1. What is framing? Name 2 leaders who have utilized it effectively in casting a vision.
Many a time leaders forget to communicate to the team members the goal of an initiative in a clear and compelling way. Framing is the competency of the leader to make others understand the outcome of a situation or project so that the entire team can take effective action. For example, Jack Welch was able to communicate the business goals of its leadership as well as other stakeholders properly and it resulted in a huge success of GE during his tenure as the CEO. Mahatma Gandhi was able to communicate his motto of non-violent movement to others very effectively and his non-violent movement was able to give India independence.
2. Briefly describe the Leadership Grid model. What is a “9/9” Leader?
Leadership grid is a framework to define what actually leaders do. Ohio and Michigan Universities were the pioneers in this field, and they defined leadership grid as two types of profile for leaders; concern for people and concern for production. Leaders who follow “concern for people” style attach more importance to human capital. On the other hand, leaders who follow a leadership style of “concern for production” put more value to the bottom line and profit.
“9/9” leaders are balanced leaders. 9/9 leaders are those who attach importance to the profitability of the company without ignoring the value of the human capital. This is a type of leader who should be at the helm of any company for a sustainable success. This type of leaders not only produces profits for the company, but also wins the trust of the employees.
3. What is “active listening”? What is its importance re: Leadership?
Active listeners are those who concentrate on the speaker when someone is talking. Passive listeners, while listening, do not focus on the speaker, and think about something else. Active listeners not only listen to the speaker, but also participate in the process of communication by asking relevant questions so that the speaker feels involved.
We often think that great leaders should have great power of oration and disregard the importance of listening. It is active listening that helps a leader to understand the pulse of an organization, team or others. Only if a leader understands its audience through active listening, he will be able to deliver desirable results. Two way communications is a key to success for today’s leaders, and hence, it is important that each leader practices active listening. This will improve their ability to understand others through watching and listening in a better way.
4. Define a “successful meeting”. How would you lead such a meeting?
Meetings are part of organizational life. It is impossible to avoid for meetings for any leaders. It is, therefore, important for leaders to understand the concept of a successful meeting. The components of successful meeting include understanding the necessity, listing the objectives, sticking to the agenda, providing pertinent materials in advance to the participants, making it convenient, encouraging participation and keeping records. It is important for a leader to follow those simple steps so that both followers and leaders appreciate the objective of the meetings and participate accordingly. This helps improve the overall efficiency of the review process through meeting.
5. What is the difference between a group and a team?
Many people use the term team and group interchangeably. However, there are some differences between the two in the organizational context. For example, organizations often go for team building exercises and not for group building exercise. Groups are generally formed based on the commonality of a trait. For example, a group is formed based on gender in a group of accountants. However, forming teams is more difficult as teams are formed on the basis of complementary skills. The goal of forming a team is to accomplish an organizational objective through the effective use of a team’s different skill set. For example, an organizational value realization project team may consist of members from sales and marketing, production, research and development, planning, procurement, finance, human resource and leadership. This way the team gets various expertise to address all sorts of issues.
6. List two benefits and two costs of increasing group size.
There are many benefits of a big group size. A big group has many members, and hence, the collective knowledge of a big group will be more effective than a small group. This helps in addressing various problems the team may face. In most of the cases real life issues are big and complex, and therefore, a big team is better and only option to effectively solve a problem.
On the other hand, big teams are not easy to coordinate. In a big team, many team members cherish different ideas, working style and personality. It will require more coordination to channel the focus of a big team towards a common purpose. Big teams often take more time to reach a common ground, and therefore, the decision-making process in a big team is time-taking. In projects where consensus is required to move forward, small teams are more effective than larger teams. For example, in commissions, legislatures and advisory boards, small teams work more efficiently than large groups.
7. List and briefly define the five stages of The Tuchman Team Building Model.
Tuchman, in 1965, proposed a group development model. Forming is the first stage of team building. In this stage, individuals in a team try to become accepted by others, and also collect information and form impressions about others. Storming is the second stage when team members begin to challenge the opinions of others or show discontent. This stage is important for the team in generating new ideas. However, this stage can be destructive for a team as well. Many teams fall apart at this stage. Norming is the stage when the team manages to come to a single goal for the group, with some members contributing to their own ideas to function as a team. The danger at this stage is that because of the fear of controversy, some members may not share great ideas with others. Performing is the stage when the team actually gets into implementing their ideas. At this stage, team members are autonomous and able to handle the decision-making process without supervision. The fifth stage of the Tuchman team building model is adjourning, transforming and mourning, which involves completing the task and breaking up the team.
8. Define group norms and their function.
Norms are informal rules adopted by a group to regularize and regulate group member behavior. Although norms are, in most cases, not written down, but the unsaid team norms often have a strong influence on the members of the group. This is because people pick up social cues more easily than reading about a norm and understanding it. For example, many people follow the business formal dressing rule in the office, even if there is no written rule for a particular organization.
There are two types of norms in a group; inward looking and outward looking. Inward looking rules are valued and created by team members based on the team dynamics and working. Outward norms are required to conform to the outside environment and enhance the performance of a team by reducing friction from the outside environmental requirements.
9. Explain Leader-Member Exchange (“LMX”) Theory. Give a “real world” example.
The leader member exchange theory focuses on two way relationship between subordinates and supervisors. This talks about two way relationship (dyadic relationship). The theory assumes that leaders or supervisors develop exchange with each member or subordinate. This exchange between leader and subordinate influences subordinate’s performance responsibility and decision influence. The relationship between the leader and subordinates can be divided into two broad areas that divide the followers of the leaders into two groups referred to as the in-group and out-group. In which group a member will belong depends on his relationship with the leader.
10. Discuss the principal difference between the situational leadership theory and Fiedler's contingency model of leadership.
Fiedler’s contingency model has many similarities as well as many differences with Blanchard’s situational leadership theory. Fiedler’s contingency model is based on ‘situational contingency’, which is a result of interaction of two factors; situational favorableness and least preferred coworker (LPC). As per Fiedler, both low LPC and high LPC leaders can be successful depending on the situation. The theory says that the outcome depends on the relationship orientation of a leader dictated by LPC.
Blanchard’s theory, on the other hand, breaks down leadership into four distinct styles like high relationship-low task (Participating), high task-high relationship (selling), low relationship- low task (delegating) and high task-low relationship (telling). Each one of the styles is suitable, depending on the business situation.
11. List and describe the four leadership behaviors of path-goal theory.
Path goal theory talks about leader effectiveness and leadership behavior. The theory states that the behavior of a leader is contingent on motivation, satisfaction and performance of his or her subordinates. This theory is often known as the transaction leadership theory.
The four leadership behaviors of path-goal theory are directive path-goal, achievement-oriented, participative and supportive. Directive leaders let followers know what is expected of them and direct them as to how to perform their jobs. Achievement-oriented leaders set challenges and goals for their subordinates and expect them to perform at their highest level always. Participative leaders consult with the subordinates and adjust the goal accordingly. Supportive leaders are guided by employee needs and preferences. They are highly concerned about the psychological well-being of the subordinates.
12.0 What is “authentic leadership”? Whom do you consider to be an authentic leader? Why?
Authentic leadership is an approach to leadership built on honesty, ethical behavior and legitimate relationship with followers. Authentic leaders are positive people who promote openness in communication and interaction. The relationship between an authentic leader and the subordinates are built on trust and support. Authentic leaders are able to improve individual as well as team performance through proper support and legitimate guidance. This is a style that is becoming more and more popular as many leaders are giving more value to ethics and trust over profit and share value.
Mark Benioff is the CEO of Salesforce.com and he is an authentic leader. He is not only a leader who believes in building trust with the employees through openness, but also is a leader who gives more value to the employees and society than mere company profit.
13. What is “inauthentic leadership”? Whom do you consider to be an inauthentic leader? Why?
Inauthentic leaders are those who believe in authoritative behavior. Employees are important for them. They are more guided by their own passion and profit for the company. Often these leaders distance themselves from the employees. This type of leaders has been often dictators in running a company.
For example, Kenneth Lay, who was the CEO of Enron, was an inauthentic leader. He was so confident of his decisions and so much guided by profit and money that he totally forgot other important things like ethics, compliance and trust. This ultimately led to the demise of his firm.
14. What are "dark" side personality traits and how might they come into play with athletic coaches?
Dark side personality traits are important to understand for improving performance. Most of the cases, the focus is given towards the bright side personality traits of a leader completely ignoring the dark side. Qualities like arrogance, excitability, eccentricity, perfectionism, aloofness toward others, over boldness and over cautiousness are some of the dark side traits.
Athletic coaches need to be very arrogant, excitable, eccentric and perfectionist in order to be effective, especially when the athletes they train are successful. In order to make the athletes go through the rigorous process of training and achieve perfection in the sport, they ought to display these dark personality traits.
15. Describe Emotional Intelligence. How can you improve your EI?
Emotional intelligence is the very ability that helps people recognize their own feelings as well as the feelings of others. It is the ability to understand accurately the reasons for emotions and their meanings, the ability to regulate one's emotions and generate these emotions to facilitate thought and action. Emotional intelligence is extremely effective in leadership. If a leader can perceive the emotions of group members, the causes of those emotions, and can regulate his own emotions, then he will be able to motivate the group members to accomplish their goals.
The good thing about emotional intelligence is that it can be developed with a little bit of time and effort put into it. In order to improve my EI, I would try to develop my ability to perceive the emotions of others and regulate my own emotions. I would also try to look into the real reason behind the emotions and their meanings instead of taking the emotional outpouring at the face value.
16. Briefly describe Herzberg's Two Factor Theory.
The two-factor theory was developed by Herzberg from a series of interviews he conducted with accountants and engineers. Based on his findings, he labeled the factors that cause satisfaction as work motivators, such as achievement, responsibility, the quality of work, advancement and growth, and recognition, and labeled the factors that cause dissatisfaction as work hygiene factors, such as supervision, working conditions, co-workers, pay, job security, and policies and procedures. According to this theory, no matter how much the hygiene factors are improved upon, workers will not exert extra effort at task. However, at the same time, if workers are made to work in poor work conditions, they will not be satisfied either. Therefore, though it is important to provide the workers with best possible work conditions and resources, in order to keep them motivated, it is important to give plenty of responsibility, recognition and possibilities for advancement.
17. What are the Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs?
Steve Jobs was an innovative leader who believed in creating a work environment where excellence is fostered and innovation flourished. Though he was short-tempered, aggressive, and moody, he knew how to get jobs done. He followed an achievement-oriented leadership style in which he exhibited behaviors, no matter how mean and demanding, in order to make his subordinates perform at the highest level possible. His expectation from his team members was high, and it shows why he rated those who performed to his satisfaction as "gods" and those who don't as "s_heads". He also exuded a high level of confidence that inspired his subordinates who felt motivated by the aura of his personality to work hard and achieve the desired result. Steve Jobs would not have been successful as a leader without the dark traits in him. The leadership lesson I learnt from the style of Steve Jobs is that a bossy and demanding leader can get jobs done and inspires subordinates to achieve high performance if he knows how to leverage his own personality to motivate his followers to work hard.
18. Name and describe the five general approaches to managing conflict that were described by Thomas.
- Competition that reflects a desire to achieve one's own goal at the cost of others. This approach is applicable in situations when quick decisions need to be taken, or when unpopular actions such as cost-cutting and discipline need to be enforced.
- Accommodation is the tactic of appeasement in which one completely gives in to someone else's concerns without taking any endeavor to achieve his own goal. Accommodation is useful in situations when one wants to satisfy and cooperate with others, or when harmony and stability are more important.
- Sharing is an approach in which both the parties come to a compromise. Sharing is applicable when goals are more important, or when one tries to arrive at a temporary solution.
- Collaboration is an integrative solution that makes both the parties satisfied.
- Avoidance is an approach that shows indifference to the concerns of both the parties involved. Avoidance is useful when the issue at hand is a trivial.
Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R.C. and Curphy, G. J. (2009). Leadership: Enhancing the Lessons of Experience. McGraw-Hill Education.
Roberts, J. (2006). Enron's Ken Lay Dies At 64. CBS. Retrieved on 5th December, 2014 from <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/enrons-ken-lay-dies-at-64/>