Leadership Dynamics is for leaders and aspiring leaders who want to learn more about the practicalities of the leader-follower relationship and the concepts of effective leadership. Emphasizing the transactional view of leadership as a two-way process of influence, it covers recent research findings (with more than 300 citations) and highlights such crucial topics as attaining and maintaining the leader role and making needed changes.
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Edwin P. Hollander has written extensively on leadership and related topics in social psychology. He is Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he has also served as Provost of Social Sciences. A Columbia Ph.D., he began his leadership research while on duty as a navel aviation psychologist, and has taught at Carnegie-Mellon, Washington (St. Louis), and American universities, with visiting appointments at Istanbul, Wisconsin, Harvard, and Oxford universities. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Hollander is former president of its Division of General Psychology.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Leadership: What Is It?
Mention the term leadership and to most people it is likely to suggest an image of action and power. Leaders of social movements, political leaders, military commanders, and corporate and union heads may readily spring to mind. They usually are highly visible and often have compelling personalities. Not all leaders are like that, of course, nor does leadership require it.
Compared to the high-intensity extreme, a good deal of leadership is not especially noted for power or drama. However, its effects are generally felt more directly. This is leadership in which managers and supervisors direct activities within organizations and groups. Their mode of operation involves personal influence, often from a base of organizational authority.
Whether in the affairs of nations or in the many components of a society, the quality of leadership does matter. Leaders who can guide ventures successfully clearly have an impact. But in order to know about effective leadership it is necessary to look at the leader -- follower relationship, and not just at the leader alone. A fuller view of leadership needs to include followers and their responses to the leader.
Leadership Is An Influence Process
The theme of this book is that leadership is a process of influence between a leader and those who are followers. While the leader may have power, influence depends more on persuasion than on coercion. A leadership process usually involves a two-way influence relationship aimed primarily at attaining mutual goals, such as those of a group, organization, or society. Therefore, leadership is not just the job of the leader but also requires the cooperative efforts of others.
Followers need to be alert to leaders, and leaders to followers, if goals are to be gained effectively and with satisfaction. Furthermore, in many organizational activities being a leader can also mean being a follower. When a person is not a leader, he or she can still be a good follower.
Leaders are usually initiators of action. However, their initiatives can be accepted or not by followers. Much depends upon the qualities of the leader, including the power of office, personal appeal to followers, and the meshing of the leader's ideas and programs with group and organizational needs.
The essential point is that followers are responsive to leaders and what they say and do. In other words, leaders usually hold the attention of followers, and the leader's behavior often is taken as a positive or negative sign by followers. Similarly, the successful leader is alert to the positive or negative reactions of followers.
Leadership affects all of us. It generates a great deal of interest due to the day-to-day experiences we have in situations where we may serve as leaders or be faced with others who are leaders. Because leaders usually are at the center of activity, their qualities are often the focus of attention. But looking at leadership as a process means that many questions must be considered about how and why some people become leaders, who they are, and how well they perform relative to followers' expectations. All of these questions will be dealt with here in some way.
There are many traditional ideas about leadership that have proved questionable. Perhaps the most common one is the notion that "leaders are born, not made" -- which is a concept that few organizations could live with in practice. In actuality, the behaviors recognized as "leadership" must include the reactions of followers. Therefore, leadership is not confined to a single person in a group but depends upon other members as well. Yet, the terms leadership and leader are still used as if they were the same. For instance, the statement "We need new leadership" usually means that another leader, with different characteristics, is needed.
Although leadership is not just one person, it is easier, of course, to see it embodied in an individual. This is because leaders are usually more active, and their actions command attention and make things happen. In general, the leader is often the most influential member of his or her group. History is full of accounts of the attainments of leaders and of their personal qualities. The game of "might have been" is loaded with this element: Would the American Colonies have successfully won their freedom without George Washington? Would the British have been able to rally as quickly and enthusiastically, against great odds in the 1940 Battle of Britain, without Winston Churchill? It is not entirely possible to say, but the conventional wisdom is that these leaders mattered a great deal.
Varieties of Leadership
* The Scope of Leadership Is Very Wide. Almost any task related to organized activity involves leadership, or at least is associated with it. There is nothing so central to the functioning of groups or organizations, whether in government, industry, or any other place in society.
Leadership exists as authority over others in the case of organizations and nations, and as dominance among less organized groups such as animals and children. The presence of some form of leadership is widespread, however, whether it depends upon tradition or the changing demands of new circumstances.
The various functions of leadership include organizing, directing, and coordinating efforts. There are also such functions as maintaining the group, defining the situation, and setting goals. Leadership also involves internal and external relationships, including conflicts. This means negotiating and settling disputes with other social units, in organizations, and with other agencies and nations in the government and world arenas.
* Ideas about Leadership Come from both the Giving and the Receiving End. Anyone who has had the experience of chairing a meeting, organizing a group effort, or observing a political figure in action has developed some sense of what leadership is about. That sense is a mental picture of factors making for effective, or ineffective, leadership. It is one's own ideas about how leaders act and get things done. For instance, some leaders have the idea that they must "lean on people" or "be remote," if they are to be successful. The basis for these ideas comes from subjective impressions, and there are many impressions that give an opposite view.
Not only can we be leaders ourselves, we cannot avoid being affected by those who are leaders. Because it compels interest, people are never entirely neutral about leadership, and there are wide variations in how leadership is viewed. Different aspects of leadership may be given major attention, but almost always there is attention to the qualities of "the leader."
Leadership and the Leader
* Leadership Is a Process, Not a Person, Although It Depends on a Leader's Legitimacy. Certainly, the leader is the central and often the vital part of the leadership process. However, the followers are also important in the picture. Without responsive followers there is no leadership, because the concept of leadership is relational. It involves someone who exerts influence, and those who are influenced. However, influence can flow both ways. People other than the leader, and the nature of the social setting in which they relate to one another, are also necessary parts of leadership.
Being a leader is not a fixed condition. As with many roles in life, who the leader is can be a changeable matter. Furthermore, the route by which the leader achieved that role can vary considerably among leaders.
Some leaders are "put in charge" by outside authority. The leader's "legitimacy" in this case comes from appointment. This is a typical condition in organizational structures. On the other hand, the leader may be someone who has secured a willing following in the group, through election or a less formal process of emergence, as in sociable groups or gangs. These kinds of legitimacy depend much more on followers and can be withdrawn by them, too.
* A Leadership Structure Provides a Framework for the Process of Leadership. Whenever people get involved in a joint activity, a leadership structure develops. A structure's main purpose is to organize and direct the activity toward achieving a particular goal set by the group task. Rules and traditions are examples of such structures. There are many daily person-to-person relationships involving influence between parent and child, teacher and student, and husband and wife. These relationships certainly show features of leadership. However, there is a special character to leadership in groups, large organizations, and nations -- and that is greater structure.
Every group or organization has a leadership structure. Broadly speaking, it includes the pattern of' influence and status, the network of communication, and work procedures. Ideally, the structure is supposed to contribute to the group's function or major activity. But at times the structure can get in the way, particularly when rules operate to limit larger objectives, including satisfaction. Indeed, we all have experienced organizations ensnarled by rules which are contradictory. These put people in "Catch 22" situations where they are "damned if they do and damned if they don't."
A positive contribution of structure is to indicate the roles to be filled. A role is a set of behaviors expected of a person in a given position. The main role filled by the organizational leader is that of executive or manager or supervisor. All of these terms refer to directing the activities of others, and this is unquestionably important. However, there are other leadership roles, such as problem solver, arbitrator, and advocate. These are not necessarily inconsistent with the executive role, but dedication to the directive function alone can overshadow the unique requirements of other roles, requiring different qualities.
The structure of a group should help in achieving both good performance and member satisfaction. These two points deal with getting the job done, and how the job is done. Leadership involves both considerations. To an important extent, the feeling of satisfaction within the group, its cohesiveness and sense of morale, are all affected by structure.
Leaders and Followers
* Being a Leader and Being a Follower Are Not Inconsistent with Each Other. The common notion that the leader and followers fit into sharp categories overlooks the facts. All leaders, some of the time and to some degree, are followers. And followers are not necessarily lost in nonleader roles. They may, and sometimes do, become leaders. Even though only some can be appointed to the status of leader, in a particular time and place, the qualities needed to be a leader are not possessed only by those persons.
One of the main misconceptions is that a few members of a group have these "leadership qualities" and only they will be the "leaders." This is the "pyramid model," with the chosen few at the top and everyone else below. Followers are essentially viewed as a leftover category of "nonleaders." But followership is not so passive. Two studies using nominations by peers of most desired leaders and most desired followers have shown a high relationship between these choices. In fact, those desired most as leaders and those desired most as followers tended to be the same individuals.
It is not so surprising that responding well as a follower may be associated with being seen also as a leader. Leaders and followers are both expected to be responsive in organizations. No one can be totally unresponsive without detracting from the organizational effort. Also, being recognized as an effective follower is probably quite desirable for a would-be leader. Much lip service is given to the importance of showing "leadership qualities" to be tapped as a leader. Yet, it may be "followership qualities" which are noted first.
* The Leader Is Most Likely to Have the Greatest Influence in the Group. There are nonetheless real distinctions between what is expected of leaders and what is expected of followers. The fundamental distinction is that leaders are more central in influence. They are more likely to attempt to direct others' activities and also to have those attempts accepted. This characteristic has been called "initiation of structure," and it is found in leaders across a whole range of activity.
Organizing and directing the activities of the group members is a commonly used definition of the leader role. However, this definition may refer to an office as much as to the person holding it. The leader may not be the most able person, nor the best liked, but usually he or she fills this influence role. There are various ways of identifying leaders by observation. These include their amount of talkativeness and signs of dominance, as well as their control over key information. They also may be rated by others in the group as the leader.
Influence involves persuasion. It is not the same as power which leaves little choice. Even then, unless there is total control, a person usually cannot be forced to do something -- although he or she can be made to "feel sorry for not doing it." The real "power" of a leader lies in his or her ability to influence followers without resorting to threats. This is one basis for distinguishing true leadership from the most basic level of supervision.
In extreme conditions of absolute power, of course, it is no trick to be influential. In prisons or other "total institutions" the power of those in authority prevails. As Robert Bierstedt has put it: "Influence may convert a friend, but power coerces friend and foe alike." The distinct emphasis in this book is on the more desired kind of leadership, which is not coercive. That is, it deals with leadership without the exercise of force or threats of force. It looks upon leadership as a transaction between leaders and followers.
The Leader-Follower Transaction
* The Process of Leadership Involves a Social Exchange between the Leader and Followers. When leaders are effective, they give something and get something in return. This social exchange, or transactional approach to leadership, involves a trading of benefits. The leader provides a benefit in directing the group, hopefully toward desirable results. Therefore, a person who fulfills the role of leader well is normally valued.
In return, the group members provide the leader with status and the privileges of authority that go with it. The leader has greater influence and prestige. However, influence is not all one way. As part of the exchange, the followers may assert influence and make demands on the leader. The soundness of the relationship depends upon some yielding to influence on both sides.
Social exchange applies to situations of appointed leadership as well as to those of elected leadership. When a leader is not performing satisfactorily, followers may not be as willing to respond favorably. In organizations there is only so much power that the leader can command in dealings with followers before it becomes evident as a problem to others in higher positions.
* Social Exchange in Leadership Involves the Leader, the Followers, and Their Situation. The transactional approach to leadership involves the relationship of three elements, each complex within itself. These are the "leader," with his or her personality, perceptions, and resources relevant to goal attainment; the "followers" ...
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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 1984. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Leadership Dynamics is for leaders and aspiring leaders who want to learn more about the practicalities of the leader-follower relationship and the concepts of effective leadership. Emphasizing the transactional view of leadership as a two-way process of influence, it covers recent research findings (with more than 300 citations) and highlights such crucial topics as attaining and maintaining the leader role and making needed changes. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780029148303
Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 1984. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Leadership Dynamics is for leaders and aspiring leaders who want to learn more about the practicalities of the leader-follower relationship and the concepts of effective leadership. Emphasizing the transactional view of leadership as a two-way process of influence, it covers recent research findings (with more than 300 citations) and highlights such crucial topics as attaining and maintaining the leader role and making needed changes. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780029148303
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