Abstract In order to be a successful leader, one must have specific virtues to qualify them as effective. This analysis examines how a leader utilizes organizational power, the magnitude to which the leader is constrained by contingency factors, how the leader deals with ethical issues, and the leader’s decision-making style and influence tactics in addition to other characteristics.
The leader detailed in this analysis is proven to be effective based on certain qualities and the methods he employ to successfully reach the organization’s goal, and motivate the employees to efficiently meet their subdivision and complete organizational goals. Upon completion of this analysis, it is recommended that a study is done to assess if factors such as age, sex, heritage, etc. contribute to the type of leader one becomes. Introduction Leaders are an essential part of every organization. The quality of leaders determines the success of the organization.
There are exemplary leaders, and there are leaders that can learn a thing or two. What is a leader? Colquitt, Lepine, and Wesson (2011) define leadership as the use of power and influence to direct the activities of followers toward goal achievement (p. 451). This analysis will chronicle an exemplary leader that many other leaders can learn from. The analysis will assess the leaders use of sources of organizational power, how the leader is constrained by contingency factors, how the leader makes decisions, his influence tactics, and how ethical issues are dealt with.
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Context My boss at the job that I currently hold is a prototypical leader and the example chosen for this analysis. While studying Management at Howard University, one subject that was constantly visited is what makes a proficient leader. I always wondered where all of my bosses learned their horrible leadership skills from until I crossed paths with my present boss. His kindheartedness, importable nature, and accommodating temperament raises the bar for leaders everywhere.
The way he interacts with his staff makes them happy to work dexterously to meet organizations goals above what is expected. These are the behaviors that Colquitt et al states an effective leader achieves. Discussion and Analysis The Use of Organizational Power Power is the aptitude to guide the performance of other individuals and limit unwanted influence in return (Colquitt et al. , 2011). The authors stated that even if one posses the power to influence, it does not guarantee they can effectively influence.
Power is made up of five facets – legitimate, reward, coercive, expert, and referent. My supervisor has the power to request that I perform tasks within the scope of his authority – legitimate, the power to extend specific resources I need and rewards I want – reward, the power to control consequences for adverse behaviors – coercive, the expertise that I depend on to get my job done and to grow within the organization – expert, and finally he is an individual that I’d like to be associated with in the organization – referent.
He has all five facets of power as described by Colquitt et al. My supervisor exercises his rights to power in order to help the organization reach its overall goals and not to be seen as a coercive leader. He exercises legitimate power for reasonable requests such as asking me to come in earlier than my scheduled time to attend an important meeting that could only be scheduled at that time. Notice that he makes reasonable requests, meaning that he gives the option to decline if I cannot make reasonable accommodations.
He exercises reward power by periodically making mention of how he intends to go about upcoming performance appraisals. This is actually a strategic method as he utilizes his reward power to remind me of what he can do, which in turn heightens the effectiveness of legitimate power as I am more prone to be submissive to his requests in order to receive greater rewards. My supervisor has been in the marketing field – the basis of our department – for over fifteen years, which makes him somewhat of an expert, giving him expert power.
My supervisor is not a fan of coercive power, as he does not feel the need to intimidate because he effectively gets his employees to do what they need to do. He encourages his employees to obtain the results he desires. Overall, my supervisor has a great deal of power. He strategically applies his powers in order to achieve what is most important – the organizational goal. As mentioned earlier, he uses his reward and legitimate power concurrently, which is beneficial for him and his staff.
His expert power has strength in that I try to use it to my advantage to acquire new talents to help me grow in this organization and any future organizations. He is well respected because of his choice to not use coercive power. Contingency Factors There are four contingencies of power, which Colquitt et al tells us are substitutability, centrality, discretion, and visibility. My supervisor is insignificantly constrained by substitutability, which is the extent to which people have alternatives in accessing resources. My organization strongly attempts to adhere to budgets previously set for the year. o stick to budgets and discretion is the degree to which managers have the right to make decisions on their own (p. 455). Centrality represents how important a person’s job is and how many people depend on that person to complete their task, and visibility is how aware people are of a leader’s powers and position. . He does not have sole control of rewards and resources. As a non-profit, my organization relies heavily on budgets and each higher manager must adhere to their budgets that must be agreed upon by the chief financial officer and president.
So even with his reward power, there are limitations. His centrality contingency is not a restraint. He has a very important role in the organization as we rely on him significantly to bring money into the organization. I personally depend on him for the completion of many of my assignments, as he must approve many of my tasks before it is executed fully. The discretion contingency may serve as a restraint for my supervisor; while he is Vice President of Marketing, the CFO or president must approve many of his big decisions.
They can then revise or rebut his decision if they feel it is necessary. The visibility contingency is not necessarily a constraint or helper to my boss. The resources he can provide are not necessarily organizational record but his title makes it known that he is above most employees and under just the CFO and president; this makes it so he still has relatively high influence. Influence Tactics Colquitt et al (2011) defines influence as the use of an actual behavior that causes behavioral or attitudinal changes in others (p. 56) or as Ceasar and Grant (2004) define as Influence tactics are specific types of proactive behavior used to exercise influence. The influence tactics that my boss uses are exchange, consultation, collaboration, and ingratiation. One of my supervisor’s favorite influence tactics is the exchange tactic, which is when an individual extends a reward or resource to the target with the intent for them to perform a request (p). This tactic is most common when my supervisor has projects with outsourced associates.
If we are compensating someone for their expertise and we need them to start working prior to receiving payment, he will construct and send an email stating “your payment is on its way, in the meantime please…” Usually, when I am asked to complete an assignment, I am also asked how we should implement it and at that point he approves or change it somewhat. This is the consultation tactic, which is when the target – me – is allowed to participate in deciding how to carry out or implement a request (p. 457). He uses the collaboration tactic, which involves making the request easier to complete.
He generally provides me with the necessary resources I need to complete the task as well making it simpler so that it is done efficiently and effectively on the first try. Ingratiation is his favorite tactic to use. Ingratiation is the use of favors, compliments, or friendly behavior to make the target feel better about the influencer (p. 457). He never fails to tell me how awesome I am, or on occasions he would tell me that he does not need to review my work because he trusts me, or explain that he gave me a task because he knew I was smart enough to handle it.
Influence tactics are the medium through which managers convert power into behaviors; when managers need others to perform tasks or participate in activities, influence tactics serve as a means of facilitating individual cooperation (Ceasar & Grant, 2004). The tactics that he uses are effective and he uses them appropriately as well. He also uses personal appeals because in his line of work, he deals with a lot of outside clients.
It is beneficial for him to build relationships with people in other industries so that they are readily available to help us when we need them. All in all, the tactics my boss uses results in internalization, which involves getting the target to agree with and become committed to a request (p. 459). Ethical Issues My boss works extremely well under intense conditions and with conflicts. Just recently, we joined with a major corporation for a campaign and sought help from a board certified doctor so that the information we offered would be further validated.
Prior to execution of the assignment by the doctor, he let us know that he was not satisfied with the pay and proceeded to tell the major corporation false accounts of what we told him were part of the agreement. My boss could have outright denied his claims in the same rude manner that the doctor was exemplifying. Instead, he apologized to the doctor for the misunderstanding and attributed his false account to miscommunication. He then asked the doctor what his normal fee was for the task he performed, and he accommodated him accordingly.
He then concluded he would never use the doctor again. In this example of an ethical issue, the fault is not of my organization or my boss but that of the doctor. However, my boss handled the situation in an ethical manner when he could have very well become as unethical as the doctor. I personally respected him for his handling of the situation, as I know my initial instinct would have been to react a lot differently. Decision-Making Styles Colquitt et al talks about four decision-making styles: delegative, facilitative, consultative, and autocratic.
With delegative style, a leader gives an individual employee or a group of employees the responsibility for making the decision within some set of specified boundary conditions and with facilitative style, the leader presents the problem to a group of employees and seeks consensus on a solution, making sure his or her own opinion receives no more weight than others (p. 488). With a consultative style, the leader present the problem to an individual employees or a group, asking for their opinions and suggestions before making a decision him- or her- self and with autocratic style, the leader makes the decision alone (p. 57). My boss uses three of the four decision-making styles as he sees appropriate. For example, he would use the delegative style in a situation where he gives the staff a project. He will provide the specified conditions and then allow us to determine the way we carry out the assignment. He would use the consultative style in a situation where he may want different viewpoints about a decision he has to make to see if he explored all relevant avenues before ultimately making the decision based on his own views.
He uses the autocratic style when the decision does not directly affect the team and he needs no further input. Transformational Vs. Transactional Leadership According to Colquitt et al (2011), transformational leadership involves inspiring followers to commit to a shared vision that provides meaning to their work while also serving as a role model who helps followers develop their own potential and view problems from new perspectives (p. 496). Transactional leadership occurs when the leader rewards or disciplines the follower depending on the adequacy of the follower’s performance (p. 98). Grant (2012) defines transformational leadership as a central purpose to articulate a vision that focuses employees’ attention on their contributions to others. He states that this form of leadership motivate employees to perform more effectively. My boss is a transformational leader. Not only is he great at inspiring his staff to commit to a shared vision, he makes sure that their work is worth their while. He continually asks if our work is sufficient and challenging enough because he does not want us to become bored.
In addition, he gives us tasks that may go beyond our duties just to develop us into more valuable professionals. He gives us leeway to execute our tasks in a manner that is most comfortable to us while giving his input when we ask or when he sees it is necessary. He does not micro-manage and puts more focus on making us better employees so we can help him with our current skills while learning new skills to be more of a help in the future. Neutralizers Vs. Substitutes Neutralizers, as Colquitt et al (2011) explains, reduce the importance of the leader but have no beneficial impact on performance (p. 05). Substitutes reduce the importance of the leader while providing a direct benefit to employee performance. My supervisor’s effectiveness is rarely affected by substitutes. Because our organization is small, outside staff is less likely able to help us because each department has its specialty. Staff could gain experience that will lessen the extent to which they need the manager’s help but could never alleviate it completely because he is the provider of the tasks. Neutralizers are also minimal. There is task stability, formalization, and spatial distance, but inflexibility is not a factor.
For the most part there are tasks that are unchanging and daily and there are written instructions for many of the tasks. Also, all leaders have offices and therefore there is spatial distance. Impact My supervisor has a major impact on performance and commitment in a positive way. His personality and leadership techniques make it so he is a pleasant person to work for. He governs over his employees just enough to make sure the work is done while giving enough space for them to be creative and comfortable. His behaviors definitely influence commitment because it is rare to find a boss of this caliber.
Conclusions and Reflections I have always viewed my boss as a great boss. I never had the opportunity to think of why he was such a great boss. This assignment allowed me to do just that. And from my research, I found that my boss has virtually everything that makes a boss a great one from his personality to leadership skills. I have always had the attitude that I want to work for myself because most bosses were not very nice people. While I still desire to work for myself, I would not mind working with a boss like mine and now know that all bosses are not horrible people.
I desire to be the exact type of boss that my boss is because his methods are effective. After taking the initiation and consideration assessment, I found that my score for initiating was considered low and the score for consideration was considered high. That coincides with the way I think I would lead. I would care about more about input from group members and their comfort than being more autocratic as a high initiative score would indicate. I would be interested in further researching if certain characteristics attribute to the sort of boss a person becomes such as gender, race, age, etc.
References Colquitt, J. , Lepine, J. , Wesson. M. (2011). Organizational Behavior: Improving Performance and commitment in the workplace. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Gardner, W. L. , & Ceasar, D. (2004). Transition to Self-Directed Work Teams: Implications of transition time and self-monitoring for managers' use of influence tactics. Journal Of Organizational Behavior, 25(1), 47-65. Grant, A. M. (2012). Leading with Meaning: Beneficiary contact, prosocial impact, and the performance effects of transformational leadership. Academy Of Management Journal, 55(2), 458-476.
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