The Week in Review
Interesting name for this weeks topic talking about leaders and followers. Followers is not a term I feel comfortable with when describing people. It has connotations of sheep for me. I raised this issue with my lecturer who said she would never use the term in the workplace, it is for academic use only. I certainly agree.
There were some very interesting concepts explored during the week. These included Leader-Member Exchange Theory (LMX) which is based on the concept that all interaction between leaders and followers is relational. Leader-member exchange (LMX) was originally called vertical dyad linkage (VDL) theory. The academic term is “dyadic” or “dyad”, meaning two way. The relationships between leaders and different followers will be different depending on the personal relationship between the two. Although it is natural for human beings that we get on differently with different people, leaders need to be aware that personal biases, conscious and unconscious, can influence their interactions with team members.
A questionnaire requiring self assessment revealed high levels of relationship based leadership in my answers. I trust other people feel the same way. On reflection, I could pass it on to others to review.
Transactional leadership, although perhaps useful in situations of crisis, is certainly not what I would call particularly palatable in a work environment. It essentially boils down to a situation where if you do this, you will get that. There is little if any concern for the individual as a human being, it’s simply about outcomes. Transactional leaders could well be described as being totally task-oriented and can be rewarded in certain environments for achieving results. Perhaps this fame will be short-lived though as team members desert the ship for climes where they feel more valued as human beings. The theory was originally developed by James McGregor Burns in 1978.[mfn]Burns, James MacGregor. 1978. Leadership. New York:Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc[/mfn]
Transformational leadership was the next style to explore. Of all the styles I have examined so far, this one provided “aha” moments and considerable resonation as I read the notes and watched the videos. Having always regarded myself as someone who thinks outside the square and feels comfortable with driving change, this is a style that suits my skills and personality. I thrive on the challenge of the unknown and what could be. Transformational leadership essentially revolves around the four Is. These were developed by Bass
We were required to complete a Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire to measure leadership on seven factors relating to Transformational Leadership. On the four “Is” part my scores were high which was pleasing to note. This particular questionnaire was self-assessment, however, so not tested against the opinions of others.
Finally, the week covered charismatic leaders. It is suggested that transformational leaders are often charismatic in their manner. I can appreciate this personality style where inspiration and motivation is key. I don’t think it necessarily works in reverse though. A charismatic leader may not necessarily be transformational. They may still be able to inspire and motivate, but it could end up being short term because they lack the integrity associated with the idealised influencing of the transformational leader. They may also disguise care for individuals to achieve their personal goals.
It has been a very interesting week studying these aspects of leadership.
I mentioned last week that I was in the throes of completing the second assignment for this subject. It was due on Thursday at midnight. I was very pleased to get it in on Tuesday, well within time. On completing Assignment 1, I had some feedback that some of my content was not backed up by research. This time I made sure it was. The problem was though that I had to have at least 7 references across the assignment and I ended up with 16. I was concerned that this may be regarded as too many, despite the enjoyment of going down the rabbit hole and reading a lot of information. I decided to send my lecturer a message asking if I would get a smack for having so many. I was advised that I wouldn’t get a smack, but perhaps a light tap. She suggested 12 as the maximum and I was eventually able to get it down to that. Now the wait begins for the results!
Just in Closing
Absolutely love the image I just found with the quote from Seth Godin. “Transformational leaders don’t start by denying the world around them. Instead, they describe a future they’d like to create instead.”