focused on only
one or two needs; plans addressing more than this tend to be overwhelm-
ing and unachievable. If leaders have more than two development needs,
they should first work to acquire one or two skills before moving on to the
next set of development needs.
Question 3: Do leaders have plans in place for changing targeted behaviors?
Figure 2.3 indicates that acquiring new knowledge and skills is the next step
in the development pipeline. For leaders, this means creating a written
development plan that capitalizes on available books, seminars, college
courses, e-learning modules, and so forth to acquire the knowledge under-
lying a particular development need (see Figure 2.4). For example, you can
either learn how to delegate through the school of hard knocks or take a
seminar to learn the best delegation skills. As we will see, knowledge alone
is not enough to develop a new skill, but relevant books and courses can
accelerate the learning process. 44 In addition, it is important not to under-
estimate the power of a written development plan. Leaders (and follow-
ers) who have a written plan seem more likely to keep development on
their radar screens and take the actions necessary to acquire new skills.
Question 4: Do leaders have opportunities to practice new skills? Taking
courses and reading books are good ways for leaders to acquire founda-
tional knowledge, but new skills will be acquired only when they are
practiced on the job. Just as surgeons can read about and watch a surgery
but will perfect a surgical technique only through repeated practice, so too
and skills
The PDI Development Pipeline ®
Source: Copyright © 1991–2000, Personnel Decisions International Corporation. Reprinted with permission.
The more you crash, the
more you learn.
David B. Peterson,
Personnel Decisions
The only thing more
painful than learning
from experience is not
learning from experi-
MacLeish, Librarian
of Congress
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68 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
will leaders acquire needed skills only if they practice them on the job.
Therefore, good development plans use on-the-job experiences to hone
needed leadership skills. Peterson maintains that most leadership posi-
tions offer ample opportunities to develop new skills, provided that lead-
ers leverage all the experiences available to them. These on-the-job
Sample Individual Development Plan
Source: G. J. Curphy, Personal Insights and Development Planning Training Manual (North Oaks, MN: Curphy Consulting Corporation, 2007).
Development Goals
Name: Mark McMurray
Individual Development Plan (IDP)
Supervisor: Steve Tolley Planning Period: Apr-Dec 2008
1. Set up a regular exercise routine (at least 5 times per week).
2. Exercise at least 5 times per week for at least 45 minutes.
3. Identify triggers and situations most likely to cause me to
lose my temper.
4. Work with Steve Tolley to develop strategies to either avoid
or cope with stressful situations.
1. Identify those people or situations that cause me to lose
2. Develop listening skills through consistent practice. Work with
peers and direct reports to practice and demonstrate skills.
3. Engage in two-way dialogue on a consistent basis. End
conversations with a clear understanding of the purpose,
discussion points, and resulting action items.
1. Work with key direct reports to develop a common set of
assumptions, vision, and goals for the team.
2. Work with Steve Tolley to review and upgrade team
bench strength in light of team goals.
4. Work with Steve Tolley to develop strategies for motivating
team members or acquiring the resources needed to achieve
team goals.
5. Review progress on team goals with team members and
Steve Tolley.
3. Work with team to develop common meeting,
communication, decision-making, and accountability norms.
a) Wait my turn in conversation: work on not
interrupting conversations.
b) Take notes in meetings to capture key messages and
refer back to notes later.
c) Practice asking clarifying questions to probe issues
and gain full understanding.
Time Line
(Target Dates)
Criteria for Success
(What will successful
outcomes be?)
Action Plans – Developmental Activities & Resources
(What, Who & How)
• Control reactions in
stressful situations.
• Develop more
patience when
dealing with others.
• Improve team
building skills.
Boss does not receive any reports of
emotional outbursts from now until
Dec 2008.
Higher manager ratings on end of
year employee survey.
Higher manager ratings on end of
year employee survey.
Team assumptions, vision, and goals
submitted to Steve Tolley for approval.
Team consists of only A and B
players as reviewed with Steve Tolley.
New norms written up, sent to all
team members, and reviewed on a
regular basis with the team.
Team results.
Be viewed as approachable and
responsive by all staff – Manager,
Peers, and Associates.
Have a better understanding of key
issues, role responsibilities, and
resulting actions. As a result, achieve
better results on the job.
NLT 15 May 2008
Begin 15 May 2008
Begin 15 May 2008
30 May 2008
30 June 2008
30 July 2008
30 July 2008
NLT 30 April 2008
Begin 30 April 2008
NLT 30 April 2008
Review each week
until end of year
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 69
activities are so important to development that 70 to 80 percent of the ac-
tion steps in a development plan should be job related.
Question 5: Are leaders held accountable for changing targeted behaviors?
The last step in acquiring new skills is accountability, and there are several
ways to make this happen with a development plan. One way to build in
accountability is to have different people provide ongoing feedback on
the action steps taken to develop a skill. For example, leaders could ask
for feedback from a peer or direct report on their listening skills immedi-
ately after staff meetings. Another way to build accountability is to peri-
odically review progress on development plans with the boss. This way
the boss can look for opportunities to help the leader further practice de-
veloping skills and determine when it is time to add new development
needs to the plan.
Development planning is more than a plan—it is really a process.
Good development plans are constantly being revised as new skills are
learned or new opportunities to develop skills become available. Leaders
who take the time to write out and execute best-practice development
plans usually report the most improvement in later 360-degree feedback
ratings. Development planning provides a methodology for leaders to im-
prove their behavior, and much of this development can occur as they go
about their daily work activities.
Development plans tend to be self-focused; leaders and followers use
them as a road map for changing their own behaviors. When trying to
change the behavior of followers, however, leaders can often do more
than review followers’ development plans or provide ongoing feedback.
The next step in followers’ development often involves coaching. Coach-
ing is a key leadership skill that can help leaders improve the bench
strength of the group, which in turn should help the group to accomplish
its goals. Because of its role in development, coaching can also help to re-
tain high-quality followers. 45, 46 Because of these outcomes, coaching is a
popular topic these days, but it is also frequently misunderstood.
Coaching is the “process of equipping people with the tools, knowledge,
and opportunities they need to develop and become more successful.”47 In
general, there are two types of coaching: informal and formal. Informal
coaching takes place whenever a leader helps followers to change their be-
haviors. According to Peterson and Hicks, the best informal coaching gen-
erally consists of five steps 48 (see Table 2.1). In forging a partnership, leaders
build a trusting relationship with their followers, identify followers’ career
goals and motivators, and learn how their followers view the organization
and their situation.
The key question to be answered in this first step of coaching is “devel-
opment for what?” Where do the followers want to go with their careers?
Why do they want to go there? The answers to these questions help create
I really wanted to show
people you can win all
kinds of ways. I always
coached the way I
wanted to be coached. I
know Lovie [Smith] has
done the same thing.
For guys to have success
where it maybe goes
against the grain,
against the culture . . . I
know I probably didn’t
get a couple of jobs in
my career because peo-
ple could not see my
personality or the way I
was going to do it . . .
For your faith to be
more important than
your job, your family to
be more important than
your job . . . We all
know that’s the way it
should be, but we’re
afraid to say that some-
times. Lovie’s not afraid
to say it and I’m not
afraid to say it.
Tony Dungy,
Super Bowl
winning coach,
Indianapolis Colts
The best executive is one
who has enough sense to
pick good men to do
what he wants done,
and the self-restraint to
keep from meddling
while they do it.
Roosevelt, U.S.
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70 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
a target or end goal as well as a personal payoff for development. Never-
theless, if a leader fails to build a relationship based on mutual trust with
a follower, chances are the follower will not heed the leader’s guidance
and advice. Therefore, it is important that coaches also determine the level of
mutual trust, and then improve the relationship if necessary before target-
ing development needs or providing feedback and advice. Too many inex-
perienced coaches either fail to build trust or take the relationship for
granted, with the long-term result being little, if any, behavioral change,
and a frustrated leader and follower.
Once career goals have been identified and a solid, trusting relation-
ship has been built, leaders then need to inspire commitment. In this step,
leaders work closely with followers to gather and analyze data to deter-
mine development needs. A leader and a follower may review appraisals
of past performance, feedback from peers or former bosses, project re-
ports, 360-degree feedback reports, and any organizational standards that
pertain to the follower’s career goals. By reviewing these data, the leader
and the follower should be able to identify and prioritize those develop-
ment needs most closely aligned with career goals.
The next step in the coaching process involves growing skills. Followers
use their prioritized development needs to create development plans, and
leaders in turn develop a coaching plan that spells out precisely what
they will do to support the followers’ development plans. Leaders and
followers then review and discuss the development and coaching plans,
make necessary adjustments, and execute the plans.
Just because a plan is developed does not mean it will be executed
flawlessly. Learning often is a series of fits and starts, and sometimes
The Five Steps of
Informal Coaching
Source: D. B. Peterson and
M. D. Hicks, Leader as Coach:
Strategies for Coaching and De-
veloping Others (Minneapolis,
MN: Personnel Decisions In-
ternational, 1996).
Forge a partnership: Coaching works only if there is a trusting relationship
between the leader and his or her followers. In this step leaders also determine
what drives their followers and where they want to go with their careers.
Inspire commitment: In this step leaders help followers determine which
skills or behaviors will have the biggest payoff if developed. Usually this step
involves reviewing the results of performance appraisals, 360-degree
feedback, values, personality assessment reports, and so on.
Grow skills: Leaders work with followers to build development plans that
capitalize on on-the-job experiences and create coaching plans to support
their followers’ development.
Promote persistence: Leaders meet periodically with followers to provide
feedback, help followers keep development on their radar screens, and
provide followers with new tasks or projects to develop needed skills.
Shape the environment: Leaders need to periodically review how they are
role-modeling development and what they are doing to foster development
in the workplace. Because most people want to be successful, doing this step
well will help attract and retain followers to the work group.
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 71
followers either get distracted by operational requirements or get into
developmental ruts. In the step called promote persistence, leaders help
followers to manage the mundane, day-to-day aspects of development.
Leaders can help followers refocus on their development by capitalizing
on opportunities to give followers relevant, on-the-spot feedback. Once
the new behavior has been practiced a number of times and becomes part
of the follower’s behavioral repertoire, leaders help followers transfer the
skills to new environments by applying the skills in new settings and revis-
ing their development plans. In this step, leaders need to also ask them-
selves how they are role-modeling development and whether they are
creating an environment that fosters individual development.
Tony Dungy
Now retired from coaching, Anthony Kevin “Tony”
Dungy was the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts
in 2007 when they won the Super Bowl. Dungy
grew up in Michigan and played football for the Uni-
versity of Minnesota. Starting as a freshman at the
quarterback position, Dungy set a number of school
records for passing attempts, completions, passing
yards, and passing touchdowns. Upon graduation
Dungy played two years as a backup safety for the
Pittsburgh Steelers (when they won the 1978 Super
Bowl) and a year for the San Francisco 49ers. In his
fourth NFL year Dungy was traded and subsequently
cut from the New York Giants; he then took a job at
the University of Minnesota as an assistant coach. He
returned to the NFL as an assistant coach for the
Pittsburgh Steelers. He worked for 13 years as a
defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator for
the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Min-
nesota Vikings before taking over the head coaching
position for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995. Un-
der Dungy’s leadership the Buccaneers went to the
National Football League playoffs four times. But of-
fensive woes during the playoffs caused the Bucca-
neer management to lose faith in Dungy, and they
eventually let him go in 2001.
In early 2002 Dungy was hired as the head
coach of the Indianapolis Colts, a team with a po-
tent offense but poor defense. Dungy spent the
next five years retooling the team’s defense, and as
a result his team had one of the best winning re-
cords in the NFL for those five years. Like his Tampa
Bay team, the Colts were highly successful but reg-
ularly faltered in the playoffs until they beat the
Chicago Bears 29–17 in Super Bowl XLI.
Dungy’s coaching philosophy is quite different
than other NFL head coaches. Rather than getting
up early to review game films and leading practices
by yelling and intimidation, Dungy believes good
coaches are essentially teachers that do not belittle
or scream at players. He also believes faith and fam-
ily take priority over football, and he is active in
such charitable programs as Big Brothers/Big Sis-
ters, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Prison Minis-
try. Dungy’s religious convictions are so strong that
he once considered going into the prison ministry
instead of coaching. Not only has Dungy been able
to create a football dynasty in Indiana, he has also
extended his reach in the NFL by having four of his
assistant coaches move into head coaching posi-
tions with other NFL teams. As a matter of fact,
Lovie Smith, the head coach of the Chicago Bears
in Super Bowl XLI, was one of Dungy’s former as-
sistant coaches and subscribes to the same coach-
ing philosophy.
Do you suspect that Dungy’s and Smith’s coach-
ing philosophies are similar to those of most NFL
coaches or different from them? If you think they’re
different, do you believe other coaches might try to
emulate them based on their success?
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72 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
Several points about informal coaching are worth additional comment.
First, the five-step process identified by Peterson and Hicks can be used
by leadership practitioners to diagnose why behavioral change is not oc-
curring and what can be done about it. For example, followers may not be
developing new skills because they do not trust their leader, the skills
have not been clearly identified or are not important to them, or they do
not have a plan to acquire these skills. Second, informal coaching can and
does occur anywhere in the organization. Senior executives can use this
model to develop their staffs, peers can use it to help each other, and so
forth. Third, this process is just as effective for high-performing followers
as it is for low-performing followers. Leadership practitioners have a ten-
dency to forget to coach their solid or top followers, yet these individuals
are often making the greatest contributions to team or organizational suc-
cess. Moreover, research has shown that the top performers in a job often
produce 20–50 percent more than the average performer, depending on
the complexity of the job. 49 So if leaders would focus on moving their
solid performers into the highest-performing ranks and making their top
performers even better, chances are their teams might be substantially
more effective than if they focused only on coaching those doing most
poorly (see Figure 2.5).
Fourth, both “remote” coaching of people and coaching of individuals
from other cultures can be particularly difficult. 50, 51 It is more difficult for
leaders to build trusting relationships with followers when they are phys-
ically separated by great distances. The same may be true with followers
from other cultures—what may be important to, say, a Kenyan follower
and how this person views the world may be very different from what his
or her Dutch or Singaporean leader believes.
The kinds of behaviors that need to be developed can also vary consid-
erably by culture. For example, one senior executive for a high-tech firm
was coaching one of his Japanese direct reports on how to give better pre-
sentations to superiors. The follower’s style was formal, stiff, and some-
what wooden, and the leader wanted the follower to add some humor
and informality to his presentations. However, the follower said that by
doing so he would lose the respect of his Japanese colleagues, so his com-
mitment to this change was understandably low. What was agreed upon
was that his style was effective in Japan but that it needed to change when
he was giving presentations in the United States.
Informal coaching can help groups succeed as well as reduce turnover
among employees, but what does it take to be a good informal coach?
Research by Wenzel showed that the most effective informal coaches had
a unique combination of leadership traits and skills. Leaders with higher
levels of intelligence, dominance, and agreeableness were often more ef-
fective as coaches than those with lower scores. These leadership traits
were the foundation for the relationship building, listening, assertiveness,
and feedback skills associated with effective informal coaches. Good
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 73
informal coaches use these traits and skills to build trusting relationships
with their followers, build best-practice coaching and development plans,
and deliver tough and honest feedback when necessary. 52
Most people are familiar with the idea of a personal fitness trainer—a
person who helps design a fitness program tailored to a specific individu-
al’s needs and goals. Formal coaching programs provide a similar kind of
service for executives and managers in leadership positions. Approxi-
mately 65 percent of the Global 1,000 companies use some form of formal
coaching. 53 Formal coaching programs are individualized by their nature,
but several common features deserve mention. There is a one-on-one rela-
tionship between the manager and the coach (that is, an internal or exter-
nal consultant) that lasts from six months to more than a year. The process
usually begins with the manager’s completion of extensive tests of per-
sonality, intelligence, interests, and value; 360-degree feedback instru-
ments; and interviews by the coach of other individuals in the manager’s
world of work. As the result of the assessment phase of this process, both
the manager and the coach have a clear picture of development needs.
The coach and the manager then meet regularly (roughly monthly) to re-
view the results of the feedback instruments and work on building skills
and practicing target behaviors. Role plays and videotape are used exten-
sively during these sessions, and coaches provide immediate feedback to
clients practicing new behaviors in realistic work situations. Another
valuable outcome of coaching programs can involve clarification of
Handling organizational
Advice on handling
A new perspective—23%
Clear, direct
What Were the Most Useful Factors in the Coaching You Received?
Source: “The Business Leader as Development Coach,” PDI Portfolio, Winter 1996, p. 6.
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74 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
managers’ values, identification of discrepancies between their espoused
values and their actual behaviors, and devising strategies to better align
their behaviors with their values.
A formal coaching program can cost more than $100,000, and it is rea-
sonable to ask if this money is well spent. A solid body of research shows
that well-designed and well-executed coaching programs do in fact
change behavior if, as Highlight 2.8 points out, certain conditions are
met. 54, 55, 56, 57 Figure 2.6 shows that coaching may be more effective at
changing behavior than more traditional learning and training ap-
proaches. Moreover, the behavioral changes appear to be in place one year
after the termination of a coaching program, indicating permanent behav-
ioral change. 58 Such changes can be particularly important if the person
making them—that is, the leader being coached—is highly placed or in a
very responsible position. Most coaching candidates have hundreds,
if  not thousands, of subordinates, and usually oversee multimillion- or
multibillion-dollar budgets. Thus the money spent on a coaching program
can be relatively small in comparison to the budgets and resources the candi-
dates control and as a result turn out to have a good return on investment.
In an organization, you also can gain valuable perspectives and insights
through close association with an experienced person willing to take you
No man is so foolish but
he may sometimes give
another good counsel,
and no man so wise that
he may not easily err if
he takes no other coun-
sel than his own. He
that is taught only by
himself has a fool for a
Ben Jonson
The Power of Coaching
Source: D. B. Peterson, Individual Coaching Services: Coaching That Makes a Difference (Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions
International, 1999).
t o
Method of Learning
e-Learning Training
Long-Term Results
Before coaching After coaching One year later
Parents are the first
leadership trainers in
Bruce Avolio,
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 75
under her or his wing. Such an individual is often called a mentor, after
the character in Greek mythology whom Odysseus trusted to run his
household and see to his son’s education when Odysseus went off to fight
the Trojans. Now, 3,000 years later, Mentor’s name is used to describe the
process by which an older and more experienced person helps to socialize
and encourage younger organizational colleagues. 59
Mentoring is a personal relationship in which a more experienced
mentor (usually someone two to four levels higher in an organization)
acts as a guide, role model, and sponsor of a less experienced protégé.
Mentors provide protégés with knowledge, advice, challenge, counsel,
and support about career opportunities, organizational strategy and
Some Critical Lessons Learned from Formal Coaching
1. The person being coached must want to
change. It is difficult to get someone to change
their behavior unless they want to change.
Coaches need to ensure that coachees clearly
understand the benefits of changing their be-
havior and the consequences if they do not
change. Often it is much easier to get people to
change when coaches link the new behaviors to
coachees’ values and career goals.
2. Assessments are important. Formal assess-
ments involving personality, values, mental abili-
ties, and multirater feedback are essential to
understanding what behaviors coachees need to
change, what is driving these needed changes,
and how easy or difficult it will be to change
targeted behaviors.
3. Some behaviors cannot be changed. Some be-
haviors are so ingrained or unethical that the
best option may be termination. For example,
one of the authors was asked to coach a married
vice president who got two of his executive as-
sistants pregnant in less than a year. Given that
the coach was not an expert in birth control, the
coach turned down the engagement.
4. Practice is critical. Good coaches not only dis-
cuss what needs to change, but also make
coachees practice targeted behaviors. Often the
initial practice takes place during coaching ses-
sions, where the coach may play the role of an-
other party and give the coachee feedback and
suggestions for improvement. These practices
are then extended to work, where the coachee
must use these newly acquired behaviors in real-
world situations.
5. There is no substitute for accountability. Su-
periors must be kept in the loop about coachees’
progress and must hold them accountable for
on-the-job changes. If coaches are working with
potential derailment candidates, superiors must
be willing to let coachees go if they do not make
needed changes. Although fear and threats are
not the best way to get people to change, some
derailment candidates are in so much denial
about their problems that it is only by fear of
losing their high-status jobs that they are moti-
vated to change.
As you read through this list of coaching “best
practices,” how might you distinguish good coach-
ing from giving advice?
Sources: S. Berglas, “The Very Real Dangers of Executive
Coaching,” Harvard Business Review, June 2002, pp. 86–
93; G. J. Curphy, “What Role Should I/O Psychologists
Play in Executive Education?” in Models of Executive Edu-
cation, R. T. Hogan (chair), presentation at the 17th An-
nual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology,
Toronto, Canada, April 2002.
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76 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
policy, office politics, and so forth. Although mentoring has a strong de-
velopmental component, it is not the same as coaching. One key differ-
ence is that mentoring may not target specific development needs.
Protégés often meet with their mentors to get a different perspective on
the organization or for advice on potential committee and task force as-
signments or promotion opportunities. Another difference is that this
guidance is not coming from the protégé’s immediate supervisor, but
rather from someone several leadership levels higher in the organization.
Protégés often do receive informal coaching from their bosses but may be
more apt to seek career guidance and personal advice from their mentors.
Another difference is that the mentor may not even be part of the organi-
zation. A mentor may have retired from the organization or may have
been someone for whom the protégé worked a number of years earlier.
As in coaching, there are both formal and informal mentoring pro-
grams. Informal mentoring occurs when a protégé and mentor build a long-
term relationship based on friendship, similar interests, and mutual
respect. These relationships often begin with the protégé working in some
part of the mentor’s organization or on a high-visibility project for the
mentor. Formal mentoring programs occur when the organization assigns a
relatively inexperienced but high-potential leader to one of the top execu-
tives in the company. The protégé and mentor get together on a regular
basis so the protégé can gain exposure and learn more about how deci-
sions are made at the top of the organization. Often organizations imple-
ment formal mentoring programs to accelerate the development of female
or minority protégés. 60,61,62
Mentoring is quite prevalent in many organizations today. Researchers
reported that 74 percent of the noncommissioned officers and officers in
the U.S. Army had mentors and 67 percent of all U.S. Navy admirals had
mentors sometime in their careers. Moreover, many admirals reported
having an average of 3.5 mentors by the time they retired. 63,64,65 Other re-
searchers have reported positive relationships between mentoring, per-
sonal learning, career satisfaction, pay, promotions, and retention. 66,67,68,69,70
But some of this research also found that formal mentoring programs
were better than no mentoring programs but less effective than informal
mentoring for protégé compensation and promotion. 71,72,73 The reason for
these diminished results may be that most formal mentoring programs
have a difficult time replicating the strong emotional bonds found in
informal programs. In addition, most formal mentoring programs last
only a year, whereas many informal mentoring relationships can last a
lifetime (see Highlight 2.9).
Thomas examined the role mentoring played in the careers of minority
leaders. He reported that minority leaders at the top of their organizations
often had two key qualities. First, successful minority executives were
concerned with getting the right experiences and developing the right
foundation of leadership skills when they first joined the organization.
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 77
Their focus was more on personal growth at each leadership level than
with titles and rewards. Second, they had an extensive set of mentors and
corporate sponsors who provided guidance and support over their
careers. These mentors and sponsors helped the executives to develop the
“three Cs” critical to advancement: confidence, competence, and credibil-
ity. Thomas also stated that the most successful white mentor–minority
protégé relationships recognized that race was a potential barrier to ad-
vancement but were still able to bring up and work through touchy is-
sues. Less successful white mentor–minority protégé relationships
engaged in “protective hesitation,” in which race or sensitive issues were
avoided, ignored, or discounted. 74 Because of the benefits of informal
mentoring, leadership practitioners should look for opportunities to build
mentoring relationships with senior leaders whenever possible. However,
it is important to realize that protégés cannot make these relationships
happen by themselves. In many cases mentors seek out protégés, or men-
tors and protégés seek out each other to build relationships. But leaders
and leaders-to-be can do a couple of things to improve the odds of finding
a mentor. The first step is to do one’s current job extremely well. Mentors
are always looking for talent, and they are unlikely to take someone under
their wing who appears unmotivated or incompetent. The second step is
to look for opportunities to gain visibility and build social relationships
with potential mentors. Working on a key task force, doing presenta-
tions for the executive committee, or signing up for community activities
Overview of a Formal Mentoring Program
Menttium Corporation specializes in the develop-
ment and delivery of formal mentoring programs
for high-potential females. Most of the protégés
have 6–20 years of professional experience, are of-
ten in midlevel management roles, and are
matched with mentors from other organizations at
the vice president level or higher. The Menttium
100 program is one year long and begins with a
two-day kickoff conference. During this conference
mentors and protégés meet each other, get an
overview of the program, learn about important
leadership and business topics, and network with
other mentors and protégés. Over the course of the
year mentors and protégés get together at least
once a month, and protégés attend quarterly busi-
ness education and networking events. The Ment-
tium 100 program seems to have a very positive
impact on both mentors and protégés. For exam-
• 75 percent of protégés said the program helped
improve their leadership capabilities.
• 77 percent of protégés are more likely to stay
with their parent companies.
• 80 percent of protégés believe their companies
have benefited by their attending the program.
Although these results are promising, Menttium
is currently engaged in a more rigorous, long-term
study to assess the overall impact of its program on
both mentors and protégés.
Source: Menttium, Menttium 100: Cross-Company Men-
toring for High Potential Women (Minneapolis, MN: The
Menttium Corporation, 2006).
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78 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
sponsored by a top executive are just a few pathways one could take to
gain the attention of potential mentors.
Building Your Own Leadership Self-Image
This chapter has explored various aspects of how leadership develops,
but we must acknowledge that not everyone wants to be a leader or be-
lieves he or she can be. John Gardner has argued that many of our best
and brightest young people actually have been immunized against, and
dissuaded from, seeking leadership opportunities and responsibili-
ties. 75 Other young people, even if they want to be leaders, may not be-
lieve they have what it takes. Both groups, we believe, are selling
themselves short.
For those who merely want to avoid the responsibilities of leadership,
we encourage an openness of mind about leadership’s importance and
pervasiveness. We hope this book offers ways of thinking about leader-
ship that make it at once more immediate, more relevant, and more in-
teresting than it may have seemed before. For others, we encourage
flexibility in self-image. Do not stay out of the leadership arena based on
some self-defeating generalization such as “I am not the leader type.”
Experiment and take a few risks with different leadership roles. This
will help you appreciate new facets of yourself as well as broaden your
leadership self-image.
Summary This chapter reviewed several major points regarding how leadership can
be developed through both formal education and experience. One way to
get more out of your leadership courses and experiences is through the
application of the action–observation–reflection model. This model pro-
vides a framework for better understanding of leadership situations. In
addition, being aware of the role perception plays in leadership develop-
ment is important because it affects what you observe, how you interpret
your observations, and what actions you take as a leader. Finally, remem-
ber that both education and experience can contribute to your develop-
ment as a leader by enhancing your ability to reflect on and analyze
leadership situations. Exposure to formal leadership education programs
can help you develop multiple perspectives to analyze leadership situa-
tions, and the people you work with and the task itself can also provide
you with insights on how to be a better leader. However, what you gain
from any leadership program or experience is a function of what you
make of it. Successful leaders are those who have “an extraordinary tenac-
ity in extracting something worthwhile from their experience and in seek-
ing experiences rich in opportunities for growth.” 76 If you want to become
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 79
a better leader, you must seek challenges and try to get all you can from
any leadership situation or opportunity.
The chapter also examined several specific ways of changing behavior
and developing leadership. For most people, behavior change efforts will
be most successful if some formal system or process of behavioral change
is put into place; these systems include development planning, informal
and formal coaching programs, and mentorships. Development planning
is the process of pinpointing development needs, creating development
plans, implementing plans, and reflecting on and revising plans regularly.
Good development plans focus on one or two development needs, capi-
talize upon on-the-job experiences, and specify sources of feedback. Orga-
nizations with formal development systems are likely to realize greater
behavioral changes from more managers than organizations having no
system or only an informal one.
Leaders can create development plans for themselves, and they can
also help their followers with behavioral change through coaching or
mentoring programs. Informal coaching programs often consist of a series
of steps designed to create permanent behavioral changes in followers,
and both leaders and followers play active roles in informal coaching pro-
grams. Formal coaching typically involves a formal assessment process
and a series of one-on-one coaching sessions over a 6- to 12-month period.
These sessions target specific development needs and capitalize on prac-
tice and feedback to acquire needed skills. Mentoring programs have
many of the same objectives as coaching programs but take place between
an individual (the protégé) and a leader several levels higher in the orga-
nization (the mentor).
Key Terms action–observation–
reflection model, 47
spiral of
experience, 47
perceptual set, 49
attribution, 51
attribution error, 51
bias, 51
difference, 51
prophecy, 53
training programs, 64
plan, 67
planning, 69
coaching, 69
coaching, 69
coaching plan, 71
formal coaching, 73
mentor, 75
mentoring, 75
learning, 55
learning, 56
service learning, 60
feedback, 61
case studies, 61
role playing, 61
simulations, 61
games, 61
exercises, 63
action learning, 64
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80 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
1. Not all effective leaders seem to be reflective by nature. How do you
reconcile that with the concept of the spiral of experience and its role in
leadership development?
2. Explain how you can use knowledge about each of the following to
enrich the benefits of your own present leadership experiences:
a. The action–observation–reflection model.
b. The people you interact and work with.
c. The activities you’re involved in.
3. Using the role of teacher as a specific instance of leadership, discuss
how a teacher’s perceptual set, expectations of students, and attribu-
tions may affect student motivation and performance. Do you think
some teachers could become more effective by becoming more aware of
these processes? Would that be true for leaders in general?
4. If you were to design the perfect leadership development experience
for yourself, how would you do so and what would it include? How
would you know whether it was effective?
5. Do you think people have a need for growth and development?
6. One important aspect of learning from experience is observing the con-
sequences of one’s actions. Sometimes, however, the most significant
consequences of a leader’s actions do not occur for several years (for
example, the ultimate impact of certain personnel decisions or a strate-
gic decision to change a product line). Is there any way individuals can
learn from the consequences of those actions in a way to modify their
behavior? If consequences are so delayed, is there a danger they might
draw the wrong lessons from their experiences?
7. What would a development plan for student leaders look like? How
could you capitalize on school experiences as part of a development plan?
8. What would a leadership coaching or mentoring program for students
look like? How could you tell whether the program worked?
Activities 1. Divide yourselves into groups, and in each group contrast what attri-
butions you might make about the leadership style of two different in-
dividuals. All you know about them is the following:
Person A Person B
Favorite TV Show 60 Minutes Survivor
Car Ford Mustang Volkswagen Beetle
Favorite Sport American football Mountain biking
Political Leaning Conservative Republican Liberal Democrat
Favorite Music Country and western New age
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 81
2. Read the development planning material in Chapter 11 of this book.
Complete a GAPS analysis and create a development plan for yourself.
Share your development plan with someone else in your class. Check
with your partner in two to four weeks to review progress on your plans.
Developing Leaders at UPS
UPS is the nation’s fourth-largest employer with 357,000 employees
worldwide and operations in more than 200 countries. UPS is consistently
recognized as one of the “top companies to work for” and was recently
recognized by Fortune as one of the 50 best companies for minorities. A
major reason for UPS’s success is the company’s commitment to its em-
ployees. UPS understands the importance of providing both education
and experience for its next generation of leaders—spending $300 million
annually on education programs for employees and encouraging promo-
tion from within. All employees are offered equal opportunities to build
the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. A perfect example of this
is Jovita Carranza.
Jovita Carranza joined UPS in 1976 as a part-time clerk in Los Angeles.
Carranza demonstrated a strong work ethic and a commitment to UPS,
and UPS rewarded her with opportunities—opportunities Carranza was
not shy about taking advantage of. By 1985 Carranza was the workforce
planning manager in metropolitan Los Angeles. By 1987 she was district
human resources manager based in Central Texas. By 1990 she had ac-
cepted a move to district human resources manager in Illinois. She re-
ceived her first operations assignment, as division manager for hub,
package, and feeder operations, in Illinois in 1991. Two years later, she
said yes to becoming district operations manager in Miami. In 1996 she
accepted the same role in Wisconsin. By 1999 Carranza’s progressive suc-
cesses led UPS to promote her to president of the Americas Region. From
there she moved into her current position as vice president of UPS Air
Operations, based in Louisville, Kentucky.
The $1.1 billion air hub she currently oversees sprawls across the equiv-
alent of more than 80 football fields. It can handle 304,000 packages an
hour, its computers process nearly 1 million transactions per minute, and
it serves as the lynchpin for the $33 billion business that has become the
world’s largest package delivery company.
Carranza attributes much of her success to her eagerness to take on
new challenges: “The one error that people make early on in their careers
is that they’re very selective about opportunities so they avoid some, pre-
fer others,” she says. “I always accepted all opportunities that presented
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82 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
themselves because from each one you can learn something, and they
serve as a platform for future endeavors.”
It has also been important, she says, to surround herself with capable,
skilled employees who are loyal to the company and committed to results.
After nearly 30 years with UPS, Carranza says teamwork, interaction, and
staff development are the achievements of which she is proudest: “Be-
cause that takes focus, determination, and sincerity to perpetuate the UPS
culture and enhance it through people.”
Carranza’s corporate achievements, determination, drive, innovation,
and leadership in business have earned her the distinction of being
named Hispanic Business Magazine’ s Woman of the Year. She credits her
parents, both of Mexican descent, with teaching her “the importance of
being committed, of working hard, and doing so with a positive
outlook”—principles she says continue to guide her personal and pro-
fessional life. These principles mirror those of the company whose corpo-
rate ladder she has climbed nonstop, an organization she says values
diversity and encourages quality, integrity, commitment, fairness, loyalty,
and social responsibility.
Among Carranza’s words of wisdom: “Sit back and listen and ob-
serve,” she says. “You learn more by not speaking. Intelligent people learn
from their own experiences; with wisdom, you learn from other people’s
mistakes. I’m very methodical about that.”
1. What are the major skills Jovita Carranza has demonstrated in her ca-
reer at UPS that have made her a successful leader?
2. Consider the spiral of experience that Jovita Carranza has traveled.
How has her experience affected her ability as a leader?
3. Take a look at the characteristics of successful leaders in Highlight 2.1.
How many of these are demonstrated by Jovita Carranza?
End Notes 1. D.V. Day, “Leadership Development: A Review in Context,” Leadership Quar-
terly 11, no. 4 (2000), pp. 581–613.
2. P. Bernthal and R. Wellins, “Trends in Leader Development and Succession,”
Human Resource Planning 29, no. 2 (2006), pp. 31–40.
3. M. McCall, “Recasting Leadership Development,” Industrial and Organizational
Psychology 3 (2010), pp. 3–19.
4. M. W. McCall Jr., M. M. Lombardo, and A. M. Morrison, The Lessons of Experi-
ence: How Successful Executives Develop on the Job (Lexington, MA: Lexington
Books, 1988), p. 122.
5. D. Kolb, Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Develop-
ment (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1983).
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 83
6 C. Powell, with Joe Pirsico, My American Journey (New York: Random House,
1995), p. 109.
7. Ibid.
8. J. Reasonand K. Mycielska, Absent-Minded? The Psychology of Mental Lapses and
Everyday Errors (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1982), p. 183.
9. L. Ross, “The Intuitive Psychologist and His Shortcomings: Distortions in the
Attribution Process,” in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 10, ed.
L. Berkowitz (New York: Academic Press, 1977), pp. 173–220.
10. D. T. Millerand M. Ross, “Self-Serving Biases in the Attribution of Causality:
Fact or Fiction?” Psychological Bulletin 82 (1975), pp. 213–25.
11. E. E. Jones and R. E. Nisbett, “The Actor and the Observer: Divergent Percep-
tions of the Causes of Behavior,” in Attribution: Perceiving the Causes of Behavior,
eds. E. E. Jones, D. E. Kanouse, H. H. Kelley, R. E. Nisbett, S. Valins, and B.
Weiner (Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press, 1972).
12. S. G. Green and T. R. Mitchell, “Attributional Processes of Leaders in Leader–
Member Interactions,” Organizational Behavior and Human Performances 23
(1979), pp. 429–58.
13. T. R. Mitchell, S. G. Green, and R. E. Wood, “An Attributional Model of Lead-
ership and the Poor Performing Subordinate: Development and Validation,”
in Research in Organizational Behavior, eds. B. M. Staw and L. L. Cummings
(Greenwich, CN: JAI, 1981), pp. 197–234.
14. T. R. Mitchelland R. E. Wood, “Supervisorsí Responses to Subordinate Poor
Performance: A Test of an Attributional Model,” Organizational Behavior and
Human Performance 25 (1980), pp. 123–38.
15. E. E. Jones, “Interpreting Interpersonal Behavior: The Effects of Expectancies,”
Science 234, no. 3 (October 1986), pp. 41–46.
16. D. Eden and A. B. Shani, “Pygmalion Goes to Boot Camp: Expectancy, Leader-
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18. C. Argyris, Increasing Leadership Effectiveness (New York: John Wiley, 1976).
19. K. A. Bunkerand A. Webb, Learning How to Learn from Experience: Impact of
Stress and Coping, Report No. 154 (Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Lead-
ership, 1992).
20. I. L. Janis, Stress and Frustration (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971).
21. R. J. Grey and G. G. Gordon, “Risk-Taking Managers: Who Gets the Top Jobs?”
Management Review 67 (1978), pp. 8–13.
22. D. C. Hambrick, “Environment, Strategy and Power within Top Management
Teams,” Administrative Science Quarterly 26 (1981), pp. 253–75.
23. G. Jennings, The Mobile Manager (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971).
24. E. Schein, Career Dynamics: Matching Individual and Organizational Needs (Read-
ing, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978).
25. M. Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (New York:
Harper & Row, 1990), p. 142.
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84 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
26. R. T. Hogan and R. Warrenfelz, “Educating the Modern Manager,” Academy of
Management Learning and Education 2, no. 1 (2003), pp. 74–84.
27. R. E. Riggio, “Leadership Development: The Current State and Future Expec-
tations,” Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research 60, no. 4 (2008), pp.
28. R. E. Riggio, J. B. Ciulla, and G. J. Sorenson, “Leadership Education at the Un-
dergraduate Level: A Liberal Arts Approach to Leadership Development,” in
S. E. Murphy and R. E. Riggio (eds.), The Future of Leadership Development, pp.
223–36 (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates).
29. Riggio, Ciulla, and Sorenson, “Leadership Education at the Undergraduate
30. Riggio, Ciulla, and Sorenson, “Leadership Education at the Undergraduate
31. J. Conger, “Can We Really Train Leadership?” Strategy, Management, Competi-
tion, Winter 1996, pp. 52–65.
32. M. Nevins and S. Stumpf, “21st-Century Leadership: Redefining Management
Education,” Strategy, Management, Competition, 3rd quarter 1999, pp. 41–51.
33. G. Hernez-Broomeand R. L. Hughes, “Leadership Development: Past, Present
and Future,” Human Resource Planning 27, no. 1 (2004), pp. 24–32.
34. J.A. Conger and G. Toegel. “Action Learning and Multirater Feedback: Path-
ways to Leadership Development?” in S.E. Murphy and R.E. Riggio (eds.), The
Future of Leadership Development, pp. 107–125 (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
35. W. R. Miller, and S. Rollnick, Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People to
Change Addictive Behavior (New York: Guilford Press, 1991).
36. J. Polivy and C. P. Herman, “If at First You Donít Succeed: False Hopes of Self-
Change,” American Psychologist 57, no. 9 (2002), pp. 677–89.
37. M. D. Peterson and M. D. Hicks, Development FIRST: Strategies for Self-
Development (Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions International, 1995).
38. J. F. Hazucha, S. A. Hezlett, and R. J. Schneider, “The Impact of 360-Degree
Feedback on Management Skills Development,” Human Resource Management
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39. C. D. McCauley, M. N. Ruderman, P. J. Ohlott, and J. E. Morrow, “Assessing
the Developmental Components of Managerial Jobs,” Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 79, no. 4 (1994), pp. 544–60.
40. D. B. Peterson, and M. D. Hicks, Leader as Coach: Strategies for Coaching and
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41. K. Behar, D. Arvidson, W. Omilusik, B. Ellsworth, and B. Morrow, Developing
Husky Oil Leaders: A Strategic Investment (Calgary, Canada: Husky Energy,
42. D. B. Peterson, The Science and Art of Self-Development. Paper presented at the
Arabian States Human Resource Management Society Annual Conference,
Bahrain, October 2001.
43. G. J. Curphy, “Good Leadership is Hard to Find,” JobDig, August 21–28, 2006,
pp. 23–24.
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Chapter 2 Leader Development 85
44. W. Arthur, Jr., W. Bennett, Jr., P. S. Edens, and S. T. Bell. “Effectiveness of Train-
ing in Organizations: A Meta-analysis of Design and Evaluation Features.”
Journal of Applied Psychology 88 (2) (2003), pp. 234–45.
45. L. H. Wenzel, “Understanding Managerial Coaching: The Role of Manager
Attributes and Skills in Effective Coaching.” Unpublished doctoral disserta-
tion, Colorado State University, 2000.
46. K. M. Wasylyshyn, B. Gronsky, and J. W. Hass, “Tigers, Stripes, and Behavior
Change: Survey Results of a Commissioned Coaching Program,” Consulting
Psychology Journal 58, no. 2 (2006), pp. 65–81.
47. D.B. Peterson and M.D. Hicks. Leader as Coach: Strategies for Coaching and Devel-
oping Others. Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions, International, 1996.
48. Ibid.
49. J. E. Hunter, F. L. Schmidt, and M. K. Judiesch, “Individual Differences in Out-
put Variability as a Function of Job Complexity,” Journal of Applied Psychology
74 (1990), pp. 28–42.
50. G. J. Curphy, The Accelerated Coaching Program Training Manual (North Oaks,
MN: Curphy Consulting Corporation, 2003).
51. D. B. Peterson and M. D. Hicks, Professional Coaching: State of the Art, State of the
Practice (Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions International, 1998).
52. L. H. Wenzel, “Understanding Managerial Coaching: The Role of Manager
Attributes and Skills in Effective Coaching.” Unpublished doctoral disserta-
tion, Colorado State University, 2000.
53. D. B. Peterson and M. D. Hicks, Professional Coaching: State of the Art, State of the
Practice (Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions International, 1998).
54. K. M. Wasylyshyn, B. Gronsky, and J. W. Hass, “Tigers, Stripes, and Behavior
Change: Survey Results of a Commissioned Coaching Program,” Consulting
Psychology Journal 58, no. 2 (2006), pp. 65–81.
55. W.J.G. Evers, A. Brouwers, and W. Tomic. “A Quasi-Experimental Study on
Management Coaching Effectiveness.” Consulting Psychology Journal 58 no.3
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But You Could Be Really Good.” Consulting Psychology Journal 57 no.1 (2005),
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57. S.V. Bowles and J.J. Picano. “Dimensions of Coaching Related to Productivity
and Quality of Life.” Consulting Psychology Journal 58 no.4 (2006), pp. 232–239.
58. Peterson, Individual Coaching Services.
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emy of Management Executive 4 (1990), pp. 88–93.
60. Ragins, B. R., J. L. Cotton, and J. S. Miller. “Marginal Mentoring: The Effects of
Types of Mentor, Quality of Relationship, and Program Design of Work and
Career Attitudes.” Academy of Management Journal 43, no. 6 (2000), pp. 1177–94.
61. Thomas, D. A. “The Truth about Mentoring Minorities: Race Matters.” Harvard
Business Review, April 2001, pp. 98–111.
62. Menttium. Menttium 100: Cross-Company Mentoring for High Potential Women.
Minneapolis, MN: The Menttium Corporation, 2007.
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86 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
63. A. G. Steinberg and D. M. Foley, “Mentoring in the Army: From Buzzword to
Practice,” Military Psychology 11, no. 4 (1999), pp. 365–80.
64. R. Lall, “Mentoring Experiences of Retired Navy Admirals,” paper presented
at Personnel Decisions International, Denver, CO, May 6, 1999.
65. S. C. De Janasz, S. E. Sullivan, and V. Whiting, “Mentor Networks and Career
Success: Lessons for Turbulent Times,” Academy of Management Executive 17,
no. 3 (2003), pp. 78–88.
66. Menttium. Menttium 100: Cross-Company Mentoring for High Potential Women.
Minneapolis, MN: The Menttium Corporation, 2007.
67. T.D. Allen, L. T. Eby, M. L. Poteet, E. Lentz, and L. Lima. “Career Benefits As-
sociated with Mentoring for Protégés: A Meta-analysis.” Journal of Applied Psy-
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ing Program Characteristics and Perceived Program Effectiveness.” Personnel
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70. Abrahams, M. “Making Mentoring Pay.” Harvard Business Review, June 2006,
p. 21.
71. B.R. Ragins, J. L. Cotton, and J. S. Miller. “Marginal Mentoring: The Effects of
Types of Mentor, Quality of Relationship, and Program Design of Work and
Career Attitudes.” Academy of Management Journal 43, no. 6 (2000), pp. 1177–94.
72. T.D Allen, L.T. Eby and E. Lentz. “Mentorship Behaviors and Mentorship
Quality Associated with Formal Mentoring Programs: Closing the Gap be-
tween Research and Practice.” Journal of Applied Psychology 91 (3) (2006),
pp. 567–78.
73. T.D Allen, L.T. Eby and E. Lentz . “The Relationship between Formal Mentor-
ing Program Characteristics and Perceived Program Effectiveness.” Personnel
Psychology 59 (2006), pp. 125–53.
74. D.A. Thomas. “The Truth about Mentoring Minorities: Race Matters.” Harvard
Business Review, April 2001, pp. 98–111.
75. J. W. Gardner, “The Antileadership Vaccine,” essay in the Carnegie Corpora-
tion of New York annual report, 1965.
76. M. W. McCallJr., M. M. Lombardo, and A. M. Morrison, The Lessons of Experi-
ence: How Successful Executives Develop on the Job (Lexington, MA: Lexington
Books, 1988).
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Chapter 3
Skills for Developing
Yourself as a Leader
One reason any person can improve his or her leadership effectiveness is
that part of leadership involves skills, and skills can be practiced and de-
veloped. A further advantage of looking at leadership skills is that most
people are less defensive about deficits in skills (which can be improved)
than about suggested deficits in, say, personality. We will present a chap-
ter about leadership skills following each of the four parts of the book,
looking at skills that seem particularly relevant to various facets of our
interactional framework. And because these skills chapters are quite dif-
ferent in purpose than the other chapters in the text, their format will be
correspondingly different. Specifically, there will not be all the same clos-
ing sections found in the other chapters.
Not surprisingly, this first segment deals with some of the most funda-
mental, immediate, and yet in other ways most enduring challenges you
will face as a leader. Key among these challenges is continuing to learn as
a leader what you need to know now to be successful, and how to keep
learning and developing throughout your life and career. The skills in this
chapter will help in that effort. By the way, it might be useful to say more
here about development planning, the last skill addressed in this chapter.
Generally speaking, development planning would be considered an ad-
vanced leadership skill because it typically involves a leader developing
her or his subordinates or followers. It’s included with other skills in this
introductory section so that you might think how to apply some of the
ideas about development planning to yourself .
Here are the leadership skills we’ll cover in this chapter:
• Your First 90 Days as a Leader
• Learning from Experience
• Building Technical Competence
• Building Effective Relationships with Superiors
• Building Effective Relationships with Peers
• Development Planning
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88 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
Your First 90 Days as a Leader
People often find moving into a new leadership position to be a highly
stressful work experience. Often these promotions involve relocations,
working for new organizations and bosses, leading new teams, and being
responsible for products or services that may be outside their immediate
areas of expertise. Whether the move is from individual contributor to
first-line supervisor or into senior executive positions, the stresses and
strains of the first 90 days are both real and acute. Although the first three
months give leaders unique opportunities to make smooth transitions,
paint compelling pictures of the future, and drive organizational change,
far too many new leaders stumble during this critical time period. This is
unfortunate—these early activities often are instrumental to a leader’s fu-
ture success or failure. Many of these early mistakes are avoidable, and
what follows is a roadmap for helping people make successful transitions
into new leadership positions. It is important to note that the onboarding
roadmap developed by Roellig and Curphy 1 is focused on external hires—
those outside an organization who have been brought in to leadership
positions. (See Figure 3.1.) Some of the steps in the onboarding roadmap
can be ignored or need to be modified for individuals who have been
promoted from within.
Before You Start: Do Your Homework
In all likelihood people wanting to move into a leadership role with an-
other organization have already done a considerable amount of prepara-
tion for the interview process. Candidates should have read as much as
-30 0 90
The Third
Team off-site:
Ops rhythm.
The First Two
and staffing.
Get feedback.
Before You
Prehire data
The First
Meet your boss.
Meet your
entire team.
The First Two
Meet team
Meet peers.
Meet stars.
Other meetings.
New Leader Onboarding Roadmap
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 89
they can about the organization by reviewing its Web site, annual reports,
press releases, and marketing literature. They should also use Facebook,
LinkedIn, Plaxo, and other social networking sites to set up informational
interviews with people inside the organization. These informational inter-
views will help candidates learn more about the organization’s history
and culture and provide additional insight about the vacant position.
Sometime during the interview process candidates should also seek an-
swers to the following five questions:
• Why is the organization looking for an outside hire for the position?
• What can make the function or team to be led more effective?
• What is currently working in the function or team to be led?
• What is currently not working in the function or team to be led?
• What about the function or team is keeping interviewers awake at night?
Once candidates have landed new positions, they should seek addi-
tional information about their new jobs as well as set up some of the ac-
tivities that need to take place during their first two weeks at work. New
hires should check with their bosses to see if they can get copies of the re-
sults or metrics pertaining to the group to be led, any presentations prede-
cessors made about the group or department, budget information, contact
information for their direct reports, and so forth. They should also ask
their new bosses what they need to do to set up access cards and e-mail,
office, and cell phone accounts, as being able to get into the facility and
having functional computers and phones at the start. Prior to arrival, a
new hire should also set up one-hour meetings with the boss and with the
entire team on the first day and follow-up two- to three-hour one-on-one
meetings with each team member during the first two weeks on the job.
The First Day: You Get Only One Chance
to Make a First Impression
New leaders have two critical tasks the first day on the job: to meet their
new boss and their new team. The first meeting should happen in the
boss’s office and be about an hour long. Here are some key topics to discuss
in this meeting:
• Identifying the team’s key objectives, metrics, and important projects.
• Understanding the boss’s view of team strengths and weaknesses.
• Working through meeting schedules and communication styles. (How,
when, and on what does the boss want to be kept informed?)
• Sharing plans for the day and the next several weeks.
New hires should end the discussion by arranging a follow-up meeting
with their bosses to review progress and to ask whether weekly or
monthly one-on-one meetings would be helpful.
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90 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
New leaders should also meet with their entire teams the first day on
the job. Depending on the size of the team, this meeting could be held
in a small conference room or it could be in a large auditorium with
Webcasts or conference calls to remote sites. It usually takes new lead-
ers about an hour to share their backgrounds, the attributes and values
they feel are important to success, expectations for themselves and em-
ployees, work habits and preferred ways of interacting, family and rec-
reational activities, and what they plan on doing over the next few
weeks. After sharing this information new leaders should ask team
members whether they have any questions but should not expect many
takers. Because team members do not know new leaders well, these ini-
tial meetings tend to have more one-way communication than interac-
tive dialogue.
The First Two Weeks: Lay the Foundation
New leaders should spend the first two weeks meeting with many people
both inside and outside the team. The key objectives for these meetings
are to (1) learn as much as possible, (2) develop relationships, and (3) de-
termine future allies. New leaders need to be particularly mindful about
what they say or write in these meetings because they have no idea in
whom they can confide. They also need to be aware of the fact that some
of the people they are meeting with, for whatever reason, are not happy
about their arrival and may not want them to succeed.
During the first two weeks new leaders will want to have one-on-one
meetings with key team members. If the team has fewer than 15 people,
new leaders should meet individually with everyone on the team; if the
team is larger, new leaders should meet one-on-one with direct reports
during the first two weeks and have small group or individual meetings
with everyone else on the team sometime during the first 90 days. The
one-on-one meetings usually last from two to three hours, and some of the
critical questions to ask include these:
• What is the team member working on? New leaders should ask about ma-
jor projects and where people are spending their time because this will
help identify the critical issues facing the team.
• What are the team member’s objectives? This is an important question that
needs to be asked after the previous question. Often team members
spend their time and energy working on projects that are completely
unrelated to their work objectives, and new leaders need to understand
what these gaps are and why they are occurring.
• Who are the “stars” a level or two down in the organization? This question
may be omitted if new leaders are in charge of groups consisting of
fewer than 15 people. But if groups are significantly larger, it is impor-
tant for new leaders to know who their top performers are. In all likeli-
hood direct reports will name many of the same people as stars, and
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 91
these high-performing individuals can play critical roles during the
first 90 days of a new leader’s tenure.
• What are the people issues on the team? This can be a difficult question to
ask—new leaders don’t want team members to think they are asking
them to disparage others. However, it is important for new leaders to
find out who is displaying inappropriate behavior or is difficult to
work with. Once properly identified, new team leaders will need to ad-
dress these people issues within the first 60 days in order to make clear
who is in charge and to show what type of behavior will and will not
be tolerated on the team.
• What can the team do better? Team members’ answers to this question
can help new leaders develop ideas for improving team performance.
These answers also indicate whether team members are capable of
thinking about, accepting, and driving change.
• What advice do team members have for the new leader, and what can the new
leader do to help team members? New team leaders should close their
meetings with these two questions and pay particular attention to what
they can do to help their direct reports be successful. New leaders
should avoid making any immediate promises but commit to closing
the loop on those requests they will or will not fulfill sometime during
the next two months.
Although new leaders should start building rapport during these one-
on-one meetings, they should minimize their personal interactions with
direct reports during their first two months on the job. Business lunches
and team get-togethers are fine, but meeting with families and spouses
during the first 60 days can make later structure and staffing decisions
more difficult. New leaders need to make personnel decisions with team
performance, not personal friendships, in mind.
During the first two weeks on the job new leaders should also schedule
one-on-one meetings with all their peers. These meetings should last
about an hour and take place in peers’ offices; this will give new leaders
opportunities to build rapport by observing office décor, diplomas, family
pictures, awards, and so on. New leaders should discuss the following is-
sues with peers:
• Their peers’ objectives, challenges, team structure, and the like.
• Their perspectives on what the new leader’s team does well and could
do better.
• Their perspectives on the new leader’s team members.
• How to best communicate with the boss.
• How issues get raised and decisions made on their boss’s team.
New leaders should make it clear that they want and appreciate their
peers’ help. Scheduling regular meetings with their peers will build
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92 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
relationships and help new leaders stay ahead of potential conflicts or
work issues. Unlike more personal meetings with direct reports, it is
perfectly acceptable to socialize with peers and their families during
the first 60 days. And because the boss will likely ask peers how the
new leader is doing, meeting with peers on a regular basis becomes
even more important.
If the team being led is fairly large, new leaders should also meet with
their stars during the first two weeks on the job. Stars will be full of ideas
for improving team performance, and these individuals are likely candi-
dates for direct report positions should the new leader decide to change
the structure of the team. If chosen for promotion, stars are likely to be
loyal and well respected by others because they were widely recognized
as being among the top performers on the team.
During the first two weeks new leaders should also try to meet with
individuals who were once part of the team but have taken positions in
other parts of the organization. These individuals can offer unique in-
sights into the history of the team and team members, and this source of
information should not be overlooked. The two other pieces of informa-
tion new leaders should gather during the first two weeks are what the
organization sees as the critical roles on the team and if there were any
internal candidates for the team leader position. This information can be
gathered from the boss, peers, former team members, the human re-
sources representative, or the like. New leaders need this information to
ensure they have the best talent filling key roles and to see if anyone on
the team may be hoping they fail.
The First Two Months: Strategy, Structure, and Staffing
After their initial round of meetings with the boss, peers, and direct re-
ports, new leaders need to spend the next six weeks gathering more in-
formation, determining the direction, and finalizing the appropriate
structure and staffing for the team. Some of the tasks to be performed
during this time include gathering benchmarking information from other
organizations, meeting with key external customers and suppliers, and if
appropriate, meeting with the former team leader. This additional infor-
mation, when combined with the information gleaned from bosses, peers,
direct reports, and stars, should help new team leaders determine the
proper direction for their teams. This direction, or vision, may be more or
less the same as what is already in place, or it may represent a significant
change in direction. In either case, new leaders need to be able to articu-
late where the team has been and where it needs to go over the next one
to three years, what it needs to accomplish, what changes will be needed
to make this happen, and their expectations for team members. Depend-
ing on the new leader’s vision, some of these changes may involve chang-
ing the team’s structure and membership. In making these changes, new
leaders need to remember that team strategy (vision and goals) should
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 93
drive team structure, which in turn should drive team staffing decisions.
Leaders who alter the strategy–structure–staffing sequence risk building
dysfunctional, underperforming teams.
Although the first 90 days on the job provide a unique window for
driving change, new leaders need to “socialize” their strategy, structure,
and staffing ideas with their boss and peers before making any personnel
decisions. Gathering input and working through potential disruptions
with these two groups before moving ahead should improve buy-in and
support for any change decisions. Once the proposed changes have been
agreed to, new leaders need to have one-on-one meetings with all team
members affected by any strategy, structure, and staffing decisions. Dur-
ing these meetings new leaders need to describe their vision and ratio-
nale for the changes and clarify roles and expectations for affected team
Although gathering additional information, developing the team’s vi-
sion, and socializing key changes with affected parties take a considerable
amount of time, new leaders must remember to stay focused on team per-
formance. Team leaders may have less leeway to make needed changes if
team performance drops precipitously during their first 60 days because
dealing with day-to-day team issues will take up so much time that there
will be little time left to drive change. Although it will be hard to obtain,
new leaders should also seek feedback from others during their first two
months with the organization. Possible sources for feedback include peers
and recruiters. Recruiters have vested interests in seeing their placed can-
didates succeed and often tap their contacts within organizations to give
new leaders feedback.
The Third Month: Communicate and Drive Change
At this point in a new leader’s tenure he or she has developed a vision of
the future and can articulate how the team will win; identified the what,
why, and how of any needed changes; and defined a clear set of expecta-
tions for team members. The two major events for the third month are
meeting with the entire team and meeting off-site with direct reports (if
the team is large). The purpose of the first team meeting is for the new
leader to share what he or she learned from whom during the information
gathering process, his or her vision of the future, the new team structure
and staffing model, his or her expectations for team members, and the
rationale for any team changes. New leaders need to tie their changes to
the attributes and values they shared during their first day on the job.
Change is not about a new leader’s PowerPoint presentation or the post-
ers put up, but instead involves the tangible actions taken. And the ac-
tions team members pay the most attention to are the hiring, firing,
promotion, restructuring, and staffing decisions made by new team lead-
ers. One of the fastest ways to change the culture and norms of a team is
to change the people in it.
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94 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
If the group being led is large, the new leaders will want to have a
separate second meeting with direct reports. This meeting may be from
one to two days long and should be held off-site to minimize interrup-
tions. The key issues to work through off-site include these:
• Get agreement on the critical attributes and values of team members. Al-
though new leaders will have clear ideas about the values and attri-
butes they are looking for in team members, they cannot be sure direct
reports have fully bought into this set of attributes. New leaders should
set aside time during the off-site meeting to finalize and clearly define
the positive and negative behaviors for all the attributes and values
they want to see in team members.
• Create a team scorecard. The new leader will paint a vision and some
overall objectives for the future, but the direct report team needs to for-
mulate a set of concrete, specific goals with timelines and benchmarks
for measuring success.
• Establish an operating rhythm. Once the direction and goals have been
clarified, the team will need to work on its meeting cadence and rules
of engagement. The new leader and the direct report team need to de-
termine how often they will meet, when they will meet, the purpose
and content of the meetings, meeting roles and rules (sending substi-
tutes to meetings, showing up to meetings on time, taking calls during
meetings, and the like). This new meeting schedule should be pub-
lished in a one-year calendar and sent to everyone in the group.
• Establish task forces to work on key change initiatives. In all likelihood a
number of issues will need to be addressed by the team. Some of these
issues can be discussed and resolved during the off-site meeting,
whereas task forces might be a better venue for resolving other issues.
The task forces should be staffed by stars, which will both improve the
odds that good recommendations are made and allow the new leader
to see the stars in action.
After finalizing team structure and staffing, creating a team scorecard,
and establishing a new operating rhythm, new leaders should be well on
the way to success. As stated at the beginning of this section, the first
90 days give new leaders a unique opportunity to put in place many of the
components needed to drive long-term change in their teams. Thus they
need to use this time wisely.
Learning from Experience
Leadership practitioners can enhance the learning value of their experi-
ences by (1) creating opportunities to get feedback; (2) taking a 10 percent
stretch; (3 learning from others; (4) keeping a journal of daily leadership
events; and (5) having a developmental plan.
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 95
Creating Opportunities to Get Feedback
It may be difficult for leaders to get relevant feedback, particularly if they
occupy powerful positions in an organization. Yet leaders often need feed-
back more than subordinates do. Leaders may not learn much from their
leadership experiences if they get no feedback about how they are doing.
Therefore, they may need to create opportunities to get feedback, espe-
cially from those working for them.
Leaders should not assume they have invited feedback merely by say-
ing they have an open-door policy. A mistake some bosses make is pre-
suming that others perceive them as open to discussing things just because
they say they are open to such discussion. How truly open a door might
be is in the eye of the beholder. In that sense, the key to constructive dia-
logue (that is, feedback) is not just expressing a policy but also being per-
ceived as approachable and sincere in the offer.
Some of the most helpful information for developing your own leader-
ship can come from asking for feedback from others about their percep-
tions of your behavior and its impact on your group’s overall effectiveness.
Leaders who take psychological tests and use periodic surveys or ques-
tionnaires will have greater access to feedback than leaders who fail to
systematically solicit feedback from their followers. Unless leaders ask for
feedback, they may not get it.
Taking a 10 Percent Stretch
Learning always involves stretching. Learning involves taking risks and
reaching beyond one’s comfort zone. This is true of a toddler’s first un-
steady steps, a student’s first serious confrontation with divergent worlds
of thought, and leadership development. The phrase 10 percent stretch con-
veys the idea of voluntary but determined efforts to improve leadership
skills. It is analogous to physical exercise, though in this context stretching
implies extending one’s behavior, not muscles, just a bit beyond the com-
fort zone. Examples could include making a point of conversing infor-
mally with everyone in the office at least once each day, seeking an
opportunity to be chair of a committee, or being quieter than usual at
meetings (or more assertive, as the case may be). There is much to be
gained from a commitment to such ongoing “exercise” for personal and
leadership development.
Several positive outcomes are associated with leaders who regularly
practice the 10 percent stretch. First, their apprehension about doing
something new or different gradually decreases. Second, leaders will
broaden their repertoire of leadership skills. Third, because of this in-
creased repertoire, their effectiveness will likely increase. And finally,
leaders regularly taking a 10 percent stretch will model something valu-
able to others. Few things send a better message to others about the im-
portance of their own development than the example of how sincerely a
leader takes his or her own development.
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96 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
One final aspect of the 10 percent stretch is worth mentioning. One rea-
son the phrase is so appealing is that it sounds like a measurable yet man-
ageable change. Many people will not offer serious objection to trying a
10 percent change in some behavior, whereas they might well be resistant
(and unsuccessful) if they construe a developmental goal as requiring fun-
damental change in their personality or interpersonal style. Despite its
nonthreatening connotation, though, an actual 10 percent change in be-
havior can make an enormous difference in effectiveness. In many kinds
of endeavor the difference between average performers and exceptional
performers is 10 percent. In baseball, for example, many players hit .275,
but only the best hit over .300—a difference of about 10 percent.
Learning from Others
Leaders learn from others, first of all, by recognizing that they can learn
from others and, importantly, from any others. That may seem self-evident,
but in fact people often limit what and whom they pay attention to, and
thus what they may learn from. For example, athletes may pay a lot of at-
tention to how coaches handle leadership situations. However, they may
fail to realize they could also learn a lot by watching the director of the
school play and the band conductor. Leaders should not limit their learn-
ing by narrowly defining the sorts of people they pay attention to.
Similarly, leaders also can learn by asking questions and paying atten-
tion to everyday situations. An especially important time to ask questions
is when leaders are new to a group or activity and have some responsibil-
ity for it. When possible, leaders should talk to the person who previously
had the position to benefit from his or her insights, experience, and assess-
ment of the situation. In addition, observant leaders can extract meaning-
ful leadership lessons from everyday situations. Something as plain and
ordinary as a high school car wash or the activities at a fast-food restau-
rant may offer an interesting leadership lesson. Leaders can learn a lot by
actively observing how others react to and handle different challenges
and situations, even common ones.
Keeping a Journal
Another way leaders can mine experiences for their richness and preserve
their learning is by keeping a journal. 2 Journals are similar to diaries, but
they are not just accounts of a day’s events. A journal should include entries
that address some aspect of leaders or leadership. Journal entries may in-
clude comments about insightful or interesting quotes, anecdotes, newspa-
per articles, or even humorous cartoons about leadership. They may also
include reflections on personal events, such as interactions with bosses,
coaches, teachers, students, employees, players, teammates, roommates,
and so on. Such entries can emphasize a good (or bad) way somebody han-
dled something, a problem in the making, the differences between people in
their reactions to situations, or people in the news, a book, or a film. Leaders
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 97
should also use their journals to “think on paper” about leadership read-
ings from textbooks or formal leadership programs or to describe examples
from their own experience of a concept presented in a reading.
There are at least three good reasons for keeping a journal. First, the
process of writing increases the likelihood that leaders will be able to look
at an event from a different perspective or feel differently about it. Putting
an experience into words can be a step toward taking a more objective
look at it. Second, leaders can (and should) reread earlier entries. Earlier
entries provide an interesting and valuable autobiography of a leader’s
evolving thinking about leadership and about particular events in his or
her life. Third, journal entries provide a repository of ideas that leaders
may later want to use more formally for papers, pep talks, or speeches. As
shown in Highlight 3.1, good journal entries give leaders a wealth of ex-
amples that they may use in speeches, presentations, and so on.
Having a Developmental Plan
Leadership development almost certainly occurs in ways and on paths
that are not completely anticipated or controlled. That is no reason, how-
Sample Journal Entries
I went skiing this weekend and saw the perfect ex-
ample of a leader adapting her leadership style to
her followers and situation. While putting on my
skis, I saw a ski instructor teaching little kids to ski.
She did it using the game “red light, green light.”
The kids loved it and seemed to be doing very well.
Later that same day, as I was going to the lodge for
lunch, she was teaching adults, and she did more
demonstrating than talking. But when she talked
she was always sure to encourage them so they did
not feel intimidated when some little kid whizzed
by. She would say to the adults that it’s easier for
children, or that smaller skis are easier. She made
the children laugh and learn, and made the adults
less self-conscious to help them learn too. . . .
Today may not exactly be a topic on leadership,
but I thought it would be interesting to discuss. I at-
tended the football game this afternoon and could
not help but notice our cheerleaders. I was just
thinking of their name in general, and found them
to be a good example (of leadership). Everyone gets
rowdy at a football game, but without the direction
of the cheerleaders there would be mayhem. They
do a good job of getting the crowd organized and
the adrenaline pumping (though of course the game
is most important in that too!). It’s just amazing to
see them generate so much interest that all of the
crowd gets into the cheering. We even chant their
stupid-sounding cheers! You might not know any of
them personally, but their enthusiasm invites you to
try to be even louder than them. I must give the
cheerleaders a round of applause. . . .
I’ve been thinking about how I used to view/
understand leadership, trying to find out how my
present attitudes were developed. It’s hard to re-
member past freshman year, even harder to go past
high school. Overall, I think my father has been the
single most important influence on my leadership
development—long before I even realized it. Dad is a
strong “Type A” person. He drives himself hard and
demands a great deal from everyone around him, es-
pecially his family and especially his only son and old-
est child. He was always pushing me to study,
practice whatever sport I was involved in at the time,
get ahead of everybody else in every way possible.
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98 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
ever, for leaders to avoid actively directing some aspects of their own de-
velopment. A systematic plan outlining self-improvement goals and
strategies will help leaders take advantage of opportunities they other-
wise might overlook. This important skill is addressed in greater detail in
the last part of this chapter.
A leader’s first step in exercising control over his or her personal devel-
opment is to identify some actual goals. But what if a leader is uncertain
about what he or she needs to improve? As described earlier, leaders
should systematically collect information from a number of different
sources. One place a leader can get information about where to improve is
through a review of current job performance, if that is applicable. Ideally,
leaders will have had feedback sessions with their own superiors, which
should help them identify areas of relative strength and weakness. Lead-
ers should treat this feedback as a helpful perspective on their develop-
mental needs. Leaders also should look at their interactions with peers as
a source of ideas about what they might work on. Leaders should espe-
cially take notice if the same kind of problem comes up in their interac-
tions with different individuals in separate situations. Leaders need to
look at their own role in such instances as objectively as they can; there
might be clues about what behavioral changes might facilitate better
working relationships with others. Still another way to identify develop-
mental objectives is to look ahead to what new skills are needed to func-
tion effectively at a higher level in the organization, or in a different role
than the leader now has. Finally, leaders can use formal psychological
tests and questionnaires to determine what their relative strengths and
weaknesses as a leader may be.
On a concluding note, there is one activity leaders should put in their
developmental plans whatever else might be included in them: a program
of personal reading to broaden their perspectives on leadership. This
reading can include the classics as well as contemporary fiction, biogra-
phies and autobiographies of successful leaders, essays about ethics and
social responsibility, and assorted self-improvement books on various
leadership and management issues. A vital part of leadership develop-
ment is intellectual stimulation and reflection, and an active reading pro-
gram is indispensable to that. Leaders might even want to join (or form) a
discussion group that regularly meets to exchange ideas about a book
everyone has read.
Building Technical Competence
Technical competence concerns the knowledge and repertoire of behav-
iors one can bring to bear to successfully complete a task. For example, a
skilled surgeon possesses vast knowledge of human anatomy and surgi-
cal techniques and can perform an extensive set of highly practiced surgi-
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 99
cal procedures; a skilled volleyball player has a thorough understanding
of the rules, tactics, and strategies of volleyball and can set, block, and
serve effectively. Individuals usually acquire technical competence
through formal education or training in specialized topics (such as law,
medicine, accounting, welding, or carpentry), on-the-job training, or expe-
rience, 3 and many studies have documented the importance of technical
competence to a person’s success and effectiveness as both a leader and a
follower. This section describes why technical competence is important to
followers and leaders; it also provides ideas about how to increase read-
ers’ own technical competence.
There are many reasons why followers need to have a high level of tech-
nical competence. First, performance is often a function of technical compe-
tence. 4, 5 Relatedly, research has shown that technical expertise plays a key
role in supervisors’ performance appraisal ratings of subordinates. 6 , 7 Sec-
ond, followers with high levels of technical competence have a lot of expert
power and at times can wield more influence in their groups than the leader
does. 8 , 9 Third, individuals with high levels of technical competence may be
more likely to be a member of a leader’s in-group 10 and are more likely to
be delegated tasks and asked to participate in decisions. Conversely, super-
visors are more likely to use a close, directive leadership style when inter-
acting with subordinates with poor technical skills. 11- 14 Similarly, Blau 15
noted that organizations with relatively high numbers of technically com-
petent members tended to have a flatter organizational structure; organiza-
tions with relatively fewer qualified members tended to be more centralized
and autocratic. Thus, if followers wish to earn greater rewards, exert more
influence in their groups, and have greater say in decisions, they should do
all they can to enhance their technical competence.
There are also many reasons why it benefits leaders to have high levels
of technical competence. First, technical competence has been found to be
consistently related to managerial promotion rates. Managers having
higher levels of technical competence were much more likely to rise to the
top managerial levels at AT&T than managers with lower levels of techni-
cal competence. 16 , 17 Second, having a high level of technical competence is
important because many leaders, particularly first-line supervisors, often
spend considerable time training followers. 18 Perhaps nowhere is the im-
portance of technical competence in training more readily apparent than in
sports coaching; little is as frustrating as having a coach who knows less
about the game than the team members. Third, leaders with high levels of
technical competence seem to be able to reduce the level of role ambiguity
and conflict in their groups, 19 , 20 and followers are generally more satisfied
with leaders who have high rather than average levels of technical compe-
tence. 21 , 22 Finally, leaders who have a high level of technical competence
may be able to stimulate followers to think about problems and issues in
new ways, which in turn has been found to be strongly related to organiza-
tional climate ratings and followers’ motivation to succeed. 23 , 24 Given these
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100 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
findings for both leaders and followers, we next discuss some practical
advice for improving technical competence.
Determining How the Job Contributes
to the Overall Mission
The first step in building technical competence is to determine how one’s
job contributes to the overall success of the organization. By taking this step,
individuals can better determine what technical knowledge and which be-
haviors are most strongly related to job and organizational success. Next,
people should evaluate their current level of technical skills by seeking
verbal feedback from peers and superiors, reviewing past performance
appraisal results, or reviewing objective performance data (such as test
scores, team statistics, or the number of products rejected for poor quality).
These actions will help individuals get a better handle on their own strengths
and weaknesses, and in turn can help people be certain that any formal edu-
cation or training program they pursue is best suited to meet their needs.
Becoming an Expert in the Job
Becoming an expert in one’s primary field is often the springboard for
further developmental opportunities. There are a number of ways in
which individuals can become experts in their field, and these include
enrolling in formal education and training programs, watching others,
asking questions, and teaching others. Attending pertinent education and
training courses is one way to acquire technical skills, and many compa-
nies often pay the tuition and fees associated with these courses. Another
way to increase expertise in one’s field is by being a keen observer of hu-
man behavior. Individuals can learn a lot by observing how others handle
work coordination problems, achieve production goals, discipline team
members, or help team members with poor skills develop. However,
merely observing how others do things is not nearly as effective as ob-
serving and reflecting about how others do things. One method of reflec-
tion is trying to explain others’ behaviors in terms of the concepts or
theories described in this book. Observers should look for concepts that
cast light on both variations and regularities in how others act and think
about why a person might have acted a certain way. Additionally, observ-
ers can develop by trying to think of as many different criteria as possible
for evaluating another person’s actions.
It is also important to ask questions. Because everyone makes infer-
ences regarding the motives, expectations, values, or rationale underlying
another person’s actions, it is vital to ask questions and seek information
likely to verify the accuracy of one’s inferences. By asking questions, ob-
servers can better understand why team practices are conducted in a par-
ticular way, what work procedures have been implemented in the past, or
what really caused someone to quit a volunteer organization. Finally,
perhaps nothing can help a person become a technical expert more than
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 101
having to teach someone else about the equipment, procedures, strategies,
problems, resources, and contacts associated with a job, club, sport, or ac-
tivity. Teachers must thoroughly understand a job or position to effec-
tively teach someone else. By seeking opportunities to teach others,
individuals enhance their own technical expertise as well as that of others.
Seeking Opportunities to Broaden Experiences
Individuals can improve their technical competence by seeking opportu-
nities to broaden their experiences. Just as a person should try to play a
variety of positions to better appreciate the contributions of other team
members, so should a person try to perform the tasks associated with the
other positions in his or her work group to better appreciate how the work
contributes to organizational success. Similarly, people should visit other
parts of the organization to understand its whole operation. Moreover, by
working on team projects, people get to interact with members of other
work units and often can develop new skills. Additionally, volunteering
to support school, political, or community activities is another way to in-
crease one’s organization and planning, public speaking, fund-raising,
and public relations skills, all of which may be important aspects of tech-
nical competence for certain jobs.
Building Effective Relationships with Superiors
As defined here, superiors are individuals with relatively more power and
authority than the other members of the group. Thus superiors could be
teachers, band directors, coaches, team captains, heads of committees, or
first-line supervisors. Needless to say, there are a number of advantages to
having a good working relationship with superiors. First, superiors and fol-
lowers sharing the same values, approaches, and attitudes will experience
less conflict, provide higher levels of mutual support, and be more satisfied
with superior–follower relationships than superiors and followers having
poor working relationships. 25 , 26 Relatedly, individuals having good superior–
follower relationships are often in the superior’s in-group and thus are
more likely to have a say in decisions, be delegated interesting tasks, and
have the superior’s support for career advancement. 27 Second, followers are
often less satisfied with their supervisors and receive lower performance
appraisal ratings when superior–follower relationships are poor. 28 , 29
Although the advantages of having a good working relationship with
superiors seem clear, one might mistakenly think that followers have lit-
tle, if any, say in the quality of the relationship. In other words, followers
might believe their relationships with superiors are a matter of luck: either
the follower has a good superior or a bad one, or the superior just happens
to like or dislike the follower, and there is little the follower can do about
it. However, the quality of a working relationship is not determined solely
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102 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
by the superior, and effective subordinates do not limit themselves to a
passive stance toward superiors. Effective subordinates have learned how
to take active steps to strengthen the relationship and enhance the support
they provide their superior and the organization. 30 , 31
Wherever a person is positioned in an organization, an important aspect
of that person’s work is to help his superior be successful, just as an impor-
tant part of the superior’s work is to help followers be successful. This
does not mean followers should become apple polishers, play politics, or
distort information to make superiors look good. However, followers
should think of their own and their superior’s success as interdependent.
Followers are players on their superior’s team and should be evaluated on
the basis of the team’s success, not just their own. If the team succeeds,
both the coach and the team members should benefit; if the team fails, the
blame should fall on both the coach and the team members. Because team,
club, or organizational outcomes depend to some extent on good superior–
follower relationships, understanding how superiors view the world and
adapting to superiors’ styles are two things followers can do to increase the
likelihood their actions will have positive results for themselves, their su-
periors, and their organizations. 32
Understanding the Superior’s World
Followers can do a number of things to better understand their superior’s
world. First, they should try to get a handle on their superior’s personal
and organizational objectives. Loyalty and support are a two-way street,
and just as a superior can help subordinates attain their personal goals
most readily by knowing what they are, so can subordinates support their
superior if they understand the superior’s goals and objectives. Knowing
a superior’s values, preferences, and personality can help followers un-
derstand why superiors act as they do and can show followers how they
might strengthen relationships with superiors.
Second, followers need to realize that superiors are not supermen or
superwomen; superiors do not have all the answers, and they have both
strengths and weaknesses. Subordinates can make a great contribution to
the overall success of a team by recognizing and complementing a superior’s
weaknesses and understanding his or her constraints and limitations. For
example, a highly successful management consultant might spend over
200 days a year conducting executive development workshops, providing
organizational feedback to clients, or giving speeches at various public
events. This same consultant, however, might not be skilled in designing
and making effective visual aids for presentations, or she might dislike
having to make her own travel and accommodation arrangements. A fol-
lower could make both the consultant and the consulting firm more suc-
cessful through his own good organization and planning, attention to
detail, computer graphics skills, and understanding that the consultant is
most effective when she has at least a one-day break between engagements.
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 103
A similar process can take place in other contexts, such as when subordi-
nates help orient and educate a newly assigned superior whose expertise
and prior experience may have been in a different field or activity.
In an even more general sense, subordinates can enhance superior–
follower relationships by keeping superiors informed about various activi-
ties in the work group or new developments or opportunities in the field.
Few superiors like surprises, and any news should come from the person
with responsibility for a particular area—especially if the news is potentially
bad or concerns unfavorable developments. Followers wishing to develop
good superior–follower relationships should never put their superior in the
embarrassing situation of having someone else know more about her terrain
than she does (her own boss, for instance). As Kelley 33 maintained, the best
followers think critically and play an active role in their organizations, which
means followers should keep their superiors informed about critical infor-
mation and pertinent opinions concerning organizational issues.
Adapting to the Superior’s Style
Research has shown that some executives fail to get promoted (that is, are
derailed) because they are unable or unwilling to adapt to superiors with
leadership styles different from their own. 34 Followers need to keep in
mind that it is their responsibility to adapt to their superior’s style, not
vice versa. For example, followers might prefer to interact with superiors
face-to-face, but if their superior appreciates written memos, then written
memos it should be. Similarly, a follower might be accustomed to infor-
mal interactions with superiors, but a new superior might prefer a more
businesslike and formal style. Followers need to be flexible in adapting to
their superiors’ decision-making styles, problem-solving strategies,
modes of communication, styles of interaction, and so on.
One way followers can better adapt to a superior’s style is to clarify
expectations about their role on the team, committee, or work group.
Young workers often do not appreciate the difference between a job de-
scription and one’s role in a job. A job description is a formalized state-
ment of tasks and activities; a role describes the personal signature an
incumbent gives to a job. For example, the job description of a high school
athletic coach might specify such responsibilities as selecting and training
a team or making decisions about lineups. Two different coaches, how-
ever, might accomplish those basic responsibilities in quite different ways.
One might emphasize player development in the broadest sense, getting
to know her players personally and using sports as a vehicle for their in-
dividual growth; another might see his role as simply to produce the most
winning team possible. Therefore, just because followers know what their
job is does not mean their role is clear.
Although some superiors take the initiative to explicitly spell out the
roles they expect subordinates to play, most do not. Usually it is the sub-
ordinate’s task to discern his or her role. One way followers can do this is
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104 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
to make a list of major responsibilities and use it to guide a discussion
with the superior about different ways the tasks might be accomplished
and the relative priorities of the tasks. Followers will also find it helpful to
talk to others who have worked with a particular superior.
Finally, followers interested in developing effective relationships with
superiors need to be honest and dependable. Whatever other qualities or
talents a subordinate might have, a lack of integrity is a fatal flaw. No
one—superior, peer, or subordinate—wants to work with someone who is
untrustworthy. After integrity, superiors value dependability. Superiors
value workers who have reliable work habits, accomplish assigned tasks
at the right time in the right order, and do what they promise. 35
Building Effective Relationships with Peers
The phrase influence without authority 36 captures a key element of the work
life of increasing numbers of individuals. More and more people are find-
ing that their jobs require them to influence others despite having no for-
mal authority over them. No man is an island, it is said, and perhaps no
worker in today’s organizations can survive alone. Virtually everyone
needs a co-worker’s assistance or resources at one time or another. Along
these lines, some researchers have maintained that a fundamental require-
ment of leadership effectiveness is the ability to build strong alliances
with others, and groups of peers generally wield more influence (and can
get more things done) than individuals working separately. 37 Similarly,
investing the time and effort to develop effective relationships with peers
not only has immediate dividends but also can have long-term benefits if
a peer ends up in a position of power in the future. Many times leaders
are selected from among the members of a group, committee, club, or
team; and having previously spent time developing a friendly rather than
an antagonistic relationship with other work group members, leaders will
lay the groundwork for building effective relationships with superiors
and becoming a member of superiors’ in-groups. Given the benefits of
strong relationships with peers, the following are a few ideas about how
to establish and maintain good peer relationships.
Recognizing Common Interests and Goals
Although Chapters 4 through 8 describe a variety of ways people vary,
one of the best ways to establish effective working relationships with
peers is to acknowledge shared interests, values, goals, and expectations. 38
In order to acknowledge shared aspirations and interests, however, one
must know what peers’ goals, values, and interests actually are. Establish-
ing informal communication links is one of the best ways to discover com-
mon interests and values. To do so, one needs to be open and honest in
communicating one’s own needs, values, and goals, as well as being
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 105
willing to acknowledge others’ needs, aspirations, and interests. Little can
destroy a relationship with peers more quickly than a person who is
overly willing to share his own problems and beliefs but unwilling to lis-
ten to others’ ideas about the same issues. Moreover, although some peo-
ple believe that participating in social gatherings, parties, committee
meetings, lunches, company sport teams, or community activities can be a
waste of time, peers with considerable referent power often see such ac-
tivities as opportunities to establish and improve relationships with oth-
ers. Thus an effective way to establish relationships with other members
of a team, committee, or organization is to meet with them in contexts
outside normal working relationships.
Understanding Peers’ Tasks, Problems, and Rewards
Few things reinforce respect between co-workers better than understand-
ing the nature of each other’s work. Building a cooperative relationship
with others depends, therefore, on knowing the sorts of tasks others per-
form in the organization. It also depends on understanding their prob-
lems and rewards. With the former, one of the best ways to establish
strong relationships is by lending a hand whenever peers face personal or
organizational problems. With the latter, it is especially important to re-
member that people tend to repeat behaviors that are rewarded and are
less likely to repeat behaviors that go unrewarded. A person’s counterpro-
ductive or negative behaviors may be due less to his personal characteris-
tics (“He is just uncooperative”) than to the way his rewards are
structured. For example, a teacher may be less likely to share successful
classroom exercises with others if teachers are awarded merit pay on the
basis of classroom effectiveness. To secure cooperation from others, it
helps to know which situational factors reinforce both positive and nega-
tive behaviors in others. 39 By better understanding the situation facing
others, people can determine whether their own positive feedback (or lack
thereof) is contributing to, or hindering the establishment of, effective re-
lationships with peers. People should not underestimate the power of
their own sincere encouragement, thanks, and compliments in positively
influencing the behavior of their colleagues.
Practicing a Theory Y Attitude
Another way to build effective working relationships with peers is to
view them from a Theory Y perspective (see Chapter 5 for more about
Theory Y and a contrasting approach called Theory X). When a person as-
sumes that others are competent, trustworthy, willing to cooperate if they
can, and proud of their work, peers will view that person in the same
light. Even if one practices a Theory Y attitude, however, it may still be
difficult to get along with a few co-workers. In such cases it is easy to be-
come preoccupied with the qualities one dislikes. This should be resisted
as much as possible. A vicious cycle can develop in which people become
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106 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
enemies, putting more and more energy into criticizing each other or
making the other person look bad than into doing constructive work on
the task at hand. The costs of severely strained relationships can extend
beyond the individuals involved. Cliques can develop among other co-
workers, which can impair the larger group’s effectiveness. The point here
is not to overlook interpersonal problems, but rather to not let the prob-
lems get out of hand.
Practicing Theory Y does not mean looking at the world through rose-
colored glasses, but it does mean recognizing someone else’s strengths as
well as weaknesses. Nevertheless, sometimes peers will be assigned to
work on a task together when they don’t get along with each other, and
the advice “Practice a Theory Y attitude” may seem too idealistic. At such
times it is important to decide whether to focus energy first on improving
the relationship (before addressing the task) or to focus it solely on the
task (essentially ignoring the problem in the relationship).
Cohen and Bradford 40 have suggested several guidelines for resolving
this problem. It is best to work on the task if there is little animosity be-
tween the parties, if success can be achieved despite existing animosities,
if group norms inhibit openness, if success on the task will improve the
feelings between the parties, if the other person handles directness poorly,
or if you handle directness poorly. Conversely, it is best to work on the
relationship if there is great animosity between the parties, if negative
feelings make task success unlikely, if group norms favor openness, if feel-
ings between the parties are not likely to improve even with success on
the task, if the other person handles directness well, and if you handle di-
rectness well.
Development Planning
Development planning is the systematic process of building knowledge
and experience or changing behavior. Two people who have done a con-
siderable amount of cutting-edge research in the development planning
process are Peterson and Hicks. 41- 43 These two researchers believe devel-
opment planning consists of five interrelated phases. The first phase of
development planning is identifying development needs. Here leaders
identify career goals, assess their abilities in light of career goals, seek
feedback about how their behaviors are affecting others, and review the
organizational standards pertaining to their career goals. Once this infor-
mation has been gathered, the second phase consists of analyzing these
data to identify and prioritize development needs. The prioritized devel-
opment needs in turn are used to create a focused and achievable devel-
opment plan, the third phase of this process. The fourth phase in
development planning is periodically reviewing the plan, reflecting on
learning, and modifying or updating the plan as appropriate. As you
Change before you have
Jack Welch,
former General
Electric CEO  
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 107
might expect, the action–observation–reflection (AOR) model, described
in Chapter 2, is a key component during this phase of the development
planning process. The last phase in development planning is transferring
learning to new environments. Just because a leader can successfully del-
egate activities to a three-person team may not mean he will effectively
delegate tasks or use his staff efficiently when he is leading 25 people. In
that case the leader will need to build and expand on the delegation skills
he learned when leading a smaller team. These five phases are well
grounded in research—several studies have shown that approximately
75  percent of the leadership practitioners adopting these phases were
successful in either changing their behaviors permanently or developing
new skills. Because these five phases are so important to the development
planning process, the remainder of this section will describe each phase in
more detail. 44 – 46
Conducting a GAPS Analysis
The first phase in the development planning process is to conduct a GAPS
(goals, abilities, perceptions, standards) analysis. A GAPS analysis helps
leadership practitioners to gather and categorize all pertinent develop-
ment planning information. A sample GAPS analysis for an engineer
working in a manufacturing company can be found in Figure 3.2. This
individual wants to get promoted to a first-line supervisor position within
the next year, and all of the information pertinent to this promotion can be
found in her GAPS analysis. The specific steps for conducting a GAPS
analysis are as follows:
• Step 1: Goals. The first step in a GAPS analysis is to clearly identify what
you want to do or where you want to go with your career over the next
year or so. This does not necessarily mean moving up or getting pro-
moted to the next level. An alternative career objective might be to mas-
ter one’s current job—you may have just gotten promoted, and
advancing to the next level is not important at the moment. Other career
objectives might include taking on more responsibilities in your current
position, taking a lateral assignment in another part of the company, tak-
ing an overseas assignment, or even cutting back on job responsibilities
to gain more work–life balance. This last career objective may be appro-
priate for leaders who are starting a family or taking care of loved ones
who are suffering from poor health. The two most important aspects of
this step in the GAPS analysis are that leadership practitioners will have
a lot more energy to work on development needs that are aligned with
career goals, and in many cases advancing to the next level may not be a
viable or particularly energizing career goal. This latter point may be es-
pecially true in organizations that have been recently downsized. Man-
agement positions often bear the brunt of downsizing initiatives,
resulting in fewer available positions for those wishing to advance.
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108 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
• Step 2: Abilities. People bring a number of strengths and development
needs to their career goals. Over the years you may have developed
specialized knowledge or a number of skills that have helped you suc-
ceed in your current and previous jobs. Similarly, you may also have
received feedback over the years that there are certain skills you need
to develop or behaviors you need to change. Good leaders know
themselves—over the years they know which strengths they need to
leverage and which skills they need to develop.
Where do you want to go?
What can you do now?
What does your boss or the
organization expect?
How do others see you?
Step 1: Career objectives:
Career strategies:
Step 2: What strengths do you have for
your career objectives?
Step 3: What development needs will
you have to overcome?
Step 5: Expectations: Step 4: 360-degree and performance review
results, and feedback from others:
• Boss
• Peers
• Direct reports
A Sample GAPS Analysis
Sources: D. B. Peterson and M. D. Hicks, Leader as Coach (Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions International, 1996);
G. J. Curphy, Career and Development Planning Workshop: Planning for Individual Development (Minneapolis MN:
Personnel Decisions International, 1998).
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 109
• Step 3: Perceptions. The perceptions component of the GAPS model con-
cerns how your abilities, skills, and behaviors affect others. What are
others saying about your various attributes? What are their reactions to
both your strengths and your development needs? A great way of ob-
taining this information is by asking others for feedback or through
performance reviews or 360-degree feedback instruments.
• Step 4: Standards. The last step in a GAPS analysis concerns the stan-
dards your boss or the organization has for your career objectives. For
example, your boss may say you need to develop better public speak-
ing, delegation, or coaching skills before you can get promoted. Simi-
larly, the organization may have policies stating that people in certain
overseas positions must be proficient in the country’s native language,
or it may have educational or experience requirements for various jobs.
When completing a GAPS analysis you may discover that you do not
have all the information you need. If you do not, then you need to get it
before you complete the next step of the development planning process.
Only you can decide on your career objectives; but you can solicit advice
from others on whether these objectives are realistic given your abilities,
the perceptions of others, and organizational standards. You may find that
your one-year objectives are unrealistic given your development needs,
organizational standards, or job opportunities. In this case, you may need
to either reassess your career goals or consider taking a number of smaller
career steps that will ultimately help you achieve your career goal. If you
are lacking information about the other quadrants, you can ask your boss
or others whose opinions you value about your abilities, perceptions, or
organizational standards. Getting as much up-to-date and pertinent infor-
mation for your GAPS analysis will help ensure that your development
plan is focusing on high-priority objectives.
Identifying and Prioritizing Development Needs:
Gaps of GAPS
As shown in Figure 3.3, the goals and standards quadrants are future ori-
ented; these quadrants ask where you want to go and what your boss or
your organization expects of people in these positions. The abilities and
perceptions quadrants are focused on the present: what strengths and de-
velopment needs do you currently have, and how are these attributes af-
fecting others? Given what you currently have and where you want to go,
what are the gaps in your GAPS? In other words, after looking at all the
information in your GAPS analysis, what are your biggest development
needs, and how should these development needs be prioritized? You need
to review the information from the GAPS model, look for underlying
themes and patterns, and determine what behaviors, knowledge, experi-
ences, or skills will be the most important to change or develop if you are
to accomplish your career goals.
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110 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
Bridging the Gaps: Building a Development Plan
A gaps-of-the-GAPS analysis helps leadership practitioners identify high-
priority development needs, but it does not spell out what leaders need to
do to meet these needs. A good development plan is like a road map: it
clearly describes the final destination, lays out the steps or interim check-
points, builds in regular feedback to keep people on track, identifies where
additional resources are needed, and builds in reflection time so people
can periodically review progress and determine whether an alternative
route is needed. (See Figure 2.4 on page 68 for a sample development
A Gaps-of-the-
GAPS Analysis
Sources: D. B. Peterson and
M. D. Hicks, Leader as Coach
(Minneapolis, MN:
Personnel Decisions
International, 1996); G. J.
Curphy, The Leadership
Development Process Manual
(Minneapolis, MN:
Personnel Decisions
International, 1998).
Where you want to go
Where you are now
Standards Perceptions
Developmental Objectives
Current position:

Next proposed position:

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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 111
plan.) The specific steps for creating a high-impact development plan are
as follows:
• Step 1: career and development objectives. Your career objective comes di-
rectly from the goals quadrant of the GAPS analysis; it is where you
want to be or what you want to be doing in your career a year or so in
the future. The development objective comes from your gaps-of-the-
GAPS analysis; it should be a high-priority development need pertain-
ing to your career objective. People should be working on no more than
two to three development needs at any one time.
• Step 2: criteria for success. What would it look like if you developed a
particular skill, acquired technical expertise, or changed the behavior
outlined in your development objective? This can be a difficult step in
development planning, particularly with “softer” skills such as listen-
ing, managing conflict, or building relationships with others.
• Step 3: action steps. The focus in the development plan should be on
the specific, on-the-job action steps leadership practitioners will take
to meet their development need. However, sometimes it is difficult
for leaders to think of appropriate on-the-job action steps. Three ex-
cellent resources that provide on-the-job action steps for a variety of
development needs are two books, The Successful Manager’s Hand-
book 47 and For Your Improvement, 48 and the development planning and
coaching software DevelopMentor . 49 These three resources can be lik-
ened to restaurant menus in that they provide leadership practitio-
ners with a wide variety of action steps to work on just about any
development need.
• Step 4: whom to involve and reassess dates. This step in a development
plan involves feedback—whom do you need to get it from, and how
often do you need to get it? This step in the development plan is impor-
tant because it helps keep you on track. Are your efforts being noticed?
Do people see any improvement? Are there things you need to do dif-
ferently? Do you need to refocus your efforts?
• Step 5: stretch assignments. When people reflect on when they have
learned the most, they often talk about situations where they felt they
were in over their heads. These situations stretched their knowledge
and skills and often are seen as extremely beneficial to learning. If you
know of a potential assignment, such as a task force, a project manage-
ment team, or a rotational assignment, that would emphasize the
knowledge and skills you need to develop and accelerate your learn-
ing, you should include it in your development plan.
• Step 6: resources. Often people find it useful to read a book, attend a
course, or watch a recorded program to gain foundational knowledge
about a particular development need. These methods generally de-
scribe the how-to steps for a particular skill or behavior.
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112 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
• Step 7: reflect with a partner. In accordance with the action–observation–
reflection model of Chapter 2, people should periodically review their
learning and progress with a partner. The identity of the partner is not
particularly important as long as you trust his or her opinion and the
partner is familiar with your work situation and development plan.
Reflecting on Learning: Modifying Development Plans
Just as the development plan is a road map, this phase of development
planning helps leaders to see whether the final destination is still the right
one, if an alternative route might be better, and whether there is need for
more resources or equipment. Reflecting on your learning with a partner
is also a form of public commitment, and people who make public com-
mitments are much more likely to fulfill them. All things considered, in
most cases it is probably best to periodically review your progress with
your boss. Your boss should not be left in the dark with respect to your
development, and periodically reviewing progress with your boss will
help ensure there are no surprises at your performance appraisal.
Transferring Learning to New Environments
The last phase in development planning concerns ongoing development.
Your development plan should be a “live” document: it should be changed,
modified, or updated as you learn from your experiences, receive feed-
back, acquire new skills, and meet targeted development needs. There are
basically three ways to transfer learning to new environments. The first
way is to constantly update your development plan. Another way to en-
hance your learning is to practice your newly acquired skills in a new envi-
ronment. A final way to hone and refine your skills is to coach others in the
development of your newly acquired skills. Moving from the student role
to that of a master is an excellent way to reinforce your learning.
1. M. Roellig and G. J. Curphy, How to Hit the Ground Running: A Guide to Successful
Executive On-Boarding (Springfield, MA: Author, 2010).
2. M. Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (New York:
Harper & Row, 1990).
3. G. Yukl, Leadership in Organizations, 2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
Hall, 1989).
4. G. J. Curphy, “Leadership Transitions and Succession Planning,” in Developing
and Implementing Succession Planning Programs, ed. J. Locke (chair). Sympo-
sium conducted at the 19th Annual Conference for the Society of Industrial
and Organizational Psychology, Chicago, April 2004.
5. F. L. Schmidt and J. E. Hunter, “Development of a Causal Model of Job Perfor-
mance,” Current Directions in Psychological Science 1, no. 3 (1992), pp. 89–92.
End Notes
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6. W. C. Borman, L. A. White, E. D. Pulakos, and S. A. Oppler, “Models Evaluat-
ing the Effects of Rated Ability, Knowledge, Proficiency, Temperament,
Awards, and Problem Behavior on Supervisor Ratings,” Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 76 (1991), pp. 863–72.
7. J. Hogan, “The View from Below,” in The Future of Leadership Selection, ed.
R. T. Hogan (chair). Symposium conducted at the 13th Biennial Psychology
in the Department of Defense Conference, United States Air Force Academy,
Colorado Springs, CO, 1992.
8. D. E. Bugental, “A Study of Attempted and Successful Social Influence in
Small Groups as a Function of Goal-Relevant Skills,” Dissertation Abstracts 25
(1964), p. 660.
9. G. F. Farris, “Colleagues’ Roles and Innovation in Scientific Teams,” Working
Paper No. 552-71 (Cambridge, MA: Alfred P. Sloan School of Management,
MIT, 1971).
10. D. Duchon, S. G. Green, and T. D. Taber, “Vertical Dyad Linkage: A Longitudi-
nal Assessment of Antecedents, Measures, and Consequences,” Journal of Ap-
plied Psychology 71 (1986), pp. 56–60.
11. H. D. Dewhirst, V. Metts, and R. T. Ladd, “Exploring the Delegation Decision:
Managerial Responses to Multiple Contingencies,” Paper presented at the
Academy of Management Convention, New Orleans, LA, 1987.  
12. C. R. Leana, “Power Relinquishment vs. Power Sharing: Theoretical Clarifica-
tion and Empirical Comparison of Delegation and Participation,” Journal of
Applied Psychology 72 (1987), pp. 228–33.
13. A. Lowin and J. R. Craig, “The Influence of Level of Performance on Manage-
rial Style: An Experimental Object-Lesson in the Ambiguity of Correlational
Data,” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance 3 (1968), pp. 68–106.
14. B. Rosen and T. H. Jerdee, “Influence of Subordinate Characteristics on Trust
and Use of Participative Decision Strategies in a Management Simulation,”
Journal of Applied Psychology 59 (1977), pp. 9–14.
15. P. M. Blau, “The Hierarchy of Authority in Organizations,” American Journal of
Sociology 73 (1968), pp. 453–67.
16. A. Howard, “College Experiences and Managerial Performance,” Journal of
Applied Psychology 71 (1986), pp. 530–52.
17. A. Howard and D. W. Bray, “Predictors of Managerial Success over Long Peri-
ods of Time,” in Measures of Leadership, ed. M. B. Clark and K. E. Clark (West
Orange, NJ: Leadership Library of America, 1989).
18. K. N. Wexley and G. P. Latham, Developing and Training Human Resources in
Organizations (Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman, 1981).
19. P. M. Podsakoff, W. D. Todor, and R. S. Schuler, “Leadership Expertise as a
Moderator of the Effects of Instrumental and Supportive Leader Behaviors,”
Journal of Management 9 (1983), pp. 173–85.
20. T. G. Walker, “Leader Selection and Behavior in Small Political Groups,” Small
Group Behavior 7 (1976), pp. 363–68.
21. B. M. Bass, Leadership and Performance beyond Expectations (New York: Free
Press, 1985).
Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 113
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22. D. D. Penner, D. M. Malone, T. M. Coughlin, and J. A. Herz, Satisfaction with
U.S. Army Leadership, Leadership Monograph Series, no. 2 (U.S. Army War
College, 1973).
23. B. J. Avolio and B. M. Bass, “Transformational Leadership, Charisma, and
Beyond,” in Emerging Leadership Vista, ed. J. G. Hunt, B. R. Baliga, and C. A.
Schriesheim (Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath, 1988).
24. G. J. Curphy, “An Empirical Examination of Bass’ 1985 Theory of Transformational
and Transactional Leadership,” PhD dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1991.
25. D. Duchon, S. G. Green, and T. D. Taber, “Vertical Dyad Linkage: A Longitudinal
Assessment of Antecedents, Measures, and Consequences,” Journal of Applied
Psychology 71 (1986), pp. 56–60.
26. D. A. Porter, “Student Course Critiques: A Case Study in Total Quality in the
Classroom,” in Proceedings of the 13th Biennial Psychology in Department of Defense
Conference (Colorado Springs, CO: U.S. Air Force Academy, 1992), pp. 26–30.
27. G. Yukl, Leadership in Organizations, 2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
Hall, 1989).
28. E. D. Pulakos and K. N. Wexley, “The Relationship among Perceptual Similar-
ity, Sex, and Performance Ratings in Manager-Subordinate Dyads,” Academy of
Management Journal 26 (1983), pp. 129–39.
29. H. M. Weiss, “Subordinate Imitation of Supervisor Behavior: The Role of
Modeling in Organizational Socialization,” Organizational Behavior and Human
Performance 19 (1977), pp. 89–105.
30. J. J. Gabarro, and J. P. Kotter, “Managing Your Boss,” Harvard Business Review
58, no. 1 (1980), pp. 92–100.
31. R. E. Kelley, “In Praise of Followers,” Harvard Business Review 66, no. 6 (1988),
pp. 142–48.
32. Gabarro and Kotter, “Managing Your Boss.”
33. Kelley, “In Praise of Followers.”
34. M. W. McCall Jr. and M. M. Lombardo, “Off the Track: Why and How Success-
ful Executives Get Derailed,” Technical Report No. 21 (Greensboro, NC: Cen-
ter for Creative Leadership, 1983).
35. J. M. Kouzes and B. Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordi-
nary Things Done in Organizations (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987).
36. A. R. Cohen and D. L. Bradford, Influence without Authority (New York: John
Wiley, 1990).
37. G. J. Curphy, A. Baldrica, M. Benson, and R. T. Hogan, Managerial Incompe-
tence, unpublished manuscript, 2007.
38. A. R. Cohen and D. L. Bradford, Influence without Authority (New York: John
Wiley, 1990).
39. Cohen and Bradford, Influence without Authority.
40. Cohen and Bradford, Influence without Authority.
41. D. B. Peterson and M. D. Hicks, Professional Coaching: State of the Art, State of the
Practice (Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions International, 1998).
42. D. B. Peterson and M. D. Hicks, “Coaching across Borders: It’s Probably a
Long Distance Call,” Development Matters, no. 9 (1997), pp. 1–4.
114 Part One Leadership Is a Process, Not a Position
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Chapter 3 Skills for Developing Yourself as a Leader 115
43. D. B. Peterson and M. D. Hicks, Leader as Coach: Strategies for Coaching and
Developing Others (Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions International, 1996).
44. J. F. Hazucha, S. A. Hezlett, and R. J. Schneider, “The Impact of 360-Degree
Feedback on Management Skills Development,” Human Resource Management
32 (1993), pp. 325–51.
45. D. B. Peterson, “Skill Learning and Behavioral Change in an Individually Tai-
lored Management Coaching and Training Program,” unpublished doctoral
dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1993.
46. S. A. Hezlett and B. A. Koonce, “Now That I’ve Been Assessed, What Do I Do?
Facilitating Development after Individual Assessments,” paper presented at
the IPMA Assessment Council Conference on Public Personnel Assessment,
New Orleans, LA, June 1995.
47. B. L. Davis, L. W. Hellervik, and J. L. Sheard, The Successful Manager’s Handbook,
3rd ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions International, 1989).
48. M. M. Lombardo and R. W. Eichinger, For Your Improvement: A Development and
Coaching Guide (Minneapolis, MN: Lominger, 1996).
49. Personnel Decisions International, DevelopMentor: Assessment, Development, and
Coaching Software (Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions International, 1995).
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Focus on
the Leader
Part 2 focuses on the leader. The effectiveness of leadership, good or bad,
is typically attributed to the leader much more than to the other elements
of the framework. Sometimes the leader is the only element of leadership
we even think of. One great leader’s views were clear enough about the
relative importance of leaders and followers:
Men are nothing; it is the man who is everything. . . . It was not the Roman
army that conquered Gaul, but Caesar; it was not the Carthaginian army
that made Rome tremble in her gates, but Hannibal; it was not the Macedo-
nian army that reached the Indus, but Alexander.
Because the leader plays such an important role in the leadership pro-
cess, the next four chapters of this book review research related to the
characteristics of leaders and what makes leaders effective. Part 2 begins
with a chapter about power and influence because those concepts provide
the most fundamental way to understand the process of leadership. Chap-
ter 5 looks at the closely related issues of leadership ethics and values. In
Chapter 6 we consider what aspects of personality are related to leader-
ship, and in Chapter 7 we examine how all these variables are manifested
in effective or ineffective leader behavior.
Followers Situation
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Chapter 4
Power and Influence
We begin Part 2 by examining the phenomenon of power. Some of histo-
ry’s earliest characterizations of leaders concerned their use of power.
Shakespeare’s plays were concerned with the acquisition and failing of
power, 1 and Machiavelli’s The Prince has been described as the “classic
handbook on power politics.” 2 Current scholars have also emphasized the
need to conceptualize leadership as a power phenomenon. 3, 4 Power may
be the single most important concept in all the social sciences, 5 though
scholars today disagree over precisely how to define power or influence.
But it’s not just scholars who have different ideas about power. The con-
cept of power is so pervasive and complex that each of us probably thinks
about it a little differently.
What comes to your mind when you think about power? Do you think
of a person wielding enormous authority over others? Do you think of
high office? Do you think of making others do things against their will? Is
power ethically neutral, or is it inherently dangerous as Lord Acton said?
(“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”) Do you think
a leader’s real power is always obvious to others? What sorts of things
might enhance or detract from a leader’s power? What are the pros and
cons of different ways of trying to influence people? These are the kinds of
issues we will explore in this chapter.
Some Important Distinctions
Power has been defined as the capacity to produce effects on others 6 or
the potential to influence others. 7 Although we usually think of power as
belonging to the leader, it is actually a function of the leader, the followers,
and the situation. Leaders have the potential to influence their followers’
behaviors and attitudes. However, followers also can affect the leader’s
behavior and attitudes. Even the situation itself can affect a leader’s
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 119
capacity to influence followers (and vice versa). For example, leaders who
can reward and punish followers may have a greater capacity to influence
followers than leaders who cannot use rewards or punishments. Similarly,
follower or situational characteristics may diminish a leader’s potential to
influence followers, such as when the latter belong to a strong, active
The fact that power is not merely a function of leaders is reflected in the
continuing research on the use of power in organizations. Not only has
there been ongoing research to examine the negotiation of power dynam-
ics within and across organizations, 8 but also research examining power
relationships between shareholders and governance boards 9 and power
related to gender (a topic we will examine in more detail later in this chap-
ter) in entrepreneurial relationships. 10
Several other aspects of power also are worth noting. Gardner has
made an important point about the exercise of power and its effects. 11
He stated that “power does not need to be exercised in order to have its
effect—as any hold-up man can tell you.” 12 Thus merely having the ca-
pacity to exert influence can often bring about intended effects, even
though the leader may not take any action to influence his or her follow-
ers. For example, some months after the end of his term, Eisenhower
was asked if leaving the White House had affected his golf game. “Yes,”
he replied, “a lot more people beat me now.” Alternatively, power repre-
sents an inference or attribution made on the basis of an agent’s observ-
able acts of influence. 13 Power is never directly observed but rather
attributed to others on the basis and frequency of influence tactics they
use and on their outcomes.
Many people use the terms power, influence, and influence tactics synony-
mously, 14 but it is useful to distinguish among them. Influence can be de-
fined as the change in a target agent’s attitudes, values, beliefs, or
behaviors as the result of influence tactics. Influence tactics refer to one
person’s actual behaviors designed to change another person’s attitudes,
beliefs, values, or behaviors. Although these concepts are typically exam-
ined from the leader’s perspective (such as how a leader influences fol-
lowers), we should remember that followers can also wield power and
influence over leaders as well as over each other. Leadership practitioners
can improve their effectiveness by reflecting on the types of power they
and their followers have and the types of influence tactics that they may
use or that may be used on them.
Whereas power is the capacity to cause change, influence is the de-
gree of actual change in a target person’s attitudes, values, beliefs, or
behaviors. Influence can be measured by the behaviors or attitudes
manifested by followers as the result of a leader’s influence tactics. For
example, a leader may ask a follower to accomplish a particular task,
and whether or not the task is accomplished is partly a function of the
leader’s request. (The follower’s ability and skill as well as access to the
The true leader must
submerge himself in the
fountain of the people.
V. I. Lenin  
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120 Part Two Focus on the Leader
necessary equipment and resources are also important factors.) Such
things as subordinates’ satisfaction or motivation, group cohesiveness
and climate, or unit performance measures can be used to assess the ef-
fectiveness of leaders’ influence attempts. The degree to which leaders
can change the level of satisfaction, motivation, or cohesiveness among
followers is a function of the amount of power available to both leaders
and followers. On one hand, leaders with relatively high amounts of
power can cause fairly substantial changes in subordinates’ attitudes
and behaviors; for example, a new and respected leader who uses re-
wards and punishments judiciously may cause a dramatic change in
followers’ perceptions about organizational climate and the amount of
time followers spend on work-related behaviors. On the other hand, the
amount of power followers have in work situations can also vary dra-
matically, and in some situations particular followers may exert rela-
tively more influence over the rest of the group than the leader does.
For example, a follower with a high level of knowledge and experience
may have more influence on the attitudes, opinions, and behaviors of
the rest of the followers than a brand-new leader. Thus the amount of
change in the attitudes or behaviors of the targets of influence is a func-
tion of the agent’s capacity to exert influence and the targets’ capacity
to resist this influence.
Leaders and followers typically use a variety of tactics to influence
each other’s attitudes or behaviors (see Highlight 4.1 for a description
of some nonverbal power cues common to humans). Influence tactics
are the overt behaviors exhibited by one person to influence another.
They range from emotional appeals, to the exchange of favors, to
threats. The particular tactic used in a leadership situation is probably a
function of the power possessed by both parties. Individuals with a
relatively large amount of power may successfully employ a wider va-
riety of influence tactics than individuals with little power. For exam-
ple, a well-respected leader could make an emotional appeal, a rational
appeal, a personal appeal, a legitimate request, or a threat to try to
modify a follower’s behavior. The follower in this situation may be able
to use only ingratiation or personal appeals to change the leader’s atti-
tude or behavior.
At the same time, because the formal leader is not always the person
who possesses the most power in a leadership situation, followers often
can use a wider variety of influence tactics than the leader to modify the
attitudes and behaviors of others. This would be the case if a new leader
were brought into an organization in which one of his or her subordinates
was extremely well liked and respected. In this situation, the subordinate
may be able to make personal appeals, emotional appeals, or even threats
to change the attitudes or behaviors of the leader, whereas the new leader
may be limited to making only legitimate requests to change the attitudes
and behaviors of the followers.
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 121
Power and Leadership
We began this chapter by noting how an understanding of power has long
been seen as an integral part of leadership. Several perspectives and theo-
ries have been developed to explain the acquisition and exercise of power.
In this section we will first examine various sources of power. Then we will
look at how individuals vary in their personal need for power.
And when we think we
lead, we are most led.
Lord Byron  
Gestures of Power and Dominance
We can often get clues about relative power just by
paying attention to behaviors between two people.
There are a number of nonverbal cues we might
want to pay attention to. The phrase pecking or-
der refers to the status differential between mem-
bers of a group. It reminds us that many aspects of
human social organization have roots, or at least
parallels, in the behavior of other species. The ani-
mal kingdom presents diverse and fascinating ex-
amples of stylized behaviors by which one member
of a species shows its relative dominance or submis-
siveness to another. There is adaptive significance
to such behavioral mechanisms because they tend
to minimize actual physical struggle and maintain a
stable social order. For example, lower-ranking ba-
boons step aside to let a higher-status male pass;
they become nervous if he stares at them. The
highest-status male can choose where he wants to
sleep and whom he wants to mate with. Baboons
“know their place.” As with humans, rank has its
Our own stylized power rituals are usually so
ingrained that we aren’t conscious of them. Yet
there is a “dance” of power relations among hu-
mans just as among other animals. The following
are some of the ways power is expressed nonver-
bally in humans:
Staring: In American society, it is disrespectful
for a person of lower status to stare at a supe-
rior, though superiors are not bound by a simi-
lar restriction. Children, for example, are taught
not to stare at parents. And it’s an interesting
comment on the power relationship between
sexes that women are more likely to avert their
gaze from men than vice versa.
Pointing: Children are also taught that it’s not
nice to point. However, adults rarely correct
each other for pointing because, more than
mere etiquette, pointing seems to be a behav-
ior that is acceptable for high-status figures or
those attempting to assert dominance. An an-
gry boss may point an index finger accusingly
at an employee; few employees who wanted to
keep their jobs would respond in kind. The
same restrictions apply to frowning.
Touching: Invading another person’s space by
touching the person without invitation is ac-
ceptable when one is of superior status but not
when one is of subordinate status. It’s accept-
able, for example, for bosses or teachers to put
a hand on an employee’s or a student’s shoul-
der, respectively, but not vice versa. The dispar-
ity also applies to socioeconomic status;
someone with higher socioeconomic status is
more likely to touch a person of lower socio-
economic status than vice versa.
Interrupting: Virtually all of us have interrupted
others, and we have all been interrupted our-
selves. Again, however, the issue is who inter-
rupted whom. Higher-power or status persons
interrupt; lower-power or status persons are in-
terrupted. A vast difference in the frequency of
this behavior also exists between the sexes in
American society. Men interrupt much more
frequently than women do.
Source: D. A. Karp and W. C. Yoels, Symbols, Selves, and
Society (New York: Lippincott, 1979).
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122 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Sources of Leader Power
Where does a leader’s power come from? Do leaders have it, or do follow-
ers give it to them? As we will see, the answer may be both . . . and more.
Something as seemingly trivial as the arrangement of furniture in an
office can affect perceptions of another person’s power. One vivid exam-
ple comes from John Ehrlichman’s book Witness to Power. 15 Ehrlichman
described his first visit to J. Edgar Hoover’s office at the Department of
Justice. The legendary director of the FBI had long been one of the most
powerful men in Washington, DC, and as Ehrlichman’s impressions re-
veal, Hoover used every opportunity to reinforce that image. Ehrlichman
was first led through double doors into a room replete with plaques, cita-
tions, trophies, medals, and certificates jamming every wall. He was then
led through a second similarly decorated room into a third trophy room,
and finally to a large but bare desk backed by several flags and still no
J. Edgar Hoover. The guide opened a door behind the desk, and Ehrlichman
went into a smaller office, which Hoover dominated from an impressive
chair and desk that stood on a dais about six inches high. Erhlichman was
instructed to take a seat on a lower couch, and Hoover peered down on
Ehrlichman from his own loftier and intimidating place.
On a more mundane level, many people have experienced a time when
they were called in to talk to a boss and left standing while the boss sat
behind the desk. Probably few people in that situation misunderstand the
power message there. In addition to the factors just described, other as-
pects of office arrangements also can affect a leader’s or follower’s power.
One factor is the shape of the table used for meetings. Individuals sitting
at the ends of rectangular tables often wield more power, whereas circular
tables facilitate communication and minimize status differentials. How-
ever, specific seating arrangements even at circular tables can affect par-
ticipants’ interactions; often individuals belonging to the same cliques
and coalitions will sit next to each other. By sitting next to each other,
members of the same coalition may exert more power as a collective
group than they would sitting apart from each other. Also, having a pri-
vate or more open office may not only reflect but also affect power differen-
tials between people. Individuals with private offices can dictate to a
greater degree when they want to interact with others by opening or clos-
ing their doors or by giving instructions about interruptions. Individuals
with more open offices have much less power to control access to them.
By being aware of dynamics like these, leaders can somewhat influence
others’ perceptions of their power relationship.
Prominently displaying symbols like diplomas, awards, and titles also
can increase one’s power. This was shown in an experiment in a college
setting where a guest lecturer to several different classes was introduced
in a different way to each. To one group he was introduced as a student; to
other groups he was introduced as a lecturer, senior lecturer, or professor,
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 123
respectively. After the presentation, when he was no longer in the room,
the class estimated his height. Interestingly, the same man was perceived
by different groups as increasingly taller with each increase in academic
status. The “professor” was remembered as being several inches taller
than the “student.” 16
This finding demonstrates the generalized impact a seemingly minor
matter like one’s title can have on others. Another study points out more
dramatically how dangerous it can be when followers are overly respon-
sive to the appearances of title and authority. This study took place in a
medical setting and arose from concern among medical staff that nurses
were responding mechanically to doctors’ orders. A researcher made tele-
phone calls to nurses’ stations in numerous different medical wards. In
each, he identified himself as a hospital physician and directed the nurse
answering the phone to administer a particular medication to a patient in
that ward. Many nurses complied with the request despite the fact it was
against hospital policy to transmit prescriptions by phone. Many did so
despite never even having talked to the particular “physician” before the
call—and despite the fact that the prescribed medication was dangerously
excessive, not to mention unauthorized. In fact, 95 percent of the nurses
complied with the request made by the most easily falsifiable symbol of
authority, a bare title. 17 (See also Highlight 4.2.)
Even choice of clothing can affect one’s power and influence. Uniforms
and other specialized clothing have long been associated with authority
and status, including their use by the military, police, hospital staffs,
clergy, and so on. In one experiment, people walking along a city sidewalk
were stopped by someone dressed either in regular clothes or in the uni-
form of a security guard and told this: “You see that guy over there by the
meter? He’s overparked but doesn’t have any change. Give him a dime!”
Whereas fewer than half complied when the requestor was dressed in
regular clothes, over 90 percent did when he was in uniform. 18
This same rationale is given for having personnel in certain occupa-
tions (such as airline crew members) wear uniforms. Besides identifying
them to others, the uniforms increase the likelihood that in emergency
situations their instructions will be followed. Similarly, even the presence
of something as trivial as tattoos can affect the amount of power wielded
in a group. One of the authors of this text had a friend named Del who
was a manager in an international book publishing company. Del was a
former merchant marine whose forearms were adorned with tattoos. Del
would often take off his suit coat and roll up his sleeves when meetings
were not going his way, and he often exerted considerably more influence
by merely exposing his tattoos to the rest of the group.
A final situational factor that can affect one’s potential to influence oth-
ers is the presence or absence of a crisis. Leaders usually can exert more
power during a crisis than during periods of relative calm. Perhaps this is
because during a crisis leaders are willing to draw on bases of power they
He who has great power
should use it lightly.
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124 Part Two Focus on the Leader
normally forgo. For example, a leader who has developed close interper-
sonal relationships with followers generally uses her referent power to
influence them. During crises or emergency situations, however, leaders
may be more apt to draw on their legitimate and coercive bases of power
to influence subordinates. That was precisely the finding in a study of
bank managers’ actions; the bank managers were more apt to use legiti-
mate and coercive power during crises than during noncrisis situations. 19
This same phenomenon is observable in many dramatizations. In the
The Milgram Studies
One intriguing way to understand power, influ-
ence, and influence tactics is to read a synopsis of
Stanley Milgram’s classic work on obedience and to
think about how this work relates to the concepts
and theories discussed in this chapter. Milgram’s
research explored how far people will go when di-
rected by an authority figure to do something that
might injure another person. More specifically,
Milgram wanted to know what happens when the
dictates of authority and the dictates of one’s con-
science seem incompatible.
The participants were men from the communi-
ties surrounding Yale University. They were led to
believe they were helping in a study concerning
the effect of punishment on learning; the study’s
legitimacy was enhanced by the study being con-
ducted on the Yale campus. Two subjects at a time
participated in the study—one as a teacher and
the other as a learner. The roles apparently were
assigned randomly. The teacher’s task was to help
the learner memorize a set of word pairs by pro-
viding electric shocks whenever the learner (who
would be in an adjacent room) made a mistake.
A stern experimenter described procedures and
showed participants the equipment for administering
punishment. This “shock generator” looked omi-
nous, with rows of switches, lights, and warnings
labeled in 15-volt increments all the way to 450 volts.
Various points along the array were marked with in-
creasingly dire warnings such as extreme intensity and
danger: severe. The switch at the highest level of
shock was simply marked XXX . Every time the learner
made a mistake, the teacher was ordered by the
experimenter to administer the next higher level of
electric shock.
In actuality, there was only one true subject in
the experiment—the teacher. The learner was really
a confederate of the experimenter. The supposed
random assignment of participants to teacher and
learner conditions had been rigged in advance. The
real purpose of the experiment was to assess how
much electric shock the teachers would administer
to the learners in the face of the latter’s increasingly
adamant protestations to stop. This included
numerous realistic cries of agony and complaints of
a heart condition—all standardized, predeter-
mined, tape-recorded messages delivered via the
intercom from the learner’s room to the teacher’s
room. If the subject (that is, the teacher) refused to
deliver any further shocks, the experimenter prod-
ded him with comments such as “The experiment
requires that you go on” and “You have no other
choice; you must go on.”
Before Milgram conducted his experiment, he
asked mental health professionals what proportion
of the subjects would administer apparently dan-
gerous levels of shock. The consensus was that only
a negligible percentage would do so—perhaps 1 or
2 percent of the population. Milgram’s actual re-
sults were dramatically inconsistent with what any
experts had predicted. Fully 70 percent of the sub-
jects carried through with their orders, albeit some-
times with great personal anguish, and delivered
the maximum shock possible—450 volts!
Source: S. Milgram, “Behavioral Study of Obedience,”
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 67 (1963),
pp. 371–78.
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 125
television series Star Trek, the Next Generation, for example, Captain Picard
normally uses his referent and expert power to influence subordinates.
During emergencies, however, he will often rely on his legitimate and co-
ercive power. Another factor may be that during crises followers are more
willing to accept greater direction, control, and structure from leaders,
whatever power base may be involved.
A Taxonomy of Social Power
French and Raven identified five sources, or bases, of power by which an
individual can potentially influence others. 20 As shown in Figure 4.1, these
five sources include one that is primarily a function of the leader; one that
is a function of the relationship between leaders and followers; one that is
primarily a function of the leader and the situation; one that is primarily a
function of the situation; and finally, one that involves aspects of all three
elements. Understanding these bases of power can give leadership practi-
tioners greater insight about the predictable effects—positive or negative—
of various sorts of influence attempts. Following is a more detailed
discussion of French and Raven’s five bases of social power. 21
Expert Power
Expert power is the power of knowledge. Some people can influence oth-
ers through their relative expertise in particular areas. A surgeon may
wield considerable influence in a hospital because others depend on her
knowledge, skill, and judgment, even though she may have no formal
authority over them. A mechanic may be influential among his peers be-
cause he is widely recognized as the best in the city. A longtime employee
may be influential because her corporate memory provides a useful his-
torical perspective to newer personnel. Legislators who are experts in the
Sources of Leader
Power in the
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126 Part Two Focus on the Leader
intricacies of parliamentary procedure, athletes who have played in cham-
pionship games, and soldiers who have been in combat are valued for the
lessons learned and the wisdom they can share with others.
Because expert power is a function of the amount of knowledge one
possesses relative to the rest of the members of the group, it is possible for
followers to have considerably more expert power than leaders in certain
situations. For example, new leaders often know less about the jobs and
tasks performed in a particular work unit than the followers do, and in
this case the followers can potentially wield considerable influence when
decisions are made regarding work procedures, new equipment, or the
hiring of additional workers. Probably the best advice for leaders in this
situation is to ask a lot of questions and perhaps seek additional training
to help fill this knowledge gap. So long as different followers have consid-
erably greater amounts of expert power, it will be difficult for a leader to
influence the work unit on the basis of expert power alone.
Referent Power
One way to counteract the problems stemming from a lack of expertise is
to build strong interpersonal ties with subordinates. Referent power re-
fers to the potential influence one has due to the strength of the relation-
ship between the leader and the followers. When people admire a leader
and see her as a role model, we say she has referent power. For example,
students may respond positively to advice or requests from teachers who
are well liked and respected, while the same students might be unrespon-
sive to less popular teachers. This relative degree of responsiveness is pri-
marily a function of the strength of the relationship between the students
and the different teachers. We knew one young lieutenant who had enor-
mous referent power with the military security guards working for him
due to his selfless concern for them, evident in such habits as bringing
them hot chocolate and homemade cookies on their late-night shifts. The
guards, sometimes taken for granted by other superiors, understood and
valued the extra effort and sacrifice this young supervisor put forth for
them. When Buddy Ryan was fired as head coach of the Philadelphia Ea-
gles football team, many of the players expressed fierce loyalty to him.
One said, “We’d do things for Buddy that we wouldn’t do for another
coach. I’d sell my body for Buddy.” 22 That is referent power.
Another way to look at referent power is in terms of the role friendships
play in making things happen. It is frequently said, for example, that many
people get jobs based on whom they know, not what they know. This is
true. But we think the best perspective on this issue was offered by David
Campbell, who said, “It’s not who you know that counts. It’s what who
you know knows about you that counts!” (personal communication).
Referent power often takes time to develop, but it can be lost quickly—
just ask Tiger Woods. Furthermore, it can have a downside in that a desire to
maintain referent power may limit a leader’s actions in particular situations.
Power in an organiza-
tion is the capacity gen-
erated by relationships.
Margaret A.
Wheatley, futurist  
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 127
For example, a leader who has developed a strong relationship with a fol-
lower may be reluctant to discipline the follower for poor work or chronic
tardiness because such actions could disrupt the nature of the relationship
between the leader and the follower. Thus referent power is a two-way
street; the stronger the relationship, the more influence leaders and followers
exert over each other. Moreover, just as it is possible for leaders to develop
strong relationships with followers and, in turn, acquire more referent
power, it is also possible for followers to develop strong relationships with
Michael Dell
The problem of having power you didn’t know you
had and might not even want.
It’s hard to imagine anyone not recognizing the
name Michael Dell. As founder of the computer
company Dell, Inc., he created one of the most
profitable computer companies in the world, with
annual sales of up to $50 billion. Michael Dell has
also become one of the wealthiest people in the
world with a fourth-place listing on the Forbes rich
Americans list in 2005 and an estimated worth of
$18 billion. In July 2007 USA Today published its
ranking of the 25 most influential business leaders
in the last 25 years. Number 17 on this list was
Michael Dell.
With just $1,000 in his pocket, Dell started PC’s
Limited in 1984. From his university dorm room
Dell started building and selling personal computers
from stock computer parts. In 1988 PC’s Limited
changed its name to Dell Computer Corporation
and had an initial public offering (IPO) that valued
the company at roughly $80 million. By 1992 Dell
Computer Corporation was listed on the Fortune
500 list of the largest companies in the world, mak-
ing Dell the youngest CEO ever to head a Fortune
500 company.
One of this book’s authors worked with Michael
Dell in the early 1990s (and wishes he had bought
stock). He was chatting with Michael and describ-
ing the problems that can happen in large organi-
zations when the leader has a lot of personal or
referent power. Michael said, “Oh, I’m learning
about that. We’ve even got a name for that prob-
lem. We call them, ‘Michael saids.’”
Here’s an example of a “Michael said.” One af-
ternoon, Michael was walking around the plant and
stopped to ask one of the assembly employees how
things were going and what could be done to
make things better. The assembler said that things
were great but that occasionally there was some
confusion with a particular electronic component
(let’s call it a resistor). Sometimes the resistors were
red and sometimes they were green, and the red
ones looked like another component. The assem-
bler suggested that this problem could be elimi-
nated if this particular resistor came only in green.
Michael said that seemed like a reasonable solution
and passed that information along to the people
who bought resistors from the suppliers.
Six months later, Michael was having a meeting in
his office when someone knocked on the door. It was
a frazzled person who said he was terribly sorry to in-
terrupt but there was a crisis down in manufacturing
and production was about to stop. “Why?” asked
Michael. The messenger said that the supplier of
green resistors had a problem and the only resistors
they could get were red and they couldn’t use the red
resistors. “Why not?” asked Michael. The messenger
looked sheepishly at his feet and passed along the
bad news. They couldn’t use the red ones because
“Michael said we could only use green resistors.”
While referent and expert power may be good
to use, as Dell and others have found out, there can
be a potential downside of which you might not
even be aware.
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128 Part Two Focus on the Leader
other followers and acquire more referent power. Followers with relatively
more referent power than their peers are often the spokespersons for their
work units and generally have more latitude to deviate from work unit
norms. Followers with little referent power have little opportunity to deviate
from group norms. For example, in an episode of the television show The
Simpsons, Homer Simpson was fired for wearing a pink shirt to work (every-
body else at the Springfield nuclear power plant had always worn white
shirts). Homer was fired partly because he “was not popular enough to be
Legitimate Power
Legitimate power depends on a person’s organizational role. It can be
thought of as one’s formal or official authority. Some people make things
happen because they have the power or authority to do so. The boss as-
signs projects; the coach decides who plays; the colonel orders compliance
with uniform standards; the teacher assigns homework and awards
grades. Individuals with legitimate power exert influence through re-
quests or demands deemed appropriate by virtue of their role and posi-
tion. In other words, legitimate power means a leader has authority
because she or he has been assigned a particular role in an organization.
Note that the leader has this authority only while occupying that position
and operating within the proper bounds of that role.
Legitimate authority and leadership are not the same thing. Holding a
position and being a leader are not synonymous, despite the relatively
common practice of calling position holders in bureaucracies the leaders.
The head of an organization may be a true leader, but he or she also may
not be. Effective leaders often intuitively realize they need more than le-
gitimate power to be successful. Before he became president, Dwight
Eisenhower commanded all Allied troops in Europe during World War II.
In a meeting with his staff before the Normandy invasion, Eisenhower
pulled a string across a table to make a point about leadership. He was
demonstrating that just as you can pull a string, not push it, officers must
lead soldiers and not push them from the rear.
It is also possible for followers to use their legitimate power to influ-
ence leaders. In these cases, followers can actively resist a leader’s in-
fluence attempt by doing only work specifically prescribed in job
descriptions, bureaucratic rules, or union policies. For example, many
organizations have job descriptions that limit both the time spent at
work and the types of tasks and activities performed. Similarly, bureau-
cratic rules and union policies can be invoked by followers to resist a
leader’s influence attempts. Often the leader will need to change the
nature of his or her request or find another way to resolve the problem
if these rules and policies are invoked by followers. If this is the case,
the followers will have successfully used legitimate power to influence
their leader.
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 129
Reward Power
Reward power involves the potential to influence others due to one’s
control over desired resources. This can include the power to give raises,
bonuses, and promotions; to grant tenure; to select people for special as-
signments or desirable activities; to distribute desired resources like com-
puters, offices, parking places, or travel money; to intercede positively on
another’s behalf; to recognize with awards and praise; and so on. Many
corporations use rewards extensively to motivate employees. At McDonald’s,
for example, great status is accorded the All-American Hamburger
Maker—the cook who makes the fastest, highest-quality hamburgers in
the country. At individual fast-food restaurants, managers may reward
salespeople who handle the most customers during rush periods. Tupper-
ware holds rallies for its salespeople. Almost everyone wins something,
ranging from pins and badges to lucrative prizes for top performers. 23
Schools pick teachers of the year, and professional athletes are rewarded
by selection to all-star teams for their superior performance.
The potential to influence others through the ability to administer re-
wards is a joint function of the leader, the followers, and the situation.
Leaders vary considerably in the types and frequency with which they
give rewards, but the position they fill also helps determine the frequency
and types of rewards administered. For example, employees of the month
at Kentucky Fried Chicken are not given new cars; the managers of these
franchises do not have the resources to offer such awards. Similarly, lead-
ers in other organizations are limited to some extent in the types of awards
they can administer and the frequency with which they can do so. Never-
theless, leaders can enhance their reward power by spending some time
reflecting on the followers and the situation. Often a number of alterna-
tive or innovative rewards can be created, and these rewards, along with
ample doses of praise, can help a leader overcome the constraints his or
her position puts on reward power.
Although using reward power can be an effective way to change the
attitudes and behaviors of others, in several situations it can be prob-
lematic. For example, the perception that a company’s monetary bonus
policy is handled equitably may be as important in motivating good
work (or avoiding morale problems) as the amounts of the bonuses.
Moreover, a superior may mistakenly assume that a particular reward
is valued when it is not. This would be the case if a particular subordi-
nate were publicly recognized for her good work when she actually dis-
liked public recognition. Leadership practitioners can avoid the latter
problem by developing good relationships with subordinates and ad-
ministering rewards that they, not the leader, value. Another potential
problem with reward power is that it may produce compliance but not
other desirable outcomes like commitment. 24 In other words, subordi-
nates may perform only at the level necessary to receive a reward and
may not be willing to put forth the extra effort needed to make the
Unreviewable power is
the most likely to self-
indulge itself and the
least likely to engage in
dispassionate self-
Warren E. Burger,
U.S. Supreme
Court, Chief Justice,
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130 Part Two Focus on the Leader
organization better. An overemphasis on rewards as payoff for perfor-
mance may also lead to resentment and feelings by workers of being
manipulated, especially if it occurs in the context of relatively cold and
distant superior–subordinate relationships. Extrinsic rewards like
praise, compensation, promotion, privileges, and time off may not have
the same effects on behavior as intrinsic rewards such as feelings of ac-
complishment, personal growth, and development. There is evidence
that under some conditions extrinsic rewards can decrease intrinsic mo-
tivation toward a task and make the desired behavior less likely to per-
sist when extrinsic rewards are not available. 25 , 26 Overemphasis on
extrinsic rewards may instill an essentially contractual or economic re-
lationship between superiors and subordinates, diluting important as-
pects of the relationship like mutual loyalty or shared commitment to
higher ideals. 27 These cautions about reward power should not cloud its
real usefulness and effectiveness. As noted previously, top organiza-
tions make extensive use of both tangible and symbolic rewards in mo-
tivating their workers. Furthermore, all leaders can use some of the
most important rewards—sincere praise and thanks to others for their
loyalty and work. The bottom line is that leaders can enhance their abil-
ity to influence others based on reward power if they determine what
rewards are available, determine what rewards are valued by their sub-
ordinates, and establish clear policies for the equitable and consistent
administration of rewards for good performance.
Finally, because reward power is partly determined by one’s position in
the organization, some people may believe followers have little, if any,
reward power. This may not be the case. If followers control scarce re-
sources, they may use the administration of these resources to get leaders
to act as they want. Moreover, followers may reward their leader by put-
ting out a high level of effort when they feel their leader is doing a good
job, and they may put forth less effort when they feel their leader is doing
a poor job. By modifying their level of effort, followers may in turn mod-
ify a leader’s attitudes and behaviors. And when followers compliment
their leader (such as for running a constructive meeting), it is no less an
example of reward power than when a leader compliments a follower.
Thus leadership practitioners should be aware that followers can also use
reward power to influence leaders.
Coercive Power
Coercive power, the opposite of reward power, is the potential to influ-
ence others through the administration of negative sanctions or the re-
moval of positive events. In other words, it is the ability to control others
through the fear of punishment or the loss of valued outcomes. Like re-
ward power, coercive power is partly a function of the leader, but the situ-
ation often limits or enhances the coercive actions a leader can take (see
Highlight 4.3). Examples of coercive power include police giving tickets
You do not lead by hit-
ting people over the
head—that’s assault,
not leadership.
Dwight D.
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Leadership Lessons from Abu Ghraib
Americans (and indeed people everywhere) were
shocked by the pictures and reports emerging from
the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. What the
U.S. military police guards did to the Iraqi prisoners
was unconscionable. But we must look further up
in the leadership hierarchy if we are to make sense
of what happened and learn from it so we do not
repeat these errors in the future. There are impor-
tant leadership errors and lessons for us all.
A short review of the history of leadership might
be helpful. If your grandparents happened to study
leadership anytime from 1900 until about 1950,
they would have read case studies of famous lead-
ers. This “great man” theory of leadership hoped to
unearth the traits that differentiated great leaders
from lesser leaders. For the most part, this quest for
the underlying innate leadership abilities stopped in
the late 1940s when Ralph Stogdill published his
findings that there was no clear set of traits respon-
sible for great leaders.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, we decided that
because leadership could not be comprehended by
focusing solely on the leader, we should look at the
relationship between the leader and the followers.
As you will learn in Part 3 of this book, as the matu-
rity and skills of the followers change, so should the
behavior of the leader.
In the mid-1980s we started to consider the
leadership implications of research done about 25
years earlier. We began to acknowledge that even if
it were possible to know everything about a leader
and everything about her or his followers, another
variable powerfully affected leadership and perfor-
mance: the situation (the focus of Part 4).
Two troubling studies clearly demonstrated this
situational impact. The first, conducted by Stanley
Milgram, was described in Highlight 4.2. The les-
son learned was that reasonable, normal people,
when put in a situation where authority told them
to behave in a nefarious manner, for the most part
did just that.
Ten years after Milgram’s research, Phillip Zim-
bardo at Stanford University recruited students to
serve as either “prisoners” or “guards” in a “prison”
that was simulated in the basement of a campus
building. Neither the guards nor the prisoners were
given any instructions about how to behave. The
experiment was to have lasted for approximately
two weeks but was canceled after only six days be-
cause the “guards” were abusing their fellow stu-
dent “prisoners” both physically and emotionally.
It’s not that the student guards were bad people;
rather, they were put in a power situation that over-
came their own beliefs and values. Fortunately an
occasional noble hero rises to stand on higher moral
ground. But as leaders, we cannot rely on that. For
the masses, the situation is a powerful determinant
of behavior. Incidentally, the Stanford Prison Experi-
ment has its own Web site at
should you care to learn more about it.
Knowing what Milgram and Zimbardo demon-
strated, it is at least possible to comprehend how
someone like Pfc. Lynndie England, who according
to her family would not even shoot a deer, could
have become caught up in such barbarism. This is
not to excuse her behavior but to help us under-
stand it. And if we should not excuse the behavior
of an undertrained soldier, we should be even less
willing to excuse the leadership that put her and
others in this situation without clear behavioral
guidelines. After all, we’ve known about these stud-
ies for over 50 years!
Whether under the direction of authority as in
the Milgram study, or under role assignments as in
the Zimbardo study, the Abu Ghraib case showed a
leadership vacuum that should not be tolerated.
And what about the business world? Leaders can-
not claim they want and expect teamwork and col-
laboration from their subordinates if they place them
in a situation that fosters competition and enmity.
Neither can leaders claim that they want creativity
from their subordinates if they have created a situa-
tion where the slightest deviation from rigid rules
brings punishment. And perhaps most importantly,
leaders can not expect egalitarian behaviors if people
are put in highly differentiated power situations. Peo-
ple in organizations are smart. They are less likely to
give you the behaviors you espouse in your speeches
and more likely to give you the behavior demanded
by the situation in which you place them. The lead-
er’s job is to create the conditions for the team to be
successful, and the situation is one of the most
important variables. What to consider in the situation
will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 12.
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132 Part Two Focus on the Leader
for speeding, the army court-martialing AWOL soldiers, a teacher detain-
ing disruptive students after school, employers firing lazy workers, and
parents reprimanding children. 28 Even presidents resort to their coercive
powers. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., for example, described Lyndon
Johnson as having a “devastating instinct for the weaknesses of others.”
Lyndon Johnson was familiar and comfortable with the use of coercion; he
once told a White House staff member, “Just you remember this. There’s
BEETLE BAILEY © King Features Syndicate.
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 133
only two kinds at the White House. There’s elephants and there’s ants.
And I’m the only elephant.” 29
Coercive power, like reward power, can be used appropriately or inap-
propriately. It is carried to its extreme in repressive totalitarian societies.
One of the most tragic instances of coercive power was the cult led by Jim
Jones, which unbelievably self-exterminated in an incident known as the
Jonestown massacre. 30 Virtually all of the 912 people who died there
drank, at Jones’s direction, from large vats of a flavored drink containing
cyanide. The submissiveness and suicidal obedience of Jones’s followers
during the massacre were due largely to the long history of rule by fear
that Jones had practiced. For example, teenagers caught holding hands
were beaten, and adults judged slacking in their work were forced to box
for hours in marathon public matches against as many as three or four
bigger and stronger opponents. Jim Jones ruled by fear, and his followers
became self-destructively compliant.
Perhaps the preceding example is so extreme that we can dismiss its rele-
vance to our own lives and leadership activities. Yet abuses of power, espe-
cially abuses of coercive power, continue to make the news, whether we are
seeing reports of U.S. military abuse in Iraq or Taliban abuse in Afghanistan.
On the other hand, such examples provide a dramatic reminder that reliance
on coercive power has inherent limitations and drawbacks. But this is not to
say disciplinary sanctions are never necessary; sometimes they are. Informal
coercion, as opposed to the threat of formal punishment, can also change the
attitudes and behaviors of others. Informal coercion is usually expressed im-
plicitly, and often nonverbally, rather than explicitly. It may be the pressure
employees feel to donate to the boss’s favorite charity, or it may be his or her
glare when they bring up an unpopular idea. One of the most common
forms of coercion is simply a superior’s temperamental outbursts. The in-
timidation caused by a leader’s poorly controlled anger is usually, in its
long-term effects, a dysfunctional style of behavior for leaders.
It is also possible for followers to use coercive power to influence their
leader’s behavior. For example, a leader may be hesitant to take disciplin-
ary action against a large, emotionally unstable follower. Followers can
threaten leaders with physical assaults, industrial sabotage, or work slow-
downs and strikes, and these threats can modify a leader’s behavior. Fol-
lowers are more likely to use coercive power to change their leader’s
behavior if they have a relatively high amount of referent power with
their fellow co-workers. This may be particularly true for threats of work
slowdowns or strikes.
Concluding Thoughts about French and
Raven’s Power Taxonomy
Can we reach any conclusions about what base of power is best for a leader
to use? As you might have anticipated, we must say that’s an unanswer-
able question without knowing more facts about a particular situation. For
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134 Part Two Focus on the Leader
example, consider the single factor of whether a group is facing a crisis.
This might affect the leader’s exercise of power simply because leaders
usually can exert more power during crises than during periods of relative
calm. Furthermore, during crises followers may be more eager to receive
direction and control from leaders.
Can we make any generalizations about using various sources of
power? Actually, considerable research has examined French and Raven’s
ideas, and generally the findings indicate that leaders who rely primarily
on referent and expert power have subordinates who are more motivated
and satisfied, are absent less, and perform better. 31 However, Yukl 32 and
Podsakoff and Schriesheim 33 have criticized these findings, and much of
their criticism centers on the instrument used to assess a leader’s bases of
power. Hinkin and Schriesheim 34 developed an instrument that over-
comes many of the criticisms, and future research should more clearly de-
lineate the relationship between the five bases of power and various
leadership effectiveness criteria.
Four generalizations about power and influence seem warranted. First,
effective leaders typically take advantage of all their sources of power. Ef-
fective leaders understand the relative advantages and disadvantages of
different sources of power, and they selectively emphasize one or another
depending on their objectives in a given situation. Second, whereas lead-
ers in well-functioning organizations have strong influence over their sub-
ordinates, they are also open to being influenced by them. High degrees of
reciprocal influence between leaders and followers characterize the most
effective organizations. 35 Third, leaders vary in the extent to which they
share power with subordinates. Some leaders seem to view their power as
a fixed resource that, when shared with others (like cutting a pie into
pieces), reduces their own portion. They see power in zero-sum terms.
Other leaders see power as an expandable pie. They see the possibility of
increasing a subordinate’s power without reducing their own. Needless to
say, which view a leader subscribes to can have a major impact on the
leader’s support for power-sharing activities like delegation and partici-
pative management. A leader’s support for power-sharing activities (or in
today’s popular language, empowerment ) is also affected by the practice of
holding leaders responsible for subordinates’ decisions and actions as
well as their own. It is, after all, the coach or manager who often gets
fired when the team loses. 36, 37 Fourth, effective leaders generally work to
increase their various power bases (whether expert, referent, reward, or
legitimate) or become more willing to use their coercive power.
Leader Motives
Thus far we have been looking at how different sources of power can affect
others, but that’s only one perspective. Another way of looking at the re-
lationship between power and leadership involves focusing on the indi-
vidual leader’s personality. We will look most closely at the role
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 135
personality plays in leadership in an upcoming chapter, but it will be
nonetheless useful now to briefly examine how all people (including lead-
ers) vary in their personal motivation to have or wield power.
People vary in their motivation to influence or control others. McClelland 38
called this the need for power, and individuals with a high need for
power derive psychological satisfaction from influencing others. They
seek positions where they can influence others, and they are often in-
volved concurrently in influencing people in many different organizations
or decision-making bodies. In such activities they readily offer ideas, sug-
gestions, and opinions, and also seek information they can use in influ-
encing others. They are often astute at building trusting relationships and
assessing power networks, though they can also be quite outspoken and
forceful. They value the tangible signs of their authority and status as well
as the more intangible indications of others’ deference to them. Two dif-
ferent ways of expressing the need for power have been identified: per-
sonalized power and socialized power. Individuals who have a high
need for personalized power are relatively selfish, impulsive, uninhibited,
and lacking in self-control. These individuals exercise power for their own
needs, not for the good of the group or the organization. Socialized power,
on the other hand, implies a more emotionally mature expression of the
motive. Socialized power is exercised in the service of higher goals to oth-
ers or organizations and often involves self-sacrifice toward those ends. It
often involves an empowering, rather than an autocratic, style of manage-
ment and leadership.
Although the need for power has been measured using questionnaires
and more traditional personality inventories, McClelland and his associ-
ates have used the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) to assess need for
power. The TAT is a projective personality test consisting of pictures
such as a woman staring out a window or a boy holding a violin. Subjects
are asked to make up a story about each picture, and the stories are then
interpreted in terms of the strengths of various needs imputed to the char-
acters, one of which is the need for power. Because the pictures are some-
what ambiguous, the sorts of needs projected onto the characters are
presumed to reflect needs (perhaps at an unconscious level) of the story-
teller. Stories concerned with influencing or controlling others would re-
ceive high scores for the need for power.
The need for power is positively related to various leadership effective-
ness criteria. For example, McClelland and Boyatzis 39 found the need for
power to be positively related to success for nontechnical managers at
AT&T, and Stahl 40 found that the need for power was positively related to
managers’ performance ratings and promotion rates. In addition, Fodor 41
reported that small groups of ROTC students were more likely to success-
fully solve a subarctic survival situation if their leader had a strong need
for power. Although these findings appear promising, several cautions
should be kept in mind. First, McClelland and Boyatzis 42 also reported
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136 Part Two Focus on the Leader
that the need for power was unrelated to the success of technical manag-
ers at AT&T. Apparently the level of knowledge (that is, expert power)
played a more important role in the success of the technical managers ver-
sus that of the nontechnical managers. Second, McClelland 43 concluded
that although some need for power was necessary for leadership poten-
tial, successful leaders also have the ability to inhibit their manifestation
of this need. Leaders who are relatively uninhibited in their need for
power will act like dictators; such individuals use power impulsively, to
manipulate or control others, or to achieve at another’s expense. Leaders
with a high need for power but low activity inhibition may be successful
in the short term, but their followers, as well as the remainder of the orga-
nization, may pay high costs for this success. Some of these costs may in-
clude perceptions by fellow members of the organization that they are
untrustworthy, uncooperative, overly competitive, and looking out pri-
marily for themselves. Finally, some followers have a high need for power
too. This can lead to tension between leader and follower when a follower
with a high need for power is directed to do something.
Individuals vary in their motivation to manage, just as in their need
for power. Miner 44 described the motivation to manage in terms of six
• Maintaining good relationships with authority figures.
• Wanting to compete for recognition and advancement.
• Being active and assertive.
• Wanting to exercise influence over subordinates.
• Being visibly different from followers.
• Being willing to do routine administrative tasks.
Like McClelland, Miner also used a projective test to measure a per-
son’s motivation to manage. Miner’s Sentence Completion Scale (MSCS)
consists of a series of incomplete sentences dealing with the six compo-
nents just described (such as “My relationship with my boss . . . ”). Re-
spondents are asked to complete the sentences, which are scored according
to established criteria. The overall composite MSCS score (though not
component scores) has consistently been found to predict leadership suc-
cess in hierarchical or bureaucratic organizations. 45 Thus individuals who
maintained respect for authority figures, wanted to be recognized, acted
assertively, actively influenced subordinates, maintained “psychological
distance” between themselves and their followers, and readily took on
routine administrative tasks were more apt to be successful in bureau-
cratic organizations. However, Miner claimed that different qualities were
needed in flatter, nonbureaucratic organizations, and his review of the
MSCS 46 supports this view.
Findings concerning both the need for power and the motivation to
manage have several implications for leadership practitioners. First, not
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 137
all individuals like being leaders. One reason may be that some have a
relatively low need for power or motivation to manage. Because these
scores are relatively stable and fairly difficult to change, leaders who do
not enjoy their role may want to seek positions where they have fewer
supervisory responsibilities.
Second, a high need for power or motivation to manage does not guar-
antee leadership success. The situation can play a crucial role in determin-
ing whether the need for power or the motivation to manage is related to
leadership success. For example, McClelland and Boyatzis 47 found the
need for power to be related to leadership success for nontechnical man-
agers only, and Miner 48 found that motivation to manage was related to
leadership success only in hierarchical or bureaucratic organizations.
Third, to be successful in the long term, leaders may require both a high
need for socialized power and a high level of activity inhibition. Leaders
who impulsively exercise power merely to satisfy their own selfish needs
will probably be ineffective in the long term. Finally, it is important to re-
member that followers, as well as leaders, differ in the need for power,
activity inhibition, and motivation to manage. Certain followers may have
stronger needs or motives in this area. Leaders may need to behave differ-
ently toward these followers than they might toward followers having a
low need for power or motivation to manage.
Two recent studies offer a fitting conclusion to this section about power
and the individual’s motives and a transition to our next topic. Magee and
Galinsky 49 not only have presented a comprehensive review of the nature
of power in hierarchical settings but also have noted that the acquisition
and application of power induce transformation of individual psycholog-
ical process, with the result being manifested by actions to further increase
power! This is not the first time this phenomenon has been observed
(recall Lord Acton’s words about power and corruption). That power
actually transforms individual psychological processes as an underlying
cause of this phenomenon is fascinating.
But just having power, by either situation or individual transformation,
does not guarantee success. Treadway and colleagues 50 have presented
research showing that while past work performance is a source of per-
sonal reputation and can increase an individual’s power, this increase
does not necessarily translate into influence over others. Many fail to
achieve this increased influence due to their lack of political skills for
influence, and the application of influence is our next topic.
Influence Tactics
Whereas power is the capacity or potential to influence others, influence tac-
tics are the actual behaviors used by an agent to change the attitudes, opin-
ions, or behaviors of a target person. Kipnis and his associates accomplished
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138 Part Two Focus on the Leader
much of the early work on the types of influence tactics one person uses to
influence another. 51 Various instruments have been developed to study
influence tactics, but the Influence Behavior Questionnaire, or IBQ, 52 seems
to be the most promising. Here is a detailed discussion of the different
influence tactics assessed by the IBQ.
Types of Influence Tactics
The IBQ is designed to assess nine types of influence tactics, and its scales
give us a convenient overview of various methods of influencing others.
Rational persuasion occurs when an agent uses logical arguments or fac-
tual evidence to influence others. An example of rational persuasion
would be when a politician’s adviser explains how demographic changes
in the politician’s district make it important for the politician to spend
relatively more time in the district seeing constituents than she has in the
recent past. Agents make inspirational appeals when they make a request
or proposal designed to arouse enthusiasm or emotions in targets. An ex-
ample here might be a minister’s impassioned plea to members of a con-
gregation about the good works that could be accomplished if a proposed
addition to the church were built. Consultation occurs when agents ask
targets to participate in planning an activity. An example of consultation
would be if a minister established a committee of church members to help
plan the layout and use of a new church addition. In this case the consul-
tative work might not only lead to a better building plan but also strengthen
member commitment to the idea of a new addition. Ingratiation occurs
when an agent attempts to get you in a good mood before making a re-
quest. A familiar example here would be a salesperson’s good-natured or
flattering banter with you before you make a decision about purchasing a
product. Agents use personal appeals when they ask another to do a fa-
vor out of friendship. A sentence that opens with, “Bill, we’ve known each
other a long time and I’ve never asked anything of you before” represents
the beginning of a personal appeal, whereas influencing a target through
the exchange of favors is labeled exchange. If two politicians agree to
vote for each other’s pet legislation despite minor misgivings about each
other’s bills, that is exchange. Coalition tactics differ from consultation in
that they are used when agents seek the aid or support of others to influ-
ence the target. A dramatic example of coalition tactics occurs when sev-
eral significant people in an alcoholic’s life (such as spouse, children,
employer, or neighbor) agree to confront the alcoholic in unison about the
many dimensions of his or her problem. Threats or persistent reminders
used to influence targets are known as pressure tactics. A judge who
gives a convicted prisoner a suspended sentence but tells him to consider
the suspension a “sword hanging over his head” if he breaks the law
again is using pressure tactics. Finally, legitimizing tactics occur when
agents make requests based on their position or authority. A principal
may ask a teacher to be on the school’s curriculum committee, and the
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 139
teacher may accede to the request despite reservations because it is the
principal’s prerogative to appoint any teacher to that role. In practice, of
course, actual tactics often combine these approaches. Rarely, for example,
is an effective appeal purely inspirational without any rational elements.
Influence Tactics and Power
As alluded to throughout this chapter, a strong relationship exists be-
tween the relative power of agents and targets and the types of influence
tactics used. Because leaders with high amounts of referent power have
built close relationships with followers, they may be more able to use a
wide variety of influence tactics to modify the attitudes and behaviors of
their followers. For example, leaders with referent power could use inspi-
rational appeals, consultations, ingratiation, personal appeals, exchanges,
and even coalition tactics to increase the amount of time a particular fol-
lower spends doing work-related activities. Note, however, that leaders
with high referent power generally do not use legitimizing or pressure
tactics to influence followers because, by threatening followers, leaders
risk some loss of referent power. Leaders who have only coercive or le-
gitimate power may be able to use only coalition, legitimizing, or pressure
tactics to influence followers.
Other factors also can affect the choice of influence tactics. 53 People
typically use hard tactics (that is, legitimizing or pressure tactics) when an
influencer has the upper hand, when they anticipate resistance, or when
the other person’s behavior violates important norms. People typically
use soft tactics (such as ingratiation) when they are at a disadvantage,
when they expect resistance, or when they will personally benefit if the
attempt is successful. People tend to use rational tactics (the exchange and
rational appeals) when parties are relatively equal in power, when resis-
tance is not anticipated, and when the benefits are organizational as well
as personal. Studies have shown that influence attempts based on factual,
logical analyses are the most frequently reported method by which mid-
dle managers exert lateral influence 54 and upward influence. 55 Other im-
portant components of successful influence of one’s superiors include
thoroughly preparing beforehand, involving others for support (coalition
tactics), and persisting through a combination of approaches. 56
Findings about who uses different tactics, and when, provide interest-
ing insights into the influence process. It is clear that one’s influence tactic
of choice depends on many factors, including intended outcomes and
one’s power relative to the target person. Although it may not be surpris-
ing that people select influence tactics as a function of their power rela-
tionship with another person, it is striking that this relationship holds true
so universally across different social domains—for business executives,
for parents and children, and for spouses. There is a strong tendency for
people to resort to hard tactics whenever they have an advantage in clout
if other tactics fail to get results. 57 As the bank robber Willie Sutton once
Don’t threaten. I know
it’s done by some of our
people, but I don’t go for
it. If people are running
scared, they’re not going
to make the right deci-
sions. They’ll make deci-
sions to please the boss
rather than recommend
what has to be done.
Charles Pilliod
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140 Part Two Focus on the Leader
said, “You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can get with
just a kind word.” This sentiment is apparently familiar to bank manag-
ers, too. The latter reported greater satisfaction in handling subordinates’
poor performance when they were relatively more punishing. 58 Highlight
4.4 offers thoughts on how men and women managers sometimes use
different influence techniques.
Although hard tactics can be effective, relying on them can change the
way we see others. This was demonstrated in an experiment wherein
leaders’ perceptions and evaluations of subordinates were assessed after
they exercised different sorts of authority over the subordinates. 59 Several
hundred business students acted as managers of small work groups as-
sembling model cars. Some of the students were told to act in an authori-
tarian manner, exercising complete control over the group’s work; others
Gender Differences in Managing Upward: How Male and
Female Managers Get Their Way
Both male and female managers in a Fortune 100
company were interviewed and completed surveys
about how they influence upward—that is, how
they influence their own bosses. The results gener-
ally supported the idea that female managers’ influ-
ence attempts showed greater concern for others,
whereas male managers’ influence attempts showed
greater concern for self. Female managers were
more likely to act with the organization’s broad in-
terests in mind, consider how others felt about the
influence attempt, involve others in planning, and
focus on both the task and interpersonal aspects of
the situation. Male managers, on the other hand,
were more likely to act out of self-interest, show less
consideration for how others might feel about the
influence attempt, work alone in developing their
strategy, and focus primarily on the task.
One of the most surprising findings of the study
was that, contrary to prediction, female managers
were less likely than male managers to compromise
or negotiate during their influence attempts. The
female managers were actually more likely to per-
sist in trying to persuade their superiors, even to
the point of open opposition. At first this may seem
inconsistent with the idea that the female manag-
ers’ influence style involved greater concern for
their relatedness to others. However, it seems con-
sistent with the higher value placed by the women
managers on involvement. Perhaps female manag-
ers demonstrate more commitment to their issues,
and greater self-confidence that they are doing the
“right thing,” precisely because they have already
interacted more with others in the organization
and know they have others’ support.
While male and female managers emphasized
different influence techniques, it is important to
note that neither group overall was more effective
than the other. Nonetheless, there may be signifi-
cant implications of the various techniques for a
manager’s career advancement. At increasingly
higher management levels in an organization, ef-
fectiveness may be defined primarily by its fit with
the organization’s own norms and values. Manag-
ers whose style most closely matches that of their
superior may have an advantage in evaluations
and promotion decisions. This may be a signifi-
cant factor for women, given the highly skewed
representation of males in the most senior execu-
tive ranks.
Source: K. E. Lauterbach and B. J. Weiner, “Dynamics
of Upward Influence: How Male and Female Managers
Get Their Way,” Leadership Quarterly 7, no. 1 (1996),
pp. 87–107.
It is not power that
corrupts, but fear. Fear
of losing power corrupts
those who wield it and
fear of the scourge of
power corrupts those
who are subject to it.
Aung San Suu Kyi
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 141
were told to act as democratic leaders, letting group members participate
fully in decisions about the work. As expected, authoritarian leaders
used more hard tactics, whereas democratic leaders influenced subordi-
nates more through rational methods. More interesting was the finding
that subordinates were evaluated by the two types of leaders in dramati-
cally different ways even though the subordinates of both types did
equally good work. Authoritarian leaders judged their subordinates as
less motivated, less skilled, and less suited for promotion. Apparently,
bosses who use hard tactics to control others’ behavior tend not to attri-
bute any resultant good performance to the subordinates themselves.
Ironically, the act of using hard tactics leads to negative attributions
about others, which, in turn, tend to corroborate the use of hard tactics in
the first place.
Finally, we should remember that using influence tactics can be
thought of as a social skill. Choosing the right tactic may not always be
enough to ensure good results; the behavior must be skillfully executed.
We are not encouraging deviousness or a manipulative attitude toward
others, merely recognizing the obvious fact that clumsy influence
attempts often come across as phony and may be counterproductive. See
Highlight 4.5 for some interesting ways influence skills are applied in the
political arena.
All forms of tampering
with human beings, get-
ting at them, shaping
them against their will
to your own pattern, all
thought control and
conditioning, is, there-
fore, a denial of that in
men which makes them
men and their values
A. A. Berle Jr.,
writer about
To Be or Not to Be . . . a Porcupine
We have said that there are no simple recipes for
leadership. This is evident in the various ways
power and influence are exercised in the halls of
the U.S. Congress. In The Power Game, author Hed-
rick Smith offers numerous examples of how
Washington, DC, actually works. For example, inter-
personal relationships play a key part in one’s effec-
tiveness; but there are many paths to interpersonal
power and influence in government, as the follow-
ing anecdotes point out.
Barney Frank, a Democratic congressman from
Massachusetts, likens success in the House of Repre-
sentatives to high school. Nobody in the House can
give any other member an order, not even the
speaker of the house. Neither can anyone be fired
except by his or her own constituencies. That means,
therefore, that those in Congress become influential
by persuading people and having others respect but
not resent them. In that sense it’s like high school.
Sometimes, however, it may pay to be unlikable, at
least in some situations. Former senator (and later
secretary of state) Ed Muskie had a reputation for
being a “porcupine”—for being difficult in the con-
ference committees where final versions of legisla-
tion were hammered out. A former staff member
said Muskie was the best porcupine of them all be-
cause nobody wanted to tangle with him. Muskie
will “be gross. He’ll smoke a god-awful cigar. He’ll
just be difficult, cantankerous.” One reason Muskie
was so successful as a legislator was precisely that he
could be nearly impossible to deal with. People
would rather ignore him and try to avoid fights or
confrontations with his notorious temper. Muskie
knew how to be a porcupine, and he used that be-
havior to advantage in authoring critical legislation.
Source: H. Smith, The Power Game (New York: Random
House, 1988).
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142 Part Two Focus on the Leader
A Concluding Thought about Influence Tactics
In our discussion here, an implicit lesson for leaders is the value of being
conscious of what influence tactics one uses and what effects are typically
associated with each tactic. Knowledge of such effects can help a leader
make better decisions about her or his manner of influencing others. It
might also be helpful for leaders to think carefully about why they believe
a particular influence tactic will be effective. Research indicates that some
reasons for selecting among various possible influence tactics lead to suc-
cessful outcomes more frequently than others. Specifically, thinking an act
would improve an employee’s self-esteem or morale was frequently as-
sociated with successful influence attempts. On the other hand, choosing
an influence tactic because it followed company policy and choosing one
because it was a way to put a subordinate in his place were frequently
mentioned as reasons for unsuccessful influence attempts. 60 In a nutshell,
these results suggest that leaders should pay attention not only to the ac-
tual influence tactics they use—to how they are influencing others—but
also to why they believe such methods are called for. It is perhaps obvious
that influence efforts intended to build others up more frequently lead to
positive outcomes than influence efforts intended to put others down.
Summary This chapter has defined power as the capacity or potential to exert influ-
ence, influence tactics as the behaviors used by one person to modify the
attitudes and behaviors of another, and influence as the degree of change
in a person’s attitudes, values, or behaviors as the result of another’s in-
fluence tactic. Because power, influence, and influence tactics play such
important roles in the leadership process, this chapter provided ideas to
help leaders improve their effectiveness. By reflecting on their different
bases of power, leaders may better understand how they can affect follow-
ers and even expand their power. The five bases of power also offer clues
to why subordinates can influence leaders and successfully resist leaders’
influence attempts.
Leaders also may gain insight into why they may not enjoy certain as-
pects of their responsibilities by reflecting on their own need for power or
motivation to manage; they may also better understand why some leaders
exercise power selfishly by considering McClelland’s concepts of person-
alized power and activity inhibition. Leaders can improve their effective-
ness by finding ways to enhance their idiosyncratic credit and not
permitting in-group and out-group rivalries to develop in the work unit.
Although power is an extremely important concept, having power is
relatively meaningless unless a leader is willing to exercise it. The exercise
of power occurs primarily through the influence tactics leaders and follow-
ers use to modify each other’s attitudes and behaviors. The types of influ-
ence tactics used seem to depend on the amount of different types of power
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 143
possessed, the degree of resistance expected, and the rationale behind the
different influence tactics. Because influence tactics designed to build up
others are generally more successful than those that tear others down,
leadership practitioners should always consider why they are using a par-
ticular influence attempt before they actually use it. By carefully consider-
ing the rationale behind the tactic, leaders may be able to avoid using
pressure and legitimizing tactics and find better ways to influence follow-
ers. Being able to use influence tactics that modify followers’ attitudes and
behaviors in the desired direction while they build up followers’ self-
esteem and self-confidence is a skill all leaders should strive to master.
Key Terms power, 118
influence, 119
influence tactics, 119
pecking order, 121
expert power, 125
referent power, 126
legitimate power, 128
reward power, 129
coercive power, 130
need for power, 135
appeals, 138
consultation, 138
ingratiation, 138
personal appeals, 138
exchange, 138
coalition tactics, 138
pressure tactics, 138
legitimizing tactics, 138
power, 135
socialized power, 135
projective personality
test, 135
motivation to
manage, 136
persuasion, 138
Questions 1. The following questions pertain to the Milgram studies (Highlight 4.2):
a. What bases of power were available to the experimenter, and what
bases of power were available to the subjects?
b. Do you think subjects with a low need for power would act differ-
ently from subjects with a high need for power? What about subjects
with differing levels of the motivation to manage?
c. What situational factors contributed to the experimenter’s power?
d. What influence tactics did the experimenter use to change the
behavior of the subjects, and how were these tactics related to the
experimenter’s power base?
e. What actually was influenced? In other words, if influence is the
change in another’s attitudes, values, or behaviors as the result of an
influence tactic, then what changes occurred in the subjects as the
result of the experimenter’s influence tactics?
f. Many people have criticized the Milgram study on ethical grounds.
Assuming that some socially useful information was gained from the
studies, do you believe this experiment could or should be replicated
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144 Part Two Focus on the Leader
2. Some definitions of leadership exclude reliance on formal authority or
coercion (that is, certain actions by a person in authority may work but
should not be considered leadership). What are the pros and cons of
such a view?
3. Does power, as Lord Acton suggested, tend to corrupt the power
holder? If so, what are some of the ways it happens? Is it also possible
subordinates are corrupted by a superior’s power? How? Is it possible
that superiors can be corrupted by a subordinate’s power?
4. Some people say it dilutes a leader’s authority if subordinates are al-
lowed to give feedback to the leader concerning their perceptions of the
leader’s performance. Do you agree?
5. Is leadership just another word for influence ? Can you think of some ex-
amples of influence that you would not consider leadership?
Activity This activity will demonstrate how the five bases of power are manifest in
behavior. Write the five bases of power on the board or put them on an
overhead. Break students into five groups, and give each group a 3 3 5
card that lists one of the five bases of power. Give the group 10 minutes to
plan and practice a 1-minute skit that will be presented to the rest of the
class. The skit should demonstrate the base of power listed on the 3 3 5
card. After the skit is presented, the remaining groups should guess which
base of power is being used in the skit. As an alternative, you might
choose a project for out-of-class work. Another variation is to assign the
groups the task of finding a 3- to 4-minute segment from a movie or video
representing a base of power and bring that in to the class.
The Prime Minister’s Powerful Better Half
Ho Ching’s power has been recognized by many. As chief executive offi-
cer of Temasek Holdings, she ranked number 18 on a list of Asia’s most
powerful businesspeople and number 24 on the Forbes list of the world’s
most powerful women. How did a shy, Stanford-educated electrical engi-
neer end up with this kind of power? Ho was a government scholar who
started off in civil service and ended up working for the Defense Ministry
in Singapore. There she met and married Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s
current prime minister and the son of Lee Kwan Yew—one of modern
Singapore’s founding fathers. Ho’s experience, education, and connec-
tions led to her appointment as chief executive of Temasek, where she
oversees a portfolio worth over $50 billion and influences many of Singa-
pore’s leading companies.
Temasek Holdings was established in 1974 in an attempt by the Singa-
pore government to drive industrialization. Through Temasek Holdings
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 145
the Singapore government took stakes in a wide range of companies, in-
cluding the city-state’s best-known companies: Singapore Airlines, Singa-
pore Telecommunications, DBS Bank, Neptune Orient Lines, and Keppel
Corp. The company’s Web site describes Temasek’s “humble roots during
a turbulent and uncertain time” and its commitment “to building a vi-
brant future [for Singapore] through successful enterprise.” Ho’s appoint-
ment to Temasek in May 2002 caused some controversy; as prime minister
her husband has a supervisory role over the firm. Ho denies any conflict
of interest:
The issue of conflict does not arise because there are no vested interests.
Our goal is to do what makes sense for Singapore, I don’t always agree
with him (Mr. Lee) and he doesn’t always agree with me. We have a
healthy debate on issues.
In her role as CEO, Ho is pushing for a more open policy and an
aggressive drive into the Asian market. Under Ho’s leadership Temasek
has decided to publicly disclose its annual report with details of its
performance—details that have formerly remained private and been
known only to Temasek executives.
Ho is concentrating on broadening Temasek’s focus beyond Singapore,
most recently opening an office in India. At a recent conference of top In-
dian companies, Ho appealed to investors to look to India for opportuni-
ties for Asian growth:
Since the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the word Asia had lost a bit of its
sparkle. But that sparkle is beginning to return. In the 1960s and 1970s, the
Asia economic miracle referred to East Asia, specifically Japan. The 1970s
and 1980s saw the emergence of the four Asian Tigers of Korea, Taiwan,
Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Now is India’s turn to stir, standing at an inflexion point, after 10 years of
market liberalisation and corporate restructuring. Since 1997, Singapore’s
trade with India grew by 50 percent, or a respectable CAGR of about
7.5 percent. Confidence is brimming in India, and Indian companies began
to reach out boldly to the world over the last five years.
All these waves of development have shown that Asia, with a combined
population of 3 billion, has been resilient. If Asia continues to work hard
and work smart, honing her competitive strengths and leveraging on her
complementary capabilities across borders, the outlook in the next decade
or two looks very promising indeed.
1. We have described power as the capacity to cause change and influence
as the degree of actual change in a target’s behaviors. Ho Ching’s
power as a leader has been recognized by many, but would you de-
scribe Ho Ching as an influential leader? Why?
2. Based on the excerpt from Ho Ching’s speech, what type of tactics does
she use to influence the behavior of others?
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146 Part Two Focus on the Leader
3. Ho Ching has been named one of the most powerful leaders in Asia.
What are her major sources of power?
passListType=Person&uniqueId=OO5O&datatype=Person;;;; common/story_page/0%2C5744%2C10427548%
End Notes 1. N. Hill, “Self-Esteem: The Key to Effective Leadership,” Administrative Man-
agement 40, no. 9 (1985), pp. 71–76.
2 . D. Donno, “Introduction,” in The Prince and Selected Discourses: Machiavelli, ed.
and trans. D. Dunno (New York: Bantam, 1966).
3. J. W. Gardner, On Leadership (New York: Free Press, 1990); J. W. Gardener, The
Tasks of Leadership, Leadership paper no. 2 (Washington, DC: Independent
Sector, 1986).
4. T. R. Hinkin and C. A. Schriesheim, “Development and Application of New
Scales to Measure the French and Raven (1959) Bases of Social Power,” Journal
of Applied Psychology 74 (1989), pp. 561–67.
5. J. M. Burns, Leadership (New York: Harper & Row, 1978).
6. R. J. House, “Power in Organizations: A Social Psychological Perspective,” un-
published manuscript, University of Toronto, 1984.
7. B. M. Bass, Bass and Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership, 3rd ed. (New York: Free
Press, 1990).
8. N. Levina and W. Orlikowski, “Understanding Shifting Power Relations
within and across Organizations,” Academy of Management Journal 52, no. 4
(2009), pp. 672–703.
9. J. Nelson, “Corporate Governance Practices, CEO Characteristics, and Firm
Performance,” Journal of Corporate Finance, 11 (2005), pp. 197–228.
10. D. E. Winkel and B. R. Ragins, “Navigating the Emotional Battlefield: Gender,
Power, and Emotion in Entrepreneurial Relationships,” Academy of Manage-
ment Proceedings (2008), pp. 1–6.
11. Gardner, On Leadership; Gardner, The Tasks of Leadership.
12. Gardner, On Leadership; Gardner, The Tasks of Leadership.
13. C. A. Schriesheim and T. R. Hinkin, “Influence Tactics Used by Subordinates:
A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis and Refinement of the Kipnis, Schmidt,
and Wilkinson Subscales,” Journal of Applied Psychology 75 (1990), pp. 246–57.
14. Bass, Bass and Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership.
15. J. Ehrlichman, Witness to Power (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982).
16. P. R. Wilson, “The Perceptual Distortion of Height as a Function of Ascribed
Academic Status,” Journal of Social Psychology 74 (1968), pp. 97–102.
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Chapter 4 Power and Influence 147
17. R. B. Cialdini, Influence (New York: William Morrow, 1984).
18. L. Bickman, “The Social Power of a Uniform,” Journal of Applied Social Psychol-
ogy (1974), pp. 47–61.
19. M. Mulder, R. D. de Jong, L. Koppelar, and J. Verhage, “Power, Situation, and
Leaders’ Effectiveness: An Organizational Study,” Journal of Applied Psychology
71 (1986), pp. 566–70.
20. J. French and B. H. Raven, “The Bases of Social Power,” in Studies of
Social Power, ed. D. Cartwright (Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social
Research, 1959).
21. French and Raven, “The Bases of Social Power.”
22. Associated Press, January 9, 1991.
23. T. J. Peters and R. H. Waterman, In Search of Excellence (New York: Harper &
Row, 1982).
24. G. Yukl, Leadership in Organizations, 2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
Hall, 1989).
25. E. L. Deci, “Effects of Contingent and Noncontingent Rewards and Controls
on Intrinsic Motivation,” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance 22
(1972), pp. 113–20.
26. E. M. Ryan, V. Mims, and R. Koestner, “Relation of Reward Contingency and
Interpersonal Context to Intrinsic Motivation: A Review and Test Using Cog-
nitive Evaluation Theory,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 45 (1983),
pp. 736–50.
27. M. M. Wakin, “Ethics of Leadership,” in Military Leadership, ed. J. H. Buck and
L. J. Korb (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1981).
28. S. B. Klein, Learning, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1991).
29. F. Barnes, “Mistakes New Presidents Make,” Reader’s Digest, January 1989,
p. 43.
30. F. Conway and J. Siegelman, Snapping (New York: Delta, 1979).
31. G. A. Yukl, Leadership in Organizations, 1st ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
Hall, 1981).
32. Ibid.
33. P. M. Podsakoff and C. A. Schriesheim, “Field Studies of French and Raven’s
Bases of Power: Critique, Reanalysis, and Suggestions for Future Research,”
Psychological Bulletin 97 (1985), pp. 387–411.
34. T. R. Hinkin and C. A. Schriesheim, “Development and Application of New
Scales to Measure the French and Raven (1959) Bases of Social Power,” Journal
of Applied Psychology 74 (1989), pp. 561–67.
35. G. Yukl, Leadership in Organizations, 2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
Hall, 1989).
36. E. P. Hollander and L. R. Offermann, “Power and Leadership in Organiza-
tions,” American Psychologist 45 (1990), pp. 179–89.
37. J. Pfeffer, “The Ambiguity of Leadership,” in Leadership: Where Else Can We Go?
ed. M. W. McCall Jr. and M. M. Lombardo (Durham, NC: Duke University
Press, 1977).
38. D. C. McClelland, Power: The Inner Experience (New York: Irvington, 1975).
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148 Part Two Focus on the Leader
39. D. C. McClelland and R. E. Boyatzis, “Leadership Motive Pattern and Long-Term
Success in Management,” Journal of Applied Psychology 67 (1982), pp. 737–43.
40. M. J. Stahl, “Achievement, Power, and Managerial Motivation: Selecting
Managerial Talent with the Job Choice Exercise,” Personnel Psychology 36
(1983), pp. 775–89.
41. E. Fodor, “Motive Pattern as an Influence on Leadership in Small Groups,”
paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association,
New York, August 1987.
42. D. C. McClelland and R. E. Boyatzis, “Leadership Motive Pattern and
Long-Term Success in Management,” Journal of Applied Psychology 67 (1982),
pp. 737–43.
43. D. C. McClelland, Human Motivation (Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman, 1985).
44. J. B. Miner, “Student Attitudes toward Bureaucratic Role Prescriptions and the
Prospects for Managerial Shortages,” Personnel Psychology 27 (1974), pp. 605–13.
45. J. B. Miner, “Twenty Years of Research on Role Motivation Theory of Manage-
rial Effectiveness,” Personnel Psychology 31 (1978), pp. 739–60.
46. Miner, “Twenty Years of Research.”
47. McClelland and Boyatzis, “Leadership Motive Pattern and Long-Term Success
in Management.”
48. Miner, “Twenty Years of Research.”
49. J. C. Magee and A. D. Galinsky, “Social Hierarchy: The Self-Reinforcing
Nature of Power and Status,” Academy of Management Annals 2, no. 1 (2008),
pp. 351–98.
50. D. C. Treadway, J. W. Breland, J. Cho, J. Yang, and A. B. Duke, “Performance Is
Not Enough: Political Skill in the Longitudinal Performance–Power Relation-
ship,” Academy of Management Proceedings (2009), pp. 1–6.
51. D. Kipnis and S. M. Schmidt, Profiles of Organizational Strategies (San Diego,
CA: University Associates, 1982).
52. G. A. Yukl, R. Lepsinger, and T. Lucia, “Preliminary Report on the Develop-
ment and Validation of the Influence Behavior Questionnaire,” in Impact of
Leadership, ed. K. E. Clark, M. B. Clark, and D. P. Campbell (Greensboro, NC:
Center for Creative Leadership, 1992).
53. D. Kipnis and S. M. Schmidt, “The Language of Persuasion,” Psychology Today
19, no. 4 (1985), pp. 40–46.
54. B. Keys, T. Case, T. Miller, K. E. Curran, and C. Jones, “Lateral Influence
Tactics in Organizations,” International Journal of Management 4 (1987),
pp. 425–37.
55. T. Case, L. Dosier, G. Murkison, and B. Keys, “How Managers Influence Supe-
riors: A Study of Upward Influence Tactics,” Leadership and Organization Devel-
opment Journal 9, no. 4 (1988), pp. 4, 25–31.
56. Case et al., “How Managers Influence Superiors.”
57. D. Kipnis and S. M. Schmidt, “The Language of Persuasion,” Psychology Today
19, no. 4 (1985), pp. 40–46.
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58. S. G. Green, G. T. Fairhurst, and B. K. Snavely, “Chains of Poor Performance
and Supervisory Control,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Pro-
cesses 38 (1986), pp. 7–27.
59. D. Kipnis, “Technology, Power, and Control,” Research in the Sociology of Orga-
nizations 3 (1984a), pp. 125–56.
60. L. Dosier, T. Case, and B. Keys, “How Managers Influence Subordinates: An
Empirical Study of Downward Influence Tactics,” Leadership and Organization
Development Journal 9, no. 5 (1988), pp. 22–31.
Chapter 4 Power and Influence 149
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Chapter 5
Leadership, Ethics,
and Values
In the previous chapter we examined many facets of power and its use in
leadership. Leaders can use power for good or ill, and a leader’s personal
values and ethical code may be among the most important determinants
of how that leader exercises the various sources of power available. That
this aspect of leadership needs closer scrutiny seems evident enough in
the face of the past decade’s wave of scandals involving political, busi-
ness, and even religious leaders who collectively rocked trust in both our
leaders and our institutions. It should be sobering and worrisome that a
serious presidential contender in one of our major parties not only had an
ongoing extramarital affair during the campaign, which he lied about at
the time (including his possible paternity of a child from that affair, later
validated and admitted), but also managed to induce his own staff to
cover it up. We might only wonder about what levels of honesty we could
have expected from that White House had events unfolded differently. In
the face of such depressing headlines about corrupt leadership, it is not
surprising that scholarly and popular literature have turned greater atten-
tion to the question of ethical leadership. 1
Leadership and “Doing the Right Things”
In Chapter 1 we referred to a distinction between leaders and managers
that says leaders do the right things whereas managers do things right.
But what are the “right things”? Are they the morally right things? The
ethically right things? The right things for the company to be successful?
And who says what the right things are?
Leaders face dilemmas that require choices between competing sets of
values and priorities, and the best leaders recognize and face them with a
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 151
commitment to doing what is right, not just what is expedient. Of course
the phrase doing what is right sounds deceptively simple. Sometimes it
takes great moral courage to do what is right, even when the right action
seems clear. At other times, though, leaders face complex challenges that
lack simple black-and-white answers. Whichever the case, leaders set a
moral example to others that becomes the model for an entire group or
organization, for good or bad. Leaders who themselves do not honor truth
do not inspire it in others. Leaders concerned mostly with their own
advancement do not inspire selflessness in others. Leaders should inter-
nalize a strong set of ethics —principles of right conduct or a system of
moral values.
Both Gardner 2 and Burns 3 have stressed the centrality and importance
of the moral dimension of leadership. Gardner said leaders ultimately
must be judged on the basis of a framework of values, not just in terms of
their effectiveness. He put the question of a leader’s relations with his or
her followers or constituents on the moral plane, arguing (with the phi-
losopher Immanuel Kant) that leaders should always treat others as ends
in themselves, not as objects or mere means to the leader’s ends (which
does not necessarily imply that leaders need to be gentle in interpersonal
demeanor or “democratic” in style). Burns took an even more extreme
view regarding the moral dimension of leadership, maintaining that lead-
ers who do not behave ethically do not demonstrate true leadership.
Whatever “true leadership” means, most people would agree that at a
minimum it is characterized by a high degree of trust between leader and
followers. Bennis and Goldsmith 4 described four qualities of leadership
that engender trust: vision, empathy, consistency, and integrity. First, we
tend to trust leaders who create a compelling vision: who pull people to-
gether on the basis of shared beliefs and a common sense of organiza-
tional purpose and belonging. Second, we tend to trust leaders who
demonstrate empathy with us—who show they understand the world as
we see and experience it. Third, we trust leaders who are consistent. This
does not mean that we only trust leaders whose positions never change,
but that changes are understood as a process of evolution in light of rele-
vant new evidence. Fourth, we tend to trust leaders whose integrity is
strong, who demonstrate their commitment to higher principles through
their actions.
Another important factor affecting the degree of trust between leaders
and followers involves fundamental assumptions people make about
human nature. Several decades ago Douglas McGregor 5 explained
different styles of managerial behavior on the basis of people’s implicit
attitudes about human nature, and his work remains quite influential to-
day. McGregor identified two contrasting sets of assumptions people
make about human nature, calling these Theory X and Theory Y .
In the simplest sense, Theory X reflects a more pessimistic view of
others. Managers with this orientation rely heavily on coercive, external
Leadership cannot just
go along to get along . . .
Leadership must meet
the moral challenge of
the day.
Jesse Jackson
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152 Part Two Focus on the Leader
control methods to motivate workers, such as pay, disciplinary tech-
niques, punishments, and threats. They assume people are not naturally
industrious or motivated to work. Hence it is the manager’s job to mini-
mize the harmful effects of workers’ natural laziness and irresponsibility
by closely overseeing their work and creating external incentives to do
well and disincentives to avoid slacking off. Theory Y, on the other hand,
reflects a view that most people are intrinsically motivated by their work.
Rather than needing to be coaxed or coerced to work productively, such
people value a sense of achievement, personal growth, pride in contribut-
ing to their organization, and respect for a job well done. Peter Jackson,
the director of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, seems to exemplify a The-
ory Y view of human nature. When asked, “How do you stand up to ex-
ecutives?” Jackson answered, “Well, I just find that most people appreciate
honesty. I find that if you try not to have any pretensions and you tell the
truth, you talk to them and you treat them as collaborators, I find that
studio people are usually very supportive.”
But are there practical advantages to holding a Theory X or Theory Y
view? Evidently there are. There is evidence that success more frequently
comes to leaders who share a positive view of human nature. Hall and
Donnell 6 reported findings of five separate studies involving over 12,000
managers that explored the relationship between managerial achievement
and attitudes toward subordinates. Overall, they found that managers
who strongly subscribed to Theory X beliefs were far more likely to be in
their lower-achieving group.
The dilemma, of course, is that for the most part both Theory X and
Theory Y leaders would say they have the right beliefs and are doing the
right things. This begs the question of what people generally mean by
“right,” which in turn raises an array of issues involving ethics, moral
reasoning, values, and the influence they have on our behavior.
Values, Ethics, and Morals
Values are “constructs representing generalized behaviors or states of
affairs that are considered by the individual to be important.” 7 When
Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” he was express-
ing the value he placed on political freedom. The opportunity to con-
stantly study and learn may be the fundamental value or “state of affairs”
leading a person to pursue a career in academia. Someone who values
personal integrity may be forced to resign from an unethical company.
Values are learned through the socialization process, and they become
internalized and for most people represent integral components of the
self. 8 Thus values play a central role in one’s overall psychological
makeup and can affect behavior in a variety of situations. In work
settings, values can affect decisions about joining an organization, orga-
nizational commitment, relationships with co-workers, and decisions
about leaving an organization. 9 It is important for leaders to realize that
There is nothing so fast
as the speed of trust.
Stephen Covey
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 153
The Average Self-Rating on “Ethical Behavior” Is Way
above Average
David Campbell is one of the world’s most pro-
lific researchers in the field of leadership. Among
other things, he has authored numerous widely
used surveys to assess various facets of leader-
ship. The following story relates his efforts to de-
velop an ethics scale for the Campbell Leadership
Index (CLI).
In preliminary work on the CLI, it seemed obvi-
ous that ethics was central to the practice of good
leadership and therefore should be one of the
scales on the instrument (the CLI now includes 17
scales, including ambitious, enterprising, consider-
ate, entertaining, organized, and productive). Con-
sequently, in the early versions of the survey
Campbell included adjectives such as ethical, hon-
est, trustworthy, and candid, and negative adjectives
such as deceptive and scheming. As with other CLI
scales, this one was normed so that the average
person would receive a score of 50 on the ethics
scale; obviously some would get higher scores and
some lower scores.
During the CLI testing period, however, a major
problem emerged: almost no one wanted to believe
that he or she was merely average in ethical behav-
ior, let alone below average. To soften the impact of
such feedback, Campbell changed the name of the
scale to “trustworthy” in the hope that this would
retain the meaning but lessen the adverse reaction.
But that change helped little. Eventually Campbell
changed the name of the scale to “credible,” which
is more acceptable and also better captures the rea-
sons why some executives may get low ratings on
the scale despite self-perceptions of scrupulous hon-
esty. The point, though, is not just the value of good
PR, or what’s in a name. Campbell’s challenge in
naming his scale underscores the difficulty of looking
objectively at one’s own behavior, and that, in turn,
makes it difficult to look objectively at factors that
affect ethical behavior.
individuals in the same work unit can have considerably different values,
especially because we cannot see values directly. We can only make infer-
ences about people’s values based on their behavior.
Some of the major values that may be considered important by indi-
viduals in an organization are listed in Table 5.1. The instrumental values
found in Table 5.1 refer to modes of behavior, and the terminal values
refer to desired end states. 10 For example, some individuals value equality,
freedom, and a comfortable life above all else; others may believe that
family security and salvation are important goals. In terms of instrumen-
tal values, such individuals may think it is important always to act in an
People Vary in the
Relative Importance
They Place on
Source: Adapted from
M. Rokeach, The Nature of
Human Values (New York:
Free Press, 1973).
Terminal Values Instrumental Values
An exciting life Being courageous
A sense of accomplishment Being helpful
Family security Being honest
Inner harmony Being imaginative
Social recognition Being logical
Friendship Being responsible
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154 Part Two Focus on the Leader
ambitious, capable, and honest manner, whereas others may think it is
important only to be ambitious and capable. We should add that the in-
strumental and terminal values in Table 5.1 are only a few of those
Rokeach has identified.
It’s logical to wonder, of course, whether someone who values honesty
is therefore a more honest person than one who may claim to value hon-
esty less. To some extent that depends on what we know is an imperfect
relationship between what people say and what people do, but it also
makes salient certain subtle differences among seemingly similar terms.
Let’s begin with ethics and morals—are they really the same thing? To
some extent this depends on whom you ask. Technically speaking, ethics
is a branch of philosophy dealing with principles of right conduct. His-
torically, ethics has focused on the use of reason to find appropriate princi-
ples or rules to govern conduct, whereas morality has dealt more with
how various rules of conduct are applied in actual behavior. Admittedly,
such a distinction between ethics and morality—between the head and
the heart, as it were—may seem artificial to the average person. Even
among philosophers who find it useful to distinguish ethics from moral-
ity, it is still important to admit that in a complex world “both must be
used responsibly for us to be effective ethical actors.” 11 In that pragmatic
spirit, our approach here will be to minimize subtle philosophical distinc-
tions and treat the terms ethics and morals (and ethical and moral reason-
ing) interchangeably.
What about values? Are values also essentially the same thing as ethics
or morals? In answering that question, it’s useful to remember that things
that are valued are not necessarily those things that are valuable. 12 The
question of what is ultimately valuable is at the heart of the discipline of
ethics, which seeks general principles to guide all human conduct, even
while recognizing that how people do act may be a different matter. You
may find it useful to review some of the key distinctions in our own use of
some of these words and phrases in Table 5.2
Are There Generational Differences in Values?
Various researchers have said that the pervasive influence of broad forces
like major historical events and trends, technological changes, and eco-
nomic conditions tends to create common value systems among people
growing up at a particular time that distinguish them from people who
grow up at different times. 13- 15 They attribute much of the misunder-
standing that may exist between older leaders and younger followers to
the fact that their basic value systems were formulated during different
social and cultural conditions, and these analyses offer a helpful perspec-
tive for understanding how differences in values can add tension to the
interaction between some leaders and followers.
Zemke is another researcher who has looked at differences in values
across generations and how those value differences affect their approaches
Glass, china, and repu-
tation are easily crack’d,
and never well mended.
Benjamin Franklin
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 155
to work and leadership. 16 Following is his delineation of four generations
of workers, each molded by distinctive experiences during critical devel-
opmental periods:
The Veterans (1922–1943): Veterans came of age during the Great De-
pression and World War II, and they represent a wealth of lore and
wisdom. They’ve been a stabilizing force in organizations for decades,
even if they are prone to digressions about “the good old days.”
The Baby Boomers (1942–1960): These were the postwar babies who
came of age during violent social protests, experimentation with new
lifestyles, and pervasive questioning of establishment values. But
they’re graying now, and they don’t like to think of themselves as “the
problem” in the workplace even though they sometimes are. Boomers
still have passion about bringing participation, spirit, heart, and hu-
manity to the workplace and office. They’re also concerned about cre-
ating a level playing field for all, but they hold far too many meetings
for the typical Gen Xer.
The Gen Xers (1960–1980): Gen Xers grew up during the era of the
Watergate scandal, the energy crisis, higher divorce rates, MTV, and
corporate downsizing; many were latchkey kids. As a group they tend
to be technologically savvy, independent, and skeptical of institutions
and hierarchy. They are entrepreneurial and they embrace change.
Having seen so many of their parents work long and loyally for one
company only to lose their jobs to downsizing, Xers don’t believe
much in job security; to an Xer, job security comes from having the
kinds of skills that make you attractive to an organization. Hence they
tend to be more committed to their vocation than to any specific orga-
nization. In fact, the free-agency concept born in professional sports
also applies to Xers, who are disposed to stay with an organization
until a better offer comes along. Among the challenges they present at
work is how to meet their need for feedback despite their dislike of
Differentiating Key
Ethics and Morals Ethical and Moral Reasoning Values
The “shoulds” and
“oughts” of life.
Process used to make moral/
ethical decisions.
Focus on “how” rather than
“what” decision reached.
Certain developmental
theories posit that
progressively higher stages
of moral reasoning can be
Do not necessarily
involve morals or
Often determined
significantly by
Beliefs in which
individuals or groups
have an emotional
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156 Part Two Focus on the Leader
close supervision. Xers also seek balance in their lives more than pre-
ceding generations; they work to live rather than live to work.
The Nexters (1980–): Also known as millennials, this is your generation, so
any generalizations we make here are particularly risky! In general,
however, Nexters share an optimism born, perhaps, from having been
raised by parents devoted to the task of bringing their generation to
adulthood; they are the children of soccer moms and Little League dads.
They doubt the wisdom of traditional racial and sexual categorizing—
perhaps not unexpected from a generation rich with opportunities like
having Internet pen pals in Asia with whom they can interact any time
of the day or night.
Some research has looked at how the values of Gen Xers impact the
leadership process at work. One clear finding from this research involved
the distinctively different view of authority held by Xers than previous
generations. “While past generations might have at least acknowledged
positional authority, this new generation has little respect for and less
interest in leaders who are unable to demonstrate that they can person-
ally produce. In other words, this generation doesn’t define leading as
sitting in meetings and making profound vision statements, but instead
as eliminating obstacles and giving employees what they need to work
well and comfortably.” 17 Gen Xers expect managers to “earn their stripes”
and not be rewarded with leadership responsibilities merely because of
seniority. Often that attitude is interpreted as an indication of disrespect
toward elders in general and bosses in particular. It may be more accu-
rate, however, to characterize the attitude as one of skepticism rather
than disrespect. Such skepticism could have arisen from the fact that
Generation X grew up when there were relatively few heroes or leaders it
could call its own. It also might have arisen from growing up in an envi-
ronment of such pervasive marketing that anything smacking of “hype”
is met with suspicion. 18 That skepticism is also evident in the fact that
53 percent of them believe that the soap opera General Hospital will be
around longer than Medicare, and that a majority of them are more likely
to believe in UFOs than that Social Security will last until their retire-
ment. 19 Perhaps you can link some of these presumed characteris-
tics of Gen Xers with some of the formative influences on their lives in
Highlight 5.2.
Lest we overemphasize the significance of intergenerational differ-
ences, however, we should consider the results of a scientific sampling of
over 1,000 people living in the United States that found little evidence of a
generation gap in basic values. Indeed, the director of one of the largest
polling organizations in the world called the results some of the most
powerful he had seen in 30 years of public opinion research. They showed,
he said, that even though young people have different tastes, they do not
have a different set of values than their elders. 20 Considering the weight of
Question authority, but
raise your hand first.
Bob Thaues
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 157
scholarly research on value differences across generations, it’s been said
that the idea of a generational gap in values may be more popular culture
than good social science. 21
Moral and Ethical Reasoning and Action
Until now our discussion has focused primarily on the content of people’s
values—that is, on what people claim to value. Equally important, how-
ever, is the question of how one thinks about value-laden issues, or what
may be called ethical or moral dilemmas. Furthermore, the question of
how people actually act , whatever their espoused values are, is a different
matter still.
Moral reasoning refers to the process leaders use to make decisions
about ethical and unethical behaviors. Moral reasoning does not refer to the
morality of individuals per se, or their espoused values, but rather to the
manner by which they solve moral problems. Values play a key role in the moral
Main Events in the Lives of Gen Xers
A number of historical events over the past three and
a half decades have had significant impacts on the
lives and worldviews of today’s emerging leaders.
1968 Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated
1969 U.S. lands on the moon
1973 Watergate scandal begins
1975 Vietnam war ends
1976 Energy crisis
1979 Iran hostage crisis
1981 Center for Disease Control’s first
published report on AIDS
1981 Reagan assassination attempt
1984 Ozone depletion detected
1984 Extensive corporate downsizing begins
1986 Space shuttle disaster
1986 Chernobyl disaster
1989 Berlin Wall falls
1990 Persian Gulf War
1991 USSR dissolves
2001 Terrorist attacks on World Trade Center
2003 Enron and other corporate scandals
2004 Southeast Asia tsunami kills over 200,000
2008 Election of first African-American presi-
dent in U.S. history
1971 Intel’s first chip developed
1972 First e-mail management program
1974 Videocassette recorder introduced on the
consumer market
1975 Microsoft founded
1975 Personal computer introduced on the
consumer market
1979 First commercial cellular telephone system
1980 CNN begins 24-hour broadcasting
1981 MTV launched
1991 World Wide Web launched
2001 Apple unveils the iPod
2006 You-Tube explodes on scene
2010 Facebook has 500,000,000 users
Source: Initially adapted from B. Baldwin and S. Trovas,
Leadership in Action 21, no. 6 (January/February 2002),
p. 17.
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158 Part Two Focus on the Leader
reasoning process because value differences among individuals often result
in different judgments regarding ethical and unethical behavior. Kohlberg
theorized that people progress through a series of developmental stages in
their moral reasoning. 22 Each stage reflects a more cognitively complex way
of analyzing moral situations than the preceding one, and the sequence of
stages is fixed, or invariant. Moral reasoning is assessed using ethical dilem-
mas such as whether a man would be morally justified in stealing an over-
priced drug to save his dying wife, and an individual’s stage of moral
reasoning is based on the way the answer is explained rather than the particular
answer given. Two individuals, for example, may each argue that the hus-
band was morally wrong to steal the drug—even in those extenuating
circumstances—yet offer qualitatively different reasons for why the action
was wrong. Similarly, two individuals may each argue the husband was mor-
ally justified in stealing the drug, yet offer different reasons for why it was
justifiable. The focus is on the reasoning process rather than on the decision.
That distinction may be clearer if we look in greater detail at different
ways of evaluating the husband’s behavior. Table 5.3 outlines Kohlberg’s
six stages of moral development, as well as how a person at each stage
might evaluate the husband’s behavior. Note that the six stages them-
selves are organized into three higher-order levels: the preconventional
level , in which a person’s criteria for moral behavior are based primarily
on self-interest such as avoiding punishment or being rewarded; the
conventional level , in which the criteria for moral behavior are based pri-
marily on gaining others’ approval and behaving conventionally ; and the post-
conventional level , in which the criteria are based on universal, abstract
principles that may even transcend the laws of a particular society. Finally,
to say moral development progresses in invariant stages does not imply
that all individuals actually achieve the highest stages. Few adults do.
How do you think, in that regard, a political leader at the conventional
level may differ in behavior (such as in the “stands” he or she takes on is-
sues) from one at the postconventional level?
You may find it interesting to reflect on the moral issues raised in Table 5.3.
Obviously, different individuals may have disparate points of view on these
ethical questions. But what actually moves an individual from one level to the
next? In summarizing several decades of research on moral judgment, Rest
highlighted fundamental, dramatic, and extensive changes that occur in
young adulthood (the twenties and thirties) in how people define what is
morally right or wrong. 23 Rest noted that formal education is strongly corre-
lated with these, though no specific academic or personal experiences proved
pivotal. Moral judgment is part of each person’s general personal and social
development, and individuals whose moral judgment develops most are
those who “love to learn, seek new challenges, who enjoy intellectually stim-
ulating environments, who are reflective, who make plans and set goals, who
take risks, and who take responsibility for themselves in the larger social con-
text of history and institutions, and who take responsibility for themselves
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 159
Levels and Stages of
Moral Reasoning
Source: Adapted from
L. Kohlberg, The Psychology
of Moral Development: Essays
on Moral Development. Vol. 2.
(San Francisco: Harper &
Row, 1984).
Descriptions of Stages
Examples of Moral
Reasoning in Support
of Stealing the Drug
Examples of Moral
Reasoning against
Stealing the Drug
Preconventional Level
Stage 1: “Bad” behavior
is that which is punished.
Stage 2: “Good”
behavior is that which
is concretely rewarded.
“If you let your wife die,
you will get in trouble.”
“If you do happen to
get caught, you could
give the drug back and
not get much of a
“If you steal the drug,
you will get in trouble.”
“Even if you were
caught and didn’t get
much of a sentence,
your wife would
probably die while
you were in jail and it
wouldn’t do you much
Conventional Level
Stage 3: “Good”
behavior is that which
is approved by others;
“bad” behavior is that
which is disapproved by
Stage 4: “Good”
behavior conforms
to standards set by
social institutions;
transgressions lead to
feelings of guilt or
“If you don’t steal the
drug, you’ll never be
able to look anyone in
the face again.”
If you have any sense of
honor, you’d do your
duty as a husband and
steal the drug.”
“Everyone would know
you are a thief.”
“If you stole the drug,
however desperate you
felt, you’d never be
able to look at yourself
in the mirror again.”
Postconventional Level
Stage 5: “Good”
behavior conforms to
community standards
set through democratic
participation; concern
with maintaining self-
respect and the respect
of equals.
Stage 6: “Good”
behavior is a matter of
individual conscience
based on responsibly
chosen commitments
to ethical principles.
“If you don’t steal the
drug you’d lose your
own respect and
everyone else’s too.”
“If you didn’t steal
it, you might have
satisfied the letter of the
law, but you wouldn’t
have lived up to your
own standards of
“We’ve all agreed to live
by common rules, and
any form of stealing
breaks that bond.”
“Maybe others would
have approved of your
behavior, but stealing
the drug would still
have violated your
own conscience and
standards of honesty.”
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160 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Gandhi was one of the great leaders in world history.
No less an intellect than Albert Einstein wrote this
about him: “Generations to come, it may be, will
scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and
blood walked upon this earth.” Viscount Louis Mount-
batten, the last Viceroy of India, compared him to the
Buddha and to Christ. As a young journalist, William
L. Shirer chronicled Gandhi’s rebellion against British
colonialism in India and described his first meeting
with Gandhi. In reading it here, think about what as-
pects of Gandhi’s personality, behavior, vision, and
values made him so charismatic a leader.
Gandhi was squatting on the floor in the corner of
the verandah, spinning. He greeted me warmly,
with a smile that lit up his face and made his lively
eyes twinkle. The welcome was so disarming, his
manner so friendly and radiant, that my nervous-
ness evaporated before I could say a word. . . .
As our talk began I tried to take in not only what
Gandhi was saying but how he looked. I had seen
many photographs of him, but I was nevertheless
somewhat surprised at his actual appearance. His
face at first glance did not convey at all the stature
of the man, his obvious greatness. It was not one
you would have especially noticed in a crowd. It
struck me as not ugly, as some had said—indeed it
radiated a certain beauty—but it was not uncom-
mon either. Age—he was 61—and fasting, and
Indian sun and the strain of years in prison, of long,
hard, nervous work, had obviously taken their toll,
turned the nose down, widened it at the nostrils,
sunk in his mouth just a little so that the lower lip
protruded, and teeth were missing—I could see
only two. His hair was closely cropped, giving an
effect of baldness. His large ears spread out, rabbit-
like. His gray eyes lit up and sharpened when they
peered at you through his steel-rimmed spectacles
and then they softened when he lapsed, as he fre-
quently did, into a mood of almost puckish humor.
I was almost taken aback by the gaiety in them.
This was a man inwardly secure, who, despite the
burdens he carried, the hardships he had endured,
could chuckle at man’s foibles, including his own.
He seemed terribly frail, all skin and bones,
though I knew that this appearance was decep-
tive, for he kept to a frugal but carefully planned
diet that kept him fit, and for exercise he walked
four or five miles each morning at a pace so brisk,
as I would learn later when he invited me to ac-
company him, that I, at 27 and in fair shape from
skiing and hiking in the Alps below Vienna, could
scarcely keep up. Over his skin and bones was a
loosely wrapped dhoti, and in the chilliness of a
north Indian winter he draped a coarsely spun
white shawl over his bony shoulders. His skinny
legs were bare, his feet in wooden sandals.
As he began to talk, his voice seemed high-
pitched, but his words were spoken slowly and
deliberately and with emphasis when he seemed
intent on stressing a point, and gradually, as he
warmed up, the tone lowered. His slightly ac-
cented English flowed rhythmically, like a poet’s at
times, and always, except for an occasional home-
spun cliché, it was concise, homely, forceful.
For so towering a figure, his humble manner at
first almost disconcerted me. Most of the political
greats I had brushed up against in Europe and at
home had seemed intent on impressing you with
the forcefulness of their personalities and the bold-
ness of their minds, not being bashful at all in hid-
ing their immense egos. But here was the most
gentle and unassuming of men, speaking softly and
kindly, without egotism, without the slightest pre-
tense of trying to impress his rather awed listener.
How could so humble a man, I wondered, spin-
ning away with his nimble fingers on a crude wheel
as he talked, have begun almost single-handedly
to rock the foundations of the British Empire,
aroused a third of a billion people to rebellion
against foreign rule, and taught them the tech-
nique of a new revolutionary method—nonviolent
civil disobedience—against which Western guns
and Eastern lathis were proving of not much worth?
That was what I had come to India to find out.
Source: Reprinted with the permission of Simon & Schuster,
Inc. from GANDHI by William L. Shirer. Copyright © 1979
William L. Shirer.
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 161
and their environs.” At the same time, deliberate curricular attempts to affect
moral judgment have been shown to be effective.
Interestingly, this does not necessarily mean that making moral or ethical
judgments is an entirely rational process. While most people believe they
behave ethically, there is considerable reason to believe that they are consid-
erably more biased than they believe and that their actions fall short of their
self-perceptions of ethical purity. Several unconscious biases affect our
moral judgments, and paradoxically, the more strongly one believes that
she is an ethical manager, the more one may fall victim to these biases. 24
Research has identified four particular biases that can have a pervasive
and corrosive effect on our moral decision making. One of these is implicit
prejudice. Although most people purport to judge others by their merits,
research shows that implicit prejudice often distorts their judgments. The
insidious nature of implicit prejudice lies in the fact that one is by nature
unconscious of it. When one is queried, for example, about whether one
harbors prejudice against, say, Eskimos, one answers based on one’s self-
awareness of such attitudes. Some people are overtly racist or sexist, but of-
fensive as such prejudice may be, it is at least something known to the person.
In the case of implicit prejudice, however, people are unaware that their judg-
ments about some group are systematically biased without their awareness .
This has been documented in a fascinating series of experimental studies
designed to detect unconscious bias. 25 These studies require people to rapidly
classify words or images as “good” or “bad.” Using a keyboard, individuals
make split-second classifications of words like “love,” “joy,” “pain,” and
“sorrow.” At the same time, they sort images of faces that are black or white,
What are Critical Elements of Developing Ethical Leadership?
Howard Prince and his associates have developed
an impressive and comprehensive proposal for ethi-
cal leadership development at the undergraduate
level. Here is a summary of what they view as criti-
cal elements of such a program:
• Knowledge of leadership and ethics to provide a
conceptual framework for understanding the
practice of ethical leadership.
• Opportunities to practice leadership roles requir-
ing collective action where the learner has some
responsibility for outcomes that matter to others.
• Opportunities to study, observe, and interact
with leaders, especially those who have demon-
strated moral courage.
• Formal and informal assessment of the efforts of
those learning to lead ethically.
• Feedback to the learner, and opportunities for
the learner to reflect on that feedback.
• Strengthening the learner’s personal ethics and
core values.
• Inspiring students to think of themselves as
leaders and to accept leadership roles and re-
sponsibilities, including students who had not
previously thought of themselves as leaders.
Source: H. T. Prince, G .R. Tumlin, and S. L. Connaughton,
“An Interdisciplinary Major in Ethical Leadership Studies:
Rationale, Challenges, and Template for Building an
Adaptable Program,” International Leadership Journal ,
2009, pp. 91–128.
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162 Part Two Focus on the Leader
young or old, fat or thin (depending on the type of bias being examined). The
critical results indicating implicit prejudice involve subtle shifts in reaction
time in associating a particular image (such as a black face) with “good”
words. People who consciously believe they have no prejudice or negative
feelings about particular groups, say black Americans or the elderly, are none-
theless systematically slower in associating “good” words with those faces
than they are in associating white or young faces with them.
Another bias that affects moral decision making is in-group favoritism.
Most of us can readily point to numerous favors and acts of kindness
we’ve shown toward others, and we understandably regard such acts as
indicators of our own generosity and kindly spirit. If the whole pattern of
one’s generous acts were examined, however, ranging from things like job
recommendations to help on a project, there is typically a clear pattern to
those whom we’ve helped: most of the time they’re “like us.” This may
not seem surprising, but one needs to consider who’s not being helped:
people “not like us.” In other words, when we may make an exception
favoring an “on the bubble” job applicant who is “like us,” and fail to
make such an exception for an identical candidate who is “not like us,”
we have effectively discriminated against the latter. 26
Overclaiming credit is yet another way we may fool ourselves about
the moral virtue of our own decision making. In many kinds of ways we
tend to overrate the quality of our own work and our contributions to the
groups and teams we belong to. 27 This has been widely documented, but
one of the most telling studies was a 2007 poll of 2,000 executives and
middle managers conducted by BusinessWeek magazine. One question in
that poll asked respondents, “Are you one of the top 10 percent perform-
ers in your company?” If people were objective in rating themselves, pre-
sumably 10 percent would have placed themselves in the top 10 percent.
But that’s not what the results showed. Overall, 90 percent of the respon-
dents placed themselves in the top 10 percent of performers! 28
Finally, our ethical judgments are adversely impacted by conflicts of
interest. Sometimes, of course, we may be conscious of a potential conflict
of interest, as when you benefit from a recommendation to someone else
(such as getting a sales commission for something that may not be in the
consumer’s best interest). Even then, though, we misjudge our own abil-
ity to discount the extent to which the conflict actually biases our percep-
tion of the situation in our own favor. 29
Other research strikes even more fundamentally at the idea that progress
in understanding ethical behavior and increasing its likelihood or preva-
lence can adequately be based on a purely rational or reasoning-based
approach. 30 The nature of human information processing at the cognitive
and neurological levels inherently involves nonconscious processes of as-
sociation and judgment. In an earlier paragraph we introduced the term
implicit prejudice, but the word implicit should not itself be deemed undesir-
able. Some of the most impressive—and distinctly human— aspects of our
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 163
thinking are inherently tacit or implicit. For example, one line of study sug-
gests that in making moral judgments people often follow something more
like scripts than any formal and rational process of ethical reasoning. Be-
havioral scripts from one’s religious tradition (such as the Good Samaritan
story) may be subconsciously triggered and lead to ethical behavior with-
out explicit moral reasoning. 31 Some go so far as to say that “moral reason-
ing is rarely the direct cause of ethical judgment.” 32 While that kind of
perspective initially may seem to represent a pessimistic outlook on the
possibility of truly improving ethical conduct, the reality is not so gloomy.
Advocates of this view recognize that constructive things can be done to
enhance ethical decision making. They also propose that a more complete
answer lies not only in enhancing ethical and moral reasoning but also in
approaches that enhance people’s awareness of their ways of construing or
constructing moral dimensions of any situation.
As noted earlier, just because we profess certain values or moral codes
does not ensure we will act that way when confronted with situations that
engage them. It should be no surprise that in general when people are
confronted with situations they’ve never faced before, their behavior may
be different than they might have predicted. Unexpected natural disasters
or threatening engagements with ill-willed people easily come to mind as
situations where our own behavior can surprise us. But it’s also true that
we don’t always behave as ethically as we think we would in morally
demanding situations.
Social psychologist Ryan Brown has studied how accurately people can
forecast their own ethical behavior, and found that while their predictions
were generally consistent with their personal values, their actual behavior
often was not. The general design of these experiments placed individuals
in situations where they could choose to behave rather selflessly or
somewhat more selfishly. A typical situation required the individual to
choose between one of two sets of anagrams to complete (ostensibly as
part of a study having a different purpose): either a short set of anagrams
that would take only about 10 minutes to complete, or a longer set that
would take about 45 minutes to complete. Whichever set the subject did
not select presumably would be given to another soon-to-arrive experi-
mental subject. As it turned out, 65 percent of the participants acted self-
ishly, selecting the easier task for themselves. Maybe you’re saying to
yourself, “Well, of course . . . you’d be crazy not to choose the easier one
for yourself if given the chance to get the same credit for it.” Perhaps, but
only 35 percent predicted that they would make a selfish choice. It seems
that when we are asked to forecast our behavior, we take our actual
personal values into account. But the results of these studies also make a
persuasive case that our personal values represent how we think we
ought to act rather than how we often actually do act. 33
These results should give us some pause when, in the face of unethical
behavior by others, we feel confident that we would have acted differently
So near is a falsehood to
truth that a wise man
would do well not to
trust himself on the
narrow edge.
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164 Part Two Focus on the Leader
facing the same situation. Such apparent overconfidence seems to be caused
by the bias of idealizing our own behavior, and this bias, ironically, may
leave us ill-prepared to make the most ethical choices when we actually
confront ethically challenging situations. Being aware of this bias is a good
first step in avoiding the same trap. 34
It also helps to recognize that ethical decision making (and ethical leader-
ship more generally) is not typically a matter of choosing the right action
over the wrong one. A far more common and challenging situation involves
choosing between two “rights,” or what are often called ethical dilemmas.
Rushworth Kidder has identified four ethical dilemmas that are so common
to our experience that they serve as models or paradigms: 35
• Truth versus loyalty, such as honestly answering a question when doing
so could compromise a real or implied promise of confidentiality to others.
• Individual versus community, such as whether you should protect the
confidentiality of someone’s medical condition when the condition
itself may pose threat to the larger community.
What Would You Do?
Here are several situations in which values play a
large part in determining your response. How
would you act in each one, and by what principles
or reasoning process do you reach each decision?
• Would you vote for a political candidate who was
honest and competent and agreed with you on
most issues if you also knew that person was alco-
holic, sexually promiscuous, and twice divorced?
• Assume that as a teenager you smoked mari-
juana once or twice, but that was years ago.
Would you answer truthfully on an employment
questionnaire if it asked whether you had ever
used marijuana?
• Your military unit has been ambushed by enemy
soldiers and suffered heavy casualties. Several of
your soldiers have been captured, but you also
captured one of the enemy soldiers. Would you
torture the captured enemy soldier if that were the
only way of saving the lives of your own soldiers?
• Terrorists have captured a planeload of tourists
and have threatened to kill them unless ransom
demands are met. You believe that meeting the
ransom demands is likely to lead to the safe
release of those passengers, but also likely to
inspire future terrorist acts. Would you meet the
terrorists’ demands (and probably save the hos-
tages) or refuse to meet the terrorists’ demands
(and reduce the likelihood of future incidents)?
• If you were an elementary school principal,
would you feel it was part of your school’s re-
sponsibility to teach moral values, or only aca-
demic subject matter?
• Assume that you have been elected to your state’s
legislature and that you are about to cast the de-
ciding vote in determining whether abortions will
be legally available to women in your state. What
would you do if your own strong personal convic-
tions on this issue were contrary to the views of
the majority of the people you represent?
Because responses to these various scenarios de-
pend largely on one’s values, it should be clear that
in dealing with value-laden issues leaders must
keep in mind that their own sentiments may not
always prove a wise guide for action.
Source: Adapted from G. Stock, The Book of Questions:
Business, Politics, and Ethics (New York: Workman
Publishing, 1991).
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 165
• Short-term versus long-term, such as how a parent chooses to balance
spending time with children now as compared with investments in
career that may provide greater benefits for the family in the long run.
• Justice versus mercy, such as deciding whether to excuse a person’s
misbehavior because of extenuating circumstances or a conviction that
he or she has “learned a lesson.”
Kidder offers three principles for resolving ethical dilemmas like these:
ends-based thinking, rule-based thinking, and care-based thinking. Ends-
based thinking is often characterized as “do what’s best for the greatest
number of people.” It is also known as utilitarianism in philosophy, and
it’s premised on the idea that right and wrong are best determined by
considering the consequences or results of an action. Critics of this view
argue that it’s almost impossible to foresee all the consequences of one’s
personal behavior, let alone the consequences of collective action like
policy decisions affecting society more broadly. Even if outcomes could be
known, however, there are other problems with this approach. For example,
would this view ethically justify the deaths of dozens of infants in medical
research if the result might save thousands of others?
Rule-based thinking is consistent with Kantian philosophy and can be
colloquially characterized as “following the highest principle or duty.”
This is determined not by any projection of what the results of an act may
be but rather by determining the kinds of standards everyone should
uphold all the time, whatever the situation. In Kant’s words, “I ought
never to act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim
should become a universal law.” Lofty as the principle may sound,
though, it could paradoxically minimize the role that human judgment
plays in ethical decision making by consigning all acts to a rigid and
mindless commitment to rules absent consideration of the specific context
of a decision (“If I let you do this, then I’d have to let everyone do it”).
Care-based thinking describes what many think of as the Golden Rule
of conduct common in some form to many of the world’s religions: “Do
what you want others to do to you.” In essence, this approach applies the
criterion of reversibility in determining the rightness of actions. We are
asked to contemplate proposed behavior as if we were the object rather
than the agent, and to consult our feelings as a guide in determining the
best course.
It’s important to emphasize that Kidder does not suggest that any one
of these principles is always best. Rather, he proposes that it would be a
wise practice when considering the rightness of an action to invoke them all
and reach a decision only after applying each to the specific circumstances
one is facing and weighing the collective analyses. In other words, one
principle may provide wise guidance in one situation whereas a different
one may seem most helpful in a different one. There can be such critical
yet subtle differences across situations that all three principles should be
tentatively applied before any final course of action is chosen.
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166 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Why Do Good People Do Bad Things?
An important aspect of ethical conduct involves the mental gymnastics by
which people can dissociate their moral thinking from their actions. One’s
ability to reason about hypothetical moral issues, after all, does not ensure
that one will act morally. Furthermore, one’s moral actions may not al-
ways be consistent with one’s espoused values. Bandura, in particular,
has pointed out several ways people with firm moral principles nonethe-
less may behave badly without feeling guilt or remorse over their behav-
ior. We should look at each of these. 36,37
Moral justification involves reinterpreting otherwise immoral behav-
ior in terms of a higher purpose. This is most dramatically revealed in the
behavior of combatants in war. Moral reconstruction of killing is dramati-
cally illustrated by the case of Sergeant York, one of the phenomenal fight-
ers in the history of modern warfare. Because of his deep religious
convictions, Sergeant York registered as a conscientious objector, but his nu-
merous appeals were denied. At camp, his battalion commander quoted
chapter and verse from the Bible to persuade him that under appropriate
conditions it was Christian to fight and kill. A marathon mountainside
prayer finally convinced him that he could serve both God and country by
becoming a dedicated fighter. 38
Another way to dissociate behavior from one’s espoused moral princi-
ples is through euphemistic labeling. This involves using cosmetic words
to defuse or disguise the offensiveness of otherwise morally repugnant or
Ask Yourself These Questions
An important foundation of behaving ethically at
work is to become more self-conscious of one’s
own ethical standards and practices. The National
Institute of Ethics uses the following questions in
its self-evaluation to facilitate that kind of self-
• How do I decide ethical dilemmas?
• Do I have set ethical beliefs or standards?
• If so, do I live by these beliefs or standards?
• How often have I done something that I am
ashamed of?
• How often have I done things that I am proud of?
• Do I admit my mistakes?
• What do I do to correct mistakes that I make?
• Do I often put the well-being of others ahead
of mine?
• Do I follow the Golden Rule?
• Am I honest?
• Do people respect my integrity?
• What are the three best things that have ever
happened to me?
• What is the most dishonest thing I have ever
• Did I ever rectify the situation?
• What is the most honest thing I have ever done?
All leaders should regularly ask themselves ques-
tions like these.
Source: From N. Trautman, Integrity Leadership, Director,
National Institute of Ethics,
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 167
distasteful behavior. Terrorists, for example, may call themselves “free-
dom fighters,” and firing someone may be referred to as “letting him or
her go.” Advantageous comparison lets one avoid self-contempt for one’s
behavior by comparing it to even more heinous behavior by others. (“If
you think we’re insensitive to subordinates’ needs, you should see what
it’s like working for Acme.”)
Through displacement of responsibility people may violate personal
moral standards by attributing responsibility to others. Nazi concentra-
tion camp guards, for example, attempted to avoid moral responsibility
for their behavior by claiming they were merely carrying out orders. A
related mechanism is diffusion of responsibility, whereby reprehensible
behavior becomes easier to engage in and live with if others are behaving
the same way. When everyone is responsible, it seems, no one is respon-
sible. This way of minimizing individual moral responsibility for collec-
tive action can be a negative effect of group decision making. Through
disregard or distortion of consequences, people minimize the harm
caused by their behavior. This can be a problem in bureaucracies when
decision makers are relatively insulated by their position from directly
observing the consequences of their decisions. Dehumanization is still
another way of avoiding the moral consequences of one’s behavior. It is
easier to treat others badly when they are dehumanized, as evidenced in
epithets like “gooks” or “Satan-worshippers.” Finally, people sometimes
try to justify immoral behavior by claiming it was caused by someone
else’s actions. This is known as attribution of blame.
How widespread are such methods of minimizing personal moral re-
sponsibility? When people behave badly, Bandura said, it is not typically
because of a basic character flaw; rather, it is because they use methods
like these to construe their behavior in a self-protective way. 39
Darley suggested still another way people justify seemingly unethical
conduct, and his observations illuminate certain common leadership prac-
tices. He said that ethical problems are almost inherent in systems de-
signed to measure performance: 40
The more any quantitative performance measure is used to determine a
group’s or an individual’s rewards and punishments, the more subject it
will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and
corrupt the action patterns and thoughts of the group or individual it is
intended to monitor. . . . The criterial control system unleashes enormous
human ingenuity. People will maximize the criteria set. However, they may
do so in ways that are not anticipated by the criterion setters, in ways that
destroy the validity of the criteria. The people “make their numbers” but
the numbers no longer mean what you thought they did. 41
Three general problems can arise when performance measurement sys-
tems are put in place. A person might cheat on the measurement system
by exploiting its weaknesses either in hopes of advancement or through
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168 Part Two Focus on the Leader
fear of falling behind. Even with the best will in the world, a person might
act in a way that optimizes his or her performance measurements without
realizing that this outcome was not what the system intended. Finally, a
person may have the best interests of the system in mind and yet manipu-
late the performance measurement system to allow continuation of the
actions that best fulfill his or her reading of the system goals. One major
disadvantage of this particular approach is that it “takes underground”
constructive dialogue about system goals or modifications in system
What, ethically, should one do when one is part of a performance mea-
surement system? Darley suggested “that the time for the individual to
raise the moral issue is when he or she feels the pressure to substitute ac-
countability for morality, to act wrongly, because that is what the system
requires. And that intervention might then be directed at the system, by
honorably protesting its design.” 42 For those who are governed by a per-
formance measurement system, a constant moral vigilance is necessary—
and it is needed most of all by those in leadership positions.
David Halberstam described another organization in which the “num-
bers game” had a corrupting effect. 43 In this case it was Ford Motor Com-
pany. In the eyes of those who worked in Ford plants around the country
in the 1950s, Detroit “number crunchers” like Robert McNamara (later a
secretary of defense during the Vietnam War) did not want to know the
truth. McNamara and his people in Detroit kept making liberal agree-
ments with the unions and at the same time setting higher and higher
levels of production while always demanding increased quality. They
talked about quality, but they did not give the plant managers the means
for quality; what they really wanted was production. So the plant managers
gave them what they wanted, numbers, while playing lip service to quality.
Years later in Vietnam, some American officers, knowing McNamara’s
love of numbers, cleverly juggled the numbers and played games with
body counts to make a stalemated war look more successful than it was.
They did this not because they were dishonest but because they thought if
Washington really wanted the truth it would have sought the truth in an
honest way. In doing so they were the spiritual descendants of the Ford
factory managers of the 1950s.
Ethics and Values-Based Approaches to Leadership
Can you be a good leader without being a good person? Does it make any
sense to say, for example, that Hitler was an effective leader even if he was
an evil person? In that sense, while some might consider the phrase ethical
leadership to be redundant, Avolio and his associates have defined ethical
leadership as having two core components: the moral person and the
moral manager . 44 The moral person is seen as a principled decision maker
Beware of the man who
had no regard for his
own reputation, since it
is not likely he should
have any for yours.
George Shelley
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 169
who cares about people and the broader society. 45 The actions of such peo-
ple indicate they try to do the right things personally and professionally,
and they can be characterized as honest, fair, and open. In addition, ethi-
cal leaders have clear ethical standards that they pursue in the face of
pressure to do otherwise. More than being just moral people, ethical lead-
ers are moral managers who “make ethics an explicit part of their leader-
ship agenda by communicating an ethics and values message, by visibly
and intentionally role modeling ethical behavior.” 46 In recent years there
has been a rekindling of interest in approaches to leadership that are in-
herently and explicitly based on the interdependence between effective
leadership and certain value systems. This is in bold contrast to decades
of tradition in the social sciences of being self-consciously “values-free” in
pursuit of objectivity. Two prominent approaches in this movement are
described in greater detail here.
Authentic leadership is grounded in the principle found in the familiar
adage from Greek philosophy, “to thine own self be true.” Authentic leaders
exhibit a consistency between their values, their beliefs, and their actions. 47
The roots of authentic leadership are also in various expressions of the
humanistic movement in psychology including Maslow’s theory of self-
actualization (see Chapter 9) and Carl Rogers’s concept of the fully function-
ing person. 48 Central to both of these is the idea that individuals can develop
modes of understanding and interacting with their social environments so as
to become more truly independent of others’ expectations of them (individ-
ual, group, and cultural) and guided more by the dictates of universal truths
and imperatives. Such individuals manifest congruence between how they
feel on the inside and how they act, between what they say and what they
do. They have realistic self-perceptions, free from the blind spots and misper-
ceptions of self that are common to most people. At the same time, they are
accepting of themselves, their nature, and that of others too.
Authentic leaders have strong ethical convictions that guide their be-
havior not so much to avoid doing “wrong” things as to always try to do
the “right” things, including treating others with respect and dignity. They
know where they stand on fundamental values and key issues. Authentic
leaders behave as they do because of personal conviction rather than to at-
tain status, rewards, or other advantages. As Avolio puts it, authentic lead-
ers both are self-aware and self-consciously align their actions with their
inner values. 49 He points out that such authenticity is not just something
you either “have or don’t have.” Authenticity as a leader is something that
you must always be striving to enhance. It requires regularly identifying
with your best self, checking in with your core values concerning your
leadership agendas and operating practices, and verifying that your ac-
tions are aligned with the highest ethical and moral principles you hold.
In this way, practicing authentic leadership becomes taking actions that
serve high moral principles concerning relationships, social responsibili-
ties, and performance standards. 50
The most important
thing in acting is hon-
esty. Once you’ve
learned to fake that,
you’re in.
Samuel Goldwyn,
early film producer
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170 Part Two Focus on the Leader
One way to understand authentic leadership is to contrast it with what
might be called inauthentic leadership. If you think of a leader who “plays
a role,” or puts on different acts with different audiences to manage their
impressions, that is being inauthentic. For example, two detectives play-
ing the roles of “good cop” and “bad cop” when interviewing a suspect
are being inauthentic (you may believe that it makes sense for them to do
so, but it’s inauthentic nonetheless). A boss who exaggerates his anger at
an employee’s mistake to “teach a lesson” is being inauthentic. A leader
who denies that her feelings were affected by critical feedback from her
direct reports is being inauthentic.
The study of authentic leadership has gained momentum recently be-
cause of beliefs that (1) enhancing self-awareness can help people in orga-
nizations find more meaning and connection at work; (2) promoting
transparency and openness in relationships—even between leader and
followers—builds trust and commitment; and (3) fostering more inclusive
structures and practices in organizations can help build more positive
ethical climates. 51 In contrast to stereotypical notions of the stoic “hero
leader” who shows no weakness and shares no feelings, authentic leaders
are willing to be viewed as vulnerable by their followers—a vital compo-
nent of building a trusting leader–follower relationship. Equally impor-
tant to building trust is a leader’s willingness to be transparent—in
essence, to say what she means and mean what she says. 52
Servant leadership has since 1970 described a quite different approach
to leadership than that derived from a bureaucratic and mechanistic view
of organizations wherein workers are thought of as mere cogs in a ma-
chine. In the latter, the leader’s primary role may be understood as doing
whatever it takes to ensure that things run smoothly, tasks are performed,
and goals are met. This has commonly involved a hierarchical approach to
leadership. From the contrasting perspective of servant leadership, the
leader’s role is literally to serve others.
The modern idea of servant leadership was developed and popular-
ized by Robert Greenleaf after he read a short novel by Herman Hesse
called Journey to the East . 53, 54 This is the mythical story of a group of people
on a spiritual quest. Accompanying the party is a servant by the name of
Leo, whose nurturing character sustained the group on its journey until
one day he disappeared. The group fell apart and abandoned its quest
when it realized that it was helpless without its servant. Finally, after
many years of continued searching, the story’s narrator found the reli-
gious order that had sponsored the original quest. It turned out that Leo,
whom the narrator had only known as a servant, was actually the order’s
revered leader. To Greenleaf, this story meant that true leadership emerges
when one’s primary motivation is to help others.
The idea of servant leadership, of course, has been around for thou-
sands of years. It stems at least in part from the teachings of Jesus, who in-
structed his disciples that servanthood is the essence of worthy leadership
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 171
(such as through the example of him washing their feet). Ten characteristics
are often associated with servant leaders. As you’ll see, most of them also
seem in line with the idea of authentic leadership just described: 55
• Listening: While all leaders need to communicate effectively, the focus
is often on communicating to others; but servant leadership puts the
emphasis on listening effectively to others.
• Empathy: Servant leaders need to understand others’ feelings and
• Healing: Servant leaders help foster each person’s emotional and spiri-
tual health and wholeness.
• Awareness: Servant leaders understand their own values, feelings,
strengths, and weaknesses.
• Persuasion: Rather than relying on positional authority, servant leaders
influence others through their persuasiveness.
• Conceptualization: Servant leaders need to integrate present realities and
future possibilities.
• Foresight: Servant leaders need to have a well-developed sense of intu-
ition about how the past, present, and future are connected.
• Stewardship: Servant leaders are stewards who hold an organization’s
resources in trust for the greater good.
• Commitment to others’ growth: The ultimate test of a servant leader’s
work is whether those served develop toward being more responsible,
caring, and competent individuals.
• Building community: Such individual growth and development is most
likely to happen when one is part of a supportive community. Unfortu-
nately numerous factors like geographic mobility and the general im-
personalism of large organizations have eroded people’s sense of
community. Thus it is the servant leader’s role to help create a sense of
community among people.
Not surprisingly, the concept of servant leadership has detractors as
well as adherents. The most common criticism is that although the idea of
servant leadership has a certain popular appeal in what we might call its
“soft” form (for example, leaders should be more concerned about others’
well-being and development, should create a more developmental climate
in their organizations, and should seek what’s good for the whole organi-
zation rather than just their own advancement), when taken more literally
and extremely the concept seems to suggest that serving others is an end
in itself rather than a means to other organizational goals and purposes.
That version strikes many as impractical even if laudable.
A recent scholarly review of the theory of servant leadership noted an
almost irreconcilable conflict between the ideas of servant leadership and
the inherent realities of organizational life: Servant leaders develop
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172 Part Two Focus on the Leader
people, helping them to strive and flourish. Servant leaders want those
they serve to become healthier, wiser, freer, and more autonomous. Ser-
vant leaders serve followers. But managers are hired to contribute to orga-
nizational goal attainment. These goals can be attained only by having
subordinates (not followers) solving tasks that lead to productivity and
effectiveness. 56
A man who embodied some of the most central qualities of both authentic
leadership and servant leadership is featured in Profiles in Leadership 5.1.
The Roles of Ethics and Values in Organizational Leadership
Just as individuals possess a set of personal values, so too do organiza-
tions have dominant values. Many times these values are featured promi-
nently in the company’s annual report, Web site, and posters. These values
represent the principles by which employees are to get work done and
treat other employees, customers, and vendors. Whether these stated val-
ues represent true operating principles or so much “spin” for potential
investors will depend on the degree of alignment between the organiza-
tion’s stated values and the collective values of top leadership. 57, 58 For
example, many corporate value statements say little about making money,
but this is the key organizational priority for most business leaders, and as
such is a major factor in many company decisions. There is often a signifi-
cant gap between a company’s stated values and the way the company
truly operates. Knowing the values of top leadership can sometimes tell
you more about how an organization actually operates than will the orga-
nization’s stated values. Two ancient and contrasting sets of values are
described in Highlight 5.6.
In any organization, the top leadership’s collective values play a sig-
nificant role in determining the dominant values throughout the organi-
zation, just as an individual leader’s values play a significant role in
determining team climate. Related to the notion of culture and climate is
employee “fit.” Research has shown that employees with values similar to
the organization or team are more satisfied and likely to stay; those with
dissimilar values are more likely to leave. 59, 60 Thus one reason why lead-
ers fail is not due to a lack of competence but rather is due to a misalign-
ment between personal and organizational values. Although the
advantages of alignment between personal and organizational values
may seem self-evident, leaders with dissimilar values may be exactly what
some organizations need to drive change and become more effective.
Finally, values are often a key factor in both intrapersonal and interper-
sonal conflict. Many of the most difficult decisions made by leaders are
choices between opposing values. A leader who valued both financial
reward and helping others, for example, would probably struggle mightily
when having to make a decision about cutting jobs to improve profitability.
Subordinates cannot be
left to speculate as to the
values of the organiza-
tion. Top leadership
must give forth clear
and explicit signals, lest
any confusion or uncer-
tainty exist over what is
and is not permissible
conduct. To do other-
wise allows informal
and potentially subver-
sive “codes of conduct”
to be transmitted with
a wink and a nod, and
encourages an inferior
ethical system based on
“going along to get
along” or the notion
that “everybody’s
doing it.”
former U.S.
attorney general
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 173
A leader who highly valued financial reward and did not strongly value
helping others (or vice versa) would have much less trouble making the
same decision. Likewise, some leaders would have difficulties making de-
cisions if friendships get in the way of making an impact, or when taking
risks to gain visibility runs counter to maintaining comfortable levels of
stability in a team or organization. Values also play a key role in conflict
between groups. The differences between Bill O’Reilly and Al Franken,
the  Israelis and Palestinians, the Shiite and Sunni Muslims in Iraq, the
Muslims and Hindus in Kashmir, and Christians and Muslims in Kosovo
are all at least partly based on differences in values. Because values develop
early and are difficult to change, it’s usually extremely difficult to resolve
conflicts between such groups.
Ancient Eastern Philosophies and the Boardroom
Thirty years ago a best-selling business book called
Theory Z purported to help Western business lead-
ers apply the art of Japanese management to their
own circumstances. Since then other Eastern phi-
losophies have also gained popularity among West-
ern leaders, albeit often in simplified forms. One
perspective that has become popular in the West is
based on the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu, whose
classic work The Art of War was written 2,500 years
ago. Another is the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Indian
text containing the wisdom of Lord Krishna, be-
lieved to have been written nearly as long ago. Dif-
ferent implications for leadership are derived from
these classic writings, a few of which are noted
It doesn’t seem likely that these perspectives,
which obviously have stood the test of time, could
simply be either right or wrong. How do you recon-
cile their differences?
Source: Adapted from BusinessWeek, October 30, 2006.
The Art of War Bhagavad Gita
On Material Incentives
On Handling Followers
On the Ultimate Goal
People need extrinsic incentives
to be motivated. Give your
soldiers shares of the booty
and conquered territory.
Rule with iron discipline.
Maintain your authority over
them, knowing that too much
kindness toward your followers
could make them useless.
Winning requires cleverness and
sometimes even deception.
Never act for material
rewards only. Focus instead
on doing well, and good
things will follow.
Enlightened leaders are selfless
and compassionate toward
others. Followers who are
treated as equals are more
motivated to enthusiastically
support their leader.
Success means satisfying
multiple stakeholders.
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174 Part Two Focus on the Leader
In sum, it’s vital for a leader to set a personal example of values-based
leadership, and it is also important for leaders—especially senior ones—to
make sure clear values guide everyone’s behavior in the organization.
That’s likely to happen only if the leader sets an example of desired be-
havior. You might think of this as a necessary but not sufficient condition
for principled behavior throughout the organization. If there is indiffer-
ence or hypocrisy toward values at the highest levels, it is fairly unlikely
that principled behavior will be considered important by others through-
out the organization. Bill O’Brien, the former CEO of a major insurance
company, likened an organization’s poor ethical climate to a bad odor one
gets used to:
Organizations oriented to power, I realized, also have strong smells, and
even if people are too inured to notice, that smell has implications. It affects
performance, productivity, and innovation. The worst aspect of this envi-
ronment is that it stunts the growth of personality and character of every-
one who works there. 61
Carried to an extreme, this can lead to the kinds of excesses all too
frequently evident during the past decade:
Who knew the swashbuckling economy of the 1990s had produced so
many buccaneers? You could laugh about the CEOs in handcuffs and the
stock analysts who turned out to be fishier than storefront palm readers,
but after a while the laughs became hard. Martha Stewart was dented and
scuffed [and subsequently convicted]. Tyco was looted by its own execu-
tives. Enron and WorldCom turned out to be the twin towers of false prom-
ises. They fell. Their stockholders and employees went down with them. So
did a large measure of faith in big corporations.
Time Magazine, January 2, 2003
Leading by Example: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
One of the most quoted principles of good leadership is “leadership by
example.” But what does it mean to exemplify ethical leadership and be
an ethical role model? In one study, people from a range of organizations
were interviewed about a person they knew who had been an ethical role
model at work. Not all ethical role models exhibited exactly the same
qualities, but four general categories of attitudes and behaviors seemed to
characterize the group: 62
• Interpersonal behaviors : They showed care, concern, and compassion for
others. They were hardworking and helpful. They valued their rela-
tionships with others, working actively to maintain and sustain them.
They tended to focus on the positive rather than the negative, and ac-
cepted others’ failures.
• Basic fairness : A specific quality of their interpersonal behaviors was man-
ifested in the fairness shown others. They were not only open to input
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 175
from others but actively sought it. They tended to offer explanations of
decisions. They treated others respectfully, never condescendingly, even
amid disagreements.
• Ethical actions and self-expectations: They held themselves to high ethical
standards and behaved consistently in both their public and private
lives. They accepted responsibility for and were open about their own
ethical failings. They were perceived as honest, trustworthy, humble,
and having high integrity.
• Articulating ethical standards: They articulated a consistent ethical vision
and were uncompromising toward it and the high ethical standards it
implied. They held others ethically accountable and put ethical stan-
dards above personal and short-term company interests.
Arguably the most important example for anyone is his or her boss,
and it raises difficult and complex challenges when a boss is a bad ethical
role model. This becomes a challenge far greater than merely the hypoc-
risy inherent in being told, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
It should go without saying that those in responsible positions have a
particular responsibility to uphold ethical standards—but what if they
don’t ? What should you do when your own boss does not behave ethically?
One approach to addressing these challenges is to reject the notion that
organizational leadership is synonymous with formal position or hierar-
chical power in the organization, and to embrace instead the idea that all
organizational members have a role in organizational leadership, including
responsibility for ethical leadership in the organization. The term upward
ethical leadership has been used to refer to “leadership behavior enacted
by individuals who take action to maintain ethical standards in the face of
questionable moral behaviors by higher-ups.” 63
However, there are almost always reasons that may constrain employee
behavior in such situations, including fear of retribution by bosses. More
generally, do employees feel they have a safe outlet for raising ethical con-
cerns about misbehavior by superiors in the organization?
One variable that moderates an employee’s likelihood of raising such
concerns is the general quality of ethical climate in the organization. Ethical
climates refer to those in which ethical standards and norms have been
consistently, clearly, and pervasively communicated throughout the orga-
nization and embraced and enforced by organizational leaders in both
word and example. Unethical climates are those in which questionable or
outright unethical behavior exists with little action taken to correct such
behavior, or (worse) where such misbehavior is even condoned. 64 It’s
likely that employees experience some degree of moral distress whenever
a manager is perceived to behave unethically, but the distress is usually
greater in unethical climates.
Even in ethical climates, however, some individuals may be more
likely than others to address perceived ethical problems in an active and
Nearly all men can stand
adversity, but if you want
to test a man’s character,
give him power.
Abraham Lincoln
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176 Part Two Focus on the Leader
constructive manner. This inclination is likely to be enhanced among
individuals who feel a sense of personal power. Employees tend to feel
greater power, for example, if they believe they have attractive opportu-
nities in the broader employment marketplace, if they’re respected for
their credibility and competence in the organization, and if others within
the organization are somewhat dependent on them. Organizations can
further enhance the likelihood that employees will address perceived
ethical problems in an active and constructive manner by nurturing a
culture that is not all “command and control,” by fostering a sense of
shared leadership more than hierarchy, and by valuing upward
leadership. 65 In the end, though, the most powerful way organizations
can enhance the likelihood that employees will address ethical problems
in a constructive manner is by proactively creating an ethical climate
throughout the organization, and that is not just a responsibility of
informal ethical leaders throughout the organization but inescapably a
responsibility of formal organizational leaders.
In fact, being in a formal leadership role imposes unique ethical
responsibilities and challenges. Leaders more than followers (1) possess
unique degrees of both legitimate and coercive power; (2) enjoy greater
privileges; (3) have access to more information; (4) have greater author-
ity and responsibility; (5) interact with a broader range of stakeholders
who expect equitable treatment; and (6) must balance sometimes com-
peting loyalties when making decisions. 66 With conditions like these,
which sometimes also may represent seductive temptations to excuse
one’s own behavior, it is all the more important for leaders to take
positive steps to create an ethical climate and hold themselves account-
able to it.
Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Climate
So how do leaders do this? Several “fronts” of leadership action are
needed to establish an ethical organizational climate: 67
• Formal ethics policies and procedures: It’s sometimes said that “you can’t
legislate morality,” and the same may be said about legislating an
ethical climate. Nonetheless, certain formal policies and procedures are
probably necessary if not sufficient conditions for creating an ethical
climate. These include formal statements of ethical standards and
policies, along with reporting mechanisms, disciplinary procedures,
and penalties for suspected ethical violations.
• Core ideology: A core ideology is basically an organization’s heart and
soul. It represents the organization’s purpose, guiding principles, basic
identity, and most important values. Starbucks is a good example.
Starbucks’ guiding principles include (1) respect and dignity for partners
(employees); (2) embracing diversity; (3) applying the highest standards
It’s important that people
know what you stand for.
It’s equally important
that they know what you
won’t stand for.
Mary Waldrop
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 177
of excellence to the business; (4) developing “enthusiastically satisfied
customers”; (5) contributing positively to local communities and to the
environment more generally; and (6) maintaining profitability. 68
• Integrity: The core ideology cannot be a mere set of boardroom
plaques or other exhortations to behave well. The core ideology must
be part of the fabric of every level and unit in the organization. Just as
personal integrity describes an individual whose outward behavior
and inward values are congruent and transparent, organizational in-
tegrity describes an organization whose pronouncements are congru-
ent with its public and private actions at every level and in every
• Structural reinforcement: An organization’s structure and systems can be
designed to encourage higher ethical performance and discourage un-
ethical performance. Performance evaluation systems that provide op-
portunities for anonymous feedback increase the likelihood that “dark
side” behaviors would be reported, and thus discourage their enact-
ment. Reward systems can promote honesty, fair treatment of custom-
ers, courtesy, and other desirable behaviors.
• Process focus: There also needs to be explicit concern with process, not
just the achievement of tangible individual, team, and organizational
goals. How those goals are achieved needs to be a focus of attention and
emphasis too. When senior leaders set exceptionally high goals and
show that they expect goals to be achieved whatever it takes, it’s a rec-
ipe that may tempt and seemingly turn a blind eye to unethical behav-
ior by employees.
Creating an ethical climate is not easy or just a matter of following a
simple recipe. Conflicts over values can arise even when an organiza-
tion has clearly published values that are embraced by everyone. That
can happen when employees and leaders have divergent perceptions
of whether the leader’s behavior embodies important corporate val-
ues. At one company, for example, employees concluded that their
CEO’s behavior had betrayed the same corporate values that he had
been instrumental in establishing. As they perceived the CEO’s behav-
ior deviating more and more from those values, employees gradually
concluded that he had “sold out,” and they became disillusioned with
his leadership.
That disillusionment was a far cry from the initial perceptions em-
ployees had of their CEO. Consider the situation at Maverick when the
CEO, John Bryant (both fictionalized names), started the company. Bry-
ant located Maverick’s offices in an unassuming warehouse district and
gave each member of his small staff a festive company shirt with a logo
on the back and his or her name stitched over the front pocket, like
shirts mechanics wear. He provided a companywide profit-sharing
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178 Part Two Focus on the Leader
plan, above-market salaries, and perks like free lunch on Friday, and he
encouraged people to head home by six o’clock. He recruited employees
whose varied races, backgrounds, and lifestyles broadcast Maverick’s
commitment to diversity, and on the weekends he let a minority youth
organization use the company’s offices. He spoke passionately to every-
one about Maverick’s people-oriented values and promoted them in
company posters, client materials, and the employee handbook.
In short, Bryant did everything right. And by all accounts, Maverick in
its early years was a great place to work—employees were motivated,
loyal, hardworking, and enthusiastically committed to the company and
the ideals Bryant promoted. 69
Then the finger-pointing began. As the young company more than
doubled in size during the 1990s, a remarkable shift occurred in how em-
ployees perceived the company and its leader. They came to see Bryant as
a hypocrite, whose behavior violated everything he continued to proclaim
the company stood for. As a consequence, employee commitment and cre-
ativity declined sharply.
What could account for such an unfortunate turnaround? That’s not a
simple question to answer, especially when the leader—Bryant himself—
continued to see his own behavior in much more positive ways. Part of
the answer to this enigma, it seems, involved a pivotal event in the com-
pany’s history. In 1995 Bryant decided to double the size of the company’s
staff and operations. To him, this was a way to provide more professional
growth and reward opportunities for staff. Employees, however, saw this
as an act of greed on Bryant’s part that would erode company values by
disrupting the small, close-knit family the company had been. They also
saw other decisions by him as similarly self-serving. When he decided to
give long-term employees shares in the company as a reward for their
hard work, for example, other employees perceived this as inconsistent
with the company’s commitment to equality. And while this was happen-
ing, no one let Bryant himself know that perceptions of him had taken a
180-degree turn.
In examining what happened at Maverick, it became clear that over
time employees had implicitly and unconsciously shaped their understand-
ing of the company’s values to correspond more closely with their own.
For example, employees came to believe that hierarchies of position and
power were inconsistent with Maverick’s values. In fact, no one had ever
said anything like that. Thus Bryant’s behavior was inconsistent with com-
pany values as the employees had come to understand them, even though it
wasn’t inconsistent with Bryant’s understanding of the values on which
he’d founded the company.
An important lesson for leaders in this story is hinted at in Bryant’s
own lack of awareness of the growing negative perceptions of his behavior.
It’s unlikely that subordinate members of an organization will offer unso-
licited negative perceptions to leaders when they think the leaders have
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 179
violated values. It’s essential, then, for leaders themselves to invite discussion
by regularly asking people what they’re thinking and feeling. You don’t want
to be blindsided.
Another way to think about the essence of creating an ethical climate in
organizations is to recognize that it is not simply the sum of the collective
moralities of its members. Covey has developed and popularized an ap-
proach called principle-centered leadership, 70 which postulates a funda-
mental interdependence between the personal, the interpersonal, the
managerial, and the organizational levels of leadership. The unique role
of each level may be thought of like this:
Personal: The first imperative is to be a trustworthy person, and that
depends on both one’s character and competence. Only if one is trust-
worthy can one have trusting relationships with others.
Interpersonal: Relationships that lack trust are characterized by
self-protective efforts to control and verify each other’s behavior.
Managerial: Only in the context of trusting relationships will a manager
risk empowering others to make full use of their talents and energies.
But even with an empowering style, leading a high-performing group
depends on skills such as team building, delegation, communication,
negotiation, and self-management.
Organizational: An organization will be most creative and productive
when its structure, systems (training, communication, reward, and so
on), strategy, and vision are aligned and mutually supportive. Put dif-
ferently, certain organizational alignments are more likely than others
to nurture and reinforce ethical behavior.
Interestingly, the interdependence between these levels posited in
principle-centered leadership is quite similar to recent conceptualizations
of authentic leadership that also view it as a multilevel phenomenon. That
is, authentic leadership can be thought of not only as a quality character-
izing certain individual leaders but also as a quality of certain leader–
follower dyads, groups or teams, and even organizations. Thus it makes
just as much sense to talk about authentic organizations as it does to talk
about authentic leaders. 71
In concluding this chapter, we would be remiss not to explicitly
address a question that has been implicit throughout it: why should a
company go to the trouble of creating and sustaining an ethical cli-
mate? 72 One answer—perhaps a sufficient one—is because it’s the right
thing to do. Sometimes, however, it’s too easy merely to assume that
because something is the right thing to do there must be some costs or
disadvantages associated with it. As is apparent from this chapter, it’s
not easy to create and sustain an ethical environment in an organiza-
tion; it takes conviction, diligence, and commitment. In some ways,
such continuing focus and effort can be thought of as a cost. However,
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180 Part Two Focus on the Leader
The Cult of Enron
Enron has come to represent the epitome of greed,
ethical lapse, and spectacular failure in the business
world. Its senior executives CEO Kenneth Lay and
Jeffrey Skilling were blamed and prosecuted for the
company’s collapse and callous indifference to the
welfare of its employees. But the problems at Enron
ran deeper than just the shoddy ethics and illegal
actions of a few people at the top. A large part of
the problem was the Enron culture itself that people
throughout the company perpetuated.
A root of the problem may be that Enron’s culture
had many characteristics of a cult. Cults are charac-
terized as having these four qualities:
• Charismatic leadership.
• A compelling and totalistic vision.
• A conversion process.
• A common culture.
Here are some of the ways that Enron’s corporate
culture was like a cult. You can see how corporations
as well as religious cults can encourage counterpro-
ductive conformity and penalize dissent.
Enron’s leaders created an aura of charisma around
themselves through ever more dramatic forms of
self-promotion. Skilling, for example, cultivated his
image as the Enron version of Darth Vader, even
referring to his traders as “Storm Troopers.” The
reputations of Skilling and other top executives at
Enron were further reinforced by the ways in which
they were lionized in respected business publica-
tions and by the opulent lifestyles they enjoyed.
Hyperbole was rampant at Enron, as in banners
proclaiming its vision of being the “world’s leading
company.” Such exalted self-images encourage
members to feel a sense of privilege and destiny.
Employees were bombarded with messages that
they were the best and the brightest. Their commit-
ment to organizational success had an almost evan-
gelistic fervor, and workweeks of even 80 hours
were considered normal.
From an employee’s recruitment to Enron on-
ward, communication was one-way: top-down.
In the early stages this involved intense and
emotionally draining rituals over several days
wherein the recruit would hear powerful mes-
sages from the leaders. Group dynamics research
has shown that such initiation rituals incline peo-
ple to exaggerate the benefits of group member-
ship in their minds. In Enron’s case the purpose
was to ingrain in employees a single-minded per-
sonal commitment to continued high rates of
corporate growth.
Despite all the effort put into selecting new em-
ployees and imbuing them with a sense of privi-
lege, a punitive internal culture was also nurtured
through which all the psychic and material ben-
efits of being in Enron could be withdrawn on a
managerial whim. Enron was quick to fire any of
these “best and brightest” who did not conform;
they could be branded, almost overnight, as “los-
ers” in others’ eyes. This could happen for mere
dissent with the corporate line as well as for fail-
ing to meet Enron’s exceedingly high perfor-
mance goals.
Source: D. Tourish and N. Vatcha, “Charismatic Leader-
ship and Corporate Cultism at Enron: The Elimination of
Dissent, the Promotion of Conformity, and Organizational
Collapse,” Leadership 1, no. 4 (2005), pp. 455–80.
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 181
such focus and effort can pay dividends beyond an intrinsic sense of
Johnson has identified a number of tangible positive outcomes for an orga-
nization that creates an ethical climate. One of these is greater collaboration
within the organization: an ethical climate produces greater trust within an
organization, and trust is a key element underlying collaboration. Another
positive outcome can be improved social standing and improved market
share for the organization. Eighty-four percent of Americans said that if price
and quality were similar, they would switch allegiance to companies associ-
ated with worthy causes. Over $2 trillion is now invested in mutual funds
focusing on companies demonstrating commitment to the environment, eth-
ics, and social responsibility. 73, 74 There also is evidence that ethical companies
often outperform their competitors. 75
Similar tangible advantages were identified by Harvard professors
John Kotter and James Heskett among companies that aligned es-
poused values with organizational practices. Such companies increased
revenues by an average of 682 percent versus 166 percent for compa-
nies that didn’t. 76 Paying attention to ethics and values can be good
Summary This chapter has reviewed evidence regarding the relationships among
ethics, values, and leadership. Ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals
with right conduct. Values are constructs that represent general sets of
behaviors or states of affairs that individuals consider important, and they
are a central part of a leader’s psychological makeup. Values affect leader-
ship through a cultural context within which various attributes and be-
haviors are regarded differentially—positively or negatively.
It’s not just the content of one’s beliefs about right and wrong that mat-
ters, though. How one makes moral or ethical judgments, or the manner
by which one solves moral problems, is also important and is referred to
as moral reasoning. Some approaches to moral reasoning posit that it is
developed by going through qualitative stages of successively more ad-
vanced moral reasoning.
Ethical action, of course, involves more than just the cognitive process
of moral reasoning. That’s why people’s behavior does not always con-
form to how they predict they’ll act, or with their espoused values. Fur-
thermore, the thorniest ethical dilemmas people face tend not to involve
choices between what is right or wrong but between two different
“rights.” In such cases it is useful to apply several different principles for
resolving moral dilemmas.
Recently many approaches to leadership have explicitly addressed the
interdependencies between effective leadership and particular value sys-
tems. The concepts of authentic leadership and servant leadership are
Only mediocrities rise
to the top in a system
that won’t tolerate wave
Lawrence J. Peter,
author of   The Peter
I do believe in the spiri-
tual nature of human
beings. To some it’s a
strange or outdated idea,
but I believe there is such
a thing as a human spirit.
There is a spiritual di-
mension to man which
should be nurtured.
Aung San Suu Kyi
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182 Part Two Focus on the Leader
among these. There also has been increased interest in recent years in the
kinds of practices that can be instituted within organizations to enhance
the likelihood that they will have ethical climates.
Key Terms ethics, 151
Theory X, 151
Theory Y, 151
values, 152
moral reasoning, 157
level, 158
conventional level, 158
level, 158
implicit prejudice, 161
favoritism, 162
credit, 162
conflicts of interest, 162
ethical dilemmas, 164
truth versus
loyalty, 164
diffusion of
responsibility, 167
distortion of
consequences, 167
dehumanization, 167
attribution of
blame, 167
moral person, 168
moral manager, 168
leadership, 169
leadership, 170
upward ethical
leadership, 175
ethical climate, 175
unethical climate, 175
leadership, 179
individual versus
community, 164
short-term versus
long-term, 165
justice versus
mercy, 165
thinking, 165
thinking, 165
thinking, 165
moral justification, 166
labeling, 167
comparison, 167
displacement of
responsibility, 167
1. Do you think it always must be “lonely at the top” (or that if it is not,
you are doing something wrong)?
2. How do you believe one’s basic philosophy of human nature affects
one’s approach to leadership?
3. Identify several values you think might be the basis of conflict or mis-
understanding between leaders and followers.
4. Can a leader’s public and private morality be distinguished? Should
they be?
5. Can a bad person be a good leader?
6. Are there any leadership roles men and women should not have equal
opportunity to compete for?
7. What is the relationship between an individual’s responsibility for eth-
ical behavior and the idea of organizational ethical climate? Does focus
on the latter diminish the importance of the former or reduce the im-
portance of individual accountability?
8. Could two different groups have quite different ethical climates if the
same people were members of both?
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Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 183
1. Each person should select his or her own 10 most important values
from the following list, and then rank-order those 10 from most impor-
tant (1) to least important (10). Then have an open discussion about
how a person’s approach to leadership might be influenced by having
different value priorities. The values are achievement, activity (keeping
busy), advancement, adventure, aesthetics (appreciation of beauty), af-
filiation, affluence, authority, autonomy, balance, challenge, change/
variety, collaboration, community, competence, competition, courage,
creativity, economic security, enjoyment, fame, family, friendship, hap-
piness, helping others, humor, influence, integrity, justice, knowledge,
location, love, loyalty, order, personal development, physical fitness,
recognition, reflection, responsibility, self-respect, spirituality, status,
and wisdom.
2. Explore how the experiences of different generations might have influ-
enced the development of their values. Divide into several groups and
assign each group the task of selecting representative popular music
from a specific era. One group, for example, might have the 1950s, an-
other the Vietnam War era, and another the 1990s. Using representative
music from that era, highlight what seem to be dominant concerns, val-
ues, or views of life during that period.
Balancing Priorities at Clif Bar
Gary Erickson is a man of integrity. In the spring of 2000 Erickson had an
offer of more than $100 million from a major food corporation for his com-
pany Clif Bar Inc. He had founded Clif Bar Inc. in 1990 after a long bike
ride. Erickson, an avid cyclist, had finished the 175-mile ride longing for
an alternative to the tasteless energy bars he had brought along. “I
couldn’t make the last one go down, and that’s when I had an epiphany—
make a product that actually tasted good.” He looked at the list of ingre-
dients on the package and decided he could do better. He called on his
experience in his family’s bakery, and after a year in the kitchen, the Clif
Bar—named for Erickson’s father—was launched in 1992. Within five
years sales had skyrocketed to $20 million. He considered the $100 million
offer on the table and what it meant for his company and decided against
the deal. He realized that the vision he had for the company would be
compromised once he lost control, so he walked away from the $100 mil-
lion deal.
He has stuck to his vision and values ever since. His commitment to
environmental and social issues are evident in everything he does. On the
environmental front, his company has a staff ecologist who is charged
with reducing Clif Bar’s ecological footprint on the planet. More than
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70 percent of the ingredients in Clif Bars are organic. A change in packag-
ing has saved the company (and the planet) 90,000 pounds of shrink-wrap
a year. And the company funds a Sioux wind farm to offset the carbon
dioxide emissions from its factories. On the social side, Erickson launched
a project called the 2,080 program (2,080 is the total number of hours a
full-time employee works in one year). Through the 2,080 program em-
ployees are encouraged to do volunteer work on company time. Recently
Erickson agreed to support (with salaries and travel expenses) employees
who wanted to volunteer in Third World countries.
Erickson is also committed to his team. He thinks about things like, “What
should our company be like for the people who come to work each day?” He
sees work as a living situation and strives to make Clif Bar Inc.’s offices a fun
place to be—there are plenty of bikes around; a gym and dance floor; per-
sonal trainers; massage and hair salon; a game room; an auditorium for meet-
ings, movies, and music; dog days every day; and great parties.
As the company grows, however, maintaining such values may not be
easy. Clif Bar already has 130 employees, and revenue has been rising by
more than 30 percent a year since 1998, according to Erickson. “We’re at a
point where we have to find a way to maintain this open culture while we
may be getting bigger,” says Shelley Martin, director of operations. “It’s a
balancing act.”
1. Without knowing Gary Erickson’s age, where would you guess he falls
in the four generations of workers as delineated by Zemke?
2. Consider the key work values in Table 5.1. Recalling that leaders are
motivated to act consistently with their values, what values appear to
be most important to Gary Erickson?
3. Clif Bar Inc. possesses a definite set of organizational values. If you
visit the company Web site (, you will see evidence of
these values: “Fight Global Warming” and “Register to Vote” are just as
prominent as information about the product. Knowing some of the val-
ues of Gary Erickson, how closely aligned do you think the organiza-
tional values are to the way the company actually operates?
0,15114,487527,00.html;; The Costco Connection, “Marathon
Man,” July 2004, p. 19.
184 Part Two Focus on the Leader
1. M. E. Brown and L. K. Trevino, “Ethical Leadership: A Review and Future
Directions,” The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006), pp. 595–616.
2. J. W. Gardner, On Leadership (New York: Free Press, 1990).
3. J. M. Burns, Leadership (New York: Harper & Row, 1978).
4. W. Bennis and J. Goldsmith, Learning to Lead (Reading, MA: Perseus
Books, 1997).
5. D. McGregor, Leadership and Motivation (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1966).
End Notes
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6. J. Hall and S. M. Donnell, “Managerial Achievement: The Personal Side of
Behavioral Theory,” Human Relations 32 (1979), pp. 77–101.
7. L. V. Gordon, Measurement of Interpersonal Values (Chicago: Science Research
Associates, 1975), p. 2.
8. W. L. Gardner, B. Avolio, F. Luthans, D. May, and F. Walumbwa, “‘Can You See
the Real Me?’ A Self-Based Model of Authentic Leader and Follower
Development,” Leadership Quarterly 16 (2005), pp. 343–72.
9. R. E. Boyatzis and F. R. Skelly, “The Impact of Changing Values on Organiza-
tional Life,” in Organizational Behavior Readings, 5th ed., ed. D. A. Kolb, I. M.
Rubin, and J. Osland (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1991), pp. 1–16.
10. M. Rokeach, The Nature of Human Values (New York: Free Press, 1973).
11. C. A. Baird, Everyday Ethics: Making Hard Choices in a Complex World (Denver,
CO: Tendril Press, 2005).
12. The Parr Center for Ethics, “What Is the Relationship between Values and Eth-
ics?” University of North Carolina,
Values.html, accessed November 18, 2009.
13. Boyatzis and Skelly, “The Impact of Changing Values on Organizational Life.”
14. M. Maccoby, “Management: Leadership and the Work Ethic,” Modern Office
Procedures 28, no. 5 (1983), pp. 14, 16, 18.
15. M. Massey, The People Puzzle: Understanding Yourself and Others (Reston, VA:
Reston, 1979).
16. R. Zemke, C. Raines, and B. Filipczak, Generations at Work: Managing the Class
of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in Your Workplace (New York: AMA
Publications, 2000).
17. J. J. Deal, K. Peterson, and H. Gailor-Loflin, Emerging Leaders: An Annotated
Bibliography (Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership, 2001).
18. Deal, Peterson, and Gailor-Loflin, Emerging Leaders: An Annotated Bibliography.
19. E. Foley and A. LeFevre, Understanding Generation X (Zagnoli McEvoy Foley
LLC, 2001),
20. E. C. Ladd, “Generation Gap? What Generation Gap?” The New York Times,
December 9, 1994, p. A16.
21. F. Giancola, “The Generation Gap: More Myth Than Reality,” Human Resource
Planning 29, no. 4 (2006), pp. 32–37.
22. L. Kohlberg, The Psychology of Moral Development: Essays on Moral Development,
Vol. 2 (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1984).
23. J. Rest, “Research on Moral Judgment in College Students,” in Approaches to
Moral Development: New Research and Emerging Themes, ed. A. Garrod (New
York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 1993), pp. 201–13.
24. M. R. Banaji, M. H. Bazerman, and D. Chugh, “How Ethical Are You?” Harvard
Business Review, 2003, pp. 56–64.
25. A. G. Greenwald, D. E. McGhee, and J. L. K. Schwartz, “Measuring Individual
Differences in Implicit Cognition: The Implicit Association Test,” Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology 74 (1998), pp. 1464–80.
26. Banaji, Bazerman, and Chugh, “How Ethical Are You?”
27. Ibid.
Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 185
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28. P. Coy, “Ten Years from Now,” BusinessWeek, August 20 and 27, 2007, pp. 42–44.
29. Banaji, Bazerman, and Chugh, “How Ethical Are You?”
30. S. Sohenshein, “The Role of Construction, Intuition, and Justification in Respond-
ing to Ethical Issues at Work: The Sensemaking–Intuition Model,” Academy of
Management Review 32, no. 4, pp. 1022–1040.
31. Ibid.
32. J. Haidt, “The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail: A Social Intuitionist Ap-
proach to Moral Judgment,” Psychological Review 108, pp. 814–34.
33. R. P. Brown and C. Barnes, Thinking Hypothetically: A Value-Congruent Bias in
Hypothetical Behavioral Forecasts, in press.
34. R. T. Marcy, W. Gentry, and R. McKinnon, “Thinking Straight: New Strategies
Are Needed for Ethical Leadership,” Leadership in Action, 2008, pp. 3–7.
35. R. Kidder, How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of
Ethical Living (New York: Harper Collins, 1995).
36. A. Bandura, Social Foundations of Thought and Action (Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 1986).
37. A. Bandura, “Mechanisms of Moral Disengagement,” in Origins of Terrorism:
Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind, ed. W. Reich (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press., 1990), pp. 161–91.
38. Ibid., p. 164.
39. A. Bandura, “Self-Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change,”
Psychological Review 84 (1977), pp. 191–215.
40. J. Darley, “Inadvertent Moral Socialization in Military Simulations: Making
Disasters Happen,” keynote address at the Applied Behavioral Sciences Sym-
posium, U.S. Air Force Academy, 1994.
41. Ibid.
42. Ibid.
43. D. Halberstam, The Reckoning (New York: Avon, 1986).
44. F. O. Walumbwa, B. Avolio, W. Gardner, T. Wernsing, and S. Peterson, “Authentic
Leadership: Development of a Theory-Based Measure,” Journal of Management 34,
no. 1 (2008), pp. 89–126.
45. M. E. Brown and L. Trevino, “Ethical Leadership: A Review and Future Direc-
tions,” Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006), pp. 595–616.
46. Ibid., p. 597.
47. F. O. Walumbwa, B. Avolio, W. Gardner, T. Wernsing, and S. Peterson,
“ Authentic Leadership: Development of a Theory-Based Measure,” Journal of
Management 34, no. 1 (2008), pp. 89–126.
48. C. Rogers, On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy
(London: Constable, 1961).
49. B. J. Avolio and T. S. Wernsing, “Practicing Authentic Leadership,” in Positive
Psychology: Exploring the Best in People (Vol. 4: Exploring Human Flourishing), ed.
Shane Lopez (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2008).
50. Ibid., p. 161.
51. B. J. Avolio and W. L. Gardner, “Authentic Leadership Development: Getting
to the Root of Positive Forms of Leadership,” The Leadership Quarterly 16
(2005), pp. 315–38.
186 Part Two Focus on the Leader
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52. B. J. Avolio and R. Reichard, “The Rise of Authentic Followership,” in The Art
of Followership: How Great Followers Create Great Leaders and Organizations, ed.
R. E. Riggio, I. Chaleff, and J. Lipman-Bluman (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass,
2008), pp. 325–37.
53. L. Spears, “Practicing Servant-Leadership,” Leader to Leader 34 (Fall 2004).
54. R. K. Greenleaf, Servant Leadership (New York: Paulist Press, 1977).
55. Spears, “Practicing Servant-Leadership.”
56. J. A. Andersen, “When a Servant-Leader Comes Knocking . . .” Leadership &
Organization Development Journal 30, no. 1 (2009), pp. 4–15.
57. R. T. Hogan, J. Hogan, and B. W. Roberts, “Personality Measurement and
Employment Decisions: Questions and Answers,” American Psychologist 51,
no. 5 (1996), pp. 469–77.
58. R. T. Hogan and G. J. Curphy, “Leadership Matters: Values and Dysfunctional
Dispositions,” working paper, 2004.
59. Hogan, Hogan, and Roberts, “Personality Measurement and Employment
60. Hogan and Curphy, “Leadership Matters.”
61. B. O’Brien, “Designing an Organization’s Governing Ideas,” in The Fifth Dis-
cipline Fieldbook, ed. P. Senge et al. (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p. 306.
62. G. Weaver, L. Trevfino, and B. Agle, “Somebody I Look Up To: Ethical Role
Models in Organizations,” Organizational Dynamics 34, no. 4, pp. 313–30.
63. M. Uhl-Bien and M. Carsten, “Being Ethical When the Boss Is Not,” Organizational
Dynamics 36, no. 2 (2007), pp. 187–201.
64. Ibid.
65. Ibid.
66. C. E. Johnson, Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light or
Shadow, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005).
67. C. E. Johnson, “Best Practices in Ethical Leadership, 2007,” in The Practice of
Leadership: Developing the Next Generation of Leaders, ed. J. Conger and R. Riggio
(San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006), pp. 150–71.
68. Ibid.
69. A. C. Edmondson and S. E. Cha, “When Company Values Backfire,” Harvard
Business Review, November 2002, pp. 18–19.
70. S. R. Covey, Principle-Centered Leadership (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990).
71. F. J. Yammarino, S. D. Dionne, C. A. Schriesheim, and F. Dansereau, “Authen-
tic Leadership and Positive Organizational Behavior: A Meso, Multi-Level
Perspective,” The Leadership Quarterly 19 (2008), pp. 693–707.
72. Johnson, “Best Practices in Ethical Leadership, 2007.”
73. Ibid.
74. P. Kottler and N. Lee, Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for
Your Company and Your Cause (New York: Wiley, 2005).
75. S. A. Waddock and S. B. Graves, “The Corporate Social Performance–Financial
Performance Link,” Strategic Management Journal 18 (1997), pp. 303–19.
76. J. P. Kotter and J. L. Heskett, Corporate Culture & Performance (New York: Free
Press, 1992).
Chapter 5 Leadership, Ethics, and Values 187
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Chapter 6
Leadership Attributes
In Chapter 1 leadership was defined as “the process of influencing an orga-
nized group toward accomplishing its goals.” Given this definition, one
question that leadership researchers have tried to answer over the past cen-
tury is whether certain personal attributes or characteristics help or hinder
the leadership process. In other words, does athletic ability, height, person-
ality, intelligence, or creativity help a leader to build a team, get results, or
influence a group? Put in the context of national U.S. presidential elections,
are candidates who win the primaries and eventually go on to become pres-
ident smarter, more creative, more ambitious, or more outgoing than their
less successful counterparts? Do these leaders act in fundamentally differ-
ent ways than their followers, and are these differences in behavior due to
differences in their innate intelligence, certain personality traits, or creative
ability? If so, could these same characteristics be used to differentiate suc-
cessful from unsuccessful leaders, executives from first-line supervisors, or
leaders from individual contributors? Questions like these led to what was
perhaps the earliest theory of leadership, the Great Man theory. 1
The roots of the Great Man theory can be traced back to the early 1900s,
when many leadership researchers and the popular press maintained that
leaders and followers were fundamentally different. This led to hundreds
of research studies that looked at whether certain personality traits, phys-
ical attributes, intelligence, or personal values differentiated leaders from
followers. Ralph Stogdill was the first leadership researcher to summarize
the results of these studies, and he came to two major conclusions. First,
leaders were not qualitatively different than followers; many followers
were just as tall, smart, outgoing, and ambitious as the people who were
leading them. Second, some characteristics, such as intelligence, initiative,
stress tolerance, responsibility, friendliness, and dominance, were mod-
estly related to leadership success. In other words, people who were
smart, hardworking, conscientious, friendly, or willing to take charge
were often more successful at building teams and influencing a group to
Watch your thoughts,
for they become words.
Watch your words, for
they become actions.
Watch your actions, for
they become habits.
Watch your habits, for
they become character.
Watch your character,
for it becomes your
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 189
accomplish its goals than people who were less smart, lazy, impulsive,
grumpy, or not fond of giving orders. 2 Having “the right stuff” did not
guarantee leadership success, but it improved the odds of successfully in-
fluencing a group toward the accomplishment of its goals.
Subsequent reviews involving hundreds of more sophisticated studies
came to the same two conclusions. 3 Although these reviews provided am-
ple evidence that people with the right stuff were more likely to be success-
ful as leaders, many leadership researchers focused solely on the point that
leaders were not fundamentally different than followers. However, given
that most people in leadership positions also play follower roles (supervi-
sors report to managers, managers report to directors, and so forth), this
finding is hardly surprising. This erroneous interpretation of the findings,
along with the rising popularity of behaviorism in the 1960s and 1970s,
caused many leadership researchers to believe that personal characteristics
could not be used to predict future leadership success and resulted in a shift
in focus toward other leadership phenomena. Not until the publication of
seminal articles published in the 1980s and 1990s did intelligence and per-
sonality regain popularity with leadership researchers. 4- 6 Because of these
articles and subsequent leadership research, we now know a lot about how
intelligence and various personality traits help or hinder leaders in their ef-
forts to build teams and get results. 7 – 10 This research also provided insight
on the role that various situational and follower characteristics have in af-
fecting how a leader’s intelligence and personality play out in the work-
place. The purpose of this chapter is to summarize what we currently know
about personality, intelligence, and leadership. In other words, what does
the research say about the leadership effectiveness of people who are smart,
outgoing, innovative, and calm versus those who are dumb, shy, practical,
and excitable? Do smarter people always make better leaders? Are there
situations where tense and moody leaders are more effective than calm
leaders? This chapter answers many common questions regarding the roles
of personality, intelligence, creativity, and emotional intelligence in leader-
ship effectiveness. As an overview, the chapter defines these four key attri-
butes, reviews some key research findings for these attributes, and discusses
the implications of this research for leadership practitioners.
Personality Traits and Leadership
What Is Personality?
Despite its common usage, Robert Hogan noted that the term personality
is fairly ambiguous and has at least two quite different meanings. 6 One
meaning refers to the impression a person makes on others. This view of
personality emphasizes a person’s social reputation and reflects not only a
description but also an evaluation of the person in the eyes of others.
From the standpoint of leadership, this view of personality addresses two
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190 Part Two Focus on the Leader
distinct issues: “What kind of leader or person is this?” and “Is this some-
body I would like to work for or be associated with?” In a practical sense,
this view of personality comes into play whenever you describe the
person you work for to a roommate or friend. For example, you might
describe him or her as pushy, honest, outgoing, impulsive, decisive,
friendly, and independent. Furthermore, whatever impression this leader
made on you, chances are others would use many of the same terms of
description. In that vein, many people would probably say that U.S.
President Barack Obama is smart, self-confident, outgoing, articulate,
ambitious, and level-headed.
The second meaning of personality emphasizes the underlying, unseen
structures and processes inside a person that explain why we behave the
way we do—why each person’s behavior tends to be relatively similar across
different situations, yet also different from another person’s behavior. Over the
years psychologists have developed many theories to explain how such un-
seen structures may cause individuals to act in their characteristic manner.
For example, Sigmund Freud believed that the intrapsychic tensions among
the id, ego, and superego caused one to behave in characteristic ways even
if the real motives behind the behaviors were unknown to the person (that
is, unconscious). 11 Although useful insights about personality have come
from many different theories, most of the research addressing the relation-
ship between personality and leadership success has been based on the
trait approach, and that emphasis is most appropriate here.
Traits refer to recurring regularities or trends in a person’s behavior, and
the trait approach to personality maintains that people behave as they do
because of the strengths of the traits they possess. 6 Although traits cannot be
seen, they can be inferred from consistent patterns of behavior and reliably
measured by personality inventories. For example, the personality trait of
conscientiousness differentiates leaders who tend to be hardworking and
rule abiding from those who tend to be lazy and are more prone to break
rules. Leaders getting higher scores on the trait of conscientiousness on per-
sonality inventories would be more likely to come to work on time, do a
thorough job in completing work assignments, and rarely leave work early.
We would also infer that leaders getting lower scores on the trait of conscien-
tiousness would be more likely to be late to appointments, make impulsive
decisions, or fail to follow through with commitments and achieve results.
Personality traits are useful concepts for explaining why people act
fairly consistently from one situation to the next. This cross-situational con-
sistency in behavior may be thought of as analogous to the seasonal
weather patterns in different cities. 12 , 13 We know that it is extremely cold
and dry in Minneapolis in January and hot and humid in Hong Kong in
August. Therefore, we can do a pretty good job of predicting what the
weather will generally be like in Minneapolis in January, even though our
predictions for any particular day will not be perfect. Although the average
January temperature in Minneapolis hovers around 20°F, the temperature
There is an optical illu-
sion about every person
we ever meet. In truth,
they are all creatures of
a given temperament,
which will appear in a
given character, whose
boundaries they will
never pass: but we look
at them, they seem alive,
and we presume there is
impulse in them. In the
moment, it seems like an
impulse; in the year, in
the lifetime, it turns out
to be a certain uniform
tune, which the revolv-
ing barrel of the music
box must play.
Ralph Waldo
Men acquire a particular
quality by constantly
acting a particular
way. You become a
just man by performing
just actions, temperate
by performing temperate
actions, and brave by
performing brave
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 191
ranges from 230°F to 30°F on any single day in January. Similarly, know-
ing how two people differ on a particular personality trait can help us pre-
dict more accurately how they will tend to act in a variety of situations.
Just as various climate factors can affect the temperature on any single
day, so can external factors affect a leader’s behavior in any given situation.
The trait approach maintains that a leader’s behavior reflects an interaction
between his or her personality traits and various situational factors (see,
for example, Highlight 6.1). Traits play a particularly important role in
determining how people behave in unfamiliar, ambiguous, or what we
might call weak situations. On the other hand, situations that are governed
by clearly specified rules, demands, or organizational policies— strong
situations —often minimize the effects traits have on behavior. 14-18
The strength of the relationship between personality traits and leader-
ship effectiveness is often inversely related to the relative strength of the
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel is commonly acknowledged as one
of the most powerful females in the world. Assum-
ing office in November 2005, she is the first female
to have been elected as chancellor of Germany and
is the first person from the former German Demo-
cratic Republic to lead a unified Germany. She is
also only the third female to serve on the G8 coun-
cil and is currently the president of the European
Union. At 53 she is also the youngest chancellor
since World War II.
Merkel grew up in a rural community in Eastern
Germany and showed an aptitude for math and sci-
ence at an early age. A member of the communist
youth movement in Eastern Germany, she went on
to earn both undergraduate and doctoral degrees
in physics, specializing in quantum chemistry. She
spent much of the 1970s and 1980s in academic
positions doing cutting-edge chemical research
and publishing her work in such periodicals as
Molecular Physics and International Journal of Quan-
tum Chemistry. Chancellor Merkel did not get
involved in politics until the fall of the Berlin Wall
in 1989.
In the 1990s she was appointed to several min-
isterial positions in the Helmut Kohl government
and was a young protégé of Chancellor Kohl’s. A
quick study, she learned the intricacies of national
politics and international diplomacy under Kohl’s
mentorship and used this knowledge to run for and
win national elections in Germany in 2005. Merkel
currently leads a coalition of parties representing
both the left and right wings of German politics.
She is leading efforts to liberalize Germany’s econ-
omy by allowing employers to increase the work-
week from 35 to 40 hours and lay off employees
during economic downturns. She also supports ex-
tending the life of Germany’s nuclear power plants
beyond 2020 and is opposed to Turkey becoming a
full member of the European Union. Despite strong
public outcry, Merkel supported the U.S. invasion
of Iraq, has sent German soldiers to Afghanistan,
endorsed global climate change legislation, and
provided funds to support Greece, Portugal, and
other European Union countries to prevent these
countries from defaulting on their loans.
Given her background, what can you discern
about Chancellor Merkel’s public reputation, per-
sonality traits, values, and intelligence?
articles/Angela-Merkel-9406424; http://www.economist.
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192 Part Two Focus on the Leader
situation; that is, personality traits are more closely related to leadership
effectiveness in weak or ambiguous situations. Given the accelerated pace
of change in most organizations today, it is likely that leaders will face
even more unfamiliar and ambiguous situations in the future. Therefore,
personality traits may play an increasingly important role in a leader’s
behavior. If organizations can accurately identify the personality traits of
leadership and the individuals who possess them, they should be able to
do a better job of promoting the right people into leadership positions.
And if the right people are in leadership positions, the odds of achieving
organizational success should be dramatically improved. The next section
describes some research efforts to identify those personality traits that
help leaders build teams and get results through others.
The Five Factor or OCEAN Model of Personality
Although personality traits provide a useful approach to describing dis-
tinctive, cross-situational behavioral patterns, one potential problem is the
sheer number of traitlike terms available to describe another’s stereotypi-
cal behaviors. As early as 1936 researchers identified over 18,000 trait-re-
lated adjectives in a standard English dictionary. 19 Despite this large
number of adjectives, research has shown that most of the traitlike terms
people use to describe others’ behavioral patterns can be reliably categorized
Personality and the Presidency
Traits are unseen dispositions that can affect the
way people act. Their existence can be inferred by
a leader’s consistent pattern of behaviors. For ex-
ample, one way of examining a leader’s standing
on the trait of achievement orientation is to exam-
ine her or his achievements and accomplishments
over a life span. Leaders with higher levels of
achievement orientation tend to set high personal
goals and are persistent in the pursuit of these
goals. When considering the following leader’s
achievements and accomplishments, think about
this person’s standing on this personality trait, and
try to guess who this person might be:
Age 23: lost a job.
Age 23: was defeated in a bid for state
Age 24: failed in a business venture.
Age 25: was elected to state legislature.
Age 26: sweetheart died.
Age 27: experienced several emotional problems.
Age 27: was defeated in a bid to be speaker of
the house.
Age 34: was defeated for nomination to
Age 37: was elected to Congress.
Age 39: lost renomination to Congress.
Age 40: was defeated in a bid for land office.
Age 45: was defeated in a bid for U.S. Senate.
Age 47: was defeated for nomination to be vice
Age 49: was defeated in a second bid for U.S.
Age 51: was elected president of the United
The person was Abraham Lincoln.
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 193
Why do people think
artists are so special? It
is just another job.
Andy Warhol,
The Five Factor or
OCEAN Model of
Factor Behaviors/Items
Openness to experience I like traveling to foreign countries.
I enjoy going to school.
Conscientiousness I enjoy putting together detailed plans.
I rarely get into trouble.
Extraversion I like having responsibility for others.
I have a large group of friends.
Agreeableness I am a sympathetic person.
I get along well with others.
Neuroticism I remain calm in pressure situations.
I take personal criticism well.
into five broad personality dimensions. Historically this five-dimension
model was first identified as early as 1915 and independently verified in
1934, but over the years a number of researchers using diverse samples
and assessment instruments have noted similar results. 5,20,21 Given the
robustness of these findings, a compelling body of evidence appears to
support these five dimensions of personality. These dimensions are
referred to in personality literature as the Five Factor Model (FFM) or
OCEAN model of personality, and most modern personality researchers
endorse some version of this model. 5,22-28
At its core, the Five Factor or OCEAN model of personality is a catego-
rization scheme. Most, if not all, of the personality traits that you would
use to describe someone else could be reliably categorized into one of the
five OCEAN personality dimensions. A description of the model can be
found in Table 6.1. The five major dimensions include openness to experi-
ence, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
The first of these dimensions, openness to experience, is concerned with
curiosity, innovative thinking, assimilating new information, and being
open to new experiences. Leaders higher in openness to experience tend
to be imaginative, broad-minded, and curious and are more strategic, big-
picture thinkers; they seek new experiences through travel, the arts, mov-
ies, sports, reading, going to new restaurants, or learning about new
cultures. Individuals lower in openness to experience tend to be more
practical, tactical, and have narrower interests; they like doing things us-
ing tried-and-true ways rather than experimenting with new ways. Note
that openness to experience is not the same thing as intelligence—smart
people are not necessarily intellectually curious.
A key research question is whether people who are curious and big-
picture thinkers are more effective leaders than those who are more prag-
matic. Research has shown that openness to experience is an important
component of leadership effectiveness and seems particularly important at
higher organizational levels or for success in overseas assignments. 5,29-33
People with higher openness to experience scores take a more strategic
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194 Part Two Focus on the Leader
approach to solving problems, and this can help CEOs and other senior
leaders keep abreast of market trends, competitive threats, new products,
and regulatory changes. And because people with higher openness to ex-
perience scores also like new and novel experiences, they often enjoy the
challenges associated with living and leading in foreign countries. None-
theless, there are many leadership positions where curiosity, innovation,
and big-picture thinking are relatively unimportant. For example, produc-
tion foremen on assembly lines, store managers at McDonald’s, or platoon
leaders for the U.S. Army do not need to be particularly strategic. These
jobs put a premium on pragmatic decision-making rather than developing
elegant solutions, so being higher in openness to experience in these roles
can harm leadership effectiveness.
Conscientiousness concerns those behaviors related to people’s ap-
proach to work. Leaders who are higher in conscientiousness tend to be
planful, organized, and earnest, take commitments seriously, and rarely
get into trouble. Those who are lower in conscientiousness tend to be
more spontaneous, creative, impulsive, rule bending, and less concerned
with following through with commitments. The characters Bart and Lisa
Simpson from the television show The Simpsons provide a nice illustration
of low and high conscientiousness trait scores. Lisa is organized, hard-
working, and reliable and never gets into trouble; Bart is disorganized,
mischievous, and lazy and rarely keeps promises. Research shows that
individuals with higher conscientiousness scores are more likely to be ef-
fective leaders than those with lower scores. 5,25-33
In many ways conscientiousness may be more concerned with manage-
ment than leadership. That is because people with higher scores are plan-
ful, organized, and goal oriented and prefer structure; but they are also
risk averse, uncreative, and somewhat boring and dislike change. Al-
though the situation will determine how important these tendencies are
for building teams and getting results, research has shown that conscien-
tiousness is a good predictor of leadership potential. Along these lines,
conscientiousness seems to be a particularly good predictor of leadership
success in jobs that put a premium on following procedures, managing
budgets, coordinating work schedules, monitoring projects, and paying
attention to details. People having higher scores on conscientiousness
would probably do well in the production foreman, store manager, and
platoon leader jobs described earlier but may not be as effective if leading
sales or consulting teams, college professors, or musicians.
Extraversion involves behaviors that are more likely to be exhibited in
group settings and are generally concerned with getting ahead in life. 5,32
Such behavioral patterns often appear when someone is trying to influ-
ence or control others, and individuals higher in extraversion come
across to others as outgoing, competitive, decisive, outspoken, opinion-
ated, and self-confident. Individuals lower in extraversion generally pre-
fer to work by themselves and have relatively little interest in influencing
Persistence. Nothing in
the world can take the
place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing
is more common than
unsuccessful men with
talent. Genius will not;
unrewarded genius is
almost a proverb. Educa-
tion will not; the world
is full of educated dere-
licts. Persistence and
determination alone are
omnipotent. “Press on”
has solved and always
will solve the problems
of the human race.
Calvin Coolidge,
U.S. President
We are given to the cult
of personality; when
things go badly we look
for some messiah to save
us. If by chance we
think we have found
one, it will not be long
before we destroy him.
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 195
or competing with others. Because leaders’ decisiveness, competitiveness,
and self-confidence can affect their ability to successfully influence a
group, build a team, and get results, it is not surprising that leaders often
have higher extraversion scores than nonleaders. 5,27,28,32,34,35 You can see
differences in people’s standing on extraversion every time a group of
people gets together. Some people in a group are going to be outgoing and
will try to get the group to do certain things; others are more comfortable
going along with rather than arguing over group activities.
This strong need to assume leadership positions in groups is often asso-
ciated with taking risks, making decisions, and upward mobility. Many of
the candidates on the television show The Apprentice have high extraversion
scores. These candidates are willing to make decisions and vociferously ar-
gue why they shouldn’t be fired when their projects go poorly. Those with
lower extraversion scores often get “run over” by those with higher scores
on their project teams. But as various episodes on this television show dem-
onstrate, being the most decisive and domineering individual in a group
does not guarantee project success. Many times those with the highest ex-
traversion scores make poor decisions about their projects or fail to get the
people on their projects to work together effectively. Although possessing
too much extraversion can be problematic, in general people who are more
decisive, self-confident, and outgoing seem to be more effective leaders,
and thus extraversion is an important measure of leadership potential.
Another OCEAN personality dimension is agreeableness, which con-
cerns how one gets along with, as opposed to gets ahead of, others. 5,30,32
Individuals high in agreeableness come across to others as charming, dip-
lomatic, warm, empathetic, approachable, and optimistic; those lower in
agreeableness are more apt to appear as insensitive, socially clueless,
grumpy, cold, and pessimistic. Differences in agreeableness can easily be
seen on the television show American Idol. Ellen DeGeneres has a high
agreeableness score and never has a harsh word to say about any candi-
date, no matter how poorly he or she performs. Randy Jackson and Kara
DioGuardi have moderate agreeableness scores and try to provide both
positive and negative feedback to candidates. Simon Cowell has a very
low agreeableness score and seemingly couldn’t care less about how can-
didates feel about his feedback.
Although people with high agreeableness trait scores are well liked and
tend to be better at building teams than those with lower scores, they can
struggle with getting results through others. This is because persons with
higher scores often have trouble making unpopular decisions or dealing
with conflict and performance issues, which can negatively erode the
effectiveness of their teams. Because of these difficulties, research has
shown that agreeableness has had mixed results in predicting leadership
effectiveness. 5,27,28,30,32
Neuroticism is concerned with how people react to stress, change, failure,
or personal criticism. Leaders lower in neuroticism tend to be thick-skinned,
Thermonuclear coach-
ing sessions can be very
effective techniques for
getting the attention of
Anthony Burke,
F-16 pilot
A great leader’s courage
to fulfill his vision
comes from passion, not
John Maxwell,
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196 Part Two Focus on the Leader
calm, and optimistic, tend not to take mistakes or failures personally, and
hide their emotions; those higher in neuroticism are passionate, intense,
thin-skinned, moody, and anxious and lose their tempers when stressed
or criticized. Followers often mimic a leader’s emotions or behaviors un-
der periods of high stress, so leaders who are calm under pressure and
thick-skinned can often help a group stay on task and work through dif-
ficult issues. Unfortunately the opposite is also true.
Differences in neuroticism can easily be observed in the judges on American
Idol. Ellen DeGeneres has a high neuroticism score and readily shares her
emotional reactions with candidates; Simon Cowell has a low neuroticism
score and rarely displays any emotion on the show. Differences in emo-
tional volatility certainly can affect a person’s ability to build teams and get
results, and research has shown that neuroticism is another good predictor
of leadership potential. 5,27-35 Although lower neuroticism scores are gener-
ally associated with leadership effectiveness, people with low scores can
struggle to rally the troops when extra effort is needed to achieve results or
drive change. This is because these individuals are so flat emotionally that
they have a hard time exhibiting any passion or enthusiasm. Charismatic
leaders, on the other hand, often have higher neuroticism scores. 26
Implications of the Five Factor or OCEAN Model
The trait approach and the Five Factor or OCEAN model of personality
give leadership researchers and practitioners several useful tools and in-
sights. Personality traits help researchers and practitioners explain leaders’
and followers’ tendencies to act in consistent ways over time. They tell us
why some leaders appear to be dominant versus deferent, outspoken ver-
sus quiet, planful versus spontaneous, warm versus cold, and so forth. Note
that the behavioral manifestations of personality traits are often exhibited
automatically and without much conscious thought. People high in extra-
version, for example, will often maneuver to influence or lead whatever
groups or teams they are a part of without even thinking about it. Although
personality traits predispose us to act in certain ways, we can nonetheless
learn to modify our behaviors through experience, feedback, and reflection.
As shown in Figure 6.1 , personality traits are a key component of
behavior and are relatively difficult to change. Moreover, because
personality traits tend to be stable over the years and the behavioral man-
ifestations of traits occur somewhat automatically, it is important for lead-
ers and leaders-to-be to have insight into their personalities. For example,
consider a leader who is relatively high in the trait of neuroticism and
is deciding whether to accept a high-stress/high-visibility job. On the
basis of his personality trait scores, we might predict that this leader could
be especially sensitive to criticism and could be moody and prone to
emotional outbursts. If the leader understood that he may have issues
dealing with stress and criticism, he could choose not to take the position,
modify the situation to reduce the level of stress, or learn techniques for
Is that you, baby, or just
a brilliant disguise?
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 197
Level 5 Leadership
Over the past 20 years, some private corporations,
such as Coca-Cola, General Electric, British Petro-
leum, IBM, and Walmart, have performed very well.
People who invested $10,000 in these companies
would have seen their investments increase four- to
tenfold over this time. But some companies have
outperformed even these high fliers. Jim Collins
and his staff examined all the companies that ap-
peared on the Fortune 500 list from 1965 to 1995
and found 11 companies that dramatically beat the
others in returns. One critical component of this
tremendous financial success was Level 5 Leader-
ship. According to Collins, these companies had
leaders with a unique combination of humility and
will. As Collins says, Abraham Lincoln never let his
ego get in the way of his dream of building a great,
enduring nation. Similarly, these corporate leaders
did not let their egos get in the way of building
great companies. These leaders avoided the spot-
light but focused on creating a company that deliv-
ered outstanding results. They also possessed an
unbreakable resolve that channeled all their energy
toward the success of their companies, as opposed
to the pursuit of grand personal titles. All these
leaders were calm in crises, were never boastful,
took responsibility for failure, and were courteous
and polite. These leaders set the tone for their
respective organizations and spent a considerable
amount of time surrounding themselves with the
right people and building high-performing teams.
As a result, these companies returned $471 for
every dollar invested in 1965.
It is worth noting that Level 5 leaders act quite
differently from stereotypical corporate executives.
In the late 2000s senior executives would do all
they could to get on television, and many of these
leaders seemed more interested in personal
aggrandizement than company success (consider
Carly Fiorini, Ken Lewis, and Richard Fuld). Unfortu-
nately it appears that many boards of directors
have not paid attention to the key lessons of Col-
lins’s book—they continue to look for charismatic
rather than Level 5 CEOs to run their organizations.
Given the OCEAN model, how would Level 5 lead-
ers score on the five personality factors?
Sources: J. Collins, Good to Great (New York: Harper
Collins, 2001); R. Khurana, “The Curse of the Superstar
CEO,” Harvard Business Review, September 2002, pp. 60–67;
J. A. Sonnenfeld and R. Khurana, “Fishing for CEOs in
Your Own Backyard,” The Wall Street Journal, July 30,
2002, p. B2; R. S. Peterson, D. B. Smith, P. V. Martorana,
and P. D. Owens, “The Impact of Chief Executive Officer
Personality on Top Management Team Dynamics: One
Mechanism by Which Leadership Affects Organizational
Performance,” Journal of Applied Psychology 88, no. 5
(2003), pp. 795–808.
traits and
Knowledge Experience
The Building
Blocks of Skills
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198 Part Two Focus on the Leader
effectively dealing with these issues. A leader who lacked this self-insight
would probably make poorer choices and have more difficulties coping
with the demands of this position. 6
The OCEAN model has proven useful in several other ways. Most per-
sonality researchers currently embrace some form of this model because it
has provided a useful scheme for categorizing the findings of the person-
ality–leadership performance research. 6,27-29,32 Because research has shown
personality to be an effective measure of leadership potential, organiza-
tions now use the results of OCEAN personality assessments for hiring
new leaders, for giving leaders developmental feedback about various
personality traits, and as a key component in planning succession to pro-
mote leaders. 36
One advantage of the OCEAN model is that it is a useful method for pro-
filing leaders. An example of a school principal’s results on an OCEAN per-
sonality assessment can be found in Figure 6.2 . According to this profile, this
leader will generally come across to others as self-confident, goal oriented,
competitive, outgoing, liking to be the center of attention, but also distract-
ible and a poor listener (high extraversion); optimistic, resilient, and calm
under pressure (low neuroticism); reasonably warm and approachable (me-
dium agreeableness); moderately planful, rule abiding, and earnest (me-
dium conscientiousness); and a pragmatic, tactical thinker (low openness to
experience). Other leaders will have different behavioral tendencies, and
knowing this type of information before someone gets hired or promoted into
a leadership position can help improve the odds of organizational success.
Another advantage of the OCEAN model is that it appears universally
applicable across cultures. 6,29,33,37 People from Asian, Western European,
Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and South American cultures seem to
use the same five personality dimensions to categorize, profile, or describe
others. Not only do people from different cultures describe others using
the same five-factor framework—these dimensions all seem to predict job
Low Medium HighOCEAN factor
Openness to
Example OCEAN
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 199
Personality and Life
Many organizations currently use personality test-
ing as part of their process for hiring leaders or in
leadership development programs. Despite their
prevalence in both the private and public sector,
there is still considerable controversy surrounding
the use of personality testing in organizational
settings. Some of the arguments against using
personality testing are that (1) personality test
scores are unrelated to job performance; (2) per-
sonality tests are biased or “unethical”; and
(3) personality test results can be faked. These are
important questions: if personality test scores are
biased, are unrelated to job performance, and can
be faked, there would be little reason to use them
in work settings. However, a comprehensive re-
view of personality research has recently revealed
the following:
• Personality traits predict overall managerial ef-
fectiveness, promotion rates, and managerial
level attainment.
• Personality traits predict leader emergence and
• Personality traits predict charismatic or transfor-
mational leadership.
• Personality traits predict expatriate performance.
• Personality traits predict goal setting, procrasti-
nation, creativity, and innovation.
• Personality traits predict overall job performance
across virtually all job types.
• Personality traits predict absenteeism and other
counterproductive work behaviors.
• Personality traits predict job and career
• Personality traits predict mortality rates, divorce,
alcohol and drug use, health behaviors, and
occupational attainment.
• Personality test scores predict teamwork and
team performance.
• Personality test scores yield similar results for
protected groups. In other words, males,
females, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian
Americans generally score the same on
personality tests.
• Personality tests results can be faked to some ex-
tent, but the degree to which test scores are
faked depends on the test setting and adminis-
tration. Faking, however, does not seem to af-
fect the overall relationships between personality
test results and work outcomes and can be de-
tected and corrected.
• In all likelihood personality tests suffer less from
adverse impact and faking than traditional
selection techniques, such as résumés and job
These findings show that personality tests can
help organizations hire leaders who have the
potential to be effective and can help leaders hire
followers who are more likely to be successful. The
arguments against the use of personality testing
simply do not stand up to the facts.
Sources: L. M. Hough and F. L. Oswald. “Personality
Testing and Industrial–Organizational Psychology: Reflec-
tions, Progress, and Prospects,” Industrial and Organiza-
tional Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice 1,
no. 3 (2008), pp. 272–90; G. J. Curphy, Hogan Assess-
ment Systems Certification Workshop Training Manual
(Tulsa, OK: Hogan Assessment Systems, 2003); G. J. Cur-
phy, “Comments on the State of Leadership Prediction,”
in Predicting Leadership: The Good, the Bad, the Indifferent,
and the Unnecessary , in J. P. Campbell and M. J. Benson
(chairs), symposium conducted at the 22nd Annual Con-
ference for the Society of Industrial and Organizational
Psychology, New York, April 2007.
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200 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Robert “RT” Hogan
Robert Hogan has arguably been one of the most
prominent and influential leadership researchers for
the past 30 years. His papers and books are among
the most widely cited in the behavioral sciences,
and he is constantly asked to do keynote presenta-
tions to government, business, and academic audi-
ences. His personality inventories are widely
recognized as “best in class” and are used around
the world to hire and develop everyone from truck
drivers to CEOs. At this point well over 3 million
individuals have taken one or more Hogan assess-
ments, and the popularity of these instruments
continues to grow.
Hogan grew up in east Los Angeles and was the
first in his family to attend college. He attended
UCLA and obtained an engineering degree on a
Navy ROTC scholarship before spending the next
seven years working on a destroyer in the U.S.
Navy. It was in the navy that Hogan became inter-
ested in leadership and psychology; he read all he
could about Freud, Jung, and other prominent psy-
chologists while at sea. After leaving the navy Ho-
gan became a parole officer for the Los Angeles
police department. As a parole officer Hogan no-
ticed that the process used to determine a juvenile’s
fate was completely at the whim of his or her pa-
role officer and that there was no standardized sys-
tem or process for keeping these individuals out of
trouble. Thinking there was a better way to do this,
Hogan decided to attend UC Berkeley to obtain a
PhD in personality psychology. While working on
his graduate degree Hogan did personality testing
on police officers and devised selection systems to
combat unfair hiring and promotion practices. Af-
ter graduation he spent some time as a professor at
Johns Hopkins University before becoming a profes-
sor at the University of Tulsa. Hogan eventually be-
came chair of the psychology department at the
University of Tulsa while starting his own company,
Hogan Assessment Systems.
A true entrepreneur, RT and his wife Joyce (who
is also a well-known PhD psychologist) started Ho-
gan Assessment Systems; the company now has 40
full-time employees and distributor partnerships
around the globe. Hogan Assessment Systems has
been a great way for RT and Joyce Hogan to men-
tor and develop graduate students and help junior
faculty get published. They have also been able to
leverage the data they have collected through their
instruments to publish hundreds of articles and
books about personality and leadership, many of
which can be found in the most prestigious psy-
chology journals. One of the authors of this text-
book, Gordy Curphy, credits the Hogans with
having a bigger impact on his thinking about lead-
ership and success as a leadership consultant than
anyone else he has worked with.
and leadership performance across cultures. For example, in a compre-
hensive review of the research, Salgado reported that all five of the
OCEAN dimensions predicted blue-collar, professional, and managerial
performance in various European countries. 29 But the strength of the
personality–job performance relationship depends on the particular job.
Some jobs, such as sales, put a premium on interpersonal skills and goal
orientation (extraversion and agreeableness), whereas manufacturing
jobs put more of a premium on planning and abiding by safety and pro-
ductivity rules (conscientiousness). Researchers often get much stronger
personality–job performance relationships when the personality traits
being measured have some degree of job relatedness. 6,27,28
People believe what they
want to believe and dis-
regard the rest.
Paul Simon and
Art Garfunkel,
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 201
Personality Types and Leadership
The Differences between Traits and Types
Traits are not the only way to describe stereotypical behaviors. An alterna-
tive framework to describe the differences in people’s day-to-day behav-
ioral patterns is through types, or in terms of a personality typology .
Superficially there may appear to be little difference between traits and
types; even some of the same words are used to name them. Extraversion,
for example, is the name of a factor in the OCEAN model, but another
framework may talk about extraverted types . And these differences are
more than skin-deep. We will emphasize only one aspect of these
differences—the one we believe is most fundamental conceptually. Each
personality factor in the OCEAN model (such as neuroticism) is conceptu-
alized as a continuum along which people can vary, typically in a bell-
curve distribution. A person may be relatively lower or higher on that
trait, and the differences in behavioral patterns between any two people
may be thought of as roughly proportional to how close or far apart they
are on the scale. Types, on the other hand, are usually thought of as
relatively discrete categories .
This distinction may be clearer with an example. Let us take the trait of
dominance and compare it with a hypothetical construct we will call a
“dominant type.” Psychological typologies are often expressed in terms of
polar opposites, so let us further suppose that our typology also refers to
the bipolar opposite of dominant types, which we’ll call submissive types.
Importantly, people are considered to be one or the other , just as everyone is
either male or female. If you are a dominant type, you are considered to be
more like all the other dominant types than you are like any submissive
type; if you are a submissive type, you are considered to be more like ev-
ery submissive type than you are like any dominant type. In other words,
typologies tend to put people into discrete psychological categories and
emphasize the similarities among all people in the same category regard-
less of actual score (as long as it is in the “right” direction). Furthermore,
typologies tend to emphasize differences between people of different types
(such as between dominant and submissive types) regardless of actual
Figure 6.3 illustrates this point. The upper line refers to the contin-
uum of the trait defined at one end by submissiveness and at the other
end by dominance. The trait scores of four different individuals—Jim,
John, Joe, and Jack—are indicated on the scale. You can infer from their
relative positions on the scale that John is more like Joe than he is like
either Jim or Jack. Now look at the lower line. This refers to the typology
of submissive and dominant types. The theory behind personality types
suggests that John is more like Jim than Joe, and Joe is more like Jack
than John.
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202 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Psychological Preferences as a Personality Typology
One popular personality typology involves psychological preferences,
or what we might call “mental habits.” Like traits, our preferences
play a role in the characteristic and unique ways we behave from day
to day.
According to Jung, 38 preferences influence our choice of careers, ways
of thinking, relationships, and work habits. Over 2 million people take the
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test every year, 39 which not only is
the most popular measure of preferences but also makes it one of the most
popular psychological tests. The MBTI is often used in college-level lead-
ership and adult education courses, formal leadership training programs,
and various team-building interventions. Moreover, numerous books and
articles have been published about how the MBTI can be used to better
understand oneself, co-workers, partners in intimate relationships, chil-
dren, and educational and occupational choices. Because of the overall
popularity of preferences and the MBTI, we believe it is worthwhile to
review this framework and its most popular assessment instrument in
some detail.
Somewhat paradoxically, one reason knowledge about our psycho-
logical preferences is important is precisely because it is so easy to forget
about them. It is easy to forget how subjective and idiosyncratic prefer-
ences really are; we easily confuse our preferences with the way things are
or ought to be . For example, those who value being organized may prefer
everyone to be organized. They may get annoyed when working with
others who are less organized than they are. In other words, it is easy to
let preferences affect judgments about others (people “should” be orga-
nized, and therefore not being organized is a deficiency). Many people
are unaware of the extent to which their preferences shape their percep-
tions of reality.
Traits and Types
Jim John JackJoe
Jim John JackJoe
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 203
According to Myers and Myers, 40 there are four basic preference di-
ménsions in which people can differ. These four dimensions include
extraversion–introversion, sensing–intuition, thinking–feeling, and
judging–perceiving. These four dimensions are bipolar, meaning that
individuals generally prefer being either, say, extraverted or intro-
verted. A more in-depth description of the day-to-day behavioral pat-
terns of these four dimensions follows.
The extraversion–introversion dimension is fundamentally con-
cerned with where people get their energy. Some leaders are naturally
gregarious and outgoing. Their spontaneous sociability makes it easy for
them to strike up conversations with anyone about almost anything. Not
surprisingly, extraverts have a breadth of interests and a large circle of
acquaintances. There are energized by being around others, but their
tendency to “think out loud” and speak whatever is on their mind can
sometimes get them into trouble. Other leaders are more comfortable
being alone or with just a few others. Introverts can interact effectively
with others, but they are fundamentally both more reserved and more
deliberate than extraverts. Introverted leaders prefer to think things
through and announce only final decisions, and followers may have a
difficult time understanding the process such a leader used to reach his
or her conclusions. Because introverts find being around others to be
draining, they may come across as less approachable than extraverts.
This preference dimension can be easily seen at parties and social set-
tings. Extraverts work the crowd and are often the last to leave; intro-
verts keep to themselves or talk to a small group of friends and leave
early. Of course everyone needs to act in both introverted and extra-
verted ways at various times; however, some of us are more comfortable
with one than the other.
The sensing–intuition dimension is concerned with how people look
at data. Leader who prefer the sensing mode like facts and details; the
focus of information gathering concerns the real, the actual, the literal,
the specific, and the present. Hence sensing leaders tend to be practical,
orderly, and down-to-earth decision makers. By contrast, leaders who
rely on their intuition look for the big picture beyond particular facts
and details; information is most meaningful for its pattern, trend, figu-
rative meaning, and future possibilities. Intuitive leaders tend to be in-
novative and conceptual (though sometimes impractical) and are more
comfortable with their hunches and inspirations. This preference di-
mension can often be seen in presentations. A sensing leader will use a
relatively large number of slides to explain all the facts leading up to a
practical decision. An intuitive leader will use a few slides to summa-
rize key trends and describe the possible implications of these trends.
Intuitive leaders sitting through a sensor’s presentation might get bored
with the details and think, “They just don’t get it.” Sensing leaders sit-
ting through an intuitive’s presentation will wonder, “Where are the
Question: How do you
tell an extraverted engi-
neer from an introverted
Answer: Extraverted
engineers look at your
shoes when they are
talking to you.
Question posed by a
criminal psychologist:
Why do you rob banks?
Answer: Because that’s
where the money is.
Willie Sutton,
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204 Part Two Focus on the Leader
data?” and ask questions about the assumptions and facts underlying
the trends and conclusions.
Whereas the sensing–intuition dimension is concerned with how lead-
ers and followers look at data, the thinking–feeling dimension is con-
cerned with the considerations leaders prefer when making decisions.
Thinking leaders like to analyze, criticize, and approach decisions imper-
sonally and objectively. They use their heads to adopt a relatively de-
tached stance toward decisions and pay more attention to operational,
bottom-line considerations. Feeling leaders naturally empathize and ap-
preciate, and they prefer to approach decisions personally and subjec-
tively. They value humaneness and social harmony and use their hearts
to weigh the impact of any decision on people. As an example, say a
thinking leader was the head of a customer service support center, and
his feeling follower just got a call that her child was sick at school and
she needed to go pick her up. The leader’s first thought might be “How
will I be able to field customer calls during my follower’s absence?”
whereas the follower’s first thought might be “I hope my child is okay.”
Similarly, the CEO of a large home improvement retail organization was
a strong thinker, and one of his division presidents was a strong feeler.
The CEO would look at monthly financial reports and make decisions
that would improve shareholder value. The division president would
look at these decisions and immediately think about how they would af-
fect his 26,000 employees. Both the CEO and division president looked at
the same reports; they just approached their decisions differently based
on their preferences.
The judging–perceiving dimension describes the amount of informa-
tion a leader needs before feeling comfortable making a decision. Judging
leaders strive for closure; they like things settled and come across as de-
cisive, methodical, and organized. Judgers get nervous before decisions
get made and want to see only the minimal amount of information
needed to make decisions. Although they make up their minds quickly,
they may not have all the relevant facts and as a result can make poor
decisions. Perceiving leaders like to keep their options open; they are cu-
rious, spontaneous, and flexible. Perceivers prefer to collect as much data
as possible before making decisions and get nervous after they are made
because they may not feel all the information was collected or analyzed
correctly. Although perceivers are good at gathering and analyzing data,
they sometimes are accused of suffering from “analysis paralysis.” This
personality preference can readily be seen in meetings. Judging leaders
prefer to have an agenda, stick to it, and make as many decisions as pos-
sible in the meeting. Perceivers dislike agendas, do not mind going off on
tangents, and may or may not make any decisions at meetings. They also
have no problem revisiting decisions made in earlier meetings if new in-
formation comes to light. Judging followers can get frustrated working
I am the decider.
George W. Bush,
U.S. president
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 205
for perceiving leaders and vice versa over these meeting and decision-
making issues.
As with personality traits, many leaders and followers exhibit the be-
haviors associated with their preference dimensions almost automatically,
particularly in weak or stressful situations. However, it is important to
note that people are not locked into exhibiting only those behaviors asso-
ciated with their preferences. Leaders can and do exhibit behaviors associ-
ated with the opposite side of any preference dimension, but it takes
personal insight and conscious energy and effort to do so. Moreover, the
more extreme a preference score, the more likely the associated behaviors
will be exhibited and the more effort it will take to exhibit nonpreference
behaviors. One advantage of this framework is that the predominant
preferences can be used to create 16 psychological types. For example,
someone with high preferences for introversion, sensing, thinking, and
judging would be categorized as an ISTJ type. A listing of the 16 types can
be found in Table 6.2, and preference researchers believe that individuals
within any particular type are more similar to each other than they are to
individuals in any of the other 15 types. 39-41
Implications of Preferences and Types
Preference advocates maintain that no one type is necessarily better than
others in terms of leadership effectiveness, and that each type has unique
strengths and potential weaknesses. 39-41 There is little published evidence
to support this claim, but evidence shows that leaders are disproportion-
ately distributed across a handful of types. As shown in Table 6.2, many
more leaders are ISTJs, ESTJs, and ENTJs than other types. More research
is needed concerning how preferences affect leadership, but it seems
reasonable that awareness and appreciation of them can enhance any
leader’s effectiveness.
Although the MBTI is an extremely popular and potentially useful in-
strument, leadership practitioners need to be aware of its limitations and
possible misuses. The four preference dimensions can provide useful in-
sights about oneself and others, but the fundamental concept of type is
problematic. First, types are not stable over time. Some research indicates
that at least one letter in the four-letter type my change in half the people
taking the test in as little as five weeks. 42 Data also show major develop-
ment changes in distribution of types with age. 43 It is difficult to see how
one should select individuals for teams or provide career guidance to oth-
ers based on types if the types (or at least type scores) change, in some
cases quickly. Furthermore, because the behavior of two people in the
same type may vary as greatly as that of people of different types, the util-
ity of typing systems remains uncertain.
But perhaps the most serious problem in using typologies concerns the
way they are sometimes misused. 44 Unfortunately some people become so
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206 Part Two Focus on the Leader
ISTJ (14%)a
Serious, quiet, earn success by concentration
and thoroughness. Practical, orderly, matter-of-
fact, logical, realistic, and dependable. See to it
that everything is well organized. Take
responsibility. Make up their own minds as to
what should be accomplished and work
toward it steadily, regardless of protest or
ISTP (2%)
Cool onlookers—quiet, reserved, observing, and
analyzing life with detached curiosity and
unexpected flashes of original humor. Usually
interested in impersonal principles, cause and
effect, how and why mechanical things work.
Exert themselves no more than they think
necessary, because any waste of energy would
be inefficient.
ESTP (2%)
Matter-of-fact, do not worry or hurry, enjoy
whatever comes along. Tend to like mechanical
things and sports, with friends on the side.
May be a bit blunt or insensitive. Adaptable,
tolerant, generally conservative in values.
Dislike long explanations. Are best with real
things that can be worked, handled, taken
apart, or put together.
ESTJ (23%)
Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact, with a natural
head for business or mechanics. Not interested
in subjects they see no use for, but can apply
themselves when necessary. Like to organize and
run activities. May make good administrators,
especially if they remember to consider others’
feelings and points of view.
INFJ (1%)
Succeed by perseverance, originality, and desire
to do whatever is needed or wanted. Put their
best efforts into their work. Quietly forceful,
conscientious, concerned for others. Respected
for their firm principles. Likely to be honored
and followed for their clear convictions as to
how best to serve the common good.
ISFJ (2%)
Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious.
Work devotedly to meet their obligations. Lend
stability to any project or group. Thorough,
painstaking, accurate. May need time to
master technical subjects, as their interests are
usually not technical. Patient with detail and
routine. Loyal, considerate, concerned with
how other people feel.
ISFP (1%)
Retiring, quietly friendly, sensitive, kind, modest
about their abilities. Shun disagreements, do
not force their opinions or values on others,
usually do not care to lead but are often loyal
followers. Often relaxed about getting things
done, because they enjoy the present moment
and do not want to spoil it by undue haste or
ESFP (1%)
Outgoing, easygoing, accepting, friendly, enjoy
everything and make things more fun for
others by their enjoyment. Like sports and
making things. Know what’s going on and join
in eagerly. Find remembering facts easier than
mastering theories. Are best in situations that
need sound common sense and practical
ability with people as well as with things.
ESFJ (2%)
Warm-hearted, talkative, popular, conscientious,
born cooperators, active committee members.
Need harmony and may be good at creating it.
Always doing something nice for someone.
Work best with encouragement and praise.
Little interest in abstract thinking or technical
subjects. Main interest is in things that directly
and visibly affect people’s lives.
INTJ (9%)
Usually have original minds and great drive for
their own ideas and purposes. In fields that
appeal to them, they have a fine power to
organize a job and carry it through with or
without help. Skeptical, critical, independent,
determined, often stubborn. Must learn to
yield less important points in order to win the
most important.
TABLE 6.2 The 16 Psychological Types
Characteristics Frequently Associated with Each Myers-Briggs Type
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 207
INFP (1%)
Full of enthusiasms and loyalties, but seldom talk
of these until they know you well. Care about
learning, ideas, language, and independent
projects of their own. Tend to undertake too
much, then somehow get it done. Friendly, but
often too absorbed in what they are doing to
be sociable. Little concern with possessions or
physical surroundings.
ENFP (2%)
Warmly enthusiastic, high-spirited, ingenious,
imaginative. Able to do almost anything that
interests them. Quick with a solution for any
difficulty and ready to help anyone with a
problem. Often rely on their ability to
improvise instead of preparing in advance. Can
usually find compelling reasons for whatever
they want.
ENFJ (4%)
Responsive and responsible. Generally feel real
concern for what others think or want, and try
to handle things with due regard for other
person’s feelings. Can present a proposal or
lead group discussion with ease and tact.
Sociable, popular, sympathetic. Responsive to
praise and criticism.
INTP (5%)
Quiet, reserved, impersonal. Enjoy especially
theoretical or scientific subjects, logical to the
point of hair splitting. Usually interested mainly
in ideas, with little liking for parties or small
talk. Tend to have sharply defined interests.
Need careers where some strong interest can
be used and useful.
ENTP (9%)
Quick, ingenious, good at many things.
Stimulating company, alert, and outspoken.
May argue for fun on either side of a question.
Resourceful in solving new and challenging
problems, but may neglect routine
assignments. Apt to turn to one new interest
after another. Skillful in finding logical reasons
for what they want.
ENTJ (22%)
Hearty, frank, decisive, leaders in activities.
Usually good in anything that requires
reasoning and intelligent talk, such as public
speaking. Are usually well-informed and enjoy
adding to their fund of knowledge. May
sometimes be more positive and confident
than their experience in an area warrants.
*The percentage of managers falling into each of the 16 types.
Consulting Psychologists Press Inc. Manual; A Guide to the Development and Use of Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Palo Alto, CA: Author, 1993.
enamored with simple systems for classifying human behavior that they
begin to see everything through “type” glasses. Some people habitually cat-
egorize their friends, significant others, and co-workers into types. Knowl-
edge of type should be a basis for appreciating the richness and diversity
of behavior and the capabilities in others and ourselves. It is not meant to
be a system of categorization that oversimplifies our own and others’ be-
havior. Believing someone is a particular type can become a perceptual
filter that keeps us from actually recognizing when that person is acting in
a manner contrary to that type’s characteristic style. Another misuse occurs
when someone uses “knowledge” of type as an excuse or a rationalization
for his own counterproductive behaviors (“I know I’m talking on and on
and dominating the conversation, but after all, I’m an extravert”). In this
case the misuse of type can become a self-fulfilling prophecy that may
make it difficult for a leader to change a follower’s behavior. The MBTI is a
useful tool for enhancing awareness of oneself and others, but leaders need
to understand that, like any tool, it can be misused.
Perhaps no concept in
the history of psychology
has had or continues to
have as great an impact
on everyday life in the
Western world as that of
general intelligence.
Sandra Scarr,
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208 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Intelligence and Leadership
What Is Intelligence?
The first formal linkage between intelligence and leadership was estab-
lished around 1115 BC in China, where the dynasties used standardized
tests to determine which citizens would play key leadership roles in the in-
stitutions they had set up to run the country. 45 Using intelligence tests to
identify potential leaders in the United States goes back to World War I, and
Anne Mulcahy
Anne Mulcahy became the first female CEO at Xe-
rox in August 2001 and chairwoman in January
2002. In the late 1990s and early 2000s Xerox was
rapidly losing market share, and its stock price was
in a free fall. Over time Xerox had lost touch with
its customers and the market and had not done a
good job of reducing costs. Mulcahy logged
100,000 miles in her first year as CEO listening to
employees and customers and then ordered a ma-
jor restructuring that cut $1.7 billion in annual ex-
penses, slashed 25,000 jobs, and shed $2.3 billion
in noncore assets. Although these cuts were ex-
tremely painful, Mulcahy is widely credited with
saving Xerox.
Anne Mulcahy had a very nontraditional path to
the CEO role. She was the only girl in a family with
four boys and was taught at an early age that she
needed to compete equally with her siblings. This
upbringing helped her to handle and listen to criti-
cism, and these abilities in turn played a key role in
her path to the top. She attended Marymount Col-
lege before joining Xerox in 1976 as a field sales
representative. Anne spent 15 years in sales before
being named the vice president of Human Re-
sources in 1992—a job she held for the next three
years. She then spent a year as the vice president of
Customer Operations Worldwide before being pro-
moted to senior vice president and chief staff offi-
cer. A year later she became president of General
Markets Operations, and from 2000 to 2001 she
was the president and chief operating officer of Xe-
rox. Her background in sales, human resources,
customer service, and operations gave her a unique
perspective on Xerox’s customers, competitors,
strategies, products, business models, and people,
and she used this knowledge to formulate the com-
pany’s turnaround and subsequent vision for
Described as honest, straightforward, decisive,
hardworking, disciplined, compassionate, and
fiercely loyal to the Xerox brand, Mulcahy has con-
sistently told the company “the good, the bad, and
the ugly.” Although many of her town hall meet-
ings were quite contentious, she made a point of
telling everyone the brutal facts surrounding Xerox.
She also used these opportunities to convey a com-
pelling vision of the company’s future and what
people needed to do to make her vision become
reality. Employees appreciated Mulcahy’s honesty,
and her vision helped give them hope for the fu-
ture. Her vision alone was not enough to turn
around Xerox, however, and she quickly replaced
direct reports who were not aligned with her vision
or failed to deliver results. The company’s financial
performance and stock price steadily improved un-
der Mulcahy’s leadership, and in 2010 she retired
from Xerox to spend more time with her family and
on the other boards of directors she belonged to.
Given Anne Mulcahy’s background, what do
you think her personality traits are or personality
type might be? How would you rate her analytic,
practical, and creative intelligence?
biography/M-R/Mulcahy-Anne-1952.html; http://news.; http://invest-
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 209
to a large extent this use of intelligence testing continues today. Over
100 years of very comprehensive and systematic research provides over-
whelming evidence to support the notion that general intelligence plays a
substantial role in human affairs. 46-54 Still, intelligence and intelligence test-
ing are among the most controversial topics in the social sciences today.
There is contentious debate over questions like how heredity and the envi-
ronment affect intelligence, whether intelligence tests should be used in
public schools, and whether ethnic groups differ in average intelligence test
scores. For the most part, however, we will bypass such controversies here.
Our focus will be on the relationship between intelligence and leadership.
We define intelligence as a person’s all-around effectiveness in activities
directed by thought. 46-55 What does this definition of intelligence have to do
with leadership? Research has shown that more intelligent leaders are faster
learners; make better assumptions, deductions, and inferences; are better at
creating a compelling vision and developing strategies to make their vision
a reality; can develop better solutions to problems; can see more of the pri-
mary and secondary implications of their decisions; and are quicker on
their feet than leaders who are less intelligent. 46-64 To a large extent people
get placed into leadership positions to solve problems, whether they are
customer, financial, operational, interpersonal, performance, political, edu-
cational, or social in nature. Therefore, given the behaviors associated with
higher intelligence, it is easy to see how a more intelligent leader will often
be more successful than a less intelligent leader in influencing a group to
accomplish its goals. Like personality traits, however, intelligence alone is
not enough to guarantee leadership success. Plenty of smart people make
poor leaders—just as few intelligent people are great leaders. Nevertheless,
many leadership activities seem to involve some degree of decision-making
and problem-solving ability, which means a leader’s intelligence can affect
the odds of leadership success in many situations.
As shown in Figure 6.4 , intelligence is relatively difficult to change.
Like personality, it is also an unseen quality and can be inferred only by
observing behavior. Moreover, intelligence does not affect behavior equally
across all situations. Some activities, such as following simple routines, put
Be willing to make deci-
sions. That’s the most
important quality of a
good leader.
George S. Patton,
U.S. Army general
traits and
• Practical intelligence
• Analytic intelligence
• Practical intelligence
• Creative intelligence
• Practical intelligence
The Building
Blocks of Skills
No psychologist has
observed intelligence;
many have observed
intelligent behavior.
This observation should
be the starting point
for any theory of
I. Chien,
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210 Part Two Focus on the Leader
less of a premium on intelligence than others. 58,65 Finally, our definition
of intelligence does not imply that intelligence is a fixed quantity. Al-
though heredity plays a role, intelligence can be modified through educa-
tion and experience. 46,51,57,65
The Triarchic Theory of Intelligence
Intelligence and leadership effectiveness are related, but there is still an
ongoing debate about the nature of intelligence. Many psychologists have
tried to determine the structure of intelligence: is intelligence a unitary
ability, or does it involve a collection of related mental abilities? 55,62,66,67
Other psychologists have said that the process by which people do com-
plex mental work is much more important than determining the number
of mental abilities. 50,51,68 One of the most comprehensive and compelling
theories of intelligence developed and tested over the past 20 years is
Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence. 50,51,56,57,68 It also offers some
of the most significant implications for leadership. The triarchic theory
focuses on what a leader does when solving complex mental problems,
such as how information is combined and synthesized when solving
problems, what assumptions and errors are made, and the like. According
to this theory, there are three basic types of intelligence. Analytic intelli-
gence is general problem-solving ability and can be assessed using stan-
dardized mental abilities tests. Analytic intelligence is important because
leaders and followers who possess higher levels of this type of intelligence
tend to be quick learners, do well in school, see connections between is-
sues, and have the ability to make accurate deductions, assumptions, and
inferences with relatively unfamiliar information.
There is still much, however, that analytic intelligence does not explain.
Many people do well on standardized tests but not in life. 59,64,65,68 And
some people do relatively poorly on standardized intelligence tests but de-
velop ingenious solutions to practical problems. For example, Sternberg
and his associates described a situation in which students in a school for
the mentally retarded did very poorly on standardized tests yet consis-
tently found ways to defeat the school’s elaborate security system. In this
situation the students possessed a relatively high level of practical intelli-
gence, or “street smarts.” People with street smarts know how to adapt to,
shape, or select new situations to get their needs met better than people
lacking street smarts (e.g., think of a stereotypical computer nerd and an
inner-city kid both lost in downtown New York). In other words, practical
intelligence involves knowing how things get done and how to do them.
For leaders, practical intelligence is important because it involves knowing
what to do and how to do it when confronted with a particular leadership
situation, such as dealing with a poorly performing subordinate, resolving
a problem with a customer, or getting a team to work better together. 64,68
Because of its potential importance to leadership effectiveness, several
other aspects of practical intelligence are worth noting. First, practical
The first method for esti-
mating the intelligence
of a ruler is to look at the
men he has around him.
Everyone is ignorant,
only on different
Will Rogers,
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 211
intelligence is much more concerned with knowledge and experience than
is analytic intelligence (see Figure 6.4 ). Leaders can build their practical
intelligence by building their leadership knowledge and experience. Thus
textbooks like this one can help you build your practical intelligence. Get-
ting a variety of leadership experiences, and perhaps more important, re-
flecting on these experiences, will also help you build practical intelligence.
But you should understand that it takes some time before you will become
an “expert” at leadership—research shows that it takes 10 years to truly
master any particular topic. 69
Second, practical intelligence is domain specific. A leader who has a lot of
knowledge and experience in leading a pharmaceutical research team may
feel like a duck out of water when asked to lead a major fund-raising effort
for a charitable institution. As another example, one of the authors worked
with a highly successful retail company having over 100,000 employees. All
the key leaders had over 20 years of retail operations and merchandising
experience, but they also did poorly on standardized intelligence tests. The
Why Athletes Can’t Have Regular Jobs
The United States seems to put more emphasis on
athleticism than intelligence, as least when it comes
to the amounts of money allocated to athletic and
academic scholarships. The following quotes illus-
trate the kind of returns the United States is getting
from its athletic scholarships:
• Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson on be-
ing a role model: “I want all dem kids to do
what I do, to look up to me. I want dem kids to
copulate me.”
• New Orleans Saints running back George Rog-
ers when asked about the upcoming season: “I
want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whatever
comes first.”
• Torrin Polk, University of Houston receiver, on
his coach: “He treats us like men. He lets us
wear earrings.”
• Senior basketball player at the University of
Pittsburgh: “I am going to graduate on time,
no matter now long it takes.”
• Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks wing, ex-
plaining why he keeps a color photograph of
himself on his locker: “That’s so when I forget
how to spell my name, I can still find my
• Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina basketball player,
explaining to his coach why he appeared ner-
vous in practice: “My sister’s expecting a baby,
and I don’t know if I am going to be an uncle or
an aunt.”
• Frank Layden, Utah Jazz President, on a former
player: “I told him, ‘Son, what is it with you? Is it
ignorance or apathy?’ He said, ‘Coach, I don’t
know and I don’t care.’”
• Football commentator and former player Joe
Theisman: “Nobody in football should be called
a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Ein-
• Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M,
recounting what he told a player who received
four Fs and a D: “Son, looks to me like you’re
spending too much time on one subject.”
• In the words of North Carolina State basketball
player Charles Shackelford: “I can go to my left
or right, I am amphibious.”
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212 Part Two Focus on the Leader
company had successfully expanded in the United States (which capital-
ized on their practical intelligence), but their attempt to expand to foreign
markets was an abysmal failure. This failure was due in part to the leaders’
inability to learn, appreciate, or understand the intricacies of other cultures
(analytic intelligence), their lack of knowledge and experience in foreign
markets (practical intelligence), and in turn their development of inappro-
priate strategies for running the business in other countries (a combination
of analytic and practical intelligence). Thus practical intelligence is ex-
tremely useful for leading in familiar situations, but analytic intelligence
may play a more important role when leaders face new or novel situations.
Third, this example points out the importance of having both types of
intelligence. Organizations today are looking for leaders and followers
who have the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed (practical intel-
ligence) and the ability to learn (analytic intelligence). 50,56,57,68,70 Fourth,
high levels of practical intelligence may compensate for lower levels of
analytic intelligence. Leaders with lower analytic abilities may still be able
to solve complex work problems or make good decisions if they have
plenty of job-relevant knowledge or experience. But leaders with more
analytic intelligence, all things being equal, may develop their street
smarts more quickly than leaders with less analytic intelligence. Analytic
intelligence may play a lesser role once a domain of knowledge is mas-
tered, but a more important role in encountering new situations.
Why Smart People Can’t Learn
Being able to learn and adapt is a critical leadership
skill, but it turns out that many professionals are
not good at it. Leaders get paid to solve problems
and are generally good at this, but many are lousy
at determining what role they played in causing
these problems. Leaders are good at single-loop
learning —reviewing data and facts and identifying
the underlying root causes from the information
gathered—but are not good at double-loop
learning —determining what they as leaders need
to do differently to avoid problems in the future.
The primary reason why many leaders are not good
at double-loop learning is because most have not
experienced real failure. Many people in positions
of authority have enviable track records of success,
so when things go badly they erroneously believe
that it cannot be their fault because they have al-
ways been successful. Something else must be
causing the group’s substandard performance,
such as underachieving followers, market condi-
tions, difficult customers, government regulations,
or cutthroat competitors. Thus many leaders react
to failure by laying the blame on circumstances or
other people. Although external factors can and do
affect group performance, a leader’s actions or in-
actions can also be a major cause of team failure.
Before leaders point at external factors they need to
ask how their actions contributed to the problem.
Unfortunately it appears that the more formal edu-
cation one has, the less likely it is that one will en-
gage in double-loop learning. Intelligence alone
will not help people extract the maximum value
from their experiences—reflection also plays a key
role in learning and adaptation.
Source: C. Argyris, “Teaching Smart People How to
Learn,” Harvard Business Review , May–June 1991, Reprint
Number 91301.
We do know with
certain knowledge that
Osama bin Laden is
either in Afghanistan,
in some other country,
or dead.
Donald Rumsfeld,
former U.S.
Secretary of
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 213
The third component of the triarchic theory of intelligence is creative
intelligence, which is the ability to produce work that is both novel and use-
ful. 50,51,57,68-73 Using both criteria (novel and useful) as components of creative
intelligence helps to eliminate outlandish solutions to a potential problem by
ensuring that adopted solutions can be realistically implemented or have
some type of practical payoff. Several examples might help to clarify the
novel and practical components of creative intelligence. The inventor of Vel-
cro got his idea while picking countless thistles out of his socks; he realized
that the same principle that produced his frustration might be translated into
a useful fastener. The inventor of 3M’s Post-it notes was frustrated because
bookmarks in his church hymnal were continually sliding out of place, and
he saw a solution in a low-tack adhesive discovered by a fellow 3M scientist.
The scientists who designed the Spirit and Opportunity missions to Mars were
given a budget that was considerably smaller than those of previous missions
to Mars. Yet the scientists were challenged to develop two spacecraft that had
more capabilities than the Pathfinder and the Viking Lander. Their efforts with
Spirit and Opportunity were a resounding success, due in part to some of the
novel solutions used both to land the spacecrafts (an inflatable balloon sys-
tem) and to explore the surrounding area (both were mobile rovers).
Two interesting questions surrounding creativity concern the role of intel-
ligence and the assessment of creative ability. Research shows that analytic
intelligence correlates at about the .5 level with creative intelligence. 72 Thus
the best research available indicates that analytic intelligence and creativity
are related, but the relationship is imperfect. Some level of analytic intelli-
gence seems necessary for creativity, but having a high level of analytic intel-
ligence is no guarantee that a leader will be creative. And like practical
intelligence, creativity seems to be specific to certain fields and subfields: Bill
Gates cannot write music and Madonna cannot do math. 51,55,70,72-76
Assessing creativity is no simple matter. Tests of creativity, or diver-
gent thinking, differ from tests that assess convergent thinking. Tests of
convergent thinking usually have a single best answer; good examples
here are most intelligence and aptitude tests. Conversely, tests of creativ-
ity or divergent thinking have many possible answers. 77 Although Stern-
berg and his associates showed that it is possible to reliably judge the
relative creativity of different responses, judging creativity is more diffi-
cult than scoring convergent tests. 70,72,78 For example, there are no set an-
swers or standards for determining whether a movie, a marketing ad, or a
new manufacturing process is truly creative. Another difficulty in assess-
ing creativity is that it may wax and wane over time; many of the most
creative people seem to have occasional dry spells or writer’s block. This
is different from analytic intelligence, where performance on mental abili-
ties tests remains fairly constant over time.
Implications of the Triarchic Theory of Intelligence
Some 200 separate studies have examined the relationship between intel-
ligence test scores and leadership effectiveness or emergence, and these
The best way to have a
good idea is to have a lot
of ideas.
Dr. Linus Pauling,
The fastest way to suc-
ceed is to double the fail-
ure rate.
Thomas Watson
Sr., IBM
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214 Part Two Focus on the Leader
studies have been the topic of major reviews. 1,2,7,46-60,65,70 These reviews
provide overwhelming support for the idea that leadership effectiveness
or emergence is positively correlated with analytic intelligence. Nonetheless,
the correlation between analytic intelligence and leadership success is not
as strong as previously assumed. It now appears that personality is more
predictive of leadership emergence and effectiveness than analytic intelli-
gence. 5, 26,27,28,32 Leadership situations that are relatively routine or unchang-
ing, or that require specific in-depth product or process knowledge, may
place more importance on personality and practical intelligence than ana-
lytic intelligence. Having a high level of analytic intelligence seems more
important for solving ambiguous, complex problems, such as those encoun-
tered by executives at the top levels of an organization. Here leaders must
be able to detect themes and patterns in seemingly unrelated informa-
tion, make accurate assumptions about market conditions, or make wise
The Competent Hot Potato
What should leaders do when a follower is smart,
competent, and creative (that is, has a high level of
practical, analytic, and creative intelligence) but
has difficulties getting along with other team mem-
bers? Clearly creative followers with high levels of
analytic intelligence and domain knowledge can
help their teams make better decisions, but the cost
of this knowledge is often strained relationships or
high levels of turnover among teammates. Research
shows that when given a choice, team members
would prefer to work with a lovable but incompe-
tent fool than an irritable but competent jerk. On
one hand, team performance is likely to suffer if ev-
eryone on the team is happy but incompetent. On
the other hand, performance is also likely to suffer
when a toxic follower is part of a team. It appears
that many managers resolve this dilemma by hav-
ing competent jerks on their teams during the ini-
tial phases of projects—when ideas about project
direction, possibilities, and solutions are being de-
termined. Once these decisions are made, many
managers then arrange to have the competent
jerks leave their teams. The good news is that the
team gets to capitalize on the competent jerks’ ex-
pertise during the decision-making phase of the
project but doesn’t have to suffer their dysfunc-
tional behavior during the execution phase. The
bad news is that a common way to get rid of com-
petent jerks is to promote them. Many managers
would rather see a toxic follower become a toxic
leader rather than confront difficult performance is-
sues. Subsequent bosses often repeat the “hot po-
tato” process, helping toxic leaders move into roles
with ever-increasing responsibilities.
Many times teammates share some of the blame
with bosses for these questionable promotions.
When teammates complain to their managers
about competent jerks and the managers discuss
these issues with the problematic individuals, com-
petent jerks usually deny the allegations. And when
competent jerks confront their teammates about
these allegations, teammates are unwilling to share
their complaints. With team members failing to
provide feedback, leaders often are accused of har-
boring ill will toward the competent jerks. Often-
times the only face-saving way out of this situation
is to give a competent jerk a transfer to or promo-
tion in another department.
Sources: J. Sandberg, “Sometimes Colleagues Are Just
Too Bad to Not Get Promoted,” The Wall Street Journal,
August 17, 2005, p. A5; J. Casciaro and M. S. Lobo,
“Competent Jerks, Lovable Fools, and the Formation of
Social Networks,” Harvard Business Review, June 2006,
pp. 92–100.
You’ll get hired for your
intelligence, but fired
for your personality.
Dianne Nilsen,
Account Executive
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 215
merger, acquisition, or divestiture decisions. Further evidence that higher
levels of analytic intelligence are associated with top leaders can be found
in Figure 6.5 .
Although a high level of analytic intelligence is usually an asset to a
leader, research also suggests that in some situations analytic intelligence
may have a curvilinear relationship with leadership effectiveness. 1 , 79 When
differences in analytic intelligence between leader and followers are too
great, communication can be impaired; a leader’s intelligence can become an
impediment to being understood by subordinates. An alternative explana-
tion for the curvilinear relationship between analytic intelligence and leader-
ship effectiveness may have to do with how stress affects leader–subordinate
interactions. Fiedler and his associates found that smart but inexperienced
leaders were less effective in stressful situations than less intelligent, experi-
enced leaders. 80-82 An example of this finding was clearly demonstrated in
the movie Platoon. In one frantic scene an American platoon is ambushed by
the Viet Cong. An inexperienced, college-educated lieutenant calls for artil-
lery support from friendly units. He calls in the wrong coordinates, however,
and as a result artillery shells are dropped on his own platoon’s position
rather than the enemy’s position. The situation comes under control only
after an experienced sergeant sizes up the situation and tells the artillery
units to cease firing. This example points out the importance of practical in-
telligence in stressful situations. Leaders revert to well-practiced behaviors
under periods of high stress and change, and leaders with high levels of
practical intelligence have a relatively broad set of coping and problem-
solving behaviors to draw upon in these situations. Because of the levels of
stress and change associated with many leadership positions today, system-
atically improving practical leadership skills through education and experi-
ence is important for leaders and leaders-to-be.
With respect to creative intelligence, perhaps the most important point
leaders should remember is that their primary role is not so much to be
N = 1,042
First-line manager
N = 2,785
Middle manager
N = 3,929
N = 3,038
Intelligence Test
Scores by
Management Level
Source: N. Kuncel,
“Personality and Cognitive
Differences among
Management Levels,”
unpublished manuscript
(Minneapolis: Personnel
Decisions International,
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216 Part Two Focus on the Leader
creative themselves as to build an environment where others can be creative.
This is not to say that leaders should be uncreative, but rather that most
innovations have roots in ideas developed by people closest to a problem
or opportunity (that is, the workers). Leaders can boost the creativity
throughout their groups or organizations in many ways, but particularly
through selecting creative employees and providing opportunities for
others to develop their creativity, and through broader interventions like
making sure the motivation and incentives for others are conducive to
creativity and providing at least some guidance or vision about what the
creative product or output should look like. 84-95
Leaders can do several things to improve the group and organizational
factors affecting creativity. Leaders should be mindful of the effect various
sorts of incentives or rewards can have on creativity; certain types of mo-
tivation to work are more conducive to creativity than others. Research
has shown that people tend to generate more creative solutions when they
are told to focus on their intrinsic motivation for doing so (the pleasure of
solving the task itself) rather than focusing on extrinsic motivation (public
recognition or pay). 83,96 When they need to foster creativity, leaders may
find it more effective to select followers who truly enjoy working on the
task at hand rather than relying on rewards to foster creativity.
Creativity can be hindered if people believe their ideas will be evalu-
ated. Experiments by Amabile and Zhou showed that students who were
told their projects were to be judged by experts produced less creative
projects than students who were not told their projects would be
judged. 97-98 A similar phenomenon can occur in groups. When a group
knows its work must ultimately be evaluated, there is a pronounced ten-
dency for members to be evaluative and judgmental too early in the solu-
tion-generating process. This tends to reduce the number of creative
solutions generated, perhaps because of a generally shared belief in the
value of critical thinking (and in some groups the norm seems to be the
more criticism, the better) and of subjecting ideas to intense scrutiny and
evaluation. When members of a group judge ideas as soon as they are of-
fered, two dysfunctional things can happen. People in the group may cen-
sor themselves (not share all their ideas with the group) because even
mild rejection or criticism has a significant dampening effect, or they may
prematurely reject others’ ideas through focus on an idea’s flaws rather
than its possibilities. 99 Given these findings, leaders may want to hold off
on evaluating new ideas until they are all on the table, and should encour-
age their followers to do the same.
Finally, leaders who need to develop new products and services should
try to minimize turnover in their teams and give them clear goals. Teams
with unclear goals may successfully develop new or novel products, but
these products may have low marketability or usefulness. An example il-
lustrates this point. In the 1980s Texas Instruments (TI) decided to delve
into the personal computer business. TI had a reputation for technical
Silicon Valley doesn’t
have better ideas and
isn’t smarter than the
rest of the world, but it
has the edge in filtering
ideas and executing
Sergey Brin,
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 217
excellence, and one of the best managers in the company was asked to
head up the project. The manager did not have a clear sense of what cus-
tomers wanted or what a personal computer should be able to do. This
lack of clarity had some dramatic effects. As more and more engineers
were added to the project, more innovative hardware ideas were added to
the computer design. These additions caused the project to take much lon-
ger and cost a lot more than planned, but the TI personal computer ended
up winning a number of major engineering awards. Unfortunately it was
also a business disaster because the product failed to meet customer
needs. Although Compaq computers arose from the ashes of TI’s failure,
the TI project serves as a good example of a concept called creeping ele-
gance. Leaders without a clear vision of what a final project should look
like may end up with something that fails to meet customer needs. Lead-
ers need to provide enough room for creativity to flourish, but enough
direction for effort to be focused. 87,90,91
One industry that places a premium on creativity is the motion picture
industry. Because creativity is so important to the commercial success of a
Creativity Killers:
How to Squelch the
Creativity of Direct
Sources: T. M. Amabile and
M. Khaire, “Creativity and
the Role of the Leader,” Har-
vard Business Review , October
2008, pp. 100–10; T. M. Ama-
bile and J. Zhou, in S. F. Ding-
felder, “Creativity on the
Clock,” Monitor on Psychology,
November 2003, pp. 56–58.
The following is a list of things leaders can do if they wish to stifle the
creativity of their followers:
Take away all discretion and autonomy: People like to have some sense
of control over their work. Micromanaging staff will help to either create yea-
sayers or cause people to mentally disengage from work.
Create fragmented work schedules: People need large chunks of
uninterrupted time to work on novel solutions. Repeated interruptions or
scheduling “novel solution generation time” in 15-minute increments around
other meetings will disrupt people’s ability to be innovative.
Provide insufficient resources: People need proper data, equipment,
and money to be creative. Cut these off, and watch creativity go down the
Focus on short-term goals: Asking a person to be creative at right this
moment is like asking a comedian to be funny the first time you meet him.
People can be creative and funny if given enough time, but focusing on only
short-term outcomes will dampen creativity.
Create tight timelines and rigid processes: The tighter the deadlines
and less flexible the processes, the more chance that innovation will be
Discourage collaboration and coordination: The best ideas often come
from teams having members with different work experiences and functional
backgrounds. By discouraging cross-functional collaboration, leaders can help
guarantee that team members will offer up only tried and true solutions to
Keep people happy: If you keep workers happy enough, they will have
little motivation to change the status quo.
Most artists have to
hack through a tangled
thicket of negativity,
logic, and procrastina-
tion on the way to creat-
ing anything. Peter
seems to be supernatu-
rally free of any such
concerns. This is a guy
with a big wide conduit
running from the cre-
ative, imaginative part
of his brain, straight to
the place where most of
us keep our willpower.
That could be a recipe
for a monstrously selfish
ego. Again, Jackson’s
ability to chase goals
doesn’t come with that
type of baggage. He’s
driven, and he’s incredi-
bly demanding, but he’s
always focused on re-
sults, never on himself.
Costa Botes,
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218 Part Two Focus on the Leader
movie, it is relatively easy for a movie to succumb to creeping elegance. But
how do movie directors successfully avoid creeping elegance when dealing
with highly creative people having huge egos? Part of the answer may lie in
the approach of two of Hollywood’s most successful directors. Steven Spiel-
berg and Ron Howard have said that before they shoot a scene they first
have a clear picture of it in their own minds. If they don’t have a clear pic-
ture, they sit down with the relevant parties and work it out. This shows the
importance of having a clear vision when managing creativity.
Intelligence and Stress: Cognitive Resources Theory
In the preceding section we noted that intelligence may be a more impor-
tant quality for leaders in some situations than others. You may be sur-
prised to learn, however, that recent research actually suggests there are
times when intelligence may be a disadvantage. A key variable affecting
this paradoxical finding seems to be whether the leader is in a stressful
situation. Recent research suggests that stress plays a key role in determin-
ing how a leader’s intelligence affects his or her effectiveness. While it is
not surprising that stress affects behavior in various ways, Fiedler and Gar-
cia developed the cognitive resources theory (CRT) to explain the inter-
esting relationships between leader intelligence and experience levels, and
group performance in stressful versus nonstressful conditions. 100,101
CRT consists of several key concepts, one of which is intelligence.
Fiedler and Garcia defined intelligence as we have earlier—it is one’s all-
around effectiveness in activities directed by thought and is typically
measured using standardized intelligence tests (in other words , analytic
intelligence). Another key concept is experience, which represents the
Innovation in Emerging Economies
For the past 100-plus years the West has been the
center of innovation and creativity. Many modern
conveniences we have become accustomed to were
invented in the United States or Europe. But will the
West remain the center of innovation? This is an im-
portant question: studies show that future job and
economic growth will come from information- or
knowledge-based work rather than manufacturing-
based work. North America may lead the world in
research spending, but globalization and informa-
tion technology are helping other parts of the world
to catch up. The emerging economies of Brazil,
Russia, India, and China (BRIC) are graduating mil-
lions of scientists and engineers each year, and their
economies are becoming robust enough to gener-
ate strong domestic bases for new products.
Clever ideas can be found anywhere, and tech-
nology is helping to make these ideas into prod-
ucts. The expanding middle class of the BRIC
countries is giving more people the income needed
to purchase new products. With the number of sci-
entists and engineers graduating from the BRIC
countries and their rapidly expanding economies, it
may only be a matter of time before the West is no
longer the center of innovation. What do you think
are the implications of these trends for leaders in
the West or the BRIC countries?
Source: “Something New under the Sun,” The Econo-
mist , October 13, 2007, pp. 3–4.
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 219
habitual behavior patterns, overlearned knowledge, and skills acquired
for effectively dealing with task-related problems (that is, practical intel-
ligence). Although experience is often gained under stressful and unpleas-
ant conditions, experience also provides a “crash plan” to revert back to
when under stress. 80-82,100,101 As Fiedler observed, people often act differ-
ently when stressed, and the crash plan describes this change in behavior
patterns. For most CRT studies, experience has been defined as time in the
job or organization. A third key concept in CRT is stress. Stress is often
defined as the result of conflicts with superiors or the apprehension asso-
ciated with performance evaluation. 82,101 This interpersonal stress is be-
lieved to be emotionally disturbing and can divert attention from
problem-solving activities. In other words, people can get so concerned
about how their performance is being evaluated that they may fail to per-
form at an optimal level. In sum, cognitive resources theory provides a
conceptual scheme for explaining how leader behavior changes under
stress to impact group performance.
Cognitive resources theory makes two major predictions with respect to
intelligence, experience, stress, and group performance. First, because expe-
rienced leaders have a greater repertoire of behaviors to fall back on, leaders
with greater experience but lower intelligence are hypothesized to have
higher-performing groups under conditions of high stress. Experienced
leaders have “been there before” and know better what to do and how to
get it done when faced with high-stress situations. Leaders’ experience lev-
els can interfere with performance under low-stress conditions, however.
That leads to a second hypothesis. Because experience leads to habitual
behavior patterns, leaders with high levels of experience tend to misapply
old solutions to problems when creative solutions are called for. Experi-
enced leaders rely too much on the tried and true when facing new prob-
lems, even under relatively low stress. Thus leaders with higher levels of
intelligence but less experience are not constrained by previously acquired
behavior patterns and should have higher-performing groups under low-
stress conditions. In other words, experience is helpful when one is under
stress but can hinder performance in the absence of stress.
These two major predictions of CRT can be readily seen in everyday
life. For the most part, it is not the most intelligent but the most experi-
enced members of sporting teams, marching bands, acting troupes, or vol-
unteer organizations who are selected to be leaders. These leaders are
often chosen because other members recognize their ability to perform
well under the high levels of stress associated with sporting events and
public performances. In addition, research with combat troops, firefight-
ers, senior executives, and students has provided strong support for the
two major tenets of CRT. 80-82,100,101
Despite this initial empirical support, one problem with CRT concerns
the apparent dichotomy between intelligence and experience. Fiedler and
Garcia’s initial investigations of CRT did not examine the possibility that
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220 Part Two Focus on the Leader
leaders could be both intelligent and experienced. Subsequent research by
Gibson showed not only that many leaders were both intelligent and ex-
perienced, but also that these leaders would fall back on their experience
in stressful situations and use their intelligence to solve group problems in
less stressful situations. 82
Another issue with CRT concerns the leader’s ability to tolerate stress.
As Schonpflug and Zaccaro correctly pointed out, some leaders are better
able than others to tolerate high levels of stress. 102,103   Some leaders have
personalities characterized by low neuroticism scores, and they may do
well in high-stress situations even when they lack experience because of
their inherent ability to handle stress. Further research on this issue seems
In general, solid evidence appears to support the major tenets of
CRT. Because of this research, CRT has several important implications
for leaders. First, the best leaders may be smart and experienced. Al-
though intelligence tests are good indicators of raw mental horsepower,
it is just as important for leaders to broaden their leadership knowledge
and experience if they want to succeed in high-stress situations. This
latter point may be important today, when the additional stress of orga-
nizational downsizing may cause the performance of leaders to be scru-
tinized even more closely than in the past. In fact, this additional
scrutiny may cause leaders who were previously successful to perform
Second, leaders may not be aware of the degree to which they are caus-
ing stress in their followers. If followers perceive that their performance is
being closely watched, they are likely to revert to their crash plans in or-
der to perform. If a situation calls for new and novel solutions to prob-
lems, however, such leader behavior may be counterproductive. A key
point here is that leaders may be unaware of their impact on followers.
For example, they may want to review their followers’ work more closely
in order to be helpful, but followers may not perceive it this way.
Third, the level of stress inherent in the position needs to be understood
before selecting leaders. Those filling high-stress leadership positions can
either look for experienced leaders or reduce the stress in the situation so
that more intelligent leaders can succeed. Another alternative could be to
hire more intelligent leaders and put them through stress management train-
ing so the effects of stress are minimized. 81,82 It is also possible that experi-
enced leaders may get bored if placed into low-stress positions. 7
Emotional Intelligence and Leadership
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
So far we have discussed the role personality traits and types play in
a  leader’s day-to-day behavioral patterns. We have also described
If you break it, you
buy it.
Colin Powell,
former U.S.
secretary of state
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 221
the  role analytic, practical, and creative intelligence play in solving
problems and making decisions. And we have discussed how stress
can affect a leader’s ability to solve problems. An overwhelming body
of evidence shows that these enduring patterns of behaviors and men-
tal abilities have a big impact on leadership effectiveness, but we have
not discussed the role emotions play in leadership success. To put it
differently, do moods affect a person’s ability to build teams and get
results through others? Moods and emotions are constantly at play at
work, yet most people are hesitant to discuss moods with anybody
other than close friends. It also appears that moods can be contagious,
in that the moods of leaders often affect followers in both positive
and negative ways. And charismatic or transformational leaders use
Intelligence and Judgment
Robert Hogan argues that the term “intelligent”
applies mostly to decisions. Decisions that success-
fully solve problems or improve organizational
performance are deemed “intelligent”; those that
do not are usually described as “dumb.” Decision
making is critically important in business, politics,
and warfare where money and people’s lives
are on the line. According to Hogan, an organiza-
tion’s success can be measured by the collective
decisions it makes. Generally speaking, armies that
win or companies that outperform their rivals
make many more intelligent decisions than those
that fail.
Good judgment occurs when leaders choose
the right means to solve a problem and change
course when information indicates to do so. Bad
judgment occurs when people impose the wrong
solution onto a problem and then stick with their
solutions even when it is obviously not working.
Many organizational failures boil down to top
leaders picking the wrong solutions to solve prob-
lems or not adopting different solutions when
presented with information showing that the ini-
tial approach is clearly failing. For example, the
failure of General Motors had much to do with
adopting and then sticking with a strategy of sell-
ing large trucks and SUVs in the face of climate
change legislation, high gasoline prices, and an
economic recession.
Given this definition of good versus bad judg-
ment, how would you judge the Iraq war? After
9/11/2001 it was clear that the United States was
at war, and its enemy was Al-Qaeda. The data link-
ing Al-Qaeda to Iraq was sketchy, and the prepon-
derance of evidence showed that Iraq did not have
any weapons of mass destruction. There is no
doubt that Saddam Hussein was an abusive dicta-
tor, but at the time many other abusive dictators
posed bigger threats to the United States and world
security than Saddam Hussein (consider Kim Jong-Il
in North Korea). Al-Qaeda was well established in
Afghanistan, but the United States instead opted to
focus on Iraq. The war in Iraq has cost the United
States 4,000 lives, 20,000 wounded soldiers, and a
trillion dollars. Has this war reduced or eliminated
the threat posed by Al-Qaeda? Was the decision to
go to war with Iraq an exercise in good or poor
judgment? How about the war in Afghanistan?
What information would you need to answer these
Source: R. T. Hogan, Intelligence and Good Judgment ,
unpublished manuscript (Tulsa, OK: Hogan Assessment
Systems, 2009); P. Ingrassa, “How Detroit Drove into a
Ditch,” The Wall Street Journal , October 25–26, 2008,
pp. W1–2.
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222 Part Two Focus on the Leader
emotions as the catalyst for achieving better-than-expected results (see
Chapter 14). Given the importance and prevalence of emotions in the
workplace, there should be a wealth of research regarding mood and
leadership effectiveness; but this is not the case. Researchers have be-
gun to seriously examine the role of emotions in leadership only over
the past 20 years.
The relationships between leaders’ emotions and their effects on teams
and outcomes became popularized by researcher Dan Goleman with the
publication of the book Emotional Intelligence. 104 But what is emotional in-
telligence (EQ), and how is it the same as or different from personality
traits or types or the three types of intelligence described in this chapter?
Unfortunately there appear to be at least four major definitions of emo-
tional intelligence. The term emotional intelligence can be attributed to two
psychologists, Peter Salovey and John Mayer, who studied why some
bright people fail to be successful. Salovey and Mayer discovered that
many of them ran into trouble because of their lack of interpersonal sensi-
tivity and skills, and defined emotional intelligence as a group of mental
abilities that help people to recognize their own feelings and those of oth-
ers. 105,106 Reuven Bar-On believed that emotional intelligence was another
way of measuring human effectiveness and defined it as a set of 15 abili-
ties necessary to cope with daily situations and get along in the world. 107
Rick Aberman defined emotional intelligence as the degree to which
thoughts, feelings, and actions were aligned. According to Aberman, lead-
ers are more effective and “in the zone” when their thoughts, feelings, and
actions are perfectly aligned. 108,109 Daniel Goleman, a science writer for
The   New York Times, substantially broadened these definitions and sum-
marized some of this work in his books Emotional Intelligence and Working
with Emotional Intelligence. 104,110 Goleman argued that success in life is
based more on one’s self-motivation, persistence in the face of frustration,
mood management, ability to adapt, and ability to empathize and get
along with others than on one’s analytic intelligence or IQ. Table 6.4 com-
pares the Salovey and Mayer, Bar-On, and Goleman models of emotional
Although these definitions can cause confusion for people interested
in learning more about emotional intelligence, it appears that these four
definitions of EQ can be broken down into two models: an ability model
and a mixed model of emotional intelligence. 106,111 The ability model fo-
cuses on how emotions affect how leaders think, decide, plan, and act.
This model defines emotional intelligence as four separate but related
abilities, which include (1) the ability to accurately perceive one’s own
and others’ emotions; (2) the ability to generate emotions to facilitate
thought and action; (3) the ability to accurately understand the causes
of emotions and the meanings they convey; and (4) the ability to regu-
late one’s emotions. According to Caruso, Mayer, and Salovey, some
There is no single entity
called EQ (emotional in-
telligence quotient) as
people have defined it.
One sympathetic inter-
pretation of what jour-
nalists were saying is
that there were a dozen
unrelated things, which
collectively might pre-
dict more than intelli-
gence, things like
warmth, optimism, and
empathy. But there was
nothing new about that.
Instead, the story be-
came this fabulous new
variable that is going to
outpredict intelligence.
There is no rational ba-
sis for saying that.
John Mayer, EQ
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 223
leaders might be good at perceiving emotions and leveraging them to
get results through others, but have difficulties regulating their own
emotions. Or they could be good at understanding the causes of emo-
tions but not as good at perceiving others’ emotions. The ability model
TABLE 6.4 Ability and Mixed Models of Emotional Intelligence
Sources: R. Bar-On, Emotional Quotient Inventory (North Tonawanda, NY: Multi-Health Systems, Inc., 2001); D. Goleman, Working with Emotional
Intelligence (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1998); D. R. Caruso, J. D. Mayer, and P. Salovey, “Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Leader-
ship,” in Multiple Intelligences and Leadership, ed. R. E. Riggio, S. E. Murphy, and F. J. Pirozzolo (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002),
pp. 55–74; online source: http://www.
Ability Model Mixed Models
Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso Goleman et al. Bar-On
Perceiving emotions Self-awareness Intrapersonal
Emotional awareness Self-regard
Accurate self-assessment Emotional self-awareness
Self-confidence Assertiveness
Managing emotions Self-regulation Adaptability
Self-control Reality testing
Trustworthiness Flexibility
Conscientiousness Problem solving
Using emotions Motivation Stress management
Achievement Stress tolerance
Commitment Impulse control
Understanding emotions Empathy Interpersonal
Understanding others Empathy
Developing others Social responsibility
Service orientation Interpersonal relationship
Political awareness General mood
Social skills Happiness
Conflict management
Change catalyst
Building bonds
Team capabilities
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224 Part Two Focus on the Leader
is not intended to be an all-encompassing model of leadership, but
rather supplements the OCEAN and triarchic models of intelli-
gence. 106,111 Just as leaders differ in neuroticism or practical intelligence,
so do they differ in their ability to perceive and regulate emotions. The
ability model of EQ is helpful because it allows researchers to deter-
mine if EQ is in fact a separate ability and whether it can predict leader-
ship effectiveness apart from the OCEAN personality model and
cognitive abilities.
The Goleman and Bar-On definitions of EQ fall into the mixed model
category. These researchers believe emotional intelligence includes not
only the abilities outlined in the previous paragraph but also a number of
other attributes. As such, the mixed model provides a much broader,
more comprehensive definition of emotional intelligence. A quick review
of Table 6.4 shows that the attributes of emotional intelligence are quali-
ties that most leaders should have, and Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee
maintain that leaders need more or less all of these attributes to be
Scott Rudin
Few people know who Scott Rudin is, but many
have seen his work. Rudin has been a Hollywood
movie producer for over 20 years and has pro-
duced such movies as The Addams Family, Sister
Act, The Truman Show, A Civil Action, The Firm,
Team America: World Police, Zoolander, The School
of Rock, The Queen, Notes on a Scandal, and many
others. Rudin also has the reputation of being the
most difficult boss to work for in Hollywood; it is
estimated that he has fired over 250 assistants
over the past five years. His caustic rants, shrieking
threats, impulsive firings, and revolving door of as-
sistants are legendary. For example, he allegedly
once fired an assistant for bringing in the wrong
breakfast muffin. Rudin describes his own leader-
ship style as a cross between Attila the Hun and
Miss Jean Brodie, and it is rumored that the role of
Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada was
loosely modeled after Rudin.
An extreme micromanager, Rudin is involved
with every detail of the films he is producing. Be-
cause he is producing several films at any one
time, it is not unusual for Rudin to make over 400
calls in a single day. Rudin’s assistants start their
days at 6:00 a.m. with a 30-page annotated list
of phone calls that are to be set up that day. Dur-
ing the day assistants will also do anything from
picking up dry cleaning to answering phones,
scheduling appointments, arranging travel, buy-
ing birthday presents, dropping off kids, and so
on—you name it, the assistant does it. So why do
assistants put up with Rudin? The hours are long
but the pay is good—most interns make
$70,000–$150,000 per year. More importantly,
aides who survive get a chance to rub shoulders
with A-list talent and learn the ins and outs of the
movie business. Plus the opportunities for ad-
vancement for those who survive are good—
many of Rudin’s aides have themselves become
movie producers.
Given this background, what personality traits
help Rudin to produce successful movies? How
would Rudin stack up on the three types of intelli-
gence? How would you rate Rudin’s emotional
Source: K. Kelly and M. Marr, “Boss-Zilla!” The Wall
Street Journal, September 24–25, 2005, p. A1.
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 225
emotionally intelligent. 110,112,113 Moreover, the mixed model of emotional
intelligence has been much more popular with human resource profes-
sionals and in the corporate world than the ability model. But does the
mixed model really tell us anything different from what we already
know? More specifically, is the mixed model different from the OCEAN
personality model? Research shows that the mixed model assesses the
same characteristics as the OCEAN model and is no more predictive of
job performance and other important job outcomes than OCEAN person-
ality assessments. 106,111,114-116 Goleman and Bar-On deserve credit for pop-
ularizing the notion that noncognitive abilities are important predictors
of leadership success. But on the negative side, they also maintain that
they have discovered something completely new and do not give enough
credit to the 100 years of personality research that underlie many attri-
butes in the mixed model.
Can Emotional Intelligence Be Measured
and Developed?
The publication of Emotional Intelligence has encouraged an industry of
books, training programs, and assessments related to measurement and
development of emotional intelligence. Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso’s Emo-
tional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is a measure of the ability model of emo-
tional intelligence; it asks subjects to recognize the emotions depicted in
pictures, what moods might be helpful in certain social situations, and so
forth. 106,117 Bar-On has self, self–other, youth, and organizational measures
of emotional intelligence, such as the Bar-On Emotional Quotient—360 or
EQi-S. 118
The Emotional Competence Inventory (ECi) was developed by Gole-
man and consists of 10 questionnaires. These questionnaires are com-
pleted by the individual and nine others; the responses are aggregated
and given to the participant in a feedback report. Because these research-
ers have defined emotional intelligence differently and use a different pro-
cess to assess EQ, it is not surprising that these instruments often provide
leaders with conflicting results. 119 Nevertheless, the U.S. Air Force Recruit-
ing Service has used the EQ-i to screen potential recruiters and found that
candidates scoring higher on the attributes of assertiveness, empathy,
happiness, self-awareness, and problem solving were much less likely to
turn over prematurely in the position and had a 90 percent chance of
meeting their recruiting quotas. 119
One issue that most EQ researchers agree on is that emotional intelli-
gence can be developed. Goleman and Aberman have developed one- to
five-day training programs to help leaders improve their emotional
intelligence; Bar-On has developed 15 e-learning modules that are
available at EQ One big adopter of EQ training has
been  the sales staff at American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA).
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226 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Leaders at AEFA discovered that the company had a well-respected set
of investment and insurance products for customers, but many sales
staff were struggling with how to respond to the emotions exhibited by
clients during sales calls. Moreover, the best salespeople seem to be bet-
ter able to “read” their clients’ emotions and respond in a more empa-
thetic manner. Since 1993 more than 5,500 sales staff and 850 sales
managers at AEFA have attended a five-day training program to better
recognize and respond to the emotions exhibited by clients. AEFA found
that sales staff attending this program increased annual sales by an aver-
age of 18.1 percent, whereas those who did not attend training achieved
only a 16.1 percent increase. However, this sample was small, and the
comparison is somewhat unfair because the control group did not re-
ceive any kind of sales training in lieu of the EQ training. 119 Therefore, it
is uncertain whether the EQ training content actually adds value over
and above five days of sales training.
Implications of Emotional Intelligence
Aberman maintained that people can be extremely ineffective when
their thoughts, feelings, and actions are misaligned—for example, argu-
ing with someone on your cellular phone when driving on a high-
way. 108,109 It seems likely that leaders who are thinking or feeling one
thing and actually doing something else are probably less effective in
their ability to influence groups toward the accomplishment of their
goals. The EQ literature should also be credited with popularizing the
idea that noncognitive abilities, such as stress tolerance, assertiveness,
and empathy, can play important roles in leadership success. Today
many organizations are using both cognitive and noncognitive measures
as part of the process of hiring or promoting leaders. Finally, the EQ lit-
erature has also helped to bring emotion back to the workplace. Human
emotions are important aspects of one-on-one interactions and team-
work, 106,110,113,120-123 but too many leadership practitioners and research-
ers have chosen to ignore the role they play. When recognized and
leveraged properly, emotions can be the motivational fuel that helps in-
dividuals and groups to accomplish their goals. When ignored or dis-
counted, emotions can significantly impede a leader’s ability to build
teams or influence a group. As discussed in the personality section of
this chapter, leaders who can empathize and get along with others are
often more successful than those who cannot.
Some of the more recent research in emotional intelligence indicates
that it moderates employees’ reactions to job insecurity and their ability
to cope with stress when threatened with job loss. Employees with lower
EQ reported more negative emotional reactions and used less effective
coping strategies when dealing with downsizing than those with higher
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 227
EQ. 124 Along these lines, other researchers report relationships between
leaders’ moods and followers’ moods, job performance, job satisfaction,
and creativity. 125 And Boyatzis, Stubbs, and Taylor accurately point out
that most MBA programs focus more on cognitive abilities and develop-
ing financial skills than on those abilities needed to successfully build
teams and get results through others. 126
Given these results, is it possible to develop emotional intelligence?
The answer to this question is yes, but the path taken to develop EQ
would depend on whether the training program was based on an ability
or mixed model of emotional intelligence. An ability-based EQ training
program would focus on improving participants’ ability to accurately per-
ceive one’s own and others’ emotions, generate emotions to facilitate
thought and action, accurately understand the causes of emotions and the
meanings they convey, and regulate one’s emotions. These programs
make extensive use of videotapes, role plays, and other experiential exer-
cises in order to help people better recognize, exhibit, and regulate emo-
tion. Because the mixed model of EQ encompasses such a wide array of
attributes, virtually any leadership development program could be con-
sidered an EQ training program.
Despite the positive contributions of emotional intelligence, the con-
cept has several limitations. First, Goleman and his associates and Bar-On
have not acknowledged the existence of personality, much less 100 years
of personality–leadership effectiveness research. As shown in Table 6.5 ,
Goleman’s conceptualization of EQ looks similar to the OCEAN model
found in Table 6.1 . At least as conceptualized by these two authors, it is
difficult to see how EQ is any different from personality. Second, if the
EQ attributes are essentially personality traits, it is difficult to see how
they will change as a result of a training intervention. Personality traits
are difficult to change, and the likelihood of changing 20 to 40 years of
day-to-day behavioral patterns as the result of some e-learning modules
or a five-day training program seems highly suspect. As described in
Chapter 1, people can change their behavior, but it takes considerable ef-
fort and coaching over the long term to make it happen. Finally, an im-
portant question to ask is whether EQ is really something new or simply
a repackaging of old ideas and findings. If EQ is defined as an ability
model, such as the one put forth by Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso, then
emotional intelligence probably is a unique ability and worthy of addi-
tional research (see Figure 6.6 ). A leader’s skills in accurately perceiving,
regulating, and leveraging emotions seem vitally important in building
cohesive, goal-oriented teams, and measures like the MSCEIT could be
used in conjunction with OCEAN and cognitive abilities measures to hire
and develop better leaders. But if EQ is defined as a mixed model, then it
is hard to see that Goleman and his associates and Bar-On are really tell-
ing us anything new.
Ask yourself, what ex-
actly is high potential?
Then ask yourself, what
is that potential for?
Rob Silzer, Baruch
College, and Allen
Church, Pepsico
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228 Part Two Focus on the Leader
traits and
Knowledge Experience
Analytic, practical,
creative, and
Intelligence and the
Building Blocks of
between the
and Goleman’s
Model of EQ
Goleman et al. Likely OCEAN Correlates
Emotional awareness Agreeableness
Accurate self-assessment Neuroticism
Self-confidence Extraversion
Self-control Neuroticism, conscientiousness
Trustworthiness Conscientiousness
Conscientiousness Conscientiousness
Adaptability Neuroticism, conscientiousness
Innovation Openness to experience, conscientiousness
Achievement Extraversion
Commitment Extraversion
Initiative Extraversion
Optimism Neuroticism
Understanding others Agreeableness
Developing others Openness to experience
Service orientation Agreeableness
Diversity Agreeableness
Political awareness Agreeableness
Social skills
Influence Extraversion, agreeableness
Communication Extraversion
Conflict management Agreeableness
Leadership Extraversion
Change catalyst Extraversion
Building bonds Agreeableness
Collaboration/cooperation Agreeableness
Team capabilities Extraversion, agreeableness
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 229
Summary This chapter has examined the relationships of personality, intelligence,
and emotional intelligence with leadership emergence and effectiveness.
In general, all these attributes can help a leader to influence a group to-
ward the accomplishment of its goals, but by themselves they are no guar-
antee of leadership success. Often a situation will dictate which personality
traits or types, components of intelligence, or emotional intelligence attri-
butes will positively affect a leader’s ability to build a team or get results
through others.
Although the term personality has many different meanings, we use the
term to describe one’s typical or characteristic patterns of behavior. There
Assessing Leadership Potential
As the world of work shifts from manufacturing to
information- or knowledge-based work, organiza-
tions are beginning to view talent as a strategic re-
source. Many manufacturing jobs in North America
and Europe have shifted to Eastern Europe or Asia,
and these jobs have been supplanted by those of
software engineers, product designers, marketers,
and salespeople at companies like Google, Apple, Mi-
crosoft, Intel, IBM, Oracle, and Facebook. Even tradi-
tional manufacturers, retailers, and consumer
products companies such as GE, Dell, Best Buy, Tar-
get, Proctor & Gamble, and Pepsico are putting
more emphasis on roles that design new products,
brands, and marketing campaigns; manage supply
chains; improve information transfer; or improve fi-
nancial or operational results. And because of the
growth potential of emerging markets and the shift
in manufacturing, most large companies have sales,
opérations, and suppliers located around the globe.
Because it traditionally takes 20–30 years to develop
an executive with marketing, sales, operations, fi-
nance, and international experience, one of the ques-
tions many organizations are asking is whether it is
possible to shorten the executive development cycle.
In other words, can organizations identify young
leaders with the potential to be senior executives and
then provide them with the experiences needed to
make a successful transition to the C-suite? And can
they significantly shorten the time to do this?
Because the companies with the best talent are
likely to be the most successful, most Fortune 500
companies as well as the U.S. military have high-
potential leadership programs. These programs
identify people early in their professional careers
and then put them into rotational programs that
provide marketing, sales, human resource, finance,
supply chain, and international experience. A key
question for leaders-to-be is how to get identified
as having high potential. Unfortunately there are as
many answers to this question as there are compa-
nies with high-potential programs. High-potential
talent identification programs range from FOBs
(Friends of Bill, the CEO) to sophisticated talent
assessments. The more sophisticated approaches
typically use some combination of work values in-
struments, personality type and trait tests, mental
abilities tests, EQ assessments, work simulations,
and peer and boss feedback to identify candidates
with “the right stuff.” Many of the tools and tech-
niques described in Chapters 5–7 make up these
more sophisticated high-potential talent assess-
ment batteries, so understanding these concepts
should help leaders to gauge whether organiza-
tions take talent management seriously.
Source: R. Silzer and A. H. Church, “The Pearls and Perils
of Identifying Potential,” Industrial and Organizational
Psychology 2 (2009), pp. 377–422.
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230 Part Two Focus on the Leader
are several different theories to describe why people act in characteristic
ways, but the trait approach to personality has been the most thoroughly
researched, and as such plays a key role in the chapter. The adoption of
the OCEAN model of personality has helped to clarify the personality–
leadership relationships, and researchers have noted that leadership suc-
cess is positively correlated with the OCEAN personality dimensions of
openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness,
and neuroticism.
Personality types can also be used to categorize stereotypical behavioral
patterns. The extraversion–introversion, sensing–intuition, thinking–feeling,
and judging–perceiving personality dimensions can be combined to form
16 different types, and the majority of leaders can be found in 4 of these 16
types. Although the relationships between the 16 types and leadership
effectiveness are not as strong as those with the OCEAN personality
dimensions, the 16 personality types and associated dimensions give lead-
ers valuable insights into human behavior.
A more recent theory for understanding intelligence divides it into
three related components: analytic intelligence, practical intelligence, and
creative intelligence. All three components are interrelated. Most research
shows that leaders possess higher levels of analytic intelligence than the
general population, and that more intelligent leaders often make better
leaders. Analytic intelligence appears to confer two primary benefits upon
leaders. First, leaders who are smarter seem to be better problem solvers.
Second, and perhaps more important, smarter leaders seem to profit more
from experience.
The roles of practical and creative intelligence in leadership are receiv-
ing increasing attention. Practical intelligence, or one’s relevant job knowl-
edge or experience, is proving to be extremely important for leaders.
Leaders with higher levels of practical intelligence seem to be better at
solving problems under stress. Moreover, practical intelligence seems to
be the easiest of the three components to change. Creative intelligence in-
volves developing new and useful products and processes, and creativity
is extremely important to the success of many businesses today. It is im-
portant that leaders learn how to successfully stimulate and manage cre-
ativity, even more than being creative themselves.
In some ways emotional intelligence is a relatively new concept; it is
generally concerned with accurately understanding and responding to
one’s own and others’ emotions. Leaders who can better align their
thoughts and feelings with their actions may be more effective than lead-
ers who think and feel one way about something but then do something
different about it. Although emotional intelligence has helped to point out
the role emotions and noncognitive abilities play in leadership success,
some of it seems to be nothing more than another label for personality. If
this is the case, then emotional intelligence may be a leadership fad that
will fade over time.
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 231
Key Terms Great Man
theory, 188
personality, 189
trait approach, 190
traits, 190
weak situations, 191
strong situations, 191
Five Factor Model
model of
personality, 193
openness to
experience, 193
conscientiousness, 194
extraversion, 194
agreeableness, 195
neuroticism, 195
intelligence, 210
learning, 212
learning, 212
intelligence, 213
thinking, 213
thinking, 213
creeping elegance, 217
cognitive resources
theory (CRT), 218
intelligence, 222
Level 5 Leadership, 197
types, 201
typology, 201
Myers-Briggs Type
Indicator (MBTI), 202
introversion, 203
sensing–intuition, 203
thinking–feeling, 204
perceiving, 204
intelligence, 209
triarchic theory of
intelligence, 210
intelligence, 210
1. What OCEAN personality traits or EQ components do you think would
help professional sports players be more or less successful? Would suc-
cessful coaches need the same or different personality traits and prefer-
ences? Would successful players and coaches need different traits for
different sports?
2. How would you rank-order the importance of analytic intelligence,
practical intelligence, creative intelligence, or emotional intelligence for
politicians? Would this ranking be the same for college professors or
store managers at a Walmart or 7-11 store?
3. Think of all the ineffective leaders you have ever worked or played for.
What attributes did they have (or perhaps more importantly, lack) that
caused them to be ineffective?
4. Individuals may well be attracted to, selected for, or successful in lead-
ership roles early in their lives and careers based on their analytic intel-
ligence. But what happens over time and with experience? Do you
think wisdom, for example, is just another word for intelligence, or is it
something else?
5. What role would downsizing play in an organization’s overall level of
practical intelligence?
6. We usually think of creativity as a characteristic of individuals, but
might some organizations be more creative than others? What factors
do you think might affect an organization’s level of creativity?
7. Can better leaders more accurately perceive and leverage emotions?
How could you determine if this was so?
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232 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Activities 1. Your instructor has access to a self-scored personality type assessment
as well as an online OCEAN personality assessment. The online assess-
ment takes about 10 minutes to complete and could be given as home-
work. Once the assessments are completed, you should review the
feedback reports and discuss in class.
2. Your instructor can suspend a 30-foot rope approximately 2 feet off the
ground. You and the rest of the class should get on one side of the rope.
The rope represents an electrified fence, and your task is to get everyone
successfully over the rope without touching it. You may not touch, lower,
raise, or adjust the rope in any manner. You may not let any part of your
skin or clothing touch the rope, nor can you drape anything over the
rope to protect you from the “current.” There are two rules you must
follow to successfully navigate the rope. First, before starting to cross
the rope, everyone in the group must form a line parallel to the rope and
hold hands with the people on either side. These links with the other
people in the group cannot be broken. Second, a quality error is commit-
ted if any group member touches the rope. If the group detects their
own error, then only the person currently attempting to navigate the
rope needs to start over. If the instructor catches the error but the group
does not, then the instructor can have the entire group start over. This is
analagous to catching a bad product before it is delivered to a customer
instead of delivering defective products to customers. You will have
about 25 minutes to plan and execute this exercise. After the exercise
your group should discuss the role of personality traits as well as ana-
lytic, practical, creative, and emotional intelligence in the exercise.
Lessons on Leadership from Ann Fudge
How do you rescue one of the largest advertising and media services
firms in the world from a downward spiral? That is the question Martin
Sorrell faced when his London-based WPP Group acquired Young & Ru-
bicam in 2000. After many years on top, Y&R was starting to lose momen-
tum—and clients. Kentucky Fried Chicken, United Airlines, and Burger
King had all decided to take their advertising dollars elsewhere. Sorrell
needed to stop the exodus, but how? Sorrell decided a fresh face was
needed and started a search for a dynamic new CEO to revitalize Y&R. He
found such a leader in Ann Fudge.
Ann Fudge was formerly president of Kraft Foods. At Kraft she had been
responsible for the success of the $5 billion division that included well-known
brands such as Maxwell House, Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, and General
Foods International Coffees. Fudge’s reputation as a charismatic leader who
listens was a major issue for Sorrell when he went looking for a new CEO for
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 233
Y&R. Among the talents Fudge had to offer was an ability to interact effec-
tively with all constituencies of a consumer business. Mattel Chairman and
CEO Bob Eckert was Fudge’s boss when he was president and CEO of Kraft.
Of Fudge, Eckert says, “She is equally comfortable with consumers at the
ballpark, factory workers on a production line, and executives in the board-
room. She could engage all three constituents in the same day and be com-
fortable. She is very comfortable with herself, and she’s not pretending to be
someone else. That’s what makes her such an effective leader.”
Fudge’s commitment to her work and the people she works with is
evident in the lessons she offers to other leaders:
1. Be yourself; do not feign behavior that you think will make you “suc-
2. Always remember it’s the people, not you. A leader cannot be a leader
if he/she has no followers. Be honest with people. Give them feedback.
Put the right people in the right jobs. Surround yourself with the smart-
est people you can find—people who will offer differing perspectives
and diversity of experience, age, gender, and race.
3. Touch your organization. It’s easy to get stuck behind your desk. Fight
the burden of paperwork and get out in the field. Don’t be a remote
leader. You cannot create a dynamic culture if people can’t see, hear,
and touch you. Let them know you as a person.
4. Steer the wheel with a strategic focus, yet maintain a wide peripheral
vision. Know when to stop, speed up, slow down, brake quickly,
swerve, or even gun it!
Fudge had a difficult decision to make when she was approached by
Sorrell about the position at Y&R. She was in the midst of a two-year
break—after 24 years working for corporate America, Fudge had de-
cided to take some time for herself. She had left her position as presi-
dent of Kraft Foods in 2001 based not on her dissatisfaction with her
job, but on a desire to define herself by more than her career. “It was
definitely not satisfaction, it was more about life,” says Fudge about her
sabbatical. During her two-year break she traveled, cycling around Sar-
dinia and Corsica; she took up yoga; and she wrote a book called The
Artist’s Way at Work— a manual for improving creativity and innovation
on the job.
Fudge took on the challenge and has not looked back. In her tenure
at Y&R she has worked hard to get Y&R back on top. She has traveled
the globe to visit Y&R employees. She frequently puts in 15-hour days
pushing her strategy to focus on clients, encouraging teamwork, and
improving creativity. A major undertaking for Fudge is to bring to-
gether the various business entities under the Y&R umbrella to better
meet client needs. She’s also trying to institute a Six Sigma method for
creativity—looking for ways to increase productivity so employees
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234 Part Two Focus on the Leader
have more time to be creative. Fudge’s hard work is paying off. Y&R
has recently added Microsoft and Toys R Us to its client list, and
if Fudge has her way, the list will continue to grow until Y&R is back
on top.
1. Where would Ann Fudge be placed in each of the Five Factor Model
(FFM) categories?
2. Consider the components of creative intelligence from Table 6.3 . Iden-
tify the key components that have affected Ann Fudge’s success.
3. Ann Fudge decided to take a sabbatical to focus on her personal life.
Based on her experience, what are the benefits of such a break? What
might be some drawbacks?
Sources: Diane Brady, “Act Two: Ann Fudge’s Two-Year Break from Work Changed Her
Life. Will Those Lessons Help Her Fix Young & Rubicam?” BusinessWeek, March 29, 2004,
p. 72; http://www.internet-marketing-brandin .com/News/african_american.htm; http://;
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 235
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236 Part Two Focus on the Leader
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Chapter 6 Leadership Attributes 241
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Chapter 7
Leadership Behavior
Researcher: Are all the captains you fly with pretty much the
Aircrew Member: Oh, no. Some guys are the greatest guys in the world
to fly with. I mean they may not have the greatest
hands in the world, but that doesn’t matter. When you
fly with them, you feel like you can work together to
get the job done. You really want to do a good job for
them. Some other captains are just the opposite . . .
you just can’t stand to work with them. That doesn’t
mean you’ll do anything that’s unsafe or dangerous,
but you won’t go out of your way to keep him or her
out of trouble either. So you’ll just sit back and do
what you have to and just hope he or she screws up.
Researcher: How can you tell which kind of captain you’re
working with?
Aircrew Member: Oh, you can tell.
Researcher: How?
Aircrew Member: I don’t know how you tell, but it doesn’t take very
long. Just a couple of minutes and you’ll know.
Throughout this book we have been talking about different ways to assess
leaders. But when all is said and done, how can we tell good leaders from
bad ones? This is a critically important question: if we can specifically
identify what leaders actually do that makes them effective, then we can
hire or train people to exhibit these behaviors. One way to differentiate
leaders is to look at what they do on a day-to-day basis. Some leaders do
a good job of making decisions, providing direction, creating plans, giving
regular feedback, getting their followers the resources they need to be suc-
cessful, and building cohesive teams. Other leaders have difficulties mak-
ing decisions, set vague or unclear goals, and ignore followers’ requests
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 243
for equipment and subsequently cannot build teams. Although a leader’s
values, personality, and intelligence are important, variables like these
have only an indirect relationship with leadership effectiveness. Their ef-
fect presumably comes from the impact they have on leader behavior,
which appears to have a more direct relationship with a leader’s ability to
build teams and get results through others. One advantage of looking at
leaders in terms of behavior instead of, say, personality is that behavior is
often easier to measure; leadership behaviors can be observed, whereas per-
sonality traits, values, or intelligence must be inferred from behavior or
measured with tests. Another advantage of looking at leader behavior is
that many people are less defensive about—and feel in more control of—
specific behaviors than they are about their personalities or intelligence.
Nonetheless, leaders with certain traits, values, or attitudes may find it
easier to effectively perform some leadership behaviors than others. For
example, leaders with higher agreeableness scores (as defined in Chapter 6)
may find it relatively easy to show concern and support for followers but
may also find it difficult to discipline followers. Likewise, leaders with a
The truth of the matter is
that you always know
the right thing to do. The
hard part is doing it.
U.S. Army
Captains Thomas Musgrave and George Dalgarno
Three hundred miles south of New Zealand are the
Auckland Islands. They are isolated and forbidding,
and 150 years ago they brought almost certain
death to ships that got too close. The howling sub-
Antarctic winds drove ships onto the shallow reefs,
and most sailors quickly drowned. Those who
made it to shore died of exposure and starvation.
The few who survived did so in dreadful conditions.
In Island of the Lost, Joan Druett (2007) recounts
the story of two parties who were shipwrecked in
1864 on opposite sides of the island; this is a story
of leadership and teamwork.
The first, a party of five led by Captain Thomas
Musgrave of England, behaved like Shackleton’s
crew stranded in the Weddell Sea. Encouraged by
Musgrave, the men banded together in a common
quest for survival. Over a period of 20 months, us-
ing material salvaged from their ship, they built a
cabin, found food, rotated cooking duties, nursed
one another, made tools, tanned seal hides for
shoes, built a bellows and a furnace, made bolts
and nails, and then built a boat that they used to
sail to safety.
Meanwhile, 20 miles away, a Scottish ship led
by Captain George Dalgarno went aground, and
19 men made it safely to shore. Dalgarno became
depressed and went “mad,” and the rest of the
crew fell into despair, anarchy, and then cannibal-
ism. A sailor named Robert Holding tried to encour-
age the others to act together to build shelter and
find food, but other members of the crew threat-
ened to kill and eat him. After three months, only
three men were alive and subsequently rescued.
Although these events happened almost 150 years
ago, the story has strong parallels to modern leader-
ship. How did the leadership behaviors exhibited by
Captains Musgrave and Dalgarno differ, and what
impact did these behaviors have on their crews? Are
there any parallels between these two captains
and leaders in government, industry, or philanthropic
Sources: R. T. Hogan, The Pragmatics of Leadership (Tulsa,
OK: Hogan Assessment Systems, 2007); G. J. Curphy and
R. T. Hogan, A Guide to Building High Performing Teams
(North Oaks, MN: Curphy Consulting Corporation, 2009);
J. Druett, Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked on the Edge of the
World (Chapel Hills, NC: Algonquin Books, 2007).
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244 Part Two Focus on the Leader
low affiliation value (Chapter 5) and who score low on the personality
trait of extraversion (Chapter 6) will prefer working by themselves versus
with others. Because behavior is under conscious control, we can always
choose to change our behavior as leaders if we want to. However, the ease
with which we exhibit or can change behavior will partly be a function of
our values, personality, and intelligence.
Followers and the situation are the two other major factors to keep in
mind when evaluating leadership behavior. As described in Chapter 6,
strong situational norms can play pervasive roles in leaders’ behavior.
Similarly, follower and situational factors can help determine whether a
particular leadership behavior is “bad” or “good.” Say a leader gave a group
of followers extremely detailed instructions on how to get a task accom-
plished. If the followers were new to the organization or had never done the
task before, this level of detail would probably help the leader get better
results through others. But if the followers were experienced, this same
leader behavior would likely have detrimental effects. The same would be
true if the company were in a financial crisis versus having a successful year.
This chapter begins with a discussion of why it is important to study
leadership behavior. We then review some of the early research on leader
behavior and discuss several ways to categorize different leadership be-
haviors. The next section describes a model of community leadership, and
we conclude the chapter by summarizing what is currently known about
a common leadership behavior assessment technique: the 360-degree, or
multirater, feedback questionnaire.
Studies of Leadership Behavior
Why Study Leadership Behavior?
Thus far we have reviewed research on a number of key variables affect-
ing leadership behavior, but we have not directly examined what leaders
actually do to successfully build a team or get results through others. For
example, what behaviors did Shane Aguero and Jerry Swope use to influ-
ence their platoon in Iraq (see Profiles in Leadership 7.2)? What did Presi-
dent Barack Obama specifically do to rescue the financial services and
automotive industries, pass comprehensive health care legislation, more
closely regulate banks, and deal with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?
What do Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, and Eric Schmidt, the CEO
of Google, do to keep their companies profitable? What exactly did James
Cameron do to produce the movie Avatar or Craig Venter do to lead a
laboratory that created the first artificial life? To answer questions like
these, it is appropriate to turn our attention to leader behavior itself; if we
could identify how successful leaders act compared with unsuccessful
leaders, we could design leadership talent management systems allowing
organizations to hire, develop, and promote the skills necessary for future
success. Unfortunately, as we can see in the Dilbert comic strip, The Office
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 245
television series, and the explosive growth of management consulting
firms, many people in positions of authority either do not know how to
build teams or get results through others or do not realize how their be-
havior negatively affects the people who work for them. 1-10
Before we describe the different ways to categorize what leaders do
to build teams or influence a group, let’s review what we know about
Lieutenant Shane Aguero and SFC Jerry Swope
Lt. Shane Aguero and SFC Jerry Swope were among
the 21,000 soldiers from the First Calvary who were
deployed to Iraq in early 2004. Their unit was re-
sponsible for patrolling the area known as Sadr
City. The unit they were replacing had patrolled
Sadr City for the past year and during that time re-
ported only a single incident between the
2,500,000 Shiite residents and the U.S. Army. By all
accounts the First Calvary was expecting to have
similar relationships with the local population and
believed its primary mission would be to provide
local security and infrastructure improvement. But
intelligence reports indicated that many of the
Imams in Sadr City had started calling for the
ouster of U.S. forces from Iraq; and in late March
Paul Bremer, U.S. administrator of Iraq, closed
down the local newspaper, Al-Hawza, because it
was inciting violence. By early April intelligence re-
ports indicated that “Sadr City was a volcano ready
to explode.”
Lt. Shane Aguero and the 17 members of Ague-
ro’s platoon, along with an Iraqi interpreter, were
riding in four Humvees that were escorting three
trucks collecting sewage from Sadr City on April 4.
The drivers of the sewage trucks were getting more
nervous as the day went on and at the end of the
day quit their jobs—stating that they would be
killed as collaborators if they remained. During the
day the streets of Sadr City were busy with the nor-
mal bustle of a large city, but as the day came to a
close the city streets became deserted. As Aguero’s
platoon was leaving Sadr City, they encountered a
large crowd of people as well as a number of barri-
ers that barred their travel on certain roads. They
then came under gunfire. The gunfire started slowly
at first, from one or two weapons of shooters who
were fairly spread out, but then quickly escalated
into a full firefight involving hundreds of enemy sol-
diers. Aguero and his platoon were driving as fast
as they could down the only street they could
travel—a street that was lined with hundreds of
members of the Mahdi Army and Sadr militia who
were intent on killing everyone in the platoon.
Aguero ordered his platoon to park their four
vehicles outside a three-story building and set up a
defensive position on the roof. By this time one of
his troops had been killed and one was wounded.
SFC Jerry Swope remained in one of the Humvees
to maintain radio contact with the Tactical Opera-
tions Center and coordinate a rescue. The building
was rapidly surrounded by an overwhelming force
of enemy soldiers who intimately knew the local
terrain. Dozens of enemy shooters were closing in
from all directions by taking five or six quick shots
and then ducking to advance to better vantage
points. Over the next four hours Aguero’s platoon
killed hundreds of Iraqis in repelling two massive
frontal assaults (led by women and children acting
as human shields), experienced eight casualties,
and was dangerously close to “going black” (run-
ning out of ammunition). SFC Swope remained at
the Humvee to coordinate the rescue efforts even
though it had been hit by thousands of enemy
rounds and its bulletproof glass had been shot out.
It took three different rescue attempts to save
Aguero’s troops. The fighting was so intense that
one of the rescue units experienced 47 casualties in
an hour.
What behaviors did Lt. Aguero and SFC Swope
exhibit that made them effective or ineffective
Source: M. Raddatz, The Long Road Home (New York:
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2007).
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246 Part Two Focus on the Leader
leadership skills and behaviors. As shown in Figure 7.1, leadership
behaviors (which include skills and competencies) are a function of
intelligence, personality traits, emotional intelligence, values, attitudes,
interests, knowledge, and experience. The factors in the bottom layer of
blocks are relatively difficult to change, and they predispose a leader to
act in distinctive ways. As described in Chapter 6, one’s personality
traits are pervasive and almost automatic, typically occurring without
much conscious attention. The same could be said about how values,
attitudes, and intelligence affect behaviors. Over time, however, leaders
can learn and discern which behaviors are more appropriate and effec-
tive than others. It is always useful to remember the pivotal roles indi-
vidual differences and situational variables can play in a leader’s actions
(see Profiles in Leadership 7.1 and 7.2).
The Early Studies
If you were asked to study and identify the behaviors that best differenti-
ated effective from ineffective leaders, how would you do it? You could
ask leaders what they do, follow the leaders around to see how they actu-
ally behave, or administer questionnaires to ask them and those they
work with how often the leaders exhibited certain behaviors. These three
approaches have been used extensively in past and present leadership re-
Much of the initial leader behavior research was conducted at Ohio State
University and the University of Michigan. Collectively, the Ohio State Uni-
versity studies developed a series of questionnaires to measure different
leader behaviors in work settings. These researchers began by collecting
over 1,800 questionnaire items that described different types of leadership
traits, types,
and emotional
Knowledge Experience
Initiating structure and consideration
Employee- and job-centered dimensions
The leadership grid
360-degree feedback
Competency models
Leadership pipeline behaviors
Community leadership behaviors
The Building Blocks of Skills
We know what a person
thinks not when he tells
us what he thinks, but
by his actions.
Isaac Bashevis
Singer, writer
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 247
behaviors. These items were collapsed into 150 statements, and these
statements were then used to develop a questionnaire called the Leader
Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ). 11 , 12 To obtain information
about a particular leader’s behavior, subordinates were asked to rate the
extent to which their leader performed behaviors like the following:
He lets subordinates know when they’ve done a good job.
He sets clear expectations about performance.
He shows concern for subordinates as individuals.
He makes subordinates feel at ease.
In analyzing the questionnaires from thousands of subordinates, the
statistical pattern of responses to all the different items indicated that
leaders could be described in terms of two independent dimensions of
behavior called consideration and initiating structure. 13 , 14   Consideration
refers to how friendly and supportive a leader is toward subordinates.
Leaders high in consideration engage in many different behaviors that
show supportiveness and concern, such as speaking up for subordinates’
interests, caring about their personal situations, and showing appreciation
for their work. Initiating structure refers to how much a leader empha-
sizes meeting work goals and accomplishing tasks. Leaders high in initiat-
ing structure engage in many different task-related behaviors, such as
assigning deadlines, establishing performance standards, and monitoring
performance levels.
The LBDQ was not the only leadership questionnaire developed by the
Ohio State researchers. They also developed, for example, the Supervisory
Descriptive Behavior Questionnaire (SBDQ), which measured the extent
to which leaders in industrial settings exhibited consideration and initiat-
ing structure behaviors. 15 The Leadership Opinion Questionnaire (LOQ)
asked leaders to indicate the extent to which they believed different con-
sideration and initiating behaviors were important to leadership success. 16
The LBDQ-XII was developed to assess 10 other categories of leadership
behaviors in addition to consideration and initiating structure. 17 Some of
the additional leadership behaviors assessed by the LBDQ-XII included
acting as a representative for the group, being able to tolerate uncer-
tainty, emphasizing production, and reconciling conflicting organiza-
tional demands.
Rather than trying to describe the variety of behaviors leaders exhibit
in work settings, the researchers at the University of Michigan sought to
identify leader behaviors that contributed to effective group perfor-
mance. 18 They concluded that four categories of leadership behaviors are
related to effective group performance: leader support, interaction facilita-
tion, goal emphasis, and work facilitation. 19
Both goal emphasis and work facilitation are job-centered dimensions
of behavior similar to the initiating structure behaviors described earlier.
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248 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Goal emphasis behaviors are concerned with motivating subordinates to
accomplish the task at hand, and work facilitation behaviors are con-
cerned with clarifying roles, acquiring and allocating resources, and rec-
onciling organizational conflicts. Leader support and interaction
facilitation are employee-centered dimensions of behavior similar to the
consideration dimension of the various Ohio State questionnaires (see
Table 7.1). Leader support includes behaviors where the leader shows
concern for subordinates; interaction facilitation includes those behav-
iors where leaders act to smooth over and minimize conflicts among fol-
lowers. Like the researchers at Ohio State, those at the University of
Michigan also developed a questionnaire, the Survey of Organizations, to
assess the degree to which leaders exhibit these four dimensions of leader-
ship behaviors. 19
Although the behaviors composing the task-oriented and people-
oriented leadership dimensions were similar across the two research pro-
grams, there was a fundamental difference in assumptions underlying the
work at the University of Michigan and that at Ohio State. Researchers at
the University of Michigan considered job-centered and employee-centered
behaviors to be at opposite ends of a single continuum of leadership behavior.
Leaders could theoretically manifest either strong employee- or job-centered
behaviors, but not both. On the other hand, researchers at Ohio State be-
lieved that consideration and initiating structure were independent contin-
uums. Thus leaders could be high in both initiating structure and
consideration, low in both dimensions, or high in one and low in the other.
Behaviors versus Skills
Leadership behaviors differ somewhat from lead-
ership skills. A leadership behavior concerns a
specific action, such as “setting specific perfor-
mance goals for team members.” A leadership
skill consists of three components, which include
a well-defined body of knowledge, a set of related
behaviors, and clear criteria of competent perfor-
mance. Perhaps leadership skills may be better un-
derstood by using a basketball analogy. People
differ considerably in their basketball skills; good
basketball players know when to pass and when to
shoot and are adept at making layups, shots from
the field, and free throws. Knowing when to pass
and when to shoot is an example of the knowl-
edge component, and layups and free throws are
examples of the behavioral component of skills. In
addition, shooting percentages can be used as
one criterion for evaluating basketball skills. Lead-
ership skills, such as delegating, can be seen much
the same way. Good leaders know when and to
whom a particular task should be delegated
(knowledge); they effectively communicate their
expectations concerning a delegated task (behav-
ior); and they check to see whether the task was
accomplished in a satisfactory manner (criteria).
Thus a leadership skill is knowing when to act, act-
ing in a manner appropriate to the situation, and
acting in such a way that it helps the leader ac-
complish team goals.
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 249
The key assumption underlying both research programs was that cer-
tain behaviors could be identified that are universally associated with a
leader’s ability to successfully influence a group toward the accomplish-
ment of its goals. Here are the kinds of questions researchers were inter-
ested in:
• From the University of Michigan perspective, who tends to be more ef-
fective in helping a group to accomplish its goals—job- or employee-
centered leaders?
• From the Ohio State perspective, are leaders who exhibit high levels of
both task- and people-oriented behaviors more effective than those who
exhibit only task or people behaviors?
• What role do situational factors play in leadership effectiveness? Are
employee-centered leadership behaviors more important in nonprofit
organizations or downsizing situations, whereas job-centered behav-
iors are more important in manufacturing organizations or start-up
The answers to these questions have several practical implications. If
leaders need to exhibit only job- or employee-centered behaviors, selec-
tion and training systems need to focus on only these behaviors. But if
situational factors play a role, researchers need to identify which variables
are the most important and train leaders in how to modify their behavior
accordingly. As you might suspect, the answer to all these questions is “It
depends.” In general, researchers have reported that leaders exhibiting a
high level of consideration or employee-centered behaviors have more
satisfied subordinates. Leaders who set clear goals, explain what follow-
ers are to do and how to get tasks accomplished, and monitor results (that
is, initiating structure or job-centered) often have higher-performing work
units if the group faces relatively ambiguous or ill-defined tasks. 20 – 22 At
the same time, however, leaders whose behavior is highly autocratic (an
aspect of initiating structure) are more likely to have relatively dissatisfied
subordinates. 20 Findings like these suggest that no universal set of leader
behaviors is always associated with leadership success. Often the degree to
which leaders need to exhibit task- or people-oriented behaviors depends
on the situation, and this finding prompted the research underlying the
contingency theories of leadership described in Chapter 13. If you review
these theories, you will see strong links to the job- and employee-centered
behaviors identified 50 years ago.
Early Leadership
Ohio State Dimensions University of Michigan Dimensions
Initiating structure Goal emphasis and work facilitation
Consideration Leader support and interaction facilitation
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250 Part Two Focus on the Leader
The Leadership Grid
The Ohio State and University of Michigan studies were good first steps
in describing what leaders actually do. Other researchers have extended
these findings into more user-friendly formats or developed different
schemes for categorizing leadership behaviors. Like the earlier research,
these alternative conceptualizations are generally concerned with identi-
fying key leadership behaviors, determining whether these behaviors
have positive relationships with leadership success, and helping people
develop behaviors related to leadership success. One popular conceptual-
ization of leadership is really an extension of the findings reported by the
University of Michigan and Ohio State leadership researchers. The Lead-
ership Grid ® profiles leader behavior on two dimensions: concern for
people and concern for production. 23,24 The word concern reflects how a
leader’s underlying assumptions about people at work and the impor-
tance of the bottom line affect leadership style. In that sense, then, the
Leadership Grid deals with more than just behavior. Nonetheless, it is
included in this chapter because it is such a direct descendant of earlier
behavioral studies.
As Figure 7.2 shows, leaders can get scores ranging from 1 to 9 on both
concern for people and concern for production depending on their re-
sponses to a leadership questionnaire. These two scores are then plotted
on the Leadership Grid, and the two score combinations represent differ-
ent leadership orientations. Each orientation reflects a unique set of as-
sumptions for using power and authority to link people to production. 23
Amid the different leadership styles, the most effective leaders are claimed
to have both high concern for people and high concern for production,
and Leadership Grid training programs are designed to move leaders to a
9,9 leadership style. Whereas this objective seems intuitively appealing,
where do you think the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Il, or
the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, score on these
two dimensions? Do both of them show a high concern for production
and people? Are there differences between the two leaders, or are both 9,9
Although the Leadership Grid can be useful for describing or catego-
rizing different leaders, we should note that the evidence to support the
assertion that 9,9 leaders are the most effective comes primarily from
Blake, Mouton, and their associates. However, other more recent research
might shed some light on whether 9,9 leaders are really the most effective.
Robie, Kanter, Nilsen, and Hazucha studied 1,400 managers in the United
States, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and
Belgium to determine whether the same leadership behaviors were re-
lated to effectiveness across countries. They reported that leadership be-
haviors associated with problem solving and driving for results (initiating
structure or 9,1 leadership) were consistently related to successfully build-
ing teams, influencing a group to accomplish its goals, and getting results,
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 251
regardless of country. 25 Similar results about initiating structure and job
performance were reported by Judge, Piccolo, and Ilies. 21 Using 800 man-
agers in a U.S. high-tech firm, Goff reported that managers who spent
more time building relationships (consideration or 1,9 leadership) also
had more satisfied followers who were less likely to leave the organiza-
tion. 26 Likewise, other researchers reported strong support for the notion
that higher consideration behavior can reduce employee turnover. 21,22
These results seem to indicate that the most effective leadership style
might depend on the criteria used to judge effectiveness. The context and
style of leaders’ behavior are also factors that affect their ability to build
teams and get results through others (see Highlights 7.1 and 7.2).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Low High
Concern for results
1,1 9,1
Middle-of-the-Road Management:Middle-of-the-Road Management:
Adequate organization performance is possible throughAdequate organization performance is possible through
balancing the necessity to get work out while maintainingbalancing the necessity to get work out while maintaining
morale of people at a satisfactory level.morale of people at a satisfactory level.
Country Club Management:Country Club Management:
Thoughtful attention to the needs ofThoughtful attention to the needs of
the people for satisfying relationshipsthe people for satisfying relationships
leads to a comfortable, friendlyleads to a comfortable, friendly
organization atmosphere and workorganization atmosphere and work
Team Management:Team Management:
Work accomplishment is fromWork accomplishment is from
committed people; interdependencecommitted people; interdependence
through a “common stake” inthrough a “common stake” in
organization purpose leads toorganization purpose leads to
relationships of trust and respect.relationships of trust and respect.
Impoverished Management:Impoverished Management:
Exertion of minimum effort to getExertion of minimum effort to get
required work done is appropriaterequired work done is appropriate
to sustain organization sustain organization management..
Authority-Compliance Management:Authority-Compliance Management:
Efficiency in operations results from Efficiency in operations results from
arranging conditions of work in such a arranging conditions of work in such a
way that human elements interfere to a way that human elements interfere to a
minimum degree.minimum degree.
Middle-of-the-Road Management:
Adequate organization performance is possible through
balancing the necessity to get work out while maintaining
morale of people at a satisfactory level.
Country Club Management:
Thoughtful attention to the needs of
the people for satisfying relationships
leads to a comfortable, friendly
organization atmosphere and work
Team Management:
Work accomplishment is from
committed people; interdependence
through a “common stake” in
organization purpose leads to
relationships of trust and respect.
Impoverished Management:
Exertion of minimum effort to get
required work done is appropriate
to sustain organization management.
Authority-Compliance Management:
Efficiency in operations results from
arranging conditions of work in such a
way that human elements interfere to a
minimum degree.
The Leadership Grid
Source: Robert R. Blake and Anne Adams McCanse, Leadership Dilemmas—Grid Solutions (Houston: Gulf Publishing, 1991),
p. 29. Copyright 1991. Reprinted with permission of Grid International
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252 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Competency Models
So far in this section we have described several ways to categorize leaders
or leadership behaviors, but what are the implications of this research for
leadership practitioners? Believe it or not, you can see the practical appli-
cation of this leadership behavior research in just about every Global 1,000
company. Competency models describe the behaviors and skills manag-
ers need to exhibit if an organization is to be successful. 2,27-34 Just as lead-
ers in different countries may need to exhibit behaviors uniquely
appropriate to each setting to be successful, different businesses and in-
dustries within any country often emphasize different leadership behav-
iors. Therefore, it is not unusual to see different organizations having
distinct competency models depending on the nature and size of each
business, its business model, its level of globalization, and the role of tech-
nology or teams in the business. 6,27,28,30,35,36 An example of a typical com-
petency model for middle managers can be found in Figure 7.3.
I don’t do quagmires … I
don’t do diplomacy … I
don’t do foreign policy …
I don’t do predictions …
I don’t do numbers …
Donald Rumsfeld,
former U.S.
Secretary of
Critical Leadership Behaviors in Wartime
It is likely that the behaviors needed to build teams
and get results during peacetime and wartime opera-
tions may be different for officers in the U.S. military.
A study sponsored by the Commanding General,
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, asked
researchers to determine the critical behaviors leaders
need to exhibit to build teams and get results while
conducting Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The re-
searchers conducted extensive interviews with and
administered surveys to 77 officers who had recently
returned from OIF and asked them to identify the
most important behaviors leaders need to exhibit
when operating in a battlefield environment. Some
of the most important behaviors leaders need to
exhibit during wartime include these:
• Adapts quickly to new situations and require-
• Keeps cool under pressure.
• Clearly explains missions, standards, and priori-
• Sees the big picture; provides context and per-
• Sets high standards with a “zero defects” men-
• Can handle “bad news.”
• Gets out of headquarters and visits the troops.
• Sets a high ethical tone; demands honest
• Knows how to delegate and not “micromanage.”
• Can make tough, sound decisions on time.
• Builds and supports teamwork within staff and
among units.
• Is positive, encouraging, and reasonably opti-
Having identified these critical leadership behav-
iors, the U.S. Army is now conducting training to
develop these behaviors before sending leaders over
to Iraq. Although the U.S. Army should be com-
mended for training its officers to exhibit these be-
haviors, are they all that different from the
behaviors associated with effective leadership in
Source: W. J. Ulmer Jr., M. D. Shaler, R. C. Bullis, D. F. Di-
Clemente, and T. O. Jacobs, Leadership Lessons at Division
Command Level—2004, report prepared under the direc-
tion of the U.S. Army War College, November 2004.
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 253
Rank Competency
Analyzing problems and making decisions: Effectively analyzes issues and makes sound,
logical business decisions in a timely manner.
Thinking strategically: Brings a broad perspective to bear on issues and problems (e.g.,
considers information from different industries, markets, competitors); deliberately
evaluates strategic “fit” of possible decisions and actions.
Financial and technical savvy: Demonstrates strong technical and financial knowledge
when resolving customer, operational, and/or financial problems. Makes sound customer,
operational, and financial trade-offs.
Planning and organizing: Establishes clear goals and action plans, and organizes resources
to achieve business outcomes.
Managing execution: Directs and monitors performance, and intervenes as appropriate to
ensure successful achievement of business objectives.
Inspiring aligned purpose: Successfully engages people in the mission, vision, values, and
direction of the organization; fosters a high level of motivation.
Driving change: Challenges the status quo and looks for ways to improve team or
organizational performance. Champions new initiatives and stimulates others to make
Building the talent base: Understands the talent needed to support business objectives
(e.g., qualifications, capabilities); identifies, deploys, and develops highly talented team
Fostering teamwork: Creates an environment where employees work together effectively
to achieve goals.
Creating open communications: Communicates clearly and creates an environment in
which important issues are shared.
Building relationships: Develops and sustains effective working relationships with direct
reports, peers, managers, and others; demonstrates that maintaining effective working
relationships is a priority.
Customer focus: Maintains a clear focus on customer needs; demonstrates a strong desire
to provide exemplary customer service; actively seeks ways to increase customer
Credibility: Earns others’ trust and confidence; builds credibility with others through
consistency between words and actions and follow-through on commitments.
Personal drive: Demonstrates urgency in meeting objectives and achieving results; pursues
aggressive goals and persists to achieve them.
Adaptability: Confidently adapts and adjusts to changes and challenges; maintains a
positive outlook and works constructively under pressure.
Learning approach: Proactively identifies opportunities and resources for improvement.
An Example of a Leadership Competency Model
Source: G. J. Curphy, K. Louiselle, and S. Bridges, Talent Assessment Overview: 360-Degree Feedback Report (Eagan, MN: Advantis Research &
Consulting, 2003).
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254 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Many of the best organizations now have competency models for dif-
ferent levels of management. For example, the behaviors and skills needed
by department supervisors, store managers, district managers, regional
vice presidents, and division presidents at The Home Depot vary consid-
erably, and these differences are reflected in the competency models for
each management group. These models help to clarify expectations of
performance for people in different leadership positions and describe the
skills necessary for promotion. They also help human resource profession-
als design selection, development, performance management, and succes-
sion planning programs so organizations have a steady supply of
leadership talent. 2,4,5,7,28,30,37-42
According to Hogan and Warrenfelz, the skills and behaviors found in
virtually every organizational competency model fall into one of four ma-
jor categories. Intrapersonal skills are leadership competencies and behav-
iors having to do with adapting to stress, goal orientation, and adhering to
rules. These skills and behaviors do not involve interacting with others,
and they are among the most difficult to change. Interpersonal skills are
those that involve direct interaction, such as communicating and building
relationships with others. These skills are somewhat easier to develop.
Leadership skills are skills and behaviors concerned with building teams
and getting results through others, and these are more easily developed
than the skills and behaviors associated with the first two categories. Fi-
nally, competencies concerned with analyzing issues, making decisions,
financial savvy, and strategic thinking fall into the business skills category.
These skills and competencies are often the focus of MBA programs and
are among the easiest to learn of the four categories. The Hogan and
Warrenfelz domain model of leadership competencies is important be-
cause it allows people to see connections between seemingly different or-
ganizational competency models and makes predictions about how easy
or difficult it will be to change various leadership behaviors and skills. 41
The Hogan and Warrenfelz model is also important because it points
out what behaviors leaders need to exhibit to build teams and get results
through others. Because organizational competency models are more
alike than different, the behaviors needed to build teams and get results
are fairly universal across organizations. Leaders wanting to build high-
performing teams need to hire the right people, effectively cope with
stress, set high goals, play by the rules, and hold people accountable. They
also need to communicate and build relationships with others. Effective
leaders also get followers involved in decisions, fairly distribute work-
loads, develop talent, keep abreast of events that could affect the team,
and make sound financial and operational decisions. Thus competency
models provide a sort of recipe for leaders wanting to build teams and get
results in different organizations. Many of these leadership behaviors may
be fairly universal across industries, but there may also be some impor-
tant differences by company and leadership level. Ancona, Malone,
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 255
Orlikowski, and Senge aptly point out that most leaders don’t possess all
the skills listed in many competency models, but effective leaders are
those who understand their strengths and have learned how to staff
around the areas in which they are less skilled. 43 And longitudinal re-
search has shown that the relative importance of certain competencies has
changed over time. For example, building relationships, administrative/
organizational skills, and time management skills have grown consider-
ably more important over the past 15–20 years. 44 These results are not sur-
prising when one considers the impact on managerial work of technology,
globalization, and organizational restructuring and delayering.
The Leadership Pipeline
We started this chapter by exploring the notion that there was a universal
set of behaviors associated with leadership effectiveness. Yet research
shows that initiating structure, interactional facilitation, and 9,9 leader-
ship can be important in some situations and relatively unimportant in
others. Situational and follower factors play important roles in determin-
ing the relative effectiveness of different leadership behaviors, and re-
searchers and human resource professionals have created competency
models to describe the behaviors needed by leaders in particular jobs and
Does Humor Matter?
Leaders exhibit many kinds of behavior. Some are
focused on task accomplishment, whereas others are
more related to supporting followers. Some leaders
are naturally funny, and others seem stern and hu-
morless. Does a leader’s sense of humor affect his or
her ability to build teams, influence others, or get
results? Researchers have examined this question
and discovered the answer is not a simple yes or no.
The effectiveness of humor seems to depend on the
context, the outcomes leaders are trying to achieve,
and the leadership style used. Laissez-faire leaders
(1,1) who used humor reported having more satis-
fied followers but did not have higher-performing
work groups. Task-focused leaders (9,1) who used
humor actually had less satisfied and lower-perform-
ing work units. Apparently their use of humor
seemed out of sync with their constant focus on goal
setting, productivity, and cost-cutting initiatives.
Transformational leaders (9,9) and leaders with high
levels of emotional intelligence who used humor
seemed to have higher-performing work groups.
The key lesson from this research appears to be that
the impact of a leader’s humor depends on the lead-
er’s style and the context in which it is delivered.
Task-focused leaders should be keenly attuned to fol-
lowers’ needs when the company is facing an eco-
nomic downturn or a difficult organizational
dilemma, and should also be aware that the use of
humor in these situations will probably have the op-
posite effect as intended.
Sources: B. J. Avolio, J. M. Howell, and J. J. Sosik, “A Funny
Thing Happened on the Way to the Bottom Line: Humor
as a Moderator of Leadership Style Effects,” Academy of
Management Journal 42, no. 2 (1999), pp. 219–27; F. Sala,
“Laughing All the Way to the Bank,” Harvard Business Re-
view, September 2003, pp. 16–17; E. J. Romero and K. W.
Cruthirds, “The Use of Humor in the Workplace.” Academy
of Management Perspectives 20, no. 2 (2006), pp. 58–69.
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256 Part Two Focus on the Leader
companies. Leaders heading up virtual teams of people located around
the globe or working in sales versus manufacturing organizations may
need to exhibit different types of behaviors to be effective, and compe-
tency models are useful in capturing these differences. Although global-
ization, the industry, and the functional area affect the type of leadership
behaviors needed, another factor that impacts leadership behavior is or-
ganizational level . For example, the behaviors first-line supervisors need
to manifest to keep a group of call center employees motivated and on
task differ from those a chief executive officer needs to exhibit when meet-
ing a group of investors or running company business strategy sessions.
Although both types of leaders need to build teams and get results
through others, the types of teams they lead and the results they need to
obtain are so dramatically different that they exhibit very different types
of behaviors.
The Leadership Pipeline is a useful model for explaining where lead-
ers need to spend their time, what they should be focusing on and what
they should be letting go, and the types of behaviors they need to exhibit
as they move from first-line supervisor to functional manager to chief ex-
ecutive officer. 45 The pipeline also describes the lessons people should
learn as they occupy a particular organizational level and the challenges
they will likely face as they transition to the next level. As such, this model
provides a type of road map for people wanting to occupy the top leader-
ship positions in any organization. And because people at different orga-
nizational levels need to exhibit different behaviors, many companies
have created competency models to describe the behaviors needed to be
successful at different organizational levels. According to the Leadership
Pipeline model, the most effective leaders are those who can accurately
diagnose the organizational level of their job and then exhibit behaviors
commensurate with this level. The pipeline also provides potential expla-
nations for why some people fail to advance: these individuals may not be
focusing on the right things or may be exhibiting leadership behaviors as-
sociated with lower organizational levels.
A depiction of the seven organizational levels and their competency re-
quirements, time application, and work values can be found in Table 7.2.
The items listed in Table 7.2 correspond to a large for-profit organization;
smaller for-profit or nonprofit organizations may not have all these levels.
Nonetheless, the Leadership Pipeline provides a useful framework for
thinking about how leadership competencies change as people are pro-
moted through organizations.
According to the model, many people who fail to demonstrate the com-
petencies, work values, and time applications commensurate with their po-
sitions will struggle with building teams and getting results through others.
For example, functional leaders who have not given up acting like first-line
supervisors and spend a lot of time coaching and monitoring the perfor-
mance of the individual contributors not only have no time to build a vision
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 257
TABLE 7.2 The Leadership Pipeline
Source: R. Charan, S. Drotter, and J. Noel, The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership-Powered Company (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001).
Organizational Competency
Level Requirements Time Applications Work Values
Business unit
CEO or
Technical proficiency.
Using company tools.
Build relationships with team
Planning projects.
Delegating work.
Coaching and feedback.
Performance monitoring.
Select, train, and manage
first-line supervisors.
Manage boundaries and
deploy resources to teams.
Manage the whole function.
Communicate with and
listen to everyone in the
Make subfunction trade-offs.
Interact with other functions.
Build cross-functional
leadership team.
Financial acumen.
Balance future goals with
short-term business needs.
Manage business portfolio.
Allocate capital to maximize
business success.
Develop business unit
Analyze and critique strategy.
Manage the entire company
and multiple constituencies.
Deliver predictable business
Set company direction.
Create company culture.
Manage the board of
Meet personal due dates.
Arrive/depart on time.
Annual budget planning.
Make time available for
Set priorities for team.
Monitor performance of
each team.
Make time to coach first-
line supervisors.
Determine three-year
vision for the function.
Interact with business unit
leader’s team.
Develop three-year vision
for the business unit.
Monitor financial results.
Effectively manage time.
Develop strategies for
multiple business units.
Monitor financial results
for multiple businesses.
Interact with CEO’s team.
Manage external
Spend significant time
reviewing financial results.
Spend significant time
doing strategic planning.
Get results through
personal proficiency.
High-quality work.
Accept company
Get results through
Success of followers.
Success of the team.
Appreciate managerial
versus technical work.
Developing first-line
Clarify how the
function supports the
Value all subfunctions.
Value all staff
Value organizational
culture and employee
Value the success of all
the business units.
Interact with internal
and external
Value a limited set of
key long-term
Value advice from
board of directors.
Value inputs from a
wide variety of
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258 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Indra Nooyi
PepsiCo is commonly acknowledged as having one
of the best leadership talent management systems in
the world. Pepsi’s talent management systems make
extensive use of competency models, 360-degree
feedback tools, personality and intelligence assess-
ments, in-basket simulations, and unit performance
indexes. One of the people who has benefited from
this in-depth assessment and development is Indra
Nooyi. Nooyi is currently the chief executive officer
of PepsiCo and is ranked by Forbes as the fourth
most powerful woman in the world and the most
powerful businesswoman in the world. Nooyi grew
up in India and received an undergraduate degree
from Madras Christian College and a postgraduate
diploma in management from the Indian Institute in
Management. She also has a degree from the Yale
School of Management. While in college Nooyi
fronted an all-female rock band, and she is refresh-
ingly funny and candid when speaking in public. In
May 2005 Nooyi started a controversy when she
spoke to Columbia Business School graduates and
said the United States “must be careful that when
we extend our arm in either a business or a political
sense, we take pains to ensure we are giving a hand
… not the finger.”
Before emigrating to the United States in 1978,
Nooyi was a product manager for Johnson and John-
son and the textile firm Mettur Beardsell in India. Her
first job after graduating from Yale was to work as a
consultant with The Boston Consulting Group. She
then took senior leadership positions at Motorola
and Asea Brown Boveri before moving to PepsiCo in
1994. While at Pepsi Nooyi played a vital role in the
spinoff of Tricon, which is now known as Yum!
Brands Inc. (Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken
are some of the franchises in Yum! Brands Inc.) She
also took the lead in Pepsi’s acquisition of Tropicana
and Quaker Oats in the late 1990s. Nooyi was pro-
moted to chief financial officer in 2001 and to the
CEO position in 2006. As the head of PepsiCo, Nooyi
heads up a company of 157,000 employees that
generate $35 billion in annual revenues through the
worldwide sales of products such as Pepsi, Mountain
Dew, Tropicana, Gatorade, Aquafina, Dole, Lipton,
Doritos, Ruffles, Lays, Quaker Oats, Life cereal, and
Rice-A-Roni. Under Nooyi, Pepsi has developed new
products and marketing programs through the lib-
eral use of cross-cultural advisory teams.
Given Pepsi’s global reach and emphasis on
brand management, Nooyi’s background seems
well-suited for a recent leadership challenge. In
2006 a group of individuals in India claimed that
both Coke and Pepsi products were tainted with
pesticides. Later investigations disproved these al-
legations, but the surrounding publicity damaged
Pepsi’s brand in a large, developing market. Nooyi
is now working hard to restore the Indian public’s
confidence in the safety of PepsiCo’s products.
How do you think Indra Nooyi’s career matches
up to the Leadership Pipeline? What lessons do you
think she learned as she traveled through the Lead-
ership Pipeline that help her be a more effective
CEO for Pepsico?
women_ Indra-Nooyi;;
and manage the function; they also disempower the first-line supervisors
and midlevel managers in their function. So one key to having a successful
career is exhibiting competencies appropriate for your current organiza-
tional level and then letting go of these competencies and learning new
ones when moving up the organizational ladder. Charan, Drotter, and Noel
maintain that transitioning from individual contributor to first-line supervi-
sor and from functional to business unit leader are the two hardest transi-
tions for people. 45 It is difficult for people who have spent all their time
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 259
selling to customers or writing code to transition to managing the people
who do this work and for people whose entire career has been in sales or IT
to manage, value, and leverage the work done by other functions.
Another career implication of this model is worth mentioning: people
who skip organizational levels often turn out to be ineffective leaders. For
example, it is not unusual for organizations to offer jobs to consultants. A
consultant may have been called in to fix a particularly difficult problem,
such as implementing a new sales initiative or IT program, and because
the solution was so successful he or she is asked to join the company. The
problem is that many of these job offers are for functional or business unit
leader types of roles, and to a large extent consultants have spent their
entire careers doing nothing but individual contributor–level work. Be-
cause consultants may have never formally led a team or managed mul-
tiple teams or functions, they continue to exhibit those behaviors they got
rewarded for in the first place, which is individual contributor–level work.
No matter how good these former consultants are at doing individual
contributor work, these jobs they are put in are much too big for them to
do all the sales calls, write all the computer code, or the like. If they do not
adjust their leadership behaviors to fit the demands of the position, they
quickly burn out and will be asked to pursue other options. So if your ca-
reer aspirations include leading a function, business unit, or company,
you need to think through the sequence of positions that will give you the
right experiences and teach you the right competencies needed to prepare
you for your ultimate career goal.
Community Leadership
Although organizational competency models have played a pervasive
role in selecting, developing, and promoting government and business
leaders, they have not been used much in community leadership. Com-
munity leadership is the process of building a team of volunteers to ac-
complish some important community outcome and represents an
alternative conceptualization of leadership behavior. 46-48 Examples of
community leadership might include forming a group to raise funds for a
new library, gathering volunteers for a blood drive, or organizing a cam-
paign to stop the construction of a Walmart. Thus community leadership
takes place whenever a group of volunteers gets together to make some-
thing happen (or not happen) in their local community.
But leading a group of volunteers is very different from being a leader in
a publicly traded company, the military, or a nongovernment agency. For
one thing, community leaders do not have any position power; they cannot
discipline followers who do not adhere to organizational norms, get tasks
accomplished, or show up to meetings. They also tend to have fewer re-
sources and rewards than most other leaders. And because there is no
Never doubt that a
group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can
change the world. In-
deed, it is the only thing
that ever has.
Margaret Mead,
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260 Part Two Focus on the Leader
formal selection or promotion process, anyone can be a community leader.
But whether such leaders succeed in their community change efforts de-
pends on three highly interrelated competencies (see Figure 7.4). Just as you
need the three ingredients of oxygen, fuel, and an igniter to start a fire, so do
you need the three competencies of framing, building social capital, and
mobilization to successfully drive community change efforts.
Framing is the leadership competency of helping a group or community
recognize and define its opportunities and issues in ways that result in ef-
fective action. Framing helps the group or community decide what needs
to be done, why it is important that it be done, and how it is to be done, and
communicate that in clear and compelling ways. Any community could
take on myriad potential projects, but many of these projects never get off
the ground because the person “in charge” never framed the project in
such a way that others could understand the outcome, how they would
benefit by the outcome, and what they must do to achieve the outcome.
Building social capital is the leadership competency of developing and
maintaining relationships that allow people to work together in the com-
munity across their differences. Just as financial capital allows individuals
to make choices about what they can purchase, such as buying a new tele-
vision, car, or house, social capital allows a community leader to make
choices about which community change initiatives or projects are likely to
be successful. If you have little money, your options are severely limited.
Likewise, leaders lacking social capital will have a difficult time getting
anything done in their communities because they will not be able to mobi-
lize the resources necessary to turn their vision into reality. Social capital
is the power of relationships shared between individuals, between an in-
dividual and a group, or between groups.
Engaging a critical mass to take action to achieve a specific outcome or
set of outcomes is the leadership competency of mobilization. Commu-
nity leaders will have achieved a critical mass when they have enough
human and other resources to get what they want done. People, money,
equipment, and facilities are often needed to pass bond issues or attract
new businesses to a community. Mobilization is strategic, planned
Social capital Mobilization
The Components of
Source: J. Krile, G. Curphy,
and D. Lund, The Community
Leadership Handbook: Framing
Ideas, Building Relationships,
and Mobilizing Resources (St.
Paul, MN: Fieldstone
Alliance, 2006).
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 261
purposeful activity to achieve clearly defined outcomes. Almost anyone
can get resources moving, but it takes leadership to get enough of the
right resources moving toward the same target.
How would the community leadership model come into play if you
wanted to have a new student union built on your campus? First, you
would need to frame the issue in such a way that other students under-
stood what was in it for them and what they would need to do to make a
new student union become reality. Second, you would need to reach out
and build relationships with all of the current and potential users of the
new student union. You would need to identify the formal and informal
leaders of the different user groups and meet with them to gain and main-
tain their trust. Third, you would need these different user groups to take
action to get the new student union built. Some of these actions might
Father Greg Boyle
Father Greg Boyle grew up in a family of eight chil-
dren in the Los Angeles area. Working on his father’s
dairy farm while growing up, Father Greg opted to
become a Jesuit after graduating from high school
and was ordained as a minister in 1984. After grad-
uating with degrees from Gonzaga University,
Loyola Marymount University, and Wheaton Col-
lege, he spent several years teaching high school,
running a mission in Los Angeles, and serving as a
chaplain for Folsom Prison and Islas Marias Penal
Colony in Mexico. It was while Father Greg was a
pastor at the Dolores Mission in Los Angeles that he
started Jobs for the Future (JFF), a program designed
to keep gang-involved youths out of trouble. JFF in-
volved developing positive alternatives, establishing
an elementary school and day care centers, and
providing jobs for disadvantaged youth.
Partly as a result of the civil unrest in Los Angeles
in 1992, Father Greg started the first of several
Homeboy businesses. Homeboy Bakery was created
to teach gang-involved youths life and work skills
and how to work side-by-side with rival gang mem-
bers. Other businesses started by Father Greg in-
clude Homeboy Silkscreen, Homeboy Maintenance,
Homeboy/Homegirl Merchandise, and Homegirl
Café. All of these businesses provide needed busi-
ness, conflict resolution, and teamwork skills to
gang members who are eager to leave the streets.
Homeboy Industries has run as a nonprofit orga-
nization since 2001 and has expanded several times
to keep up with the increasing demand for its ser-
vices. The organization currently serves over 1,200
people as either employees or participants in its
many outreach programs. Although Homeboy In-
dustries generates revenues, it does not generate
enough cash to fund all of its programs. In the past
any shortfalls between revenues and costs were
covered by donations and speaking fees. The eco-
nomic recession has severely reduced these funding
sources, and Homeboy Industries may have to close
its doors unless some alternative funds can be
found. The organization appealed to the City of Los
Angeles for $15,000,000 in funding but was turned
down because of the city’s own financial crisis.
Nonetheless, the City of Los Angeles managed to
find $65,000,000 to give to its new Museum of
Modern Art.
Where do the concepts of framing, social capi-
tal, and mobilization come into play with the start-
up or turnaround of Homeboy Industries? What
skills does Father Greg possess that help him build
teams and achieve results? Where do you think
public money is better spent—keeping 1,200 gang
members off the street or funding a new museum?
Source:; T. Gross,
“Interview with Greg Boyle,” Fresh Air, May 21, 2010.
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262 Part Two Focus on the Leader
include raising funds, making phone calls, canvassing students to sign
petitions, mounting a publicity campaign, and meeting with university
and state officials who are the key decision makers about the issue.
It is worth noting that you need to do all three of the community
leadership components well if you are to build teams of volunteers and
successfully accomplish community outcomes. You might be able to suc-
cinctly frame the issue, but if you lacked social capital or could not get a
critical mass mobilized, you would probably not get far in building the
new student union. The same would be true if you had a broad and well-
established network of students but did not frame the issue in such a way
that followers could take action. It is likely that as many community
change efforts fail as succeed, and the reasons for failure often have to do
with inadequate framing, social capital, or mobilization. These three com-
ponents are critical when it comes to building teams of volunteers and
achieving community goals.
Assessing Leadership Behaviors: Multirater Feedback Instruments
One way to improve leader effectiveness is to give leaders feedback re-
garding the frequency and skill with which they perform various types of
leadership behaviors. A $200 million industry has developed over the past
three decades to meet this need. This is the 360-degree, or multirater,
feedback instrument industry, and it is difficult to overestimate its impor-
tance in management development both in the United States and overseas.
Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, has stated that these tools
have been critical to GE’s success. 49 Practically all of the Global 1,000 com-
panies are using some type of multirater feedback instrument for manag-
ers and key individual contributors. 2,6,7,8,50-58 Multirater feedback
instruments have been translated into 16 different languages, and well
over 5 million managers have now received feedback on their leadership
skills and behaviors from these instruments. 50 Because of the pervasive-
ness of multirater feedback in both the public and private sectors, it will be
useful to examine some issues surrounding these instruments.
Many managers and human resource professionals have erroneously
assumed that a manager’s self-appraisal is the most accurate source of in-
formation regarding leadership strengths and weaknesses. This view has
changed, however, with the introduction of multirater feedback instru-
ments. These tools show that direct reports, peers, and superiors can have
very different perceptions of a leader’s behavior, and these perspectives
can paint a more accurate picture of the leader’s strengths and develop-
ment needs than self-appraisals alone (see Figures 7.5 and 7.6). A manager
may think he or she gets along well with others, but if 360-degree feedback
ratings from peers and direct reports indicate that the manager is difficult
to work with, the manager should gain new insights on what to do to
Talented people need
organizations less than
organizations need
talented people.
Daniel Pink,
Pink, Inc.
Pity the leader caught
between unloving critics
and uncritical lovers.
John Gardner,
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 263
improve his or her leadership effectiveness. Prior to the introduction of
360-degree instruments, it was difficult for managers to get accurate infor-
mation about how others perceived their on-the-job behaviors because the
feedback they received from others in face-to-face meetings tended to be
adulterated or watered down. 2,5,6,50-60 Moreover, the higher one goes in an
organization, the less likely one is to ask for feedback, which results in big-
ger discrepancies between self and other perceptions. 2,60-62 And as de-
scribed in Chapter 6, many of the most frequent behaviors exhibited by
leaders are rooted in personality traits and occur almost automatically; as a
result many leaders do not understand or appreciate their impact on oth-
ers. It was difficult for managers to accurately determine their leadership
strengths and development needs until the advent of 360-degree feedback
instruments. Today most organizations use 360-degree tools as an integral
part of the training, coaching, succession planning, and performance man-
agement components of a comprehensive leadership talent management
system. 2,50,52,53,56,58
Given the pervasive role 360-degree feedback plays in many organiza-
tions today, it is not surprising that there has been an extensive amount of
research on the construction, use, and impact of these tools. Much of this
research has explored how to use competency models to build effective
360-degree questionnaires, whether 360-degree feedback matters, whether
self–observer perceptual gaps matter, whether leaders’ ratings can im-
prove over time, and whether there are meaningful culture/gender/race
issues with 360-degree feedback ratings. With respect to the first issue,
researchers have reported that the construction of 360-degree feedback
questionnaires is very important. Poorly conceived competency models
and ill-designed questionnaire items can lead to spurious feedback re-
sults, thus depriving managers of the information they need to perform at
a higher level. 2,34,53,54,63 In terms of whether 360-degree feedback matters, a
number of researchers have held that leaders who received 360-degree
feedback had higher-performing work units than leaders who did not
receive this type of feedback. These results indicate that 360-degree
feedback ratings do matter. 2,64-73 But a study of 750 firms by Watson- Wyatt,
a human resource consulting firm, reported that companies that used
360° feedback
Direct reports
Sources for
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264 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Kim Converse
All respondents
Kim Converse
All respondents
Kim Converse
All respondents
Kim Converse
All respondents
Personal drive
Planning and organizing
Inspiring aligned purpose
Inspiring Aligned Purpose
Successfully engages people in the mission, vision, values, and direction of the organization; fosters
a high level of motivation.
Average Ratings for Each Item and Respondent Type
5 Avg.
Thinking strategically
1. Communicates a compelling
vision of the future.
2. Provides a clear sense of purpose
and direction for the team.
3. Sets challenging goals and
4. Fosters enthusiasm and buy-in for
the direction of the
5. Supports initiatives of upper
management through words and
4.0 2.0
1.0 4.5
4.0 3.2
Items Self Manager Others AllRespondents
Example of 360-Degree Feedback.
Source: K. Louiselle, G. J. Curphy, and S. Bridges, C3 360-Degree Feedback Report (Eagan, MN: Advantis Research and Consulting, 2003). Reprinted
with permission of Advantis Research and Consulting.
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 265
360-degree feedback systems had a 10.6 percent decrease in shareholder
value. 74 Although this research provides strong evidence that 360-degree
feedback may not “work,” it is important to note how these systems were
being used in these firms. For the most part, Pfau and Kay examined firms
using 360-degree feedback for performance appraisal, not development
purposes. This distinction is important because most 360-degree feedback
systems are not designed to make comparisons between people. Instead
these systems are designed to tell leaders about their own relative
strengths and development needs. But because 360-degree feedback tools
are data based and provide good development feedback, many organiza-
tions have decided to modify the process for performance appraisal pur-
poses. This can be a mistake: many 360-degree feedback tools used in
performance appraisals are poorly constructed and often result in such
inflated ratings that the resulting feedback no longer differentiates
between high, average, and low-level performers. The end result is a costly,
time-intensive performance appraisal system that has little if any benefit
to the individual or the boss and yields organizational results similar to
those reported by Watson-Wyatt. The bottom line is that 360-degree
feedback systems can add tremendous value, but only if they are well-
conceived and constructed. 2,50,53,54,56-58,64,73,75
As stated earlier, one advantage of 360-degree feedback is that it pro-
vides insight into self-perceptions and others’ perceptions of leadership
skills. But do self–observer gaps matter? Are leaders more effective if they
have a high level of insight—that is, if they rate their strengths and weak-
nesses as a leader the same as others do? As depicted in Figure 7.6, some
level of disagreement is to be expected because bosses, peers, and direct
Facebook, MySpace, and Online Personas
Social networking sites such as Facebook and
MySpace have made it much easier for people to
connect with others. In an effort to attract atten-
tion, many entries on these sites contain highly
personal information about sexual practices, drug
and alcohol use, philosophies toward life and
work, and so on. Some of this information may be
true and some just hyperbole, but all of it is in the
public domain. The bad news is that companies
are now searching these same sites and eliminating
applicants based on their online personae. An inter-
esting exercise is to identify a critical leadership
position and define the organizational level, key
competencies, time application, and work values
needed to do this position. Then pick out four or
five random online personae from MySpace and
determine whether you would hire any of these in-
dividuals if they had applied for the position. Now
look at your own online persona (if you have one).
Would you get hired if an organization were look-
ing for a competent manager to fill this position?
What should carry more weight in determining a
person’s leadership potential—work experiences
and education or online persona?
Source: Adapted from Alan Finder, “For Some, Online
Persona Undermines Résumé,” The New York Times,
June 11, 2006.
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266 Part Two Focus on the Leader
reports may have different expectations for a leader. Nevertheless, insight
does not seem to matter for leadership effectiveness. Even leaders with
large self–observer gaps were effective as long as they had high observer
ratings. On the other hand, the least effective leaders were those with high
self and low others’ ratings. The important lesson here is that leadership is
in the eyes of others. And the key to high observer ratings is to develop a
broad set of leadership skills that will help groups to accomplish their
goals. 1,76-80
Another line of research has looked at whether 360-degree feedback
ratings improve over time. In other words, is it possible to change oth-
ers’ perceptions of a leader’s skills? One would hope that this would be
the case, given the relationship between others’ ratings and leadership
effectiveness. Walker and Smither reported that managers who shared
their 360-degree feedback results with their followers and worked on
an action plan to improve their ratings had a dramatic improvement in
others’ ratings over a five-year period. 81 Johnson and Johnson looked at
360-degree ratings over a two-year period and reported leadership pro-
ductivity improvements of 9.5 percent for 515 managers in a manufac-
turing company. 82 A more recent article reviewed the findings from
24 different studies and concluded that 360-degree feedback ratings do
change over time, but the amount of change tends to be small. 55 Other
researchers aptly point out that 360-degree feedback alone is not a pan-
acea to improve leadership skills. In addition to gaining insight from
360-degree feedback, leaders must also create a set of development
goals and commit to a development plan if they want to see improve-
ment in others’ ratings (and, in turn, leadership effectiveness) over
time. 2,50,81-85
The last line of research has explored whether there are important
cultural, racial, or gender issues with 360-degree feedback. In terms of
cultural issues, some countries, such as Japan, do not believe peers or
followers should give leaders feedback. 85,86 Other countries, such as Saudi
Arabia, tend more to avoid conflict and provide only positive feedback to
leaders. The latter phenomenon also appears in the United States, where
researchers working in small organizations or in rural communities often
report similar findings. People seem more hesitant to give leaders con-
structive feedback if they have to deal with the consequences of this feed-
back both at and away from work. These findings further support the
notion that 360-degree feedback is not a management panacea; societal or
organizational culture plays a key role in the accuracy and utility of the
360-degree feedback process. 2,4,32,33,50,52,60,74,86
With respect to racial differences, a comprehensive study by Mount,
Sytsma, Hazucha, and Holt looked at the pattern of responses from
bosses, peers, and subordinates for over 20,000 managers from a variety
of U.S. companies. In general, these researchers reported that blacks
tended to give higher ratings to other blacks, irrespective of whether
In many cases the only
person who is surprised
by his or her 360-degree
feedback results is the
feedback recipient.
Dianne Nilsen,
PDI-Ninth House
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 267
they were asked to provide peer, subordinate, or boss ratings. However,
the overall size of this effect was small. White peers and subordinates
generally gave about the same level of ratings to both black and white
peers and bosses. This was not the case for white bosses, however, who
tended to give significantly higher ratings to whites who reported di-
rectly to them. These findings imply that black leaders are likely to
advance at a slower pace than their white counterparts because 80–
90 percent of salary, bonus, and promotion decisions are made solely by
bosses. 87,88
With respect to gender issues, research indicates that there are some
slight gender differences. Female managers tend to get higher ratings on
the majority of skills, yet their male counterparts are generally perceived
as having higher advancement potential. There does not appear to be any
same-sex bias in 360-degree feedback ratings, and female managers tend to
be lower self-raters. Male managers tend to have less accurate self-insight
and more blind spots when compared to their female counterparts. In
summary, male and female 360-degree feedback ratings are similar, and
any differences are of little practical significance.
What should a leadership practitioner take away from this 360-degree
feedback research? First, given the popularity of the technique, it is likely
that you will receive 360-degree feedback sometime in your career. Sec-
ond, 360-degree feedback should be built around a competency model,
which will describe the leadership behaviors needed to achieve organiza-
tional goals. Third, the organization may have different competency
models to reflect the different leadership behaviors needed to succeed at
different organizational levels. Fourth, 360-degree feedback may be one
of the best sources of “how” feedback for leadership practitioners. Lead-
ers tend to get plenty of “what” feedback—what progress they are mak-
ing toward group goals, what level of customer service is being achieved,
win–loss records, and so on; but they get little feedback on how they
should act to get better results. Multirater instruments provide feedback
on the kinds of things leaders need to do to build cohesive, goal-oriented
teams and get better results through others. Fifth, effective leaders seem
to have a broad set of well-developed leadership skills—they do not do
just one or two things well and do everything else poorly. Instead they
seem to possess a broad array of leadership strengths. Sixth, leaders need
to create specific goals and development plans in order to improve lead-
ership skills—360-degree feedback results give leaders ideas on what to
improve but may not be enough in and of themselves to affect behavioral
change. Seventh, leadership behavior can change over time, but it may
take a year or two to acquire new skills and for the changes to be re-
flected in 360-degree feedback ratings. Finally, some cultural, racial, and
gender issues are associated with 360-degree feedback, and practitioners
should be aware of these issues before implementing any 360-degree
feedback process. 56,73,88,89
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268 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Summary People in leadership positions exhibit a wide variety of behaviors, and re-
searchers have explored whether there is a universal set of behaviors that
differentiates effective from ineffective leaders or if there are situational or
follower factors that impact the types of behavior needed to build teams or
get results through others. To answer the first question, there does not ap-
pear to be a universal set of leadership behaviors that guarantees success
across many or all situations. Although some types of task and relationship-
oriented leadership behaviors will likely improve the odds of success, the
nature of the work to be performed, the situation, and the number and types
of followers affect the specific kinds of task and relationship behaviors lead-
ers need to demonstrate to be effective. Chapter 12 describes a much more
comprehensive list of the situational factors affecting leadership behavior,
but some of the key situational factors reviewed in this chapter include the
setting (community or organization) and organizational level. Competency
models and 360-degree feedback can be used to describe how well someone
is performing the behaviors needed to succeed in a particular position.
Leadership practitioners need to realize that they will ultimately be
judged by the results they obtain and the behaviors they exhibit. Yet prior
experience, values, and attributes play critical roles in how leaders go
about building teams and achieving results through others. For example,
leaders who move into roles that involve solving complex business prob-
lems but lack relevant experience, analytic intelligence, and strong com-
mercial values will struggle to be successful, and those with the opposite
characteristics are much more likely to succeed. Having the right attri-
butes, values, and experience does not guarantee that leaders will exhibit
the right behaviors, but this improves the odds considerably.
This chapter offers some vital yet subtle suggestions on how to be effec-
tive as a leader. First, people moving into leadership roles need to under-
stand the performance expectations for their positions. These expectations
not only include the results to be achieved; they also include the behaviors
that need to be exhibited. Organizational levels and competency models
can help leaders determine the specific types of behaviors required to
build teams and get results through others for the position in question.
These frameworks also describe the behavioral changes leaders will need
to make as they transition into new roles.
Second, understanding the behavioral requirements of various leader-
ship positions and exhibiting needed behaviors can be two quite different
things. That being the case, 360-degree feedback can give leaders insight
into whether they need to do anything differently to build stronger teams
or get better results through others. Although getting feedback from oth-
ers can be an uncomfortable experience, this information is vital if people
want to succeed as leaders. 360-degree feedback makes the process of get-
ting feedback from others more systematic and actionable, and as such it
is an important tool in the development of leaders.
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 269
Key Terms Leader Behavior
(LBDQ), 247
consideration, 247
initiating structure, 247
dimensions, 247
behavior, 248
leadership skill, 248
goal emphasis, 248
work facilitation, 248
dimensions, 248
business skills, 254
levels, 256
Pipeline, 256
leadership, 259
framing, 260
building social
capital, 260
mobilization, 260
360-degree or
feedback, 262
leader support, 248
facilitation, 248
Leadership Grid, 250
concern for
people, 250
concern for
production, 250
models, 252
skills, 254
skills, 254
leadership skills, 254
1. Could you create a competency model for college professors? For
college students? If you used these competency models to create
360-degree feedback tools, who would be in the best position to give
professors and students feedback?
2. What competencies would be needed by a U.S.-born leader being as-
signed to build power plants in China? What competencies would be
needed by a Chinese-born leader being assigned to run a copper mine
in Kenya?
3. What are the competencies needed to be an effective U.S. senator? A
famous musician or actor? How are these competencies similar or
4. Is the U.S.-based Tea Party movement an example of community lead-
ership? Why or why not?
Third, getting feedback from others in and of itself may not result in
behavioral change. For example, many people know they need to lose
weight, yet they may not do anything about it. But if they build a plan that
includes a modified diet and regular exercise and get regular feedback
and encouragement from others, they are much more likely to lose weight.
The same holds true for changing leadership behaviors. Building develop-
ment plans and getting coaching from others will improve the odds of
changing targeted behaviors or acquiring needed skills, so leaders who
want to be more effective should have written development plans.
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270 Part Two Focus on the Leader
Activities 1. Identify two leadership positions and then determine the relative im-
portance of the 16 competencies shown in Figure 7.3. You can do this by
ranking each competency in order of importance, with the most impor-
tant competency being assigned a 1, the second most important a 2,
and so on. If you do this exercise with several partners ranking the
same positions, does everyone give the 16 competencies about the
same ranking? Why or why not?
2. Collect competency models from two organizations and assign them to
the intrapersonal, interpersonal, leadership, and business categories
described by Hogan and Warrenfelz. Do the competencies fit easily into
the four categories? Which categories seem to be underrepresented or
overrepresented by the competency models?
3. Identify two leadership positions at your school and determine their
organizational levels using the Leadership Pipeline.
4. Given the model of community leadership described earlier in this
chapter, analyze an ongoing community change initiative. Has the
leader framed the issue in a way that makes it easy for others to take
action? Do the group members have strong bonds with other groups?
Have they created a plan and mobilized a critical mass of people and
resources to make the change become reality?
Paying Attention Pays Off for Andra Rush
Paying attention has been a key for Andra Rush. As a nursing school
graduate she was paying attention when other nurses complained about
unfair treatment and decided she wanted to do something about it—so
she enrolled in the University of Michigan’s MBA program so she could
do something about how employees were treated. As she completed her
business courses and continued to work as a nurse, she was paying atten-
tion when a patient described his experience in the transport business.
The business sounded intriguing, and so, with minimal experience and
minimal resources, Rush took a risk and started her own trucking busi-
ness. She scraped together the funds to buy three trucks by borrowing
money from family and using her credit cards. She specialized in emer-
gency shipping and accepted every job that came her way, even if it meant
driving the trucks herself. She answered phones, balanced her books, and
even repaired the trucks. She paid attention to her customers and made a
point of exceeding their expectations regardless of the circumstances.
When the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, shut down local bridges,
Rush rented a barge to make sure a crucial shipment for DaimlerChrysler
made it to its destination on time.
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 271
Rush continues to pay attention and credits her listening skills as a ma-
jor reason for her success. Rush is distinct in the traditionally white male–
dominated trucking industry—a woman and a minority (Rush is Native
American) who credits her heritage and the “enormous strength” of her
Mohawk grandmother for helping her prevail:
It is entirely possible that my Native spirit, communicated to me by my
grandmother and my immediate family, have enabled me to overcome the
isolation, historical prejudice, and business environment viewed as a bar-
rier to Native- and woman-owned businesses. The willingness to listen, to
understand first, and act directly and honestly with integrity is a lesson
and code of conduct my elders have bequeathed to me. Being an entrepre-
neur has reinforced those lessons again and again.
Her Mohawk heritage is pervasive. Rush’s company logo is a war
staff with six feathers representing the Six Nations of the Iroquois:
Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Tuscarora, and Seneca. She
believes in the power of a diverse workforce; as a result more than
half of the 390 employees at Rush Trucking are women, and half are
Rush keeps close tabs on her company and its employees. Though the
company has grown from its humble three-truck beginning to a fleet of
1,700 trucks, Rush still takes time to ride along with drivers. She has pro-
vided educational programs like “The Readers’ Edge,” a literacy program,
to improve the skills and lives of her employees. Rush is actively in-
volved in several organizations that work to improve the position of
minorities—she’s on the boards of directors of the Michigan Minority
Business Development Council, the Minority Enterprise Development/
Minority Business Development Agency, and the Minority Business
Roundtable, and she has served as president of the Native American
Business Alliance.
1. As we have discussed, competency models describe the behaviors
and skills managers need to exhibit if an organization is to be success-
ful. Consider the general competencies found in Figure 7.3 and apply
these to Andra Rush, providing examples of how these competencies
2. How does the Leadership Pipeline apply to Andra Rush?
3. Andra Rush belongs to several volunteer organizations. Would her
leadership style need to change as the president of the Native Ameri-
can Business Alliance versus the CEO of Rush Trucking? How would
the Community Leadership Model apply to Andra Rush?
Sources:; http://www.crains; ;; http://www.indiancountry.
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272 Part Two Focus on the Leader
1. G. J. Curphy, “In-Depth Assessments, 360-Degree Feedback, and Develop-
ment: Key Research Results and Recommended Next Steps,” presentation at
the Annual Conference for HR Managers at US West Communications,
Denver, CO, January 1998.
2. G. J. Curphy, “What Role Should I/O Psychologists Play in Executive Educa-
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3. G. J. Curphy, “Leadership Transitions and Teams,” presentation given at the
Hogan Assessment Systems International Users Conference, Istanbul, Septem-
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4. G. J. Curphy, “The Consequences of Managerial Incompetence,” presentation
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5. G. J. Curphy, “Comments on the State of Leadership Prediction,” in Predicting
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April 2007.
6. G. J. Curphy and M. E. Roellig, Followership , unpublished manuscript (North
Oaks, MN: Author, 2010).
7. G. J. Curphy and R. T. Hogan, “What We Really Know about Leadership (But
Seem Unwilling to Implement),” working paper, 2004.
8. R. T. Hogan and G. J. Curphy, Leadership Effectiveness and Managerial Incompe-
tence, unpublished manuscript, 2007.
9. R. Charan and G. Colvin, “Why CEOs Fail,” Fortune, June 21, 1999, pp. 69–82.
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Research, 1957).
15. E. A. Fleishman, Examiner’s Manual for the Supervisory Behavior Description
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17. R. M. Stogdill, Individual Behavior and Group Achievement (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1959).
End Notes
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Chapter 7 Leadership Behavior 273
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with a Four Factor Theory of Leadership,” Administrative Science Quarterly 11
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20. B. M. Bass, Bass and Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership, 3rd ed. (New York: Free
Press, 1990).
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22. R. Eisenberger, F. Stinglhamber, C. Vandenberghe, I. L. Sucharski, and L.
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23. R. R. Blake and A. A. McCanse, Leadership Dilemmas—Grid Solutions (Houston,
TX: Gulf, 1991).
24. R. R. Blake and J. S. Mouton, The Managerial Grid (Houston, TX: Gulf, 1964).
25. C. Robie, K. Kanter, D. L. Nilsen, and J. Hazucha, The Right Stuff: Understand-
ing Cultural Differences in Leadership Performance (Minneapolis, MN: Personnel
Decisions International, 2001).
26. M. Goff, Critical Leadership Skills Valued by Every Organization (Minneapolis,
MN: Personnel Decisions International, 2001).
27. S. Davis, J. Volker, R. C. Barnett, P. H. Batz, and P. Germann, Leadership Matters:
13 Roles of High Performing Leaders (Minneapolis, MN: MDA Leadership Con-
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28. G. P. Hollenbeck, M. W. McCall, and R. F. Silzer, “Leadership Competency
Models,” The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006), pp. 398–413.
29. L. Tischler, “IBM’s Management Makeover,” Fast Company, November 2004,
pp. 112–16.
30. P. Lievens, J. I. Sanchez, and W. DeCorte, “Easing the Inferential Leap in Com-
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32. G. J. Curphy, The Blandin Education Leadership Program (Grand Rapids, MN:
The Blandin Foundation, 2004).
33. Ibid.
34. G. J. Curphy and R. T. Hogan, “Managerial Incompetence: Is There a Dead
Skunk on the Table?” Working paper, 2004.
35. D. Ulrich, J. Zenger, and N. Smallwood, Results-Based Leadership (Boston:
Harvard Business School Press, 1999).
36. D. B. Peterson, “Making the Break from Middle Manager to a Seat at the Top,”
The Wall Street Journal, July 7, 1998.
37. R. B. Kaiser and S. B. Craig, Testing the Leadership Pipeline: Do the Behaviors Re-
lated to Managerial Effectiveness Change with Organizational Level? Presentation
given at the 1st Annual Leading Edge Consortium, St Louis, MO, 2008.
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