top answer: Assignment: Safety and Agency Responsibility When you walk into a human services organization, do yo


Assignment: Safety and Agency Responsibility

When you walk into a human services organization, do you think about your safety? What about when you prepare to make a home visit or attend a meeting in the community? As a social worker, you may find yourself in situations in which your personal safety is at risk. Although you, as an administrator, cannot prepare for every situation, you should be proactive and put a plan into place to address issues related to workplace violence in the event that it occurs.

For this Assignment, focus on the Zelnick et al. article on workplace violence and consider what plan you might want to have in place if you were an administrator having to address a similar workplace violence situation.

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Assignment (2–3 pages in APA format):

Draft a plan for a human services organization explaining how to address traumatic emergency situations. Include both how to respond to the emergency and how to address any long-term effects. Finally, based on this week�s resources and your personal experiences, explain your greatest concern about the safety of mental health professionals working in a human services organization.

By Day 7

Submit your Assignment.

Required Readings

Northouse, P. G. (2021). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Sage.

  • Review Chapter 10, “Listening to Out-Group Members” (pp. 252-275)
  • Chapter 11, “Managing Conflict” (pp. 277-306)
  • Chapter 13, “Overcoming Obstacles” (pp. 337-357)

Zelnick, J. R., Slayter, E., Flanzbaum, B., Butler, N. G., Domingo, B., Perlstein, J., & Trust, C. (2013). Part of the job? Workplace violence in Massachusetts social service agencies. Health and Social Work, 38(2), 75+.

Introduction to Leadership
Fourth Edition


To Madison and Isla


Introduction to Leadership
Concepts and Practice

Fourth Edition

Peter G. Northouse
Western Michigan University



SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Copyright © 2018 by SAGE Publications, Inc.


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in
any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval
system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN: 978-1-5063-3008-2

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

Acquisitions Editor: Maggie Stanley

Development Editor: Lauren Holmes

Editorial Assistant: Neda Dallal

eLearning Editor: Katie Ancheta

Production Editor: Libby Larson

Copy Editor: Melinda Masson

Typesetter: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd.

Proofreader: Theresa Kay

Indexer: Wendy Allex

Cover Designer: Gail Buschman

Marketing Manager: Ashlee Blunk


Brief Contents
1. Preface
2. About the Author
3. 1. Understanding Leadership
4. 2. Recognizing Your Traits
5. 3. Engaging Strengths
6. 4. Understanding Philosophy and Styles
7. 5. Attending to Tasks and Relationships
8. 6. Developing Leadership Skills
9. 7. Creating a Vision

10. 8. Establishing a Constructive Climate
11. 9. Embracing Diversity and Inclusion
12. 10. Listening to Out-Group Members
13. 11. Managing Conflict
14. 12. Addressing Ethics in Leadership
15. 13. Overcoming Obstacles
16. Glossary
17. Index


Detailed Contents
About the Author
1. Understanding Leadership

Leadership Explained

“Leadership Is a Trait”
“Leadership Is an Ability”
“Leadership Is a Skill”
“Leadership Is a Behavior”
“Leadership Is a Relationship”
“Leadership Is an Influence Process”

Global Leadership Attributes
The Dark Side of Leadership
Leadership Snapshot: Indra Nooyi

1.1 Case Study
1.2 Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire
1.3 Observational Exercise
1.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

2. Recognizing Your Traits

Leadership Traits Explained


Leadership Snapshot: Nelson Mandela
Leadership Traits in Practice

George Washington (1732–1799)
Winston Churchill (1874–1965)
Mother Teresa (1910–1997)
Bill Gates (1955–)


Oprah Winfrey (1954–)

2.1 Case Study
2.2 Leadership Traits Questionnaire
2.3 Observational Exercise
2.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

3. Engaging Strengths

Strengths-Based Leadership Explained

Historical Background
Identifying and Measuring Strengths

Strengths-Based Leadership in Practice
Discovering Your Strengths
Developing Your Strengths
Addressing Your Weaknesses

Leadership Snapshot: Steve Jobs
Recognizing and Engaging the Strengths of Others
Fostering a Positive Strengths-Based Environment


3.1 Case Study
3.2 Leadership Strengths Questionnaire
3.3 Observational Exercise
3.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

4. Understanding Philosophy and Styles

Leadership Philosophy Explained

Theory X
Theory Y

Leadership Styles Explained
Authoritarian Leadership Style
Democratic Leadership Style
Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

Leadership Snapshot: Victoria Ransom
Leadership Styles in Practice


4.1 Case Study
4.2 Leadership Styles Questionnaire
4.3 Observational Exercise
4.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

5. Attending to Tasks and Relationships

Task and Relationship Styles Explained

Task Style
Relationship Style

Leadership Snapshot: Mick Wilz
Task and Relationship Styles in Practice

Task Leadership
Relationship Leadership


5.1 Case Study
5.2 Task and Relationship Questionnaire
5.3 Observational Exercise
5.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

6. Developing Leadership Skills

Administrative Skills Explained

Administrative Skills in Practice
Interpersonal Skills Explained

Interpersonal Skills in Practice
Leadership Snapshot: Coquese Washington
Conceptual Skills Explained

Conceptual Skills in Practice

6.1 Case Study
6.2 Leadership Skills Questionnaire
6.3 Observational Exercise
6.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

7. Creating a Vision

Vision Explained


A Picture
A Change

Leadership Snapshot: Rosalie Giffoniello
A Map
A Challenge

Vision in Practice
Articulating a Vision
Implementing a Vision


7.1 Case Study
7.2 Leadership Vision Questionnaire
7.3 Observational Exercise
7.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

8. Establishing a Constructive Climate

Constructive Climate Explained
Climate in Practice

Providing Structure
Clarifying Norms
Building Cohesiveness
Promoting Standards of Excellence

Leadership Snapshot: Meg Whitman

8.1 Case Study
8.2 Organizational Climate Questionnaire
8.3 Observational Exercise
8.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

9. Embracing Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion Explained

Brief Historical Perspective

Inclusion Framework
Leadership Snapshot: Ursula Burns
Diversity and Inclusion in Practice


Model of Inclusive Practices
Leader Practices That Advance Diversity and Inclusion
Barriers to Embracing Diversity and Inclusion


9.1 Case Study
9.2 Cultural Diversity Awareness Questionnaire
9.3 Observational Exercise
9.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

10. Listening to Out-Group Members

Out-Group Members Explained

How Out-Groups Form
The Impact of Out-Group Members

Out-Group Members in Practice
Strategy 1: Listen to Out-Group Members
Strategy 2: Show Empathy to Out-Group Members
Strategy 3: Recognize the Unique Contributions of Out-
Group Members
Strategy 4: Help Out-Group Members Feel Included
Strategy 5: Create a Special Relationship With Out-Group
Strategy 6: Give Out-Group Members a Voice and
Empower Them to Act

Leadership Snapshot: Abraham Lincoln

10.1 Case Study
10.2 Building Community Questionnaire
10.3 Observational Exercise
10.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

11. Managing Conflict

Conflict Explained

Communication and Conflict
Conflict on the Content Level

Leadership Snapshot: Humaira Bachal
Conflict on the Relational Level


Managing Conflict in Practice
Fisher and Ury Approach to Conflict
Communication Strategies for Conflict Resolution
Kilmann and Thomas Styles of Approaching Conflict


11.1 Case Study
11.2 Conflict Style Questionnaire
11.3 Observational Exercise
11.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

12. Addressing Ethics in Leadership

Leadership Ethics Explained
Leadership Ethics in Practice

1. The Character of the Leader
2. The Actions of the Leader

Leadership Snapshot: Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda

3. The Goals of the Leader
4. The Honesty of the Leader
5. The Power of the Leader
6. The Values of the Leader

Culture and Leadership Ethics

12.1 Case Study
12.2 Sample Items From the Ethical Leadership Style
12.3 Observational Exercise
12.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

13. Overcoming Obstacles

Obstacles Explained
Overcoming Obstacles in Practice

Obstacle 1: Unclear Goals
Obstacle 2: Unclear Directions
Obstacle 3: Low Motivation

Leadership Snapshot: Bill Courtney


Obstacle 4: Complex Tasks
Obstacle 5: Simple Tasks
Obstacle 6: Low Involvement
Obstacle 7: Lack of a Challenge


13.1 Case Study
13.2 Path–Goal Styles Questionnaire
13.3 Observational Exercise
13.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet




Leadership is a salient topic today. Given the volatility of global events
and our national political climate, it is even more important now than it
was when the third edition of this book was published. The public remains
fascinated by who leaders are and what leaders do. People want to know
what accounts for good leadership and how to become good leaders.
Despite this strong interest in leadership, there are very few books that
clearly describe the complexities of practicing leadership. I have written
Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice to fill this void.

Each chapter describes a fundamental principle of leadership and how it
relates in practice to becoming an effective leader. These fundamentals are
illustrated through examples, profiles of effective leaders, and case studies.
The text comprises 13 chapters: Chapter 1, “Understanding
Leadership,” analyzes how different definitions of leadership have an
impact on the practice of leadership. Chapter 2, “Recognizing Your
Traits,” examines leadership traits found to be important in social science
research and explores the leadership traits of a select group of historical
and contemporary leaders. Chapter 3, “Engaging Strengths,” discusses
the emerging field of strengths-based leadership, looking at how several
assessment tools can help one to recognize his or her own strengths and
those of others and then put those strengths to work as an effective leader.
Chapter 4, “Understanding Philosophy and Styles,” explores how a
person’s view of people, work, and human nature forms a personal
philosophy of leadership and how this relates to three commonly observed
styles of leadership: authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire. Chapter
5, “Attending to Tasks and Relationships,” describes how leaders can
integrate and optimize task and relationship behaviors in their leadership
role. Chapter 6, “Developing Leadership Skills,” considers three types
of leadership skills: administrative, interpersonal, and conceptual. Chapter
7, “Creating a Vision,” explores the characteristics of a vision and how a
vision is expressed and implemented. Chapter 8, “Establishing a
Constructive Climate,” focuses on how important it is for leaders who
are running groups or organizations to provide structure, clarify norms,
build cohesiveness, and promote standards of excellence. Chapter 9,
“Embracing Diversity and Inclusion,” discusses the importance of
inclusive leadership and the barriers that can be encountered when trying


to embrace diversity and inclusion. Chapter 10, “Listening to Out-
Group Members,” explores the nature of out-groups, their impact, and
ways leaders should respond to out-group members. Chapter 11,
“Managing Conflict,” addresses the question of how we can manage
conflict and produce positive change. Chapter 12, “Addressing Ethics in
Leadership,” explores six factors that are related directly to ethical
leadership: character, actions, goals, honesty, power, and values. Finally,
Chapter 13, “Overcoming Obstacles,” addresses seven obstacles that
subordinates may face and how a leader can help to overcome these.

New to This Edition
This edition retains the chapters of the previous edition but has been
expanded and enhanced in several ways:

First and foremost, it includes a new chapter on diversity and
inclusion that examines the nature of diversity and inclusion,
provides a model of inclusive behavior, describes communication
practices to improve inclusion, and identifies barriers to effective
inclusive leadership.
Second, this edition premieres the Ethical Leadership Style
Questionnaire, a self-assessment instrument that allows readers to
learn what their ethical leadership behaviors tend to be. The
questionnaire in this book is an abridged edition of a longer, more
comprehensive assessment available to readers online.
Third, several chapters include a look at the dark side of leadership
in terms of the approaches explored in the book.
Fourth, new case studies, examples, and research are integrated
throughout the book.
Fifth, this edition includes new “Ask the Author” videos that show
Peter Northouse answering student questions.

Special Features
Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice is designed to help the
reader understand how to become a better leader. While the book is
grounded in leadership theory, it describes the basics of leadership in an
understandable and user-friendly way. Each chapter focuses on a
fundamental aspect of leadership, discusses how it can be applied in real


leadership situations, and provides a relevant profile of a leader.

Perhaps the most notable features of this book are the four applied
activities included in every chapter, which allow the reader to explore
leadership concepts and real-world applications:

Case studies illustrate the leadership concepts discussed in the
chapter. At the end of each case, thought-provoking questions help
the reader analyze the case using ideas presented in the chapter.
Self-assessment questionnaires help the reader determine his or her
own leadership style and preferences. Students may want to complete
this questionnaire before reading the chapter’s content. By
completing the questionnaire first, the reader will be more aware of
how the chapter’s content specifically applies to his or her leadership
Observational exercises guide the reader in examining behaviors of
leaders from his or her life experiences.
Reflection and action worksheets stimulate the reader to reflect on
his or her leadership style and identify actions to take to become more

A practice-oriented book, Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and
Practice is written in a user-friendly style appropriate for introductory
leadership courses across disciplines. Specifically, it is well suited for
programs in leadership studies and leadership courses in schools of
agriculture, allied health, business, management, communication,
education, engineering, military science, public administration, nursing,
political science, social work, and religion. In addition, this book is
appropriate for programs in continuing education, corporate training,
executive development, in-service training, and government training. It is
also useful for student extracurricular activities.

Digital Resources
SAGE coursepacks allow instructors to import high-quality online
resources directly into Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle, or Brightspace by
Desire2Learn (D2L) in an intuitive, simple format. Instructors who do not


use an LMS platform can still access many of the online resources by

SAGE coursepacks include, for each chapter:

A diverse range of test items with pretests, posttests, and test banks
built on Bloom’s Taxonomy and AACSB standards, available with
ExamView test generation
Assignable SAGE Premium Video (available via the interactive
eBook version, linked through SAGE coursepacks) that includes
insights from Peter G. Northouse and other leadership experts, with
corresponding multimedia assessment options that automatically
feed to a gradebook
A comprehensive Media Guide for the video resources
Discussion questions to help launch classroom interaction
SAGE journal articles to show how scholarship relates to chapter
Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer flexibility
when creating multimedia lectures
Sample course syllabi with suggested models for structuring a
leadership course
Lecture notes that summarize key concepts for each chapter
Ideas for class activities that can be used in class to reinforce active
Web exercises that direct students to useful websites to complete
creative activities and reinforce learning
Suggested films to facilitate showing examples of leadership in
Case notes that include case summaries, analyses, and sample
answers to case questions
The Reflection and Action Worksheets and Observational
Exercises from the text in downloadable Word document format for
more flexibility in using these resources
Tables and figures from the textbook

SAGE edge for students at
enhances learning in an easy-to-use environment that offers, for each
chapter, learning objectives, action plans to track progress, mobile-friendly
flashcards and practice quizzes, SAGE Premium Video featuring author
Peter G. Northouse, additional multimedia resources, and selected SAGE


journal articles to strengthen learning.

Interactive eBook
An interactive eBook version of the text is available for students to provide
a contemporary, multimedia-integrated presentation for learning. In
addition to a fully electronic textbook, students can link directly to “Ask
the Author” video, audio, additional enrichment readings from SAGE
journals titles, and other relevant resources, bringing the subject matter to
life in a way a traditional print text cannot.

The interactive eBook features exclusive Interactive Leadership
Assessments to help students strengthen their leadership abilities by
providing them with individualized feedback based on their responses to
each questionnaire. After completing each questionnaire, a student using
the interactive eBook will receive an in-depth analysis of her or his scores
as well as personalized, pragmatic suggestions for further developing her
or his leadership.

You can find the eBook icons in the print and electronic versions of the
text. Below is a guide to the icons:

“Ask the Author” video icon

SAGE journal article icon

Video icon


Web icon

I would like to express my appreciation to many individuals who directly
or indirectly played a role in the development of this book. First, I would
like to thank the many people at SAGE Publications, in particular my
editor, Maggie Stanley, who along with her leadership team (Liz Thornton,
Lauren Holmes, Neda Dallal, Katie Ancheta, Ashlee Blunk, Georgia
Mclaughlin, and Gail Buschman) has competently guided this revision
from the beginning review phase through the production phase. In
addition, I would like to thank copy editor Melinda Masson and production
editor Libby Larson. In their own unique ways, each of these people made
valuable contributions that enhanced the overall quality of the book.
Collectively, they are an extraordinary team that demonstrates the very
highest standards of excellence in all that they do.

For their thoughtful and constructive feedback on this latest edition, I
would like to thank the following reviewers:

Jens Beyer, Hochschule Anhalt Standort Bernburg
Carl Blencke, University of Central Florida
Roger Clark, NWN Corporation
Dan Cunningham, McDaniel College
D. Keith Gurley, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Sat Ananda Hayden, University of Southern Mississippi
Sharon Kabes, Southwest Minnesota State University
Lorin Leone, Independence University
Douglas Micklich, Illinois State University
Bryan Patterson, Johnson C. Smith University, Northeastern
Robert W. Robertson, Independence University
Lou L. Sabina, Stetson University
Stephanie Schnurr, University of Warwick
Douglas Threet, Foothill College
Simone Wesner, Birkbeck, University of London
Paula White, Independence University
Cecilia Williams, Independence University


For comprehensive reviews of past editions, I would like to thank the
following reviewers:

Maureen Baldwin, Saint Ambrose University
Barry L. Boyd, Texas A&M University
Susan Bramlett Epps, East Tennessee State University
Linda L. Brennan, Mercer University
Shannon Brown, Benedictine University
Lisa Burgoon, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tom Butkiewicz, University of Redlands
Patricia Cane, Klamath Community College
Stephen C. Carlson, Piedmont College
Melissa K. Carsten, Winthrop University
James R. “Chip” Coldren Jr., Governors State University
Barbara Collins, Cabrini College
Stacey A. Cook, College of Marin
Ronald J. Cugno, Nova Southeastern University
Greg Czyszczon, James Madison University
Douglas Davenport, Truman State University
Edward Desmarais, Salem State College
Marco Dowell, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Tiffany Erk, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
Leon Fraser, Rutgers Business School
Jim Fullerton, Idaho State University
Jennifer Garcia, Saint Leo University
Don Green, Lincoln Christian University
Francesca Grippa, Northeastern University
Yael Hellman, Woodbury University
Vanessa Hill, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Martha A. Hunt, NHTI—Concord’s Community College
Jean Gabriel Jolivet, Southwestern College
Ruth Klein, Le Moyne College
Renee Kosiarek, North Central College
Robert Larison, Eastern Oregon University
Karen A. Longman, Azusa Pacific University
Maureen Majury, Bellevue Community College
James L. Morrison, University of Delaware
Terry W. Mullins, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Jane Murtaugh, College of DuPage
Joanne E. Nottingham, University of North Carolina, Wilmington


Ramona Ortega-Liston, University of Akron
Ron Parlett, Nova Southeastern University
Bruce Peterson, Sonoma State University
Joseph W. T. Pugh, Immaculata University
Deana Raffo, Middle Tennessee State University
Melody Rawlings, Northern Kentucky University
Bronte H. Reynolds, California State University, Northridge
Louis Rubino, California State University, Northridge
Laurie A. Schreiner, Azusa Pacific University
Thomas Shields, University of Richmond
Pearl Sims, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University
Bruce Tucker, Santa Fe Community College
Mary Tucker, Ohio University
John Tummons, University of Missouri
Sameer Vaidya, Texas Wesleyan University
Natalie N. Walker, Seminole State College
Amy Wilson, University at Buffalo
Laurie Woodward, University of South Florida

Critiques by these reviewers were invaluable in helping to focus my
thinking and writing during the revision process.

I would like to thank Dr. Bernardo Ferdman for his helpful comments and
suggestions on the “Embracing Diversity and Inclusion” chapter, and
Terry Hammink for his assistance in the construction and scoring of the
Ethical Leadership Style Questionnaire and James Ludema for his support.

For their outstanding work in developing creative resources for this
edition, I am grateful to Isolde Anderson of Hope College, Matthew
Creasy of the University of Delaware, Jeff Paul of the University of Tulsa,
Lou Sabina of Stetson University, Andrea Smith-Hunter of Siena College,
and Douglas Threet of Foothill College.

Finally, I wish to thank Marie Lee for her thorough editing and
commitment and Laurel Northouse for her editorial insights and
extraordinary support. It takes a lot of dedicated people to write a book,
and I feel fortunate to have those people in my life.

In the electronic edition of the book you have purchased, there are several
icons that reference links (videos, journal articles) to additional content.


Though the electronic edition links are not live, all content referenced may
be accessed at . This URL is referenced
at several points throughout your electronic edition.


About the Author

Peter G. Northouse,
PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Communication in the School of
Communication at Western Michigan University. In addition to
publications in professional journals, he is the author of Leadership:
Theory and Practice (now in its seventh edition) and coauthor of
Health Communication: Strategies for Health Professionals (now in
its third edition) and Leadership Case Studies in Education. His
scholarly and curricular interests include models of leadership,


leadership assessment, ethical leadership, and leadership and group
dynamics. For more than 30 years, he has taught undergraduate and
graduate courses in leadership, interpersonal communication, and
organizational communication on both the undergraduate and
graduate levels. Currently, he is a consultant and lecturer on trends in
leadership research, leadership development, and leadership
education. He holds a doctorate in speech communication from the
University of Denver, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in
communication education from Michigan State University.


1 Understanding Leadership

This book is about what it takes to be a leader. Everyone, at some time in
life, is asked to be a leader, whether to lead a classroom discussion, coach
a children’s soccer team, or direct a fund-raising campaign. Many
situations require leadership. A leader may have a high profile (e.g., an
elected public official) or a low profile (e.g., a volunteer leader in Big
Brothers Big Sisters), but in every situation there are leadership demands
placed on the individual who is the leader. Being a leader is challenging,
exciting, and rewarding, and carries with it many responsibilities. This
chapter discusses different ways of looking at leadership and their impacts
on what it means to be a leader.

What is Leadership?

Leadership Explained
At the outset, it is important to address a basic question: What is
leadership? Scholars who study leadership have struggled with this
question for many decades and have written a great deal about the nature
of leadership (Antonakis, Cianciolo, & Sternberg, 2004; Bass, 1990;
Conger & Riggio, 2007). (See Box 1.1.)

In leadership literature, more than 100 different definitions of leadership
have been identified (Rost, 1991). Despite these many definitions, a
number of concepts are recognized by most people as accurately reflecting
what it is to be a leader.

Leadership Basics


“Leadership Is a Trait”
First, leadership is thought of as a trait. A trait is a distinguishing quality
of an individual, which is often inherited. Defining leadership as a trait
means that each individual brings to the table certain qualities that
influence the way he or she leads. Some leaders are confident, some are
decisive, and still others are outgoing and sociable. Saying that leadership
is a trait places a great deal of emphasis on the leader and on the leader’s
special gifts. It follows the often-expressed belief “leaders are born, not
made.” Some argue that focusing on traits makes leadership an elitist
enterprise because it implies that only a few people with special talents
will lead. Although there may be some truth to this argument, it can also
be argued that all of us are born with a wide array of unique traits and that
many of these traits can have a positive impact on our leadership. It also
may be possible to modify or change some traits.

Through the years, researchers have identified a multitude of traits that are
associated with leadership. In Chapter 2 we will discuss some key
leadership traits, and in Chapter 3 we will explain how strength-based
leadership is a variation of trait leadership. Although there are many
important leadership traits, what is most important for leaders is having the
required traits that a particular situation demands. For example, a chaotic
emergency room at a hospital requires a leader who is insightful and
decisive and can bring calm to the situation. Conversely, a high school
classroom in which students are bored demands a teacher who is inspiring
and creative. Effective leadership results when the leader engages the right
traits in the right place at the right time.

“Leadership Is an Ability”
In addition to being thought of as a trait, leadership is conceptualized as an
ability. A person who has leadership ability is able to be a leader—that is,
has the capacity to lead. While the term ability frequently refers to a
natural capacity, ability can be acquired. For example, some people are
naturally good at public speaking, while others rehearse to become
comfortable speaking in public. Similarly, some people have the natural
physical ability to excel in a sport, while others develop their athletic
capacity through exercise and practice. In leadership, some people have
the natural ability to lead, while others develop their leadership abilities


through hard work and practice.

Box 1.1 The Evolution of Leadership

Leadership has long intrigued humankind and has been the topic of
extensive literature for centuries. The earliest writings include
philosophies of leadership such as Machiavelli’s The Prince
(1531/2005) and biographies of great leaders. With the development of
the social sciences during the 20th century, inquiry into leadership
became prolific. Studies on leadership have emerged from every
discipline “that has had some interest in the subject of leadership:
anthropology, business administration, educational administration,
history, military science, nursing administration, organizational
behavior, philosophy, political science, public administration,
psychology, sociology, and theology” (Rost, 1991, p. 45).

As a result, there are many different leadership approaches and theories.
While the words are often used interchangeably, approaches and
theories are different conceptually. An approach is a general way of
thinking about a phenomenon, not necessarily based on empirical
research. A theory usually includes a set of hypotheses, principles, or
laws that explain a given phenomenon. Theories are more refined and
can provide a predictive framework in analyzing the phenomenon. For
example, the spiritual leadership approach is a conceptualization of
leadership that does not yet have a body of empirical research to
validate it, while contingency leadership theory has a refined set of
propositions based on the results of multiple research studies.

Not unlike fashion, approaches to leadership have evolved, changed
focus and direction, and built upon one another during the past century.
To understand this evolution, a brief historical view can be helpful:

Trait Approach
The early trait approach theories were called “Great Man” theories
because they focused on identifying the innate qualities and
characteristics possessed by great social, political, and military leaders
such as Catherine the Great, Mohandas Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln,
Moses, and Joan of Arc. Studies of leadership traits were especially
strong from 1900 to the early 1940s and enjoyed a renewed emphasis
beginning in the 1970s as researchers began to examine visionary and
charismatic leadership. In the 1980s, researchers linked leadership to
the “Big Five” personality factors while interest in emotional


intelligence as a trait gained favor in the 1990s. (For a discussion of
emotional intelligence as a leadership skill, see Chapter 6, pages 126–

Behavior Approach
In the late 1930s, leadership research began to focus on behavior—what
leaders do and how they act. Groundbreaking studies by researchers at
The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan in the 1940s
and 1950s analyzed how leaders acted in small group situations.
Behavior approach theories hit their heyday in the early 1960s with
Blake and Moulton’s (1964) work exploring how managers use task
and relationship behaviors in the organizational setting.

Situational Approach
The premise of this approach is that different situations demand
different kinds of leadership. Serious examination of situational
approach theories began in the late 1960s by Hersey and Blanchard
(1969) and Reddin (1967). Situational approaches continued to be
refined and revised from the 1970s through the 1990s (Vecchio, 1987).
One of these, path–goal theory, examines how leaders use employee
motivation to enhance performance and satisfaction. Another approach,
contingency theory, focuses on the match between the leader’s style
and specific situational variables.

Relational Approach
In the 1990s, researchers began examining the nature of relations
between leaders and followers. This research ultimately evolved into
the leader–member exchange (LMX) theory. LMX theory predicts
that high-quality relations generate more positive leader outcomes than
low-quality relations. Research in the relational approach to
leadership continues to generate moderate interest today.

“New Leadership” Approach
When these approaches began appearing in the mid-1980s—three
decades ago—they were, and continue to be, called “new leadership”
approaches (Bryman, 1992). Beginning with the work of Bass (1985,
1990), leadership studies generated visionary or charismatic leadership
theories. From these approaches developed transformational


leadership theory, which describes leadership as a process that
changes people and organizations.

Emerging Leadership Approaches
A diverse range of approaches to leadership is emerging during the 21st

Adaptive leadership examines how leaders help people address
problems, face challenges, and adapt to change. Adaptive
leadership stresses that the leaders don’t solve the problems, but
rather encourage others to do the problem solving and adapt to
Authentic leadership is an approach that looks at the authenticity
of leaders and their leadership and is currently enjoying strong
Spiritual leadership considers how leaders use values, a sense of
“calling,” and membership to motivate followers.
Servant leadership emphasizes the “caring principle” with
leaders as “servants” who focus on their followers’ needs in order
to help these followers become more autonomous, knowledgeable,
and like servants themselves.
Gender-based studies, which have gained much momentum as
women continue to become more dominant in the workforce,
especially on a global level, view how one’s gender affects and
differentiates one’s leadership.

The historical timeline in Figure 1.1 is not intended to represent these
approaches as separate and distinct eras, only to disappear from the
picture when a new theory appears. Instead, many of these theories
occur concurrently, building upon one another. Even when a certain
approach’s period of popularity has waned, the theory continues to
influence further study and the development of new leadership

Figure 1.1 Development of Leadership Theories Through History


Source: Adapted from Antonakis, J., Cianciolo, A. T., & Sternberg,
R. J. (Eds.). (2004). The nature of leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage, p. 7.

Key Theories

An example of leadership as ability is the legendary University of
California at Los Angeles basketball coach John Wooden, whose teams
won seven consecutive National Collegiate Athletic Association titles.
Described first as a teacher and then as a coach, Wooden implemented
four laws of learning into his coaching: explanation, demonstration,
imitation, and repetition. His goal was to teach players how to do the right
thing instinctively under great pressure. Less visible or well known, but
also an example of leadership as ability, is the unheralded but highly
effective restaurant manager who, through years of experience and
learning, is able to create a successful, award-winning restaurant. In both
of these examples, it is the individuals’ abilities that create outstanding

“Leadership Is a Skill”
Third, leadership is a skill. Conceptualized as a skill, leadership is a
competency developed to accomplish a task effectively. Skilled leaders are
competent people who know the means and methods for carrying out their


responsibilities. For example, a skilled leader in a fund-raising campaign
knows every step and procedure in the fund-raising process and is able to
use this knowledge to run an effective campaign. In short, skilled leaders
are competent—they know what they need to do, and they know how to do

Describing leadership as a skill makes leadership available to everyone
because skills are competencies that people can learn or develop. Even
without natural leadership ability, people can improve their leadership with
practice, instruction, and feedback from others. Viewed as a skill,
leadership can be studied and learned. If you are capable of learning from
experience, you can acquire leadership.

“Leadership Is a Behavior”
Leadership is also a behavior. It is what leaders do when they are in a
leadership role. The behavioral dimension is concerned with how leaders
act toward others in various situations. Unlike traits, abilities, and skills,
leadership behaviors are observable. When someone leads, we see that
person’s leadership behavior.

Leadership Behaviors

Research on leadership has shown that leaders engage primarily in two
kinds of general behaviors: task behaviors and process behaviors. Task
behaviors are used by leaders to get the job done (e.g., a leader prepares
an agenda for a meeting). Process behaviors are used by leaders to help
people feel comfortable with other group members and at ease in the
situations in which they find themselves (e.g., a leader helps individuals in
a group to feel included). Since leadership requires both task and process
behaviors, the challenge for leaders is to know the best way to combine
them in their efforts to reach a goal.

“Leadership Is a Relationship”
Another, and a somewhat unusual, way to think about leadership is as a


relationship. From this perspective, leadership is centered on the
communication between leaders and followers rather than on the unique
qualities of the leader. Thought of as a relationship, leadership becomes a
process of collaboration that occurs between leaders and followers (Rost,
1991). A leader affects and is affected by followers, and both leader and
followers are affected in turn by the situation that surrounds them. This
approach emphasizes that leadership is not a linear one-way event, but
rather an interactive event. In traditional leadership, authority is often top
down; in the interactive type of leadership, authority and influence are
shared. When leadership is defined in this manner, it becomes available to
everyone. It is not restricted to the formally designated leader in a group.

Leadership and Change

Thinking of leadership as a relationship suggests that leaders must include
followers and their interests in the process of leadership. A leader needs to
be fully aware of the followers and the followers’ interests, ideas,
positions, attitudes, and motivations. In addition, this approach has an
ethical overtone because it stresses the need for leaders to work with
followers to achieve their mutual purposes. Stressing mutuality lessens the
possibility that leaders might act toward followers in ways that are forced
or unethical. It also increases the possibility that leaders and followers will
work together toward a common good (Rost, 1991).

“Leadership Is an Influence Process”
A final way of thinking about leadership is as an influence process. This is
the perspective that will be emphasized in this book.

Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a
group of individuals to achieve a common goal.


Leadership Development

Defining leadership as an influence process means that it is not a trait or an
ability that resides in the leader, but rather an interactive event that occurs
between the leader and the followers. Influence is central to the process of
leadership because leaders affect followers. Leaders direct their energies
toward influencing individuals to achieve something together. Stressing
common goals gives leadership an ethical dimension because it lessens the
possibility that leaders might act toward followers in ways that use
coercion or are unethical.

Finally, in explaining what leadership is, it is important to make a
distinction between leadership and management. In discussing what
leadership is and can be, the concepts of leadership and management
sometimes overlap. Both leadership and management involve influence,
but leadership is about seeking constructive change, and management is
about establishing order. For example, it is often said that “managers are
people who do things right, and leaders are people who do the right thing.”
Since both leaders and managers are engaged in influencing people toward
goal accomplishment, our discussion in this book will treat the roles of
managers and leaders similarly and not emphasize the differences between

Global Leadership Attributes
We probably all wonder at the differences in leadership around the world.
Why do some countries gravitate toward the distributed leadership of a
democracy, while others seem content with the hierarchical leadership of a
monarchy or dictatorship? The definition and concepts of leadership
outlined in this chapter are from an American perspective. If you were to
travel to nations across the world, you would no doubt encounter different
views of leadership specific to those ethnic and political cultures.

Universal Leadership Attributes

In 2004, Robert House led a group of 160 researchers in an ambitious


study to increase our understanding of the impact culture has on leadership
effectiveness. The GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organizational
Behavior Effectiveness) studies drew on the input of 17,000 people in 62
countries in determining how leadership varies across the world. Among
the many findings generated by the GLOBE studies was the identification
of positive and negative leadership characteristics that are universally
accepted worldwide (see Table 1.1).

Table 1.1 Universal Leadership Attributes
Table 1.1 Universal Leadership Attributes

Positive Leader Attributes




Builds confidence


Win-win problem solver

Administratively skilled

Excellence oriented


Plans ahead










Effective bargainer


Team builder

Negative Leader Attributes









Source: Adapted from House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., &
Gupta, V. (Eds.). (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of
62 societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 677–678. Reprinted with permission.


The Dark Side of Leadership
Those same characteristics and behaviors that distinguish leadership can
also be used by leaders in nonpositive ways (Conger, 1990). The dark side
of leadership is the destructive side of leadership where a leader uses his
or her influence or power for personal ends. Lipman-Blumen (2005)
suggests that such leaders are “toxic,” where their leadership leaves their
followers worse off than they found them, often violating the basic human
rights of others and playing to their followers’ basest fears. Dark
leadership is able to thrive when three conditions exist, according to
Padilla, Hogan, and Kaiser (2007): a destructive leader, susceptible
followers, and a conducive environment. Destructive leaders will prevail
when the checks and balances of an organization are weak and the rules of
the institution are ineffective. While many cite Adolf Hitler as the prime
example of the dark side of leadership, there are many current examples in
the world today from the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, whose
leadership has led to violent civil war that has left hundreds of thousands
dead, to religious extremist groups, such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, who use
their followers to engage in mass murder of innocents.

The Dark Side of Leadership

The meaning of leadership is complex and includes many dimensions. For
some people, leadership is a trait or an ability, for others it is a skill or a
behavior, and for still others it is a relationship or a process. In reality,
leadership probably includes components of all of these dimensions. Each
dimension explains a facet of leadership.

Destructive Leadership

In considering these various definitions of leadership and based on the
results of your Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire (page 14),
which dimension seems closest to how you think of leadership? How
would you define leadership? Answers to these questions are important


because how you think about leadership will strongly influence how you
practice leadership.

There is a strong demand for effective leadership in society today. This
demand exists at the local and community levels, as well as at the national
level, in this country and abroad. People feel the need for leadership in all
aspects of their lives. They want leaders in their personal lives, at school,
in the work setting, and even in their spiritual lives. Everywhere you turn,
people are expressing a need for strong leadership.

When people ask for leadership in a particular situation, it is not always
clear exactly what they want. For the most part, however, they want
effective leadership. Effective leadership is intended influence that creates
change for the greater good. Leadership uses positive means to achieve
positive outcomes. Furthermore, people want leaders who listen to and
understand their needs and who can relate to their circumstances. The
challenge for each of us is to be prepared to lead when we are asked to be
the leader.

Leadership Snapshot: Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo


Mark Wilson/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The daughter of a conservative, middle-class family in southern India,
Indra Nooyi didn’t seem destined to one day run one of the world’s
largest snack food and beverage companies. But Nooyi does just that as
the CEO and president of PepsiCo, making her one of the top female
executives in the United States and probably the highest-ranking
woman of Indian heritage in corporate America.

Nooyi, who grew up in Madras (now Chennai), India, admits she
always pushed social conventions. She played on an all-girls cricket
team and was a guitarist in a rock band at a time when it was deemed
inappropriate for Indian girls to do such things. Despite graduating from
college with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, math, and physics from


Madras Christian College in 1974 and a master of business
administration from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Nooyi
was reportedly remembered for being only a “mediocre student”
(Pandey, 2006).

Nooyi’s first job after college was for Tootal, a British textile company
in India, but she was hired away as a brand manager for Johnson &
Johnson to oversee the company’s Stayfree account in India. It was a
job that would have challenged the most seasoned marketing executive
because, at the time, advertising women’s feminine products was not
allowed in her country (Murray, 2004).

By 1978, Nooyi felt she needed more preparation for the business world
and applied to and was accepted to the Yale School of Management in
the United States. To her surprise, her parents agreed to let her go,
although it would essentially make her an unmarriageable commodity
in her culture. She received financial aid from Yale, but still struggled
to make ends meet, working as an overnight receptionist. She didn’t
have the money to buy a business suit, so she wore her traditional sari
to work and later in job interviews, choosing to be herself rather than
adhere to expected cultural norms.

Nooyi did not earn an MBA from Yale, choosing instead to get a
master’s degree in public and private management. Her first jobs after
graduation were for the prestigious Boston Consulting Group and
Motorola. In 1990, she joined ASEA Brown Boveri (ABB), a Swiss-
Swedish industrial conglomerate. Her success in directing ABB’s North
American operations caught the attention of PepsiCo CEO Wayne
Calloway who wooed her away to become his company’s chief

Nooyi quickly left her mark at PepsiCo. She was the chief deal maker
for two of PepsiCo’s most important acquisitions: the Tropicana orange
juice brand in 1998 and Quaker Oats in 2001. The Quaker Oats deal
added a huge range of cereals and snack foods to the PepsiCo empire.
Nooyi also helped the company acquire beverage maker SoBe, beating
out a competing offer from Coca-Cola. Her deal-making talents
elevated her to the job of PepsiCo’s chief financial officer in 2000, and
a year later she was given the title of president.

Nooyi’s vision for PepsiCo—that “for any part of the day, we will have
a little snack for you” (Byrnes, 2001)—has been implemented through
development of new products and acquisitions. The company now sells
a wide range of foods and beverages from Cap’n Crunch and Doritos to
Mountain Dew and Gatorade. The company’s 18 brands are sold in 200


countries, and it employs 198,000 people worldwide.

But the strategist in Nooyi has also foreseen the effect that growing
lifestyle diseases such as obesity could have on her company. Again,
she has chosen to follow an unconventional path, looking to create
healthier products in an industry dominated by salt, fat, and sugar. She
invested heavily in the creation of a research and development lab that
took five years to complete, drawing criticism from stockholders and
industry analysts. So far, the investment has had some success: PepsiCo
introduced a “mid-calorie” cola, Pepsi True, which has 30% less sugar
and uses stevia extract instead of artificial sweeteners, and has created
potato chips that taste just as salty as the original but have less sodium.
The company has also introduced a new line of craft sodas called
Stubborn Soda, which contain natural flavors and sugarcane instead of
high-fructose corn syrup.

All of us at some time in our lives will be asked to show leadership. When
you are asked to be the leader, it will be both demanding and rewarding.
How you approach leadership is strongly influenced by your definitions of
and beliefs about leadership. Through the years, writers have defined
leadership in a multitude of ways. It is a complex, multidimensional
process that is often conceptualized in a variety of ways by different
people. Some of the most common ways of looking at leadership are as a
trait, as an ability, as a skill, as a behavior, as a relationship, and as a
process. The way you think about leadership will influence the way you
practice leadership.

Glossary Terms
ability 2
adaptive leadership 4
approach 3
authentic leadership 4
behavior approach 3
“Big Five” personality factors 3
contingency theory 4
dark side of leadership 9
emotional intelligence 3


gender-based studies 4
“Great Man” theories 3
leader–member exchange (LMX) theory 4
leadership 7
path–goal theory 4
process behaviors 6
relational approach 4
relationship behaviors 3
servant leadership 4
situational approach 4
skill 5
spiritual leadership 4
task behaviors 3, 6
theory 3
trait 2
trait approach 3
transformational leadership theory 4

Sharpen your skills with SAGE edge at

SAGE edge for students provides a personalized approach to help you
accomplish your coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning


1.1 Case Study: King of the Hill
Denny Hill’s career as a high school swimming coach didn’t start out
well. The seniors on his team quit in the first season because he
required them to come to all the workouts. The team only won three
meets the whole season. That was 40 years ago. Since that time, the
high school chemistry teacher’s success as a swimming coach has been
extraordinary; his winnings include more than 900 boys’ and girls’ dual
meets and a phenomenal 31 state titles.

Denny is noted for creating a team effort out of what is usually


considered an individual sport. He begins every season with a team
sleepover, followed by “Hell Week,” a two-week grueling regimen in
which team members swim at least 5 miles a workout and 10 miles a
day. He acknowledges this is a bonding experience for the swimmers,
regardless of their skill, because they are “all in the same boat.”

Denny passes the mantle of leadership onto his team members. Seniors
are expected to be mature leaders who inform the freshmen of the team
goals and expectations. Juniors are to be role models, while sophomores
serve as quiet leaders who are still learning but have a foundation in the
team culture. Even the freshmen members have a job: They are required
to pay attention to the coaches and other team members as they learn
the team’s culture and what’s expected.

Denny holds a 20-minute team meeting each Monday where every
member has the opportunity to present a rose or a complaint to anyone
on the team including the coaches. He is tough on swimmers and makes
them work, but when they need support he is always there to put an arm
around them. Denny also uses humor, often making jokes that help take
the edge off long, hard workouts.

And despite his teams’ successes, Denny isn’t about winning; he’s more
about preparing to win—telling his swimmers that by preparing to win,
everything takes care of itself. When you do win, he says, you’ve done
it the right way.


1. What leadership traits account for Denny Hill’s success?
2. How would you describe Denny Hill’s leadership abilities?
3. Leadership includes administrative skills, interpersonal skills, and

conceptual skills. How does Denny Hill stack up on these skills?
4. How does Denny Hill integrate task and relationship behaviors in

his leadership?
5. From a relational perspective, how would you describe Denny

Hill’s leadership?
6. In what way does Denny Hill’s coaching exemplify leadership as

an influence process?

1.2 Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire



1. To identify how you view leadership
2. To explore your perceptions of different aspects of leadership


1. Consider for a moment your own impressions of the word
leadership. Based on your experiences with leaders in your
lifetime, what is leadership?

2. Using the scale below, indicate the extent to which you agree or
disagree with the following statements about leadership.

Statement Strongly

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly

1. When I
think of
leadership, I
think of a
person with

1 2 3 4 5

2. Much like
playing the
piano or
leadership is a
learned ability.

1 2 3 4 5

3. Leadership
and know-

1 2 3 4 5

4. Leadership
is about what
people do
rather than
who they are.

1 2 3 4 5


can influence
the leadership
process as
much as

1 2 3 4 5

6. Leadership
is about the
process of

1 2 3 4 5

7. Some
people are
born to be

1 2 3 4 5

8. Some
people have
the natural
ability to be

1 2 3 4 5

9. The key to
leadership is
having the
right skills.

1 2 3 4 5

10. Leadership
is best
described by
what leaders

1 2 3 4 5

11. Leaders
and followers
share in the

1 2 3 4 5

12. Leadership


is a series of
positive ends.

1 2 3 4 5

13. A person
needs to have
certain traits to
be an effective

1 2 3 4 5

14. Everyone
has the
capacity to be
a leader.

1 2 3 4 5

15. Effective
leaders are
competent in
their roles.

1 2 3 4 5

16. The
essence of
leadership is
tasks and
dealing with

1 2 3 4 5

17. Leadership
is about the
purposes of
leaders and

1 2 3 4 5

18. Leadership
does not rely
on the leader
alone but is a
involving the

1 2 3 4 5


followers, and
the situation.

19. People
become great
because of
their traits.

1 2 3 4 5

20. People can
develop the
ability to lead.

1 2 3 4 5

21. Effective
leaders have

1 2 3 4 5

22. Leadership
is about how
leaders work
with people to

1 2 3 4 5

23. Effective
leadership is
best explained
by the leader–

1 2 3 4 5

24. Leaders
influence and
are influenced
by followers.

1 2 3 4 5


1. Sum scores on items 1, 7, 13, and 19 (trait emphasis)
2. Sum scores on items 2, 8, 14, and 20 (ability emphasis)


3. Sum scores on items 3, 9, 15, and 21 (skill emphasis)
4. Sum scores on items 4, 10, 16, and 22 (behavior emphasis)
5. Sum scores on items 5, 11, 17, and 23 (relationship emphasis)
6. Sum scores on items 6, 12, 18, and 24 (process emphasis)

Total Scores

1. Trait emphasis: _________________
2. Ability emphasis: ________________
3. Skill emphasis: __________________
4. Behavior emphasis: ______________
5. Relationship emphasis: ___________
6. Process emphasis: _______________

Scoring Interpretation

The scores you received on this questionnaire provide information
about how you define and view leadership. The emphasis you give to
the various dimensions of leadership has implications for how you
approach the leadership process. For example, if your highest score is
for trait emphasis, it suggests that you emphasize the role of the leader
and the leader’s special gifts in the leadership process. However, if your
highest score is for relationship emphasis, it indicates that you think
leadership is centered on the communication between leaders and
followers, rather than on the unique qualities of the leader. By
comparing your scores, you can gain an understanding of the aspects of
leadership that you find most important and least important. The way
you think about leadership will influence how you practice leadership.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.


1.3 Observational Exercise

Defining Leadership


1. To develop an understanding of the complexity of leadership
2. To become aware of the different ways people define leadership


1. In this exercise, select five people you know and interview them
about leadership.

2. Ask each person to give you his or her definition of leadership,
and to describe his or her personal beliefs about effective

3. Record each person’s response on a separate sheet of paper.
Person #1 (name)
Person #2 (name)
Person #3 (name)
Person #4 (name)
Person #5 (name)


1. What differences did you observe in how these people define

2. What seems to be the most common definition of leadership?
3. In what ways did people describe leadership differently from the

definitions in Chapter 1, “Understanding Leadership”?
4. Of the people interviewed, whose definition comes closest to your

own? Why?


Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

1.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

Understanding Leadership


1. Each of us has our own unique way of thinking about leadership.
What leaders or people have influenced you in your thinking
about leadership? Discuss what leadership means to you and give
your definition of leadership.

2. What do the scores you received on the Conceptualizing
Leadership Questionnaire suggest about your perspective on
leadership? Of the six dimensions on the questionnaire (trait,
ability, skill, behavior, relationship, and process), which one is the
most similar to your own perspective? Which one is least like
your own perspective?

3. Do you think leadership is something everyone can learn to do, or
do you think it is a natural ability reserved for a few? Explain your


1. Based on the interviews you conducted with others about
leadership, how could you incorporate others’ ideas about
leadership into your own leadership?

2. Treating leadership as a relationship has ethical implications. How
could adding the relationship approach to your leadership make
you a better leader? Discuss.

3. Think about your own leadership. Identify one trait, ability, skill,
or behavior that you could develop more fully to become a better

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.


Antonakis, J., Cianciolo, A. T., & Sternberg, R. J. (Eds.). (2004). The

nature of leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations.
New York, NY: Free Press.

Bass, B. M. (1990). Bass and Stogdill’s handbook of leadership: A survey
of theory and research. New York, NY: Free Press.

Blake, R. R., & Moulton, J. S. (1964). The managerial grid. Houston, TX:

Bryman, A. (1992). Charisma and leadership in organizations. London, U
K: Sage.

Byrnes, N. (2001, January 29). The power of two at Pepsi. Businessweek.
Retrieved from

Conger, J. (1990). The dark side of leadership. Organizational Dynamics,
19(2), 44–55.

Conger, J. A., & Riggio, R. E. (Eds.). (2007). The practice of leadership:
Developing the next generation of leaders. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-

Hersey, P., & Blanchard, K. H. (1969). Life-cycle theory of leadership.
Training and Development Journal, 23(5), 26–34.

House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V.
(2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62
societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Lipman-Blumen, J. (2005). The allure of toxic leaders. New York, NY:
Oxford University Press.

Machiavelli, N. (2005). The prince (W. J. Connell, trans.). Boston, MA:
Bedford/St. Martin’s. (Original work published in 1531)

Murray, S. (2004, January 26). From poor Indian student to powerful U.S.
business-woman. Financial Times, p. 3.

Padilla, A., Hogan, R., & Kaiser, R. B. (2007). The toxic triangle:
Destructive leaders, susceptible followers, and conducive environments.
The Leadership Quarterly, 18(3), 176–194.

Pandey, J. M. (2006, August 18). Nooyi: IIM-C’s “average” student turns
role model. The Times of India. Retrieved from

Reddin, W. J. (1967, April). The 3-D management style theory. Training
and Development Journal, pp. 8–17.

Rost, J. C. (1991). Leadership for the twenty-first century. Westport, CO:

Vecchio, R. P. (1987). Situational leadership theory: An examination of a
prescriptive theory. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72(3), 444–451.


2 Recognizing Your Traits

Why are some people leaders while others are not? What makes people
become leaders? Do leaders have certain traits? These questions have been
of interest for many years. It seems that all of us want to know what
characteristics account for effective leadership. This chapter will address
the traits that are important to leadership.

Is Leadership a Trait?

Since the early 20th century, hundreds of research studies have been
conducted on the traits of leaders. These studies have produced an
extensive list of ideal leadership traits (see Antonakis, Cianciolo, &
Sternberg, 2004; Bass, 1990). The list of important leadership traits is long
and includes such traits as diligence, trustworthiness, dependability,
articulateness, sociability, open-mindedness, intelligence, confidence, self-
assurance, and conscientiousness. Because the list is so extensive, it is
difficult to identify specifically which traits are essential for leaders. In
fact, nearly all of the traits are probably related to effective leadership.

What traits are important when you are asked to be a leader? To answer
this question, two areas will be addressed in this chapter. First, a set of
selected traits that appear by all accounts to be strongly related to effective
leadership in everyday life will be discussed. Second, the lives of several
historical and contemporary leaders will be examined with a discussion of
the traits that play a role in their leadership. Throughout this discussion,
the unique ways that certain traits affect the leadership process in one way
or another will be emphasized.

Leadership Traits Explained
From the beginning of the 20th century to the present day, researchers
have focused a great deal of attention on the unique characteristics of


successful leaders. Thousands of studies have been conducted to identify
the traits of effective leaders. The results of these studies have produced a
very long list of important leadership traits; each of these traits contributes
to the leadership process.

Leadership Traits

For example, research studies by several investigators found the following
traits to be important: achievement, persistence, insight, initiative, self-
confidence, responsibility, cooperativeness, tolerance, influence,
sociability, drive, motivation, integrity, confidence, cognitive ability, task
knowledge, extroversion, conscientiousness, and openness (Judge, Bono,
Ilies, & Gerhardt, 2002; Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1991; Stogdill, 1974). On
the international level, House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, and Gupta
(2004), in a study of 17,000 managers in 62 different cultures, identified a
list of 22 valued traits that were universally endorsed as characteristics of
outstanding leadership in these countries. The list, which was outlined in
Table 1.1 in Chapter 1, “Understanding Leadership,” includes such
attributes as being trustworthy, just, honest, encouraging, positive,
dynamic, dependable, intelligent, decisive, communicative, informed, and
a team builder. As these findings indicate, research studies on leadership
traits have identified a wide array of important characteristics of leaders.

Are There Certain Traits a Leader Needs?

However, these research findings raise an important question: If there are
so many important leadership traits, which specific traits do people need to
be successful leaders? While the answer to this question is not crystal
clear, the research points to six key traits: intelligence, confidence,
charisma, determination, sociability, and integrity. In the following
section, we will discuss each of these traits in turn.

Intelligence is an important trait related to effective leadership.


Intelligence includes having good language skills, perceptual skills, and
reasoning ability. This combination of assets makes people good thinkers,
and makes them better leaders.

While it is hard for a person to alter his or her IQ (intelligence quotient),
there are certain ways for a person to improve intelligence in general.
Intelligent leaders are well informed. They are aware of what is going on
around them and understand the job that needs to be done. It is important
for leaders to obtain information about what their leadership role entails
and learn as much as possible about their work environment. This
information will help leaders be more knowledgeable and insightful.

For example, a few years ago a friend, Chris, was asked to be the coach of
his daughter’s middle school soccer team even though he had never played
soccer and knew next to nothing about how the game is played. Chris took
the job and eventually was a great success, but not without a lot of effort.
He spent many hours learning about soccer. He read how-to books,
instructors’ manuals, and coaching books. In addition, Chris subscribed to
several soccer magazines. He talked to other coaches and learned
everything he could about playing the game. By the time he had finished
the first season, others considered Chris to be a very competent coach. He
was smart and learned how to be a successful coach.

Regarding intelligence, few if any of us can expect to be another Albert
Einstein. Most of us have average intelligence and know that there are
limits to what we can do. Nevertheless, becoming more knowledgeable
about our leadership positions gives us the information we need to become
better leaders.

Being confident is another important trait of an effective leader. Confident
people feel self-assured and believe they can accomplish their goals.
Rather than feeling uncertain, they feel strong and secure about their
positions. They do not second-guess themselves, but rather move forward
on projects with a clear vision. Confident leaders feel a sense of certainty
and believe that they are doing the right thing. Clearly, confidence is a
trait that has to do with feeling positive about oneself and one’s ability to



If confidence is a central trait of successful leaders, how can you build
your own confidence? First, confidence comes from understanding what is
required of you. For example, when first learning to drive a car, a student’s
confidence is low because he or she does not know what to do. If an
instructor explains the driving process and demonstrates how to drive, the
student can gain confidence because he or she now has an understanding
of how to drive. Awareness and understanding build confidence.
Confidence can also come from having a mentor to show the way and
provide constructive feedback. This mentor may be a boss, an experienced
coworker, or a significant other from outside the organization. Because
mentors act as role models and sounding boards, they provide essential
help to learn the dynamics of leadership.

Confidence also comes from practice. This is important to point out,
because practice is something everyone can do. Consider Michael Phelps,
one of the most well-known athletes in the world today. Phelps is a very
gifted swimmer, with 23 Olympic gold medals and the record for winning
the most medals, 28, of any Olympic athlete in history. But Phelps also
spends an enormous amount of time practicing. His workout regimen
includes swimming six hours a day, six days a week. His excellent
performance and confidence are a result of his practice, as well as his gifts.

In leadership, practice builds confidence because it provides assurance that
an aspiring leader can do what needs to be done. Taking on leadership
roles, even minor ones on committees or through volunteer activities,
provides practice for being a leader. Building one leadership activity on
another can increase confidence for more demanding leadership roles.
Those who accept opportunities to practice their leadership will experience
increased confidence in their leadership abilities.

Of all the traits related to effective leadership, charisma gets the most
attention. Charisma refers to a leader’s special magnetic charm and


appeal, and can have a huge effect on the leadership process. Charisma is a
special personality characteristic that gives a leader the capacity to do
extraordinary things. In particular, it gives the leader exceptional powers
of influence. A good example of a charismatic leader is former president
John F. Kennedy, who motivated the American people with his eloquent
oratorical style (visit to read one of
his speeches). President Kennedy was a gifted, charismatic leader who had
an enormous impact on others.

Charismatic Leadership

It is not unusual for many of us to feel challenged with regard to charisma
because it is not a common personality trait. There are a few select people
who are very charismatic, but most of us are not. Since charisma appears
in short supply, the question arises: What do leaders do if they are not
naturally charismatic?

Based on the writings of leadership scholars, several behaviors
characterize charismatic leadership (Conger, 1999; House, 1976; Shamir,
House, & Arthur, 1993). First, charismatic leaders serve as a strong role
model for the values that they desire others to adopt. Mohandas Gandhi
advocated nonviolence and was an exemplary role model of civil
disobedience; his charisma enabled him to influence others. Second,
charismatic leaders show competence in every aspect of leadership, so
others trust their decisions. Third, charismatic leaders articulate clear
goals and strong values. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream”
speech is an example of this type of charismatic leadership. By articulating
his dream, he was able to influence multitudes of people to follow his
nonviolent practices. Fourth, charismatic leaders communicate high
expectations for followers and show confidence in their abilities to meet
these expectations. Finally, charismatic leaders are an inspiration to others.
They can excite and motivate others to become involved in real change, as
demonstrated by John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.



Determination is another trait that characterizes effective leaders.
Determined leaders are very focused and attentive to tasks. They know
where they are going and how they intend to get there. Determination is
the decision to get the job done; it includes characteristics such as
initiative, persistence, and drive. People with determination are willing to
assert themselves, they are proactive, and they have the capacity to
persevere in the face of obstacles. Being determined includes showing
dominance at times, especially in situations where others need direction.


We have all heard of determined people who have accomplished
spectacular things—the person with cancer who runs a standard 26.2-mile
marathon, the blind person who climbs Mount Everest, or the single mom
with four kids who graduates from college. A good example of determined
leadership is Nelson Mandela, who is featured in the Leadership Snapshot
in this chapter. Mandela’s single goal was to end apartheid in South
Africa. Even though he was imprisoned for many years, he steadfastly held
to his principles. He was committed to reaching his goal, and he never
wavered from his vision. Mandela was focused and disciplined—a
determined leader.

What distinguishes all of these leaders from other people is their
determination to get the job done. Of all the traits discussed in this chapter,
determination is probably the one trait that is easily acquired by those who
lead. All it demands is perseverance. Staying focused on the task,
clarifying the goals, articulating the vision, and encouraging others to stay
the course are characteristics of determined leaders. Being determined
takes discipline and the ability to endure, but having this trait will almost
certainly enhance a person’s leadership.

Another important trait for leaders is sociability. Sociability refers to a
leader’s capacity to establish pleasant social relationships. People want
sociable leaders—leaders with whom they can get along. Leaders who
show sociability are friendly, outgoing, courteous, tactful, and diplomatic.


They are sensitive to others’ needs and show concern for their well-being.
Sociable leaders have good interpersonal skills and help to create
cooperative relationships within their work environments.

Being sociable comes easier for some than for others. For example, it is
easy for extroverted leaders to talk to others and be outgoing, but it is
harder for introverted leaders to do so. Similarly, some individuals are
naturally “people persons,” while others prefer to be alone. Although
people vary in the degree to which they are outgoing, it is possible to
increase sociability. A sociable leader gets along with coworkers and other
people in the work setting. Being friendly, kind, and thoughtful, as well as
talking freely with others and giving them support, goes a long way to
establish a leader’s sociability. Sociable leaders bring positive energy to a
group and make the work environment a more enjoyable place.

To illustrate, consider the following example. This scenario occurred in
one of the best leadership classes I have had in 40 years of teaching. In this
class, there was a student named Anne Fox who was a very sociable
leader. Anne was an unusual student who dressed like a student from the
1960s, although it was more than two decades later. Even though she
dressed differently than the others, Anne was very caring and was liked by
everyone in the class. After the first week of the semester, Anne could
name everyone in class; when attendance was taken, she knew instantly
who was there and who was not. In class discussions, Anne always
contributed good ideas, and her remarks were sensitive of others’ points of
view. Anne was positive about life, and her attitude was contagious. By
her presence, Anne created an atmosphere in which everyone felt unique
but also included. She was the glue that held us all together. Anne was not
assigned to be the leader in the class, but by the semester’s end she
emerged as a leader. Her sociable nature enabled her to develop strong
relationships and become a leader in the class. By the end of the class, all
of us were the beneficiaries of her leadership.

Finally, and perhaps most important, effective leaders have integrity.
Integrity characterizes leaders who possess the qualities of honesty and
trustworthiness. People who adhere to a strong set of principles and take
responsibility for their actions are exhibiting integrity. Leaders with
integrity inspire confidence in others because they can be trusted to do


what they say they are going to do. They are loyal, dependable, and
transparent. Basically, integrity makes a leader believable and worthy of
our trust.


Leadership Snapshot: Nelson Mandela, First Black President of South

South Africa The Good News / CC BY

In 1990, when Nelson Mandela was released from prison after serving
27 long years, he was determined not to be angry or vindictive, but
instead to work to unite his country of South Africa, which had been
fractured by generations of apartheid.

The descendent of a tribal king, Mandela was born in 1918 in a small
African village and grew up in a country where Whites ruled through


subjugation and tyranny over Blacks and other races. Mandela attended
Methodist missionary schools and put himself through law school,
eventually opening the first Black law partnership in 1942. His firm
represented the African National Congress (ANC), which was engaged
in resisting South Africa’s apartheid policies, and during the 1950s, he
became a leader of the ANC. Influenced by Mohandas Gandhi,
Mandela was initially committed to nonviolent resistance but shifted to
supporting violent tactics when the government refused to change its
apartheid policies. In 1964, Mandela received a life sentence for
plotting to overthrow the government by violence.

During the nearly three decades Mandela spent in prison, he became a
symbolic figure for the anti-apartheid movement. But during those
years, Mandela spent time examining himself, coming to see himself as
others did: as an aggressive and militant revolutionary. He learned to
control his temper and strong will, instead using persuasion and
emphasis to convince others. He listened to others’ life stories,
including those of the White guards, seeking to understand their
perspectives. He was steadfast in maintaining his dignity, carefully
refusing to be subservient while being respectful to the guards and
others. As a result, he became a natural leader inside the prison, while
outside, his fame framed him as a symbolic martyr not only to Black
Africans but also to people across the globe. Free Mandela campaigns
were building around the world, with other countries and international
corporations being pressured by stockholders and citizens to “divest” in
South Africa.

In 1990, South African president F. W. de Klerk, fearing civil war and
economic collapse, released Mandela, at the time 71, from prison.
Mandela emerged as a moral leader who stood by the principles of
liberty and equal rights for all. He began speaking around the world,
raising financial support for the ANC while seeking to bring peace to
his fractured country. In 1992, the South African government instituted
a new constitution and held a popular election with all parties
represented including the ANC. The result? In 1994, Mandela was
elected as the first Black president of South Africa, effectively ending
apartheid. For his role in negotiations to abolish apartheid, Mandela
received the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing it with de Klerk.

As president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, Mandela’s mission
was to transform a nation from minority rule and apartheid to a
multiracial democracy. On the first day of his presidency, he set the
tone with the predominantly White staff of the former president, telling
them that those who wanted to keep their jobs were welcome to stay,


stating “Reconciliation starts here.” He developed a multiracial staff
and cabinet, using his friendly smiling style and tactic of listening to all
viewpoints carefully before making decisions to keep the staff focused
on problems and issues rather than on partisanship.

Mandela served his five-year term as president but, at 76 years old,
chose not to seek another term. In retirement, he continued to advocate
for social causes, serving as a mediator in disputes outside of South
Africa, and to bring a message of peace and justice throughout the
world. Mandela died in 2013. While it is difficult to summarize all that
he accomplished, Mandela’s legacy is best described by former U.S.
president Bill Clinton who in 2003 wrote, “Under a burden of
oppression he saw through difference, discrimination and destruction to
embrace our common humanity.”

Grown-ups often tell children, “Never tell a lie.” For children, the lesson is
“Good children are truthful.” For leaders, the lesson is the same: “Good
leaders are honest.” Dishonesty creates mistrust in others, and dishonest
leaders are seen as undependable and unreliable. Honesty helps people to
have trust and faith in what leaders have to say and what they stand for.
Honesty also enhances a leader’s ability to influence others because they
have confidence in and believe in their leader.

Integrity demands being open with others and representing reality as fully
and completely as possible. However, this is not an easy task: There are
times when telling the complete truth can be destructive or
counterproductive. The challenge for leaders is to strike a balance between
being open and candid and monitoring what is appropriate to disclose in a
particular situation. While it is important for leaders to be authentic, it is
also essential for them to have integrity in their relationships with others.

Integrity undergirds all aspects of leadership. It is at the core of being a
leader. Integrity is a central aspect of a leader’s ability to influence. If
people do not trust a leader, the leader’s influence potential is weakened.
In essence, integrity is the bedrock of who a leader is. When a leader’s
integrity comes into question, his or her potential to lead is lost.

Former president Bill Clinton (1993–2001) is a good example of how
integrity is related to leadership. In the late 1990s, he was brought before
the U.S. Congress for misrepresenting under oath an affair he had engaged
in with a White House intern. For his actions, he was impeached by the
U.S. House of Representatives, but then was acquitted by the U.S. Senate.


At one point during the long ordeal, the president appeared on national
television and, in what is now a famous speech, declared his innocence.
Because subsequent hearings provided information suggesting he might
have lied during his television speech, many Americans felt Clinton had
violated his duty and responsibility as a person, leader, and president. As a
result, Clinton’s integrity was clearly challenged and the impact of his
leadership substantially weakened.

Effective Traits

In conclusion, there are many traits related to effective leadership. The six
traits discussed here appear to be particularly important in the leadership
process. As will be revealed in subsequent chapters, leadership is a very
complex process. The traits discussed in this chapter are important but are
only one dimension of a multidimensional process.

Leadership Traits in Practice
Throughout history, there have been many great leaders. Each of them has
led with unique talents and in different circumstances. The following
section analyzes the accomplishments and the traits of five famous leaders.
Although there are hundreds of equally distinguished leaders, these five
are highlighted because they represent different kinds of leadership at
different points in history. All of these leaders are recognized as being
notable leaders: Each has had an impact on many people’s lives and
accomplished great things.

Traits of Great Leaders

The leaders discussed below are George Washington, Winston Churchill,
Mother Teresa, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey. As you read about each of
them, think about their leadership traits.


George Washington (1732–1799)
George Washington is considered to be the founding father of the United
States of America. His leadership was pivotal in the development of this
country’s government. He was truly respected by everyone, from low-
ranking soldiers to feisty public officials. He was a man of great integrity
who was a good listener. After the Revolutionary War, Washington was
the reason that various factions did not splinter into small groups or
nations. He became the United States’ first president because his
leadership was so well suited for the times.


Gilbert Stuart /National Gallery of Art/Getty Images

Born into a prosperous Virginia family, he grew up on a large plantation.
His father died when he was 11. Washington received formal schooling for
seven years and then worked as a surveyor. He entered the military at the
age of 20. During the French and Indian War, Washington learned about
the difficulties of battle and experienced both victories and defeats. He


served as commander in chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783.
His leadership was instrumental in leading the colonies to victory over
Great Britain in the Revolutionary War. After the war, he retired to farm
for a short period. In 1787, however, his interests in politics and the nation
took him to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, where he was
chosen to preside over the successful creation of the U.S. Constitution.
After the Constitution was ratified, Washington was elected by 100% of
the electoral college as the first president of the United States. Washington
served two terms as president (1789–1793, 1793–1797); although he had
the people’s support, he chose not to serve a third term. He retired to
Mount Vernon in 1797 and died there from pneumonia at the age of 67. At
his funeral, one of his officers, Henry Lee, eulogized him as an American
who was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the heart of his

Traits and Characteristics

George Washington exhibited many special leadership traits (Brookhiser,
1996; Burns & Dunn, 2004; Fishman, 2001; Higginbotham, 2002).
Researchers identify him as a modest man with great moral character who
demonstrated integrity, virtuousness, and wisdom in his leadership.
Though neither highly educated nor brilliant, he is reported to have read 10
newspapers each day. He was tall, and careful about his appearance. For
much of his life, he kept a daily record of his work. Although reserved, as
a military leader he was brave and tenacious. Rather than use power to his
own ends, he gave up his position as commander in chief after the war.
Washington provided stability, reason, and order after the American
Revolution when the United States was in its formative stages. His
evenness made him predictable to the American people, who considered
him trustworthy. Above all, Washington was a prudent leader who made
sound judgments and provided balance and wisdom to the new
government. Washington was a special leader with many unique talents
who, as Schwartz (1987, p. 147) has suggested, “was ‘great’ because he
was ‘good.’”


Walter Stoneman/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Winston Churchill (1874–1965)
Winston Churchill was one of the greatest statesmen and orators of the
20th century. In addition, he was a talented painter and prolific writer; he
received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953. Churchill served in the


military during World War I, became prime minister of Great Britain in
May 1940, and remained in that office through World War II, until 1945. It
was at this time that his masterful leadership was most visible. When the
Germans threatened to invade Britain, Churchill stood strong. He made
many famous speeches that had far-reaching effects on the morale of the
people of Great Britain and the Allied forces. On the home front, he was a
social reformer. He served a second term as prime minister from 1951 to
1955. He died at the age of 90 in 1965.

Traits and Characteristics

Winston Churchill’s leadership was remarkable because it emerged from a
man who was average in many respects and who faced challenges in his
personal life. In his education, he did not stand out as superior to others.
On a societal level, he was a loner who had few friends. On a personal
level, he suffered from bouts of depression throughout his life. Despite
these characteristics, Churchill emerged as a leader because of his other
unique gifts and how he used them (Hayward, 1997; Keegan, 2002;
Sandys & Littman, 2003). A voracious reader, Churchill was plain
speaking, decisive, detail oriented, and informed (Hayward, 1997).
Furthermore, he was very ambitious, but not out of self-interest: He
wanted what was right for others, and he wanted the best for Great Britain.
His most significant talent was his masterful use of language. In his
oratory, the normally plainspoken Churchill used words and imagery in
powerful ways that touched the hearts of many and set the moral climate
of the war (Keegan, 2002). He had the ability to build hope and inspire
others to rise to the challenge. His stoicism and optimism were an
inspiration to his people and all of the Allied forces (Sandys & Littman,

Mother Teresa (1910–1997)
A Roman Catholic nun considered a saint by many, Mother Teresa
received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with the poor and
helpless in Kolkata, India, and throughout the world. Born in Macedonia,
Mother Teresa came from a comfortable background. At the age of 18, she
joined the Catholic Sisters of Loreto order and worked for 17 years as a
high school teacher in Kolkata. Her awareness of poverty in Kolkata
caused her to leave the convent in 1948 to devote herself to working full-


time with the poorest of the poor in the slums of the city. In 1950, Mother
Teresa founded a new religious order, the Missionaries of Charity, to care
for the hungry, homeless, unwanted, and unloved.

Bettmann/Contributor/Bettmann/Getty Images

Today, there are more than 1 million workers affiliated with the
Missionaries of Charity in more than 40 countries. The charity provides
help to people who have been hurt by floods, epidemics, famines, and war.
The Missionaries of Charity also operate hospitals, schools, orphanages,
youth centers, shelters for the sick, and hospices. For her humanitarian
work and efforts for peace, Mother Teresa has been recognized with many
awards, including the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971), the Nehru
Award (1972), the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom (1985), and the
Congressional Gold Medal (1994). Although she struggled with
deteriorating health in her later years, Mother Teresa remained actively
involved in her work to the very end. She died at the age of 87 in 1997. In
September 2016, Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a saint, with the


official name of Saint Teresa of Kolkata. In a statement announcing the
canonization, the Vatican called her a “metaphor for selfless devotion and
holiness” (Lyman, 2016).

Traits and Characteristics

Mother Teresa was a simple woman of small stature who dressed in a plain
blue and white sari, and who never owned more than the people she
served. Mirroring her appearance, her mission was simple—to care for the
poor. From her first year on the streets of Kolkata where she tended to one
dying person to her last years when thousands of people were cared for by
the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa stayed focused on her goal.
She was a true civil servant who was simultaneously determined and
fearless, and humble and spiritual. She often listened to the will of God.
When criticized for her stand on abortion and women’s role in the family,
or her approaches to eliminating poverty, Mother Teresa responded with a
strong will; she never wavered in her deep-seated human values. Teaching
by example with few words, she was a role model for others. Clearly,
Mother Teresa was a leader who practiced what she preached (Gonzalez-
Balado, 1997; Sebba, 1997; Spink, 1997; Vardey, 1995).

Bill Gates (1955–)
For many years, William (Bill) H. Gates III, cofounder and chair of
Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest developer of software for
personal computers, was the wealthiest person in the world with assets
estimated at more than $70 billion. A self-made man, Gates began his
interest in computers at the age of 13 when he and a friend developed their
first computer software program. He later attended Harvard University but
left, without graduating, to focus on software development. He cofounded
Microsoft in 1975. Under Gates’s leadership, Microsoft developed the
well-known Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS), Windows
operating system, and Internet Explorer browser. Microsoft is one of the
fastest-growing and most profitable companies ever established. From the
success of Microsoft, Gates and his wife established the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation in 2000 to reduce inequities and improve lives around
the world. This foundation promotes education, addresses global health
issues (such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis), sponsors libraries,
and supports housing and community initiatives in the Pacific Northwest.


Beginning in 2006, Gates transitioned away from his day-to-day operating
role at Microsoft to spend more time working with his foundation, but he
remained the corporation’s chair. But in February 2014, Gates stepped
down as the company’s board chairman in order to increase his
involvement in the company’s operations, serving in a new role of
technology adviser and mentor to the company’s new CEO Satya Nadella.
Gates continues to tackle global challenges as co-chair of the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation, which has become the world’s largest private
charitable foundation.


Yamaguchi Haruyoshi/Contributor/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

Traits and Characteristics

Bill Gates is both intelligent and visionary. When he cofounded Microsoft,
he had a vision about how to meet the technological needs of people in the
future, and he hired friends to help him accomplish that vision. Gates is


also task oriented and diligent, often working 12 or more hours a day to
promote his interest in software product development. Furthermore, Gates
is focused and aggressive. When Microsoft was accused by the U.S.
government of antitrust violations, Gates appeared before congressional
hearings and strongly defended his company. When asked about whether
he has a “win at all cost” mentality, he answered that you bring people
together to work on products and make products better, but there is never a
finish line—there are always challenges ahead (Jager & Ortiz, 1997, pp.
151–152). In his personal style, Gates is simple, straightforward,
unpretentious, and altruistic: He has demonstrated a strong concern for the
poor and underserved.

Intelligence in Leadership

Oprah Winfrey (1954–)
An award-winning television talk show host, Oprah Winfrey is one of the
most powerful and influential women in the world. Born in rural
Mississippi into a dysfunctional family, she was raised by her grandmother
until she was 6. Winfrey learned to read at a very early age and skipped
two grades in school. Her adolescent years were difficult: While living in
inner-city Milwaukee with her mother who worked two jobs, Winfrey was
molested by a family member. Despite these experiences, she was an
honors student in high school and received national accolades for her
oratory ability. She received a full scholarship to Tennessee State
University, where she studied communication and worked at a local radio
station. Winfrey’s work in the media eventually led her to Chicago where
she became host of the highly acclaimed Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2007,
Winfrey was the highest-paid entertainer in television, earning an annual
salary estimated at $260 million. She also is an actor, a producer, a book
critic, and a magazine publisher, and, in 2011, left her successful television
show to concentrate on her television network, OWN. For years, Winfrey
had publicly battled her weight, using her struggles as inspiration for her
millions of fans to lead healthier lives. In 2015, Winfrey become a 10%
stockholder and board member of the diet empire Weight Watchers.
Winfrey, who has long shown an interest in health issues and dieting
programs, serves as an adviser to the company, using her undeniable clout


to further encourage others to engage in healthier lifestyles.

Frederick M. Brown/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty

Her total wealth is estimated at more than $3.1 billion. Winfrey is also a
highly regarded philanthropist: Her giving has focused on making a
difference in the lives of the underprivileged and poor. Winfrey has paid


special attention to the needs of people in Africa, raising millions of
dollars to help AIDS-affected children there and creating a leadership
academy for girls in a small town near Johannesburg, South Africa.

Traits and Characteristics

Oprah Winfrey’s remarkable journey from rural poverty to influential
world leader can be explained by several of her strengths (Harris &
Watson, 2007; Illouz, 2003; McDonald, 2007). Foremost, Winfrey is an
excellent communicator. Since she was a little girl reciting Bible passages
in church, she has been comfortable in front of an audience. On television,
she is able to talk to millions of people and have each person feel as if she
is talking directly to him or her. Winfrey is also intelligent and well read,
with a strong business sense. She is sincere, determined, and inspirational.
Winfrey has a charismatic style of leadership that enables her to connect
with people. She is spontaneous and expressive, and has a fearless ability
to self-disclose. Because she has “been in the struggle” and survived, she
is seen as a role model. Winfrey has overcome many obstacles in her life
and encourages others to overcome their struggles as well. Her message is
a message of hope.

All of these individuals have exhibited exceptional leadership. While each
of these leaders is unique, together they share many common
characteristics. All are visionary, strong willed, diligent, and inspirational.
As purpose-driven leaders, they are role models and symbols of hope.
Reflecting on the characteristics of these extraordinary leaders will provide
you with a better understanding of the traits that are important for effective
leadership. Although you may not aspire to be another Bill Gates or
Mother Teresa, you can learn a great deal from these leaders in
understanding how your own traits affect your leadership.

This chapter describes the traits required of a leader. Social science
research has provided insight into leadership traits. Thousands of
leadership studies have been performed to identify the traits of effective
leaders; the results of these studies point to a very long list of important
leadership traits. From this list, the traits that appear to be especially
important for effective leadership are intelligence, confidence, charisma,


determination, sociability, and integrity.

Traits and Leadership Styles

From an examination of a select group of well-known historical and
contemporary leaders including George Washington, Winston Churchill,
Mother Teresa, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey, it is clear that exemplary
leaders exhibit many similar traits. In the main, these leaders were or are
visionary, strong willed, diligent, inspirational, purpose driven, and
hopeful. These leadership figures provide useful models for understanding
the traits that are important and desirable for achieving effective

Because leadership is a complex process, there are no simple paths or
guarantees to becoming a successful leader. Each individual is unique, and
each of us has our own distinct talents for leadership. Those who are
naturally strong in the six traits discussed in this chapter will be well
equipped for leadership. If you are not strong on all of these traits but are
willing to work on them, you can still become an effective leader.

Remember that there are many traits related to effective leadership. By
becoming aware of your own traits and how to nourish them, you will be
well on your way to becoming a successful leader.

Glossary Terms
charisma 24
confidence 23
determination 25
integrity 26
intelligence 22
sociability 25

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2.1 Case Study: An Emerging Leader
Tim T. portrays his life as a tension between “nature” and “nurture.” He
sees it this way: He has two sets of DNA, and these two very different
sets of characteristics have given him what he needs to be a leader. The
first set of DNA, he says, comprises those “God-given genetic talents”
that came from the biological parents who abandoned him at birth. The
second set comes from the religious and caring family who adopted him
two years later.

Tim’s nature is to be out in front of people and relating to them. These
innate abilities of his have always been very public and people oriented:
from his easy and eloquent speaking style and teaching skills to singing
and acting. “As a baby, I was always an extrovert, and since age 2 or 3,
people have told me that I would be either president of the United
States, a preacher, or a comedian,” he says. “I didn’t intentionally work
on these abilities; I have just always had them.”

His “other strand of DNA” came from his adoptive family whom he
describes as gentle, unassuming, and quiet. Tim admits he ran in the
“middle of the crowd,” while his family members were often silent
bystanders standing off in a corner. They did, however, instill in him
the strong values of “loving God, loving family, working hard, and
giving back” that he embraces today.

Those two sets of characteristics allowed Tim to thrive early. Just out of
high school, he was given an opportunity by baseball player Derek
Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation to create a new after-school program for
second to fifth graders called Proud to Be Me. The goal of the pilot
program was to build children’s self-esteem and self-concept by
providing them with new and diverse experiences. Tim developed it
with the goal of giving these children a larger lens of what the world
could be, so they would be empowered to see more choices than what
they found in their neighborhoods.


“My core belief and approach has been to help others by giving them
things that nobody can take away,” he says.

When Tim went to college, he supported himself working part-time at a
bank doing collections, calling people on the phone to try to convince
them to make payments on their debts. It wasn’t fun, but Tim excelled
at it. “I would use my powers of persuasion to get people to make
payments, not because it was my job, but because I wanted to help
them. These weren’t bad people; they just got in over their heads.”

It was in this job that Tim realized his talents only worked if there was a
purpose. “I tried to sell vacuum cleaners once and couldn’t even sell
one to my own mama,” he says. “Do you know why? Because there
was no purpose in it. But yet, I could talk these people who are
struggling and hurting into making a payment. That’s when I knew that
I can’t walk on the face of this earth and not help somebody. My
persuasion has to have a purpose.”

After finishing college, Tim went on to get a master’s degree in
communication and, at the age of 28, became the executive director of
the Douglass Community Association, a 90-year-old private, nonprofit,
inner-city agency that provides opportunities for youth development,
education, healthy living, and leadership. Tim managed the center’s
$1.2 million budget and 24 people. He spent much of his time out in the
larger community raising money and resources and putting out fires.
Although Tim enjoyed his role as executive director, he admits he had
difficulty handling the day-to-day personnel issues at the agency.

“I spent a lot of time managing external human resources, but not
paying attention to the needs of internal human resources at the center.
When my staff did an assessment of me, they consistently said, ‘He
does a great job as a leader, but he is our boss and we need him here.’”

To enhance his skills, he took advanced leadership training at the
Center for Creative Leadership in North Carolina and Harvard
University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tim left the community center
after four years to become an associate vice president at Southwest
Michigan First, a regional agency focused on catalyzing job creation
and economic growth in an area that has been hard hit by job losses. For
Tim, it’s an opportunity that makes the most of his double set of DNA.

“This is the place where my talent and my passions meet. I can help
people. I can sift through problems and take big issues and break them
down in ways people understand. I can persuade and motivate people
and organizations to grow,” he says. “And I am still helping others in


ways that people can’t take away.”

But Tim still wants to find more ways to help others by creating an
independent foundation to help people and kids in need. “My
experience has been that it is hard to help hurting people because there
is so much bureaucracy and BS tied up in how we do it. I want to help
people without strings. If you give people money to help them, don’t
give it to them if you need it back. If you’re gonna do something for
someone, just do it.”


1. What is your reaction to Tim’s story?
2. Nature and nurture play a significant role in Tim’s leadership

journey. From your perspective, which has the greatest impact on
Tim? Discuss your answer.

3. Of the six major traits described in the chapter (i.e., intelligence,
confidence, charisma, determination, sociability, and integrity),
which traits are Tim’s strongest, and which traits are his weakest?

4. What characteristics of Tim’s leadership would you like to
incorporate into your own style of leadership?

2.2 Leadership Traits Questionnaire


1. To gain an understanding of how traits are used in leadership

2. To obtain an assessment of your own leadership traits


1. Make five copies of this questionnaire. It should be completed by
you and five people you know (e.g., roommates, coworkers,
relatives, friends).

2. Using the following scale, have each individual indicate the
degree to which he or she agrees or disagrees with each of the 14
statements below regarding your leadership traits. Do not forget to
complete this exercise for yourself.

3. ______________________________ (your name) is


Statements Strongly

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly

1. Articulate:
with others

1 2 3 4 5

2. Perceptive:
Is discerning
and insightful

1 2 3 4 5

3. Self-
Believes in
oneself and
one’s ability

1 2 3 4 5

4. Self-
assured: Is
secure with
self, free of

1 2 3 4 5

5. Persistent:
Stays fixed on
the goals,

1 2 3 4 5

6. Determined:
Takes a firm
stand, acts
with certainty

1 2 3 4 5

Is authentic,

1 2 3 4 5



Is consistent
and reliable

1 2 3 4 5

9. Friendly:
kindness and

1 2 3 4 5

10. Outgoing:
Talks freely,
gets along
well with

1 2 3 4 5

Is thorough,
organized, and

1 2 3 4 5

12. Diligent:
Is industrious,

1 2 3 4 5

13. Sensitive:
tolerance, is
tactful and

1 2 3 4 5

14. Empathic:
identifies with

1 2 3 4 5


1. Enter the responses for Raters 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in the appropriate
columns on the scoring sheet on this page. An example of a
completed chart is provided on page 41.


and place that number in the “average rating” column.
3. Place your own scores in the “self-rating” column.

Leadership Traits Questionnaire Chart








1. Articulate

2. Perceptive

3. Self-

4. Self-

5. Persistent




9. Friendly

10. Outgoing


12. Diligent

13. Sensitive


14. Empathic
Summary and interpretation:

Scoring Interpretation

The scores you received on this questionnaire provide information
about how you see yourself and how others see you as a leader. The
chart allows you to see where your perceptions are the same as those of
others and where they differ. There are no “perfect” scores for this
questionnaire. The purpose of the instrument is to provide a way to
assess your strengths and weaknesses and to evaluate areas where your
perceptions are similar to or different from those of others. While it is
confirming when others see you in the same way as you see yourself, it
is also beneficial to know when they see you differently. This
assessment can help you understand your assets as well as areas in
which you may seek to improve.

Example 2.1 Leadership Traits Questionnaire








1. Articulate 4 4 3 2 4 3.4 4

2. Perceptive 2 5 3 4 4 3.6 5

3. Self-

4 4 5 5 4 4.4 4

4. Self-

5 5 5 5 5 5 5

5. Persistent 4 4 3 3 3 3.4 3


4 4 4 4 4 4 4


5 5 5 5 5 5 5



4 5 4 5 4 4.4 4

9. Friendly 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

10. Outgoing 5 4 5 4 5 4.6 4


2 3 2 3 3 2.6 4

12. Diligent 3 3 3 3 3 3 4

13. Sensitive 4 4 5 5 5 4.6 3

14. Empathic 5 5 4 5 4 4.6 3
Summary and interpretation: The scorer’s self-ratings are higher than the average
ratings of others on articulate, perceptive, conscientious, and diligent. The scorer’s
self-ratings are lower than the average ratings of others on self-confident, persistent,
dependable, outgoing, sensitive, and empathic. The scorer’s self-ratings on self-
assured, determined, trustworthy, and friendly are the same as the average ratings of

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

2.3 Observational Exercise

Leadership Traits



1. To gain an understanding of the role of traits in the leadership

2. To examine the traits of selected historical and everyday leaders


1. Based on the descriptions of the historical leaders provided in the
chapter, identify the three major leadership traits for each of the
leaders listed below.

2. Select and briefly describe two leaders in your own life (e.g., work
supervisor, teacher, coach, music director, business owner,
community leader). Identify the three major leadership traits of
each of these leaders.



1. Based on the leaders you observed, which leadership traits appear
to be most important?

2. What differences, if any, did you observe between the historical
and everyday leaders’ traits?

3. Based on your observations, what one trait would you identify as
the definitive leadership trait?

4. Overall, what traits do you think should be used in selecting our
society’s leaders?

Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

2.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

Leadership Traits



1. Based on the scores you received on the Leadership Traits
Questionnaire, what are your strongest leadership traits? What are
your weakest traits? Discuss.

2. In this chapter, we discussed five leadership figures. As you read
about these leaders, which leaders did you find most appealing?
What was it about their leadership that you found remarkable?

3. As you reflect on your own leadership traits, do you think some of
them are more “you” and authentic than others? Have you always
been the kind of leader you are today, or have your traits changed
over time? Are you a stronger leader today than you were five
years ago? Discuss.


1. If you could model yourself after one or more of the historical
leaders we discussed in this chapter, whom would you model
yourself after? Identify two of their traits that you could and
should incorporate into your own style of leadership.

2. Based on the case study of Tim T., which of his traits could you
incorporate into your own leadership? Discuss.

3. Although changing leadership traits is not easy, which of your
leadership traits would you like to change? Specifically, what
actions do you need to take to change your traits?

4. All of us have problematic traits that inhibit our leadership but are
difficult to change. Which single trait distracts from your
leadership? Since you cannot easily change this trait, what actions
can you take to “work around” this trait? Discuss.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

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3 Engaging Strengths

Think of a time or circumstance when you were at the top of your game.
Now, step back and try to explain why you were so effective in that
situation. What was it about you or the way you presented yourself that
made you feel good? What did you do that worked so well? Why did
others respond to you the way they did? The answers to each of these
questions are related to your strengths—the central theme of this chapter.

What Do You Mean By Strengths?

Every one of us has identifiable leadership strengths, areas in which we
excel or thrive. But we often fail to recognize these strengths. As a result,
many times our strengths are used ineffectively or not at all. The same is
true for the strengths of our coworkers and followers; sometimes their
strengths are known, but often they go untapped. The challenge we face as
leaders is to identify our own strengths as well as the strengths of others
and then use these to make our organizations and followers more efficient,
productive, and satisfied.

Identifying individual strengths is a unique challenge because people often
feel hesitant and inhibited about acknowledging positive aspects of
themselves. In the American culture, expressing positive self-attributes is
often seen as boastful or self-serving. In fact, focusing on self is disdained
in many cultures, while showing humility and being self-deprecating is
seen as virtuous. In this chapter, you will be asked to set aside your
inhibitions about identifying your own strengths in an effort to better
understand the inextricable role these strengths play in leading and
working with others.

Our goal in this chapter is to explore how understanding strengths can
make one a better leader. First, we will explain the concept by defining
strengths and describing the historical background of strengths-based


leadership. We will examine how to identify strengths, followed by a
description of different measures that can be used to assess your strengths.
The final section of the chapter will look at the concept of strengths-based
leadership in practice, including specific strategies that leaders can employ
to use strengths to become more effective leaders.

Strengths-Based Leadership Explained
Before discussing the development and principles of strength leadership,
we first need to clarify what is meant by strengths. A strength is an
attribute or quality of an individual that accounts for successful
performance. It is the characteristic, or series of characteristics, we
demonstrate when our performance is at its best. Strength researchers
(Buckingham & Clifton, 2001; Rath, 2007) suggest that strengths are the
ability to consistently demonstrate exceptional work. Similarly, Linley
(2008) defines strength as a preexisting capacity that is authentic and
energizing and enables peak performance. Simply put, strengths are
positive features of ourselves that make us effective and help us flourish.
For example, Antonio was born with a talent for drawing and design. He
worked as a construction laborer for years while he attended a university to
study architecture. As a result, when Antonio became an architect, his
experiences in building made his design skills stronger because he more
fully understood the concepts of actual construction. His clients often
comment that one of his strengths is his “construction-friendly” designs.

What is Strengths-Based Leadership?

Historical Background
Studying leadership from the perspective of strengths is a new area of
study, which came to the forefront in the late 1990s as a result of two
overlapping research developments. First, researchers at the Gallup
Organization initiated a massive study that included interviews of over 2
million people to describe what’s right with people—that is, their talents
and what they are good at—rather than what’s wrong with people (Rath,


Second, academic research scholars began to question the exclusive focus
in psychology on the disease model of human problems and started to
study mentally and physically healthy people and what accounted for their
well-being. From this work, a new field called positive psychology
emerged (Peterson & Seligman, 2003). Each of these two developments
helped to explain the rising popularity of strengths-based leadership.

Gallup Organization

Best known as a public opinion research organization that conducts
political polling, the Gallup Organization also conducts research in other
areas of the social sciences. For nearly 40 years, the study of people’s
strengths has been a major research focus at Gallup. This work was
spearheaded by the late Donald O. Clifton, under whose leadership
millions of people were interviewed regarding their performance and
human strengths. Based on these interview data, Gallup researchers
designed and published the StrengthsFinder profile, an online assessment
of people’s talents and potential strengths. This profile was subsequently
titled the Clifton StrengthsFinder in honor of its chief designer and since
2007 has been called StrengthsFinder 2.0. Later in the chapter, we will
discuss more extensively StrengthsFinder and the specific talent-based
strengths it measures.

The Strengths Finder

StrengthsFinder is one of the most widely used self-assessment
questionnaires in the world and has been completed by more than 10
million people to date. This assessment has been adopted by many
universities and organizations to help individuals identify their strengths,
become more engaged, and improve their performance. While Gallup has
not published a theory about strengths, the widely accepted use of
StrengthsFinder has elevated strengths as a key variable in discussions of
factors that account for effective leadership development and performance.

Positive Psychology

At the same time Gallup’s StrengthsFinder profile was growing in


popularity, a major change was occurring in the discipline of psychology.
Researchers were challenging the discipline to expand its focus on not
only what is wrong with people and their weaknesses, but also what is
right with people and their positive attributes. This expanded focus, which
was initiated by Martin Seligman in an address to the American
Psychological Association in 1998 (see Fowler, Seligman, & Kocher,
1999), soon became the field of positive psychology. Since its inception a
decade ago, positive psychology has grown exponentially and developed
into a credible and important area of psychological research.

Positive Psychology

Specifically, positive psychology can be defined as “the ‘scientific’ study
of what makes life most worth living” (Peterson, 2009, p. xxiii). Rather
than study the frailties and flaws of individuals (the disease model),
positive psychology focuses on individuals’ strengths and the factors that
allow them to thrive (Fredrickson, 2001; Seligman, 2002; Seligman &
Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). It addresses people’s positive experiences, such
as their happiness and joy; people’s positive traits, such as their
characteristics and talents; and people’s positive institutions, such as
families, schools, and businesses that influence them (Cameron, Dutton, &
Quinn, 2003).

Positive Psychology in Action

Most prominently, positive psychology is devoted to the study of people’s
positive characteristics—their strengths. This makes it invaluable for
understanding strengths-based leadership. Positive psychology launched
the analysis of people’s strengths into the mainstream of scientific research
(Linley, 2008). Concepts and theories from the field of positive
psychology directly relate to learning how strengths-based leadership

Identifying and Measuring Strengths


As indicated in the historical background, most of the research on
strengths has been done by scholars connected with Gallup and scholars
studying positive psychology. This body of research has produced multiple
ways of identifying strengths and a wide-ranging list of individual
strengths. This section explores the way strengths have been identified by
three major groups: (1) Gallup Organization, (2) Values in Action
Institute, and (3) Centre of Applied Positive Psychology in Great Britain.
Although there is much overlap in their work, each research group
provides a unique perspective on identifying and measuring individual
strengths. Collectively, this research provides an extensive list of specific
strengths, a clear picture of how strengths can be measured, and an
expansive view of how strengths can be used to understand human

Gallup and the StrengthsFinder Profile

Gallup researchers interviewed an enormous number of executives,
salespeople, teachers, doctors, nurses, and other professionals about their
strengths and what made them good at what they did. The goal of the
interviews was to identify the qualities of high-performing individuals.
From interviews, Gallup researchers extracted 34 patterns or themes that
they thought did the best job at explaining excellent performance (see
Table 3.1). These 34 items are “the most common themes that emerged
from the study of human talent” (Buckingham & Clifton, 2001, p. 12). For
the last decade, these themes have been the benchmark for discussing
strengths in the workplace.

It is important to point out that Gallup researchers identified themes of
human talent, not strengths. Talents are similar to personality traits—they
are relatively stable, fixed characteristics that are not easily changed. From
talents, strengths emerge. The equation for developing a strength is talent
times investment (see Figure 3.1). Strengths are derived from having
certain talents and then further developing those talents by gaining
additional knowledge, skills, and practice (Rath, 2007). For example, you
may have the talent for being able to communicate easily with others. If
you were to invest time in learning more about the intricacies of effective
communication and practicing it with the help of Toastmasters
International, a club that helps individuals develop public speaking skills,
you could enhance your communication strength. Similarly, if you were
born with talent as an initiator, you could develop it further into one of


your strengths by studying how to “think outside of the box” and then
practicing this thought process in your organization. To summarize, talents
are not strengths, but they provide the basis for developing strengths when
they are coupled with knowledge, skills, and practice.

How are strengths measured from the Gallup perspective? Gallup’s
StrengthsFinder is a 177-item questionnaire that identifies “the areas
where you have the greatest potential to develop strengths” (Rath, 2007, p.
31). After taking this questionnaire, you receive a list of your five
strongest talents. You can build on these talents, furthering your personal
growth and development. The questionnaire, which takes about 30 minutes
to complete, is available through an access code that appears in the back of
strengths books published by Gallup. It is also available on the
organization’s website at

Becoming Influential

Table 3.1 34 Talent Themes
Table 3.1 34 Talent Themes

Executing Influencing Relationship

































Restorative Woo Relator Strategic
Source: Copyright © 2008 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. The content is used with
permission; however, Gallup retains all rights of republication.

Figure 3.1 Strength Equation

Source: Copyright © 2007 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. The
content is used with permission; however, Gallup retains all rights of

How can leaders use strengths in their leadership? In the book Strengths
Based Leadership, Rath and Conchie (2008) explain how a leader’s scores
on the StrengthsFinder profile can be interpreted. To facilitate
understanding, they developed a configuration that depicts four domains of
leadership strengths (see Table 3.2). The four domains are executing,
influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking. These domains
were derived from information obtained during interviews with thousands
of executive teams and from a factor analysis of the Gallup talent data set.
Taken together, the four domains represent the four kinds of strengths that
help create successful teams.

Effective teams possess broad groupings of strengths and work best when
all four domains of leadership strengths are represented on their teams
(Rath & Conchie, 2008). Effective teams are generally well rounded, and
they have different group members who fulfill different needs of the
group. Leaders bring unique strengths to teams, but leaders do not have to


bring into play everyone’s strengths to make the team effective.

For example, Maria Lopez, who has owned a successful bridal shop for 10
years, took the StrengthsFinder profile and found her dominant strengths
were in the strategic thinking domain. Maria is known for her futuristic
thinking and deliberate planning. She is outstanding at forecasting trends
in bridal wear and helping her team navigate the constantly changing
bridal market. Maria hired Claudia, whose dominant strengths are in
relationship building. Claudia is the most positive person on the staff and
connects with everyone. It is Claudia who treats customers in the store like
they are part of “the family.” To run the store on a day-to-day basis, Maria
brought on Kristen who is a hard worker and uses her strengths in
executing to get the job done. She is highly disciplined and motivated to
make the bridal shop the best in the city. Lastly, Maria hired Brianna
because of her strengths in the domain of influencing. Brianna is always
out in the community promoting the shop. She is seen as a credible
professional by other shop owners because she is self-assured and
knowledgeable. In the store, people like Brianna because she is not afraid
to be in charge and give directions to others. In summary, Maria, the
store’s owner, is a leader with strengths in one domain, but has the wisdom
to hire personnel who have strengths in other domains. Collectively, the
combined strengths of Maria and her team allow them to have a very
successful bridal shop.

Table 3.2 Four Domains of Leadership Strength
Table 3.2 Four

Domains of Leadership



Relationship Building

Strategic Thinking
Source: Copyright © 2008 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. The content is used with
permission; however, Gallup retains all rights of republication.

Values in Action Institute and Inventory of Strengths


Values in Action Institute and Inventory of Strengths

At the same time the StrengthsFinder profile was gaining prominence,
researchers at the Values in Action (VIA) Institute, led by Martin
Seligman and Christopher Peterson, were engaged in a project to develop a
framework for the field of positive psychology that defined and
conceptualized character strengths. This classification focused on what is
best in people rather than their weaknesses and problems. To develop the
classification, they reviewed philosophical and spiritual literature in
Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judeo-Christianity, Ancient Greece,
and Islam to determine whether there were commonalities that consistently
emerged across cultures regarding virtues (Peterson & Park, 2009;
Peterson & Seligman, 2004). From the review, they identified six universal
core virtues: courage, justice, humanity, temperance, transcendence, and
wisdom. These six virtues represent the basic structure around which
Seligman and Peterson developed the Values in Action Classification of
Character Strengths (see Table 3.3). The VIA Classification includes 24
strengths organized under these six basic virtues.

As illustrated in Table 3.3, the 24 character strengths identified in the VIA
Classification are somewhat different from the strengths identified in
Gallup’s StrengthsFinder profile (see Table 3.1). For example, “justice”
and “love,” which are strengths in the VIA Classification, seem more
encompassing and virtue oriented than “connectedness” and “ideation,”
which are strengths identified in the Gallup list. Furthermore, the strengths
outlined by the StrengthsFinder are more closely tied to the workplace and
helping individuals perform better, while VIA strengths are focused more
directly on a person’s character and how one can become more virtuous.

Table 3.3 VIA Classification of Character Strengths
Table 3.3 VIA Classification of Character Strengths

Classification Strengths


Cognitive Strengths










Love of learning



Emotional Strengths










Interpersonal Strengths






Social intelligence


Civic Strengths








Strengths Over Excess










Strengths About Meaning






Appreciation of beauty and





pp. 142–146.

Values in Action

From the VIA perspective, character strengths are measured with the
Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS), a questionnaire
designed to create a profile of your character strengths. It takes about 30
minutes to complete and is available free at After
completing the questionnaire, you will receive reports and feedback
identifying your top five character strengths as well as a rank order of your
scores on all 24 character strengths.

Centre of Applied Positive Psychology and the R2
Strengths Profiler Assessment

Based on the principles of positive psychology, researchers at the Centre
of Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) in the United Kingdom developed
an approach to strengths that differs from the approaches used in Gallup’s
StrengthsFinder and the Values in Action perspectives. Rather than
focusing exclusively on the identification of a specific number of
strengths, CAPP researchers created a more dynamic model of strengths
that emphasizes the changing nature of strengths (see Figure 3.2). They
also examined different kinds of strengths and weaknesses. CAPP argued
that strengths are more fluid than personality traits and can emerge over a
lifetime through the different situations we experience.

From CAPP’s perspective, strengths were conceptualized as “the things
that we are good at and that give us energy when we are using them”
(Linley & Dovey, 2012, p. 4). The three central elements of this definition
became the criteria in CAPP’s questionnaire (R2 Strengths Profiler) for
assessing strengths: (1) performance—how good we are at doing
something; (2) energy—how much vitality we get out of it; and (3) use—
how often we are able to do it. Therefore, the R2 Strengths Profiler
assesses 60 strengths in relation to three dimensions of energy,
performance, and use. Based on an individual’s combined scores across
these dimensions, CAPP provides feedback that specifies the individual’s


these dimensions, CAPP provides feedback that specifies the individual’s
realized strengths, unrealized strengths, learned behaviors, and
weaknesses. It takes about 20 minutes to complete the R2 Strengths
Profiler, which is available for a fee at

The CAPP strengths perspective is represented in the R2 Strengths Profiler
Quadrant Model (see Figure 3.2). It is divided into quadrants labeled
realized strengths, unrealized strengths, learned behaviors, and
weaknesses. As you can see in Figure 3.2, each quadrant lists attributes
based on the dimensions of performance, energy generation, and use. Each
quadrant characterizes different individual attributes and how they can be
put into use.

Realized Strengths. Realized strengths are personal attributes that
represent our strongest assets. We are energized when we use them
because they help us perform well. For example, one of Rachel’s strengths
is narrator. She is a wonderful storyteller and uses these stories to convey
her message and express her values. The model suggests that people
should make every effort to maximize the use of these realized strengths,
when it is appropriate to do so.

Unrealized Strengths. Unrealized strengths are personal attributes that
are less visible. We feel good when we tap into unrealized strengths
because they support our efforts and help us achieve our goals. One of
Jason’s unrealized strengths is creativity. He is good at coming up with
new ideas and concepts, but more often than not he just goes with the flow
and does not express his creativity. The model challenges individuals to
become more aware of these strengths and to use them more frequently—
thus to marshal them as a resource.

Figure 3.2 R2 Strengths Profiler 4M Model


Source: Centre of Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP), Coventry,
UK: CAPP Press.

Learned Behaviors. Learned behaviors represent those ingrained things
we have learned throughout our life experience. Although valuable, they
do not excite or inspire us. For example, one of Sunil’s learned behaviors
is driver. As the eldest of five, he was driven to graduate from college.
Highly self-motivated, Sunil constantly pushes himself to succeed in
everything he does, often to the detriment of his own health. Many times
Sunil doesn’t recognize when his goals are unrealistic, and not succeeding
in these leads to feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness. The model
suggests limiting, or moderating, the use of these behaviors because they
are draining and do not energize us.

Weaknesses. Weaknesses are our limiting attributes. They often drain our
energy and result in poor performance. One of Kaylee’s weaknesses is
unconditionality. She finds it hard to genuinely accept people for who they
are, without being judgmental about them and expecting them to change to
meet her ideals. As a leader, she is constantly frustrated by others because
they don’t meet her standards in a number of areas. The model suggests
that effective people try to minimize their weaknesses so as to make them
irrelevant or of less concern.


Unlike the previous approaches to strengths, the CAPP model is
prescriptive and pragmatic. The R2 Strengths Profiler suggests ways
people can be more effective by increasing their strengths and minimizing
their weaknesses. The model recommends that individuals use their
realized strengths when possible, but also intentionally look for ways to
increase use of their unrealized strengths. Stated another way, we should
capitalize on our strengths but also seek out ways to express our unrealized
strengths. In addition, the model recommends that we try to moderate our
use of learned behaviors and minimize our use of our weaknesses. We are
energized by our strengths (the top two quadrants), and we lose energy
when we express our weaknesses and learned behavior (the bottom two

A good example of using the CAPP model is Tamaria, who has recently
taken on the role of project manager for a team that is developing a new
website for her company. Tamaria’s realized strength is her focus on
details and organization; her weakness is that she isn’t as technically
skilled as some of the members of her team. As a child, Tamaria struggled
in school, and one of her coping mechanisms was to ask a lot of questions
so that she thoroughly understood assignments. That has become a learned
behavior she still employs. Finally, one of Tamaria’s unrealized strengths
is her ability to problem-solve and mediate in conflict.

In order for her team to succeed, Tamaria will need to maximize the use of
her realized strengths of organization and attention to detail in outlining
the tasks and deadlines for the project. To deal with her weakness in
technical skills, she will need to minimize her involvement in the technical
development of the website, relying on other team members’ technical
skills. By employing her learned behavior of asking her team members a
lot of questions about what they are doing and why, Tamaria will slow
down the team’s progress and frustrate team members who may feel she’s
micromanaging them. In this case, she will need to moderate her
inquisitiveness, identifying the questions that she really needs answered or
finding a way to research the questions on her own. Finally, working
within a team can result in disparate opinions and ideas, and Tamaria will
need to marshal her unrealized strength in the mediation and problem
solving so the team works smoothly together and meets deadlines while
creating a dynamic website.

To summarize, researchers have developed three unique assessment tools


to identify strengths: (1) StrengthsFinder, (2) Values in Action Inventory
of Strengths, and (3) R2 Strengths Profiler (see Table 3.4). Each of these
assessments provides a unique approach to strengths, and together they
help to define and clarify the meaning of strengths. All of the
questionnaires are accessible online, and they are worthwhile self-
assessment tools for identifying and exploring your personal strengths.

Strengths-Based Leadership in Practice
How are strengths used in leadership? Although there are no established
leadership theories on how to practice leadership from a strengths
perspective, many useful applications can be made from strengths research
in everyday leadership situations. In this section, we discuss several
specific ways to incorporate strengths in your personal and work settings.
The steps include (1) discovering your strengths, (2) developing your
strengths, (3) recognizing and engaging the strengths of others, and (4)
fostering a positive strengths-based environment around you. Following
these steps will not be a panacea for becoming a perfect strengths-based
leader, but they will most certainly help you, as a leader, to maximize the
use of your strengths as well as those of others.

Using Strengths in a Pharmacy

Discovering Your Strengths
As we discussed earlier in this chapter, strengths emerge from our basic
personality traits. We all have unique personality traits, and therefore we
all have unique strengths. No one is without strengths. As suggested by
psychologist Howard Gardner (1997), extraordinary individuals are
“distinguished less by their impressive ‘raw power’ than by their ability to
identify their strengths and then exploit them” (p. 15). MacKie (2016)
suggests that our leadership capability is enhanced when we are able to
discover our fully utilized strengths, underutilized strengths, and
weaknesses. The challenge we face is identifying our strengths and then
employing them effectively in our leadership and personal lives.


Table 3.4 Approaches to Identifying Strengths
Table 3.4 Approaches to Identifying Strengths

Approach Purpose Number of

Strengths of


To identify traits/strengths of peak
performers 24

Strengths of

Values in
Action (VIA-

To identify virtuous/moral
character strengths 36

Strengths Fully


To identify strengths and
weaknesses to improve


Discovering your strengths requires you to concentrate on your positive
attributes and those times when you feel inspirited. To do so, you need to
pay attention to your successes rather than focusing on your weaknesses or
failures. For example, when are you at the top of your game? What is it
about you or your interactions with others that contributes to that feeling?
What accounts for your best performance? When things are going really
well for you, what attributes are behind this success? Answering these
questions will help you discover your strengths. They are the first and
most important step in practicing strengths-based leadership.

Discovering Strengths


There are several ways you can discover your strengths. First, you can
complete one or more of the strengths questionnaires (e.g., StrengthsFinder
2.0, VIA-IS, and R2 Strengths Profiler) that are available online. Each
questionnaire gives a unique snapshot of your greatest strengths. Second,
you can fill out the Leadership Strengths Questionnaire that appears in this
chapter. This questionnaire will provide you with specific feedback
regarding your relative strengths in the areas of implementation,
innovation, encouragement, analysis, and mediation. Third, you can
complete the Reflected Best Self Exercise (RBSE) (Quinn, Dutton, &
Spreitzer, 2003), which can be found at
2nd-edition/. The RBSE can assist you in identifying unrecognized and
unexplored area of strengths (Roberts et al., 2005). Fourth, you can
complete the “discovering your strengths” exercise that appears at the end
of this chapter in Reflection and Action Worksheet 3.4. This exercise
allows people you know to tell you what they see as your strengths when
you are performing at your best. It is a powerful exercise you can use to
become more aware of your strengths, and it may help you learn about
some you have not recognized. Fifth, you can engage in a self-assessment
of what you believe to be your strongest attributes. Intuitively, we all have
a sense of what we do well, but taking the time to intentionally
contemplate and consider our own strengths leads us to become more fully
aware of our strengths.

This myriad of methods for discovering strengths will allow you to
painlessly develop a definitive list of your major strengths. This process is
not only enlightening but is also a vital first step in developing strengths-
based leadership.

Developing Your Strengths
Once you have discovered your strengths, what do you do with that
knowledge? How do you make use of this information to be a stronger
leader? Developing one’s strengths is a multifaceted process that involves
several steps. First, you must acknowledge your strengths and be prepared
to reveal them to others. As we discussed at the beginning of this chapter,
it is often difficult to share our strengths with others because we may feel
inhibited about openly and verbally acknowledging positive aspects of
ourselves. But expressing our strengths is essential to making others aware
of our leadership.


Telling others about our strengths is important because it lets them know
how we can be most useful when working or collaborating together,
clarifying the unique contributions we can make to others and their work.
In essence, disclosing strengths declares “this is what I bring to the table,
this is what I am best at, this is what I can do for you,” and that allows
others to know what they can expect from us. For example, when Tanya
lets others know that her strongest quality is that she is an achiever, others
learn that Tanya is not likely to allow mediocrity in their work. She is
going to be demanding and push others toward excellence. Similarly, when
Jason tells his staff that his strength is listening, his staff learns that Jason
will have an open door and be willing to hear their problems or concerns.
Putting our strengths out in the open makes us more transparent to others,
and this helps others predict how we are going to act and how they might
want to act toward us.

Developing Strengths

People use a variety of ways to reveal their strengths. Some people post
their top five strengths on Facebook or LinkedIn, add them to their email
signature, or list them on their résumé as a way of making their strengths
more visible to others. Several unique examples of how some people share
their strengths are illustrated in Figure 3.3. Disclosing our strengths to
others does not need to be a daunting or embarrassing task, but can be
done in a fairly simple, straightforward manner.

Expressing strengths has a cultural element to it as well. What one culture
may see as a strength that should be revealed, another may see as
something to be kept hidden. For example, many Western cultures
encourage women to recognize and celebrate their intelligence. In some
cultures, such as those in religiously conservative, patriarchal societies of
the Middle East, women expressing intelligence is not seen as a strength.
Many girls are prohibited from attending school.

In addition to revealing your strengths, practice working consistently with
others based on your strengths. For example, if your strength is being an
innovator, find ways to be creative in your leadership. For example, do not
hesitate to engage in activities like brainstorming or creating a vision for


your group or organization. Similarly, if your strength is that you are
deliberative, place yourself in a position where your strength in providing
structure and order to a project can be put to use. Add your well-thought-
out perspective by being vigilant and practical when people around you are
coming up with ideas that have never been tested. The point is that you
should lead from your strengths; your strengths represent the best you have
to offer in influencing others. As Anderson (2004) from the Gallup
Organization has suggested, “The best of the best invent ways of
developing and applying strengths in areas where they want to improve,
achieve, and become more effective” (p. 7).

Figure 3.3 Examples of Ways to Express Strengths

A good example of practicing strengths is Warren Buffett, one of the
wealthiest people in the world. Buffett is known for his patience,
practicality, and trustfulness, and he used these strengths to make
Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate, successful
(Buckingham & Clifton, 2001). His patience led him to adopt the now
famous “20-year perspective” on investing only in companies that he
believed would be successful for the long term. His practicality explains
how he selected specific companies whose services and products he
understood (e.g., American Express). Finally, Buffett’s trustfulness
allowed him to select senior managers who were reputable and dependable
to run his company. Clearly, Buffett recognized his strengths and carved
out a role for himself that allowed him to practice these strengths every
day (Buckingham & Clifton, 2001).

Addressing Your Weaknesses
Leaders must not only recognize and capitalize on their strengths, but also
be able to identify their weaknesses and address them (MacKie, 2016).
Harvard leadership professor John P. Kotter states, “Great leadership


doesn’t mean running away from reality . . . sharing difficulties can inspire
people to take action that will make the situation better” (Blagg & Young,

While some of the models discussed here advocate minimizing your
weaknesses, understanding them can allow you to work to improve them
and to recognize situations where your weaknesses can be a liability to
your leadership. For example, Lisa owns a small business developing e-
commerce websites for companies that sell products online. Her strengths
are her structural and process-oriented thinking and technical expertise.
She is adept at anticipating and managing the many small details for
creating a website that is secure and provides a good user experience.
However, Lisa can’t describe what she does in normal “layperson” terms
for clients. In her proposals and presentations, she tends to lose clients
with her use of technical language and minutiae of detail. In Lisa’s case, it
isn’t enough that she minimize her weakness—she can’t not talk to clients
because that’s how she generates new business. She must find a way to
communicate better with her clients.

Leadership Snapshot: Steve Jobs, Founder, Apple Inc.


© Bloomberg/Contributor/Bloomberg/Getty Images

While Steve Jobs was undoubtedly brilliant, he didn’t possess the
technical abilities to be a computer genius. In fact, Jobs didn’t know
how to write computer code or program a computer. But he succeeded
—twice—in building one of the most successful and profitable
computer companies in the world.

Jobs had many notable strengths, including his creativity, team
building, strategic vision, and influencing. He had intuitive vision,
imagining products and applications of which no one else dared to
dream. When he created Apple in 1976 with partner Steve Wozniak, he
sought to create an attractive, simple, inexpensive computer marketed
as the first home computer. Jobs micromanaged every detail of the
computer’s creation from its unique operating software to the color of


its casing.

Jobs was an influencer, using his indomitable will and charisma to
convince himself and others of almost anything. He believed rules were
meant to be broken, and in 1984, Apple did just that, introducing a truly
revolutionary product, the Macintosh. It used graphics, icons, a mouse,
and the point-and-click technology that is still standard. It was
innovative and influential.

But Jobs wasn’t perfect. He could be confrontational, and this quality
eventually resulted in him being booted out of his own company by
Apple’s board of directors.

Jobs moved on, using his visionary skills and passion for perfection to
create NeXT Computer, recognized as a great product that never caught
on with consumers.

Undaunted, Jobs branched out into movie animation by acquiring Pixar
Animation Studios, bringing his vision, passion, and influencing skills
to a new industry. Under his leadership, Pixar revolutionized movie
animation and made Jobs a multibillionaire.

His old company, Apple, hadn’t done so well. A decade after Jobs
exited, Apple was nearly bankrupt. It decided to buy NeXT Computer
and the services of Jobs as a consultant. But he would soon take over as
CEO. His first move was to employ another of his strengths—focus. He
took the two-dozen products Apple was producing—printers,
computers, and software—and winnowed them down to only laptop and
desktop computers for the professional and home consumer.

Jobs didn’t stop there. Over the next 14 years, he dreamt up the iPod,
the iPad, and the iPhone. By combining creativity, technology, and feats
of engineering, Apple produced new devices that consumers hadn’t
even thought of or knew they needed. Jobs insisted these devices be
intuitive and simple to use and oversaw every detail of design from
creating specialized glass for the screens to the width of their metal

In the end, Jobs’s vision revolutionized seven industries: personal
computers, animated movies, music, telephones, tablet computing,
digital publishing, and retail stores. When he returned to Apple in 1997,
he personally created the company’s new ad campaign—“Think
Different”—which was as much a statement of his own strengths as a
leader as it was a mission statement for Apple.


After losing out on several possible projects, Lisa listened to the feedback
of the clients when they said that what she was proposing was “too
complicated.” Lisa brought in a marketing professional, Julie, to help her
develop and pitch proposals to clients. Julie understands enough of the
technical parts of Lisa’s work to be able to put it in easier-to-understand
terms for potential clients. Julie is very strong in communication and social
interactions, and Lisa is finding that by observing and working with Julie,
she is learning to communicate more effectively with clients.

While making the most of our strengths is important for leaders,
recognizing our weaknesses is also important in effective leadership. In the
case of Lisa, she had to address her communication problems; there was
no way around it. Working to improve on your weaknesses or using them
as opportunities for others to contribute their strengths will improve your

Recognizing and Engaging the Strengths of
In addition to employing their own strengths, leaders need to recognize
and engage the strengths of their followers. They need to determine what
followers are good at doing and help them to do it. Educators who study
group dynamics and the roles individuals play in effective groups often say
“people do what they do best.” What they mean by this is that individuals
often become engaged and contribute positively to groups when they are
allowed to do what they are good at and feel comfortable doing. People
feel comfortable in groups when they can contribute to the group from
their strengths.

How do leaders know what people are good at? Sometimes people are very
up front and freely express their strengths. Mia, for example, often says
when she joins a new work project, “I’m a good note taker, so you can
plan on me to be the record keeper for our meetings.” Similarly, Josh often
says on the first day of a roofing project, “I am pretty fast with the nail
gun, so you might want me on the roof nailing shingles.” Clearly,
sometimes followers openly inform leaders of their strengths. When this
occurs, it is important for leaders to acknowledge these individuals’
strengths if possible and assign them to roles in the work setting that
capitalize on these strengths.


While recognizing strengths sounds simple, it is not uncommon for leaders
to overlook followers’ strengths. Oftentimes, the strengths of followers are
not evident to leaders or even to the followers themselves. This becomes a
challenging situation, because leaders need to ascertain followers’
strengths from what they observe rather than what followers explicitly
express to them. Cordelia was a struggling graduate student who was just
plodding along, uncertain about her direction and goals. When she
received an A++ on a challenging reaction paper, she became excited and
was surprised to learn that her strength was creativity, particularly in
writing. Cordelia and her instructor both became aware of her strengths in
writing by the work she did on her assignment. Juan is good with solving
computer glitches in the office, suggesting his strengths lie in the area of
technology. When he was assisting a staff member who was having a
problem downloading a file from the web, he found that he liked the
challenge of solving these problems. Or consider Ashley, who is a good
worker, always present, and never oppositional. She is a wonderful team
member whose strengths are consistency, kindness, and being fun-loving.
She fosters the esprit de corps in the athletic center where she works. In
each of these examples, an effective leader tries to identify the followers’
strengths and then incorporate them into building a more productive team.

However, it is important to note that others’ strengths may not always be
directly recognizable. Followers may have strengths that are not
observable because their situations don’t allow for many facets of their
overall abilities to emerge. Therefore, it is important to find opportunities
outside followers’ normal realm of duties or activities that will allow their
strengths to emerge. For example, Jeff works on an assembly line at a golf
cart manufacturer attaching seats to the chassis of golf carts. The position
is very repetitive and structured, and Jeff, like the other assembly line
employees, spends most of his workday at his station with limited
interaction with other workers. However, with the blessing of his
supervisor, Jeff recently organized a softball team made up of other plant
workers to play in a local league. Jeff has recruited team members,
arranged all the practices, communicated practice and game schedules to
the team, organized the purchase of team uniforms, and promoted the
team’s games in the plant through flyers and the company newsletter. As a
result, many individuals who work with Jeff have observed his strengths in
organization, inclusion, and communication, which would not be
observable through his day-to-day work on the assembly line.


As we discussed earlier in this chapter, high-performing teams and work
groups possess strengths in four domains: executing, influencing,
relationship building, and strategic thinking (see Table 3.2). When leaders
become aware of their followers’ strengths as well as their own, they can
use this information to design work groups that have individuals with
strengths representing each of the domains. Knowing followers’ unique
strengths allows leaders to make work assignments that maximize each
individual’s contribution to the collective goals of the group (Rath &
Conchie, 2008). If a leader is strong on executing and knows how to make
new ideas come to fruition, but is not as strong in building relationships,
the leader should identify followers with strengths in that area. Or if a
leader has strengths in connecting with people and taking command, the
leader can identify others who are strong in executing and strategic
thinking. Knowledge of followers’ strengths is a valuable tool to help
leaders to build effective groups.

Leadership and Followership

Fostering a Positive Strengths-Based
A final way to practice strengths-based leadership is to create and promote
a positive work environment in which people’s strengths play an integral
role. Multiple studies by researchers in positive organizational scholarship
indicate that companies and organizations that create positive work
environments have a positive physiological impact on employees and, in
turn, this has an advantageous impact on their performance (Cameron,
2012; Dutton & Ragins, 2007). Similarly, research suggests that when
employees have the opportunity to engage their strengths, they are more
productive and more loyal, and their companies experience less turnover
(Clifton & Harter, 2003). In short, people feel better and work better when
the climate in which they work is positive.

In his book Positive Leadership, Cameron (2012) argues that leaders who
want to create a positive work environment should attend to four areas:


climate, relationships, communication, and meaning. To create a positive
climate, leaders should foster among their employees virtues such as
compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude. When these qualities are present,
people feel encouraged and are more productive. Leaders can also promote
celebrating people’s strengths. Doing so helps people feel valued as
individuals and respected for their contribution to the organization. To
build positive relationships, leaders need to highlight individuals’ positive
images and strengths rather than their negative images and weaknesses.
Acknowledging and building on people’s strengths encourages others to
do the same, and this results in the development of an environment where
positive relationships flourish. To develop positive communication, leaders
must be supportive, make more positive than negative statements, and be
less negatively evaluative of others. Positive communication helps people
feel connected and encourages them to capitalize on their strengths.
Finally, leaders can foster positive meaning in their organizations by
emphasizing the connection between employees’ values and the long-term
impact of their work. Employees who find meaning in their work and see it
as valuable are more engaged and productive.

A Positive Climate

Fostering a positive strengths-based organizational environment is
embraced by a multitude of organizations. For example, more than 500
colleges and universities have integrated dimensions of a strengths-based
perspective into their student learning, faculty, and culture, including
Baylor University, Texas A&M University, Azusa Pacific University,
University of Arkansas, Texas Tech University, San Jose State University,
and University of Minnesota. Among the many companies that have
adopted strengths as a systematic program are Fortune 500 companies
Pfizer, Hilton, Facebook, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, Cisco, Microsoft, and
Best Buy.

Strengths-based leadership has been given much attention in recent years
because researchers believe it can have a significant impact on the way


leaders choose to lead and on the performance of followers. In this chapter,
we explored people’s strengths and how leaders can make use of these
strengths to become more effective leaders. Although we all have
strengths, they often go unrecognized and unused. Understanding strengths
can make one a better leader.

A strength is defined as an attribute or quality of an individual that
accounts for successful performance. In simple terms, a strength is what
we do when we are performing at our best. Strengths often begin with our
inborn talents and can be further developed through knowledge, skills, and
practice. The equation for developing a strength is talent times investment
(Rath, 2007).

Strengths-based leadership has come to the forefront in recent years as a
result of two research developments. First, spearheaded by Donald O.
Clifton, the Gallup Organization interviewed millions of people about their
strengths and what made them good at what they did. From interviews,
Gallup extracted 34 themes that best explained excellent performance.
Second, academic scholars created a new field called positive psychology
that focused less on the disease model and more on the study of healthy
people and what accounted for their well-being. Prominent in this new
field is the study of people’s positive characteristics—their strengths.
Taken together, research at Gallup and in positive psychology explains the
rising popularity of strengths-based leadership.

People’s strengths have been measured in different ways. The benchmark
is Gallup’s StrengthsFinder, which is a 177-item questionnaire that
identifies an individual’s five strongest talents across four domains (i.e.,
executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking).
Strengths can also be measured using the Values in Action Inventory of
Strengths, which provides an individual’s top five character strengths as
well as a rank order of his or her scores on 24 virtue-derived character
strengths. A third measure, the R2 Strengths Profiler, assesses 60 strengths
in relationship to an individual’s energy, performance, and use, and
provides feedback on an individual’s realized strengths, unrealized
strengths, learned behaviors, and weaknesses.

Although there are no established theories about the practice of strengths-
based leadership, there are several straightforward ways for individuals to
incorporate strengths into their leadership. First, leaders need to discover
their own strengths. They can do this through completing questionnaires


and other self-assessment activities. The goal is to develop a definitive list
of one’s strengths. Second, leaders need to be prepared to acknowledge
their strengths and reveal them to others. Although we may feel inhibited
about disclosing our strengths to others, it is essential for making others
aware of our capabilities. We need to make ourselves transparent to others
and lead from our strengths. Third, leaders must make a concerted effort to
recognize and engage the strengths of others. Because “people do what
they do best,” leaders have an obligation to help uncover others’ strengths
and then integrate these strengths into building more productive teams.
Finally, leaders can practice strengths-based leadership by fostering work
environments in which people’s strengths play an integral role. Leaders
can do this by creating for their followers a positive climate, positive
relationships, positive communication, and positive meaning (Cameron,
2012). Research shows that people feel better and work better when the
climate in which they work is positive.

To summarize, strengths-based leadership is a new area of research that
offers a unique approach to becoming a more effective leader. Not a
panacea, strengths concepts provide an innovative and valuable
perspective to add to our leadership toolbox.

Glossary Terms
Gallup Organization 49
learned behaviors 56
positive psychology 50
realized strengths 55
strengths 48
themes of human talent 51
unrealized strengths 55
weaknesses 56

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SAGE edge for students provides a personalized approach to help you
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3.1 Case Study: Ready to Be CEO?
Christine Jorgens was shocked when the board of Begin the Future
Foundation, the nonprofit organization she worked for, asked her to
apply for the position of CEO of the organization. For 40 years, Begin
the Future Foundation had provided programs in a nine-county region
to help children living in poverty in urban and rural areas succeed in
school and life, and the CEO’s job was a big one.

Christine had never aspired to be a CEO. She had grown up on a small
farm in a rural area, one of seven children in a family that struggled
financially. In high school, she worked at a local restaurant, first as a
dishwasher and then as a waitress, continuing to work there while she
attended college studying social work.

In her senior year of college, she landed an internship at Begin the
Future Foundation overseeing an after-school program for middle
school students. Christine ended up working for Begin the Future
Foundation for 12 more years, with many of her colleagues joking that
she was “the intern who never left.” Friendly and approachable, she
eagerly took on whatever work the organization had for her to do. She
worked as a receptionist, became a grant writer, helped out in public
relations and marketing, and then was given a position developing and
initiating new programs and working with donors to fund those

She thrived at program development, finding ways to implement
community resources that were often overlooked. Her program, Study
Buddies, paired up volunteer tutors from a local college with children to
meet three times a week for a half-hour of tutoring followed by a half-
hour of recreation and games. Christine also initiated Girl Power, a
program allowing middle school girls to spend an afternoon each week
shadowing a local female professional or businesswoman who worked
in a career that they were interested in pursuing.

Christine’s enthusiasm was contagious, especially with donors. Her
programs were all successfully funded, and potential donors often
approached Christine with ideas they had for new initiatives that they
were willing to fund.


But despite all her successes, Christine wasn’t sure she was CEO
material. She saw herself as a local girl who had lucked into some great
opportunities. The board had been clear about what credentials a new
CEO must have: strategic thinking, experience running a nonprofit
organization, ability to work with people on all levels of society from
the poorest to the richest, ability to manage people, and a commitment
to the organization’s mission of helping kids escape poverty. Christine
didn’t have direct experience overseeing a nonprofit and felt she needed
more experience in the day-to-day management of the organization.

At the suggestion of the board members, she took a strengths
assessment and learned her strengths were in strategic planning,
relationship building, creativity, compassion, and influencing. In
addition, the board members pointed out that she had a deep knowledge
and commitment to the organization and the children they served.
Despite Christine’s hesitancy, the board was convinced Christine was
the right candidate.


1. Strengths are considered inborn traits that can be enhanced with
experience. What experiences in Christine’s background helped
her develop her strengths?

2. Of the strengths identified by the assessment, which were directly
observable in Christine’s work? Were there any that were not?

3. Christine admitted having some weaknesses, especially in day-to-
day management of the organization. Which of her strengths could
she put into use to help her deal with that, and how?

4. What strengths should Christine seek from others that would
complement her own and fill some gaps?

3.2 Leadership Strengths Questionnaire


1. To develop an understanding of your leadership strengths
2. To rank your strengths in selected areas of performance


1. Please answer the statements below in terms of whether the
statement describes what you are like.


2. For each of the statements, circle the number that indicates the
degree to which you feel the statement is like you.



UnlikeMe Neutral LikeMe


1. I am an
participant when
working with

1 2 3 4 5

2. Brainstorming
is one of my

1 2 3 4 5

3. I am good at
coworkers when
they feel
frustrated about
their work.

1 2 3 4 5

4. I want to know
“why” we are
doing what we
are doing.

1 2 3 4 5

5. I look for
common ground
in opposing
opinions of

1 2 3 4 5

6. I enjoy
implementing the
details of

1 2 3 4 5

7. I like to


explore creative
approaches to

1 2 3 4 5

8. I go out of my
way to help
others feel good
about their

1 2 3 4 5

9. Examining
problems or
issues is one of
my strengths.

1 2 3 4 5

10. I am a
mediator in

1 2 3 4 5

11. I stick with
the task until the
work is

1 2 3 4 5

12. I can initiate
change, if it is
needed, when
working with

1 2 3 4 5

13. I show
concern for the
personal well-
being of others.

1 2 3 4 5

14. I like to
consider various
options for doing

1 2 3 4 5


15. I am effective
with people who
are inflexible.

1 2 3 4 5

16. I try to follow
through with
ideas so that the
work gets done.

1 2 3 4 5

17. I enjoy
creating a vision
for a work-related

1 2 3 4 5

18. I am the
“glue” that helps
hold the group

1 2 3 4 5

19. I like
exploring the
details of a
problem before
trying to solve it.

1 2 3 4 5

20. I can draw the
best out of people
with diverse

1 2 3 4 5

21. I like making
to-do lists so that
the work gets

1 2 3 4 5

22. I can “think
outside of the

1 2 3 4 5

23. Encouraging
others comes
easily for me.

1 2 3 4 5


24. I like thinking
things through
before engaging
in work projects.

1 2 3 4 5

25. I am good at
finding common
ground when a
conflict is

1 2 3 4 5

26. I enjoy
scheduling and
activities so the
work is

1 2 3 4 5

27. I am good at
developing new
ideas for others to

1 2 3 4 5

28. I am good at
others to
participate on

1 2 3 4 5

29. I like to
explore problems
from many

1 2 3 4 5

30. I am effective
at helping
coworkers reach

1 2 3 4 5



1. Sum the responses on items 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, and 26 (implementer

2. Sum the responses on items 2, 7, 12, 17, 22, and 27 (innovator

3. Sum the responses on items 3, 8, 13, 18, 23, and 28 (encourager

4. Sum the responses on items 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, and 29 (analytic

5. Sum the responses on items 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 (mediator

Total Scores:

_________ _________ _________ _________ ___________

Implementer Innovator Encourager Analytic Mediator

Scoring Interpretation

The Leadership Strengths Questionnaire is designed to measure your
strengths in the areas of implementation, innovation, encouragement,
analysis, and mediation. By assessing the rank order of your scores, you
can determine the areas in which you have the greatest strengths and the
areas in which you are weaker. A high score in a certain area indicates
where you are strong; a low score shows where you are weak. As
discussed in this chapter, every person has multiple strengths. In
addition to the strengths revealed by the Leadership Strengths
Questionnaire, you may wish to complete other strengths assessments to
obtain a more complete picture of all of your strengths.

If your score is 26–30, you are in the very high range.
If your score is 21–25, you are in the high range.
If your score is 16–20, you are in the moderate range.
If your score is 11–15, you are in the low range.
If your score is 6–10, you are in the very low range.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.


Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

3.3 Observational Exercise



1. To learn to recognize people’s strengths
2. To gain an understanding of the role of strengths in the leadership



1. In this exercise, your task is to observe a leader in action. The
leader can be a teacher, a supervisor, a coach, a manager, or
anyone who has a position that involves leadership.

2. Based on your observations of the leader in action, identify areas
in which the leader has strengths and areas in which the followers
have strengths.


1. Based on the virtue-based strengths listed in Table 3.3, identify
two strengths you observed the leader exhibit. How did these
strengths affect his or her followers?

2. Discuss what strengths group members appeared to exhibit and
how these strengths may complement or distract from the leader’s

3. Do you think the followers in this situation would feel
comfortable expressing their own strengths to others? Discuss.

4. If you were coaching the leader in this situation, what specific
things could she or he do to create a positive environment where
the expression of people’s strengths was welcomed?


Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

3.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet



1. For this exercise, you are being asked to interview several people
you know about your strengths. Instructions:

First, identify three people (e.g., friends, coworkers,
colleagues, family members) from whom you feel
comfortable asking for feedback about yourself.

Second, ask each of these individuals to do the following:
a. Think of a time or situation when they saw you at your

b. Tell a brief story about what you were doing
c. Describe why they thought you were performing well

in this situation
d. Based on this story, describe what unique benefits you

offered others in this situation
Third, from the answers the individuals gave, identify two or
three recurring themes. These themes represent your

2. What is your reaction to what others (in Step 1) have identified as
your strengths? Are the strengths others identified about you
consistent with your own perceptions of your strengths? In what
way are they consistent with your scores on the Leadership
Strengths Questionnaire?

3. This chapter suggests that it is important for leaders to reveal their
strengths to others. As a leader, how do you feel about disclosing
your strengths to others? How do you react when others express
their strengths to you?


1. Based on the questionnaire in this chapter and your own insights,
create a business card for yourself that lists your five signature

2. Of the four domains of leadership strengths (see Table 3.2), which


are your strongest? Describe how you could solicit support from
followers to complement these areas of strength.

3. Imagine you are the leader of a classroom group required to do a
semester-long service learning project. Identify and discuss
specific things you could do to create a positive climate, positive
relationships, positive communication, and positive meaning.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

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and appreciative inquiry create inspiring organizations. Oxford, UK:

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K. S. Cameron, J. E. Dutton, & R. E. Quinn (Eds.), Positive
organizational scholarship (pp. 241–258). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-

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4 Understanding Philosophy and Styles

What is your philosophy of leadership? Are you an in-charge type of
leader who closely monitors followers? Or are you a laid-back type of
leader who gives followers a lot of rein? Whether you are one or the other
or somewhere in between, it is important to recognize your personal
philosophy of leadership. This philosophy affects how others respond to
you, how they respond to their work, and, in the end, how effective you are
as a leader.

What Does “Philosophy of Leadership” Mean?

In this chapter, we will discuss how a person’s view of people, work, and
human nature forms a personal philosophy of leadership. In addition, this
chapter will examine how that philosophy is demonstrated in three of the
most commonly observed styles of personal leadership: the authoritarian,
democratic, and laissez-faire styles. We will discuss the nature of these
styles and the implications each has for effective leadership performance.

Leadership Philosophy Explained
Each of us approaches leadership with a unique set of beliefs and attitudes
about the nature of people and the nature of work. This is the basis for our
philosophy of leadership. For example, some think people are basically
good and will happily work if given the chance. Others think people are
prone to be a bit lazy and need to be nudged to complete their work. These
beliefs about people and work have a significant impact on an individual’s
leadership style and probably come into play in every aspect of a person’s

Understanding Leadership Philosophy


Do you think people like work, or do you think people find work
unpleasant? This was one of the central questions addressed by Douglas
McGregor in his famous book The Human Side of Enterprise (1960).
McGregor believed that managers need to understand their core
assumptions about human nature and assess how these assumptions relate
to their managerial practice.

In particular, McGregor was interested in how managers view the
motivations of workers and their attitudes toward work. He believed that
understanding these motivations was central to knowing how to become an
effective manager. To explain the ways that managers approach workers,
McGregor proposed two general theories—Theory X and Theory Y.
McGregor believed that by exploring the major assumptions of each of
these theories people could develop a better understanding of their own
viewpoints on human behavior and the relationship of these viewpoints to
their leadership style. Below is a description of both theories. As you read,
ask yourself if the assumptions of the theory are consistent or inconsistent
with your own attitudes and philosophy of leadership.

Theory X
Theory X is made up of three assumptions about human nature and human
behavior (see Table 4.1). Taken together, these assumptions represent a
philosophy of leadership that many leaders exhibit to one degree or

Assumption #1. The average person dislikes work and
will avoid it if possible.

This assumption argues that people do not like work; they view it as
unpleasant, distasteful, or simply a necessary evil. According to this
assumption, if given the chance, people would choose not to work. An
example of this assumption is the worker who says, “I only go to work to
be P-A-I-D. If I didn’t need to pay my bills, I would never work.” People
with this philosophy would avoid work if they could.

Table 4.1 Assumptions of McGregor’s Theory X
Table 4.1 Assumptions of McGregor’s


Table 4.1 Assumptions of McGregor’s
Theory X

McGregor’s Theory X

1. People dislike work.

2. People need to be directed and controlled.

3. People want security, not responsibility.

Theory X

Assumption #2. People need to be direct and

This assumption is derived directly from the first assumption. Since people
naturally do not like work, management needs to set up a system of
incentives and rewards regarding work that needs to be accomplished
because workers are often unwilling or unable to motivate themselves.
This assumption says that without external direction and incentives people
would be unmotivated to work. An example of this is the high school
teacher who persuades students to hand in homework assignments by
threatening them with bad grades. The teacher forces students to perform
because the teacher thinks that the students are unwilling to do it or
incapable of doing it without that force being applied. From the
perspective of Theory X, leaders play a significant role in encouraging
others to accomplish their work.

Assumption #3. People want security, not

The picture this assumption paints is of workers who want their leaders to
take care of them, protect them, and make them feel safe. Because it is too
difficult to set their own goals, workers want management to do it for
them. This can only happen when managers establish the guidelines for


workers. An example of this assumption can be observed at a fast-food
restaurant where the employees only have to focus on completing the
specific tasks set before them (e.g., cleaning the shake machines or making
fries) and are not required to take initiative on their own. In general, many
fast-food restaurant workers are not required to accept many challenging
responsibilities. Instead, they are told what to do, and how and when to do
it. Consistent with this assumption, this example highlights how some
workers are not ambitious but want job security above everything else.

So what does it mean if a person’s personal leadership style or philosophy
is similar to Theory X? It means these leaders have a tendency to view
workers as lazy and uninterested in work because they do not value work.
As a result, Theory X leaders tend to be directive and controlling. They
supervise followers closely and are quick to both praise and criticize them
as they see fit. At times, these leaders remind workers of their goal (e.g., to
be P-A-I-D) or threaten them with punishment to persuade them to
accomplish tasks. As the person in charge, a Theory X leader sees his or
her leadership role as instrumental in getting the job done. Theory X
leaders also believe it is their role to motivate followers because these
workers have little self-motivation. Because of this belief, these leaders
take on the responsibility for their followers’ actions. From the Theory X
perspective, it is clear that followers have a need for leadership.

Theory Y
Like Theory X, Theory Y is based on several specific assumptions about
human nature and behavior (see Table 4.2). Taken together, the
assumptions of Theory Y present a distinctly different perspective from the
ideas set forth in Theory X. It is a perspective that can be observed to a
degree in many leaders today.

Theory X and Theory Y

Assumption #1. The average person does not
inherently dislike work. Doing work is as natural as



Rather than viewing work as a burden or bad, this assumption suggests
people see work as satisfying and not as a punishment. It is a natural
activity for them. In fact, given the chance, people are happy to work. An
example of this can be seen in what former president Jimmy Carter has
done in his retirement. He has devoted much of his time and energy to
constructing homes throughout the United States and around the world
with Habitat for Humanity. Certainly, the former president does not need
to work: He does so because work is natural for him. All his life, Carter
has been used to making a contribution to the well-being of others.
Working with Habitat for Humanity is another opportunity for him to
contribute. Some people view work as a natural part of their lives.

Assumption #2. People will show responsibility and
self-control toward goals to which they are

As opposed to Theory X, which suggests that people need to be supervised
and controlled, Theory Y suggests that people can and will make a
conscious choice to work on their own.

Table 4.2 Assumptions of McGregor’s Theory Y
Table 4.2 Assumptions of McGregor’s

Theory Y

McGregor’s Theory Y

1. People like work.

2. People are self-motivated.

3. People accept and seek responsibility.

People can be committed to the objectives of their work. Consider some
examples from the sports world. Successful athletes are often highly
committed to their goals and usually do not need to be controlled or
supervised closely. Coaches design training plans for these athletes, but the
athletes do the work themselves. A successful long-distance runner does


not need to be pushed to run 60 training miles a week in preparation for a
marathon because the runner is already motivated to run long distances.
Similarly, an Olympic swimmer does not need to be forced to do daily 3-
mile pool workouts at 5:00 A.M. because the swimmer chooses to do this
independently of any coach’s urging. These athletes are self-directed
because they are committed to their goals. This is the point of Theory Y.
When people can find commitment in their work, they will work without
needing leaders to motivate or cajole them. Put another way, when people
have a passion for their work, they will do it even without outside

Assumption #3. In the proper environment, the
average person learns to accept and seek

While Theory X argues that people lack ambition, prefer to be directed,
and want security, Theory Y assumes that the average person is inherently
resourceful and, if given the chance, will seek to take responsibility. If
given the chance, people have the capacity to engage in a wide range of
goal-setting and creative problem-solving activities. Theory Y argues that,
given the opportunity, people will act independently and be productive.

For example, two university students working in the main stacks section of
the library were required to complete a checklist whenever they worked to
be sure that they correctly carried out various sorting and shelving
activities. The checklist was long, cumbersome, and repetitious, however.
Frustrated by the checklist, the students took it upon themselves to design
an entirely new, streamlined checklist. The new checklist for sorting and
shelving was very clear and concise, and was playful in appearance. After
reviewing the checklist and giving it a short trial period, management at
the library adopted the new checklist and required that it be implemented
throughout the entire library. In this example, library management
provided an environment where students felt comfortable suggesting a
rather major change in how their work was to be completed. In addition,
management was willing to accept and adopt a student-initiated work
change. It is not unrealistic to imagine that these students will be more
confident initiating ideas or taking on new challenges in other work
settings in the future.


So if a leader’s philosophy of leadership is similar to Theory Y, what does
it mean? It means that the leader views people as capable and interested in
working. Even though Theory Y leaders may define work requirements,
they do not try to control workers. To these leaders, followers are not lazy;
on the contrary, they naturally want to work. In addition, these leaders do
not think they need to try to motivate followers or make them work since
workers are capable of motivating themselves. Using coercion or external
reinforcement schemes is not a part of their leadership repertoire. Theory
Y leaders are very attuned to helping followers find their passion for what
they want to do. These leaders know that when followers are committed to
their work, they are more motivated to do the job. Allowing followers to
seek and accept responsibilities on their own comes easily for Theory Y
leaders. In short, Theory Y leadership means supporting followers without
the need to direct or control them.

In the late 1970s and 1980s, a new leadership theory tangentially related to
Theory X and Theory Y was developed by William Ouchi (1981). Ouchi
contrasted the collectivistic culture of Japanese companies—which had
begun to dominate markets, especially in automobiles and electronics—
with the individualism stressed in American organizations and developed
an approach that was a hybrid of the two called Theory Z. A Theory Z
organization is one that emphasizes common cultural values, beliefs, and
objectives among its members with a focus on communication,
collaboration, and consensual decision making. At the same time, some of
the individualistic values of American organizations are also incorporated.
Theory Z organizations still maintain formal authority structures and an
emphasis on individual contributions and recognizing individual
achievements. However, the individual decision making of the leader that
is found in both Theory X and Theory Y is not a characteristic of a Theory
Z organization.

Leadership in Challenging Times

In summary, all of us maintain certain basic beliefs and assumptions about
human nature and work that form our leadership philosophy. The next
section discusses how that philosophy impacts your behaviors as a leader,
or your leadership style. Whether a person’s philosophy is similar to


Theory X or similar to Theory Y, it affects his or her style of leadership.
The challenge is to understand the philosophical underpinnings of your
own leadership style.

Leadership Styles Explained
What behaviors do you exhibit as a leader? Do you like to be in control
and keep up on the activities of your followers? Or do you believe in a
more hands-off approach in leading others, letting them make decisions on
their own?

Whatever your behaviors are as a leader, they are indicative of your
leadership style. Leadership style is defined as the behaviors of leaders,
focusing on what leaders do and how they act. This includes leaders’
actions toward followers in a variety of contexts. As noted in the previous
section, your leadership style is driven by your personal leadership
philosophy. In the following section, we discuss the most commonly
observed leadership styles associated with Theory X and Theory Y:
authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire. While none of these styles
emerges directly from Theory X or Theory Y, the authoritarian and
democratic styles closely mirror the ideas set forth in these theories,

Styles of Leaders and Managers

The primary work on styles of leadership was by Lewin, Lippitt, and
White (1939), who analyzed the impact of various leadership styles on
small group behavior. Using groups of 10-year-old boys who met after
school to engage in hobby activities, the researchers analyzed what
happened when their adult leaders used one of three styles: authoritarian,
democratic, or laissez-faire. The groups of boys experienced each of the
three styles of leadership for a six-week period.

The outcome of the study by Lewin and colleagues was a detailed
description of the nature of the leadership behaviors used for each of the
three styles (White & Lippitt, 1968). They also described the impact each
of these three styles had on group members.


The following sections describe and elaborate on their findings and the
implications of using each of these leadership styles. Be aware that these
styles are not distinct entities (e.g., like personality traits). They overlap
each other. That is, a leader can demonstrate more than one style in any
given situation. For example, a leader may be authoritarian about some
issues and democratic about others, or a leader may be authoritarian at
some points during a project and democratic at others. As leaders, we may
display aspects of all of these styles.

Authoritarian Leadership Style
In many ways, the authoritarian leadership style is very similar to
Theory X. For example, authoritarian leaders perceive followers as
needing direction. The authoritarian leader needs to control followers and
what they do. Authoritarian leaders emphasize that they are in charge,
exerting influence and control over group members. They determine tasks
and procedures for group members but may remain aloof from
participating in group discussions. Authoritarian leaders do not encourage
communication among group members; instead, they prefer that
communication be directed to them. In evaluating others, authoritarian
leaders give praise and criticism freely, but it is given based on their own
personal standards rather than based on objective criticism.

Some have argued that authoritarian leadership represents a rather
pessimistic, negative, and discouraging view of others. For example, an
authoritarian leader might say something like “Because my workers are
lazy, I need to tell them what to do.” Others would argue that authoritarian
leadership is a much-needed form of leadership—it serves a positive
purpose, particularly for people who seek security above responsibility. In
many contexts, authoritarian leadership is used to give direction, set goals,
and structure work. For example, when employees are just learning a new
job, authoritarian leadership lets them know the rules and standards for
what they are supposed to do. Authoritarian leaders are very efficient and
successful in motivating others to accomplish work. In these contexts,
authoritarian leadership is very useful.

The Authoritarian Leadership Style


What are the outcomes of authoritarian leadership? Authoritarian
leadership has both pluses and minuses. On the positive side, it is efficient
and productive. Authoritarian leaders give direction and clarity to people’s
work and accomplish more in a shorter period. Furthermore, authoritarian
leadership is useful in establishing goals and work standards. On the
negative side, it fosters dependence, submissiveness, and a loss of
individuality. The creativity and personal growth of followers may be
hindered. It is possible that, over time, followers will lose interest in what
they are doing and become dissatisfied with their work. If that occurs,
authoritarian leadership can create discontent, hostility, and even

In addition, authoritarian leadership can become abusive leadership, where
these leaders use their influence, power, and control for their personal
interests or to coerce followers to engage in unethical or immoral
activities. For example, a coach who withholds playing time from athletes
who openly disagree with his play calls or a boss who requires salaried
employees to work up to 20 hours of overtime each week or “be replaced
with someone who will” are both examples of the dark side of
authoritarian leadership.

While the negative aspects of authoritarian leadership appear to outweigh
the positive, it is not difficult to imagine contexts where authoritarian
leadership would be the preferred style of leadership. For example, in a
busy hospital emergency room, it may be very appropriate for the leader in
charge of triaging patients to be authoritarian with various types of
emergencies. The same could be true in other contexts, such as the
chaperone of a middle school canoe trip, or the coach of a high school
team during the state finals basketball tournament. Despite the negatives of
authoritarian leadership, this form of leadership is common and necessary
in many situations.

Democratic Leadership Style
The democratic leadership style strongly resembles the assumptions of
Theory Y. Democratic leaders treat followers as fully capable of doing
work on their own. Rather than controlling followers, democratic leaders
work with followers, trying hard to treat everyone fairly, without putting
themselves above followers. In essence, they see themselves as guides
rather than as directors. They give suggestions to others, but never with


any intention of changing them. Helping each follower reach personal
goals is important to a democratic leader. Democratic leaders do not use
“top-down” communication; instead, they speak on the same level as their
followers. Making sure everyone is heard is a priority. They listen to
followers in supportive ways and assist them in becoming self-directed. In
addition, they promote communication between group members and in
certain situations are careful to draw out the less-articulate members of the
group. Democratic leaders provide information, guidance, and suggestions,
but do so without giving orders and without applying pressure. In their
evaluations of followers, democratic leaders give objective praise and

The Democratic Leadership Style

The outcomes of democratic leadership are mostly positive. First,
democratic leadership results in greater group member satisfaction,
commitment, and cohesiveness. Second, under democratic leadership there
is more friendliness, mutual praise, and group mindedness. Followers tend
to get along with each other and willingly participate in matters of the
group, making more “we” statements and fewer “I” statements. Third,
democratic leadership results in stronger worker motivation and greater
creativity. People are motivated to pursue their own talents under the
supportive structure of democratic leadership. Finally, under a democratic
leader group members participate more and are more committed to group
decisions. The downside of democratic leadership is that it takes more time
and commitment from the leader. Work is accomplished, but not as
efficiently as if the leader were authoritarian.

Laissez-Faire Leadership Style
The laissez-faire leadership style is dissimilar to both Theory X and
Theory Y. Laissez-faire leaders do not try to control followers as Theory X
leaders do, and they do not try to nurture and guide followers as Theory Y
leaders do. Laissez-faire stands alone as a style of leadership; some have
labeled it nonleadership. The laissez-faire leader is a nominal leader who
engages in minimal influence. As the French phrase implies, laissez-faire
leadership means the leader takes a “hands-off, let it ride” attitude toward


followers. These leaders recognize followers but are very laid back and
make no attempt to influence their activities. Under laissez-faire
leadership, followers have freedom to do pretty much what they want to do
whenever they want to do it. Laissez-faire leaders make no attempt to
appraise or regulate the progress of followers.

Destructive Laissez-Faire Leadership

Given that laissez-faire leadership involves nominal influence, what are
the effects of laissez-faire leadership? Laissez-faire leadership tends to
produce primarily negative outcomes. The major effect is that very little is
accomplished under a laissez-faire leader. Because people are directionless
and at a loss to know what to do, they tend to do nothing. Giving complete
freedom results in an atmosphere that most followers find chaotic.
Followers prefer some direction; left completely on their own, they
become frustrated. Without a sense of purpose and direction, group
members have difficulty finding meaning in their work; they become
unmotivated and disheartened. As a result, productivity goes down.

The Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

However, there are situations where the laissez-faire style is successful.
People who are self-starters, who excel at individualized tasks and don’t
require ongoing feedback, may prefer working under laissez-faire leaders.

For example, Angela is the president of a website development company
who uses independent contractors from across the globe. In certain
respects, you could describe her leadership style as laissez-faire. The
programmers who develop the websites’ code are in Poland, the designer
is in India, the content writer is in the United Kingdom, and Angela is in
the United States. When developing a site, Angela maps out and
communicates the basic framework for the website and then relies on all of
the individual contractors to determine the tasks they need to do for the
site’s development. Because their tasks can be dependent upon another’s—


for example, the designer needs the programmers to write the code to
make the page display graphics and images in a certain way—they do
communicate with one another, but because of time zone differences, this
is mostly done by email. As their leader, Angela is kept apprised of issues
and developments through an electronic project management system they
share, but because all of the contractors are experts at what they do and
trust the other team members to do what they do best, she lets them
problem-solve issues and concerns with one another and rarely gets

While there are a few situations where laissez-faire leadership is effective,
in a majority of situations, it proves to be unsuccessful and unproductive.

Leadership Snapshot: Victoria Ransom, Chief Executive, Wildfire


© Bloomberg/Contributor/Bloomberg/Getty Images

“I don’t believe in hierarchy or creating hierarchy. I believe in earning

That comes from Victoria Ransom, cofounder of social media software
company Wildfire Interactive, which grew from an idea to a company


with 400 employees and 21,000 clients. The company, which Ransom
cofounded with Alain Chuard in 2008, helps companies reach
customers over social networks, and was acquired in 2012 by Google
for $350 million.

Wildfire’s success is largely due to the leadership style and philosophy
of Ransom, who serves as the company’s chief executive. Ransom grew
up in Scotts Ferry, a rural village in New Zealand where her father was
an asparagus farmer and her mother was an office manager for a
farming equipment company. Ransom worked in the fields, and it was
there that she learned the values of hard work, leading by example, and
humility that she brings to Wildfire.

Wildfire was actually an afterthought, created to solve a problem that
Ransom and Chuard had encountered in running the first company they
had formed, Access Trips. Access Trips was an adventure travel
company that took small groups of travelers, ages 20–45, to remote
destinations, and Ransom and Chuard were looking for a way to
promote Access Trips online by giving away a trip on Facebook. They
discovered, however, that no software existed to do what they wanted,
so they developed their own software to design sweepstakes, contests,
or other promotions that could run on Facebook.

The software, and Wildfire, was profitable within a year. Clients soon
ranged from two-person catering businesses to Sony and Unilever
(Coster, 2012).

The company grew very quickly, which put Ransom’s values-based
culture to the test.

“I’ve learned as the company grows, you’re only as good as the leaders
you have underneath you,” she says. “You might think that because
you’re projecting our values, then the rest of the company is
experiencing the values. . . . [D]irect supervisors become the most
important influence on people in the company. Therefore, a big part of
leading becomes your ability to pick and guide the right people”
(Bryant, 2013).

In order to find those right people, it was critical that Wildfire spell out
its values and company culture to employees from the outset. To do so,
Ransom and Chuard identified what they valued in the people at
Wildfire and then met with all the employees in small groups to get
their feedback on these values. What resulted was a list of values that
the company instilled and demonstrated: passion, team player, humility,
and integrity. Also on the list were having the courage to speak up and



“We really encourage people to constantly question, to stay on top of
what’s happening in our industry, to learn what other people in the
company are doing. The hope was to break down these walls of ‘them
versus us,’” Ransom says (Bryant, 2013).

Ransom says a final value they identified was to “do good, and do right
by each other” (Bryant, 2013).

The values a company purports to have, however, are not so readily
maintained. Values and culture have to be universally embraced, or they
will crumble.

“I think the best way to undermine a company’s values is to put people
in leadership positions who are not adhering to the values,” Ransom
says, noting that others begin to lose faith in the values. “Until you take
action and move those people out, and then everyone gets faith in the
values again” (Bryant, 2013).

Ransom says one way the company showed its values was when it
would let employees go who didn’t live up to the values. Making these
hard decisions about people, even if they were good performers,
showed employees that “yeah, this company actually puts its money
where its mouth is” (Bryant, 2013).

Leadership Styles in Practice
Each leader has a unique style of leadership. Some are very demanding
and assertive while others are more open and participative. Similarly, some
leaders could be called micromanagers, while others could be labeled
nondirective leaders. Whatever the case, it is useful and instructive to
characterize your leadership regarding the degree to which you are
authoritarian, democratic, or laissez-faire.

Leadership and Collaboration

It is important to note that these styles of leadership are not distinct
entities; it is best to think of them as occurring along a continuum, from


high leader influence to low leader influence (see Figure 4.1). Leaders who
exhibit higher amounts of influence are more authoritarian. Leaders who
show a moderate amount of influence are democratic. Those who exhibit
little to no influence are laissez-faire. Although we tend to exhibit
primarily one style over the others, our personal leadership styles are not
fixed and may vary depending on the circumstances.

Figure 4.1 Styles of Leadership

Consider what your results of the Leadership Styles Questionnaire on page
95 tell you about your leadership style. What is your main style? Are you
most comfortable with authoritarian, democratic, or laissez-faire
leadership? If you are the kind of leader who likes to structure work, likes
to lay out the ground rules for others, likes to closely supervise your
followers, thinks it is your responsibility to make sure followers do their
work, wants to be “in charge” or to know what others are doing, and
believes strongly that rewarding and punishing followers is necessary, then
you are authoritarian. If you are the kind of leader who seldom gives
orders or ultimatums to followers, instead trying to work with followers
and help them figure out how they want to approach a task or complete
their work, then you are primarily democratic. Helping each follower
reach his or her own personal goals is important to a democratic leader.

In some rare circumstances, you may find you are showing laissez-faire
leadership. Although not a preferred style, it is important to be aware
when one is being laissez-faire. Laissez-faire leaders take a very low
profile to leadership. What followers accomplish is up to them. If you
believe that your followers will thrive on complete freedom, then the
laissez-faire style may be the right style for you. However, in most
situations, laissez-faire leadership hinders success and productivity.



All of us have a philosophy of leadership that is based on our beliefs about
human nature and work. Some leaders have a philosophy that resembles
Theory X: They view workers as unmotivated and needing direction and
control. Others have a philosophy similar to Theory Y: They approach
workers as self-motivated and capable of working independently without
strong direct influence from a leader.

Our philosophy of leadership is played out in our style of leadership. There
are three commonly observed styles of leadership: authoritarian,
democratic, and laissez-faire. Similar to Theory X, authoritarian leaders
perceive followers as needing direction, so they exert strong influence and
control. Resembling Theory Y, democratic leaders view followers as
capable of self-direction, so they provide counsel and support. Laissez-
faire leaders leave followers to function on their own, providing nominal
influence and direction.

Effective leadership demands that we understand our philosophy of
leadership and how it forms the foundations for our style of leadership.
This understanding is the first step to becoming a more informed and
competent leader.

Glossary Terms
authoritarian leadership style 83
democratic leadership style 85
laissez-faire leadership style 85
leadership style 82
philosophy of leadership 78
Theory X 78
Theory Y 80
Theory Z 82

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4.1 Case Study: Many Managers, Different
Vanessa Mills was recently hired to work at a branch of Lakeshore
Bank as a personal banker. The branch is very busy and has a large
staff, including three on-site managers. As a new employee, Vanessa is
trying to figure out how to succeed as a personal banker while meeting
the expectations of her three very different managers.

Vanessa is paid a salary, but also receives a commission for activities
including opening new accounts and selling new services to customers
such as credit cards, lines of credit, loans, and stock accounts. Personal
bankers are expected to open a certain number of accounts each month
and build relationships with customers by exploring their various
banking needs and offering services to meet those needs.

Marion Woods is one of the managers at Vanessa’s branch. She has
worked for Lakeshore Bank for 10 years and prides herself on the
success of the branch. Marion openly talks about employees’ progress
in terms of the number of accounts opened or relationships established,
and then commends or scolds people depending on their productivity.
Marion stresses to Vanessa the importance of following procedures and
using the scripts that Marion provides to successfully convince
customers to open new accounts or accept new services with the bank.

As a new banker, Vanessa has not opened many accounts and feels very
uncertain about her competence. She is intimidated by Marion,
believing that this manager is continually watching and evaluating her.
Several times Marion has publically criticized Vanessa, commenting on
her shortcomings as a personal banker. Vanessa tries hard to get her
sales numbers up so she can keep Marion off her back.

Bruce Dexter, another manager at Vanessa’s branch, has been with
Lakeshore Bank for 14 years. Bruce started out as a teller and worked
his way up to branch manager. As a manager, Bruce is responsible for
holding the bank staff’s Monday morning meetings. At these staff
meetings, Bruce relays the current numbers for new accounts as well as
the target number for new accounts. He also lists the number of new
relationships the personal bankers have established. After the meetings,


Bruce retreats back into his office where he sits hidden behind his
computer monitor. He rarely interacts with others. Vanessa likes when
Bruce retreats into his office because she does not have to worry about
having her performance scrutinized. However, sometimes when
Vanessa is trying to help customers with a problem that falls outside of
her banking knowledge, she is stressed because Bruce does not provide
her with any managerial support.

The third manager at the branch is Heather Atwood. Heather just started
at Lakeshore Bank within the last year, but worked for nine years at
another bank. Vanessa finds Heather to be very helpful. She often pops
in when Vanessa is with a customer to introduce herself and make sure
everything is going well. Heather also allows Vanessa to listen in when
she calls disgruntled customers or customers with complicated requests,
so Vanessa can learn how to manage these types of interactions.
Heather trusts her staff and enjoys seeing them grow, encouraging them
by organizing games to see who can open the most accounts and
offering helpful feedback when customer interactions do not go as
planned. Vanessa is grateful for the advice and support she receives
from Heather, and looks up to her because she is competent and kind.

Vanessa is coming up on her three-month review and is very nervous
that she might get fired based on her low sales record and the negative
feedback she has received from Bruce and Marion regarding her
performance. Vanessa decides to talk to Heather about her upcoming
review and what to expect. Heather assures Vanessa that she is doing
fine and shows promise even if her numbers have not reached that of a
seasoned banker. Still, Vanessa is concerned about Bruce and Marion.
She has hardly had more than two conversations with Bruce and feels
intimidated by Marion who, she perceives, manages by running around
barking numbers at people.

1. Based on the assumptions of Theory X and Theory Y, how would

you describe each manager’s philosophy and style of leadership?
In what way do their attitudes about Vanessa affect their

2. In this type of customer service setting, which leadership style
would be most effective for the bank to meet its goals? From the
bank’s perspective, which (if any) manager exhibits the most
appropriate leadership? Discuss.

3. What advice would you give to each of the managers to enhance
their leadership skills within the bank?


4. What do you think Vanessa can do to prepare herself for her three-
month review?

4.2 Leadership Styles Questionnaire


1. To identify your style of leadership
2. To examine how your leadership style relates to other styles of



1. For each of the statements below, circle the number that indicates
the degree to which you agree or disagree.

2. Give your immediate impressions. There are no right or wrong

Statements Strongly

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly

1. Employees
need to be
closely, or they
are not likely
to do their

1 2 3 4 5

2. Employees
want to be a
part of the

1 2 3 4 5

3. In complex
leaders should
let followers
work problems

1 2 3 4 5


out on their

4. It is fair to
say that most
employees in
the general
population are

1 2 3 4 5

5. Providing
pressure is the
key to being a
good leader.

1 2 3 4 5

6. Leadership
staying out of
the way of
followers as
they do their

1 2 3 4 5

7. As a rule,
must be given
rewards or
punishments in
order to
motivate them
to achieve

1 2 3 4 5

8. Most
workers prefer
from their

1 2 3 4 5


9. As a rule,
leaders should
followers to
appraise their
own work.

1 2 3 4 5

10. Most
employees feel
insecure about
their work and
need direction.

1 2 3 4 5

11. Leaders
need to help
for completing
their work.

1 2 3 4 5

12. Leaders
should give
freedom to
solve problems
on their own.

1 2 3 4 5

13. The leader
is the chief
judge of the
of the members
of the group.

1 2 3 4 5

14. It is the
leader’s job to
help followers
find their

1 2 3 4 5

15. In most


workers prefer
little input
from the

1 2 3 4 5

16. Effective
leaders give
orders and

1 2 3 4 5

17. People are
competent and
if given a task
will do a good

1 2 3 4 5

18. In general,
it is best to
leave followers

1 2 3 4 5


1. Sum the responses on items 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16 (authoritarian

2. Sum the responses on items 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, and 17 (democratic

3. Sum the responses on items 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 (laissez-faire

Total Scores

Authoritarian Leadership ________
Democratic Leadership _________
Laissez-Faire Leadership ________

Scoring Interpretation

This questionnaire is designed to measure three common styles of
leadership: authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire. By comparing


your scores, you can determine which styles are most dominant and
least dominant in your own style of leadership.

If your score is 26–30, you are in the very high range.
If your score is 21–25, you are in the high range.
If your score is 16–20, you are in the moderate range.
If your score is 11–15, you are in the low range.
If your score is 6–10, you are in the very low range.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

4.3 Observational Exercise

Leadership Styles


1. To become aware of authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire
styles of leadership

2. To compare and contrast these three styles


1. From all of the coaches, teachers, music directors, or managers
you have had in the past 10 years, select one who was
authoritarian, one who was democratic, and one who was laissez-

Authoritarian leader (name)
Democratic leader (name)


Laissez-faire leader (name)

2. On another sheet of paper, briefly describe the unique
characteristics of each of these leaders.


1. What differences did you observe in how each leader tried to
influence you?

2. How did the leaders differ in their use of rewards and

3. What did you observe about how others reacted to each leader?
4. Under which leader were you most productive? Why?

Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

4.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

Leadership Styles


1. As you reflect on the assumptions of Theory X and Theory Y,
how would you describe your own philosophy of leadership?

2. Of the three styles of leadership (authoritarian, democratic, and
laissez-faire), what style comes easiest for you? Describe how
people respond to you when you use this style.

3. One of the aspects of democratic leadership is to help followers
take responsibility for themselves. How do you assess your own
ability to help others help themselves?


1. If you were to try to strengthen your philosophy of leadership,
what kinds of changes would you have to make in your
assumptions about human nature and work?


2. As you look at your results on the Leadership Styles
Questionnaire, what scores would you like to change? What
would you have to do to make those changes?

3. List three specific activities you could use to improve your
leadership style.

4. If you make these changes, what impact will this have on others?

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

Bryant, A. (2013, January 26). If supervisors respect the values, so will

everyone else. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Coster, H. (2012, October 19). Victoria Ransom’s wild ride. Fortune.
Retrieved from

Lewin, K., Lippitt, R., & White, R. K. (1939). Patterns of aggressive
behavior in experimentally created “social climates.” Journal of Social
Psychology, 10, 271–299.

McGregor, D. (1960). The human side of enterprise. New York, NY:

Ouchi, W. G. (1981). Theory Z: How American business can meet the
Japanese challenge. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

White, R., & Lippitt, R. (1968). Leader behavior and member reaction in
three “social climates.” In D. Cartwright & A. Zander (Eds.), Group


dynamics (pp. 318–335). New York, NY: Harper & Row.


5 Attending to Tasks and Relationships

Most people would agree that good doctors are experts at treating disease
and, at the same time, care about their patients. Similarly, good teachers
are informed about the subject matter and, at the same time, are sensitive
to the personal lives of their students. In leadership, the same is true. Good
leaders understand the work that needs to be done and, at the same time,
can relate to the people who help them do the job.

When we look at what leaders do—that is, at their behaviors—we see that
they do two major things: (1) They attend to tasks, and (2) they attend to
their relationships with people. The degree to which leaders are successful
is determined by how these two behaviors are exhibited. Situations may
differ, but every leadership situation needs a degree of both task and
relationship behaviors.

Which Behaviors Are Central to Leadership?

Through the years, many articles and books have been written on how
leaders behave (Blake & McCanse, 1991; Kahn, 1956; Misumi, 1985;
Stogdill, 1974). A review of these writings underscores the topic of this
chapter: The essence of leadership behavior has two dimensions—task
behaviors and relationship behaviors. Certain circumstances may call for
strong task behavior, and other situations may demand strong relationship
behavior, but some degree of each is required in every situation. Because
these dimensions are inextricably tied together, it is the leader’s challenge
to integrate and optimize the task and relationship dimensions in his or her
leadership role.

Task and Relationship Theories


One way to explore our own task and relationship perspectives on
leadership is to explore our personal styles in these two areas. All of us
have developed unique habits regarding work and play, which have been
ingrained over many years, probably beginning as far back as elementary
school. Rooted in the past, these habits regarding work and play form a
very real part of who we are as people and of how we function. Many of
these early habits stay with us over the years and influence our current

Analyzing Leadership Styles

In considering your personal style, it is helpful to describe in more detail
your task-oriented and relationship-oriented behaviors. What is your
inclination toward tasks and relationships? Are you more work oriented or
people oriented in your personal life? Do you find more rewards in the
process of “getting things done” or in the process of relating to people?
We all have personal styles that incorporate some combination of work
and play. Completing the Task and Relationship Questionnaire on page
113 can help you identify your personal style. Although these descriptions
imply that individuals have either one style or the other, it is important to
remember that each of us exhibits both behaviors to some degree.

Task and Relationship Styles Explained

Task Style
Task-oriented people are goal oriented. They want to achieve. Their work
is meaningful, and they like things such as to-do lists, calendars, and daily
planners. Accomplishing things and doing things is the raison d’être for
this type of person. That is, these individuals’ reason for being comes from
doing. Their “in-box” is never empty. On vacations, they try to see and do
as much as they possibly can. In all avenues of their lives, they find
meaning in doing.

In his book titled Work and Love: The Crucial Balance (1980), psychiatrist
Jay Rohrlich showed how work can help people organize, routinize, and


structure their lives. Doing tasks gives people a sense of control and self-
mastery. Achievement sharpens our self-image and helps us define
ourselves. Reaching a goal, like running a race or completing a project,
makes people feel good because it is a positive expression of who they are.

Some clear examples of task-oriented people include those who use color
codes in their daily planners, who have sticky notes in every room of their
house, or who, by 10:00 on Saturday morning, have washed the car, done
the laundry, and cleaned the apartment. Task-oriented people also are
likely to make a list for everything, from grocery shopping to the series of
repetitions in their weight-lifting workouts. Common to all of these people
is their interest in achieving the goal and accomplishing the work.

Relationship Style
Relationship-oriented people differ from task-oriented people because they
are not as goal directed. The relationship-oriented person finds meaning in
being rather than in doing. Instead of seeking out tasks, relationship-
oriented people want to connect with people. They like to celebrate
relationships and the pleasures relationships bring.

Relationship Style

Furthermore, relationship-oriented people often have a strong orientation
in the present. They find meaning in the moment rather than in some future
objective to be accomplished. In a group situation, sensing and feeling the
company of others is appealing to these people. They have been described
by some as “relationship junkies.” They are the people who are the last to
turn off their cell phones as the airplane takes off and the first to turn the
phones back on when the airplane lands. Basically, they are into

In a work setting, the relationship-oriented person wants to connect or
attach with others. For example, the relationship-oriented person would
not be afraid to interrupt someone who was working hard on a task to talk
about the weather, sports, or just about anything. When working out a
problem, relationship-oriented people like to talk to and be associated with


others in addressing the problem. They receive satisfaction from being
connected to other people. A task-oriented friend described a relationship-
oriented person perfectly when he said, “He is the kind of person who
stands and talks to you, coffee mug in hand, when you’re trying to do
something like mow the lawn or cover the boat.” The meaning in “doing”
is just not paramount in the relationship-oriented person’s style.

Leadership Snapshot: Mick Wilz, Director of Enterprise Excellence,

© Terry Duffy

Innovation is key to survival in manufacturing, and Mick Wilz has the
accolades to prove it. As the director of enterprise excellence at Sur-
Seal in Cincinnati, Ohio, Wilz made changes to the manufacturing
process that led to the company receiving the Excellence Award from
the Association for Manufacturing Excellence in 2012. Working within
an industry where task and routine are absolutely critical, it was actually
Wilz’s unique relationship-oriented approach to those tasks that made
the most difference.

Wilz is dyslexic and finds reading, writing, and spelling to be very
difficult. Not a lot was known about this condition when he was
growing up during the late 1950s and 1960s, and Wilz says his


childhood was lonely and hard. But his mother was very supportive,
advocating for him with teachers and shifting him to five different
grammar schools in order to find the best help.

After high school, Wilz began working in building maintenance at the
family business, Sur-Seal, a manufacturer of rubber and plastic gaskets.
In the 1990s he became the company’s head of operations, and in 2006
he took on the position of director of enterprise excellence charged with
reaching peak efficiencies in the manufacturing process. One of his
efforts was to initiate a redesign of the factory’s layout, moving work
groups to new locations on the manufacturing floor to improve
production (

Because of his difficulties, Wilz relies heavily on visual
communication, which was one reason he decided to inform employees
about the redesign by showing, rather than telling, them. He used
children’s Lego blocks to set up a mock version of the current factory
arrangement, right down to using Lego figurines to represent each
individual worker. With the employees watching, he changed the Lego
layout to show the new design. As the employees stood in front of this
demonstration, they were able to see for themselves the plan, make
suggestions, and become involved in the redesign.

Wilz took his visual communication efforts elsewhere in the factory,
making Sur-Seal a visual workplace. Large posters and signs providing
safety directions, instructions on operating the equipment, and diagrams
of the products are posted at every machine.

Wilz’s struggles and achievements have made him a more
compassionate boss. “Because I had a difficult time when I was young,
I believe in treating others as I would like to have been treated. I give
employees second chances because I know what it’s like to struggle,”
Wilz says. As an example, he talks about the time when one of the
company’s maintenance workers was given several chances to improve
his work habits and succeeded, becoming the head of his department
and a leader in Sur-Seal’s manufacturing initiatives.

“We hire a lot of high school graduates who aren’t inclined to try
college because they feel it would be too difficult,” Wilz says. “You
have to find a seat on the bus for everyone. I’m a perfect example”
(Wilz, 2012).

Task and Relationship Styles in Practice


In the previous section, you were asked to consider your personal style
regarding tasks and relationships. In this section, we are going to consider
the task and relationship dimensions of your leadership style.

Focusing on Tasks and People

Figure 5.1 illustrates dimensions of leadership along a task–relationship
continuum. Task-oriented leadership, which appears on the left end of
the continuum, represents leadership that is focused predominantly on
procedures, activities, and goal accomplishments. Relationship-oriented
leadership, which appears on the right end of the continuum, represents
leadership that is focused primarily on the well-being of followers, how
they relate to each other, and the atmosphere in which they work. Most
leadership falls midway between the two extremes of task- and
relationship-oriented leadership. This style of leadership is represented by
the midrange area, a blend of the two types of leadership.

As discussed at the beginning of this chapter, good leaders understand the
work that needs to be done, as well as the need to understand the people
who will do it. The process of “doing” leadership requires that leaders
attend to both tasks and relationships. The specific challenge for the leader
is to decide how much task and how much relationship is required in a
given context or situation.

Task Leadership
Task leadership behaviors facilitate goal accomplishment—they are
behaviors that help group members to achieve their objectives.
Researchers have found that task leadership includes many behaviors.
These behaviors are frequently labeled in different ways, but are always
about task accomplishment. For example, some have labeled task
leadership as initiating structure, which means the leader organizes work,
defines role responsibilities, and schedules work activities (Stogdill, 1974).
Others have labeled task leadership as production orientation, which
means the leader stresses the production and technical aspects of the job
(Bowers & Seashore, 1966). From this perspective, the leader pays
attention to new product development, workload matters, and sales


volume, to name a few aspects. A third label for task leadership is concern
for production (Blake & Mouton, 1964). It includes policy decisions, new
product development, workload, sales volume, or whatever the
organization is seeking to accomplish.

Figure 5.1 Task–Relationship Leadership Continuum

Task Leadership

In short, task leadership occurs anytime the leader is doing something that
assists the group in reaching its goals. This can be something as simple as
handing out an agenda for an upcoming meeting or as complex as
describing the multiple quality control standards of a product development
process. Task leadership includes many behaviors: Common to each is
influencing people toward goal achievement.

As you would expect, people vary in their ability to show task-oriented
leadership. There are those who are very task oriented and those who are
less task oriented. This is where a person’s personal style comes into play.
Those who are task oriented in their personal lives are naturally more task
oriented in their leadership. Conversely, those who are seldom task
oriented in their personal lives will find it difficult to be task oriented as a

Whether a person is very task oriented or less task oriented, the important
point to remember is that, as a leader, he or she will always be required to
exhibit some degree of task behavior. For certain individuals this will be
easy and for others it will present a challenge, but some task-oriented
behavior is essential to each person’s effective leadership performance.

Relationship Leadership


Relationship leadership behaviors help followers feel comfortable with
themselves, with each other, and with the situation in which they find
themselves. For example, in the classroom, when a teacher requires each
student to know every other student’s name, the teacher is demonstrating
relationship leadership. The teacher is helping the students to feel
comfortable with themselves, with other students, and with their

Relationship Leadership

Researchers have described relationship leadership in several ways that
help to clarify its meaning. It has been labeled by some researchers as
consideration behavior (Stogdill, 1974), which includes building
camaraderie, respect, trust, and regard between leaders and followers.
Other researchers describe relationship leadership as having an employee
orientation (Bowers & Seashore, 1966), which involves taking an interest
in workers as human beings, valuing their uniqueness, and giving special
attention to their personal needs. Another line of research has simply
defined relationship leadership as concern for people (Blake & Mouton,
1964). Within an organization, concern for people includes building trust,
providing good working conditions, maintaining a fair salary structure, and
promoting good social relations.

Essentially, relationship leadership behavior is about three things: (1)
treating followers with dignity and respect, (2) building relationships and
helping people get along, and (3) making the work setting a pleasant place
to be. Relationship leadership behavior is an integral part of effective
leadership performance.

Ethical Leadership and Relationships

In our fast-paced and very diverse society, the challenge for a leader is
finding the time and energy to listen to all followers and do what is
required to build effective relationships with each of them. For those who


are highly relationship oriented in their personal lives, being relationship
oriented in leadership will come easily; for those who are highly task
oriented, being relationship oriented in leadership will present a greater
challenge. Regardless of your personal style, every leadership situation
demands a degree of relationship leadership behavior.

As discussed earlier in this chapter, task and relationship leadership
behaviors are inextricably tied together, and a leader’s challenge is to
integrate the two in an optimal way while effectively adapting to
followers’ needs. For example, task leadership is critically important in a
company or an organization with a large number of newly hired employees
or at a charter school with a cadre of new faculty members. It is also called
for in an adult fitness class when the instructor is introducing a new
exercise. Or, consider the family members of a patient going home after a
major heart surgery who have to learn how to change dressings and give
medications; they want the health professionals to tell them exactly what
to do and how to do it. In situations like these, the followers feel uncertain
about their roles and responsibilities, and they want a leader who clarifies
their tasks and tells them what is expected of them. In fact, in nearly every
group or situation there are some individuals who want and need task
direction from their leader, and in these circumstances it is paramount that
the leader exhibit strong task-oriented leadership.

Box 5.1 Student Perspectives on Task and Relationship Styles

The following examples are personal observations written by college
students. These papers illuminate the distinct differences task and
relationship orientations can have in real-life experiences.

Taken to Task
I am definitely a task-oriented person. My mother has given me her
love of lists, and my father has instilled in me the value of finishing
things once you start them. As a result, I am highly organized in all
aspects of my life. I have a color-coded planner with all of the activities
I need to do, and I enjoy crossing things off my lists. Some of my
friends call me a workaholic, but I don’t think that is accurate. There
are just a lot of things I have to do.

My roommate Steph, however, is completely different from me. She
will make verbal lists for her day, but usually will not accomplish any


of them [the items listed]. This drives me crazy when it involves my
life. For example, there were boxes all over the place until about a
month after we moved into our house. Steph would say every day that
she was going to focus and get her room organized that day, but she’d
fail miserably most of the time. She is easily distracted and would pass
up the opportunity to get unpacked to go out with friends, get on
Facebook, or look at YouTube videos.

No matter how much Steph’s life stresses me out, I have learned from
it. I’m all about having a good time in the right setting, but I am coming
to realize that I don’t need to be so planned and scheduled. No matter
how carefully you do plan, something will always go awry. I don’t
know that Steph is the one who has taught me that or if I’m just getting
older, but I’m glad I’m learning that regardless.

  —Jessica Lembke

Being Rather Than Doing
I am an extremely relationship-oriented person. While I know that
accomplishing tasks is important, I believe the quality of work people
produce is directly related to how they feel about themselves and their

I had the privilege of working with fifth graders in an after-school
program last year. There was a range of issues we dealt with including
academic, behavioral, and emotional problems, as well as kids who did
not have safe homes (i.e., no running water or electricity, physical and
emotional abuse, and drug addictions within the home). The “goal” of
our program was to help these kids become “proficient” students in the

The task-oriented leaders in administration emphasized improving
students’ grades through repetition of school work, flash cards, and
quizzes. It was important for our students to improve their grades
because it was the only way statistically to gauge if our program was
successful. Given some of the personal trials these young people were
dealing with, the last thing in my “relationship-oriented” mind was
working on their academics. These young people had so much potential
and wisdom that was stifled when they were asked to blindly follow
academic assignments. In addition, they did not know how to self-
motivate, self-encourage, or get the work done with so many of life’s
obstacles in their way.


Instead of doing school work, which the majority of my students
struggled with and hated, I focused on building relationships with and
between the students. We used discussion, role play, dance parties, and
leadership projects to build their self-confidence and emotional
intelligence. The students put together service projects to improve their
school and community including initiating a trash pickup and recycling
initiative at the school and making cards for a nearby nursing home. By
the end of the year almost every one of my students had improved his or
her grades significantly. More important, at our daily “cheer-for-each-
other” meetings, the students would beam with pride for their own and
others’ successes.

I guess my point in telling this story is that relationship-oriented
leadership is more important to me than task. I much prefer “being”
than “doing.” I am not an organized, goal-oriented person. I rarely make
it out of my house without going back two or three times to grab
something I forgot, and my attention span is shorter than that of a fruit
fly. However, I feel that my passion for relationships and human
connection is what motivates me.

  —Elizabeth Mathews

A Blend of Both
The Style Approach categorizes leaders as being either task oriented or
relationship oriented. While I agree that there are these styles of
leadership, I disagree that everyone can be placed concretely into one or
the other. The Ohio State study says it well by stating that there are
“two different continua.” When it comes to determining where I stand
on each continuum, I’d have to say I’m about even. Not surprisingly,
my results of the Task and Relationship Questionnaire reflect these
thoughts: I scored a solid 41 in both task- and relationship-oriented
styles; I’m equally task and relationship oriented, with each of these
styles becoming more prevalent in certain situations.

While I truly enjoy being around other people, making sure everyone is
happy and that we all enjoy our time, I’m very focused and goal
oriented. If I’m at the movies with my friends, I’m not worrying about a
to-do list; alternatively, if I’m working on a group project for school,
I’m not as concerned about making friends with the group members.

Completing tasks is very important to me. I have an agenda that I keep
with me at all times, partly because without it I would never remember
anything, and partly because it provides satisfaction and peace of mind.


I make to-do lists for myself: groceries, household chores, homework,
and goals. I thrive when I’m busy, but not if I’m disorganized. For
example, this semester I’m taking 20 credits, applying to graduate
schools, taking the GRE, and working at the bookstore. For me it is
comforting to have so many responsibilities. If I have downtime, I
usually waste it, and I hate that feeling.

I also feel, however, that I’m very relationship oriented. My task-
oriented nature doesn’t really affect how I interact with people. I like to
make sure people are comfortable and confident in all situations. While
I pressure myself to get things done and adhere to a schedule, I’d never
think of pushing those pressures onto someone else. If I were the leader
of a group that wasn’t getting things done, I’d set an example, rather
than tell someone what he or she should be doing.

For me, the idea of “two continua” really makes sense. Whether I am
task or relationship focused depends on the situation. While I certainly
want to have fun with people, I’m a proponent of the “time and place”
attitude, in which people remember when it is appropriate to socialize
and when it is appropriate to get a job done.

  —Sally Johnson

On the other hand, it is also true that many groups or situations will have
individuals who want to be affiliated with or connected to others more than
they want direction. For example, in a factory, in a classroom, or even at a
workplace like McDonald’s, there are individuals who want the leader to
befriend them and relate to them on a human level. The followers are
willing to work, but they are primarily interested in being recognized and
feeling related to others. An example would be individuals who attend a
cancer support group. They like to receive information from the leader, but
even more importantly, they want the leader to relate to them. It is similar
with individuals who attend a community-sponsored reading club. They
want to talk about the book, but they also want the leader to relate to them
in a more familiar way. Clearly, in these situations, the leader needs to
connect with these followers by utilizing relationship-oriented behaviors.

Team Experiences


In addition to task and relationship behaviors, Yukl, Gordon, and Taber
(2002) identified a third category of leader behaviors relevant to effective
leadership, which they labeled change behaviors. Based on an analysis of
a large number of earlier leadership measures, the researchers found that
change behaviors included visioning, intellectual stimulation, risk taking,
and external monitoring. This category of behaviors has been less
prominent in the leadership literature but still is a valuable way to
characterize what leaders do. Change behaviors are closely related to
leadership skills and creating a vision, which we discuss in the next two
chapters of the book.

In society, the most effective leaders recognize and adapt to followers’
needs. Whether they are team leaders, teachers, or managers, they
appropriately demonstrate the right degrees of task and relationship
leadership. This is no small challenge because different followers and
situations demand different amounts of task and relationship leadership.
When followers are unclear, confused, or lost, the leader needs to show
direction and exhibit task-oriented leadership. At the same time, a leader
needs to be able to see the need for affiliation and attachment in followers
and be able to meet those needs, without sacrificing task accomplishment.

In the end, the best leader is the leader who helps followers achieve the
goal by attending to the task and by attending to each follower as a person.
We all know leaders who do this: They are the coaches who force us to do
drills until we are blue in the face to improve our physical performance,
but who then caringly listen to our personal problems. They are the
managers who never let us slack off for even a second but who make work
a fun place to be. The list goes on, but the bottom line is that the best
leaders get the job done and care about others in the process.

Leaders’ Value Systems

Good leaders are both task oriented and relationship oriented.
Understanding your personal styles of work and play can provide a better


recognition of your leadership. Task-oriented people find meaning in
doing, while relationship-oriented people find meaning in being connected
to others. Effective leadership requires that leaders be both task oriented
and relationship oriented.

Glossary Terms
concern for people 105
concern for production 104
consideration behavior 105
employee orientation 105
initiating structure 103
personal styles 100
production orientation 104
relationship-oriented leadership 103
task-oriented leadership 103

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SAGE edge for students provides a personalized approach to help you
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5.1 Case Study: From Two to One
Mark Schmidt runs Co-Ed Cleaners, a business that employs college
students to clean offices and schools during the night hours. Due to an
economic downturn, Co-Ed Cleaners has lost customers, and although
Mark has trimmed everywhere he can think of, he has come to the
conclusion that he has to cut back further. This will require letting one
of his two managers go and consolidating responsibilities under the
other manager’s leadership.

Dan Cali manages groups of students who clean school buildings. Dan


is always on the go, visiting cleaning teams at each school while they
are working. His employees describe him as an efficient taskmaster
with checklists they are all required to follow and sign off on as they
complete each job. Dan initiates most ideas for changing processes
based on efficiency. When something goes wrong on a job, Dan insists
he be alerted and brought in to solve it. “Dan is a very task-oriented
guy,” says one of his team members. “There is no one who works
harder than he does or knows more about our jobs. This guy gets more
done in an hour than most guys do in a day. In the two years I’ve been
here, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him stop and take a break or even have
a cup of coffee.” Dan’s efforts have helped Co-Ed Cleaners be
recognized as “The Best Professional Cleaning Service” for three years

Asher Roland is the manager of groups of students who clean small
offices and businesses. Asher has up to 10 teams working a night and
relies on his employees to do their jobs and keep him apprised of
problems. He takes turns working alongside his teams to understand the
challenges they may face, getting to know each of his employees in the
process. Once a month, he takes the teams to a restaurant for a “Great
Job Breakfast” where they talk about sports, the weather, politics, their
relationships and families, and, when they have time, work issues. One
of his employees describes him this way: “Asher is a really good guy.
Never had a better boss. If I am having problems, I would go to Asher
first. He always advocates for us and listens when we have ideas or
problems, but allows us to manage our own jobs the way we think best.
He trusts us to do the right things, and we trust him to be fair and honest
with us.”

Mark likes both Dan and Asher, and in their own way they are both
good managers. Mark worries, however, about how each manager’s
individual style will affect his ability to take on the responsibilities of
the manager he replaces. He must let one go, but he doesn’t know
which one.

1. Using ideas from the chapter, describe Dan’s and Asher’s styles of

2. How will Asher’s employees, who are used to being able to

manage themselves in their own way, respond to Dan’s task-
oriented style?

3. How will Dan’s employees, who are used to being given clear
direction and procedures, respond to Asher’s more relationship-


oriented style?
4. If you were an employee at Co-Ed Cleaners, would you want

Mark to let Dan or Asher go? Explain your choice.

5.2 Task and Relationship Questionnaire


1. To identify how much you emphasize task and relationship
behaviors in your life

2. To explore how your task behavior is related to your relationship


For each item below, indicate on the scale the extent to which you
engage in the described behavior. Move through the items quickly. Do
not try to categorize yourself in one area or another.

Statements Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

1. Make a to-do
list of the things
that need to be

1 2 3 4 5

2. Try to make
the work fun for

1 2 3 4 5

3. Urge others to
concentrate on
the work at hand.

1 2 3 4 5

4. Show concern
for the personal
well-being of

1 2 3 4 5

5. Set timelines
for when the job 1 2 3 4 5


needs to be done.

6. Help group
members get

1 2 3 4 5

7. Keep a
checklist of what
has been

1 2 3 4 5

8. Listen to the
special needs of
each group

1 2 3 4 5

9. Stress to
others the rules
and requirements
for the project.

1 2 3 4 5

10. Spend time
exploring other
people’s ideas
for the project.

1 2 3 4 5

11. Pay close
attention to

1 2 3 4 5

12. Act friendly
toward other
group members.

1 2 3 4 5

13. Clarify each
group member’s

1 2 3 4 5

14. Express
support for other
group members’

1 2 3 4 5



15. Emphasize
standards for the

1 2 3 4 5

16. Talk with
other group
members about
their personal

1 2 3 4 5

17. Keep other
group members
focused on goals.

1 2 3 4 5

18. Emphasize
contributions to
the group.

1 2 3 4 5

19. Follow rules
and regulations

1 2 3 4 5

20. Express
positive feelings
toward others in
the group.

1 2 3 4 5


1. Sum scores for the odd-numbered statements (task score).
2. Sum scores for the even-numbered statements (relationship score).

Total Scores

Task score: ________________________
Relationship score: __________________

Scoring Interpretation


This questionnaire is designed to measure your task-oriented and
relationship-oriented leadership behavior. By comparing your scores,
you can determine which style is more dominant in your own style of
leadership. If your task score is higher than your relationship score, you
tend to give more attention to goal accomplishment and somewhat less
attention to people-related matters. If your relationship score is higher
than your task score, your primary concern tends to be dealing with
people, and your secondary concern is directed more toward tasks. If
your scores are very similar to each other, it suggests that your
leadership is balanced and includes an equal amount of both behaviors.

If your score is 45–50, you are in the very high range.
If your score is 40–44, you are in the high range.
If your score is 35–39, you are in the moderately high range.
If your score is 30–34, you are in the moderately low range.
If your score is 25–29, you are in the low range.
If your score is 10–24, you are in the very low range.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

5.3 Observational Exercise

Task and Relationship


1. To understand how leadership includes both task and relationship

2. To contrast different leaders’ task and relationship behaviors



1. Over the next couple of days, observe the leadership styles of two
different leaders (e.g., teacher, athletic coach, choir director,
restaurant manager, work supervisor).

2. Record your observations of the styles of each person.

Leader #1 (name)

Task behaviors Relationship behaviors









Leader #2 (name)

Task behaviors Relationship behaviors











1. What differences did you observe between the two leaders?
2. What did you observe about the leader who was most task

3. What did you observe about the leader who was most relationship

4. How effective do you think you would be in each of these

leadership positions?

Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

5.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

Task and Relationship


1. As you reflect on what has been discussed in this chapter and on
your own leadership style, how would you describe your own
style in relation to task and relationship orientations? What are
your strengths and weaknesses?

2. What biases do you maintain regarding task style and relationship
style? How do your biases affect your leadership?

3. One of the most difficult challenges leaders face is to integrate
their task and relationship behaviors. Do you see this as a
challenge in your own leadership? How do you integrate task and
relationship behaviors?


1. If you were to change in an effort to improve your leadership,
what aspect of your style would you change? Would you try to be
more task oriented or more relationship oriented?

2. Identify three specific task or relationship changes you could carry

3. What barriers will you face as you try to make these changes?
4. Given that you believe this change will improve your overall

leadership, what can you do (i.e., what strategies can you use) to
overcome the barriers you cite in Action Item #3 above?


Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

Blake, R. R., & McCanse, A. A. (1991). Leadership dilemmas: Grid

solutions. Houston, TX: Gulf.

Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1964). The managerial grid. Houston, TX:

Bowers, D. G., & Seashore, S. E. (1966). Predicting organizational
effectiveness with a four-factor theory of leadership. Administrative
Science Quarterly, 11(2), 238–263.

Kahn, R. L. (1956). The prediction of productivity. Journal of Social
Issues, 12(2), 41–49.

Misumi, J. (1985). The behavioral science of leadership: An
interdisciplinary Japanese research program. Ann Arbor: University of
Michigan Press.

Rohrlich, J. B. (1980). Work and love: The crucial balance. New York,
NY: Summit Books.

Stogdill, R. M. (1974). Handbook of leadership: A survey of theory and
research. New York, NY: Free Press.

Wilz, M. (2012, December 29). Don’t just talk about change. Show it [as
told to P. R. Olsen]. The New York Times. Retrieved from



Yukl, G., Gordon, A., & Taber, T. (2002). A hierarchical taxonomy of
leadership behavior: Integrating a half century of behavior research.
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 9(1), 15–32.


6 Developing Leadership Skills

Whether it is playing the guitar, a video game, or the stock market, most of
life’s activities require us to have skills if we are to be successful. The
same is true of leadership—skills are required. As discussed in the first
chapter, leadership skills refer to learned competencies that leaders are
able to demonstrate in performance (Katz, 1955). Leadership skills give
people the capacity to influence others. They are a critical component in
successful leadership.

What Types of Skills Should Leaders Seek to Develop?

Even though skills play an essential role in the leadership process, they
have received little attention by researchers (Lord & Hall, 2005; T.
Mumford, Campion, & Morgeson, 2007). Leadership traits rather than
leadership skills have been the focus of research for more than 100 years.
However, in the past 10 years a shift has occurred, and leadership skills are
now receiving far more attention by researchers and practitioners alike (M.
Mumford, Zaccaro, Connelly, & Marks, 2000; Yammarino, 2000).

Figure 6.1 Model of Primary Leadership Skills


Developing Skills

Although there are many different leadership skills, they are often
considered as groups of skills. In this chapter, leadership skills are grouped
into three categories: administrative skills, interpersonal skills, and
conceptual skills (see Figure 6.1). The next section describes each group of
skills and explores the unique ways they affect the leadership process.

Administrative Skills Explained
While often devalued because they are not glamorous or exciting,
administrative skills play a primary role in effective leadership.
Administrative skills help a leader to accomplish the mundane but


critically important aspects of showing leadership. Some would even argue
that administrative skills are the most fundamental of all the skills required
of a leader.

Administrative Skills

What are administrative skills? Administrative skills refer to those
competencies a leader needs to run an organization in order to carry out
the organization’s purposes and goals. These involve planning, organizing
work, assigning the right tasks to the right people, and coordinating work
activities (Mann, 1965).

Administrative Skills in Practice
For purposes of our discussion, administrative skills are divided into three
specific sets of skills: (1) managing people, (2) managing resources, and
(3) showing technical competence.

Managing People

Any leader of a for-profit or nonprofit organization, if asked what occupies
the most time, will reply, “Managing people.” Few leaders can do without
the skill of being able to manage people. The phrase management by
walking around captures the essence of managing people. An effective
leader connects with people and understands the tasks to be done, those
skills required to perform them, and the environment in which people
work. The best way to know this is to be involved rather than to be a
spectator. For a leader to deal effectively with people requires a host of
abilities such as helping employees to work as a team, motivating them to
do their best, promoting satisfying relationships among employees, and
responding to their requests. The leader also needs to find time to deal with
urgent staff matters. Staff issues are a daily fact of life for any leader. Staff
members come to the leader for advice on what to do about a problem, and
the leader needs to respond appropriately.


Working in Teams

A leader must also pay attention to recruiting and retaining employees. In
addition, leaders need to communicate effectively with their own board of
directors, as well as with any external constituencies such as the public,
stockholders, or other outside groups that have a stake in the organization.

Consider the leadership of Nate Parker, the director of an after-school
recreation program serving 600 kids in a large metropolitan community.
Nate’s program is funded by an $800,000 government grant. It provides
academic, fitness, and enrichment activities for underserved children and
their families. Nate has managers who assist him in running the after-
school program in five different public schools. Nate’s own
responsibilities include setting up and running staff meetings, recruiting
new staff, updating contracts, writing press releases, working with staff,
and establishing relationships with external constituencies. Nate takes
great pride in having created a new and strong relationship between the
city government and the school district in which he works. Until he came
on board, the relationship between the schools and city government was
tense. By communicating effectively across groups, Nate was able to bring
the entire community together to serve the children. He is now researching
the possibility of a citywide system to support after-school programming.

Managing Resources

Although it is not obvious to others, a leader is often required to spend a
significant amount of time addressing resource issues. Resources, the
lifeblood of an organization, can include people, money, supplies,
equipment, space, or anything else needed to operate an organization.
Managing resources requires a leader to be competent in both obtaining
and allocating resources. Obtaining resources can include a wide range of
activities such as ordering equipment, finding work space, or locating
funds for special projects. For example, a middle school cross-country
coach wanted to replace her team’s outdated uniforms, but had no funds to
do so. In order to buy new uniforms, the coach negotiated with the athletic
director for additional funds. The coach also encouraged several parents in
the booster club to sponsor a few successful fund-raisers.


Decision Making

In addition to obtaining resources, a leader may be required to allocate
resources for new staff or new incentive programs, or to replace old
equipment. While a leader may often engage staff members to assist in
managing resources, the ultimate responsibility of resource management
rests on the leader. As the sign on President Harry S. Truman’s desk read,
“The buck stops here.”

Showing Technical Competence

Technical competence involves having specialized knowledge about the
work we do or ask others to do. In the case of an organization, it includes
understanding the intricacies of how an organization functions. A leader
with technical competence has organizational know-how—he or she
understands the complex aspects of how the organization works. For
example, a university president should be knowledgeable about teaching,
research, student recruitment, and student retention; a basketball coach
should be knowledgeable about the basics of dribbling, passing, shooting,
and rebounding; and a sales manager should have a thorough
understanding of the product the salespeople are selling. In short, a leader
is more effective when he or she has the knowledge and technical
competence about the activities followers are asked to perform.

Technical competence is sometimes referred to as “functional
competence” because it means a person is competent in a particular
function or area. No one is required to be competent in all avenues of life.
So, too, a leader is not required to have technical competence in every
situation. Having technical skills means being competent in a particular
area of work, the area in which one is leading.

The importance of having technical competence can be seen in the
example of an orchestra conductor. The conductor’s job is to direct
rehearsals and performances of the orchestra. To do this, the conductor
needs technical competence pertaining to rhythm, music composition, and
all the many instruments and how they are played. Technical competence
gives the conductor the understanding required to direct the many different
musicians to perform together successfully.


Interpersonal Skills Explained
In addition to administrative skills, effective leadership requires
interpersonal skills (see Figure 6.1). Interpersonal skills are people skills
—those abilities that help a leader to work effectively with followers,
peers, and superiors to accomplish the organization’s goals. While some
people downplay the importance of interpersonal skills or disparage them
as “touchy-feely” and inconsequential, leadership research has consistently
pointed out the importance of interpersonal skills to effective leadership
(Bass, 1990; Blake & McCanse, 1991; Katz, 1955).

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal Skills in Practice
Interpersonal skills are divided into three parts: (1) being socially
perceptive, (2) showing emotional intelligence, and (3) managing
interpersonal conflicts.

Being Socially Perceptive

To successfully lead an organization toward change, a leader needs to be
sensitive to how her or his own ideas fit in with others’ ideas. Social
perceptiveness includes having insight into and awareness of what is
important to others, how they are motivated, the problems they face, and
how they react to change. It involves understanding the unique needs,
goals, and demands of different organizational constituencies (Zaccaro,
Gilbert, Thor, & Mumford, 1991). A leader with social perceptiveness has
a keen sense of how employees will respond to any proposed change in the
organization. In a sense, you could say a socially perceptive leader has a
finger on the pulse of employees on any issue at any time.

Leadership is about change, and people in organizations often resist
change because they like things to stay the same. Novel ideas, different
rules, or new ways of doing things are often seen as threatening because
they do not fit in with how people are used to things being done. A leader


who is socially perceptive can create change more effectively if he or she
understands how the proposed change may affect all the people involved.

One example that demonstrates the importance of social perceptiveness is
illustrated in the events surrounding the graduation ceremonies at the
University of Michigan in the spring of 2008. The university anticipated
5,000 students would graduate, with an expected audience of 30,000. In
prior years, the university traditionally held spring graduation ceremonies
in the football stadium, which, because of its size, is commonly known as
“the Big House.” However, because the stadium was undergoing major
renovations, the university was forced to change the venue for graduation
and decided to hold the graduation at the outdoor stadium of nearby
Eastern Michigan University. When the university announced the change
of location, the students, their families, and the university’s alumni
responded immediately and negatively. There was upheaval as they made
their strong opinions known.

Clearly, the leadership at the university had not perceived the significance
to seniors and their families of where graduation ceremonies were to be
held. It was tradition to graduate in the Big House, so changing the venue
was offensive to many. Phone calls came into the president’s office, and
editorials appeared in the press. Students did not want to graduate on the
campus of another university. They thought that they deserved to graduate
on their own campus. Some students, parents, and alumni even threatened
to withhold future alumni support.

To correct the situation, the university again changed the venue. Instead of
holding the graduation at Eastern Michigan University, the university
spent $1.8 million to set up a temporary outdoor stage in the center of
campus, surrounded by the University of Michigan’s classroom buildings
and libraries. The graduating students and their families were pleased that
the ceremonies took place where their memories and traditions were so
strong. The university ultimately was successful because it adapted to the
deeply held beliefs of its students and their families. Clearly, if the
university had been more socially perceptive at the outset, the initial
dissatisfaction and upheaval that arose could have been avoided.

Showing Emotional Intelligence

Another important skill for a leader is being able to show emotional


intelligence. Although emotional intelligence emerged as a concept less
than 20 years ago, it has captivated the interests of many scholars and
practitioners of leadership (Caruso & Wolfe, 2004; Goleman, 1995; Mayer
& Salovey, 1995). Emotional intelligence is concerned with a person’s
ability to understand his or her own and others’ emotions, and then to
apply this understanding to life’s tasks. Specifically, emotional intelligence
can be defined as the ability to perceive and express emotions, to use
emotions to facilitate thinking, to understand and reason with emotions,
and to manage emotions effectively within oneself and in relationships
with others (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2000).

Emotional Intelligence and Performance

The underlying premise of research on emotional intelligence is that
people who are sensitive to their own emotions and the impact their
emotions have on others will be more effective leaders. Since showing
emotional intelligence is positively related to effective leadership, what
should a leader do to enhance his or her emotional skills?

First, leaders need to work on becoming aware of their own emotions,
taking their emotional pulse, and identifying their feelings as they happen.
Whether it is mad, glad, sad, or scared, a leader needs to assess constantly
how he or she is feeling and what is causing those feelings.

Leadership Snapshot: Coquese Washington, Head Coach, Penn State
Women’s Basketball


© Jeff Golden/Contributor/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

It was apparent early on that Coquese Washington had skills that would
take her places. She grew up in Flint, Michigan, where she played seven
musical instruments in high school, was an All-State selection for girls’
basketball two years in a row, and was awarded a scholarship to attend
Notre Dame. She finished Notre Dame in three years, earning a
bachelor’s degree in history. After taking a year off to be a high school
special education teacher in her hometown, she returned to her alma
mater to earn a juris doctorate from the Notre Dame Law School.

But where she ended up . . . well, not even she saw that coming.

Washington was a gifted basketball player, and although she excelled at
the sport in high school and it is what brought her to play at Notre
Dame, she says her dream was always to practice law.

But after law school, she took a left turn, being recruited and chosen to
play for the Portland Power of the ABL (American Basketball League),
a short-lived women’s professional basketball league. A year later she
joined the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association), playing
first for the New York Liberty and then moving to Houston, helping the
Comets win the WNBA title. She was traded to the Indiana Fever and
guided that team to its first ever playoff berth, becoming the first player
in WNBA history to lead three different teams to the postseason


Former teammate Rebecca Lobo describes Washington as “a smart
teammate who liked to learn. She could fit in with any crowd and had
everyone’s respect because she could blend without compromising who
she was” (Haverbeck, 2007).

The WNBA season is in the summer, which allowed Washington to
begin coaching at Notre Dame as an assistant under her former coach
Muffet McGraw in the off-season. “She did not have any experience,
but I thought she’d be great at it,” McGraw says. “I wanted to give her
that opportunity and just see if I could try to talk her into trying it out
and she was just good at it. I think she found her passion” (McKenna,

It was also during this time that Washington’s legal skills were called
into action. She had been working as an attorney for a New York law
firm, so when the WNBA players decided to form a union, she brought
her litigation skills to the effort. She became the founding president of
the Women’s National Basketball Players’ Association and negotiated
the players’ first collective bargaining agreement. Lobo said that
Washington was “a godsend” during the negotiations. “She was
levelheaded and bright and also had her law degree” (Haverbeck, 2007).

It was in law school that she learned to research, analyze situations, and
develop strategies, and Washington admits she always thought she
would return to being a lawyer, but somewhere along the way that

“I thought ‘Man, I like coaching, you know. I like the relationships that
I have with the players. I like being in the gym,’” Washington said. “I
loved basketball. I love being around basketball. I never thought I
would enjoy coaching as much as I have, but I really do enjoy it”
(McKenna, 2013).

In 2007, Washington was tapped to be the head coach of Penn State’s
women’s basketball team. Her success there has been steady; by 2013,
she led the Lady Lions to three consecutive appearances at the National
Collegiate Athletic Association Women’s Division I Basketball

But the winning isn’t what’s keeping Washington on the court. It’s the
opportunity to be a mentor and leader to her players.

“Mentoring them and helping them learn to become powerful, dynamic
women—that’s the thing I love best of all.


“We use basketball as a vehicle, but I’m probably most proud of our
kids’ ability to achieve. I’ve learned over the years that that is a skill
that’s developed, not something you’re born with. Perseverance,
persistence, belief—there are so many skills that have to be nurtured to
become an achiever” (Nilsen, 2009).

It’s a philosophy her players respond to. “I think the biggest thing that
coach does is not only tell us what to do, she does it herself,” says Penn
State player Alex Bentley. “She has been through the WNBA, she has
been through coaching at the top institutions already. She knows the
game and I have been picking her brain ever since I was a freshman
stepping on the court.

“She is the epitome of a great woman. We just see that and want to be
like that, she is a role model and a mentor. Us as women, we want to be
like that one day” (McKenna, 2013).

Second, a leader should train to become aware of the emotions of others. A
leader who knows how to read others’ emotions is better equipped to
respond appropriately to these people’s wants and needs. Stated another
way, a leader needs to have empathy for others. He or she should
understand the feelings of others as if those feelings were his or her own.
Salovey and Mayer (1990) suggested that empathy is the critical
component of emotional intelligence. Empathy, and how to demonstrate it,
is discussed further in Chapter 10, “Listening to Out-Group Members.”

Third, a leader needs to learn how to regulate his or her emotions and put
them to good use. Whenever a leader makes a substantial decision, the
leader’s emotions are involved. Therefore, emotions need to be embraced
and managed for the good of the group or organization. When a leader is
sensitive to others and manages his or her own emotions appropriately,
that leader increases the chances that the group’s decisions will be
effective. For example, a high school principal sensed that she was
becoming extremely angry with some students who pulled a prank during
an assembly. Instead of expressing her anger—“losing it”—she maintained
her composure and helped to turn the prank into a learning experience. The
key point here is that people with emotional intelligence understand
emotions and incorporate these in what they do as leaders. To summarize,
a leader with emotional intelligence listens to his or her own feelings and
the feelings of others, and is adept at regulating these emotions in service
of the common good.


Handling Conflict

A leader also needs to have skill in handling conflict. Conflict is
inevitable. Conflict creates the need for change and occurs as the result of
change. Conflict can be defined as a struggle between two or more
individuals over perceived differences regarding substantive issues (e.g.,
the correct procedure to follow) or over perceived differences regarding
relational issues (e.g., the amount of control each individual has within a
relationship). When confronted with conflict, leaders and followers often
feel uncomfortable because of the strain, controversy, and stress that
accompany conflict. Although conflict is uncomfortable, it is not
unhealthy, nor is it necessarily bad. If conflict is managed in effective and
productive ways, the result is a reduction of stress, an increase in creative
problem solving, and a strengthening of leader–follower and team-member

Because conflicts are usually very complex, and addressing them is never
simple, Chapter 11, “Managing Conflict,” provides a more thorough
examination of the components of conflict and offers several practical
communication approaches that a leader can take to constructively resolve

Conceptual Skills Explained
Whereas administrative skills are about organizing work, and interpersonal
skills are about dealing effectively with people, conceptual skills are
about working with concepts and ideas. Conceptual skills involve the
thinking or cognitive aspects of leadership and are critical to such things as
creating a vision or strategic plan for an organization. A leader with
conceptual skills is able to conceive and communicate the ideas that shape
an organization from its goals and mission to how to best solve problems.

Traits and Conceptual Skills

Conceptual Skills in Practice


Conceptual skills for leaders can be divided into three parts: (1) problem
solving, (2) strategic planning, and (3) creating vision.

Problem Solving

We all know people who are especially good at problem solving. When
something goes wrong or needs to be fixed, they are the first ones to jump
in and address the problem. Problem solvers do not sit idly by when there
are problems. They are quick to ask, “What went wrong?” and they are
ready to explore possible answers to “How can it be fixed?” Problem-
solving skills are essential for effective leadership.

Problem-Solving Skills

What are problem-solving skills? Problem-solving skills refer to a
leader’s cognitive ability to take corrective action in a problem situation in
order to meet desired objectives. The skills include identifying the
problem, generating alternative solutions, selecting the best solution from
among the alternatives, and implementing that solution (see Table 6.1).
These skills do not function in a vacuum, but are carried out in a particular
setting or context.

Table 6.1 Steps in Problem Solving
Table 6.1 Steps in Problem


1. Identify the problem

2. Generate alternative solutions

3. Select the best solution

4. Implement the solution

Step 1: Identify the problem. The first step in the problem-solving
process is to identify or recognize the problem. The importance of this step


cannot be understated. Seeing a problem and addressing it is at the core of
successful problem solving. All of us are confronted with many problems
every day, but some of us fail to see those problems or even to admit that
they exist. Others may recognize that something is wrong but then do
nothing about it. People with problem-solving skills see problems and
address them.

Some problems are simple and easy to define, while others are complex
and demand a great deal of scrutiny. Problems arise when there is a
difference between what is expected and what actually happens.
Identifying the problem requires awareness of these differences. The
questions we ask in this phase of problem solving are “What is the
problem?” “Are there multiple aspects to it?” and “What caused it?”
Identifying the exact nature of the problem precedes everything else in the
problem-solving process.

Step 2: Generate alternative solutions. After identifying the problem and
its cause or causes, the next step in problem solving is to generate
alternative solutions where there is more than one possible resolution to
the problem. Because problems are often complex, there are usually many
different ways of trying to correct them. During this phase of problem
solving, it is important to consider as many solutions as possible and not
dismiss any as unworthy. For example, consider a person with a major
health concern (e.g., cancer or multiple sclerosis). There are often many
ways to treat the illness, but before choosing a course of treatment it is
important to consult a health professional and explore all the treatment
options. Every treatment has different side effects and different
probabilities for curing the illness. Before choosing an option, people often
want to be sure that they have fully considered all of the possible treatment
options. The same is true in problem solving. Before going forward, it is
important to consider all the available options for dealing with a problem.

Step 3: Select the best solution. The next step in problem solving is to
select the best solution to the problem. Solutions usually differ in how well
they address a particular problem, so the relative strengths and weaknesses
of each solution need to be addressed. Some solutions are straightforward
and easy to enact, while others are complex or difficult to manage.
Similarly, some solutions are inexpensive while others are costly. Many
criteria can be used to judge the value of a particular solution as it applies
to a given problem. Selecting the best solution is the key to solving a


problem effectively.

The importance of selecting the best solution can be illustrated in a
hypothetical example of a couple with marital difficulties. Having
struggled in their marriage for more than two years, the couple decides that
they must do something to resolve the conflict in their relationship.
Included in the list of what they could do are attend marital counseling,
receive individual psychiatric therapy, separate, date other people even
though they are married, and file for divorce. Each of these solutions
would have a different impact on what happens to the couple and their
marital relationship. While not exhaustive, the list highlights the
importance in problem solving of selecting the best solution to a given
problem. The solutions we choose have a major impact on how we feel
about the outcome of our problem solving.

Step 4: Implement the solution. The final step in problem solving is
implementing the solution. Having defined the problem and selected a
solution, it is time to put the solution into action. Implementing the
solution involves shifting from thinking about the problem to doing
something about the problem. It is a challenging step: It is not uncommon
to meet with resistance from others when trying to do something new and
different to solve a problem. Implementing change requires
communicating with others about the change, and adapting the change to
the wants and needs of those being affected by the change. Of course,
there is always the possibility that the chosen solution will fail to address
the problem; it might even make the problem worse. Nevertheless, there is
no turning back at this phase. There is always a risk in implementing
change, but it is a risk that must be taken to complete the problem-solving

To clarify what is meant by problem-solving skills, consider the following
example of John and Kristen Smith and their troublesome dishwasher. The
Smiths’ dishwasher was five years old, and the dishes were no longer
coming out clean and sparkling. Analyzing the situation, the Smiths
determined that the problem could be related to several possible causes:
their use of liquid instead of powdered dish detergent, a bad seal on the
door of the dishwasher, ineffective water softener, misloading of the
dishwasher, or a defective water heater. Not knowing what the problem
was, John thought they should implement all five possible solutions at
once. Kristen disagreed, and suggested they address one possible solution


at a time to determine the cause. The first solution they tried was to change
the dish detergent, but this did not fix the problem. Next, they changed the
seal on the door of the dishwasher—and this solved the problem. By
addressing the problem carefully and systematically, the Smiths were able
to find the cause of the dishwasher malfunction and to save themselves a
great deal of money. Their problem-solving strategy was effective.

Strategic Planning

A second major kind of conceptual skill is strategic planning. Like
problem solving, strategic planning is mainly a cognitive activity. A leader
needs to be able to think and consider ideas to develop effective strategies
for a group or an organization. Being strategic requires developing careful
plans of action based on the available resources and personnel to achieve a
goal. It is similar to what generals do in wartime: They make elaborate
plans of how to defeat the enemy given their resources, personnel, and the
mission they need to accomplish. Similarly, athletic coaches take their
knowledge of their players and their abilities to create game plans for how
to best compete with the opposing team. In short, strategic planning is
about designing a plan of action to achieve a desired goal.

Strategic Planning

In their analysis of research on strategic leadership, Boal and Hooijberg
(2000) suggested that strategic leaders need to have the ability to learn, the
capacity to adapt, and managerial wisdom. The ability to learn includes
the capability to absorb new information and apply it toward new goals. It
is a willingness to experiment with new ideas and even to accept failures.
The capacity to adapt is about being able to respond quickly to changes in
the environment. A leader needs to be open to and accepting of change.
When competitive conditions change, an effective leader will have the
capacity to change. Having managerial wisdom refers to possessing a deep
understanding of the people with whom and the environment in which a
leader works. It is about having the good sense to make the right decisions
at the right time, and to do so with the best interests of everyone involved.

To illustrate the complexity of strategic planning, consider the following


example of how NewDevices, a startup medical supply company, used
strategic thinking to promote itself. NewDevices developed a surgical
scanner to help surgical teams reduce errors during surgery. Although
there were no such scanners on the market at that time, two companies
were developing a similar product. The potential market for the product
was enormous and included all the hospitals in the United States (almost
8,000 hospitals). Because it was clear that all hospitals would eventually
need this scanner, NewDevices knew it was going to be in a race to
capture the market ahead of the other companies.

NewDevices was a small company with limited resources, so management
was well aware of the importance of strategic planning. Any single
mistake could threaten the survival of the company. Because everyone at
NewDevices, including the sales staff, owned stock in the company,
everyone was strongly motivated to work to make the company succeed.
Sales staff members were willing to share effective sales approaches with
each other because, rather than being in competition, they had a common

Every Monday morning the management team met for three hours to
discuss the goals and directions for the company. Much time was spent on
framing the argument for why hospitals needed the NewDevices scanner
more than its competitors’ scanners. To make this even more challenging,
the NewDevices scanner was more expensive than the competition,
although it was also safer. NewDevices chose to sell the product by
stressing that it could save money in the long run for hospitals because it
was safer and would reduce the incidence of malpractice cases.

Managers also developed strategies about how to persuade hospitals to
sign on to their product. They contacted hospitals to inquire as to whom
they should direct their pitch for the new product. Was it the director of
surgical nursing or some other hospital administrator? In addition, they
analyzed how they should allocate the company’s limited resources.
Should they spend more money on enhancing their website? Did they need
a director of advertising? Should they hire more sales representatives? All
of these questions were the subject of much analysis and debate.
NewDevices knew the stakes were very high; if management slipped even
once, the company would fail.

This example illustrates that strategic planning is a multifaceted process.
By planning strategically, however, leaders and their employees can


increase the likelihood of reaching their goals and achieving the aims of
the organization.

Creating Vision

Similar to strategic planning, creating vision takes a special kind of
cognitive and conceptual ability. It requires the capacity to challenge
people with compelling visions of the future. To create vision, a leader
needs to be able to set forth a picture of a future that is better than the
present, and then move others toward a new set of ideals and values that
will lead to the future. A leader must be able to articulate the vision and
engage others in its pursuit. Furthermore, the leader needs to be able to
implement the vision and model the principles set forth in the vision. A
leader with a vision has to “walk the walk,” and not just “talk the talk.”
Building vision is an important leadership skill and one that receives
extensive discussion in Chapter 7, “Creating a Vision.”

In recent years, the study of leadership skills has captured the attention of
researchers and practitioners alike. Skills are essential to being an effective
leader. Unlike traits that are innate, leadership skills are learned
competencies. Everyone can learn to acquire leadership skills. In this
chapter, we considered three types of leadership skills: administrative
skills, interpersonal skills, and conceptual skills.

Often thought of as unexciting, administrative skills play a primary role in
effective leadership. These are the skills a leader needs to run the
organization and carry out its purposes. These are the skills needed to plan
and organize work. Specifically, administrative skills include managing
people, managing resources, and showing technical competence.

A second type of skills is interpersonal skills, or people skills. These are
the competencies that a leader needs to work effectively with followers,
peers, and superiors to accomplish the organization’s goals. Research has
shown unequivocally that interpersonal skills are of fundamental
importance to effective leadership. Interpersonal skills can be divided into
being socially perceptive, showing emotional intelligence, and managing
interpersonal conflict.


A leader also needs conceptual skills. Conceptual skills have to do with
working with concepts and ideas. These are cognitive skills that emphasize
the thinking ability of a leader. Although these cover a wide array of
competencies, conceptual skills in this chapter are divided into problem
solving, strategic planning, and creating vision.

In summary, administrative, interpersonal, and conceptual skills play a
major role in effective leadership. Through practice and hard work, we can
all become better leaders by improving our skills in each of these areas.

Glossary Terms
administrative skills 118
conceptual skills 125
interpersonal skills 121
problem-solving skills 126
social perceptiveness 121
strategic planning 128
technical competence 120

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6.1 Case Study: Sweet Caroline’s
It started with cupcakes. As a teacher at Oak Park Elementary, Caroline
would often make cupcakes for the school’s teachers and staff.
Everyone raved about her baking expertise, and a colleague asked
Caroline to make cupcakes for her son’s birthday party. The treats were
such a hit that many of the parents at the party asked Caroline for her
phone number, and she quickly found herself baking for multiple


parties a week.

After a year of baking for private parties, an opportunity arose for
Caroline to take her business to the next level. After a local coffee shop
went out of business, Caroline signed a contract for its space and
opened Sweet Caroline’s, a bakery featuring her cupcakes, muffins,
Danish, and other baked goods.

Starting small with birthday parties and graduations and growing to
wedding receptions and banquets, Sweet Caroline’s quickly became the
most sought-after caterer in the city. As the demand for catering
cupcakes and cakes outside of regular business hours grew, Caroline
expanded her staff and the services they offered. In just five years,
Sweet Caroline’s morphed from a small bakery into a full-service
restaurant and catering company.

Although Caroline had no plans of ever going into business, Sweet
Caroline’s has been very successful. Caroline is very personable and
genuine, which has been instrumental in creating a large and loyal
customer base. Furthermore, Caroline’s intuitive sense for how to tailor
her services to fit the needs of the community has fueled the company’s
growth. Despite her success, however, Caroline has struggled with
certain aspects of running Sweet Caroline’s.

Now five years after Sweet Caroline’s opened, it has become a highly
complex operation to keep organized. Caroline’s staff has grown to 40
employees, some who work in the bakery, some in the restaurant, and
some in both places. There are five drivers who deliver cupcakes, cakes,
and other catered goods to private parties and businesses six days a
week. In addition, Caroline runs weekly ads in the local media, on the
radio, and on the Web. Her 22-year-old daughter manages the
company’s Facebook page and Twitter account, which boasts more than

Caroline is a skilled baker, but she is finding that the demands of her
growing business and client base are creating challenges that are out of
her area of expertise. Many of these fall into the administrative area
where she hasn’t the patience or knowledge to deal with detail-oriented
aspects of managing her business.

For example, Dale, Sweet Caroline’s delivery driver, is often frustrated
because the company does not have a system for how orders are to be
delivered throughout the city. Dale worked for another company that
had a “zone system” so that each driver delivered all orders in one
specific area on a given day. In addition, Caroline has opted not to use


computers at her company, so all delivery orders are written by hand
and then rewritten on clipboards for the drivers when the order is ready.
There are often mistakes including duplicate deliveries or a delivery
that gets missed completely.

Caroline also struggles with scheduling. Employees’ work schedules
are developed the weekend before the start of a workweek so that
employees often are unaware of their upcoming shifts. As a result,
Sweet Caroline’s is constantly understaffed. The food and baked goods
are so good that patrons rarely complain about the wait, but staff
members get frustrated with the lack of notice regarding their
schedules, the lack of staffing, and the stresses these issues cause.

When it comes to catering events, there is often chaos as Caroline
chooses to work on food preparation, while leaving staff members, who
are not trained to do so, to plan the events, manage client concerns and
issues, and execute the event. While the quality of the food is
consistently superb, clients are often surprised by the disorganized style
of the catering staff. The staff feels it, too; many have commented that
they feel like they are “running blind” when it comes to the events
because Caroline gives very little direction and is often not around to
help when issues arise.

Caroline, however, has a good working rapport with her staff, and they
acknowledge that Sweet Caroline’s can be a fun place to work. For her
part, Caroline knows that working in a bakery can be difficult and
demanding, and she consistently praises the efforts and dedication of
her staff members. Caroline is also very good about pitching in and
working with staff on the production of cupcakes, cakes, and food
items, working side-by-side with them on big orders, while providing
them with positive encouragement.

Caroline truly enjoys the novelty of being a business owner and handles
all the accounting and payroll duties for the company. Unfortunately,
this aspect of the job is becoming more demanding, and Caroline
spends an increasing amount of time on these duties, leaving more and
more of the day-to-day operations and catering to her staff.

Caroline has been approached about opening a second Sweet Caroline’s
in a neighboring town, and while she would like to build on her success,
she already feels overwhelmed at times by her current operation and is
not sure she can take on more. But she also knows the opportunity to
expand won’t last forever.



1. Based on the Model of Primary Leadership Skills (Figure 6.1),
how would you describe Caroline’s skills? In what skills is she
strongest, and in what skills is she weakest?

2. Sweet Caroline’s bakery and restaurant seemed to emerge out of
nowhere. What role did Caroline play in this? Do you think
Caroline could improve her business with more strategic

3. Have you ever worked at a place that was very successful but felt
quite chaotic and disorganized? How did you handle it?

4. If you were a consultant to Caroline, would you recommend she
open a second location? If so, what three specific skills would you
have Caroline develop in order to help manage her business

6.2 Leadership Skills Questionnaire


1. To identify your leadership skills
2. To provide a profile of your leadership skills showing your

strengths and weaknesses


1. Place yourself in the role of a leader when responding to this

2. For each of the statements below, circle the number that indicates
the degree to which you feel the statement is true.

Statements Not





1. I am
effective with
the detailed
aspects of my

1 2 3 4 5

2. I usually


know ahead of
time how
people will
respond to a
new idea or

1 2 3 4 5

3. I am
effective at

1 2 3 4 5

4. Filling out
forms and
working with
details come
easily for me.

1 2 3 4 5

the social
fabric of the
is important to

1 2 3 4 5

6. When
arise, I
address them.

1 2 3 4 5

7. Managing
people and
resources is
one of my

1 2 3 4 5

8. I am able to
sense the
in my group.

1 2 3 4 5


9. Seeing the
big picture
comes easily
for me.

1 2 3 4 5

10. In my
work, I enjoy
responding to
requests and

1 2 3 4 5

11. I use my
energy to

1 2 3 4 5

12. Making
strategic plans
for my
appeals to me.

1 2 3 4 5

13. Obtaining
and allocating
resources is a
aspect of my

1 2 3 4 5

14. The key to
resolution is
respecting my

1 2 3 4 5

15. I enjoy
values and

1 2 3 4 5



16. I am
effective at
resources to
support our

1 2 3 4 5

17. I work
hard to find
consensus in

1 2 3 4 5

18. I am
flexible about
changes in our

1 2 3 4 5


1. Sum the responses on items 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16 (administrative
skill score).

2. Sum the responses on items 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, and 17 (interpersonal
skill score).

3. Sum the responses on items 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 (conceptual
skill score).

Total Scores

Administrative skill: ___________________
Interpersonal skill: ____________________
Conceptual skill: _____________________

Scoring Interpretation

The Leadership Skills Questionnaire is designed to measure three broad
types of leadership skills: administrative, interpersonal, and conceptual.
By comparing your scores, you can determine where you have
leadership strengths and where you have leadership weaknesses.


If your score is 26–30, you are in the very high range.
If your score is 21–25, you are in the high range.
If your score is 16–20, you are in the moderate range.
If your score is 11–15, you are in the low range.
If your score is 6–10, you are in the very low range.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

6.3 Observational Exercise

Leadership Skills


1. To develop an understanding of different types of leadership skills
2. To examine how leadership skills affect a leader’s performance


1. Your task in this exercise is to observe a leader and evaluate that
person’s leadership skills. This leader can be a supervisor, a
manager, a coach, a teacher, a fraternity or sorority officer, or
anyone who has a position that involves leadership.

2. For each of the groups of skills listed below, write what you
observed about this leader.

Name of leader: ________________

Administrative skills 1 2 3 4 5


Managing people

Managing resources

Showing technical

















Interpersonal skills 1 2 3 4 5

Being socially

Showing emotional

Managing conflict

















Conceptual skills 1 2 3 4 5

Problem solving

Strategic planning

Creating vision













Very good

Very good

Very good



1. Based on your observations, what were the leader’s strengths and

2. In what setting did this leadership example occur? Did the setting
influence the kind of skills that the leader used? Discuss.

3. If you were coaching this leader, what specific things would you


tell this leader about how he or she could improve leadership
skills? Discuss.

4. In another situation, do you think this leader would exhibit the
same strengths and weaknesses? Discuss.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

6.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

Leadership Skills


1. Based on what you know about yourself and the scores you
received on the Leadership Skills Questionnaire in the three areas
(administrative, interpersonal, and conceptual), how would you
describe your leadership skills? Which specific skills are your
strongest, and which are your weakest? What impact do you think
your leadership skills could have on your role as a leader?

2. This chapter suggests that emotional intelligence is an
interpersonal leadership skill. Discuss whether you agree or
disagree with this assumption. As you think about your own
leadership, how do your emotions help or hinder your role as a
leader? Discuss.

3. This chapter divides leadership into three kinds of skills
(administrative, interpersonal, and conceptual). Do you think
some of these skills are more important than others in some kinds
of situations? Do you think lower levels of leadership (e.g.,
supervisor) require the same skills as upper levels of leadership
(e.g., CEO)? Discuss.


1. One unique aspect of leadership skills is that they can be
practiced. List and briefly describe three things you could do to
improve your administrative skills.

2. Leaders need to be socially perceptive. As you assess yourself in


this area, identify two specific actions that would help you
become more perceptive of other people and their viewpoints.

3. What kind of problem solver are you? Are you slow or quick to
address problem situations? Overall, what two things could you
change about yourself to be a more effective problem solver?

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

Bass, B. M. (1990). Bass & Stogdill’s handbook of leadership: Theory,

research, and managerial applications (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Free

Blake, R. R., & McCanse, A. A. (1991). Leadership dilemmas: Grid
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Boal, K. B., & Hooijberg, R. (2000). Strategic leadership research:
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(Eds.), Leader development for transforming organizations: Growing
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leadership skills strataplex: Leadership skill requirements across
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Leadership and social intelligence: Linking social perceptiveness and
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7 Creating a Vision

An effective leader creates compelling visions that guide people’s
behavior. In the context of leadership, a vision is a mental model of an
ideal future state. It offers a picture of what could be. Visions imply
change and can challenge people to reach a higher standard of excellence.
At the same time, visions are like a guiding philosophy that provides
people with meaning and purpose.

Why Do I Have to Create a Vision to Become a Leader?

In developing a vision, a leader is able to visualize positive outcomes in
the future and communicate these to others. Ideally, the leader and the
members of a group or an organization share the vision. Although this
picture of a possible future may not always be crystal clear, the vision
itself plays a major role in how the leader influences others and how others
react to his or her leadership.

For the past 25 years, vision has been a major topic in writings on
leadership. Vision plays a prominent role in training and development
literature. For example, Covey (1991) suggested that vision is one of seven
habits of highly effective people. He argued that effective people “begin
with the end in mind” (p. 42), that they have a deep understanding of their
goals, values, and mission in life, and that this understanding is the basis
for everything they do. Similarly, Loehr and Schwartz (2001), in their full-
engagement training program, stressed that people are a mission-specific
species, and their goal in life should be to mobilize their sources of energy
to accomplish their intended mission. Kouzes and Posner (2003), whose
Leadership Practices Inventory is a widely used leadership assessment
instrument, identified vision as one of the five practices of exemplary
leadership. Clearly, vision has been an important aspect of leadership
training and development in recent years.


Positive Visionary Leadership

Vision also plays a central role in many of the common theories of
leadership (Zaccaro & Banks, 2001). For example, in transformational
leadership theory, vision is identified as one of the four major factors that
account for extraordinary leadership performance (Bass & Avolio, 1994).
In charismatic leadership theories, vision is highlighted as a key to
organizational change (Conger & Kanungo, 1998; House, 1977).
Charismatic leaders create change by linking their vision and its values to
the self-concept of followers. For example, through her charisma Mother
Teresa linked her vision of serving the poor and disenfranchised to her
followers’ beliefs of personal commitment and self-sacrifice. Some
theories are actually titled visionary leadership theories (see Nanus, 1992;
Sashkin, 1988, 2004) because vision is their defining characteristic of

To better understand the role of vision in effective leadership, this chapter
will address the following questions: “What are the characteristics of a
vision?” “How is a vision articulated?” and “How is a vision
implemented?” In our discussion of these questions, we will focus on how
you can develop a workable vision for whatever context you find yourself
in as a leader.

Vision Explained
Given that it is essential for a leader to have a vision, how are visions
formed? What are the main characteristics of a vision? Research on
visionary leadership suggests that visions have five characteristics: a
picture, a change, values, a map, and a challenge (Nanus, 1992; Zaccaro &
Banks, 2001).

Visionary Leadership


A Picture
A vision creates a picture of a future that is better than the status quo. It
is an idea about the future that requires an act of faith by followers.
Visions paint an ideal image of where a group or an organization should be
going. It may be an image of a situation that is more exciting, more
affirming, or more inspiring. As a rule, these mental images are of a time
and place where people are working productively to achieve a common
goal. Although it is easier for followers to comprehend a detailed vision, a
leader’s vision is not always fully developed. Sometimes a leader’s vision
provides only a general direction to followers or gives limited guidance to
them. At other times, a leader may have only a bare-bones notion of where
he or she is leading others; the final picture may not emerge for a number
of years. Nevertheless, when a leader is able to paint a picture of the future
that is attractive and inspiring, it can have significant impact on his or her
ability to lead others effectively.

Vision and Organization Change

A Change
Another characteristic of a vision is that it represents a change in the status
quo, and moves an organization or a system toward something more
positive in the future. Visions point the way to new ways of doing things
that are better than how things were done in the past. They take the best
features of a prior system and strengthen them in the pursuit of a new goal.

Changes can occur in many forms: rules, procedures, goals, values, or
rituals, to name a few. Because visions imply change, it is not uncommon
for a leader to experience resistance to the articulated vision. Some leaders
are even accused of “stirring the pot” when promoting visionary changes.
Usually, though, visions are compelling and inspire others to set aside old
ways of doing things and to become part of the positive changes suggested
by a leader’s vision.



A third characteristic of a vision is that it is about values, or the ideas,
beliefs, and modes of action that people find worthwhile or desirable. To
advocate change within a group or an organization requires an
understanding of one’s own values, the values of others, and the values of
the organization. Visions are about changes in those values. For example,
if a leader creates a vision that emphasizes that everyone in the company is
important, the dominant value being expressed is human dignity.
Similarly, if a leader develops a vision that suggests that everyone in the
company is equal, the dominant value being expressed is fairness and
justice. Visions are grounded in values. They advocate a positive change
and movement toward some new set of ideals. In so doing, they must
address values.

Inspiring Action Through Values

Leadership Snapshot: Rosalie Giffoniello, Cofounder, Empower the


© Rosalie Giffoniello

When New Jersey schoolteacher Rosalie Giffoniello decided to travel to
India in the summer of 1999, she had no idea that one trip would propel
her into a life dedicated to educating India’s impoverished children.

In India, Giffoniello volunteered for a summer at Daya Dan, Mother
Teresa’s orphanage for children with disabilities in Kolkata. Using her


special education background, she taught some children to feed
themselves and walk for the first time. It was then that she made a life-
changing decision. “When I went home, I took early retirement from
my job, gave away my possessions and returned to Kolkata for good,”
Giffoniello says (O’Neil, 2004).

She returned to Daya Dan and spent two years working with the
Missionaries of Charity to implement programs in language and
teaching the children to feed, dress, and bathe themselves.

The next year, she and a friend, Janet Grosshandler, cofounded
Empower the Children (ETC), a Jackson, New Jersey–based nonprofit,
to raise funds for Daya Dan. At first Giffoniello’s work and ETC’s
funds were channeled toward a number of efforts including an
orphanage for boys, a school for the disadvantaged, a home for young
adults with mental disabilities, and a tutorial center for teenage girls.

However, when Giffoniello observed that the children with disabilities
in the Kolkata orphanages were fed each day and clothed while the
homeless “street” children often went without food and the most basic
necessities, she decided to broaden ETC’s and her own efforts to
address the city’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens (Empower the
Children, 2004).

She began working with Reena Das, a local woman who was educating
homeless street urchins during her lunch hour on the steps of a nearby
office building. Das provided her students with a healthy snack and
introduction to the Bengali and English alphabets (Weir, 2012).

In January 2006, under the auspices of ETC, Giffoniello and Das
opened their first school in a single-room slum building, which they
named Preyrona, the Bengali word for inspiration. Four years later, they
moved the school to a two-story building and incorporated vocational
education including sewing instruction for teenage girls and
neighborhood women.

Two years after Preyrona 1 opened, they opened a second school,
Preyrona 2 School, in a one-room building with a leaky roof and no
windows. For the 90 students who attended it, however, it was better
than no school at all (Weir, 2012).

Within three years, they opened a third school, this time in a clean
three-story building they were able to buy. Housed in this multistoried
building, Preyrona 3 opened its doors in January 2009 and provides
three separate educational programs for 60 children while also


providing vocational programs for older students and their mothers.

Giffoniello teaches at the Preyrona schools, where she has instilled her
teaching methodology of self-empowerment and love. In a nation where
educators still discipline with a switch, her philosophy was a challenge
for some teachers.

“I tell them ‘If you love the children, then they’ll work for you. They’ll
want to please you and make you proud. It’s our responsibility to give
them the right kind of attention,’” Giffoniello explains. “Happy children
become smart children. That’s why we give the children only love”
(Weir, 2012).

ETC’s work has attracted many volunteers from different countries and
walks of life, who do everything from working on-site in Kolkata, to
helping develop curriculum, to raising money in their home countries.

Giffoniello returns to the United States for six months each year,
speaking around the country and raising money for ETC. Now more
than a decade old, the organization donates funds for teachers’ salaries,
clothing and hot meals for children, and supplies, and sponsors cultural
drama, dance, and art programs in more than a dozen different
institutions, including some in the United States, Mexico, and Kenya.

The following example illustrates the centrality of values in visionary
leadership. Chris Jones was a new football coach at a high school in a
small rural community in the Midwest. When Jones started coaching, there
were barely enough players to fill the roster. His vision was to have a
strong football program that students liked and that instilled pride in the
parents and school community. He valued good physical conditioning,
self-discipline, skills in all aspects of the game, esprit de corps, and an
element of fun throughout the process. In essence, he wanted a top-notch,
high-quality football program.

Over a period of five years, the number of players coming out for football
grew from 15 to 95. Parents wanted their kids to go out for football
because Jones was such a good coach. Players said they liked the team
because Coach Jones treated them as individuals. He was very fair with
everyone. He was tough about discipline but also liked to have fun.
Practices were always a challenge but seldom dull or monotonous.
Because of his program, parents formed their own booster club to support
team dinners and other special team activities.


Although Coach Jones’s teams did not always win, his players learned
lessons in football that were meaningful and long lasting. Coach Jones was
an effective coach whose vision promoted individual growth, competence,
camaraderie, and community. He had a vision about developing a program
around these strong values, and he was able to bring his vision to fruition.

A Map
A vision provides a map—a laid-out path to follow—that gives direction
so followers know when they are on track and when they have slipped off
course. People often feel a sense of certainty and calmness in knowing
they are on the right course, and a vision provides this assurance. It is also
comforting for people to know they have a map to direct them toward their
short- and long-term goals.

Vision as a Map

At the same time, visions provide a guiding philosophy for people that
gives them meaning and purpose. When people know the overarching
goals, principles, and values of an organization, it is easier for them to
establish an identity and know where they fit within the organization.
Furthermore, seeing the larger purpose allows people to appreciate the
value of their contributions to the organization and to something larger
than their own interests. The value of a vision is that it shows others the
meaningfulness of their work.

A Challenge
A final characteristic of a vision is that it challenges people to transcend
the status quo to do something to benefit others. Visions challenge people
to commit themselves to worthwhile causes. In his inaugural address in
1961, President John F. Kennedy challenged the American people by
saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do
for your country.” This challenge was inspiring because it asked people to
move beyond self-interest to work for the greater good of the country.
Kennedy’s vision for America had a huge impact on the country.


Vision and Conflict

An example of an organization that has a vision with a clear challenge
component is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training
program. The primary goal of this program is to raise funds for cancer
research, public education, and patient aid programs. As a part of Team In
Training, participants who sign up to run or walk a marathon (26.2 miles)
are asked to raise money for cancer research in return for the personalized
coaching and fitness training they receive from Team In Training staff.
Since its inception in the late 1980s, the program has raised more than
$600 million for cancer research. A recent participant said of Team In
Training, “I was inspired to find something I could do both to push myself
a little harder and to accomplish something meaningful in the process.”
When people are challenged to do something good for others, they often
become inspired and committed to the task. Whether it is to improve their
own group, organization, or community, people like to be challenged to
help others.

To summarize, a vision has five main characteristics. First, it is a mental
picture or image of a future that is better than the status quo. Second, it
represents a change and points to new ways of doing things. Third, it is
grounded in values. Fourth, it is a map that gives direction and provides
meaning and purpose. Finally, it is a challenge to change things for the

Vision in Practice
It is one thing for a leader to have a vision for an organization. But making
that vision a reality requires communication and action. In this section, we
explore how a leader can articulate a vision to others and what specific
actions a leader can take to make the vision clear, understandable, and a

Articulating a Vision


Although it is very important for a leader to have a vision, it is equally
important for a leader to be able to articulate—explain and describe—the
vision to others. Although some are better than others at this, there are
certain ways all leaders can improve the way they communicate their

Explaining a Vision to Followers

First, a leader must communicate the vision by adapting the vision to his
or her audience. Psychologists tell us that most people have a drive for
consistency and when confronted with the need to change will do so only
if the required change is not too different from their present state
(Festinger, 1957). A leader needs to articulate the vision to fit within
others’ latitude of acceptance by adapting the vision to the audience
(Conger & Kanungo, 1987). If the vision is too demanding and advocates
too big a change, it will be rejected. If it is articulated in light of the status
quo and does not demand too great a change, it will be accepted.

A leader also needs to highlight the values of the vision by emphasizing
how the vision presents ideals worth pursuing. Presenting the values of the
vision helps individuals and group members find their own work
worthwhile. It also allows group members to identify with something
larger than themselves, and to become connected to a larger community
(Shamir, House, & Arthur, 1993).

Articulating a vision also requires choosing the right language. A leader
should use words and symbols that are motivating and inspiring (Sashkin,
2004; Zaccaro & Banks, 2001). Words that describe a vision need to be
affirming, uplifting, and hopeful, and describe the vision in a way that
underscores its worth. The inaugural speech by President John F. Kennedy
(see is an example of how a leader
used inspiring language to articulate his vision.

Symbols are often adopted by leaders in an effort to articulate a vision and
bring group cohesion. A good illustration of this is how, in 1997, the
University of Michigan football team and coaching staff chose to use Jon
Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air and “conquering Mount Everest” as a
metaphor for what they wanted to accomplish. Krakauer provided a


firsthand account of a team’s challenging journey up Mount Everest that
was successful, although five climbers lost their lives in the process. One
of the Michigan coaches said, “It’s amazing how many similarities there
are between playing football and climbing a mountain. . . . The higher you
get on a mountain, the tougher it gets. The longer you play during the
season, the harder it gets to keep playing the way you want to play.”
Throughout the season, the coaches frequently emphasized that achieving
great feats required tremendous discipline, perseverance, strength, and
teamwork. In the locker room, real climbing hooks and pitons were hung
above the door to remind everyone who exited that the mission was to
“conquer the mountain”—that is, to win the title. The imagery of mountain
climbing in this example was a brilliant way to articulate the vision the
coaches had for that season. This imagery proved to be well chosen: The
team won the 1997 National Collegiate Athletic Association

Visions also need to be described to others using inclusive language that
links people to the vision and makes them part of the process. Words such
as we and our are inclusive and better to use than words such as they or
them. The goal of this type of language is to enlist participation of others
and build community around a common goal. Inclusive language helps
bring this about.

In general, to articulate a vision clearly requires that a leader adapt the
content to the audience, emphasize the vision’s intrinsic value, select
words and symbols that are uplifting, and use language that is inclusive. If
a leader is able to do these things, he or she will increase the chances that
the vision will be embraced and the goal achieved.

Implementing a Vision
In addition to creating and articulating a vision, a leader needs to
implement the vision. Perhaps the real test of a leader’s abilities occurs in
the implementation phase of a vision. Implementing a vision requires a
great deal of effort by a leader over an extended period. Although some
leaders can “talk the talk,” leaders who implement the vision “walk the
walk.” Most important, in implementing a vision the leader must model to
others the attitudes, values, and behaviors set forth in the vision. The
leader is a living example of the ideals articulated in the vision. For
example, if the vision is to promote a deeply humanistic organization, the


leader needs to demonstrate qualities such as empathy and caring in every
action. Similarly, if the vision is to promote community values, the leader
needs to show interest in others and in the common good of the broader
community. When a leader is seen acting out the vision, he or she builds
credibility with others. This credibility inspires people to express the same
kind of values.

Maintaining High Standards

Implementing a vision also requires a leader to set high performance
expectations for others. Setting challenging goals motivates people to
accomplish a mission. An example of setting high expectations and
worthwhile goals is illustrated in the story of the Marathon of Hope (see
Box 7.1). Terry Fox was a cancer survivor and amputee who attempted to
run across Canada to raise awareness and money for cancer research. Fox
had a vision and established an extremely challenging goal for himself and
others. He was courageous and determined. Unfortunately, he died before
completing his journey, but his vision lives on. Today, the Terry Fox
Foundation continues to thrive.

Box 7.1 Marathon of Hope


Photograph by Ian Muttoo,[email protected]/1416171954/ CC
BY-SA 2.0

Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Port
Coquitlam, British Columbia, a community near Vancouver on
Canada’s west coast. An active teenager involved in many sports, Fox
was only 18 years old when he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma
(bone cancer). In order to stop the spread of the cancer, doctors
amputated his right leg 15 centimeters (6 inches) above the knee in

While in the hospital, Fox was so overcome by the suffering of other
cancer patients—many of them young children—that he decided to run
across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He called his journey
the Marathon of Hope.

After 18 months and running more than 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles)
to prepare, Fox started his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on April
12, 1980, with little fanfare. Although it was difficult to garner attention
in the beginning, enthusiasm soon grew, and the money collected along
his route began to mount. He ran 42 kilometers (26 miles) a day through


Canada’s Atlantic provinces, through Quebec, and through part of
Ontario. It was a journey that Canadians never forgot.

On September 1, 1980, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometers (3,339
miles), Fox was forced to stop running outside Thunder Bay, Ontario,
because cancer had appeared in his lungs. An entire nation was
saddened when he passed away on June 28, 1981, at the age of 22.

The heroic Canadian was gone, but his legacy was just beginning. To
date, more than $600 million has been raised worldwide for cancer
research in his name through the annual Terry Fox Run, held in Canada
and in countries around the world.

The process of carrying out a vision does not happen rapidly but takes
continuous effort. It is a step-by-step process, and not one that occurs all at
once. For this reason, it is imperative for a leader’s eyes to stay on the
goal. By doing so, the leader encourages and supports others in the day-to-
day efforts to reach the larger goal. A leader alone cannot implement a
vision. The leader must work with others and empower them in the
implementation process. It is essential that leaders share the work and
collaborate with others to accomplish the goal.

A competent leader will have a compelling vision that challenges people to
work toward a higher standard of excellence. A vision is a mental model of
an ideal future state. It provides a picture of a future that is better than the
present, is grounded in values, and advocates change toward some new set
of ideals. Visions function as a map to give people direction. Visions also
challenge people to commit themselves to a greater common good.

First, an effective leader clearly articulates the vision to others. This
requires the leader to adapt the vision to the attitudes and values of the
audience. Second, the leader highlights the intrinsic values of the vision,
emphasizing how the vision presents ideals worth pursuing. Third, a
competent leader uses language that is motivating and uplifting to
articulate the vision. Finally, the leader uses inclusive language that enlists
participation from others and builds community.

A challenge for a leader is to carry out the difficult processes of
implementing a vision. To implement a vision, the leader needs to be a


living model of the ideals and values articulated in the vision. In addition,
he or she must set high performance expectations for others, and
encourage and empower others to reach their goals.

Glossary Terms
challenge 146
change 143
map 146
picture 142
status quo 142
value 143
vision 141

Sharpen your skills with SAGE edge at

SAGE edge for students provides a personalized approach to help you
accomplish your coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning


7.1 Case Study: A Clean Slate
Nick Gibbons was described by his classmates at Columbia
University’s prestigious School of Journalism as a “hard-core
newshound with ink running in his blood.” After working as a beat
reporter for 10 years, Nick became city editor of a newspaper in a
midsized Midwest town of about 100,000, overseeing a large staff of
local reporters and writers.

So when the president of the large media group that owned his
newspaper asked Nick to come to its headquarters for a meeting, he was
excited. Until he heard what was said. The company was going to stop
printing daily newspapers, instead publishing digital editions. Nick’s
newspaper would only be printed three days a week; the other days the
news would be delivered in an electronic edition. As a result, 75% of


the newspaper’s workforce would lose their jobs. As the president
witnessed Nick’s shock and dismay, he said, “Nick, we think you are
the only editor at your newspaper that can make this happen.”

On the three-hour drive home, Nick realized that change at the
newspaper was inevitable. Newspapers had been losing subscribers and
revenue for a decade as readers turned to the Internet to get their news.
Digital versions of newspapers were cheaper to produce and deliver.
Although he did not like the idea of going digital, Nick knew in his
heart that he still believed strongly in the importance of reporting the
news and informing the community, no matter the format.

To succeed in taking the newspaper to a digital format, Nick was going
to have to change an entrenched culture and belief system about
newspapers, not only within his staff but among the public as well. To
do this, he had to start from the ground up, creating something entirely
new. This would require bringing aboard people who were energized
about the future and not mourning the past.

His plan employed a three-prong approach. First, he informed the entire
newspaper staff that they would lose their current jobs in three months
and they would have to reapply for new jobs within the newspaper. The
first required qualification was a willingness to “forge the future for
local journalism and make a contribution to this movement.” If you
can’t let go of the past, he told his coworkers, then you can’t move
forward. In the end, almost 80% of the new positions were filled by
former staffers whom Nick believed to be the “best and brightest”
people the newspaper had.

Second, Nick moved the company’s offices out of the building it had
been in for 120 years to a smaller, very public space on the first floor of
a downtown building. The offices were located on a corner completely
sided by windows, the inner workings of the newspaper on display to
passersby. Nick wanted the newspaper’s operations to be very visible so
that it didn’t seem like it had just “disappeared.”

Nick’s third approach was what he called a “high forgiveness factor.”
What they were creating was new and untried, and he knew there would
be plenty of missteps along the way. He stressed to his new staffers that
he didn’t expect perfection, just dedication and determination. For
example, one of those missteps was the elimination of the newspaper’s
exhaustive list of local events, which resulted in a huge community
outcry. To correct this, staffers determined they could satisfy the
community’s frustrations by creating a dedicated website for a local
events calendar with event organizers submitting the information


electronically. A staff member would oversee college interns in editing
the submissions and updating the website.

When the newspaper announced its change to a digital format, the
reaction was harsh: Readers canceled subscriptions, and advertisers
dropped away like flies. It’s been four years since the change, and the
newspaper is slowly gaining back readers and experiencing more visits
to its website. The sales staff is starting to be successful teaching
advertisers how to create digital ads that can reach the right audiences
by using behavioral targeting and social media.


1. What is Nick Gibbons’s vision in this case study? How is it
similar to or different from the vision of the owners of the paper?
Discuss the unique challenges a leader faces when required to
implement a vision of his or her superiors.

2. Why do you think Nick wanted to open the workings of the paper
up to the public? How is this related to his vision?

3. Visions usually require changing people’s values. What desired
changes in values are highlighted by this case study?

4. How well did Nick Gibbons articulate his vision for the paper? If
you were in Nick’s shoes, how would you articulate your vision in
this case?

5. Do you think the newspaper will thrive under Nick’s leadership?

7.2 Leadership Vision Questionnaire


1. To assess your ability to create a vision for a group or an

2. To help you understand how visions are formed


1. Think for a moment of a work, school, social, religious, musical,
or athletic organization of which you are a member. Now, think
what you would do if you were the leader and you had to create a
vision for the group or organization. Keep this vision in mind as
you complete the exercise.


2. Using the following scale, circle the number that indicates the
degree to which you agree or disagree with each statement.

Statements Strongly

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly

1. I have a
mental picture
of what would
make our
group better.

1 2 3 4 5

2. I can
changes that
improve our

1 2 3 4 5

3. I have a
vision for
what would
make our

1 2 3 4 5

4. I know how
we could
change the
status quo to
make things

1 2 3 4 5

5. It is clear to
me what steps
we need to
take to
improve our

1 2 3 4 5

6. I have a


clear picture
of what needs
to be done in
to achieve a
standard of

1 2 3 4 5

7. I have a
clear picture in
my mind of
what this
should look
like in the

1 2 3 4 5

8. It is clear to
me what core
values, if
improve our

1 2 3 4 5

9. I can
goals that
should be
emphasized in
my group.

1 2 3 4 5

10. I can
several things
that would
inspire my
group to
perform better.

1 2 3 4 5



Sum the numbers you circled on the questionnaire (visioning ability

Total Scores

Visioning ability skill: _______

Scoring Interpretation

The Leadership Vision Questionnaire is designed to measure your
ability to create a vision as a leader.

If your score is 41–50, you are in the very high range.
If your score is 31–40, you are in the high range.
If your score is 21–30, you are in the moderate range.
If your score is 10–20, you are in the low range.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

7.3 Observational Exercise

Leadership Vision


1. To understand the way visions are constructed by leaders in
ongoing groups and organizations

2. To identify strategies that leaders employ to articulate and


implement their visions


1. For this exercise, select two people in leadership positions to
interview. They can be leaders in formal or informal positions at
work, at school, or in society. The only criterion is that the leader
influences others toward a goal.

2. Conduct a 30-minute interview with each leader, by phone or in
person. Ask the leaders to describe the visions they have for their
organizations. In addition, ask, “How do you articulate and
implement your visions?”

Leader #1 (name)
Vision content Vision articulation Vision implementation
Leader #2 (name)
Vision content Vision articulation Vision implementation


1. What differences and similarities did you observe between the two
leaders’ visions?

2. Did the leaders advocate specific values? If yes, what values?
3. Did the leaders use any unique symbols to promote their visions?

If yes, what symbols?
4. In what ways did the leaders’ behaviors model their visions to


Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

7.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

Leadership Vision



1. Stephen Covey (1991) contended that effective leaders “begin
with the end in mind.” These leaders have a deep understanding of
their own goals and mission in life. How would you describe your
own values and purpose in life? In what way is your leadership
influenced by these values?

2. Creating a vision usually involves trying to change others by
persuading them to accept different values and different ways of
doing things. Are you comfortable influencing people in this way?

3. As we discussed in this chapter, effective visions can be
articulated with strong symbols. How do you view yourself as
being able to do this? Are you effective at generating language
and symbols that can enhance a vision and help make it


1. Based on your score on the Leadership Vision Questionnaire, how
do you assess your ability to create a vision for a group? Identify
specific ways you could improve your abilities to create and carry
out visions with others.

2. Good leaders act out the vision. Describe what ideals and values
you act out or could act out as a leader.

3. Take a few moments to think about and describe a group or an
organization to which you belong presently or belonged in the
past. Write a brief statement describing the vision you would
utilize if you were the leader of this group or organization.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1994). Improving organizational

effectiveness through transformational leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA:

Conger, J. A., & Kanungo, R. N. (1987). Toward a behavioral theory of


charismatic leadership in organizational settings. Academy of
Management Review, 12(4), 637–647.

Conger, J. A., & Kanungo, R. N. (1998). Charismatic leadership in
organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Covey, S. R. (1991). Principle-centered leadership. New York, NY: Simon
& Schuster.

Empower the Children. (2004). How one person made a difference.
Retrieved June 8, 2013, from http://www.etc-

Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford, CA:
Stanford University Press.

House, R. J. (1977). A 1976 theory of charismatic leadership. In J. G. Hunt
& L. L. Larson (Eds.), Leadership: The cutting edge (pp. 189–207).
Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2003). The leadership challenge (3rd ed.).
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Loehr, J., & Schwartz, T. (2001). The power of full engagement:
Managing energy, not time, is the key to high performance and personal
renewal. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Nanus, B. (1992). Visionary leadership: Creating a compelling sense of
direction for your organization. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

O’Neil, J. (2004, February 1). Going global: Want to see the world—and
help kids read at the same time? These NEA-Retired members are
continuing a lifetime of public service—while seeing the world with


new eyes. NEA Today. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from

Sashkin, M. (1988). The visionary leader. In J. A. Conger & R. N.
Kanungo (Eds.), Charismatic leadership: The elusive factor in
organizational effectiveness (pp. 122–160). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-

Sashkin, M. (2004). Transformational leadership approaches: A review
and synthesis. In J. Antonaki, A. T. Cianciolo, & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.),
The nature of leadership (pp. 171–196). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Shamir, B., House, R. J., & Arthur, M. B. (1993). The motivational effects
of charismatic leadership: A self-concept based theory. Organization
Science, 4(4), 577–594.

Weir, R. M. (2012, February). Empowering Calcutta’s children. Encore
Magazine, pp. 35–37.

Zaccaro, S. J., & Banks, D. J. (2001). Leadership, vision, and
organizational effectiveness. In S. J. Zaccaro & R. J. Klimoski (Eds.),
The nature of organizational leadership: Understanding the performance
imperatives confronting today’s leaders (pp. 181–218). San Francisco,
CA: Jossey-Bass.


8 Establishing a Constructive Climate

As discussed in earlier chapters, a leader needs to attend to tasks and to
people. A leader also has to have a vision that he or she can express and
implement. Equally important, a leader must be able to establish a
constructive climate for the people in a group or an organization.

What Is a Climate and What Does It Mean for Leadership?

Constructive Climate Explained
Climate refers to the atmosphere of a team or an organization. It is defined
as people’s shared perceptions of the way things are in an organization
(Reichers & Schneider, 1990). Related to climate are the rituals, values,
procedures, and underlying assumptions of a group (Schein, 2010). It is the
shared perception individuals have about the activities, procedures, and
assumptions of a group. A positive climate is shaped by the degree to
which people feel they are supported, appreciated, and encouraged for
their roles in the organization. A constructive climate is just that: an
atmosphere that promotes group members’ satisfaction and achieving their
personal best.

Transformational Leadership in Groups

Establishing a constructive climate demands that a leader provide
structure, clarify norms, build cohesiveness, and promote standards of
excellence. By establishing a constructive climate for the group, a leader
ensures that members work more effectively together.


When a leader creates a constructive climate, he or she helps group
members perform at their highest levels of excellence (Larson & LaFasto,

Climate in Practice
In order to create a constructive climate, a leader needs to consider four
factors: providing structure, clarifying norms, building cohesiveness, and
promoting standards of excellence.

Providing Structure
Because working in groups can be chaotic and challenging, it is helpful
when a leader provides a sense of structure for group members. Providing
structure is much like giving group members an architectural blueprint for
their work. The drawing gives form and meaning to the purposes of the
group’s activities. Instilling structure into the organization provides people
with a sense of security, direction, and stability. It helps them to
understand where they fit in and what goals they need to accomplish. For
example, it would be frightening to be in a group climbing Mount Everest
if team members did not know their roles and follow a clear plan for the
ascent. Working in a group without structure is more difficult for everyone

How does a leader give structure to a group? First, a leader needs to
communicate to the group the group’s goals. When a leader gives a clear
picture of assignments and responsibilities, group members gain a better
sense of direction. For example, soldiers in the military are given orders to
carry out a specific mission. The mission is the goal toward which they are
working, and it provides organization to the rest of their activities. Another
example is a group meeting where the leader provides an agenda.

In most college classrooms on the first day of class, professors hand out
and discuss syllabi. Going over the syllabus is important to students
because it provides information about the structure of the class. The
syllabus also gives details about the professor, the course objectives,
reading and writing assignments, tests, attendance requirements, and exam
schedules. Some professors even include a calendar of lecture topics for
each week to help students prepare more effectively. The syllabus sets the


tone for the class by giving a structure for what will be accomplished.
Students usually leave the first class feeling confident about what the class
is going to be like and what will be required of them.


A leader also provides structure by identifying the unique ways that each
individual member can contribute to the group. The leader helps followers
understand their roles within the group and how to be productive group
members. Effective groups use the talents of each individual and, as a
result, accomplish a great deal. This is known as synergy, when the group
outcome is greater than the sum of the individual contributions. The
challenge for a leader is to find how each individual group member can
contribute to the group’s mission, and to encourage the group to recognize
these contributions. For example, some people are good at generating
ideas, while others are skilled at building consensus. Additionally, some
people are good at setting agendas, and others are adept at making sure the
proper supplies are available at meetings. Each person has a distinctive
talent and can make a unique contribution. Effective leaders know how to
discover these talents to benefit the entire group. (See Chapter 3,
“Engaging Strengths,” for an extended discussion of how leaders can help
followers capitalize on their strengths.)

Clarifying Norms
In addition to structuring the group, a leader needs to clarify group norms.
Norms are the rules of behavior that are established and shared by group
members. Social psychologists have argued for years that norms play a
major role in the performance and effectiveness of groups (Cartwright &
Zander, 1968; Harris & Sherblom, 2007; Napier & Gershenfeld, 2004).
Norms are like a road map for navigating how we are supposed to behave
in a group. They tell us what is appropriate or inappropriate, what is right
or wrong, and what is allowed or not allowed (Schein, 1969). Norms do
not emerge on their own—they are the outcome of people interacting with
each other and with the leader. For example, in a daylong training seminar,
the participants and seminar leader might mutually decide that everyone
will turn off their cell phones and no one will leave early. Or staff


members in an insurance agency might determine that a “business casual”
dress code is appropriate during the week and jeans are OK on Fridays.
Norms emerge as a result of how leaders treat followers and followers treat
each other.

The reason norms are important is because they have such a strong impact
on how the group functions and whether the group is successful or not. For
example, a classroom setting with an established norm that students do not
raise their hands or offer comments to the discussion can be very boring. A
weekly staff meeting where people are allowed to constantly whisper with
the person next to them will create an atmosphere that lacks cohesiveness
and most likely be very unproductive. On the positive side, when a norm
of helping others with their work develops in a small business setting, it
can be very helpful and inspiring. Leaders need to be aware that norms
always exist, and even when they are subtle or not verbally expressed, they
do impact the productivity of the group.

Understanding Norms

A leader can have a significant impact on establishing group norms as well
as recognizing norms and working to make them constructive. When a
leader brings about constructive norms, it can have a positive effect on the
entire group. The following example illustrates how a leader positively
influences group norms. Home from college for the summer, Matt Smith
was asked to take over as coach of his little brother’s baseball team
because the previous coach was leaving. Before taking over coaching the
team, Matt observed several practices and became aware of the norms
operating on the team. Among other things, he observed that team
members frequently arrived 15 to 30 minutes late for practice, they often
came without their baseball shoes or gloves, and they goofed off a lot
during drills. Overall, Matt observed that the kids did not seem to care
about the team or have much pride in what they were doing. Matt knew
that coaching this team was going to be a real challenge.

After Matt had coached for a few weeks, the team’s norms gradually
changed. Matt continually stressed the need to start practice on time,
encouraged players to “bring their stuff” to practice, and complimented


players when they worked hard during drills. By the end of the summer,
they were a different team. Players grew to enjoy the practice sessions,
they worked hard, and they performed well. Most important, they thought
their baseball team was “the greatest.”

In this situation, the norms the players were operating under with the old
coach interfered with the team and its goals. Under Matt’s leadership, the
players developed new norms that enabled them to function better.

Norms are an important component of group functioning. They develop
early in a group and are sometimes difficult to change. A leader should pay
close attention to norm development and try to shape norms that will
maximize group effectiveness.

Building Cohesiveness
The third way a leader establishes a constructive climate is to build
cohesiveness. Cohesiveness is often considered an elusive but essential
component of highly functioning groups. Cohesiveness is described as a
sense of “we-ness,” the cement that holds a group together, or the esprit de
corps that exists within a group. Cohesiveness allows group members to
express their personal viewpoints, give and receive feedback, accept
opinions different from their own, and feel comfortable doing meaningful
work (Corey & Corey, 2006). When a group is cohesive, the members feel
a special connection with each other and with the group as a whole.
Members appreciate the group, and in turn are appreciated by the group.
Group members identify with the group and its goals and find satisfaction
in being an accepted member of the group.

Team Cohesiveness

Cohesiveness has been associated with a number of positive outcomes for
groups (see Table 8.1) (Cartwright, 1968; Shaw, 1976). First, high
cohesiveness is frequently associated with increased participation and
better interaction among members. People tend to talk more readily and
listen more carefully in cohesive groups. They also are more likely to
express their own opinion and be open to listening to the opinions of



Second, in highly cohesive groups, membership tends to be more
consistent. Members develop positive feelings toward one another and are
more willing to attend group meetings. For example, in an Alcoholics
Anonymous group that is cohesive, members often express strong support
for each other, and attendance at meetings is very consistent.

Third, highly cohesive groups are able to exert a strong influence on group
members. Members conform more closely to group norms and engage in
more goal-directed behavior for the group. On a highly successful cross-
country track team, all the members support each other and push one
another to do their personal best.

Fourth, member satisfaction is high in cohesive groups; members tend to
feel more secure and find enjoyment participating in the group. Think of
the best class you have ever been in as a student. It was probably very
cohesive, and you probably enjoyed it so much that you were sorry when
the semester ended.

Table 8.1 Positive Outcomes of Cohesive Groups
Table 8.1 Positive Outcomes of Cohesive Groups

• There is increased participation from members.

• There is better interaction among members.

• Group membership is more consistent.

• Members develop positive feelings toward one another.

• Members are more willing to attend group meetings.

• Members influence each other.

• Members conform more closely to group norms.

• Group behavior is more goal directed.

• Member satisfaction is high.


• Members are more productive.
Sources: Cartwright, 1968; Shaw, 1976.

Finally, members of a cohesive group usually are more productive than
members of a group that is less cohesive. Members of groups with greater
cohesion can direct their energies toward group goals without spending a
lot of time working out interpersonal issues and conflicts. For example,
when a project team is cohesive, there are no social loafers. Everyone is
together in pursuit of the team goals.

As described by Daniel Brown in his book, Boys in the Boat, the
University of Washington rowing team is a good example of how a group
of disparate individuals built a cohesive climate and experienced success
because of it. Rowing is a sport in which every member of the nine-
member team must be in perfect synergy with his teammates as they oar in
and move across the water. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and
farmers, the UW team defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British
universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the
1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. Pivotal to their success was that
each member of the team had a role and adapted to those roles in sync with
one another. “All were merged into one smoothly working machine; they
were, in fact, a poem of motion, a symphony of swinging blades” (Brown,
2013, p. 249).

In addition, the team members shared a common goal, which led them to
abandon their own self-interest in pursuit of the unified goal of winning.
But ultimately it was the trust they had in each other that made them a
victorious team.

Cohesiveness in Multicultural Organizations

Given the positive outcomes of cohesiveness, how can a leader help
groups become cohesive? Group cohesiveness does not develop
instantaneously, but is created gradually over time. A leader can assist a
group in building cohesiveness by incorporating the following actions in
his or her leadership:


Help groups to create a climate of trust
Invite group members to become active participants
Encourage passive or withdrawn members to become involved
Be willing to listen and accept group members for who they are
Help group members to achieve their individual goals
Promote the free expression of divergent viewpoints in a safe
Allow group members to share the leadership responsibilities
Foster and promote member-to-member interaction instead of only
leader-to-follower interaction (Corey & Corey, 2006)

When a leader is able to do some of the things described on this list, it
increases the chance that the group will build a sense of cohesiveness.

Consider the following example of a service-learning group of five
students who had a goal of raising money for Special Olympics by
sponsoring a rock concert. The group included John, a student who was
hard of hearing, and who felt alienated and excluded from college life;
Emily, an energetic student with high hopes of earning an A in the class;
Bill, an older student with very definite opinions; Abby, a free spirit with a
strong interest in rock bands; and Dane, a talented student who resented
having to work with others on a group project.

During its initial meetings, the group was very disjointed and had low
group cohesion. The two people in the group with musical talent (Emily
and Abby) thought they would have to do all of the work to put on the
concert to raise $200. John never spoke, and Bill and Dane had attitudes
that put them on the sidelines. During these early meetings, the group
members were unenthusiastic and had negative feelings about each other.
However, after the professor for the class encouraged Emily to reach out to
John and try to include him in the group, a gradual change started to take
place, and the group began moving in a more positive direction. Emily
found it difficult to communicate with John because he could only hear if
people spoke directly into a special handheld microphone. Emily spent an
hour or so with John outside the group and soon established a meaningful
association with him. At the same time, Bill, who initially was certain that
John could not contribute to the group, started to change his mind when he
saw how well Emily and John were getting along. Since Emily was talking
to John through the microphone, Bill thought he should try it, too.

Because Abby knew people in three local bands, she put her energies into


finding a good band to play for their concert. When John, who was an
engineering student, came up with the idea of making posters and handing
out flyers to advertise the concert, the energies in the group became
focused. Within two weeks of John’s offer, the group had completed a
massive promotion throughout the community. The rekindled energies of
John, Bill, and Dane were put to good use, and the group far exceeded its
previous expectations.

By the end of the project, the group had raised $450 for Special Olympics,
and walked away as friends. John claimed that this group project was one
of the most meaningful experiences in his college education. Dane wanted
to take credit for knowing the most people who came to the concert. Bill
was ecstatic that the group had far exceeded his expectations. Abby was
pleased to have hired the band and that the concert was a great hit, and
Emily was proud of her leadership and the success of the group.

The service-learning group in the above example was a group with low
cohesion when it started, but was highly cohesive by the end of the project.
Cohesiveness was created because group members developed trust, and
withdrawn and passive members were encouraged to participate and
become involved. Group members learned to listen and respect one
another’s opinions, and to accept each other as unique people. From this
example, the lesson for leaders is to help their group to build cohesiveness.
When they do, the results can far exceed expectations.

Promoting Standards of Excellence
Finally, a leader establishes a constructive climate by promoting
standards of excellence. In a classic study, Larson and LaFasto (1989)
analyzed the characteristics of 75 highly successful teams. Included in
their study were famous teams such as the DeBakey-Cooley cardiac
surgery team, the Challenger disaster investigation team, the 1966 Notre
Dame championship football team, and even the McDonald’s Chicken
McNugget team. In their analysis, researchers found that standards of
excellence were a crucial factor associated with team success.

Leading a High-Performance Team


What are standards of excellence? These standards are the expressed and
implied expectations for performance that exist within a group or an
organization. Standards of excellence include six factors that are essential
for members to function effectively:

1. What group members need to know and what skills they need to

2. How much initiative and effort they need to demonstrate
3. How group members are expected to treat one another
4. The extent to which deadlines are significant
5. What goals they need to achieve
6. What the consequences are if they achieve or fail to achieve these

goals (Larson & LaFasto, 1989, p. 95)

In essence, standards of excellence refer to the established benchmarks of
desired performance for a group. A good example of standards of
excellence can be seen in the slogan (see Figure 8.1) of The Upjohn
Company, a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Founded in 1885, Upjohn was known for revolutionizing the drug industry
through its invention of the “friable pill,” which can crumble under the
pressure of a person’s thumb. In addition to this innovation, over the years
Upjohn made many other drug discoveries, and grew to become one of the
largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. For many years, the
internal slogan promoted throughout the company was “Keep the quality

Figure 8.1 Standard of Excellence Slogan

Sources: Used as Courtesy of the WMU Archives and Regional
History Collections


“Keep the quality up” captures the essence of what standards of excellence
are all about. This slogan is clear, direct, and forceful. It puts responsibility
on employees to work toward maintaining quality—a standard of
excellence. The slogan strongly suggests that employees should work
consistently toward these standards over time. In addition, “Keep the
quality up” stresses a positive expectation that has value for both
employees and the company; quality is the valued benchmark of the
company’s desired performance for its employees.

Based on studies of more than 600 team leaders and 6,000 team members,
LaFasto and Larson (2001) identified several specific ways that a leader
can influence performance and promote standards of excellence. To
influence performance, the authors contend that a leader must stress the
“three Rs”: (1) Require results, (2) Review results, and (3) Reward results.

1. Require results. A leader needs to articulate clear, concrete expectations
for team members. Working together, a leader and team members should
establish mutual goals and identify specific objectives for achieving the
results associated with those goals. Without clear expectations, team
members flounder and are uncertain about what is required of them. They
are unsure what results they are expected to achieve. Requiring results is
the critical first step in managing performance (LaFasto & Larson, 2001).

Requiring Results

For example, students in a research course were expected to form a group
with four or five of their classmates and work together to complete a
“utilization project” by the end of the course. Although the professor had a
clear idea of what she wanted students to accomplish, students had no idea
what a utilization project was or how to go about developing it. After a
number of students expressed frustration at the lack of clear guidelines, the
professor explained that a utilization project involved taking findings from
a research study and applying them to a real-world situation. She
developed evaluation criteria for the project that outlined what students
were supposed to do, the level of depth required for the project, and the
key elements of the project that needed to be reported in the evaluation
paper. With these explicit instructions, students’ anxiety about the


utilization project decreased, and they were able to work more effectively
in their groups.

Leadership Snapshot: Meg Whitman, CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

© epa european pressphoto agency b.v. / Alamy Stock Photo.

When Meg Whitman took over as CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) in
2011, she was walking into a company that could best be described as
“a complete mess” (Winkler, 2012).

HP was once the undisputed ruler of Silicon Valley, rising from its
humble beginnings in a one-car garage to becoming a technology giant
that produced computers, software, printers, and other information
technology services and products. Even though it is the world’s largest
tech company with $120 billion in annual revenue and 330,000
employees, the company has spiraled downward in the past decade,
creating a revolving door of CEOs that began in 1999.

Whitman was the fourth new CEO for HP in less than a decade. A
graduate of both Princeton and Harvard universities, she has an
impressive track record. As eBay’s CEO, she marshaled its growth into
an online auction giant that went from sales of $86 million her first year


to $7.7 billion a decade later, when Whitman stepped down as CEO.
After an unsuccessful run for the California governor’s office in 2010,
Whitman, who was serving on HP’s board of directors, was asked to
run the struggling company.

Described as blunt, folksy, and persistent, Whitman’s leadership style
harkens back to that of HP’s original founders, William Hewlett and
David Packard. During their reign, the company created a culture
known as The HP Way, which emphasized integrity, teamwork, and
innovation and resulted in the deep employee loyalty. But after the
founders left and subsequent leadership changes, that revered culture
slipped away.

While Whitman knows in today’s competitive tech world she can’t re-
create the culture that was, she is intent on reviving the integrity,
innovation, and loyalty from those earlier days. Known as being
informal, she is the antithesis of the executive. Her first move was to
remove the barbed wire and locked gates that separated executive
parking from the general employee lot. “We should enter the building
the same way everyone else does,” she says (Anders, 2013). Inside,
Whitman removed executive vice presidents from their plush offices,
including herself, and placed them in cubicles. “This is not a fancy
pants kind of company,” she says (Vance & Ricadela, 2013).

Described as a being “decisive without being abrasive, persuasive
without being slick,” Whitman is a team builder who is aiming to fix
the hundreds of small problems that riddle the company rather than
looking for one miracle acquisition or cure. “Problems are good, as long
as you solve them quickly,” she says (Anders, 2013).

Inside her organization, she preaches frugality and humility. When HP
rival Dell was awarded a $350 million order for Microsoft Bing,
Whitman was on the phone to the Microsoft CEO to ask why. “Tell me
where we came up short,” Whitman asked. “Don’t sugarcoat it, I’d like
to know so we can do better next time.” What resulted was a multipage
memo that listed nine ways HP had fallen short. Whitman didn’t take
that as an insult—she saw it as a battle plan (Anders, 2013).

“Run to the fire, don’t hide from it,” she tells employees.

Externally, Whitman has personally reached out to the company’s
customers and partners, traveling to more than 300 one-on-one
meetings and 42 roundtable chats in one year alone. At those meetings
she heard complaints and problems, and worked quickly to solve a
number of those back in Silicon Valley. “She’s made herself more


available than her predecessor ever did,” said one customer (Anders,
2013). “There’s quite a bit of pride in being part of something that
means so much to the Valley and this country. It’s a nice company.
Nice people,” she says (Anders, 2013).

Whitman admits that what attracted her to the job was the opportunity
to revive an iconic company. And while many felt she achieved that,
Whitman now sees the company’s future in innovating its services,
which harkens back to the company’s early days of leading the
computer revolution. In 2014, she split the company into two
companies: HP Inc., which is the printer and PC side of the business,
and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), an information technology unit
catering to business customers. Whitman is now the head of HPE,
leading the company in a new direction.

In this example, the professor initially required results that were unclear.
When she clarified her expectations, the students were able to produce the
results. Giving clear objectives and instructions is the first step to high-
quality performance.

2. Review results. In addition to requiring results, a leader needs to review
results. According to LaFasto and Larson (2001), a leader does this by
giving constructive feedback and resolving performance issues.

Reviewing Performance

Giving constructive feedback is a must for a leader if he or she is going to
help group members maintain standards of excellence (see Table 8.2).
Constructive feedback is honest and direct communication about a group
member’s performance. It is not mean-spirited or paternalistic, nor is it
overly nice or patronizing. Constructive feedback helps group members
know if they are doing the right things, in the right way, at the right speed.
Although it is not easy to do, giving constructive feedback is a skill that
everyone can learn. When done correctly, constructive feedback allows
group members to look at themselves honestly and know what they need to
maintain or improve (LaFasto & Larson, 2001).

Consider the following example of two restaurant managers (Managers A
and B) and their waitstaff. Manager A was known for being very blunt and


sometimes even mean. Although he wanted the best for the restaurant, his
performance reviews were always disasters. Manager A was brutally
honest; he did not know how to be diplomatic. If a server was slow or
inefficient, he let the person know it in no uncertain terms. In fact, staff
members often thought Manager A was attacking them. Although Manager
A wanted people to perform well, he did not know how to make that
behavior happen. As he frequently told his employees, “Around this place,
I don’t sugarcoat anything. If your performance is poor, you’re going to
hear about it!”

In contrast, Manager B was very careful in how she treated the waitstaff.
Manager B cared about staff, and it showed in how she did performance
reviews. If waitstaff did something wrong, Manager B would always
comment on it, but never in a mean way. When giving praise or criticism,
the feedback was always objective and never extreme; the feedback never
attacked the person. Manager B consistently evaluated her staff, but
always in a way that made them feel better about themselves and that
made them want to try harder.

Manager A and Manager B were very different in how they gave feedback
to their staff. Manager A’s feedback was destructive and debilitating,
while Manager B’s feedback was constructive and helped to improve
performance. As a result, the waitstaff liked working for Manager B and
disliked working for Manager A. Staff performed better when Manager B
was in charge and worse when Manager A was in charge.

Resolving performance issues is the second part of reviewing results.
LaFasto and Larson (2001) found that, more than anything else, the
distinguishing characteristic of effective leaders was their willingness to
confront and resolve inadequate performance by team members. Clearly,
individuals in groups want their leaders to keep other group members “on
track.” If some group members are slacking off, or not doing their part, the
leader needs to address the situation.

Table 8.2 Tips for Giving Constructive Feedback
Table 8.2 Tips for Giving Constructive Feedback

People benefit greatly from feedback that is delivered in a
nonconfrontational, constructive manner. Unfortunately, not many
of us have the innate skill for delivering feedback this way. There


are, however, some simple communication methods that can
improve your ability to provide constructive feedback.

1. Address behaviors.

Use facts to describe the behavior that is problematic, rather than
focusing on personal traits. For example, a leader might say, “Jane,
I have noticed that you have been late for the past three mornings.
Can you explain why?” rather than “Why aren’t you able to arrive
on time?”

2. Describe specifically what you have observed.

Observations are what you have seen occur; an interpretation is
your analysis or opinion of what has occurred. By telling the person
what you have seen and not what you think of what you have seen,
you provide observations that are more factual and less judgmental.
For example, a leader might say, “Dan, I noticed and highlighted
several factual and grammatical errors in the report you submitted,”
rather than “Dan, all these mistakes make me wonder if you were
doing this report at the last minute.”

3. Use “I” language.

Employing “I” statements rather than “you” statements will help
reduce the defensiveness of the person you are addressing. For
example, if you say, “Joe, because our cubicles are so close
together I have a hard time concentrating when you play music on
your computer,” rather than “It is really inconsiderate of you to play
music when other people are trying to work,” you are more likely to
elicit the change you would like.

4. Give the feedback in calm, unemotional language.

Avoid “need to” phrases (e.g., “You need to improve this . . .”) or
using a tone that implies anger, frustration, or disappointment.
Rather than saying, “If you’d just learn the software, you’d do a
better job,” a leader should say, “I am sure you will be much faster
now that you understand how to use this software.”


5. Check to ensure clear communication has occurred.

Solicit feedback from the other person to ensure he or she
understands what you have been trying to communicate to him or
her. For example, a leader might say, “Ann, do you know the
procedure for ordering the supplies? Can you go over it to be sure I
covered everything?” rather than “Ann, you got all that, didn’t

Giving Feedback

Working in groups is a collective effort—everyone must be involved.
Group members are interdependent, and all members share the
responsibility of trying to achieve group goals. When some members do
not pull their own weight, it affects everyone in the group. This is why a
leader must address the inadequate performance of any group members. If
the leader fails to do so, contributing group members will feel angry and
slighted, as if their work does not really matter.

Confronting inadequate performance by group members is a challenging
and emotionally charged process that requires much of leaders (LaFasto &
Larson, 2001). It is not easy, but it is a necessary part of leadership. An
effective leader is proactive and confronts problems when they occur. In
problem situations, a leader has to communicate with low-performing
group members and explain how their behaviors hinder the group from
meeting its goals. The leader also has to explain what needs to be done
differently. After the changes have been clearly identified, the leader needs
to monitor the behaviors of the low-performing group members. If the
group members make satisfactory changes, they can remain in the group.
If a group member refuses to change, the leader needs to counsel him or
her about leaving the group. When a leader addresses behavioral problems
in a timely fashion, it is beneficial both to the person with the performance
problem and to the entire group.

An example of a performance review can be seen in the story of Sam
Wilson, a principal at a private, suburban high school. Sam is a highly
effective leader who is respected by students, teachers, and parents of his


school. As principal, he is responsible for hiring all the teachers at the
school. During one fall semester, Sam noticed that Michelle Long, a
teacher he had hired to teach geometry, appeared to be slacking off in her
work. Michelle was coming to work late, was skipping faculty meetings,
and did not seem very excited about teaching. Seeing that she was
underperforming, Sam called Michelle into his office to discuss his
concerns. During the meeting, Sam described thoroughly his concerns
about Michelle’s work and asked Michelle to give her point of view on
these concerns. After a long discussion, Sam identified several changes
Michelle needed to make if she wanted to continue to teach at the high

Following the meeting, Michelle temporarily changed her behavior. She
came to school on time, attended some of the faculty meetings, and
improved her teaching plans. This positive behavior lasted for about a
month, and then she fell back into her old habits. In March, when Sam
gave Michelle her annual performance review, he told her that her teaching
contract would not be renewed for the following year. Although Michelle
was not pleased, she understood why she was being let go.

In the ensuing months, Michelle finished the school year and then found a
job at another school. While letting Michelle go was not easy, Sam was
comfortable with what he had done. Although some teachers at the school
were surprised that Michelle had been let go, they also expressed some
relief because they realized that her work was not up to the standards of
the school.

3. Reward results. Finally, an effective leader rewards group members for
achieving results (LaFasto & Larson, 2001). Many of the behaviors
required to be an effective leader are abstract (such as establishing norms)
and challenging (such as building group cohesion). However, that is not
the case when it comes to rewarding results. Rewarding results is a very
practical, straightforward process. It is something that every leader can do.

In their well-known consulting work on leadership effectiveness, Kouzes
and Posner (2002) claimed that rewarding results is one of the five major
practices of exemplary leaders. They argued that a leader needs to
recognize the contributions of group members and express appreciation for
individual excellence. This includes paying attention to group members,
offering them encouragement, and giving them personalized appreciation.
These expressions can be dramatic, such as a dinner celebration, or simple,


such as a short email of praise. When a leader recognizes group members
and gives encouragement, members feel valued, and there is a greater
sense of group identity and community spirit.

A good example of how to effectively reward performance can be seen in
how the leader of a nonprofit organization rewarded one of its members,
Christopher Wolf. Christopher was an active member of the board who
willingly shared his insights and expertise for 15 consecutive years. To
show appreciation for his work, the board president had T-shirts made that
characterized Christopher’s contributions. On the front of the shirt was a
caricature of a wolf in sheep’s clothing symbolizing Christopher’s many
positive contributions to the board. On the back of the shirt were the words
“The Wolf Pack” and a list of the names of each of the other board
members. Both Christopher and each member of the board were given a
shirt, which was a big hit with everyone. Although the shirts were simple
and inexpensive, they were a unique way of positively recognizing
Christopher and all his fellow board members.

Establishing a constructive climate is a subtle but essential aspect of
effective leadership that plays a major role in whether groups or
organizations function effectively. Establishing a constructive climate is
similar to creating a positive climate for workers in a company. It requires
that a leader provide structure, clarify norms, build cohesiveness, and
promote standards of excellence.

A leader provides structure by establishing concrete goals, giving explicit
assignments, and making responsibilities clear. Helping each group
member feel included and know that he or she contributes to the overall
goals of the group also provides structure.

Facilitative Leadership

A leader plays a significant role in helping to develop positive group
norms. Effective groups establish positive norms that allow them to work


productively. When norms for a group are negative or unproductive, the
leader needs to help group members to change and develop new norms. By
assisting groups in establishing positive norms, a leader facilitates the
group in maximizing its performance.

Building cohesiveness is the third facet of establishing a constructive
climate. Cohesiveness is a special quality of high-functioning groups that
feel a strong sense of connectedness and esprit de corps. Associated with
many positive outcomes, cohesiveness is established by a leader who
assists group members in trusting each other, listening to and respecting
one another’s opinions, and accepting each other as unique people.

Finally, to establish a constructive climate a leader promotes standards of
excellence. Highly effective teams have strong standards of excellence—
they have established benchmarks for desired performance. Standards of
excellence are best achieved when the leader requires results, reviews
results, and rewards results.

To summarize, establishing a constructive climate is a complex process
that involves a great deal of work by a leader. A leader who sets a positive
tone will find payoffs in remarkable group performance.

Glossary Terms
cohesiveness 163
mission 160
norms 161
standards of excellence 166
structure 160
synergy 161

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8.1 Case Study: A Tale of Two Classes
Ebony Ellis has two communication classes back-to-back in the same
room, but they couldn’t be more different.

The first, a class on interpersonal communication, is taught by Steve
Gardner, an older professor who has taught at the university for 20
years. The first day of class he verbally explained the rules for class
conduct, which were also distributed in a printed handout—cell phones
off, no texting, and, unless a student needs to use one for taking notes,
laptops closed. Class starts on time and ends on time, and students
should try not to leave early.

Ebony’s second class, an organizational communication course taught
by Marissa Morgan, a younger professor in her 40s, has different rules.
There aren’t any. This professor doesn’t care if the students use their
laptops during class. Texting and talking are unrestrained. Professor
Morgan announced on the first day that all students are responsible for
their own learning in the class, and she trusts them to know how they
learn best. When students walk in late or leave early, she always says
hello or goodbye to them.

Ebony likes her interpersonal communication class a lot. Professor
Gardner’s manner has succeeded in getting the class of 75 students to
engage with him and listen to one another. Personal disclosures by
students and the professor alike are frequent, and there is often much
humor and laughter. Even though it is a large class, most people know
each other’s names, as does Professor Gardner. Many of the students do
things with each other outside of class. In his course, students write a
reflection paper every other week, and they have a midterm and final

The atmosphere in the organizational communication class is strikingly
different to Ebony. It is spontaneous and uncontrolled. Sometimes
professor Morgan lectures, but most of the time she just comes to class
and invites students to discuss whatever they want to talk about.
Students do not know each other’s names and seldom connect with each
other outside of class. Professor Morgan also assigns papers, but they
are short, personal observation papers that aren’t given grades but are
marked as turned in or not. Students’ final grades for the class are
dependent on a presentation each student must give on an interpersonal
communication topic of his or her choice.


Ebony thinks the two differing styles of the professors would make a
great topic for her organizational communication class presentation. To
get more information, she interviews both instructors to learn why their
classroom management styles are so different.

Professor Gardner describes his teaching philosophy this way: “I want
students to think that this class is unique and the subject is important
and has value. I know all students by name, and I allow them to call me
by my first name or my title. I really want them to be on board with the
direction the train is going from the start. I try to build a community by
getting the students to listen to one another. The fun and spirit of the
class comes from the camaraderie they establish. In order to listen to
one another, however, they have to be fully present. To be fully present,
they have to be paying full attention. Texting and open laptops suggest
to me that the students are disassociated and disconnected from the
group. The attention is on self, rather than the community.”

Professor Morgan says her goal is to be sure to cover the required
course content and still enjoy the teaching experience. “I give the
students just enough freedom in class that they will either sink or swim.
This freedom allows me to present my ideas, and then they are free to
discuss them as they wish. I think today’s students are so multifaceted
that they can find their own way to learn, even if it involves texting or
using their laptops during class. Many times a student will bring up
something valuable that he or she has found while surfing the Internet
during class that really adds to our discussions. As I see it, my role as a
professor is to present the material to be learned, while the students are
responsible for how much of it they can absorb.”

Ebony also interviewed two students, like herself, who are enrolled in
both classes. Ian said he is very pleased with Professor Gardner’s class
because he knows what is expected of him and what the norms for class
behavior are, noting “He’s the only prof at the U who knows my name.”
Professor Gardner’s grading structure is similar to that of most other
classes Ian has had, and he likes that there are several graded
assignments that allow him to know how he is doing through the course
of the semester. As for Professor Morgan’s class, he thinks it is “OK”
but finds it distracting when people are texting in class. Ian is also
stressed about his grade being dependent on one big assignment.

Professor Gardner’s class is also BreeAnn’s favorite. She says that
Professor Morgan’s class feels “a little wild,” the discussions are not
controlled by the professor so the class does not stay on topic, and you
learn very little. While Professor Morgan writes thoughtful comments


on each of their papers, it is unclear how the papers are related to her
lectures and more importantly the student’s final grade. BreeAnn finds
the final presentation assignment to be an interesting challenge but
irrelevant to the class and her major.

“They are both good,” Ian says, “just very, very different.”


1. In establishing a constructive climate for his or her class, what
kind of structure has each professor put in place?

2. How would you describe the group norms for each class?
3. What actions has each professor taken to establish cohesiveness in

his or her class?
4. What standards of excellence has each professor established for

his or her course?
5. Which class atmosphere would you do best in? Why?

8.2 Organizational Climate Questionnaire


1. To develop an understanding of how your leadership affects

2. To help you understand your strengths and weaknesses in
establishing the climate for a group or an organization


1. For each of the statements below, indicate the frequency with
which you engage in the behavior listed.

2. Give your immediate impressions. There are no right or wrong

When I am the
leader . . .

Never Seldom Sometimes Often Always

1. I give clear
assignments to
group members.

1 2 3 4 5


2. I emphasize
starting and
ending group
meetings on

1 2 3 4 5

3. I encourage
group members
to appreciate the
value of the
overall group.

1 2 3 4 5

4. I encourage
group members
to work to the
best of their

1 2 3 4 5

5. I make the
goals of the
group clear to

1 2 3 4 5

6. I model
group norms for
group members.

1 2 3 4 5

7. I encourage
group members
to listen and to
respect each

1 2 3 4 5

8. I make a
point of
people when
they do a good

1 2 3 4 5

9. I emphasize
the overall


purpose of the
assignment to
group members.

1 2 3 4 5

10. I
to group

1 2 3 4 5

11. I encourage
group members
to respect each

1 2 3 4 5

12. I promote
standards of

1 2 3 4 5

13. I help group
understand their
purpose for
being in the

1 2 3 4 5

14. I encourage
group members
to agree on the
rules for the

1 2 3 4 5

15. I encourage
group members
to accept each
other as unique

1 2 3 4 5

16. I give group
members honest


feedback about
their work.

1 2 3 4 5

17. I help group
understand their
roles in the

1 2 3 4 5

18. I expect
group members
to listen when
another group
member is

1 2 3 4 5

19. I help group
members build
with each other.

1 2 3 4 5

20. I show
group members
who are not
performing well
how to improve
the quality of
their work.

1 2 3 4 5


1. Sum the responses on items 1, 5, 9, 13, and 17 (providing

2. Sum the responses on items 2, 6, 10, 14, and 18 (clarifying

3. Sum the responses on items 3, 7, 11, 15, and 19 (building

4. Sum the responses on items 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 (promoting
standards of excellence).

Total Scores


Clarifying norms: ____________
Building cohesiveness: ____________
Promoting standards of excellence: _________

Scoring Interpretation

This questionnaire is designed to measure four factors related to
establishing a constructive climate: providing structure, clarifying
norms, building cohesiveness, and promoting standards of excellence.
By comparing your scores, you can determine your strengths and
weaknesses in establishing a constructive climate as a leader.

If your score is 20–25, you are in the high range.
If your score is 15–19, you are in the high moderate range.
If your score is 10–14, you are in the low moderate range.
If your score is 5–9, you are in the low range.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

8.3 Observational Exercise

Establishing a Constructive Climate


1. To develop an understanding of how leaders establish a
constructive climate for a group or an organization

2. To identify how specific factors contribute to effective group



1. For this exercise, you will observe a leader running a meeting, a
practice, a class, or some other group-related activity.

2. Attend a full session of the group and record your observations

Name of the leader:
Name of the group:
Observations about the structure (organization) of the group:
Observations about the group’s norms:
Observations about the cohesiveness of the group:
Observations about the group’s standards of excellence:


1. In what ways did the leader make the goals of the group clear to
group members?

2. How did the leader utilize the unique talents of different group

3. What were some of the positive and negative norms of this group?
How did the leader reinforce these norms?

4. How would you evaluate, on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high), the
cohesiveness of this group? In what ways did the leader promote
or fail to promote the esprit de corps in the group?

5. A key factor in promoting standards of excellence is rewarding
results. How did the leader reward group members for achieving

Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

8.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

Establishing a Constructive Climate



1. Based on the scores you received on the Organizational Climate
Questionnaire, what are your strengths and weaknesses regarding
establishing a constructive climate for a group or an organization?

– Strengths:
– Weaknesses:

2. How did you react to the example in this chapter (pp. 167–168) of
the service-learning group that developed cohesiveness? In what
way do you think cohesiveness plays an important role in groups?
Have you ever experienced cohesiveness in a group yourself?

3. In this chapter, group rules and norms are stressed as being very
important to effective teams. Do you agree with this? Explain
your answer. Briefly comment on your own desire and ability to
adapt to the rules of a group.

4. An important aspect of establishing a constructive climate is
giving recognition to others. Is rewarding or praising others
something that would come easily for you as a leader? Discuss.


1. Imagine that you have been chosen to lead a group project for
your class and are preparing for the first meeting. Based on what
you have read in this chapter, identify five important actions you
could take to help establish a constructive climate for the group.

2. This chapter argues that establishing a constructive climate
demands that the leader be a role model for how group members
should act. What three values are important to you in a group?
How would you demonstrate these values to group members?

3. High-performing teams have strong standards of excellence.
Discuss your level of comfort with encouraging others to “keep
the quality up.” What leadership behaviors could you strengthen
to encourage others to work to the best of their ability?

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.


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team members and leaders tell what it takes to succeed. Thousand Oaks,
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right/what can go wrong. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

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Hewlett-Packard’s free fall? Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from

Winkler, R. (2012, November 20). Another fine mess for H-P. The Wall
Street Journal. Retrieved from


9 Embracing Diversity and Inclusion

Leadership requires skill, a clear vision, and a strong commitment to
establishing a constructive organizational climate. It also requires that
leaders understand diversity and inclusion, and the essential role these play
in organizational outcomes. While many of the leadership concepts
discussed in this text so far (e.g., task behavior, goal setting, and strengths)
involve rather straightforward leadership efforts, addressing diversity and
inclusion is a multilayered process that requires a wider range of
leadership practices. Although the terms diversity and inclusion seem to
represent distinctly different concepts, they are actually interrelated
processes, and while not usually discussed as core leadership concepts,
diversity and inclusion play a seminal role in effective leadership.

Why Should Leaders Embrace Diversity?

Hearing the word diversity conjures up a multitude of different reactions in
people. To some, the word diversity suggests being enriched by the
different perspectives, attitudes, and life experiences that people bring to a
situation. For others, the word stirs up feelings of unfairness, injustice, and
exclusion. Furthermore, some people embrace the positive outcomes of
diversity, while others resent the burden of having to adapt to those who
are different from themselves. Whatever your reaction is to the word
diversity, when you are in a leadership role, you must be prepared to
address diversity. How you approach diversity and inclusion will have an
impact on your success as a leader.

In this chapter, we explore how embracing diversity and inclusion can
make you a more effective leader. First, we define diversity and inclusion
and discuss common usages for these terms. Next, we provide a brief
history of how these concepts have become more important in society over
time. Additionally, we provide a framework to conceptualize inclusion and
a model of inclusive practices. Last, we discuss communication practices


to improve inclusion and the barriers that can be encountered when trying
to embrace diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and Inclusion Explained

Diversity and inclusion are general terms that represent complex processes.
A closer look at each of the terms will help explain why they are closely
related and why leaders need to be aware of both concepts when
addressing diversity within their group or organization.

Understanding Diversity

Diversity. In the most general sense, diversity is about variety or
difference. Researchers have defined diversity in a multitude of ways (Mor
Barak, 2014). For example, diversity is often used to refer to the mixture of
races, genders, or religions that make up a group of people. Harrison and
Sin (2006) define diversity as “the collective amount of differences among
members within a social unit” (p. 196). Ferdman (2014), a diversity
scholar, suggests that diversity is the representation of multiple groups of
individuals with different identities and cultures within a group or
organization. Similarly, Herring and Henderson (2015) suggest that
diversity refers to policies and practices that are designed to include people
who are different in some way from the traditional group members. From
this perspective, diversity means creating an organizational culture that
embraces the values and skills of all of its members. Herring and
Henderson contend that diversity is about more than valuing differences
between groups; it includes addressing issues of parity, equity, and

According to a study by Deloitte and the Billie Jean King Leadership
Initiative (Dishman, 2015), of 3,700 individuals from a variety of
backgrounds, Millennials (born 1980–2000) define diversity differently
than Boomers (born 1946–1964) and Gen-Xers (born 1965–1979).
Millennials look at diversity as the mixing of different backgrounds and


perspectives within a group. Boomers and Gen-Xers, on the other hand,
see diversity as a process of fairness and protection for all group members,
regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Millennials are more likely than non-Millennials to focus on the unique
experiences of individuals, teamwork, and collaboration than issues of

In this chapter, we define diversity as the amount of difference among
members of a group or organization. As set forth by Loden (1996), the
core dimensions of diversity include age, ethnicity, gender,
mental/physical abilities and characteristics, race, and sexual orientation
(see Table 9.1). Secondary dimensions include communication style,
education, family status, military experience, organizational role and level,
religion, first language, geographic location, income, work experience, and
work style. The primary dimensions of diversity are more powerful and
less changeable, while the secondary dimensions can change, are less
visible, and are less influential in how they impact our lives.

Inclusion. Inclusion is the process of incorporating differing individuals
into a group or organization. It is creating an environment where people
who are different feel they are part of the whole. For example, inclusion is
represented by making accommodations so that a student with disabilities
can feel involved and accepted in regular school classes. Similarly,
inclusion is about the majority incorporating the opinions of the minority
and giving voice to the people who are seldom heard. Booysen (2014)
suggests that when inclusion exists in a workplace, “all people from
diverse backgrounds will feel valued, respected, and recognized” and “no
one will feel that he or she . . . does not have a place in the organization;
no one will ask: ‘What about me?’” (p. 299). Furthermore, Ferdman
(2014) suggests that people experience inclusion not only when they feel
they are treated well individually but also when groups of people who
share their identity are respected and valued.

Table 9.1 Dimensions of Diversity
Table 9.1 Dimensions of Diversity

Primary Dimensions Secondary Dimensions

Age Geographic Location


Gender Military and Work Experience

Race Family Status

Mental and Physical Abilities Income

Ethnicity Religion

Sexual Orientation


First Language

Organizational Role and Level

Communication and Work Style
Source: Based on Loden (1996).

The underpinnings of inclusion are described in the work of Schutz (1958),
who posited that inclusion (along with control and affection) is a basic
human need that people experience in their interpersonal relationships. It is
our need to belong, feel accepted, and be connected to others, but not to
the extent that we lose a sense of ourselves as unique individuals.
Inclusion means feeling like you are a full member of the group but at the
same time maintaining your own identity. It requires a balance between
belonging and uniqueness (Shore et al., 2011).

The Importance of Inclusion

Schutz (1958) argued that we express our need to be included by how we
communicate with others and we experience less anxiety if our need to be
“in the group” matches the degree to which we want others to “include
us.” This suggests that leaders should open their arms to include others,
but not so much that the individual differences of others get smothered or

In short, diversity focuses on recognizing differences, and inclusion is
concerned with embracing those differences. As Myers (2012) aptly


suggests, diversity is about “being invited to the party,” and inclusion is
about “being asked to dance” (p. 13). Leaders often recognize the value of
diversity but struggle with creating supportive, inclusive environments. It
is one thing to have a diverse group or organization, but another to make
sure each individual is included in the group or organization in a positive
manner. Later in the chapter, we provide an inclusion framework to help
leaders understand how to approach diversity in different settings.

Brief Historical Perspective

Approaches to Diversity

To better understand the complexity of diversity, it is useful to briefly
describe how diversity has been addressed in the past, and then to discuss
how these descriptions influence the meaning of diversity today.
Addressing issues of diversity is not unique; it has been a central challenge
for leaders of every generation.

In the United States, diversity was at the foundation of the country’s
democratic system. The United States was originally formed by people
seeking to escape religious persecution elsewhere. This ideal of seeking
freedom drove to the country many groups of immigrants, all of whom had
different values, traditions, and religions. As the country evolved, diversity
also came to mean addressing the needs of people who are marginalized in
the United States, including African Americans whose descendants
originally came as slaves as well as Native Americans who were already
living in the country. Even today, the diversity of the country continues to
shift and change as waves of newcomers enter the United States and
continue to alter the social landscape of the nation (Healey & Stepnick,
2017). Building a democratic nation is only possible by acknowledging
and addressing issues of diversity.

While there is a lot written on multiculturalism, intergroup relations, and
diversity in society, much of the information we present in this chapter
comes from diversity and inclusion research as it has occurred in the realm
of the workplace. While this research may be workplace specific, it is
salient to leaders of any organization. This is especially true of the
research on the historical development of workplace diversity in the
United States as it reflects how perspectives on diversity evolved in wider


society. Harvey (2015) suggests that the approach to diversity in the
workplace has changed and evolved over three periods: the early years of
diversity (1960s and 1970s), the era of valuing diversity (1980s and
1990s), and diversity management and inclusion in the 21st century (2000
to present) (see Table 9.2).

Moving Beyond an Exclusionary Culture

Early years—1960s and 1970s. This was the period of the civil rights
movement in the United States. During this time, efforts were made to end
discrimination against African Americans and to secure their legal rights
as spelled out in the U.S. Constitution. It was also a time when the federal
government passed a series of landmark equal employment opportunity
laws: (1) the Equal Pay Act (1963), which stated that women and men
must receive equal pay for equal work; (2) the Civil Rights Act (1964),
which prohibited discrimination in employment based on race, sex,
national origin, religion, and color; (3) the Executive Orders (1961–1965),
which required organizations that accepted federal funds to submit
affirmative action plans that demonstrated their progress in hiring and
promoting groups of people who had been discriminated against
previously; and (4) the Age Discrimination Act (1975), which protected
workers over 40 years of age from being discriminated against at work
because of their age.

Table 9.2 Changing Perspectives on Diversity
Table 9.2 Changing Perspectives on Diversity


Perspective Metaphor Emphasis



Melting Pot Assimilation


Advantages of

Salad Differentiation


1990s Recognized

2000 to

Different Opinions
and Insights Valued

Smorgasbord Inclusion

Source: Adapted from Harvey, C. P. (2015). Understanding workplace diversity:
Where have we been and where are we going? In C. P. Harvey & M. J. Allard (Eds.),
Understanding and managing diversity: Readings, cases, and exercises (pp. 1–7).
Boston, MA: Pearson; Thomas, D. A., & Ely, R. J. (1996, September–October).
Making differences matter: A new paradigm for managing diversity. Harvard Business

During these early years, the focus of diversity was on “righting the
wrongs” experienced by people who were perceived as different because
of their race or gender (Harvey, 2015) and who were also the targets of
discrimination and exclusion. It was also a time when the government
began forcing organizations to confront inequities between individuals and
groups in the workplace. Thomas and Ely (1996) contend that these early
years were focused on discrimination and fairness. Because of prejudice,
certain demographic groups were not treated the same as other groups. To
comply with federal mandates, it was important for organizations to ensure
that all people were treated equally and that no one was given an unfair
advantage over another person.

It was common during the early years to think of diversity using the term
melting pot, a metaphor for a blending of many into one, or a
heterogeneous society becoming homogeneous. Sociologically, diversity
was thought of as an assimilation process where those from different
cultures were expected to adapt to and, in many cases, adopt the customs
of the majority group (Blaine, 2013). Assimilation focused on the process
of making people from diverse cultures come together to create one
American culture. Healey and Stepnick (2017) point out that while
assimilation is often thought of as a gradual and fair blending of diverse
cultures, in fact it requires different cultures to blend in with the
predominant English language and British cultural style. Although
assimilation helps to bring diverse individuals together, it requires that
those in the minority culture give up many, if not most, of their own values
and traditions in order to adopt the dominant culture.



Era of valuing diversity—1980s and 1990s. This period was marked by a
new approach to diversity that emphasized the acceptance and celebration
of differences (Thomas & Ely, 1996). The approach to diversity at this
time broadened beyond an emphasis on race and gender to include many
dimensions (sexual orientation, age, physical and mental abilities, etc. [see
Table 9.1]). In addition to stressing fairness and equality, organizations
recognized that society was becoming more multicultural and that
supporting diversity in the workforce could have competitive advantages.
Research focused on how diversity in the workplace was related to
positive outcomes for an organization, such as reduced turnover, better
creative thinking, enhanced problem solving, and improved decision
making. Organizations found that diversity was not just about fairness; it
made economic sense (Thomas & Ely, 1996).

Emotional and Cultural Intelligence

Rather than a melting pot, the metaphor for diversity during this time was
more of a salad composed of different ingredients, made by mixing
different individuals or cultures and their unique characteristics into one. A
multicultural approach acknowledges and accepts differences. The
emphasis was on the individual unique contributions that each person or
culture brings to an organization, rather than blending (“melting”)
differences into a single whole (Harvey, 2015). Furthermore, diversity
during this period emphasized pluralism, the recognition that people of
different cultures did not need to sacrifice their own traditions and values
to become a part of one society. Pluralism means that people of all races,
classes, religions, and backgrounds can coexist in one society without
giving up their identities, customs, or traditions. A pluralistic society
appreciates and celebrates differences.

Diversity Management


Diversity management and inclusion in the 21st century—2000 to present.
Diversity during this period continues to be a major concern for
organizations and society in general. Inequities between individuals and
groups in regard to differences in race, gender, ethnicity, sexual
orientation, and other dimensions remain unresolved. The laws of the
1960s and 1970s still occupy an important role in trying to achieve
diversity in the workplace. At the same time, multiculturalism is more
widely accepted and celebrated today.

What is new in the last 20 years regarding diversity is an emphasis on
creating inclusive organizations. Harvey (2015) points out that people
today are recognizing that both organizations and individuals can benefit
from diversity. Furthermore, she points out that diversity today is broader
in scope and harder to manage because of a changing composition of
workers, the need to acknowledge multiple social identities, and the
challenge of trying to establish and maintain an inclusive organizational
culture. The new way of approaching diversity acknowledges differences
among people and values those differences, integrating them into the
organization. People feel they are all on the same team because of their
differences, not despite their differences (Thomas & Ely, 1996).

As opposed to being like a melting pot that blends many into one or a
salad that mixes differences together, diversity today could be thought of
as a smorgasbord that celebrates the unique qualities of a variety of
different dishes. Diversity from this perspective means that people’s
unique qualities are accepted and enjoyed, and that people do not need to
downplay their own unique characteristics for the benefit of others. It also
means that people do not need to deny their own cultural identities to be a
part of the larger group or organization. Diversity means that an
organization is composed of many unique elements and, when taken
together, these elements make the organization unique.

While our perspectives on diversity have changed over the last 50 years,
society’s need to address matters of diversity has remained constant. The
current approach to diversity places the inclusion process at center stage as
the pathway to addressing concerns about diversity. Inclusion means
allowing people with different cultural characteristics to have a voice and
feel integrated and connected with others (Ferdman, 2014). In the next
section, we describe a framework for understanding the inclusion process.


Inclusion Framework
Social psychologist Brewer (1991) argued that individuals have two
opposing needs in regard to being a part of a group. First, they have a
desire to assimilate and be included; second, they have a need to
differentiate themselves from the group. Similar to Schutz’s (1958) early
work on inclusion, people seek an optimal balance between inclusion and

Inclusion, Diversity, and Leadership

To better understand how people balance these needs, Shore and
colleagues (2011) developed an inclusion framework. The framework,
depicted in Table 9.3, illustrates how varying levels of belongingness (i.e.,
the desire to be included) interact with uniqueness (i.e., the desire to
maintain one’s own identity) and result in the four quadrants shown below.

The Exclusion quadrant (top left) represents individuals in a group or
organization who feel left out and excluded; they do not feel a part of
things, and they do not feel valued. Exclusion occurs when organizations
fail to see and value the unique qualities of diverse employees and fail to
accept them as organizational insiders. An example might be a female vice
president of a bank whose ideas are discounted by her male counterparts
and who is seldom invited to corporate planning meetings. In effect,
exclusion represents a complete failure to deal with matters of diversity.

The Differentiation quadrant (lower left) describes individuals who feel
unique and respected but who also feel left out and not a part of the in-
group. Differentiation occurs when organizations accept and value the
unique qualities of members who are different but then fail to let these
individuals become full members of the organization. For example, this
might occur when a customer service center hires several Spanish-
speaking representatives because the center is working with more Spanish-
speaking customers. But those representatives are not asked for their input
on organizational issues such as the scripting they use for complaint calls.
In terms of diversity, differentiation goes halfway—it recognizes different


individuals, but does not fully accept them.

Table 9.3 Inclusion Framework
Table 9.3 Inclusion Framework

Low Belongingness High Belongingness

Low Value


Individual is not treated as
an organizational insider
with unique value in the
work group, but there are
other employees or groups
who are insiders.


Individual is treated as
an insider in the work
group when he or she
conforms to
dominant culture norms
and downplays

High Value


Individual is not treated as
an organizational insider in
the work group, but his or
her unique characteristics
are seen as valuable and
required for
group/organization success.


Individual is treated as
an insider and also
allowed/encouraged to
retain uniqueness
within the work group.

Source: Shore, L. M., Randel, A. E., Chung, B. G., Dean, M. A., Holcombe Ehrhard,
K., & Singh, G. (2011). Inclusion and diversity in work groups: A review and model
for future research. Journal of Management, 37(4), 1266.

The Assimilation quadrant (top right) represents people who feel they are
insiders and in the organizational in-group but whose unique
characteristics are not really valued by the organization. An example of
assimilation could be a Native American college student who is 100%
involved and accepted in the classroom but whose unique heritage is not
acknowledged by the others, who expect him to give up that heritage to
blend into the dominant group. In terms of diversity, assimilation
represents an attempt by organizations to open their arms and bring
everyone in; however, the same organizations can be faulted for failing to


acknowledge the uniqueness of their members—they accept different
individuals, but do not fully value them.

The Inclusion quadrant (lower right) describes individuals who feel they
belong and are valued for their unique beliefs, attitudes, values, and
background. This quadrant represents the optimal way to address diversity.
It means, in short, accepting others and at the same time valuing them for
who they are without requiring them to give up valued identities or cultural
features (Ferdman, 1992). For example, inclusion occurs when students at
a small rural high school welcome three new students who are Arabic
refugees who have come to live with families in the area. The students
establish an “international club” in which they learn Syrian from the new
students while helping the Syrian students with their English and discuss
one another’s culture. The social sciences teacher incorporated a research
project on Syria for all his students based on a presentation that one of the
Syrian students gave about his experiences. Another of the Syrian students
is a gifted singer and is in the choir, and the choir teacher asked her to pick
out a song from her native country that the choir is learning to sing for its
winter program. Most important of all, students at the school feel accepted,
engaged, and comfortable. The camaraderie they have has produced a new
sense of community.

Leadership Snapshot: Xerox Corporation


When Xerox named Ursula Burns its CEO in 2009, it became the first
Fortune 500 company to have a successive female CEO. Burns’s
ascendency to the top position at the $22 billion company is evidence of
the diversity and inclusion efforts that began at Xerox more than 40
years before.

In 1964, as race riots were occurring near Xerox’s Rochester, New
York, headquarters, the company’s founder, Joe Wilson, met with
Black leaders and learned people were rioting because they didn’t have
access to jobs. Xerox pledged to change that, sending out a company-
wide directive, condemning racial discrimination, mandating minority
recruitment, and holding managers responsible for the success of the
minorities they hired (“Xerox a Success,” 1991). In addition, Xerox
funded and provided consulting to a minority-owned and -operated
plant in Rochester’s Black community, which made parts for Xerox, to
provide jobs for the community’s unemployed (Friedman & Deinard,



Xerox’s program was about more than recruitment; it was about a
company-wide commitment to diversity and inclusion on all levels from
the manufacturing floor to the executive offices. By 1974, Xerox had
increased its minority workforce from 3% to 14.6% (Friedman &
Deinard, 1990).

It wasn’t as simple as hiring more Black employees however. Despite
the company-wide mandate, Black employees at Xerox still
experienced unequal treatment, especially when it came to promotions.
In addition, Black employees weren’t part of the informal networks that
White employees enjoyed where they shared support, information, and
mentoring, which often inhibited the Black employees’ knowledge of
job openings and promotion opportunities. Because of this, Black
Xerox workers in various company locations began meeting together at
one another’s homes as informal support groups. These Black caucuses
not only advocated and fought for equal treatment for Black employees
within the company, but they also created what would become a
hallmark of the company’s Managing for Diversity program: minority
caucus groups.

Caucus groups engage in self-advocacy, informing management on
issues that keep minorities from progressing within the company. The
company now has 6 caucus groups to meet the needs of employees who
are Black, Hispanic, Asian, women, Black women, and LGBT.

By 1991, the company’s efforts had succeeded in increasing the
minority ranks of Xerox’s U.S. workforce to 25.7%. Among its senior
executives, 17% were minorities. But even though the program had
been effective, there was more to be done. Only 8.5% of the company’s
senior executives were women, and more minorities and women were
employed in lower- and middle-level jobs than upper-level jobs. Burns,
who is African American and was recruited by Xerox in 1980 as part of
its summer minority internship program, said that back then the
diversity efforts “didn’t extend to gender.

“We looked up one day, and all the African American men were doing
better . . . they were leaders of the company. But there were very few
women of any race. So we said, ‘Oh my God,’ then we have to do
something about women,” says Burns. “What we’ve learned during that
time is this idea of inclusion can’t be inclusion of one group. Because as
soon as you focus on one group only, then you actually exclude the
other groups” (Solman, 2014).


It was through a woman’s caucus group that Xerox management
learned one obstacle in the way of women obtaining and retaining top
positions in its manufacturing divisions was the rigid hours of shift
schedules. These schedules made it difficult for women who were also
primary caregivers to their children to work in manufacturing.
Executives learned that “women weren’t dumb in manufacturing, [but]
they need more flexibility” than the company allowed them, says Burns
(Solman, 2014).

Today, Xerox has 140,000 employees and does business in more than
180 countries. In the United States, minorities make up 30.2% of the
company’s workforce. Among company officials and managers, 22%
are minorities, and minorities hold 18% of the company’s vice president
positions. Women make up nearly 30% of the company’s vice
presidents while the company’s U.S. workforce is 36% female (Xerox,

Xerox rose to dominance as maker of copy machines, but watched that
market shrivel with competition from digital imaging. As a result,
Xerox dramatically changed its business model. It is now in the
business of client services and has become more globally oriented. In
doing so, the company found that its suppliers, customers, and partners
came from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. In order to
be able to connect with them, Xerox had to connect with the diversity
within its own ranks.

Xerox officials contend that its diversity has allowed the company to
successfully shift to new markets because it is able to approach issues
and challenges from different perspectives. “Xerox found out a while
ago that including more of the resources of the world to attack problems
or address opportunities is better than including fewer,” says Burns.

“The entire approach here is not to have diversity just because we think
it’s a nice thing to do. It’s a good business result. The way to stay in
front, if you are a tech company, is to engage as much difference and as
much breadth as you can in thinking and approach and background and
language and culture” (Solman, 2014)

The inclusion framework presented in Table 9.3 is useful for
understanding ways to address diversity because it illustrates inclusion as
an integration of two factors: (1) an individual’s connectedness (i.e.,
belonging) to others and (2) a person’s individuality (i.e., uniqueness). In
addition, the inclusion framework is helpful because it underscores that
differentiation focuses primarily on people’s differences and assimilation


focuses primarily on people’s connectedness to the whole.

Diversity and Inclusion in Practice

Model of Inclusive Practices
Since inclusion is essential for integrating everyone into a group or
organization, the next question is, how does the inclusion process work in

Benefits of Diverse Leadership

To understand this process, Ferdman (2014) suggests treating inclusion as
a multilevel process centered on each individual’s experience of inclusion.
Simply put, inclusion exists when individuals experience it. This occurs as
a result of inclusion practices on many levels, including interpersonal,
group, leader, organizational, and societal (see Figure 9.1). Ferdman’s
framework illustrates how inclusion at one level is related to the way
inclusion is practiced at other levels.

As shown at the top of the model in Figure 9.1, the way a society or
community thinks about and addresses inclusion affects the way an
individual experiences it. For example, if the city commission in a
community such as Dearborn, Michigan, which has a large percentage of
Arab Americans, were to promote the recognition of the Muslim holy
month of Ramadan, then Dearborn residents of Middle Eastern descent
might feel that their Muslim heritage is being valued and recognized.

Moving down the model, organizational policies and practices also
influence the inclusion experience. For instance, if a new employee
training program at a retail store fosters acceptance of customers who are
lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, it may help these customers feel
welcome shopping at the store.

At the leadership level, which is indispensable to promoting inclusion at
all levels, leaders need to set the tone for inclusion and hold followers


accountable for inclusion practices. For example, if, during a staff meeting
of a department that is predominantly male, the department head gives a
disgruntled female staff member time to voice her opinions to the others,
that staff member will feel that her opinions matter. It will also model to
the group’s members how to listen to others and value their opinions, even
if those opinions are different from their own.

Figure 9.1 Systems of Inclusion: A Multilevel Analytic Framework

Source: Adapted from Ferdman, B. M. (2014). The practice of
inclusion in diverse organizations. In B. M. Ferdman, & B. R. Deane
(Eds.), Diversity at work: The practice of inclusion (pp. 3–54). San
Francisco, CA: Wiley.

Challenges for Women in Leadership

Another form of inclusion occurs at the group level. Groups promote
inclusion when they establish enabling norms that give everyone in the


group an equal chance to voice his or her opinion, acknowledge and
respect individuals’ differences, promote collaborative work on tasks, and
address conflicts productively. There is an old axiom regarding people in
groups: “By the group are you sickened, by the group are you healed.”
When a group is functioning inclusively, it is positive to group members,
not toxic. The members feel accepted, comfortable, unique, valued, and
inspirited. This is the strength of inclusive group practices.

The interpersonal level is perhaps the most common place where inclusive
practices are played out. Through our interpersonal communication with
others, we let them know our need to be included, our willingness to
include others, and our willingness to have others include us. For example,
a first-year foreign student living on campus may want her roommate to
invite her to parties, but when the roommate does invite her, the student
makes an excuse for not being able to attend. The student expresses a need
to be included, but when she is included, the student becomes
uncomfortable and wants to pull back. Interpersonal inclusion happens
when we ask others for their opinions and are interested in who they are,
but still enable them to maintain their personal space as individuals.

The individual inclusion experience is the foundation of the framework
illustrated in Figure 9.1. Ferdman, Barrera, Allen, and Vuong (2009)
describe this experience “as the degree to which individuals feel safe,
trusted, accepted, respected, supported, valued, fulfilled, engaged, and
authentic in their working environment, both as individuals and as
members of particular identity groups” (p. 6). The experience of individual
inclusion is affected by the inclusion practices at other levels, and
individual inclusion can also impact these other levels (see Figure 9.1).

To understand how the different levels of inclusion in the framework can
influence the other levels, consider, for example, in the United States,
same-sex marriage has been legalized, giving same-sex couples the same
legal rights as those in heterosexual marriages. This can influence other
inclusive practices down the line. At the organizational level, this new
legal status allows same-sex couples the same benefits as heterosexual
couples, such as health insurance and family leave. If the leader of an
organization engages in inclusive practices of same-sex couples, such as
encouraging same-sex couples to openly attend organizational events
together and inviting them to dinner with other staff members and their
spouses, that leader is modeling inclusive behavior for his followers. At


the group level, the coworkers of same-sex spouses host a baby shower
when the same-sex couple welcomes a child into their family. On the
interpersonal level, coworkers will talk with the same-sex spouse about her
partner, and establish bonds the same as they would with another
coworker. Finally, you can see how this inclusion would lead to the same-
sex spouse feeling that her sexual orientation and her marriage are
accepted and respected by those with whom she works every day. As a
result, she feels her opinions and input are valued because she is not
regarded in a negative way or as different by others because of her sexual
orientation. Inclusion comes from the top down—starting with society and
community and ending with the individual.

As shown in Figure 9.1, Ferdman’s framework also identifies that the
influence of inclusion travels back up the levels from individual to
societal. The same-sex couple example from above also works to show this
upward influence of inclusion. Because the individual described above
feels accepted and respected, she is more likely to engage in inclusive
behaviors with others who are different from her. Through their example,
same-sex couples inclusive behaviors can help foster acceptance and
respect for others among the members of groups to which the individuals
belong. If a group’s majority is engaged in inclusive behaviors, it can
influence its leaders to adopt those same inclusive practices. To illustrate
this, we will again use an example of an individual in a same-sex
relationship who wants to have the same health and leave benefits as her
married coworkers. This coworker talks about her desires with other
members of her department, who are accepting of her relationship. As a
result, at a department meeting, the employees approach their leader about
changing the company’s benefit policy to include same-sex couples. The
boss takes the matter to his superiors, and ultimately the issue is put before
the company’s owners, who adopt the policy. As a result of the company’s
acceptance of same-sex couples, the community in which the company
operates is influenced by the company’s inclusive practices. Because of
the company’s inclusive practices, more gay and lesbian employees may
choose to join the company, which will bring more same-sex couples into
the community. As same-sex couples become engaged in the community
as neighbors, friends, and community members, the society around them
will become more accepting and respecting of same-sex relationships.

While this example shows that inclusion can and should happen at many
levels, as a leader, the challenge is to foster that sense of inclusion among


one’s followers as well as influence the organization’s approach to
diversity and inclusion. In the next section, we discuss some practices
leaders can engage in that help to do just that.

Leader Practices That Advance Diversity and
A questionnaire to measure inclusion in work groups developed by
Ferdman and his colleagues (Ferdman, 2014; Ferdman et al., 2009;
Hirshberg & Ferdman, 2011) identified six key components of the
experience of inclusion (see Table 9.4). Components are like the
ingredients of inclusion. When followers experience these components,
they feel included. These components provide a good blueprint for actions
and behaviors and communication that leaders should engage in to provide
inclusion for others.

1. Feeling Safe

To help individuals feel safe, it is important for leaders to treat followers in
nonthreatening ways. In situations where one person feels different from
others, the leader plays a fundamental role in letting that person know that
he or she will not be hurt physically or psychologically if his or her ideas
differ from others and that he or she will not be ridiculed or criticized for
expressing these ideas. Even if a person’s opinions go directly against the
majority opinion, that individual can feel safe that he or she will not
experience negative repercussions. Leaders need to communicate with
each of their followers in such a way that all of them feel they are a part of
the whole. It is a safe feeling for individuals to know they will not be
rejected by the group for their uniqueness.

Feeling Safe

Table 9.4 Components of the Inclusion Experience
Table 9.4 Components of the Inclusion Experience

Components Examples



Feeling Safe

• Do I help others feel physically and
psychologically safe?

• Do I help others feel like they are a
full member of the group?

• Do I help others express opposing
opinions without fear of negative


Feeling Involved and

• Do I treat others as full participants—
as insiders?

• Do I give others access to information
and resources to do their work?

• Do I help others feel like they are part
of our team?


Feeling Respected and

• Do I treat others as I would like to be
treated myself?

• Do I let others know I trust and care
about them?

• Do I treat others like they are a valued
group member?


Feeling Influential

• Do I let others’ ideas and perspectives
influence the group?

• Do I let others participate in decision

• Do I listen to others’ perspectives on
substantive issues?

• Do I allow others to be truly
themselves in the group?


Feeling Authentic and

• Do I let others know they can be
completely open with the group?

• Do I encourage others to be honest
and transparent?


Recognizing, Attending
to, and Honoring

• Do I treat everyone fairly without

• Do I let others know I trust and care
about them?

• Do I encourage others to be honest
and transparent?

Source: Adapted from Ferdman, B. M. (2014). The practice of inclusion in diverse
organizations. In B. M. Ferdman & B. R. Deane (Eds.), Diversity at work: The practice
of inclusion (pp. 3–54). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.

2. Feeling Involved and Engaged

In addition to a feeling of safety, inclusion comes from feeling involved
and engaged. Helping followers find this feeling is a challenge for leaders,
but worthwhile because engaged and involved followers are more
productive and satisfied. It is inspiriting to be around them. Leaders must
find ways to help individuals become involved and immersed in the larger
group’s efforts. When an individual likes her work, participates freely in it,
and enjoys being a part of the team, she is more likely to feel involved and
engaged. As discussed in Chapter 3, “Engaging Strengths,” recognizing
people’s strengths is a wonderful way for leaders to help followers feel
engaged. In addition, leaders should treat followers as if they are insiders,
as people who are important and deserve to know what is going on within
the organization. Leaders need to share information freely so that
followers feel like full participants in the workings of the group or
organization. People feel involved and engaged when they know they are
full-fledged group members and that their participation matters.

3. Feeling Respected and Valued

Practicing the Golden Rule—“Treat others as you would like to be
treated”—is at the core of how leaders can help followers feel respected


treated”—is at the core of how leaders can help followers feel respected
and valued. When leaders put themselves in the shoes of their followers,
they can get in touch with what it means to be well thought of, worthy, and
wanted. None of us like to be judged, stereotyped, ridiculed, singled out,
disconfirmed, ignored, or belittled. Followers want to feel that they belong
and are connected to the group, that the leader trusts and cares about them,
and that they are intrinsic to the group.

Women in Leadership

4. Feeling Influential

Another component contributing to the inclusion experience is a feeling of
having influence. All of us have unique ideas and positions on issues.
When people express their ideas and are heard, they feel like they exist and
that they are meaningful. When an individual is in a staff meeting and
others listen to his or her ideas, it makes that individual feel significant. If
that person’s comments influence the direction of the group, it really
makes the person feel significant. We all want to be influential, to put our
stamp on things, to touch the world and have our efforts mean something.

It is critically important for leaders to recognize that followers have a need
to have an impact—to express themselves in a way that affects others.
Effective leaders help followers feel influential when they recognize that
followers want to be heard and have an impact. Letting followers
participate in important organizational discussions and acknowledging
their comments and suggestions as substantive and valuable makes those
followers feel influential. Another way of allowing followers to feel
influential is by including them in the decision making of a group. When
followers are able to participate in decisions, they feel a sense of
significance; they feel agency. To have agency is to affect the process, to
feel alive, to feel influential. It is having agency that helps followers to feel

5. Feeling Authentic and Whole

In any group or organization, there is always a certain amount of pressure


This pressure creates tension within individuals because in order to be
accepted with the larger group, they often find it necessary to hide or
downplay unique characteristics of themselves or the group with whom
they identify. For example, to be accepted as an autoworker at a Ford plant
in Detroit, an individual might try to hide the fact that he or she drives a
foreign-made car. Or, if your partner’s parents are quite liberal and against
the National Rifle Association’s stance on gun rights, you might not want
to disclose to them that you are an avid hunter and longtime NRA member.

This tension between wanting to be yourself while also wanting to be a
part of the group can be counterproductive to one’s feeling authentic and
whole. Leaders can address this tension for followers by creating an
atmosphere where individuals feel free to be as honest and transparent as
they are comfortable being. To be transparent and authentic, followers
need to feel trust from the leader. Leaders need to establish environments
where being fully transparent with one another is rewarded and not
punished. When you are in this kind of group or organization, you feel
unique and connected at the same time. It is a situation where assimilating
to the larger entity does not require losing one’s own sense of self.

For example, Angie is a multiracial college student at a small private
university who, because of her very light skin color, knows that most of
her fellow students assume she is White. Even though she is very involved
in campus activities, the topic of her race rarely comes up, and Angie
doesn’t feel a need to discuss it with other students. However, she often
wants to speak up when she hears students making biased or stereotypical
comments based on ethnicity, but doesn’t do so. The college’s president
recently asked Angie to join the school’s antiracism committee
representing students of color on the campus. Angie is hesitant to do so
because it would mean being open about her race, which could change
how some of the other students treat her. However, she also knows that she
would be more true to herself if she did participate on the committee,
because she could effect change in some of the racist attitudes on campus.
The president has talked with her at length about the importance of being
acknowledged by others for her unique multiracial perspective,
encouraging her to be authentic and transparent with others. He has
expressed that he believes because she is already a very respected and
active member of the campus community, she would be influential in
helping the other students to embrace change regarding racism.


6. Recognizing, Attending to, and Honoring Diversity

The last component of the inclusion experience is directly related to
leaders and diversity. In any group or organization, people want to be
treated fairly; they do not want to be discriminated against because of their
social identity or the identity of their social groups. As a leader, each of us
has the responsibility to be fair-minded and open-minded toward all of our
followers. But dealing with diversity is not just about fairness. It is also
about acknowledging differences and fully embracing them even if it
produces conflict. Leaders need to work through conflicts related to
differences in mutually beneficial ways. Last, leaders need to be attentive
to recognizing the ways people differ and honoring the individuality of
each of them.

Barriers to Embracing Diversity and Inclusion
Unfortunately, in the effort to successfully embrace diversity and
inclusion, a leader can run into four common barriers—both on an
individual level and on an organizational level—that can hinder this:
ethnocentrism, prejudice, stereotypes, and privilege. Leaders must
confront these barriers head-on in order to effectively address diversity and
develop inclusion in their organization.


As the word suggests, ethnocentrism is the tendency for individuals to
place their own group (ethnic, racial, or cultural) at the center of their
observations of others and the world. Ethnocentrism is the perception that
one’s own culture is better or more natural than the culture of others.
Because people tend to give priority and value to their own beliefs,
attitudes, and values over and above those of other groups, they often fail
to recognize the unique perspectives of others. Ethnocentrism is a
universal tendency, and each of us is ethnocentric to some degree.

Ethnocentrism is a perceptual window through which people make
subjective or critical evaluations of people from cultures other than their
own (Porter & Samovar, 1997). For example, some Americans think that
the democratic principles of the United States are superior to the political
beliefs of other countries; they often fail to understand the complexities of


other cultures. Ethnocentrism accounts for our tendency to think our own
cultural values and ways of doing things are right and natural (Gudykunst
& Kim, 1997).

Ethnocentrism can be a major obstacle to effective leadership because it
prevents people from fully understanding or respecting the viewpoints of
others. For example, if a person’s culture values individual achievement, it
may be difficult for that person to understand someone from a culture that
emphasizes collectivity (i.e., people working together as a whole).
Similarly, if a person believes strongly in respecting authority, that person
may find it difficult to understand someone who challenges authority or
does not easily defer to authority figures. The more ethnocentric we are,
the less open or tolerant we are of other people’s cultural traditions or

A skilled leader cannot avoid issues related to ethnocentrism. A leader
must recognize his or her own ethnocentrism, as well as understand—and
to a degree tolerate—the ethnocentrism of others. In reality, it is a
balancing act for leaders. On the one hand, leaders need to promote and be
confident in their own ways of doing things; on the other, they need to be
sensitive to the legitimacy of the ways of other cultures. Skilled leaders are
able to negotiate the fine line between trying to overcome ethnocentrism
and knowing when to remain grounded in their own cultural values.


Closely related to ethnocentrism is prejudice. Prejudice is a largely fixed
attitude, belief, or emotion held by an individual about another individual
or group that is based on faulty or unsubstantiated data. Prejudice refers to
judgments we make about others based on previous decisions or
experiences and involves inflexible generalizations that are resistant to
change or evidence to the contrary (Ponterotto & Pedersen, 1993).


Prejudice often is thought of in the context of race or ethnicity (e.g.,
European American vs. African American), but it also applies in areas


such as gender, age, sexual orientation, and other independent contexts.
Although prejudice can be positive (e.g., thinking highly of another culture
without sufficient evidence such as “the Swiss are the best skiers”), it is
usually negative (e.g., “women are too emotional”).

As with ethnocentrism, we all hold prejudices to some degree. Sometimes
our prejudices allow us to keep our partially fixed attitudes undisturbed
and constant. Sometimes prejudice can reduce people’s anxiety because it
gives them a familiar way to structure their observations of others. One of
the main problems with prejudice is that it is self-oriented rather than
other-oriented. It helps us to achieve balance for ourselves at the expense
of others. Moreover, attitudes of prejudice inhibit understanding by
creating a screen that limits one’s ability to see multiple aspects and
qualities of other people. Prejudice is often expressed in crude or
demeaning comments that people make about others. Both ethnocentrism
and prejudice interfere with our ability to understand and appreciate the
human experience of others.

In addition to fighting their own prejudices, leaders face the challenge of
dealing with the prejudice of their followers. These prejudices can be
toward the leader or the leader’s culture. Furthermore, it is not uncommon
for a leader to have followers who represent several culturally different
groups that have their own prejudices toward each other. Prejudice can
result in advantages for some groups over others and in systemic
discrimination, which occurs when patterns of discriminatory behavior,
policies, or practices become a part of an organization and continue to
perpetuate disadvantage to those being discriminated against. Systemic
discrimination can have a broad impact on an industry, profession, or
geographic area.

A skilled leader needs to think about, recognize, and address when
systemic discrimination exists within his or her organization and find ways
to create inclusion with followers and groups who exhibit a multitude of


A stereotype is a fixed belief held by an individual that classifies a group
of people with a similar characteristic as alike. Stereotypes allow people to
respond to complex information and make meaning from it by either


generalizing it or putting a blanket category around it. It is a way of
processing information quickly.

Stereotypes label a group of individuals as the same at the expense of
recognizing the uniqueness of each individual. Labeling everyone the same
results in assuming things about some individuals that are not true.
Stereotypes provide a way to generalize information, but during the
process, “overgeneralizing” can occur, and individuals may get labeled
with characteristics or qualities that do not apply to them. For example, if
you say, “Nightshift workers are lazy,” you are characterizing every
worker who works that shift as lazy, when in fact it may be only one or
two workers. If you stereotype the members of a certain ethnic or cultural
group as terrorists, you may be correct for some individuals in that group,
but not all of them.

In a small way, stereotypes can be useful. Stereotypes can reduce
uncertainty in some situations because they provide partial information to
us about others. For example, if you see some people wearing jerseys for
the New England Patriots and you are also a Patriots fan, you will feel
comfortable sitting next to them at a Patriots football game. You already
assume, based on their clothing, that they have beliefs similar to yours.
Similarly, if you tell your parents, who are of Dutch heritage, that they’ll
like your new partner because she is a “good Dutch woman,” you are using
a positive stereotype that will give your parents some information about
your partner. This kind of stereotype provides limited information and
begs to be challenged with phrases such as “What else can you tell me
about this person?” Each individual is much more than a stereotype, so we
must constantly challenge our mental assessments to look for the unique
qualities of every person.

For leaders, stereotypes are a barrier to diversity and inclusion because
stereotypes categorize individual followers into a single classification,
which prevents the leader from seeing each individual’s unique merits and
qualifications. Because stereotypes are a mental shortcut, leaders can avoid
thinking more deeply about individual followers. For example, if a college
professor who teaches three classes labels one class as “a good class” and
the other two as “bad classes” based on experiences he has had with some
students in those classes, the stereotype will prevent him from seeing the
many good qualities of individuals in the “bad” classes and also the
negative qualities of the students in the “good” class.


Stereotypes have a significant impact on how leaders treat followers. To
include followers and embrace them fully, leaders need to be attentive and
open to the individual nuances of each of their followers. For Jane Doe to
be included requires more than recognition of her gender. It requires
understanding that she is a single mom with four kids, a part-time college
student, a wife who lost her husband in the Iraq War, and a woman who is
struggling with breast cancer. Calling Jane Doe a woman classifies her, but
fails completely in accurately describing the uniqueness of her situation.
When leaders stereotype followers, they box them in and trap them under
simplistic and empty labels.


A final barrier to inclusion is privilege. Privilege is an advantage held by a
person or group that is based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, class, or some
other cultural dimension, which gives those who have it power over those
who don’t. Privilege has been described as an unfair advantage that some
people have in comparison to others. In situations where it exists, privilege
excludes others and puts them at a disadvantage. For example, in many
countries around the world, privileged people in the ruling class have
political, economic, and social power over the poor, who are exploited and
lack opportunities to transcend their circumstances. Or, to consider another
example, during the Jim Crow period in the United States, privileged
White citizens had power over Black citizens, and as a result, Black
citizens suffered tremendously on all levels from employment and
economics to education. Privilege is something that often goes
unrecognized by those who have it, but usually is very apparent to those
who do not have it.

Because privilege is a barrier to inclusion, leaders need to be introspective
and determine if they are privileged in some way in comparison to others,
including their followers. Because leadership involves a power differential
between the leader and followers, leaders can often be blinded to the
privilege they have. In addition, privilege can be very difficult for those
without it to address because leaders may deny they have privilege or not
acknowledge it because they do not want to weaken their power.

Those with privilege sometimes argue that the status and power they have
is not privilege. Rather, they believe it is the result of their hard work,
competence, and experience. For example, individuals who are born to


affluent parents and go to good schools are likely to land good jobs when
they graduate from college (Rivera, 2015). If one were to challenge
privileged individuals about their privilege, they might say they obtained a
good job because they worked hard and put in long hours. Rivera (2015)
points out that it is often the connections that privileged individuals have
with others of influence that lead them to find better jobs.

Unfortunately, those with privilege are many times unaware of how that
privilege makes their lives different from the lives of those without
privilege. Some people may believe that those in poverty are lazy and
undeserving because they have not worked hard enough to pull themselves
out of their circumstances. They may not be aware that poverty is a
difficult condition to transcend. For example, imagine being the mother of
two children, and as the result of a car accident, your spouse has developed
a chronic health condition that keeps him from working and requires he
have constant care. His medical bills wipe out any extra money you have.
Even with welfare and disability income, it’s a struggle to make rent and
utility payments and buy enough food to feed your family. You want to
work, but you can only work during school hours on weekdays when your
children are in school. You do not have a car, so you must walk or take
public transportation, which limits how far away your job can be from
your home. Any small thing can upset the fragile balance you have
established: a trip to the doctor, an unexpected bill, an increase in
expenses. The road out of poverty for this mother and her family seems
nearly impossible. Her situation seems so intractable that no amount of
motivation or hard work could resolve it.


Having privilege blinds individuals to the experience of the
underprivileged. Without the ability to understand, without judgment,
individuals and their unique situations, leaders end up excluding rather
than including them.

Collectively, the barriers to embracing diversity and inclusion (i.e.,
ethnocentrism, prejudice, stereotypes, and privilege) underscore the
difficulty in accepting and confirming those who are different from


ourselves. Leaders must not only address these barriers as they occur with
their followers, but must also take a critical look at their own biases
regarding diversity and work to eliminate these barriers in their own lives.
As we have learned from Ferdman’s framework, inclusion is a fluid
process and must occur at the individual as well as societal level.

This chapter discusses how leaders can embrace diversity and inclusion in
their organizations. Diversity plays a seminal role in effective leadership; it
is defined as the differing individuals in a group or organization. Inclusion
is defined as the process of incorporating others who are different into a
group or organization in a way that allows them to feel they are part of the
whole. Diversity focuses on recognizing differences, and inclusion is
concerned with embracing those differences.

The historical development of workplace diversity in the United States has
emerged over three periods. The early years (1960s and 1970s), which
included the creation of landmark equal employment laws, focused on
discrimination and fairness. Second, the era of valuing diversity (1980s
and 1990s) emphasized pluralism and the competitive advantages of
diversity in the workplace. Third, the era of diversity management and
inclusion in the 21st century (2000 to present) emphasizes acknowledging,
valuing, and integrating people’s differences into the organization and
places inclusion at center stage in addressing concerns about diversity.

An inclusion framework was developed by researchers to describe how the
process of inclusion works. This framework illustrates inclusion as an
interaction of an individual’s levels of belongingness (i.e., the desire to be
connected) and uniqueness (i.e., the desire to maintain one’s own identity).
For leaders, managing diversity is about managing the tension followers
experience between connectedness and individuality. The individual
experience of inclusion occurs as a result of inclusion practices on many
levels, including interpersonal, group, leader, organizational, and societal.
Inclusion travels from the societal level down to the individual and back
up the levels from the individual to societal.

Researchers have identified six components of the inclusion experience
that provide a blueprint of how leaders should behave and communicate to
provide inclusion for followers. To help followers feel safe, leaders need to


treat them in nonthreatening ways. To help followers feel involved and
engaged, leaders should recognize followers’ strengths and let them know
they are full-fledged members of the organization. To help followers feel
respected and valued, leaders should practice the Golden Rule and show
trust and care for followers. To help followers feel influential, leaders
should recognize followers’ need to have an impact on others and enable
them to participate in decision making. To help followers feel authentic
and whole, leaders should create an atmosphere where followers can feel
free to be as honest and transparent as they are comfortable being. Finally,
to help followers feel recognized, attended to, and honored, leaders should
exhibit open-mindedness toward all followers, honoring the individuality
of each of them.

Barriers that can inhibit leaders and followers from embracing diversity
are ethnocentrism, prejudice, stereotypes, and privilege. The challenge for
leaders is to remove or mitigate these barriers. Although addressing
diversity is an interactive process between leaders and followers, the
burden of effectively addressing diversity and building inclusion rests
squarely on the shoulders of the leader. Effective leaders recognize the
importance of diversity and make it a focal point of their leadership.

Glossary Terms
assimilation 188
differentiation 190
diversity 184
ethnocentrism 201
inclusion 185
melting pot 188
multiculturalism 187
pluralism 189
prejudice 202
privilege 204
stereotypes 203
systemic discrimination 202

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9.1 Case Study: What’s in a Name?
Springfield High School’s athletic teams have been called the Redskins
since the school opened in 1944. The small town of 7,000, which is
roughly 95% White, is located in an area of the Midwest that once had
thriving Native American tribes, a fact the community is proud to
promote in its tourism brochures. So when the members of a local
family with Native American ancestry came before the school board to
ask that the name of Springfield High School’s athletic teams be
changed because they found the use of the word Redskins to be
offensive, it created a firestorm in the town.

The school’s athletic teams had competed as Redskins for 70 years, and
many felt the name was an integral part of the community. People
personally identified with the Redskins, and the team and the team’s
name were ingrained in the small town’s culture. Flags with the
Redskins logo flew outside homes and businesses, and decals with the
image of the smiling Redskins mascot adorned many car windows.

“Locals would come before the board and say, ‘I was born a Redskin
and I’ll die a Redskin,’” recalls one board member. “They argued that
the name was never intended to be offensive, that it was chosen for the
teams before ‘political correctness’ was a thing, and that it honored the
area’s relatively strong Native American presence.”

But several other local Native American families and individuals also
came forward in support of changing the name. One pointed out that
“the use of the word Redskin is essentially a racial slur, and as a racial
slur, it needs to be changed.” The issue drew national attention, and
speakers came in from outside the state to discuss the negative
ramifications of Native American mascots.

However, the opposition to change was fierce. T-shirts and bumper
stickers started appearing around town sporting the slogans “I’m a
Redskin and Proud” and “Don’t tell me I’m not a Redskin.” At board


meetings, those in favor of keeping the name would boo and talk over
those speaking in favor of changing it, and argue that speakers who
weren’t from Springfield shouldn’t even be allowed to be at the board

The board ultimately approved a motion, 5-2, to have the students at
Springfield High School choose a new name for their athletic teams.
The students immediately embraced the opportunity to choose a new
name, developing designs and logos for their proposed choices. In the
end, the student body voted to become the Redhawks.

There was still an angry community contingent, however, that was
festering over the change. They began a petition to recall the school
board members and received enough signatures for the recall to be put
up for an election.

“While the kids are going about the business of changing the name and
the emblem, the community holds an election and proceeds to recall the
five members of the board who voted in favor of it,” one of the recalled
board members said.

The remaining two board members, both of whom were ardent
members of the athletic booster organization, held a special meeting of
the board (all two of them) and voted to change the name back to the

That’s when the state Department of Civil Rights and the state’s
Commission for High School Athletics stepped in. They told the
Springfield School Board there could not be a reversal of the name
change and that the high school’s teams would have to go for four years
without one, competing only as Springfield.

Over the course of those four years, new school board members were
elected, and the issue quieted down. At the end of that period, the
students again voted to become the Springfield Redhawks. “You know,
the kids were fine with it,” says one community member. “It’s been ten
years, and there’s an entire generation of kids who don’t have a clue
that it was ever different. They are Redhawks and have always been

“It was the adults who had the problem. There’s still a small contingent
today that can’t get over it. A local hardware store still sells Springfield
Redskins T-shirts and other gear. There is just this group of folks who
believe there was nothing disrespectful in the Redskins name.”



1. Do you agree with the assertion the athletic team name should be

2. Describe how Ferdman’s model of inclusion practices (Table 9.4)
worked in this case. Did the influence for inclusive practices
travel both up and down the model?

3. What barriers to embracing diversity and inclusion did the school
board and community experience in this case?

4. Using the inclusion framework in Table 9.3, where would you
place the Native American residents in the town of Springfield?
What about Native American students at Springfield High School?

5. By changing the name of the athletic teams, do you believe the
school board was showing inclusive practices? If so, which ones?

6. What role does privilege play in the resistance of community
members to change the athletic teams’ name?

9.2 Cultural Diversity Awareness


1. To identify your attitudes and perspectives regarding cultural

2. To help you become aware of and understand your prejudices and

3. To help you understand the potential consequences of your
approach to diversity in the workplace


1. Read each statement and circle the number that best describes
your belief or behavior.

2. Be as candid as possible with your responses; there are no right or
wrong answers.


Never Sometimes Almost


1. I am aware of my
own biases and how


they affect my

1 2 3 4 5

2. I can honestly
assess my strengths
and weaknesses in
the area of diversity
and try to improve

1 2 3 4 5

3. I assume good
intent and ask for
clarification when I
don’t understand
what was said or

1 2 3 4 5

4. I challenge others
when they make
offensive comments
or jokes.

1 2 3 4 5

5. I speak up if I
witness another
person being
humiliated or

1 2 3 4 5

6. I do not
participate in jokes
that are derogatory
to any individual

1 2 3 4 5

7. I don’t believe
that my having a
friend of color
means that I’m
culturally competent.

1 2 3 4 5


8. I understand why
a lack of diversity in
my social circle may
be perceived as
excluding others.

1 2 3 4 5

9. I realize that
people of other
cultures have a need
to support one
another and connect
as a group.

1 2 3 4 5

10. I do not make
assumptions about a
person or individual
group until I have
verified the facts on
my own.

1 2 3 4 5

11. I have multiple
friends from a
variety of ethnicities
and abilities.

1 2 3 4 5

12. I connect easily
with people who
look different than
me and am able to
communicate easily
with them.

1 2 3 4 5

13. I’m interested in
the ideas and beliefs
of people who don’t
think and believe as I
do, and I respect
their opinions even
when I disagree.

1 2 3 4 5

14. I work to make
sure people who are
different from me


are heard and

15. I recognize and
avoid language that

1 2 3 4 5

16. I know others’
associated with my

1 2 3 4 5

17. I encourage
People culturally
different from
myself to speak out
on their issues and
concerns and I
validate their issues
and concerns.

1 2 3 4 5

18. I avoid assuming
that others will have
the same reaction as
me when discussing
or viewing an issue.

1 2 3 4 5

19. I understand that
I’m a product of my
upbringing and
believe there are
valid beliefs other
than my own.

1 2 3 4 5

20. I do not take
characteristics into
account when
interacting with
others or when
making decisions
about others’

1 2 3 4 5


about others’
competence or

21. I recognize that
others stereotype me
and I try to
overcome their

1 2 3 4 5

22. I include people
culturally different
from myself in team
processes that impact

1 2 3 4 5

23. I actively seek
opportunities to
connect with people
different than me
and seek to build
rapport with them.

1 2 3 4 5

24. I believe “color
blindness” is
and devalues a
person’s culture or

1 2 3 4 5

25. I avoid
behaviors or
attitudes of one
individual in a group
to others.

1 2 3 4 5

26. I actively convey
that employees or
students of varying
backgrounds are as

1 2 3 4 5


27. I do not try to
justify acts of
discrimination to
make the victim feel
better. I validate
his/her assessment of
what occurred.

1 2 3 4 5

28. I try to learn
about and appreciate
the richness of other
cultures and honor
their holidays and

1 2 3 4 5

29. I believe there
are policies and
practices in place
that negatively
impact people
outside the majority

1 2 3 4 5

30. I understand the
definition of
internalized racism
and how it impacts
people of color.

1 2 3 4 5

31. I believe that
race is a social
construct, not a
scientific fact.

1 2 3 4 5

32. I know and
accept that
experiences and
background impact
how they interact
and trust me.

1 2 3 4 5


and trust me.
Source: Adapted from Special Populations and CTE Illinois Leadership Project.
(2016). Cultural Diversity Self-Assessment. Retrieved from


Sum the numbers you circled on the questionnaire. This number is your
cultural diversity awareness score.

Total Score

Cultural diversity awareness score: ________

Scoring Interpretation

This self-assessment is designed to measure your beliefs and behavior
regarding cultural diversity and inclusion. A higher score on the
assessment indicates that you are acutely aware of prejudice and bias,
and that you are very aware of the impact of your behavior on others.
Individuals who score high relate to others in ways that value diversity.
A lower score on the assessment suggests that you are unaware of
prejudice and bias, and that you are not fully aware of the impact of
your biased behavior on others. Individuals who score low
communicate with others in ways that do not value diversity.

If your score is 130–160, you are in the very high range.
If your score is 100–129, you are in the high range.
If your score is 70–99, you are in the moderate range.
If your score is 40–69, you are in the low range.
If your score is 0–39, you are in the very low range.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.


9.3 Observational Exercise

Diversity and Inclusion


1. To become aware of the dimensions of diversity and inclusion
2. To develop an understanding of how leaders address diversity and

inclusion in the workplace


1. Your task in this exercise is to interview a leader about her or his
views on diversity and inclusion. The individual you interview
should have a formal position of authority in a company (e.g.,
supervisor, manager), a school (e.g., teacher, principal), or the
community (e.g., director of social work, bank vice president,
small business owner).

2. Conduct a 30-minute semistructured interview with this individual
by phone or in person.

3. Develop your own interview questions. If necessary, you may
incorporate ideas from the following questions:

Tell me about your job. How long have you held this position, and
how did you get it?
What comes to your mind when you hear the word diversity? How
is diversity addressed within your organization? How important
do you think diversity is in your place of work? Why?
Are there areas within your organization that have less diversity
than other areas? Do you think the organization should address
What challenges do you face regarding diversity among those
whom you supervise?
How do you treat employees/followers who are different from
others? Do you allow everyone to participate in decision making?
What is the best way to make an employee/follower who is a
minority feel genuinely included with others?


1. Based on your observations, how important is diversity and
inclusion to the leader you interviewed?


inclusion to the leader you interviewed?
2. Which metaphor in Table 9.2 (i.e., melting pot, salad, or

smorgasbord) would you use to describe the way the leader
approaches his or her followers? Give examples to illustrate this

3. Do you think the leader holds any stereotypes about others? In
what way do these affect his or her leadership?

4. In what way does the leader try to make individuals who are
different feel a part of the organization? Give specific examples
where relevant.

5. Do you think privilege is in any way related to how this person
leads? Defend your answer.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

9.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

Diversity and Inclusion


1. What is your response to the word diversity? Do you think it is a
significant problem in our society, or do you think it is
overemphasized? Explain your thoughts on diversity.

2. Reflect on the six primary dimensions of cultural diversity shown
in Table 9.1 (i.e., age, gender, race, mental and physical abilities,
ethnicity, and sexual orientation). Which type of diversity is
easiest for you to embrace, and which is hardest for you to
embrace? Why? Explain your answers.

3. One way to explore the concept of inclusion is to reflect on your
own personal feelings about inclusion. In a group situation, how
much do you want to be included by others? Using a personal
example, discuss a time when you were in a group or on a team
when you felt included by others and a time when you felt
excluded. Why did you feel included in one situation and not the
other? Elaborate and discuss.

4. Think about what circumstances got you to where you are today.
Do you have a past that some would describe as privileged? Or,


or coworkers as having privilege? Discuss your thoughts on


1. Explore your answers on the Cultural Diversity Awareness
Questionnaire. Select three items on which you chose almost
never or never. Based on your responses to these items, discuss
what you could do in your own leadership to be more inclusive
toward others.

2. Imagine for a moment that you have been selected to lead a group
service-learning project. What will you say to make others in your
group feel psychologically safe? In what way will you let them
participate in decision making? How will you encourage those
individuals who are most different from the group to feel like
insiders yet still unique? Discuss.

3. As discussed in the chapter, stereotypes often get in the way of
including others who differ from us. What common stereotypes do
you sometimes attribute to others (e.g., a White male police
officer, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, or a transgender man)?
How can you change these stereotypes? What messages will you
give yourself to eliminate these stereotypes? Discuss.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

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of inclusion (pp. 3–54). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.

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climate. Symposium presented at the 69th Annual Meeting of the
Academy of Management, Chicago.

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Corporation (A). HBS No. 9-491-047. Boston, MA: Harvard Business
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Handbook of workplace diversity (pp. 191–216). Thousand Oaks, CA:

Harvey, C. P. (2015). Understanding workplace diversity: Where have we
been and where are we going? In C. P. Harvey & M. J. Allard (Eds.),
Understanding and managing diversity: Readings, cases, and exercises
(pp. 1–7). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Harvey, C. P., & Allard, M. J. (2015). Understanding and managing
diversity: Readings, cases, and exercises. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Healey, J. P., & Stepnick, A. (2017). Diversity and society: Race,
ethnicity, and gender (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Herring, C., & Henderson, L. (2015). Diversity in organizations: A critical
examination. New York, NY: Routledge.

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exchange, cooperative group norms, and workplace inclusion in
workgroups. In M. Shuffler, S. Burke, & D. Diaz-Granados (Chairs),
Leading across cultures: Emerging research trends from multiple levels.
Symposium presented at the 71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of
Management, San Antonio, TX.

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workplace (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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meaning to well-doing. Washington, DC: American Bar Association.


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communication. In L. A. Samovar & R. E. Porter (Eds.), Intercultural
communication: A reader (8th ed., pp. 5–26). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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10 Listening to Out-Group Members

In general, humans do not like conflict. And so when there are individuals
in a group or an organization who do not identify with the larger group—
an out-group—we tend to look at them as “troublemakers” or
“malcontents.” But in fact, all of us have been out-group members at one
time or another. The term itself is descriptive, not derogatory. Out-groups
are common and inevitable, and listening and responding to out-group
members is one of the most difficult challenges facing a leader. When a
leader fails to meet this challenge, out-group members feel devalued, and
their unique contributions go unexpressed for the common good. Good
leaders know the importance of listening to all members of a group,
especially the out-group members.

Why is it Important for Leaders to Listen to Out-Group Members?

It is common to find out-groups in any context where a group of
individuals is trying to reach a goal. Out-groups are a natural occurrence in
everyday life. They exist in all types of situations at the local, community,
and national levels. In nearly all of these situations, when one or more
individuals are not “on board,” the performance of the group is adversely
affected. Since out-group members are so common, it is important for
anyone who aspires to be a leader to know how to work with them.

Out-group members can be identified in many everyday encounters. At
school, out-group members are often those kids who do not see themselves
as a part of the student body. For instance, they may want to participate in
music, clubs, sports, and so on, but for a host of reasons do not do so. At
work, there are out-groups comprising people who are at odds with
management’s vision, or who are excluded from important decision-
making committees. On project teams, some out-group members are those
who simply refuse to contribute to the activities of the larger group. On a
broader scale, in the United States, the Tea Party is an out-group


representing people who are disenchanted with taxes and big government.

Using Inclusive Language

The important thing to remember about out-group members is that, in spite
of their seeming opposition to the larger group, they often have valuable
contributions to make, and effort should be made to create an inclusive
environment that will facilitate their contributions. As we discussed in
Chapter 9, “Embracing Diversity and Inclusion,” inclusion is the process
of incorporating others into a group or organization by helping people who
are different feel they are part of the whole. Rather than being viewed as
“difficult,” out-group members should be seen as being “different” than
the whole, with different values and skills that can be recognized—and
embraced—by other group members. Admittedly, this can be hard, but it
starts with listening to out-group members.

This chapter will examine why it is important for a leader to listen to out-
group members. The questions it will address are “Who is in the out-
group?” “Why do out-groups form?” “What is the impact of out-groups?”
and “How should a leader respond to out-groups?” This discussion of out-
groups will emphasize specific strategies that leaders can employ to build
a sense of belonging and community, and advance the goals of the larger
group. And despite the negativity that is often associated with out-groups,
there is a value implied in the direction taken in this chapter that out-
groups aren’t evil and that leaders have an obligation and a responsibility
to listen to out-group members and “bring them in” to the efforts of the
larger group. Some will argue with this position, and others will say it is
naïve; but the unique inherent value of every single member of a group or
an organization cannot go understated. Although there will be times when
out-group members need to be abandoned because they are too extreme, it
is inefficient to deal with them, or they just simply do not want to be
included, this chapter will argue that in most situations leaders have a duty
to listen to and include out-group members.

Out-Group Members Explained


There are many different ways to define out-group members. For our
purposes, the term out-group members refers to those individuals in a
group or an organization who do not identify themselves as part of the
larger group. They are individuals who are disconnected and not fully
engaged in working toward the goals of the group. They may be in
opposition to the will of a larger group or simply disinterested in the
group’s goals. They may feel unaccepted, alienated, and even
discriminated against such as the class “bully” who acts out because she
feels left out. In addition, they may think they are powerless because their
potential resources have not been fully accepted by the larger group.

Out-groups come in many forms: They can be minorities who think their
voice is not being heard, or people who think their ideas are unappreciated.
They can be those who simply do not identify with the leader or other
members of the primary group. Sometimes out-group members are social
loafers—group members who are inclined to goof off or work below their
capacity when they are in a group. In short, out-group members sense
themselves to be at odds with the larger group. For example, the single
female on an all-male board of trustees might feel that the other board
members do not take her ideas seriously or appreciate her perspective on

How Out-Groups Form
There are many different reasons that out-groups form. First, some out-
groups form because people disagree with the social, political, or ethical
position of the majority—they sense that they are in opposition to the
larger group. When decisions need to be made in organizational settings,
consensus is often difficult to achieve because of time constraints and the
need to move forward. Without consensus, individuals align themselves
either with the majority viewpoint or with the minority. This minority is
often seen as an out-group. Even when decisions are made by taking a
vote, the results often produce winners and losers, and the losers
frequently perceive themselves as members of the out-group. Although
voting on a decision is often seen as a desirable democratic approach to
reaching an outcome, the downside is that it always results in individuals
feeling they are not in concert with the rest of the group.

A second reason that out-groups form is explained by social identity
theory. This theory suggests that out-groups come about because some


individuals cannot identify with the beliefs, norms, or values of the
dominant group members. Research on groups (Hogg & Abrams, 1988;
Tajfel & Turner, 1979, 1986) indicates that individuals in groups often
share a social identity and act toward each other in terms of that identity
(Abrams, Frings, & Randsley de Moura, 2005). In group settings,
members embrace the social identity of other group members and make
the group’s concerns their own. For example, in a support group for people
with cancer, group members are likely to embrace a common identity—as
cancer survivors who are coping with the disease. People find meaning in
belonging to the group and sharing their experiences with others. They see
one another as having a shared experience. However, if one of the
members is struggling with a more serious form of cancer and does not
feel like a survivor, then that person may become an out-group member.
Out-groups are created when individuals in a group cannot identify with
the group and, as a result, do not embrace the dominant group’s reality.

Group Identity

Closely related to the identity issue, a third reason out-groups form is
because people sense that they are being excluded by the larger group.
They do not know where they fit in or whether they are needed by others
in the group. Group members may think they are too old, too young, too
conservative, too liberal, or just plain different from the larger group. For
example, on a college soccer team, freshman players might wonder how
they fit in with the upperclassmen. Similarly, in a college nursing class
made up mostly of women, a male student might feel different from the
other nursing students and wonder how he fits in the program. In situations
such as these, people often sense that they are alienated from the larger
group. In addition, they may think of themselves as powerless and weak. It
is no fun to think you are not a part of the group and to feel excluded from
it. We all have a need for inclusion, and when those needs go unmet, we
feel anxiety.

Understanding Out-Group Members


A fourth reason for out-group development is that some people lack
communication skills or social skills that are needed to relate to a larger
group. In any group of people, there are often one or two people who set
themselves apart from the group through their actions. For example, in an
undergraduate group project team, there may be a student who talks
excessively or dominates group discussions and consequently alienates
himself from the rest of the group. Or there could be a student who acts
very dogmatic, or another who consistently makes off-the-wall remarks.
These types of individuals distinguish themselves as different from the rest
of the group by how they talk or act. It is as if they are unable to adapt to
the norms of the group. As much as they try, these people often find
themselves on the outside looking in. Even though they may want to join
the larger group, they have difficulty doing so because they do not know
how to fit in. In these situations, their lack of communication and social
skills often leads them to becoming out-group members. In reality, there
are many possible reasons for out-groups. Any one reason is as legitimate
as another. Developing an understanding of these reasons is the first step
in trying to resolve out-group issues.

The Impact of Out-Group Members
Out-group members can have many adverse effects on others. Some of the
downsides of out-groups are relatively insignificant, such as causing minor
inefficiencies in organizational productivity. Other downsides are more
important, such as creating conflict or causing a strike to be called.

So why should a leader be concerned about the negative impact of out-
group members? First, out-group members run counter to building
community. The essence of community is encouraging everyone to be on
the same page and moving everyone in the same direction. Community
brings people together and provides a place where they can express similar
ideas, values, and opinions, and where they can be heard by members of
their team. Community allows people to accomplish great things. It
enables people to work hand in hand in pursuit of a shared vision that
supports the common good. Through community, people can promote the
greater good of everyone in the group.

However, by their very nature, out-group members are either in conflict
with or avoiding community. Because the community may seem
threatening, unfamiliar, or uninteresting to them, some people have a need


to pull away from community. Their action detracts from the community
being able to use all of its resources to reach a common goal.

The following example occurred in a college social work class; it
illustrates how out-groups can have a negative impact on community.
Introduction to Social Work is a popular class with a good reputation on
campus. Every semester, the major assignment in the class is a group
service project in which everyone is required to participate.

One semester a few months after Hurricane Katrina had wreaked havoc in
the South, several members of the class proposed a service project doing
relief work in New Orleans over spring break. Clearly, there was a need
for the project, and the project would utilize everyone’s talents and skills.
To pull it off, the class would need to do a lot of planning and fund-
raising. Committees were to be formed and T-shirts designed. There
seemed to be agreement that a good theme would be “Together—We Can
Make Things Better.”

Problems arose for the class when some of the students did not want to
participate. One student pointed out that he thought it was the
government’s job to provide relief, not the private sector’s. Another
student argued that there were already many volunteers in New Orleans,
and maybe the class could better serve others by doing cleanup work on
the south side of their own city. Two others in the class did not like the
idea of working for the poor over spring break because they wanted to go
to Cancún, Mexico.

These students could not find common ground. The trip to New Orleans
was canceled, there were no T-shirts printed, and the students ended up
doing 40 hours each of tutoring at the local grade school as their service
project. The class could not come to an agreement with the out-group
members, whose wants and needs prevented the rest of the class from
pursuing the project in New Orleans. The interests of the out-group
prevented the class from experiencing community and all its benefits.

A second reason that leadership should be concerned with out-groups is
that out-groups have a negative impact on group synergy. Group synergy
is the positive energy created by group members who are working toward
a common goal. It is an additive kind of energy that builds on itself. Group
synergy is one of the most miraculous features of effective groups and of
highly functioning teams. Groups with synergy accomplish far more than


groups without it. Group synergy is not just the sum of each person’s
contribution; it is the sum of each person’s contribution and then some. It
is the “plus more” that allows high-functioning groups to achieve far
beyond what would be expected.

Unfortunately, out-groups prevent groups from becoming synergistic. Out-
groups take energy away from the group rather than adding energy to the
group. If out-group members are upset and demanding, they take even
more energy from the group. This energy is not directed toward the goals
of the group and so has a negative impact on productivity. Rather than
working together to accomplish a common goal, out-group members stand
alone and seek to do their own thing. This is harmful for the group because
the unique contributions of out-group members are not expressed,
discussed, or utilized for the common good. Every person in a group
brings singular talents and abilities that can benefit the group. When out-
groups form, the individual contributions of some group members are not
utilized, and group synergy is compromised.

This example about a team of marketing executives at a publishing
company may help to illustrate this issue. The team was charged with
developing concepts for a new publication on food and dining in their city.
Two of the team members had worked on magazines before and had some
strong ideas about the content for the new publication. Another team
member worked in the restaurant industry for a number of years and had a
different idea for the magazine’s content based on his experience. A
marketing executive who had neither magazine nor food industry
experience had been put in charge of the team based on her seniority with
the company. The fifth team member was a new hire who had just started
at the agency.

Relationships Among Group Members

Unfortunately, there were strained relationships between different groups
on the committee from the outset. The two former magazine executives
wanted the publication to be a dining guide with reviews of local area
restaurants and a detailed listing of every eatery in town. The writer from
the food industry felt it should be more upscale, a glossy publication with


feature stories on food trends and local chefs and beautiful, mouth-
watering photographs created by a food stylist. The new hire, still learning
the company’s culture, was hesitant to offer an opinion, instead saying he
would support what the team leader thought best. The team leader, who
was four months from retirement, believed that the group members should
work things out among themselves and come to a consensus on the best
concept with which to move forward. The two magazine executives took
the new hire to lunch several times, trying to convince him to come to their
side. After several weeks of meetings, the team had to present a concept to
the publishing company’s board of directors. Because the team could not
agree on a direction for the new publication, each side presented its
concept to the board. The company president became incensed that the
team was unable to put together a solid plan for a magazine and released
all members from the project.

In the above example, the team leader failed to pull the divergent out-
group members together into a single group. She needed to recognize the
unique contributions of each of the out-group members (e.g., previous
magazine experience, food industry knowledge, marketing expertise) and
use those contributions for the benefit of the entire group. Because the
leader was not successful in responding to the out-group members, group
synergy was diminished, and the project was placed on hold.

A third reason out-groups are of concern to a leader is that out-group
members do not receive the respect they deserve from others. A central
tenet of ethical leadership is the duty to treat each member with respect. As
Beauchamp and Bowie (1988) pointed out, people need to be treated as
autonomous individuals with their own goals, and not as the means to
another person’s goals. Being ethical means treating other people’s
decisions and values with respect: Failing to do so would signify that they
are being treated as means to another’s ends.

Respecting Out-Group Members

A leader has an ethical responsibility to respond to out-group members.
These individuals are not in the out-group without reason. They may have
valid grounds for feeling alienated, unaccepted, or discriminated against,


or for choosing simply to be uninvolved. No matter what the reasons are,
out-group members are people who deserve to be heard by the leader and
the other group members.

In summary, the impact of out-groups is substantial. When out-groups
exist, they have a negative impact on community, group synergy, and the
out-group members themselves. The challenge for every leader is to
respond to out-group members in a way that enhances the group and its

Out-Group Members in Practice
While many ideas about effective leadership are abstract, these strategies
for how a leader should respond to out-group members are tangible. They
are concrete steps that a leader can take to handle out-group members
more effectively. In reading these strategies, ask yourself how you could
adopt them to improve your own leadership.

Strategy 1: Listen to Out-Group Members
More than anything else, out-group members want to be heard. Whether
they perceive themselves to be powerless, alienated, or discriminated
against, out-group members have a need for others to listen to them.
Clearly, the fact that some people sense that they are not being heard is at
the very center of why out-groups exist. Out-group members have ideas,
attitudes, and feelings that they want to express; when they believe they
have not been able to or will not be able to express them, they pull away
and disassociate from the group.

Listening is one of the most important ways that a leader can respond to
out-group members. While it requires paying attention to what people say,
it also requires being attentive to what people mean. Listening is both a
simple and a complex process that demands concentration, open-
mindedness, and tolerance. Listening requires that a leader set aside his or
her own biases in order to allow out-group members to express their
viewpoints freely. When out-group members think that the leader has
heard them, they feel confirmed and more connected to the larger group.
Clearly, listening should be a top priority of a leader.


Strategy 2: Show Empathy to Out-Group
Similar to listening, a leader also needs to show empathy to out-group
members. Empathy is a special kind of listening that is more demanding
than just listening. It requires a leader to try standing in the shoes of out-
group members, and to see the world as the out-group member does.
Empathy is a process in which the leader suspends his or her own feelings
in an effort to understand the feelings of the out-group member.


While showing empathy comes more naturally to some than to others, it is
a skill anyone can learn to improve. Techniques for showing empathy
include restatement, paraphrasing, reflection, and giving support (see
Table 10.1). Through the use of these techniques, a leader can assist out-
group members to be understood.

Strategy 3: Recognize the Unique Contributions
of Out-Group Members
Expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964) tells us that the first step in motivating
others is to let workers know they are competent to do their jobs.
Motivation builds when people know they are able to do the work. This is
particularly true for out-group members. Out-group members become
more motivated when a leader acknowledges their contributions to the
larger group. All of us want to know that our contributions are legitimate
and that others take us seriously. Out-group members want to believe that
their ideas matter and that they are important to the group.

Recognizing Contributions

Table 10.1 How to Demonstrate Empathy


Table 10.1 How to Demonstrate Empathy

A leader can demonstrate empathy through four communication

1. Restatement

By restating what another person has verbalized without adding any
of your own personal thoughts and beliefs, you directly
acknowledge and validate another person’s point of view. For
example, say, “I hear you saying . . .” or “It sounds as if you feel . .

2. Paraphrasing

This communication technique involves summarizing in your own
words what another person has verbalized. It helps to communicate
to the other person that you understand what he or she is saying.
For example, say, “In other words, you’re saying that . . .” or
“Stated another way, you’re suggesting that . . .”

3. Reflection

By serving as a mirror or sounding board for another person’s
expressed or unexpressed emotions and attitudes, you focus on how
something has been expressed, or the emotional dimension behind
the words. This technique helps others gain an understanding of
their emotions and assists them in identifying and describing those
emotions. For example, say, “So you are pretty confused and angry
by it all . . .” or “Am I correct in saying that you are frightened and
intimidated by the process?”

4. Support

This communication technique expresses understanding,
reassurance, and positive regard to let the other person know that he
or she is not “in the boat alone.” For example, say, “With your
attitude, I know you’ll do well . . .” or “I’m impressed with the


progress you are making.”

In many situations, it is common for out-group members to believe others
do not recognize their strengths. To address these concerns, it is important
for a leader to identify out-group members’ unique abilities and assets, and
to integrate these into the group process. For example, if an out-group
member suggests a radical but ultimately successful approach to
accomplish a difficult task, the leader should express appreciation to the
out-group member and let her or him know that the idea was creative and
worthwhile. A leader needs to let out-group members know that what they
do matters—that it is significant to the larger group.

Another example of a college class in which students had to do a service-
learning project helps illustrate the importance of recognizing the unique
contributions of out-group members. For their project, one team in this
small group communication class chose to build a wheelchair ramp for an
elderly woman in the community. In the initial stages of the project,
morale in the group was down because one group member (Alissa) chose
not to participate. Alissa said she was quite uncomfortable using hand
tools, and she chose not to do manual labor. The other team members, who
had done a lot of planning on the project, wanted to proceed without her
help. As a result, Alissa felt rejected and soon became isolated from the
group. Feeling disappointed with her group, Alissa began to criticize the
purpose of the project and the personalities of the other team members.

At that point, one of the leaders of the group decided to start being more
attentive to Alissa and what she was saying. After carefully listening to
many of her concerns, the leader figured out that although Alissa could not
work with her hands, she had two amazing talents: She was good with
music, and she made wonderful lunches.

Once the leader found this out, things started to change in the group.
Alissa started to participate. Her input into the construction of the ramp
consisted of playing each group member’s and the elderly woman’s
favorite music for 30 minutes while the other group members worked on
the ramp. In addition, Alissa provided wonderful sandwiches and drinks
that accommodated each of the group members’ unique dietary interests.
By the last day, Alissa felt so included by the group, and was so often
praised for providing great food, that she decided to help with the manual
labor: She began raking up trash around the ramp site with a smile on her



Although Alissa’s talents had nothing to do directly with constructing a
ramp, she made a real contribution to building a successful team.
Everybody was included and useful in a community-building project that
could have turned sour if one out-group member’s talents had not been
identified and utilized.

Strategy 4: Help Out-Group Members Feel
William Schutz (1966) pointed out that, in small group situations, one of
our strongest interpersonal needs is to know whether we belong to the
group. Are we “in” or “out”? The very nature of out-groups implies that
their members are on the sidelines and peripheral to the action. Out-group
members do not feel as if they belong, are included, or are “in.” Schutz
suggested that people have a need to be connected to others. They want to
be in a group, but not so much a part of the group that they lose their own
identity. They want to belong, but do not want to belong so much that they
lose their sense of self.

Although it is not always easy, a leader can help out-group members be
more included. A leader can watch the communication cues given by out-
group members and try to respond in appropriate ways. For example, if a
person sits at the edge of the group, the leader can put the chairs in a circle
and invite the person to sit in the circle. If a person does not follow the
group norms (e.g., does not go outdoors with everyone else during breaks),
the leader can personally invite the out-group member to join the others
outside. Similarly, if a group member is very quiet and has not contributed,
a leader can ask for that group member’s opinion. Although there are
many different ways to help out-group members to be included, the bottom
line is that a leader needs to be sensitive to out-group members’ needs and
try to respond to them in ways that help the out-group members know that
they are part of the larger group.

Strategy 5: Create a Special Relationship With
Out-Group Members


The most well-known study on out-groups was conducted by a group of
researchers who developed a theory called leader–member exchange
(LMX) theory (Dansereau, Graen, & Haga, 1975; Graen & Uhl-Bien,
1995). The major premise of this theory, introduced in Chapter 1, is that a
leader should create a special relationship with each follower. An effective
leader has a high-quality relationship with all group members; this results
in out-group members becoming a part of the larger group.

Lead-Member Exchange Theory

Special relationships are built on good communication, respect, and trust.
They are often initiated when a leader recognizes out-group members who
are willing to step out of scripted roles and take on different
responsibilities. In addition, special relationships can develop when a
leader challenges out-group members to be engaged and to try new things.
If an out-group member accepts these challenges and responsibilities, it is
the first step in forging an improved relationship between the leader and
the out-group member. The result is that the out-group member feels
validated and more connected to everyone else in the group.

An example of how special relationships benefit out-group members can
be seen in the following example. Margo Miller was the school nurse at
Central High School. She was also the unofficial school counselor, social
worker, conflict mediator, and all-around friend to students. Margo noticed
that there were a number of very overweight students who were not in any
of the groups at school. To address this situation, she began to invite some
of these students and others to exercise with her at the track after school.
For some of them, it was the first time they had ever taken part in an
extracurricular school program. The students and Margo called themselves
the Breakfast Club because, like the characters in the movie by the same
name, they were a motley crew. At the end of the semester, the group
sponsored a school-wide 5K run/walk that was well attended. One
overweight girl who finished the 5K said that Margo and the Breakfast
Club were the best thing that had ever happened to her. Clearly, it was the
special relationships that Margo created with her students that allowed out-
group students to become involved and feel good about their involvement
in the high school community.


Strategy 6: Give Out-Group Members a Voice
and Empower Them to Act
Giving out-group members a voice lets them be on equal footing with
other members of the group. It means the leader and the other group
members give credence to the out-group members’ ideas and actions.
When out-group members have a voice, they know their interests are being
recognized and that they can have an impact on the leader and the group. It
is quite a remarkable process when a leader is confident enough in his or
her own leadership to let out-group members express themselves and have
a voice in the affairs of the group.

Building a Collaborative Team

Empowering others to act means a leader allows out-group members to be
more involved, independent, and responsible for their actions. It includes
letting them participate in the workings of the group (e.g., planning,
decision making). True empowerment requires that a leader relinquish
some control, giving out-group members more control. This is why
empowerment is such a challenging process for a leader. Finally,
empowering others is one of the larger challenges of leadership, but it is
also one of the challenges that offers the most benefits for members of the

Leadership Snapshot: Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United


Abraham Lincoln, a backwoods circuit lawyer from Springfield,
Illinois, was an unlikely choice to become the 16th president of the
United States. His mother died when he was 9, and he was distant from
his father. As a youngster, he had little formal education but was an
avid reader. Although he had a melancholy temperament, he was known
for his storytelling ability and inspiriting sense of humor. After


graduating from law school, he served one term in the U.S. House of
Representatives and then proceeded to lose two subsequent contests for
the U.S. Senate.

In 1860, he won the Republican nomination for president after ousting
three formidable candidates: William Seward, a New York senator;
Salmon Chase, an Ohio governor; and Edward Bates, a Missouri
statesman. No one expected that a soft-spoken, unknown lawyer from
rural Illinois could win the nomination, but at the convention, after
three rounds of voting, Lincoln emerged as the Republican nominee.
Lincoln won the presidential election, and before he took office, six
southern states seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States
of America.

Lincoln began his presidency in a nation torn apart by the issue of
slavery and whether slavery should be expanded, maintained, or
abolished. In this context, Lincoln made a bold leadership decision: He
selected for his cabinet the four archrivals who had opposed him in the
presidential primary, as well as three Democrats. All of them were
better known and more educated than Lincoln (Goodwin, 2005).

Lincoln’s cabinet was a group of disparate politicians with strong egos
who challenged the president’s decisions repeatedly. Each of them had
very different philosophies about the nation and slavery in particular.
Some argued strongly for restricting the spread of slavery. Others
argued for its abolition. Initially, the cabinet members did not view the
president positively. For example, Attorney General Bates viewed
Lincoln as well-meaning but an incompetent administrator. Edwin
Stanton, the secretary of war, initially treated him with contempt but
eventually learned to respect his competencies as commander in chief
(Goodwin, 2005).

Lincoln had a remarkable ability to work with those with whom he
disagreed and bring together those with disparaging opinions
(Goodwin, 2005). For example, at the onset of the Civil War, Secretary
of State Seward directly challenged in writing Lincoln’s response to the
battle at Fort Sumter, claiming the administration was without a policy
and should abandon its approach. In response, Lincoln wrote a letter to
Seward explaining his own position, without insulting Seward. Instead
of sending the letter, Lincoln delivered it to Seward personally. Such
behavior was Lincoln’s “hallmark in dealing with recalcitrant but
important subordinates, generals or senators: a firm assertion of his own
policy and responsibility for it, done in such as way as to avoid a
personal rebuff that might create an enemy” (McPherson, 2005). Over


time, Seward actually grew close to the president and became one of
Lincoln’s strongest supporters.

In a larger sense, Lincoln’s leadership was also about bringing together
a nation that was deeply divided. In 1858, well before he was elected
president, Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech at the
Illinois State Capitol in accepting his nomination for U.S. Senate. Based
on a New Testament Bible passage (Mark 3:25), he stated, “A house
divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot
endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union
to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it
will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”
In some ways, this speech foreshadowed Lincoln’s style of leading and
his role in addressing the debilitating and devastating impact of slavery
on the country.

In today’s society, out-group members are a common occurrence
whenever people come together to solve a problem or accomplish a task.
In general, the term out-group refers to those people in a group who do not
sense that they are a part of the larger group. Out-group members are
usually people who feel disconnected, unaccepted, discriminated against,
or powerless.

Out-groups form for many reasons. Some form because people are in
opposition to the larger group. Others form because individuals in a group
cannot identify with the larger group or cannot embrace the larger group’s
reality. Sometimes they form because people feel excluded or because out-
group members lack communication and social skills.

Regardless of why they form, the negative impact of out-group members
can be substantial. We need to be concerned about out-groups because
they run counter to building community and have a negative impact on
group synergy. Furthermore, out-group members do not receive the respect
they deserve from those in the “in-group.”

There are several specific strategies that a leader can use to respond
effectively to out-group members. A leader needs to listen to out-group
members, show them empathy, recognize their unique contributions, help
them become included, create a special relationship with them, give them a


voice, and empower them to act. A leader who uses these strategies will be
more successful in his or her encounters with out-groups, and will be a
more effective group leader.

Glossary Terms
empathy 224
listening 224
out-group members 219
social identity theory 219

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10.1 Case Study: Next Step
Next Step is a student organization run by graduate students in the
School of Communication at a large West Coast university. The
mission of Next Step is to provide students with opportunities that will
help them prepare for the workforce or for more schooling. Some of the
annual events that the group sponsors are résumé development
workshops, a professional development day in which people from the
community discuss their career paths, and workshops on interviewing

Next Step has two annual bake sales to raise funds to pay for expenses
such as renting meeting space, compensating speakers, and providing
refreshments at group workshops. After a lukewarm fall semester bake
sale, some Next Step members suggest finding a new fund-raising
method, arguing that bake sales cost members money and require a lot
of work for little profit.


Next Step’s president, James, decides to put new fund-raising initiatives
on the agenda for discussion at the group’s next meeting. At that
meeting, Brenna, a marketing and graphic design major, proposes that
the group sell T-shirts as the winter semester’s fund-raiser. Brenna
believes that the college population likes to buy T-shirts and is
confident that she can create a design that will appeal to students.
Mallory, also a marketing major, volunteers to help promote the T-
shirts. Group member Mark offers to use his employee discount at the
screen shop where he works to have the shirts printed affordably.

Other Next Step members voice approval for the T-shirt fund-raiser,
and the discussion moves to talking about designs for the shirts. James
assigns Brenna and Mallory to survey students on their interest in
buying the shirts and at what price. Brenna will also develop mock-ups
of the shirt’s design and bring them to the next meeting while Mark is
assigned to get pricing options.

James leaves the meeting feeling positive about the direction the new
fund-raiser is going, but as he loads his book back into his car, he
overhears a conversation nearby. Next Step’s treasurer, Nichole, calls
the plan to sell T-shirts “stupid.” She states she personally would never
order a shirt from a student group and that Next Step is going to lose
money printing the shirts. Ursula, Next Step’s secretary, agrees with
Nichole, calling other Next Group members “a bunch of Kool-Aid–
drinking nerds” and remarking that nobody is going to buy those shirts.
James is shocked. Not only does he not remember Nichole or Ursula
voicing any objections to the plan at the meeting; he doesn’t remember
them saying anything during the meeting at all. James is concerned that
two Next Step officers would talk so negatively about the group and
wonders if it is fueled by the shift to selling T-shirts or something else.
He makes a mental note to build an anonymous vote into the next
meeting to make sure that members who don’t like the idea have an
opportunity to oppose it without being put in a public position.

Meanwhile, Brenna, Mallory, and Mark succeed in canvassing students,
finding a reasonable price for T-shirts, and developing attractive mock-
ups for Next Step members to consider. James feels confident that the
positive outcome of the T-shirt committee’s efforts will help Nichole
and Ursula change their minds about the T-shirt sale.

However, the next day, James is working in a cubicle at the student
center when Nichole enters. Before he gets a chance to leave his booth
to say hi to her, Next Step’s student liaison Todd comes up to Nichole
and says, “Can you believe how much work those brownnosers are


putting into selling T-shirts? Honestly, it’s so dumb—at least no one
expects us to pitch in though!” As student liaison, Todd has a pivotal
role in the group and is responsible for promoting the group’s efforts at
other student meetings and for recruiting new members. His comments
further alarm James.

James decides to act, and approaches Nichole and Todd, who were
unaware that he was nearby. James makes small talk, and then reminds
them about the Next Step meeting coming up in two days. Nichole rolls
her eyes and says she knows about the meeting. James asks her if
everything is OK. Nichole responds, “Everything is fine. I just think
that it’s silly to get so involved in this T-shirt sale. We all have a lot
going on for school, and this group is really just something to put on my
résumé. I don’t understand why we can’t just stick with the easy,
mindless bake sale.” Todd nods in agreement and says, “Yeah, James,
you can’t tell me that you became president of a student group because
you believe so much in its mission. We both know it’s just because you
want to look good when you apply for jobs this summer.” Although
taken aback by their attitudes, James responds that he believes in Next
Step’s mission and will make sure any and all concerns’ regarding the
fund-raiser are raised at the next meeting.

As he prepares for the upcoming meeting, James concludes that there
seems to be a division, at least among the board’s officers, between
those who are excited about the group’s mission and efforts and those
who are not supportive. He wonders if other Next Step members share
the attitudes expressed by Nichole, Ursula, and Todd or if they are in a
minority. If they aren’t, thinks James, and the division goes deeper,
what does that mean for Next Step?

1. This chapter discusses several reasons that out-groups form. What

is the best explanation for why Ursula, Nichole, and Todd appear
to be out-group members? What impact are they having on Next
Step? Do they have legitimate concerns? Discuss.

2. How could the initial meeting about fund-raising strategies have
been conducted so that all members were included in the decision?

3. Of the six strategies for how leaders should respond to out-group
members, do you think that certain strategies might be more
appropriate or effective in this situation given the verbalized
feelings about Next Step from the out-group members?

4. How could other members of the group besides James help to
build the group identity and sense of cohesion in Next Step?


5. In this situation, do you think it is worth the time and effort to try
to include Ursula, Nichole, and Todd? Defend your answer.

10.2 Building Community Questionnaire


1. To identify your attitudes toward out-group members
2. To explore how you, as a leader, respond to members of the out-



1. Place yourself in the role of a leader when responding to this

2. For each of the statements below, circle the number that indicates
the degree to which you agree or disagree.

Statements Strongly

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly

1. If some
members do
not fit in with
the rest of the
group, I
usually try to
include them.

1 2 3 4 5

2. I become
irritated when
some group
members act
stubborn (or
obstinate) with
the majority of
the group.

1 2 3 4 5

3. Building a
sense of group


unity with
people who
than I is
essential to
what I do as a

1 2 3 4 5

4. I am
bothered when
individuals in
the group
bring up
unusual ideas
that hinder or
block the
progress of the
rest of the

1 2 3 4 5

5. If some
cannot agree
with the
majority of the
group, I
usually give
them special

1 2 3 4 5

6. Sometimes
I ignore
who show
little interest
in group

1 2 3 4 5

7. When
making a


decision, I
always try to
include the
interests of
members who
have different
points of view.

1 2 3 4 5

8. Trying to
with out-group
members is
often a waste
of time.

1 2 3 4 5

9. I place a
high priority
everyone in
the group to
listen to the
minority point
of view.

1 2 3 4 5

10. When
exist between
members, I
usually call for
a vote to keep
the group

1 2 3 4 5

11. Listening
to individuals
with extreme


(or radical)
ideas is
valuable to my

1 2 3 4 5

12. When a
group member
feels left out,
it is usually
his or her own

1 2 3 4 5

13. I give
attention to
members (i.e.,
who feel left
out of the

1 2 3 4 5

14. I find
certain group
when they
bring up issues
that conflict
with what the
rest of the
group wants to

1 2 3 4 5


1. Sum the even-numbered items, but reverse the score value of your
responses (i.e., change 1 to 5, 2 to 4, 4 to 2, and 5 to 1, with 3
remaining unchanged).

2. Sum the responses of the odd-numbered items and the converted
values of the even-numbered items. This total is your leadership
out-group score.


Total Score

Out-group score: ___________

Scoring Interpretation

This questionnaire is designed to measure your response to out-group

A high score on the questionnaire indicates that you try to help
out-group members feel included and become a part of the whole
group. You are likely to listen to people with different points of
view and to know that hearing a minority position is often
valuable in effective group work.
An average score on the questionnaire indicates that you are
moderately interested in including out-group members in the
group. Although interested in including them, you do not make
out-group members’ concerns a priority in your leadership. You
may think of out-group members as having brought their out-
group behavior on themselves. If they seek you out, you probably
will work with them when you can.

A low score on the questionnaire indicates you most likely have
little interest in helping out-group members become a part of the
larger group. You may become irritated and bothered when out-
group members’ behaviors hinder the majority or progress of the
larger group. Because you see helping the out-group members as
an ineffective use of your time, you are likely to ignore them and
make decisions to move the group forward without their input.

If your score is 57–70, you are in the very high range.
If your score is 50–56, you are in the high range.
If your score is 45–49, you are in the average range.
If your score is 38–44, you are in the low range.
If your score is 10–37, you are in the very low range.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.


Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

10.3 Observational Exercise



1. To learn to recognize out-groups and how they form
2. To understand the role of out-groups in the leadership process


1. Your task in this exercise is to identify, observe, and analyze an
actual out-group. This can be an out-group at your place of
employment, in an informal group, in a class group, in a
community group, or on a sports team.

2. For each of the questions below, write down what you observed in
your experiences with out-groups.

Name of group:
Identify and describe a group in which you observed an out-
Observations of out-group members’ actions:
Observations of the leader’s actions:


1. What is the identity of out-group members? How do they see

2. How were out-group members treated by the other members in the

3. What is the most challenging aspect of trying to deal with
members of this out-group?

4. What does the leader need to do to integrate the out-group
members into the larger group?


Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

10.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet



1. Based on the score you received on the Building Community
Questionnaire, how would you describe your attitude toward out-
group members? Discuss.

2. As we discussed in this chapter, out-groups run counter to
building community in groups. How important do you think it is
for a leader to build community? Discuss.

3. One way to engage out-group members is to empower them. How
do you see your own competencies in the area of empowerment?
What keeps you from empowering others? Discuss.


1. Using items from the Building Community Questionnaire as your
criteria, list three specific actions you could take that would show
sensitivity to and tolerance of out-group members.

2. In the last section of this chapter, six strategies for responding to
out-group members were discussed. Rank these strategies from
strongest to weakest with regard to how you use them in your own
leadership. Describe specifically what you could do to become
more effective in all six strategies.

3. Imagine for a moment that you are doing a class project with six
other students. The group has decided by taking a vote to do a
fund-raising campaign for the local Big Brothers Big Sisters
program. Two people in the group have said they are not enthused
about the project and would rather do something for an
organization like Habitat for Humanity. While the group is
moving forward with the agreed-upon project, the two people who
did not like the idea have started missing meetings, and when they
do attend, they are very negative. As a leader, list five specific


actions you could take to assist and engage this out-group.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

Abrams, D., Frings, D., & Randsley de Moura, G. (2005). Group identity

and self-definition. In S. A. Wheelan (Ed.), Handbook of group research
and practice (pp. 329–350). London, United Kingdom: Sage.

Beauchamp, T. L., & Bowie, N. E. (1988). Ethical theory and business
(3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Dansereau, F., Graen, G. G., & Haga, W. (1975). A vertical dyad linkage
approach to leadership in formal organizations. Organizational Behavior
and Human Performance, 13(1), 46–78.

Goodwin, D. K. (2005). Team of rivals: The political genius of Abraham
Lincoln. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Graen, G. B., & Uhl-Bien, M. (1995). Relationship-based approach to
leadership: Development of leader–member exchange (LMX) theory of
leadership over 25 years: Applying a multi-level, multi-domain
perspective. Leadership Quarterly, 6(2), 219–247.

Hogg, M. A., & Abrams, D. (1988). Social identifications: A social
psychology of intergroup relations and group processes. London, UK:

McPherson, J. M. (2005, November 6). “Team of rivals”: Friends of Abe.
The New York Times. Retrieved from


Schutz, W. (1966). The interpersonal underworld. Palo Alto, CA: Science
& Behavior Books.

Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup
conflict. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), The social psychology of
intergroup relations (pp. 33–47). Monterey, CA: Brooks-Cole.

Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of inter-group
behavior. In S. Worchel & L. W. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of
intergroup relations (pp. 7–24). Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall.

Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York, NY: Wiley.


11 Managing Conflict

Conflict is inevitable in groups and organizations, and it presents both a
challenge and a true opportunity for every leader. In the well-known book
Getting to Yes, Fisher and Ury (1981) contend that handling conflict is a
daily occurrence for all of us. People differ, and because they do, they
need to negotiate with others about their differences (pp. xi–xii). Getting to
Yes asserts that mutual agreement is possible in any conflict situation—if
people are willing to negotiate in authentic ways.

Is Conflict Really Inevitable?

When we think of conflict in simple terms, we think of a struggle between
people, groups, organizations, cultures, or nations. Conflict involves
opposing forces, pulling in different directions. Many people believe that
conflict is disruptive, causes stress, and should be avoided.

As we stated in Chapter 6, while conflict can be uncomfortable, it is not
unhealthy, nor is it necessarily bad. Conflict will always be present in
leadership situations, and surprisingly, it often produces positive change.
The important question we address in this chapter is not “How can we
avoid conflict and eliminate change?” but rather “How can we manage
conflict and produce positive change?” When leaders handle conflict
effectively, problem solving increases, interpersonal relationships become
stronger, and stress surrounding the conflict decreases.

Communication plays a central role in handling conflict. Conflict is an
interactive process between two or more parties that requires effective
human interaction. By communicating effectively, leaders and followers
can successfully resolve conflicts to bring positive results.

What Are Some Strategies for Handling Conflict?


This chapter will emphasize ways to handle conflict. First, we will define
conflict and describe the role communication plays in conflict. Next, we
will discuss different kinds of conflict, followed by an exploration of
Fisher and Ury’s (1981) ideas about effective negotiation as well as other
communication strategies that help resolve conflict. Last, we will examine
styles of approaching conflict and the pros and cons of these styles.

Conflict Explained
Conflict has been studied from multiple perspectives, including
intrapersonal, interpersonal, and societal. Intrapersonal conflict refers to
the discord that occurs within an individual. It is a topic often studied by
psychologists and personality theorists who are interested in the dynamics
of personality and factors that predispose people to inner conflicts.
Interpersonal conflict refers to the disputes that arise between individuals.
This is the type of conflict we focus on when we discuss conflict in
organizations. Societal conflict refers to clashes between societies and
nations. Studies in this field focus on the causes of international conflicts,
war, and peace. The continuing crisis between the Israelis and the
Palestinians is a good example of social conflict. This chapter focuses on
conflict as an interpersonal process that plays a critical role in effective

The following definition, based on the work of Wilmot and Hocker (2011,
p. 11), best describes conflict. Conflict is a felt struggle between two or
more interdependent individuals over perceived incompatible differences
in beliefs, values, and goals, or over differences in desires for esteem,
control, and connectedness. This definition emphasizes several unique
aspects of conflict (Wilmot & Hocker, 2011).

First, conflict is a struggle; it is the result of opposing forces coming
together. For example, there is conflict when a leader and a senior-level
employee oppose each other on whether or not all employees must work
on weekends. Similarly, conflict occurs when a school principal and a
parent disagree on the type of sex education program that should be
adopted in a school system. In short, conflict involves a clash between
opposing parties.


Second, there needs to be an element of interdependence between parties
for conflict to take place. If leaders could function entirely independently
of each other and their followers, there would be no reason for conflict.
Everyone could do their own work, and there would be no areas of
contention. However, leaders do not work in isolation. Leaders need
followers, and followers need leaders. This interdependence sets up an
environment in which conflict is more likely.

When two parties are interdependent, they are forced to deal with
questions such as “How much influence do I want in this relationship?”
and “How much influence am I willing to accept from the other party?”
Because of our interdependence, questions such as these cannot be
avoided. In fact, Wilmot and Hocker (2011) contend that these questions
permeate most conflicts.

Third, conflict always contains an affective element, the “felt” part of the
definition. Conflict is an emotional process that involves the arousal of
feelings in both parties of the conflict (Brown & Keller, 1979). When our
beliefs or values on a highly charged issue (e.g., the right to strike) are
challenged, we become upset and feel it is important to defend our
position. When our feelings clash with others’ feelings, we are in conflict.

The primary emotions connected with conflict are not always anger or
hostility. Rather, an array of emotions can accompany conflict. Hocker and
Wilmot (1995) found that many people report feeling lonely, sad, or
disconnected during conflict. For some, interpersonal conflict creates
feelings of abandonment—that their human bond to others has been
broken. Feelings such as these often produce the discomfort that surrounds

Fourth, conflict involves differences between individuals that are
perceived to be incompatible. Conflict can result from differences in
individuals’ beliefs, values, and goals, or from differences in individuals’
desires for control, status, and connectedness. The opportunities for
conflict are endless because each of us is unique with particular sets of
interests and ideas. These differences are a constant breeding ground for

In summary, these four elements—struggle, interdependence, feelings, and
differences—are critical ingredients of interpersonal conflict. To further
understand the intricacies of managing conflict, we’ll look at the role of


communication in conflict and examine two major kinds of conflict.

Communication and Conflict
When conflict exists in leadership situations, it is recognized and
expressed through communication. Communication is the means that
people use to express their disagreements or differences. Communication
also provides the avenue by which conflicts can be successfully resolved,
or worsened, producing negative results.

Using Conversation

To understand conflict, we need to understand communication. When
human communication takes place, it occurs on two levels. One level can
be characterized as the content dimension and the other as the relationship
dimension (Watzlawick, Beavin, & Jackson, 1967). The content
dimension of communication involves the objective, observable aspects
such as money, weather, and land; the relationship dimension refers to
the participants’ perceptions of their connection to one another. In human
communication, these two dimensions are always bound together.

To illustrate the two dimensions, consider the following hypothetical
statement made by a supervisor to an employee: “Please stop texting at
work.” The content dimension of this message refers to rules and what the
supervisor wants the employee to do. The relationship dimension of this
message refers to how the supervisor and the employee are affiliated—to
the supervisor’s authority in relation to the employee, the supervisor’s
attitude toward the employee, the employee’s attitude toward the
supervisor, and their feelings about one another. It is the relationship
dimension that implicitly suggests how the content dimension should be
interpreted, since the content alone can be interpreted in different ways.
The exact meaning of the message to the supervisor and employee is
interpreted as a result of their interaction. If a positive relationship exists
between the supervisor and the employee, then the content “please stop
texting at work” will probably be interpreted by the employee as a friendly
request by a supervisor who is honestly concerned about the employee’s
job performance. However, if the relationship between the supervisor and


the employee is superficial or strained, the employee may interpret the
content of the message as a rigid directive, delivered by a supervisor who
enjoys giving orders. This example illustrates how the meanings of
messages are not in words alone but in individuals’ interpretations of the
messages in light of their relationships.

The content and relationship dimensions provide a lens for looking at
conflict. As illustrated in Figure 11.1, there are two major kinds of
conflict: conflict over content issues and conflict over relationship issues.
Both kinds of conflict are prevalent in groups and organizational settings.

Conflict on the Content Level
Content conflicts involve struggles between leaders and others who differ
on issues such as policies and procedures. Debating with someone about
the advantages or disadvantages of a particular rule is a familiar
occurrence in most organizations. Sometimes these debates can be very
heated (e.g., an argument between two employees about surfing the
Internet while working). These disagreements are considered conflicts on
the content level when they center on differences in (1) beliefs and values
or (2) goals and ways to reach those goals.

Figure 11.1 Different Kinds of Content and Relational Conflicts

Conflict Regarding Beliefs and Values

Each of us has a unique system of beliefs and values that constitutes a
basic philosophy of life. We have had different family situations as well as
educational and work experiences. When we communicate with others, we
become aware that others’ viewpoints are often very different from our


own. If we perceive what another person is communicating as
incompatible with our own viewpoint, a conflict in beliefs or values is
likely to occur.

Conflicts arising from differences in beliefs can be illustrated in several
ways. For example, members of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment
of Animals) are in conflict with researchers in the pharmaceutical industry
who believe strongly in using animals to test new drugs. Another example
of a conflict of beliefs can occur when teachers or nurses believe they have
the right to strike because of unfair working conditions, while others feel
that these kinds of employees should not be allowed to withhold services
for any reason. In each of these examples, conflict occurs because one
individual feels that his or her beliefs are incompatible with the position
taken by another individual on the issue.

Conflicts can also occur between people because they have different
values. When one person’s values come into conflict with another’s, it can
create a difficult and challenging situation. To illustrate, consider the
following example of an issue between Emily, a first-generation college
student, and her mother. At the beginning of her senior year, Emily asks
her mother if she can have a car to get around campus and to get back and
forth to work. In order to pay for the car, Emily says she will take fewer
credits, work more often at her part-time job, and postpone her graduation
date to the following year. Emily is confident that she will graduate and
thinks it is “no big deal” to extend her studies for a fifth year. However,
Emily’s mother does not feel the same. She doesn’t want Emily to have a
car until after she graduates. She thinks the car will be a major distraction
and get in the way of Emily’s studies. Emily is the first person in her
family to get a college degree, and it is extremely important to her mother
that Emily graduates on time. Deep down, her mother is afraid that the
longer Emily goes to school, the more student loan debt Emily will have to
pay back when she finishes.

Leadership Snapshot: Humaira Bachal, Pakistani Educator


© Photo courtesy of Humaira Bachal.

Humaira Bachal is a 30-year-old woman who has a dangerous passion:
She wants to educate children, especially girls, in her home country of
Pakistan where only 57% of the children ever enter primary school.

It’s hard not to worry about Bachal in the wake of the 2012 shooting of
Malala Yousafzai, a teenage Pakistani girl attacked by the Taliban for
speaking out in support of girls’ education. But she’s not afraid.

When Bachal was in ninth grade, she looked around her village of
Moach Goth and saw children playing in the streets instead of being in
school or studying, and at all of 14, she thought that was wrong. There
were no private or government schools in her neighborhood, and Bachal
had received education only because her mother had sewn clothing or
sold bundles of wood for 2 cents a piece to send her children to schools

Bachal knew what it meant to have to fight to be educated. Her father
did not want her to go to school, saying that she “was only going to get
married and have children” (Rahi, 2010).

But her mother had other ideas. She wasn’t educated, but believed her


children should be. She labored to pay for her daughter’s education
herself and had to sneak her off to school, hiding Bachal’s whereabouts
from her father. When he found out Bachal was going to take her ninth-
grade entrance exams, he became furious and beat her mother, breaking
her arm. Despite this, her mother gathered her daughter’s school bag
and sent her on her way to the exam, which she passed.

“My mother’s support at that critical moment was essential in making
me who I am today,” Bachal says (Faruqi & Obaid-Chinoy, 2013).

That same year while she was still being educated, Bachal started
recruiting students in her neighborhood to come to a small, private
school she had opened. She even went door-to-door to convince parents
to send their children to the school. More than once she had a door
slammed in her face and her life threatened.

“Education is a basic need and fundamental right for every human
being,” she says. “I want to change the way my community looks at
education and I will continue to do this until my last breath” (Temple-
Raston, 2013).

Pakistan has a dismal education rate: It spends half as much as
neighboring India on education, and if you are a young girl in rural
Pakistan, you are unlikely to ever see the inside of a classroom. There
are more than 32 million girls under the age of 14 in Pakistan; fewer
than 13 million of them go to school (Faruqi & Obaid-Chinoy, 2013).

In 2003, Bachal and five friends created their school, the Dream
Foundation Trust Model Street School, in a two-room building with
mud floors. In just over a decade, Dream Foundation has grown into a
formal school with 22 teachers and 1,200 students. Children pay a rupee
a day to attend classes. There are four shifts at the school, including
computer classes and one for “labour boys” who work all day and
attend classes in the evening. The Dream Foundation Trust also offers
adult literacy classes for men and women.

But Bachal and the school are specifically interested in educating girls.
Bachal will often visit fathers at their workplaces to convince them to
send their daughters to school. She asks why, when the girls become
teenagers, they stop coming to school. The fathers talk about honor and
culture and how the girls are looked at by men as they go to school, and
the men say things about them. Bachal can relate; at one point the men
in her village called her immoral for becoming educated, and her
brothers and father wanted to relocate to put an end to their shame
(Faruqi & Obaid-Chinoy, 2013).


Bachal reaches out to mothers to make them allies in her crusade. She
asks them if they want their daughters to be treated as unjustly as they
have been and urges the women to help their daughters have better lives
by insisting that they get an education.

Bachal’s mother has no regrets about the sacrifices she made to ensure
her daughters were educated, saying, “Education is essential for
women. They (her daughters) have reached this potential because of
their education. Otherwise they would have been slaving away for their
husbands somewhere” (Rahi, 2010).

And despite the attack against Malala Yousafzai, Bachal says she isn’t
worried for her own safety.

“Just the opposite,” she says. “It is not just one Malala or one Bachal
who has raised a voice to change this situation. There are a lot of other
girls who are trying to change things. Even if they kill 100 Humairas,
they won’t be able to stop us” (Temple-Raston, 2013).

The value conflict between Emily and her mother involves Emily’s desire
to have a car. In this case, both individuals are highly interdependent of
one another: To carry out her decision to get a car, Emily needs her
mother’s agreement; to have her daughter graduate in four years, Emily’s
mother needs cooperation from Emily. Both individuals perceive the
other’s values as incompatible with their own, and this makes conflict
inevitable. Clearly, the conflict between Emily and her mother requires
interpersonal communication about their different values and how these
differences affect their relationship.

Conflict Regarding Goals

A second common type of content-related conflict occurs in situations
where individuals have different goals (see Figure 11.1). Researchers have
identified two types of conflict that occur regarding group goals: (1)
procedural conflict and (2) substantive conflict (Knutson, Lashbrook, &
Heemer, 1976).

Procedural conflict refers to differences between individuals with regard
to the approach they wish to take in attempting to reach a goal. In essence,
it is conflict over the best means to an agreed-upon goal; it is not about
what goal to achieve. Procedural conflicts can be observed in many
situations such as determining how to best conduct job interviews, choose


a method for identifying new sales territories, or spend advertising dollars.
In each instance, conflict can occur when individuals do not agree on how
to achieve a goal.

Substantive conflict occurs when individuals differ with regard to the
substance of the goal itself, or what the goal should be. For example, two
board members of a nonprofit human service agency may have very
different views regarding the strategies and scope of a fund-raising
campaign. Similarly, two owners of a small business may strongly
disagree about whether or not to offer their part-time employees health
care benefits. On the international level, in Afghanistan, the Taliban and
those who are not members of the Taliban have different perspectives on
whether or not girls should be educated. These illustrations by no means
exhaust all the possible examples of substantive conflict; however, they
point out that conflict can occur as a result of two or more parties
disagreeing on what the goal or goals of a group or an organization should

Conflict on the Relational Level
Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t seem to get along with her [or
him]; we have a personality clash”? The phrase personality clash is
another way of describing a conflict on the relational level. Sometimes we
do not get along with another person, not because of what we are talking
about (conflict over content issues) but because of how we are talking
about it. Relational conflict refers to the differences we feel between
ourselves and others concerning how we relate to each other. For example,
at a staff meeting, a manager interrupts employees and talks to them in a
critical tone. The employees begin texting on their phones, ignoring the
manager. A conflict erupts because both the manager and the employees
feel unheard and disrespected. It is typically caused by neither one person
nor the other, but arises in their relationship. Relational conflict is usually
related to incompatible differences between individuals over issues of (1)
esteem, (2) control, and (3) affiliation (see Figure 11.1).

Relational Conflict and Issues of Esteem

The need for esteem and recognition has been identified by Maslow (1970)
as one of the major needs in the hierarchy of human needs. Each of us has


needs for esteem—we want to feel significant, useful, and worthwhile. We
desire to have an effect on our surroundings and to be perceived by others
as worthy of their respect. We attempt to satisfy our esteem needs through
what we do and how we act, particularly in how we behave in our
relationships with our coworkers.

The Need for Esteem

When our needs for esteem are not being fulfilled in our relationships, we
experience relational conflict because others do not see us in the way we
wish to be seen. For example, an administrative assistant can have
repeated conflicts with an administrator if the assistant perceives that the
administrator fails to recognize his or her unique contributions to the
overall goals of the organization. Similarly, older employees may be upset
if newer coworkers do not give them respect for the wisdom that comes
with their years of experience. So, too, younger employees may want
recognition for their innovative approaches to problems but fail to get it
from coworkers with more longevity who do not think things should

At the same time that we want our own esteem needs satisfied, others want
their esteem needs satisfied as well. If the supply of respect we can give
each other seems limited (or scarce), then our needs for esteem will clash.
We will see the other person’s needs for esteem as competing with our
own or taking that limited resource away from us. To illustrate, consider a
staff meeting in which two employees are actively contributing insightful
ideas and suggestions. If one of the employees is given recognition for her
input but the other is not, conflict may result. As this conflict escalates, the
effectiveness of their working relationship and the quality of their
communication may diminish. When the amount of available esteem
(validation from others) seems scarce, a clash develops.

All of us are human and want to be recognized for the contributions we
make to our work and our community. When we believe we’re not being
recognized or receiving our “fair share,” we feel slighted and conflicted on
the relational level with others.


Relational Conflict and Issues of Control

Struggles over issues of control are very common in interpersonal conflict.
Each one of us desires to have an impact on others and the situations that
surround us. Having control, in effect, increases our feelings of potency
about our actions and minimizes our feelings of helplessness. Control
allows us to feel competent about ourselves. However, when we see others
as hindering us or limiting our control, interpersonal conflict often ensues.

Conflict Over Control

Interpersonal conflict occurs when a person’s needs for control are
incompatible with another’s needs for control. In a given situation, each of
us seeks different levels of control. Some people like to have a great deal,
while others are satisfied (and sometimes even more content) with only a
little. In addition, our needs for control may vary from one time to another.
For example, there are times when a person’s need to control others or
events is very high; at other times, this same person may prefer that others
take charge. Relational conflict over control issues develops when there is
a clash between the needs for control that one person has at a given time
(high or low) and the needs for control that others have at that same time
(high or low). If, for example, a friend’s need to make decisions about
weekend plans is compatible with yours, no conflict will take place;
however, if both of you want to control the weekend planning and your
individual interests are different, then you will soon find yourselves in
conflict. As struggles for control ensue, the communication among the
participants may become negative and challenging as each person tries to
gain control over the other or undermine the other’s control.

A graphic example of a conflict over relational control is provided in the
struggle between Lauren Smith, a college sophomore, and her parents,
regarding what she will do on spring break. Lauren wants to go to Cancún,
Mexico, with some friends to relax from the pressures of school. Her
parents do not want her to go. Lauren thinks she deserves to go because
she is doing well in her classes. Her parents think spring break in Cancún
is just a “big party” and nothing good will come of it. As another option,
her parents offer to pay Lauren’s expenses to go on an alternative spring


break to clean up an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Lauren is adamant that
she “is going” to Cancún. Her parents, who pay her tuition, threaten that if
she goes to Cancún, they will no longer pay for college.

Clearly, in the above example, both parties want to have control over the
outcome. Lauren wants to be in charge of her own life and make the
decisions about what she does or does not do. At the same time, her
parents want to direct her into doing what they think is best for her. Lauren
and her parents are interdependent and need each other, but they are
conflicted because they each feel that the other is interfering with their
needs for control of what Lauren does on spring break.

Conflicts over control are common in leadership situations. Like the
parents in the above example, the role of leader brings with it a certain
inherent level of control and responsibility. When leaders clash with one
another over control or when control issues exist between leaders and
followers, interpersonal conflicts occur. Later in this chapter, we present
some conflict management strategies that are particularly helpful in coping
with relational conflicts that arise from issues of control.

Leaders’ Essential Role in Conflict Management

Relational Conflict and Issues of Affiliation

In addition to wanting relational control, each of us has a need to feel
included in our relationships, to be liked, and to receive affection (Schutz,
1966). If our needs for closeness are not satisfied in our relationships, we
feel frustrated and experience feelings of conflict. Of course, some people
like to be very involved and very close in their relationships, while others
prefer less involvement and more distance. In any case, when others
behave in ways that are incompatible with our own desires for warmth and
affection, feelings of conflict emerge.

Relational conflict over affiliation issues is illustrated in the following
example of a football coach, Terry Jones, and one of his players, Danny
Larson. Danny, a starting quarterback, developed a strong relationship


with Coach Jones during his junior year in high school. Throughout the
year, Danny and Coach Jones had many highly productive conversations
inside and outside of school about how to improve the football program. In
the summer, the coach employed Danny in his painting business, and they
worked side by side on a first-name basis. Both Danny and Terry liked
working together and grew to know each other quite well. However, when
football practice started in the fall, difficulties emerged between the two.
During the first weeks of practice, Danny acted like Coach Jones was his
best buddy. He called him Terry rather than Coach Jones, and he resisted
the player–coach role. As Coach Jones attempted to withdraw from his
summer relationship with Danny and take on his legitimate responsibilities
as a coach, Danny experienced a sense of loss of closeness and warmth. In
this situation, Danny felt rejection or a loss of affiliation, and this created a
relational conflict.

Relational conflicts—whether they are over esteem, control, or affiliation
—are seldom overt. Due to the subtle nature of these conflicts, they are
often not easy to recognize or address. Even when they are recognized,
relational conflicts are often ignored because it is difficult for many
individuals to openly communicate that they want more recognition,
control, or affiliation.

According to communication theorists, relational issues are inextricably
bound to content issues (Watzlawick et al., 1967). This means that
relational conflicts will often surface during the discussion of content
issues. For example, what may at first appear to be a conflict between two
leaders regarding the content of a new employee fitness program may
really be a struggle over which one of the leaders will ultimately receive
credit for developing the program. As we mentioned, relational conflicts
are complex and not easily resolved. However, when relational conflicts
are expressed and confronted, it can significantly enhance the overall
resolution process.

Managing Conflict in Practice
Communication is central to managing different kinds of conflict in
organizations. Leaders who are able to keep channels of communication
open with others will have a greater chance of understanding others’
beliefs, values, and needs for esteem, control, and affiliation. With
increased understanding, many of the kinds of conflict discussed in the


earlier part of this chapter will seem less difficult to resolve and more open
to negotiation.

In this section, we will explore three different approaches to resolving
conflict: Fisher and Ury’s principled negotiation; the communication
strategies of differentiation, fractionation, and face saving; and the
Kilmann–Thomas styles of approaching conflict. As we discussed
previously, conflict can be multifaceted and complex, and while there is no
magic bullet for resolving all conflicts, knowing different approaches can
help a leader employ the effective strategies for solving conflict.

Fisher and Ury Approach to Conflict
One of the most recognized approaches of conflict negotiation in the world
was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury. Derived from studies
conducted by the Harvard Negotiation Project, Fisher and Ury (1981)
provide a straightforward, step-by-step method for negotiating conflicts.
This method, called principled negotiation, emphasizes deciding issues
on their merits rather than through competitive haggling or through
excessive accommodation. Principled negotiation shows you how to obtain
your fair share decently and without having others take advantage of you
(Fisher & Ury, 1981).

A Win-Win Situation

As illustrated in Figure 11.2, the Fisher and Ury negotiation method
comprises four principles. Each principle directly focuses on one of the
four basic elements of negotiation: people, interests, options, and criteria.
Effective leaders frequently understand and utilize these four principles in
conflict situations.

Figure 11.2 Fisher and Ury’s Method of Principled Negotiation


Source: Adapted from Fisher, R., & Ury, W. (1981). Getting to yes:
Negotiating agreement without giving in. New York, NY: Penguin
Books, p. 15.

Principle 1: Separate the People From the Problem

In the previous section of this chapter, we discussed how conflict has a
content dimension and a relationship dimension. Similarly, Fisher and Ury
(1981) contend that conflicts comprise a problem factor and a people
factor. To be effective in dealing with conflicts, both of these factors need
to be addressed. In particular, Fisher and Ury argue that the people factor
needs to be separated out from the problem factor.

Separating people from the problem during conflict is not easy because
they are entangled. For example, if a supervisor and her employee are in a
heated conversation over the employee’s negative performance review, it
is very difficult for the supervisor and the employee to discuss the review
without addressing their relationship and personal roles. Our personalities,
beliefs, and values are intricately interwoven with our conflicts. However,
principled negotiation says that people and the problem need to be

By separating people from the problem, we enable ourselves to recognize
others’ uniqueness. Everyone has his or her own distinct thoughts and
feelings in different situations. Because we all perceive the world
differently, we have diverse emotional responses to conflict. By focusing
directly on the people aspect of the problem, we become more aware of
the personalities and idiosyncratic needs of those with whom we are in


Perhaps most important, separating people from the problem encourages
us to be attentive to our relationships during conflict. Conflicts can strain
relationships, so it is important to be cognizant of how one’s behavior
during conflict affects the other party. Rather than “beat up” on each other,
it is useful to work together, alongside each other, and mutually confront
the problem. When we separate people from the problem, we are more
inclined to work with others to solve problems. Fisher and Ury (1981)
suggest that people in conflict need to “see themselves as working side by
side, attacking the problem, not each other” (p. 11). Separating the people
from the problem allows us to nurture and strengthen our relationships
rather than destroy them.

Consider the earlier example of the supervisor and employee conflict over
the negative performance review. In order to separate the people from the
problem, both the supervisor and the employee need to discuss the
negative review by focusing on performance criteria and behavior issues
rather than personal attributes. The review indicated that the employee
didn’t meet performance objectives—the boss could say, “You didn’t get
your work done,” but in separating the people from the problem, the boss
would instead explain how the employee was unable to meet the
requirements (“The number of contacts you made was below the required
number”). The employee, on the other hand, may feel the objectives were
unrealistic. Rather than telling her boss it was his fault (“You set
unobtainable objectives”), the employee should make her point by
providing facts about how these standards are not realistic (“The economic
downturn wasn’t considered when these objectives were developed”). By
focusing on the problem in this way, the employer and the employee are
maintaining their relationship but also confronting directly the
performance review issues.

Principle 2: Focus on Interests, Not Positions

The second principle, which is perhaps the most well known, emphasizes
that parties in a conflict must focus on interests and not just positions.
Positions represent our stand or perspective in a particular conflict.
Interests represent what is behind our positions. Stated another way,
positions are the opposing points of view in a conflict while interests refer
to the relevant needs and values of the people involved. Fisher and Ury
(1981) suggest that “your position is something you have decided upon.
Your interests are what caused you to so decide” (p. 42).


Focusing on interests expands conflict negotiation by encouraging
individuals to explore the unique underpinnings of the conflict. To identify
interests behind a position, it is useful to look at the basic concerns that
motivate people. Some of our concerns include needs for security,
belonging, recognition, control, and economic well-being (Fisher & Ury,
1981). Being attentive to these basic needs and helping people satisfy them
is central to conflict negotiation.

Concentrating on interests also helps opposing parties to address the “real”
conflict. Addressing both interests and positions helps to make conflict
negotiation more authentic. In his model of authentic leadership, Robert
Terry (1993) advocates that leaders have a moral responsibility to ask the
question “What is really, really going on in a conflict situation, and what
are we going to do about it?” Unless leaders know what truly is going on,
their actions will be inappropriate and can have serious consequences.
Focusing on interests is a good way to find out what is at the heart of a

Consider the following conflict between a college professor, Dr. Smith,
and his student, Erin Crow, regarding class attendance. Dr. Smith has a
mandatory attendance policy, but allows for two absences during the
semester. A student’s grade is lowered 10% for each additional absence.
Erin is a very bright student who has gotten As on all of her papers and
tests. However, she has five absences and does not want to be penalized.
Based on the attendance policy, Dr. Smith would lower Erin’s grade 30%,
from an A to a C. Erin’s position in this conflict is that she shouldn’t be
penalized because she has done excellent work despite her absences. Dr.
Smith’s position is that the attendance policy is legitimate and Erin’s grade
should be lowered.

In this example, it is worthwhile to explore some of the interests that form
the basis for each position. For example, Erin is very reticent and does not
like to participate in class. She is carrying 18 credit hours and works two
part-time jobs. On the other hand, Dr. Smith is a popular professor who
has twice received university-wide outstanding teaching awards. He has 20
years of experience and has a strong publication record in the area of
classroom learning methodology. In addition, Dr. Smith has a need to be
liked by students, and does not like to be challenged.

Given their interests, it is easy to see that the conflict between Erin and Dr.
Smith over class attendance is more complex than meets the eye. If this


conflict were to be settled by negotiating positions alone, the resolution
would be relatively straightforward, and Erin would most likely be
penalized, leaving both parties unsatisfied. However, if the interests of
both Erin and Dr. Smith were fully explored, the probability of a mutually
agreeable outcome would be far more likely. Dr. Smith is likely to
recognize that Erin has numerous obligations that impact her attendance
but are important for her economic well-being and security. On the other
hand, Erin may come to realize that Dr. Smith is an exemplary teacher
who fosters cohesiveness among students by expecting them to show up
and participate in class. His needs for control and recognition are
challenged by Erin’s attendance and lack of class participation.

The challenge for Erin and Dr. Smith is to focus on their interests,
communicate them to each other, and remain open to unique approaches to
resolving their conflict.

Principle 3: Invent Options for Mutual Gains

The third strategy in effective conflict negotiation presented by Fisher and
Ury (1981) is to invent options for mutual gains. This is difficult to do
because humans naturally see conflict as an either-or proposition. We
either win or lose; we get what we want, or the other side gets what it
wants. We feel the results will be favorable either to us or to the other side,
and we do not see any other possible options.

However, this tendency to see conflict as a fixed choice proposition needs
to be overcome by inventing new options to resolve the conflict to the
satisfaction of both parties. The method of principled negotiation
emphasizes that we need to brainstorm and search hard for creative
solutions to conflict. We need to expand our options and not limit
ourselves to thinking there is a single best solution.

Focusing on the interests of the parties in conflict can result in this kind of
creative thinking. By exploring where our interests overlap and dovetail,
we can identify solutions that will benefit both parties. This process of
fulfilling interests does not need to be antagonistic. We can help each other
in conflict by being sensitive to each other’s interests and making it easier,
rather than more difficult, for both parties to satisfy their interests. Using
the earlier example of Dr. Smith and Erin, Erin could acknowledge Dr.
Smith’s need for a consistent attendance policy and explain that she


understands that it is important to have a policy to penalize less-than-
committed students. She should make the case that the quality of her
papers indicates she has learned much from Dr. Smith and is as committed
to the class as she can be, given her other obligations. Dr. Smith should
explain that he is not comfortable ignoring her absences and that it is
unfair to other students who have also been penalized for missing class.
They could agree that Erin’s grade will be lowered to a B, rather than a C.
While neither party would be “victorious,” both would feel that the best
compromise was reached given each person’s unique interests.

Principle 4: Insist on Using Objective Criteria

Finally, Fisher and Ury (1981) say that effective negotiation requires that
objective criteria be used to settle different interests. The goal in
negotiation is to reach a solution that is based on principle and not on
pressure. Conflict parties need to search for objective criteria that will help
them view their conflict with an unbiased lens. Objective criteria can take
many forms, including

precedent, which looks at how this issue has been resolved
professional standards, which determine if there are rules or
standards for behavior based on a profession or trade involved in the
what a court would decide, which looks at the legal precedent or legal
ramifications of the conflict;
moral standards, which consider resolving the conflict based on
ethical considerations or “doing what’s right”;
tradition, which looks at already established practices or customs in
considering the conflict; and
scientific judgment, which considers facts and evidence.

For example, if an employee and his boss disagree on the amount of a
salary increase the employee is to receive, both the employee and the boss
might consider the raises of employees with similar positions and work
records. When criteria are used effectively and fairly, the outcomes and
final package are usually seen as wise and fair (Fisher & Ury, 1981).

In summary, the method of principled negotiation presents four practical
strategies that leaders can employ in handling conflicts: separate the


people from the problem; focus on interests, not positions; invent options
for mutual gains; and insist on using objective criteria. None of these
strategies is a panacea for all problems or conflicts, but used together they
can provide a general, well-substantiated approach to settling conflicts in
ways that are likely to be advantageous to everyone involved in a conflict

Communication Strategies for Conflict Resolution
Throughout this chapter, we have emphasized the complexity of conflict
and the difficulties that arise in addressing it. There is no universal remedy
or simple path. In fact, except for a few newsstand-type books that claim
to provide quick cures to conflict, only a few sources give practical
techniques for resolution. In this section, we describe several practical
communication approaches that play a major role in the conflict resolution
process: differentiation, fractionation, and face saving. Using these
communication strategies can lessen the angst of the conflict, help
conflicting parties to reach resolution sooner, and strengthen relationships.

The Importance of Listening


Differentiation describes a process that occurs in the early phase of
conflict; it helps participants define the nature of the conflict and clarify
their positions with regard to each other. It is very important to conflict
resolution because it establishes the nature and parameters of the conflict.
Differentiation requires that individuals explain and elaborate their own
position, frequently focusing on their differences rather than their
similarities. It is essential to working through a conflict (Putnam, 2010).
Differentiation represents a difficult time in the conflict process because it
is more likely to involve an escalation of conflict rather than a cooling off.
During this time, fears may arise that the conflict will not be successfully
resolved. Differentiation is also difficult because it initially personalizes
the conflict and brings out feelings and sentiments in people that they
themselves are the cause of the conflict (Folger, Poole, & Stutman, 1993).


The value of differentiation is that it defines the conflict. It helps both
parties realize how they differ on the issue being considered. Being aware
of these differences is useful for conflict resolution because it focuses the
conflict, gives credence to both parties’ interests in the issue that is in
conflict, and, in essence, depersonalizes the conflict. Consistent with
Fisher and Ury’s (1981) method of negotiation, differentiation is a way to
separate the people from the problem.

An example of differentiation involves a group project. Members of the
group have complained to the instructor that one member, Jennifer, seldom
comes to meetings; when she does come, she does not contribute to the
group discussions. The instructor met with Jennifer, who defended herself
by stating that the group constantly set meeting times that conflict with her
work schedule. She believes they do so on purpose to exclude her. The
teacher arranged for the students to sit down together, and then had them
explain their differing points of view to one another. The group members
said that they believed that Jennifer cared less about academic
achievement than they did because she did not seem willing to adjust her
work schedule to meet with them. Jennifer, on the other hand, said she
believed the others did not respect that she had to work to support herself
while going to school, and that she was not in total control of her work

Resolving Intergroup Conflict

In the above example, differentiation occurred among group members as
they attempted to assess the issues. It was a difficult process because it
demanded that each participant talk about his or her feelings about why the
group was having conflict. Both sides ultimately understood the other’s
differing viewpoints. The group and Jennifer set aside a definite time each
week when they would meet, and Jennifer made sure her supervisor did
not schedule her to work at that time.


Fractionation refers to the technique of breaking down large conflicts into


smaller, more manageable pieces (Fisher, 1971; Wilmot & Hocker, 2011).
Like differentiation, fractionation usually occurs in the early stages of the
conflict resolution process. It is an intentional process in which the
participants agree to “downsize” a large conflict into smaller conflicts and
then confront just one part of the larger conflict. Fractionating conflict is
helpful for several reasons. First, fractionation reduces the conflict by
paring it down to a smaller, less complex conflict. It is helpful for
individuals to know that the conflict they are confronting is not a huge
amorphous mass of difficulties, but rather consists of specific and defined
difficulties. Second, it gives focus to the conflict. By narrowing down
large conflicts, individuals give clarity and definition to their difficulties
instead of trying to solve a whole host of problems at once. Third,
downsizing a conflict helps to reduce the emotional intensity of the
dispute. Smaller conflicts carry less emotional weight (Wilmot & Hocker,
2011). Last, fractionation facilitates a better working relationship between
participants in the conflict. In agreeing to address a reduced version of a
conflict, the participants confirm their willingness to work with one
another to solve problems.

An example of fractionation at work involves David Stedman, an
experienced director of a private school that was on the verge of closing
due to low enrollment. School board members were upset with David’s
leadership and the direction of the school, and David was disappointed
with the board. The school had been running on a deficit budget for the
previous three years and had used up most of the endowment money it had
set aside. The school’s board members saw the problem one way: The
school needed more students. David knew it was not that simple. There
were many issues behind the low enrollment: the practices for recruitment
of students, retention of students, fund-raising, marketing, and out-of-date
technology at the school, as well as bad feelings between the parents and
the school. In addition to these concerns, David had responsibility for day-
to-day operations of the school and decisions regarding the education of
students. David asked the board members to attend a weekend retreat
where, together, they detailed the myriad problems facing the school and
narrowed the long list down to three difficulties that they would address
together. They agreed to work on an aggressive recruitment plan, fund-
raising efforts, and internal marketing toward parents so they would keep
their children at the school.

In the end, the retreat was beneficial to both David and the board. The big


conflict of “what to do about the school” was narrowed down to three
specific areas they could address. In addition, the school board developed
an appreciation for the complexity and difficulties of running the school,
and David softened his negative feelings about the school board and its
members’ input. As a result of fractionating their conflict, David Stedman
and the school board developed a better working relationship and
confirmed their willingness to work on problems in the future.

Face Saving

A third skill that can assist a leader in conflict resolution is face saving.
Face saving refers to communicative attempts to establish or maintain
one’s self-image in response to threat (Folger et al., 1993; Goffman, 1967;
Lulofs, 1994). Face-saving messages help individuals establish how they
want to be seen by others. The goal of face-saving messages is to protect
one’s self-image.

In conflict, which is often threatening and unsettling, participants may
become concerned about how others view them in regard to the positions
they have taken. This concern for self can be counterproductive to conflict
resolution because it shifts the focus of the conflict away from substantive
issues and onto personal issues. Instead of confronting the central concerns
of the conflict, face-saving concerns force participants to deal with their
self-images as they are related to the conflict.

Face Saving

Interpersonal conflicts can be made less threatening if individuals
communicate in a way that preserves the self-image of the other. Conflict
issues should be discussed in a manner that minimizes threat to the
participants. By using face-saving messages, such as “I think you are
making a good point, but I see things differently,” one person
acknowledges another’s point of view without making the other person
feel stupid or unintelligent. The threat of conflict is lessened if participants
try to support each other’s self-image rather than to damage it just to win
an argument. It is important to be aware of how people want to be seen by
others, how conflict can threaten those desires, and how our


communication can minimize those threats (Lulofs, 1994).

In trying to resolve conflicts, face saving should be a concern to
participants for two reasons. First, if possible, participants should try to
avoid letting the discussions during conflict shift to face-threatening
issues. Similar to Fisher and Ury’s (1981) principle of separating the
people from the problem, this can be done by staying focused on content
issues and maintaining interactions that do not challenge the other person’s
self-image. Second, during the later stages of conflict, face-saving
messages can actually be used to assist participants in giving each other
validation and support for how they have come across during conflict.
Face-saving messages can confirm for others that they have handled
themselves appropriately during conflict and that their relationship is still

The following example illustrates how face saving can affect conflict
resolution. At a large university hospital, significant disruptions occurred
when 1,000 nurses went on strike after contract negotiations failed. The
issues in the conflict were salary, forced overtime, and mandatory
coverage of units that were short-staffed. There was much name-calling
and personal attacks between nurses and administrators. Early negotiations
were inhibited by efforts on both sides to establish an image with the
public that what they were doing was appropriate, given the circumstances.
As a result, these images and issues of right and wrong, rather than the
substantive issues of salary and overtime, became the focus of the conflict.
If the parties had avoided tearing each other down, perhaps the conflict
could have been settled sooner.

Despite these difficulties, face-saving messages did have a positive effect
on this conflict. During the middle of the negotiations, the hospital ran a
full-page advertisement in the local newspaper describing its proposal and
why it thought this proposal was misunderstood. At the end of the ad, the
hospital stated, “We respect your right to strike. A strike is a peaceful and
powerful means by which you communicate your concern or
dissatisfaction.” This statement showed that the administration was trying
to save face for itself, but also it was attempting to save face for nurses by
expressing that their being on strike was not amoral, and that the hospital
was willing to accept the nurses’ behavior and continue to have a working
relationship with them. Similarly, the media messages that both parties
released at the end of the strike included affirmation of the other party’s


self-image. The nurses, who received a substantial salary increase, did not
try to claim victory or point out what the hospital lost in the negotiations.
In turn, the hospital, which retained control of the use of staff for overtime,
did not emphasize what it had won or communicate that it thought the
nurses were unprofessional because they had gone out on strike. The point
is that these gentle face-saving messages helped both sides to feel good
about themselves, reestablish their image as effective health care
providers, and salvage their working relationships.

All in all, there are no shortcuts to resolving conflicts. It is a complex
process that requires sustained communication. By being aware of
differentiation, fractionation, and face saving, leaders can enhance their
abilities and skills in the conflict resolution process.

Kilmann and Thomas Styles of Approaching
There’s no doubt that people have different ways of handling conflict and
that these different styles affect the outcomes of conflict. A conflict style
is defined as a patterned response or behavior that people use when
approaching conflict. One of the most widely recognized models of
conflict styles was developed by Kilmann and Thomas (1975, 1977), based
on the work of Blake and Mouton (1964), and is the basis for our Conflict
Style Questionnaire on pages 269–271.

The Kilmann–Thomas model identifies five conflict styles: (1) avoidance,
(2) competition, (3) accommodation, (4) compromise, and (5)
collaboration. This model (see Figure 11.3) describes conflict styles along
two dimensions: assertiveness and cooperativeness. Assertiveness refers to
attempts to satisfy one’s own concerns, while cooperativeness represents
attempts to satisfy the concerns of others. Each conflict style is
characterized by how much assertiveness and how much cooperativeness
an individual shows when confronting conflict.

In conflict situations, a person’s individual style is usually a combination
of these five different styles. Nevertheless, because of past experiences or
situational factors, some people may rely more heavily on one conflict
style than on others. Understanding these styles can help you select the
conflict style that is most appropriate to the demands of the situation.


Figure 11.3 Styles of Approaching Conflict

Sources: Reproduced with permission of authors and publisher from
Kilmann, R. H., & Thomas, K. W. Interpersonal conflict-handling
behavior as reflections of Jungian personality dimensions.
Psychological Reports, 1975, 37, 971–980. © Psychological Reports,


Avoidance is both an unassertive and an uncooperative conflict style.
Those who favor the avoidance style tend to be passive and ignore conflict
situations rather than confront them directly. They employ strategies such
as denying there is a conflict, using jokes as a way to deflect conflict, or
trying to change the topic. Avoiders are not assertive about pursuing their
own interests, nor are they cooperative in assisting others to pursue theirs.


Advantages and Disadvantages. Avoidance as a style for managing
conflict is usually counterproductive, often leading to stress and further
conflict. Those who continually avoid conflict bottle up feelings of
irritation, frustration, anger, or rage inside themselves, creating more
anxiety. Avoidance is essentially a static approach to conflict; it does
nothing to solve problems or to make changes that could prevent conflicts.

However, there are some situations in which avoidance may be useful—
for example, when an issue is of trivial importance or when the potential
damage from conflict would be too great. Avoidance can also provide a
cooling-off period to allow participants to determine how to best resolve
the conflict at a later time. For example, if Jan is so angry at her girlfriend
that she throws her cell phone at the wall, she might want to go for a ride
in her car or take a walk and cool down before she tries to talk to her
girlfriend about the problem.


Competition is a conflict style of individuals who are highly assertive
about pursuing their own goals but uncooperative in assisting others to
reach theirs. These individuals attempt to resolve a struggle by controlling
or persuading others in order to achieve their own ends. A competitive
style is essentially a win-lose conflict strategy. For example, when Wendy
seeks to convince Chris that he is a bad person because he habitually
shows up late for meetings, regardless of his reasons for doing so, it is a
win-lose conflict style.

Advantages and Disadvantages. In some situations, competition can
produce positive outcomes. It is useful when quick, decisive action is
needed. Competition can also generate creativity and enhance performance
because it challenges participants to make their best efforts.

Generally, though, competitive approaches to conflict are not the most
advantageous because they are more often counterproductive than
productive. Resolution options are limited to one party “beating” another,
resulting in a winner and a loser. Attempts to solve conflict with
dominance and control will often result in creating unstable situations and
hostile and destructive communication. Finally, competition is
disconfirming; in competition, individuals fail to recognize the concerns
and needs of others.



Accommodation is an unassertive but cooperative conflict style. In
accommodation, an individual essentially communicates to another, “You
are right, I agree; let’s forget about it.” An approach that is “other
directed,” accommodation requires individuals to attend very closely to the
needs of others and ignore their own needs. Using this style, individuals
confront problems by deferring to others.

Advantages and Disadvantages. Accommodation allows individuals to
move away from the uncomfortable feelings that conflict inevitably
produces. By yielding to others, individuals can lessen the frustration that
conflict creates. This style is productive when the issue is more important
to one party than the other or if harmony in the relationship is the most
important goal.

The problem with accommodation is that it is, in effect, a lose-win
strategy. Although accommodation may resolve conflict faster than some
of the other approaches, the drawback is that the accommodator sacrifices
his or her own values and possibly a higher-quality decision in order to
maintain smooth relationships. It is a submissive style that allows others to
take charge. Accommodators also lose because they may fail to express
their own opinions and feelings and their contributions are not fully

For example, Jenny’s boyfriend is a sports fanatic and always wants to
stay home and watch televised sports while Jenny would like to do
something like go to a movie or to a club. But to make him happy, Jenny
stays home and watches football.


As Figure 11.3 indicates, compromise occurs halfway between
competition and accommodation and involves both a degree of
assertiveness and a degree of cooperativeness. Many see compromise as a
“give and take” proposition. Compromisers attend to the concerns of
others as well as to their own needs. On the diagonal axis of Figure 11.3,
compromise occurs midway between the styles of avoidance and
collaboration. This means that compromisers do not completely ignore
confrontations, but neither do they struggle with problems to the fullest


degree. This conflict style is often chosen because it is expedient in finding
middle ground while partially satisfying the concerns of both parties.


Advantages and Disadvantages. Compromise is a positive conflict style
because it requires attending to one’s goals as well as others’. Compromise
tends to work best when other conflict styles have failed or aren’t suitable
to resolving the conflict. Many times, compromise can force an equal
power balance between parties.

Among the shortcomings of the compromise style is that it does not go far
enough in resolving conflict and can become “an easy way out.” In order
to reach resolution, conflicting parties often don’t fully express their own
demands, personal thoughts, and feelings. Innovative solutions are
sacrificed in favor of a quick resolution, and the need for harmony
supersedes the need to find optimal solutions to conflict. The result is that
neither side is completely satisfied. For example, Pat wants to go on a
camping vacation, and Mike wants to have a “staycation,” hanging around
the house. In the end, they agree to spend their vacation taking day trips to
the beach and the zoo.


Collaboration, the most preferred style of conflict, requires both
assertiveness and cooperation. It is when both parties agree to a positive
settlement to the conflict and attend fully to the other’s concerns while not
sacrificing or suppressing their own. The conflict is not resolved until each
side is reasonably satisfied and can support the solution. Collaboration is
the ideal conflict style because it recognizes the inevitability of human
conflict. It confronts conflict, and then uses conflict to produce
constructive outcomes.

Advantages and Disadvantages. The results of collaboration are positive
because both sides win, communication is satisfying, relationships are
strengthened, and negotiated solutions are frequently more cost-effective
in the long run.


Unfortunately, collaboration is the most difficult style to achieve. It
demands energy and hard work among participants as well as shared
control. Resolving differences through collaboration requires individuals
to take time to explore their differences, identify areas of agreement, and
select solutions that are mutually satisfying. This often calls for extended
conversation in which the participants explore entirely new alternatives to
existing problems. For example, residents of a residential neighborhood
seek to have an adult entertainment facility in their midst close or leave.
The owner refuses. The residents work with city officials to find an
alternative location to relocate the facility, and the city gives the facility’s
owner tax breaks to move.

The five styles of approaching conflict—avoidance, competition,
accommodation, compromise, and collaboration—can be observed in
various conflict situations. Although there are advantages and
disadvantages to each style, the conflict-handling style that meets the
needs of the participants while also fitting the demands of the situation will
be most effective in resolving conflict.

For leaders and followers alike, interpersonal conflict is inevitable.
Conflict is defined as a felt struggle between two or more individuals over
perceived incompatible differences in beliefs, values, and goals, or over
differences in desires for esteem, control, and connectedness. If it is
managed in appropriate ways, conflict need not be destructive but can be
constructive and used to positive ends.

Communication plays a central role in conflict and in its resolution.
Conflict occurs between leaders and others on two levels: content and
relational. Conflict on the content level involves differences in beliefs,
values, or goal orientation. Conflict on the relational level refers to
differences between individuals with regard to their desires for esteem,
control, and affiliation in their relationships. Relational conflicts are
seldom overt, which makes them difficult for people to recognize and

One approach to resolving conflicts is the method of principled negotiation
by Fisher and Ury (1981). This model focuses on four basic elements of
negotiation—people, interests, options, and criteria—and describes four


principles related to handling conflicts: Principle 1—Separate the People
From the Problem; Principle 2—Focus on Interests, Not Positions;
Principle 3—Invent Options for Mutual Gains; and Principle 4—Insist on
Using Objective Criteria. Collectively, these principles are extraordinarily
useful in negotiating positive conflict outcomes.

Three practical communication approaches to conflict resolution are
differentiation, fractionation, and face saving. Differentiation is a process
that helps participants to define the nature of the conflict and to clarify
their positions with one another. Fractionation refers to the technique of
paring down large conflicts into smaller, more manageable conflicts. Face
saving consists of messages that individuals express to each other in order
to maintain each other’s self-image during conflict. Together or singly,
these approaches can assist leaders in making the conflict resolution
process more productive.

Finally, researchers have found that people approach conflict using five
styles: (1) avoidance, (2) competition, (3) accommodation, (4)
compromise, and (5) collaboration. Each of these styles characterizes
individuals in terms of the degree of assertiveness and cooperativeness
they show when confronting conflict. The most constructive approach to
conflict is collaboration, which requires that individuals recognize,
confront, and resolve conflict by attending fully to others’ concerns
without sacrificing their own. Managing conflicts effectively leads to
stronger relationships among participants and more creative solutions to

Glossary Terms
accommodation 261
avoidance 260
collaboration 262
competition 261
compromise 262
conflict 240
conflict style 259
content conflicts 242
content dimension 242
differentiation 255
face saving 257


fractionation 256
principled negotiation 250
relational conflicts 247
relationship dimension 242

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11.1 Case Study: Office Space
The five members of the Web programming department at a marketing
company are being relocated to a new space in their building. The move
came as a big surprise; the head of the company decided to cut costs by
leasing less space, and with just a few days’ notice, the department was

The new space is a real change from what the programmers are used to.
Their old space was a big open room with one wall of floor-to-ceiling
windows. Their desks all faced each other, which allowed them to
easily talk and collaborate with one another. The new office space has a
row of five cubicles along a wall in a long, narrow room. Four of the
cubicles have windows; the fifth, which is slightly larger than the
others, is tucked into a windowless corner. The cubicle walls are 6 feet
tall, and when they are at their desks working, the programmers can no
longer see one another.

The team leader, Martin, assigned the cubicles that each programmer
has moved into. He put himself in the first cubicle with Rosa, Sanjay,
and Kris in the next three cubicles with windows. Bradley was given
the larger cubicle in the corner.

Bradley is the first to complain. When he sees his new space, he goes to
Martin and asks for a different cubicle, one with a window. He argues
that he has been employed there longer than the other programmers and


should get to choose his cubicle rather than be told where he is going to
be. Because he and Martin work very closely on a number of projects,
Bradley feels he should be in the cubicle next to Martin, rather than the
one farthest away.

Sanjay is also upset. He is in the middle cubicle with Rosa and Kris on
either side of him. Rosa and Kris used to have desks next to each other
in the bigger space and would banter back and forth with one another
while working. Now that they are in the row of cubicles, they still try to
chat with one another, but to do so, they more or less shout to each
other over Sanjay’s space. When Martin offers to let him trade places
with Bradley as a solution, Sanjay says he doesn’t want to give up his

Martin leaves everyone where they are. He hasn’t told them, but he
purposely put Sanjay between Rosa and Kris in order to discourage
their constant chatting, which he viewed as a time-wasting activity.
Martin also felt like the larger cube was better for Bradley because he
has more computer equipment than the other programmers.

During the next two months, the Web programming department starts to
experience a lot of tension. Sanjay seems to be in a bad mood on a daily
basis. When Rosa and Kris start chatting with each other over the
cubicles, he asks them loudly, “Will you please just work and stop
shouting to each other?” or says sarcastically, “I’m trying to work
here!” As a result, either Rosa or Kris will leave her cubicle to walk
down to the other’s space to chat, having conversations that last longer
than their old bantering back and forth used to.

Bradley stays in his corner cubicle and avoids talking to the other
programmers. He believes that Martin purposely gave him what
Bradley perceives is the worst cubicle but doesn’t know what he did to
deserve being treated this way. He is resentful of the other staff
members who have windows in their cubicles and feels like Martin
must think more highly of Rosa, Kris, and Sanjay than he does of
Bradley. As Bradley observes Rosa and Kris spending more time
talking and less time working and the crabbiness from Sanjay, he
becomes very upset with Martin. It seems Martin is rewarding the
programmers who behave the worst!

Bradley becomes even more reclusive at work and avoids talking to the
other programmers, especially Martin. He communicates with them
mainly by email messages, even though he’s only a few yards away
from some of them. He no longer collaborates closely with Martin;
instead he tries to work on projects without involving Martin.


Unfortunately, if he encounters a problem that he needs Martin’s help
for, Bradley will try to solve it himself. Often, Martin won’t even know
there is a problem that needs to be solved until Bradley realizes he can’t
solve it alone and the problem becomes a crisis.

The only time all five of the programmers actually see one another is in
weekly staff meetings, which are held in a conference room with a large
table and a dozen chairs. In their old space, they didn’t have weekly
meetings because they were able to talk about projects and schedules
with each other whenever it was needed. In their new staff meetings, it
seems like Martin is doing all the talking. Rosa and Kris sit on one side
of the table and try to ignore Sanjay who sits by himself across from
them. Bradley sits at the far end of the table at least two chairs away
from everyone else.

After another unproductive staff meeting where no one spoke or looked
at one another, Martin sits at the head of the conference table after the
other programmers have left with his head in his hands. He doesn’t
know what has happened to the cohesive team he used to lead and why
things changed. It seems absolutely ridiculous to him that this is all
about space.

1. How would you describe the conflict that has arisen between the

members of the Web programming department?
2. Is the conflict a relational conflict? If so, what type of relational

conflict? Is there a content dimension to this conflict?
3. Using Fisher and Ury’s method of principled negotiation, how

would you separate the people from the problem? What do you
think is really, really going on in this conflict?

4. Using the Kilmann and Thomas conflict styles, how would you
characterize Sanjay’s conflict style? What about Bradley’s? Do
Rosa and Kris have a style as well?

5. How could Martin use fractionation and face saving in attempting
to resolve this conflict?

11.2 Conflict Style Questionnaire


1. To identify your conflict style
2. To examine how your conflict style varies in different contexts or




1. Think of two different situations (A and B) where you have a
conflict, a disagreement, an argument, or a disappointment with
someone, such as a roommate or a work associate. Write the name
of the person for each situation below.

2. According to the scale below, fill in your scores for Situation A
and Situation B. For each question, you will have two scores. For
example, on Question 1 the scoring might look like this: 1. 2 | 4

3. Write the name of each person for the two situations here:
Person A ______________________________ Person B
1 = never 2 = seldom 3 = sometimes 4 = often 5 =

Person A Person B

1. _____|____ I avoid being “put on the spot”; I keep conflicts to

2. _____|____ I use my influence to get my ideas accepted.

3. _____|____ I usually try to “split the difference” in order to
resolve an issue.

4. _____|____ I generally try to satisfy the other’s needs.

5. _____|____ I try to investigate an issue to find a solution
acceptable to both of us.

6. _____|____ I usually avoid open discussion of my differences
with the other.

7. _____|____ I use my authority to make a decision in my

8. _____|____ I try to find a middle course to resolve an


9. _____|____ I usually accommodate the other’s wishes.

10. _____|____ I try to integrate my ideas with the other’s to
come up with a decision jointly.

11. _____|____ I try to stay away from disagreement with the

12. _____|____ I use my expertise to make a decision that favors

13. _____|____ I propose a middle ground for breaking

14. _____|____ I give in to the other’s wishes.

15. _____|____ I try to work with the other to find solutions that
satisfy both our expectations.

16. _____|____ I try to keep my disagreement to myself in order
to avoid hard feelings.

17. _____|____ I generally pursue my side of an issue.

18. _____|____ I negotiate with the other to reach a

19. _____|____ I often go with the other’s suggestions.

20. _____|____ I exchange accurate information with the other
so we can solve a problem together.

21. _____|____ I try to avoid unpleasant exchanges with the

22. _____|____ I sometimes use my power to win.

23. _____|____ I use “give and take” so that a compromise can
be made.

24. _____|____ I try to satisfy the other’s expectations.


25. _____|____ I try to bring all our concerns out in the open so
that the issues can be resolved.

Source: Adapted from “Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Styles of Handling
Interpersonal Conflict: First-Order Factor Model and Its Invariance Across Groups,”
by M. A. Rahim and N. R. Magner, 1995, Journal of Applied Psychology, 80(1), 122–
132. In W. Wilmot and J. Hocker (2011), Interpersonal Conflict (pp. 146–148).
Published by the American Psychological Association.

Scoring: Add up your scores on the following questions:

A | B A | B A | B A | B A | B
















4. ____|____

9. ____|____

14. ____|____

19. ____|____

24. ____|____

5. ____|____






A | B



A | B



A | B



A | B



A | B


Scoring Interpretation

This questionnaire is designed to identify your conflict style and
examine how it varies in different contexts or relationships. By
comparing your total scores for the different styles, you can discover
which conflict style you rely most heavily upon and which style you use
least. Furthermore, by comparing your scores for Person A and Person
B, you can determine how your style varies or stays the same in
different relationships. Your scores on this questionnaire are indicative
of how you responded to a particular conflict at a specific time and


therefore might change if you selected a different conflict or a different
conflict period. The Conflict Style Questionnaire is not a personality
test that labels or categorizes you; rather, it attempts to give you a sense
of your more dominant and less dominant conflict styles.

Scores from 21 to 25 are representative of a very strong style.
Scores from 16 to 20 are representative of a strong style.
Scores from 11 to 15 are representative of an average style.
Scores from 6 to 10 are representative of a weak style.
Scores from 0 to 5 are representative of a very weak style.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
suggestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

11.3 Observational Exercise

Managing Conflict


1. To become aware of the dimensions of interpersonal conflict
2. To explore how to use Fisher and Ury’s (1981) method of

principled negotiation to address actual conflict


1. For this exercise, you are being asked to observe an actual
conflict. Attend a public meeting at which a conflict is being
addressed. For example, you could attend a meeting of the campus
planning board, which has on its agenda changes in student
parking fees.


2. Take notes on the meeting, highlighting the positions and interests
of all the people who participated in the meeting.


1. How did the participants at the meeting frame their arguments?
What positions did individuals take at the meeting?

2. Identify and describe the interests of each of the participants at the

3. Discuss whether the participants were able to be objective in their
approaches to the problem. Describe how the people involved
were able to separate themselves from the problem.

4. In what ways did the participants seek to find mutually beneficial
solutions to their conflict?

Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

11.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

Managing Conflict


1. How do you react to conflict? Based on the Conflict Style
Questionnaire, how would you describe your conflict style? How
has your past history influenced your conflict style?

2. This chapter describes three kinds of relational conflict (i.e.,
esteem, control, affiliation). Of the three kinds, which is most
common in the conflicts you have with others? Discuss.


1. Briefly describe an actual conflict you had with a family member,
roommate, or coworker in the recent past. Identify the positions
and interests of both you and the other person in the conflict.
(Note: Individuals’ positions may be easier to identify than their
interests. Be creative in detailing your interests and the other


2. Describe how you could fractionate the conflict.
3. Using Fisher and Ury’s (1981) methods, describe how you could

separate the person from the problem and how you could work
together to address the conflict. During your discussions, how
could you help the other party in the conflict save face? How
could the other party help you save face?

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

Blake, R. R., & Mouton, L. S. (1964). The managerial grid. Houston, TX:


Brown, C. T., & Keller, P. W. (1979). Monologue to dialogue: An
exploration of interpersonal communication. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:

Faruqi, A. (Producer), & Obaid-Chinoy, S. (Director). (2013). Humaira:
The dreamcatcher [Motion picture]. Pakistan: SOC films.

Fisher, R. (1971). Fractionating conflict. In C. G. Smith (Ed.), Conflict
resolution: Contributions of the behavioral sciences (pp. 157–159).
South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Fisher, R., & Ury, W. (1981). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement
without giving in. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

Folger, J. P., Poole, M. S., & Stutman, R. K. (1993). Working through
conflict: Strategies for relationships, groups, and organizations (2nd
ed.). Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.


Goffman, E. (1967). Interaction ritual: Essays on face-to-face behavior.
New York, NY: Anchor Books.

Hocker, J. L., & Wilmot, W. W. (1995). Interpersonal conflict (4th ed.).
Dubuque, IA: W. C. Brown.

Kilmann, R. H., & Thomas, K. W. (1975). Interpersonal conflict-handling
behavior as reflections of Jungian personality dimensions. Psychological
Reports, 37(3), 971–980.

Kilmann, R. H., & Thomas, K. W. (1977). Developing a forced-choice
measure of conflict handling behavior: The “mode” instrument.
Educational and Psychology Measurement, 37(2), 309–325.

Knutson, T., Lashbrook, V., & Heemer, A. (1976). The dimensions of
small group conflict: A factor analytic study. Paper presented to the
annual meeting of the International Communication Association,
Portland, OR.

Lulofs, R. S. (1994). Conflict: From theory to action. Scottsdale, AZ:
Gorsuch Scarisbrick.

Maslow, A. (1970). Motivation and personality (2nd ed.). New York, NY:
Harper & Row.

Putnam, L. L. (2010). Communication as changing the negotiation game.
Journal of Applied Communication Research, 38(4), 325–335.

Rahi, S. (Producer). (2010, December 10). Humaira Bachal documentary
[Motion picture]. Dawn News. Retrieved June 10, 2013, from

Schutz, W. C. (1966). The interpersonal underworld. Palo Alto, CA:


Science and Behavior Books.

Temple-Raston, D. (2013, January 3). After fighting to go to school, a
Pakistani woman builds her own. Weekend Edition Sunday [Radio news
program]. Retrieved from

Terry, R. W. (1993). Authentic leadership: Courage in action. San
Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Watzlawick, P., Beavin, J., & Jackson, D. D. (1967). Pragmatics of human
communication. New York, NY: Norton.

Wilmot, W. W., & Hocker, J. (2011). Interpersonal conflict (8th ed.). New
York, NY: McGraw-Hill.


12 Addressing Ethics in Leadership

Leadership has a moral dimension because leaders influence the lives of
others. Because of this influential dimension, leadership carries with it an
enormous ethical responsibility. Hand in hand with the authority to make
decisions is the obligation a leader has to use his or her authority for the
common good. Because the leader usually has more power and control
than followers have, leaders have to be particularly sensitive to how their
leadership affects the well-being of others.

What is Ethical Leadership and Why is it Relevant?

In recent years, there have been an overwhelming number of scandals in
the public and private sectors. Accounting and financial scandals have
occurred at some of the largest companies in the world, including
Adelphia, Enron, Tyco International, and WorldCom. In addition, there
have been stories of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, sexual assaults
within the U.S. military, and a multitude of sexual scandals in the lives of
public figures including governors, U.S. senators, and mayors, to name but
a few. As a result of such high-profile scandals, people are becoming
suspicious of public figures and what they do. The public strongly seeks
moral leadership.

As mentioned in Chapter 1, “Understanding Leadership,” the overriding
purpose of this book is to discover “what it takes to be a leader.” Closely
related to this question, and perhaps even more important, is “what it takes
to be an ethical leader.” That query is the focus of this chapter. This means
our emphasis will be on describing how people act when they show ethical
leadership. While it is always intriguing to know whether one is or is not
perceived by others to be ethical, our emphasis will not be directed toward
whether you are or are not ethical, but rather we will focus on the
properties and characteristics of ethical leadership. The assumption we are
making is that if you understand the nature of ethical leadership, you will


be better equipped to engage in ethical leadership.

Before we discuss the factors that account for ethical leadership, you may
want to go to the end of the chapter and take the Ethical Leadership Style
Questionnaire (12.2). It will help you understand your own ethical
leadership style and at the same time introduce you to the ideas we will be
discussing in this chapter.

Leadership Ethics Explained
To begin, it is important to first define ethical leadership. In the simplest
terms, ethical leadership is the influence of a moral person who moves
others to do the right thing in the right way for the right reasons (Ciulla,
2003). Put another way, ethical leadership is a process by which a good
person rightly influences others to accomplish a common good: to make
the world better, fairer, and more humane.

Defining Ethical Leadership

Ethics is concerned with the kind of values and morals an individual or
society finds desirable or appropriate. In leadership, ethics has to do with
what leaders do and the nature of leaders’ behavior, including their
motives. Because leaders often have control, power, and influence over
others, their leadership affects other individuals and organizations.
Because of this, it is the leader’s ethics—through his or her behavior,
decisions, and interactions—that establish the ethical climate for an

Leadership Ethics in Practice
Leadership ethics is a complex phenomenon with multiple parts that
overlap and are interconnected. When trying to practice ethical leadership,
there are six factors (Figure 12.1) that should be of special importance to
leaders. Each of these factors plays a role in who leaders are and what they
do when they are engaged in ethical leadership.


Figure 12.1 Factors Related to Ethical Leadership

1. The character of the leader
2. The actions of the leader
3. The goals of the leader
4. The honesty of the leader
5. The power of the leader
6. The values of the leader

1. The Character of the Leader
The character of the leader is a fundamental aspect of ethical leadership.
When it is said that a leader has strong character, that leader is seen as a
good and honorable human being. The leader’s character refers to the
qualities, disposition, and core values of the leader. More than 2,000 years
ago, Aristotle argued that a moral person demonstrates the virtues of


courage, generosity, self-control, honesty, sociability, modesty, fairness,
and justice (Velasquez, 1992). Today, all these qualities still contribute to
a strong character.

The Philosopher Leader

Character is something that is developed. In recent years, the nation’s
schools have seen a growing interest in character education. Misbehavior
of public figures has led to mistrust of public figures, which has led to the
public demanding that educators do a better job of training children to be
good citizens. As a result, most schools today teach character education as
part of their normal curriculum. A model for many of these programs was
developed by the Josephson Institute (2008) in California, which frames
instruction around six dimensions of character: trustworthiness, respect,
responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship (see Table 12.1). Based on
these and similar character dimensions, schools are emphasizing the
importance of character and how core values influence an individual’s
ethical decision making.

Although character is clearly at the core of who you are as a person, it is
also something you can learn to strengthen and develop. A leader can learn
good values. When practiced over time, from youth to adulthood, good
values become habitual, and a part of people themselves. By telling the
truth, people become truthful; by giving to the poor, people become
charitable; and by being fair to others, people become just. Your virtues,
and hence your character, are derived from your actions.

An example of a leader with strong character is Nobel Peace Prize winner
Nelson Mandela (see page 27). Mandela was a deeply moral man with a
strong conscience. When fighting to abolish apartheid in South Africa, he
was unyielding in his pursuit of justice and equality for all. When he was
in prison and was offered the chance to leave early in exchange for
denouncing his viewpoint, he chose to remain incarcerated rather than
compromise his position. In addition to being deeply concerned for others,
Mandela was a courageous, patient, humble, and compassionate man. He
was an ethical leader who ardently believed in the common good.


Mandela clearly illustrates that character is an essential component of
moral leadership. Character enables a leader to maintain his or her core
ethical values even in times of immense adversity. Character forms the
centerpiece of a person’s values, and is fundamental to ethical leadership.

2. The Actions of the Leader
In addition to being about a leader’s character, ethical leadership is about
the actions of a leader. Actions refer to the ways a leader goes about
accomplishing goals. Ethical leaders use moral means to achieve their
goals. The way a leader goes about his or her work is a critical determinant
of whether he or she is an ethical leader. We may all be familiar with the
Machiavellian phrase “the ends justify the means,” but an ethical leader
keeps in mind a different version of this and turns it into a question: “Do
the ends justify the means?” In other words, the actions a leader takes to
accomplish a goal need to be ethical. They cannot be justified by the
necessity or importance of the leader’s goals. Ethical leadership involves
using morally appropriate actions to achieve goals.

Table 12.1 The Six Pillars of Character
Table 12.1 The Six Pillars of Character


Trustworthiness is the most complicated of the six
core ethical values and concerns a variety of
qualities like honesty, integrity, reliability, and

• Be honest

• Be reliable:
do what you
say you’ll do

• Have the
courage to do
the right thing

• Don’t
cheat, or steal

• Build a good



While we have no ethical duty to hold all people in
high esteem, we should treat everyone with

• Be tolerant
of differences

• Use good

• Be
considerate of

• Work out


Ethical people show responsibility by being
accountable, pursuing excellence, and exercising
self-restraint. They exhibit the ability to respond to

• Do your job

• Persevere

• Think before
you act

• Consider the

• Be
for your


Fairness implies adherence to a balanced standard

• Play by the

• Be open-


of justice without relevance to one’s own feelings
or indications.

• Don’t take
advantage of

• Don’t blame


Caring is the heart of ethics and ethical decision
making. It is scarcely possible to be truly ethical
and yet unconcerned with the welfare of others.
This is because ethics is ultimately about good
relations with other people.

• Be kind

• Be

• Forgive

• Help people
in need


The good citizen gives more than she takes, doing
more than her “fair” share to make society work,
now and for future generations. Citizenship
includes civic virtues and duties that prescribe how
we ought to behave as part of a community.

• Share with

• Get involved

• Stay

• Respect

• Protect the

Source: © 2008 Josephson Institute. The definitions of the Six Pillars of Character are
reprinted with permission.

To illustrate the importance of ethical actions, consider what happened at


the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004. Because of the atrocities on 9/11,
national security and intelligence gathering became a high priority. Rules
and standards of interrogation were expanded, and harsh interrogation
methods were approved. The government’s goal was to obtain information
for purposes of national security.

Problems at the prison became evident when the media reported that
prisoners were being sexually abused, humiliated, and tortured by prison
personnel and civilian contract employees. Gruesome photographs of
demeaning actions to prisoners appeared in the media and on the Internet.
To obtain intelligence information, some U.S. Army soldiers used means
that violated military regulations and internationally held rules on the
humane treatment of prisoners of war established by the Geneva
Convention in 1948.

In the case of the Abu Ghraib prison, the goal of maintaining national
security and intelligence gathering was legitimate and worthwhile.
However, the means that were used by some at the prison were considered
by many to be unjustified and even ruled to be criminal. Many believe that
the goals did not justify the means.

In everyday situations, a leader can act in many different ways to
accomplish goals; each of these actions has ethical implications. For
example, when a leader rewards some employees and not others, it raises
questions of fairness. If a leader fails to take into consideration an
employee’s major health problems and instead demands that a job be
completed on short notice, it raises questions about the leader’s
compassion for others. Even a simple task such as scheduling people’s
workload or continually giving more favorable assignments to one person
over another reflects the ethics of the leader. In reality, almost everything a
leader does has ethical overtones.

Given the importance of a leader’s actions, what ethical principles should
guide how a leader acts toward others? Ethical principles for leaders have
been described by many scholars (Beauchamp & Bowie, 1988; Ciulla,
2003; Johnson, 2005; Kanungo, 2001; Kanungo & Mendonca, 1996).
These writings highlight the importance of many ethical standards. In
addition, there are three principles that have particular relevance to our
discussion of the actions of ethical leaders: (1) showing respect, (2)
serving others, and (3) showing justice.


1. Showing respect. To show respect means to treat others as unique
human beings and never as means to an end. It requires treating others’
decisions and values with respect. It also requires valuing others’ ideas and
affirming these individuals as unique human beings. When a leader shows
respect to followers, followers become more confident and believe their
contributions have value.

Ethical Principles

2. Serving others. Clearly, serving others is an example of altruism, an
approach that suggests that actions are ethical if their primary purpose is to
promote the best interest of others. From this perspective, a leader may be
called on to act in the interest of others, even when it may run contrary to
his or her self-interests (Bowie, 1991). In the workplace, serving others
can be observed in activities such as mentoring, empowering others, team
building, and citizenship behaviors (Kanungo & Mendonca, 1996). In
practicing the principle of service, an ethical leader must be willing to be
follower centered. That is, the leader tries to place others’ interests
foremost in his or her work, and act in ways that will benefit others.

3. Showing justice. Ethical leaders make it a top priority to treat all of their
followers in an equal manner. Justice demands that a leader place the issue
of fairness at the center of decision making. As a rule, no one should
receive special treatment or special consideration except when a particular
situation demands it. When individuals are treated differently, the grounds
for different treatment must be clear, reasonable, and based on sound
moral values.

In addition, justice is concerned with the Golden Rule: Treat others as you
would like to be treated. If you expect fair treatment from others, then you
should treat others fairly. Issues of fairness become problematic because
there is always a limit on goods and resources. As a result, there is often
competition for scarce resources. Because of the real or perceived scarcity
of resources, conflicts often occur between individuals about fair methods
of distribution. It is important for a leader to establish clearly the rules for
distributing rewards. The nature of these rules says a lot about the ethical
underpinnings of the leader and the organization.


The challenge of treating everyone fairly is illustrated in what happened to
Richard Lee when he coached his son’s Little League baseball team. His
son, Eric, was an outstanding pitcher with a lot of natural ability. During
one of the games, Eric became frustrated with his performance and began
acting very immaturely, throwing his bat and kicking helmets. When
Richard saw Eric’s inappropriate behavior, he immediately took his son
out of the game and sat him on the bench. The player who replaced Eric in
the lineup was not as good a pitcher, and the team lost the game.

Leadership Snapshot: Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates,
Founders, The Giving Pledge

© Getty image 71299964 by Spencer Platt.

It started with three billionaires promising to give away half their
fortune during their lifetimes and now encompasses more than 150
other super-rich families from around the world promising to do the
same thing (Giving Pledge, 2016).

The Giving Pledge was spearheaded in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates
and Warren Buffett, Nos. 1 and 2 respectively on the Forbes list of the
world’s richest people, to encourage a new era in philanthropy. Instead
of waiting until they die to give away their money, billionaires are
encouraged by the Giving Pledge to make donations earlier in their
lives while they can still choose how to spend it.


“I don’t know anyone who can’t live on $500 million,” Buffet has said
(Frank, 2011).

The pledge is simple: The signers have to be billionaires, and they have
to promise to give away at least half of their fortunes during their
lifetimes. There are no constraints on where the money goes; causes
supported by the pledge thus far have ranged from helping farmers in
Appalachia to developing a major drug used to treat breast cancer to
funding Jewish schools.

The pledge is less about the financial promise than it is about a public
statement meant to inspire others, say the organizers. The pledge has
also created a de facto “club” of sorts, where the signers get together on
a regular basis to compare notes and share ideas.

“The goal is to raise the visibility of philanthropy and the great things it
can do,” says Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. Through these
gatherings, billionaires swap experiences and frustrations and debate
strategies for how to give away their wealth. “People are collaborating
more than they would have otherwise,” Gates says (Fowler, 2012).

The pledge is just that: a nonbinding promise to give away at least half
of one’s fortune while alive or in a will. It doesn’t impose any penalties
for failing to give it away. The Giving Pledge is coordinated by the Bill
& Melinda Gates Foundation, but the foundation doesn’t keep track of
signatories’ donations.

Gates, however, doesn’t think the pledge will have a problem with
signatories keeping their promises. “They are making a commitment in
the court of public opinion,” he says (Fowler, 2012).

For some critics, the pledge has raised questions about the power of the
super-wealthy using these donations to shape issues of public concern
like education and health care. Some have said that the pledge is a
reminder of the economic disparities between the haves and have-nots
and that if you have money you can control things, including charities.

“There is already a wide financial disparity between large and small
nonprofits and between those institutions that serve disadvantaged
populations and those that cater to more established constituencies,”
writes Pablo Eisenberg of the Georgetown McCourt School of Public
Policy’s Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership. “The pledges will
invariably increase that gap, broadening the inequities in our nonprofit
and charitable system” (Eisenberg, 2011).


But one young billionaire, 28-year-old Facebook founder Mark
Zuckerberg, signed the pledge and immediately made good on it by
donating $100 million to Newark, New Jersey’s public schools.

“There’s so much that needs to be done, it would be better to start
now,” he says (Guth & Fowler, 2010).

Fellow billionaire and Giving Pledge signer Nicolas Berggruen agrees.
“Wealth is an advantage, but it also is frankly a responsibility” (Guth &
Fowler, 2010).

After the game, Richard received a lot of criticism. In addition to Eric
being mad at him, the parents of the other players were very angry. Some
of the parents came to Richard and told him that he should not have pulled
his son out of the game because it caused the team to lose.

In this example, the other players’ parents failed to recognize what Richard
was doing as a coach. Richard made a strong effort to be fair to all the
players by treating his son the way he would treat any player who acted
out. He set a standard of good sportsmanship; when his own son violated
the rules, he was disciplined. Richard’s actions were ethical, but coaching
the team as he did was not easy. He did the right thing, but there were

This example underscores the importance of the actions of a leader. A
leader’s actions play a significant role in determining whether that leader
is ethical or unethical.

3. The Goals of the Leader
The goals that a leader establishes are the third factor related to ethical
leadership. How a leader uses goals to influence others says a lot about the
leader’s ethics. For example, Adolf Hitler was able to convince millions of
people that the eradication of the Jews was justified. It was an evil goal,
and he was an immoral leader. The al-Qaeda terrorists’ attack on targets in
the United States was motivated by a goal to seek retribution for the
United States’ stance on Middle East affairs. On the positive side, Mother
Teresa’s goal to help the poor and disenfranchised was moral. Similarly,
Habitat for Humanity’s goal to build houses for the disadvantaged is
moral. All of these examples highlight the significant role that goals play
in determining whether leadership is ethical. The goals a leader selects are


a reflection of the leader’s ethics.

Goals and Unethical Leadership

Identifying and pursuing just and worthy goals are the most important
steps an ethical leader will undertake. In choosing goals, an ethical leader
must assess the relative value and worth of his or her goals. In the process,
it is important for the leader to take into account the interests of others in
the group or organization and, in some cases, the interests of the
community and larger culture in which he or she works. An ethical leader
tries to establish goals on which all parties can mutually agree. An ethical
leader with ethical goals will not impose his or her will on others.

Jacob Heckert, president of a regional health insurance company, is an
example of a leader who used his leadership for worthwhile goals. Jacob
believed in community service and advocated, but did not demand, that his
employees engage in community service as well. Because he had several
friends with diabetes and two of his employees had died of end-stage renal
disease, Jacob was particularly interested in supporting the National
Kidney Foundation. To promote his cause, he urged his entire company of
4,000 employees to join him in raising money for the National Kidney
Foundation’s 5K. Each employee who signed up was responsible for
raising $100. Everyone who participated received a free water bottle and

On the day of the rally, Jacob was surprised when more than 1,800
employees from his company showed up to participate. The rally was a
great success, raising more than $180,000 for the National Kidney
Foundation. The employees felt good about being able to contribute to a
worthy cause, and they enjoyed the community spirit that surrounded the
event. Jacob was extremely pleased that his goals had been realized.

4. The Honesty of the Leader
Another major factor that contributes to ethical leadership is honesty.
More than any other quality, people want their leaders to be honest. In fact,
it could be said that being honest is synonymous with being ethical.


When we were children, we were frequently told by grown-ups to “never
tell a lie.” To be good meant telling the truth. For leaders, the lesson is the
same. To be an ethical leader, a leader needs to be honest.

Dishonesty is a form of lying, a way of misrepresenting reality. Dishonesty
may bring with it many negative outcomes, the foremost of which is that it
creates distrust. When a leader is not honest, others come to see that leader
as undependable and unreliable. They lose faith in what the leader says
and stands for, and their respect for this individual is diminished. As a
result, the leader’s impact is compromised because others no longer trust
and believe what he or she says.

Dishonesty also has a negative effect on a leader’s interpersonal
relationships. It puts a strain on how the leader and followers are
connected to each other. When a leader lies to others, the leader in essence
is saying that manipulation of others is acceptable. For example, when a
boss does not come forth with a raise he promised, an employee will begin
to distrust the boss. The long-term effect of this type of behavior, if
ongoing, is a weakened relationship. Dishonesty, even when used with
good intentions, contributes to the breakdown of relationships.

Emerging From Scandal

But being honest is not just about the leader telling the truth. It also has to
do with being open with others and representing reality as fully and
completely as possible. This is not an easy task because there are times
when telling the complete truth can be destructive or counterproductive.
The challenge for a leader is to strike a balance between being open and
candid, and at the same time monitoring what is appropriate to disclose in
a particular situation.

An example of this delicate balance can be seen in a story about Dan
Johnson. Dan was hired to work as an executive with a large
manufacturing company. The new job required Dan and his family to leave
the small Michigan community they lived in, giving up jobs and friends, to
move to Chicago. The family put its house on the market and began
looking for a new home and jobs in Chicago. A few days after Dan started,


his boss, Justin Godfrey, took him aside and told him that he should not
sell his Michigan house at that time. Justin suggested that Dan postpone
his move by using his wife’s job as an excuse when people inquired why
the family had not moved to Chicago. Justin could not tell him any more,
but Dan knew something major was about to happen. It did. The company
announced a merger a few months later, and Dan’s job in Chicago was
eliminated. Justin was required to keep the merger news quiet, but if he
had not confided the little information that he did, members of Dan’s
family would have uprooted their lives only to have them uprooted again.
They would have experienced not only financial losses but emotional ones
as well.

This example illustrates that it is important for a leader to be authentic. At
the same time, it is essential that leaders be sensitive to the attitudes and
feelings of others. Honest leadership involves a wide set of behaviors,
which includes being truthful in appropriate ways.

5. The Power of the Leader
Another factor that plays a role in ethical leadership is power. Power is the
capacity to influence or affect others. A leader has power because he or
she has the ability to affect others’ beliefs, attitudes, and courses of action.
Religious leaders, managers, coaches, and teachers are all people who
have the potential to influence others. When they use their potential, they
are using their power as a resource to effect change in others.

The most widely cited research on power is French and Raven’s (1959)
work on the bases of social power. French and Raven identified five
common and important bases of power: referent power, expert power,
legitimate power, reward power, and coercive power (see Table 12.2).
Each of these types of power increases a leader’s capacity to have an
impact on others, and each has the potential to be abused.

Power and Ethics

Since power can be used in positive ways to benefit others or in
destructive ways to hurt others, a leader needs to be aware of and sensitive


to how he or she uses power. How a leader uses power says a great deal
about that leader’s ethics. Power is not inherently bad, but it can be used in
negative ways.

As discussed in Chapter 1, “Understanding Leadership,” there is dark side
of leadership where a leader uses his or her influence or power for
personal ends. Unfortunately, there are many examples in the world of
such leaders. One example was Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq
from 1979 to 2003. Recognized widely as a brutal dictator, Hussein was a
Sunni Muslim (a minority in Iraq), a sect of Islam that has a centuries-old
conflict with the country’s majority Shi’a Muslims and ethnic Kurds.
When Hussein assumed power, he used his security forces to
systematically murder anyone who opposed him. Many of these were
genocidal massacres of innocent Iraqi citizens who were Shi’a Muslims
and ethnic Kurds. The number of Iraqis murdered by Hussein’s forces is
unknown, but it is believed to be more than 250,000. Another example of a
leader using power in unethical and destructive ways is Jim Jones, an
American who set up a religious cult in the country of Guyana, and who
led more than 900 of his followers to commit suicide by drinking cyanide-
laced punch. While these are extreme examples, power can also be abused
in everyday leadership. For example, a supervisor who forces an employee
to work every weekend by threatening to fire the worker if she or he does
not comply is being unethical in the use of power. Another example is a
high school cross-country track coach who is highly admired by his
runners, but who requires them to take costly health food supplements
even though the supplements are not proven effective by standard medical
guidelines. There are many ways that power can be abused by a leader.
From the smallest to the largest forms of influence, a leader needs to try to
be fair and caring in his or her leadership.

Table 12.2 Five Bases of Power
Table 12.2 Five Bases of Power


Based on followers’
identification and liking
for the leader

Example: A college
professor who is highly
admired by students

2. Expert

Based on the followers’
perceptions of the
leader’s competence

Example: A person with
strong knowledge about a
software program



Associated with having
status or formal job

Example: A judge who
presides over a court case

4. Reward

Derived from having the
capacity to provide
benefits to others

Example: A supervisor
who can give bonuses to


Derived from being able
to penalize or punish

Example: A teacher who
can lower a student’s grade
for missing class

Source: Based on French and Raven (1959).

The key to not misusing power is to be constantly vigilant and aware of the
way one’s leadership affects others. An ethical leader does not wield
power or dominate, but instead takes into account the will of the followers,
as well as the leader’s own will. An ethical leader uses power to work with
followers to accomplish their mutual goals.

6. The Values of the Leader
A final factor that contributes to understanding ethical leadership is
values. Values are the ideas, beliefs, and modes of action that people find
worthwhile or desirable. Some examples of values are peace, justice,
integrity, fairness, and community. A leader’s ethical values are
demonstrated in everyday leadership.

Values and Leadership

Scholar James MacGregor Burns suggested that there are three kinds of
leadership values: ethical values, such as kindness and altruism; modal
values, such as responsibility and accountability; and end values, such as
justice and community (Ciulla, 2003). Ethical values are similar to the
notion of character discussed earlier in this chapter. Modal values are
concerned with the means or actions a leader takes. End values describe
the outcomes or goals a leader seeks to achieve. End values are present


the outcomes or goals a leader seeks to achieve. End values are present
when a person addresses broad issues such as liberty and justice. These
three kinds of values are interrelated in ethical leadership.

In leadership situations, both the leader and the follower have values, and
these values are seldom the same. A leader brings his or her own unique
values to leadership situations, and followers do the same. The challenge
for the ethical leader is to be faithful to his or her own leadership values
while being sensitive to the followers’ values.

For example, a leader in an organization may value community and
encourage his or her employees to work together and seek consensus in
planning. However, the leader’s followers may value individuality and
self-expression. This creates a problem because these values are seemingly
in conflict. In this situation, an ethical leader needs to find a way to
advance his or her own interests in creating community without destroying
the followers’ interests in individuality. There is a tension between these
different values; an ethical leader needs to negotiate through these
differences to find the best outcome for everyone involved. While the list
of possible conflicts of values is infinite, finding common ground between
a leader and followers is usually possible, and is essential to ethical

In the social services sector, where there are often too few resources and
too many people in need, leaders constantly struggle with decisions that
test their values. Because resources are scarce, a leader has to decide
where to allocate the resources; these decisions communicate a lot about
the leader’s values. For example, in mentoring programs such as Big
Brothers Big Sisters, the list of children in need is often much longer than
the list of available mentors. How do administrators decide which child is
going to be assigned a mentor? They decide based on their values and the
values of the people with whom they work. If they believe that children
from single-parent households should have higher priority, then those
children will be put at the top of the list. As this example illustrates,
making ethical decisions is challenging for a leader, especially in
situations where resources are scarce.

Culture and Leadership Ethics
The world today is globally connected in ways it never has been before.


Through your lifetime, you will undoubtedly be exposed to and work with
individuals from cultures very different than your own. As a leader, it is
important to recognize that not every culture shares the same ethical ideals
as yours. Different cultures have different rules of conduct, and as a result,
leadership behaviors that one culture deems ethical may not be viewed the
same way by another culture.

Culture and Ethics

For example, Resick, Hanges, Dickson, and Mitchelson (2006) found that
Nordic European cultures such as Denmark and Sweden place more
importance on a leader’s character and integrity—defined as a leader
behaving in a manner that is just, honest, sincere, and trustworthy—than
Middle Eastern cultures such as those in Egypt, Turkey, and Qatar.

Another example is the use of bribery in business practices. Bribery
(offering money or gifts in exchange for favorable treatment or influence)
to obtain business is forbidden for U.S. companies, no matter where on the
globe they are doing business, and offenders can face jail terms and large
fines. However, in some countries, bribery is a norm, and business can’t be
transacted without it. In China, for example, it is expected in business
relationships that there will be the giving of carefully chosen gifts to
convey respect and that the business relationship is valued by the giver. It
is considered a matter of business etiquette (Pitta, Fung, & Isberg, 1999).
And, until 1999, bribes were tax deductible and seen as a necessary part of
conducting business in Germany.

There is a strong demand for ethical leaders in our society today. This
chapter answers the question “What does it take to be an ethical leader?”
Ethical leadership is defined as a process in which a good person acts in
the right ways to accomplish worthy goals. There are six factors related to
ethical leadership.

First, character is fundamental to ethical leadership. A leader’s character
refers to who the leader is as a person and his or her core values. The Six


caring, and citizenship.

Second, ethical leadership is explained by the actions of the leader—the
means a leader uses to accomplish goals. An ethical leader engages in
showing respect, serving others, and showing justice.

Third, ethical leadership is about the goals of the leader. The goals a leader
selects reflect his or her values. Selecting goals that are meaningful and
worthwhile is one of the most important decisions an ethical leader needs
to make.

Fourth, ethical leadership is concerned with the honesty of the leader.
Without honesty, a leader cannot be ethical. In telling the truth, a leader
needs to strike a balance between openness and sensitivity to others.

Fifth, power plays a role in ethical leadership. A leader has an ethical
obligation to use power for the influence of the common good of others.
The interests of followers need to be taken into account, and the leader
needs to work with followers to accomplish mutual ends.

Finally, ethical leadership is concerned with the values of the leader. An
ethical leader has strong values and promotes positive values within his or
her organization. Because leaders and followers often have conflicting
values, a leader needs to be able to express his or her values and integrate
these values with others’ values.

In summary, ethical leadership has many dimensions. To be an ethical
leader, you need to pay attention to who you are, what you do, what goals
you seek, your honesty, the way you use power, and your values.

Glossary Terms
actions 276
character 275
end values 285
ethical leadership 274
ethical values 285
goals 282
honesty 282
modal values 285


modal values 285
power 284
values 285

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12.1 Case Study: The Write Choice
Each semester, community college professor Julia Ramirez requires her
students to do a 10-hour community service project at a nonprofit
agency of their choice and write a paper about the experience. In the
paper, they are to discuss their volunteer experience and incorporate
concepts presented in class into this reflection. This is the sixth
semester that Professor Ramirez has used this assignment, and she has
always received positive feedback about the benefits of the assignment
from her students and the nonprofits.

The community college that Professor Ramirez works at is making an
effort to be “green” and, in order to cut down on paper usage, requests
that faculty and staff utilize online tools for giving and receiving
assignments and providing feedback to students. Professor Ramirez
takes advantage of these green initiatives, requiring her community
learning papers to all be turned in electronically at noon on the last
Friday before exams. She likes having the papers turned in
electronically because it has significantly cut down on late papers and it
is now very easy to check student work for plagiarism.

That day has arrived, and Professor Ramirez downloads her student
papers from the class webpage and begins to grade them. The papers
are informal in nature, written in first-person narrative as if the students
were talking directly to Professor Ramirez. After grading a number of
papers, Professor Ramirez comes to the paper written by student Kelly


Declan. Kelly’s paper reads less like a personal narrative and more like
a brochure for the organization where she volunteered. At first,
Professor Ramirez is impressed with the amount of detail that Kelly
retained from volunteering, but after reading part of the paper, she
becomes suspicious. To be safe, Professor Ramirez decides to copy a
passage from Kelly’s paper into her Internet search engine to see if it
matches any other published sources. It does; in fact, it is a direct match
for an online brochure of a similar organization in a neighboring state.
Professor Ramirez tests a few more sections from Kelly’s paper and
finds that 90% of it was plagiarized from this one source on the

Plagiarism is taken very seriously at the college. Students accused of
plagiarism are reported to the student review board, and if the board
confirms that a student’s work is not his or her own, the student is
dismissed from the college. Students who have been dismissed for
plagiarism are able to reapply to the college after waiting one semester,
and if they are readmitted, they are placed on academic probation for a

Despite the college’s policy, Professor Ramirez is conflicted about how
to deal with this situation. She knows that Kelly had a very difficult
semester. Her mother is ill with cancer, and during the semester, Kelly
drove twice a week to her hometown two hours away to take her mother
to doctor’s appointments and chemotherapy. Knowing this, Professor
Ramirez accommodated Kelly’s schedule during the semester so that
she did not have to drop the course. This is also Kelly’s last semester
before graduation, and she will be the first person in her family to
graduate from college. Kelly also has a job lined up after graduation, for
which Professor Ramirez wrote her a letter of recommendation, and if
she does not graduate, she will most likely lose the job. Losing the job
will be certain if Kelly is ejected from the college.

Professor Ramirez decides not to report the incident of plagiarism to the
review board right away. She chooses instead to approach Kelly one-
on-one and will proceed based on what Kelly has to say. During their
meeting, it is apparent to Professor Ramirez that Kelly did complete the
required service hours but was overwhelmed when it came to writing
the paper. Kelly had let the assignment go until the very end and then
when she had to write it, she could only come up with one page rather
than the three pages required. She added the plagiarized information to
make the paper reach the required length. Kelly is genuinely remorseful
and admits she is terrified of the consequences.


having Kelly kicked out of school would benefit the college or Kelly.
Despite going against college policy, Professor Ramirez believes her
behavior is consistent with her personal values of acknowledging that
people make mistakes and deserve second chances. She personally felt
that this behavior was out of character for Kelly and, had Kelly not been
under tremendous personal and academic stress, she wouldn’t have
acted in this way.

1. Even though Professor Ramirez deviated from the college’s policy

regarding plagiarism, do you feel that she acted ethically?
2. If you were a student in this class and learned Professor Ramirez

made an exception for this student, would you think she acted
ethically? Explain.

3. In Table 12.1, the Six Pillars of Character are detailed. Which of
these six pillars did Professor Ramirez display in consideration for
her student, and how?

4. Professor Ramirez’s actions ultimately brought into question
whether or not the ends justify the means. Do you feel that her
leniency in this case made her a stronger or more ethical leader?

12.2 Sample Items From the Ethical
Leadership Style Questionnaire


1. To develop an understanding of your ethical leadership style
2. To understand how your preferred ethical leadership style relates

to other ethical leadership styles


1. Please read the following 10 hypothetical situations in which a
leader is confronted with an ethical dilemma.

2. Place yourself in the role of the leader or manager in the situation.
3. For each situation, indicate with an “X” your most preferred

response. Your most preferred response is the response that best
describes why you would do what you would do in that particular
situation. Choose only one response. There are no right or wrong


situation. Choose only one response. There are no right or wrong

Response alternatives explained:

I would do what is right: this option means you follow a set of
moral rules and do what is expected of you when facing an ethical
dilemma. You focus on fulfilling your moral obligations and
doing your duty.
I would do what benefits the most people: this option means you
try to do what is best for the most people overall when facing an
ethical dilemma. You focus on what will result in happiness for
the largest number of individuals.
I would do what a good person would do: this option means that
you pull from who you are (your character) when facing an ethical
dilemma. You act out of integrity and you are faithful to your own
I would do what shows that I care about my close relationships:
this option means that you give attention to your relationships
when facing an ethical dilemma. You may give special
consideration to those with whom you share a personal bond or
I would do what benefits me the most: this option means that you
do what is best for accomplishing your personal goals and
objectives when facing an ethical dilemma. You are not afraid to
assert your own interests when resolving problems.
I would do what is fair: this option means that you focus on
treating others fairly when facing an ethical dilemma. You try to
make sure the benefits and burdens of decisions are shared
equitably between everyone concerned.


1. You are the leader of a manufacturing team and learn that your
employees are falsifying product quality results to sell more
products. If you report the matter, most of them will lose their
jobs, you may lose yours, and your company will take a
significant hit to its reputation. What would you do in this

□ A. I would do what is right.
□ B. I would do what benefits the most people.
□ C. I would do what a good person would do.
□ D. I would do what shows that I care about my


□ E. I would do what benefits me the most.
□ F. I would do what is fair.

2. You have an employee who has been having performance
problems, which is making it hard for your group to meet its work
quota. This person was recommended to you as a solid performer.
You now believe the person’s former manager had problems with
the employee and just wanted to get rid of the person. If you give
the underperforming employee a good recommendation, leaving
out the performance problems, you will have an opportunity to
pass the employee off to another group. What would you do in
this situation?

□ A. I would do what is right.
□ B. I would do what benefits the most people.
□ C. I would do what a good person would do.
□ D. I would do what shows that I care about my
□ E. I would do what benefits me the most.
□ F. I would do what is fair.

3. Your team is hard-pressed to complete a critical project. You hear
about a job opening that would be much better for one of your key
employees’ career. If this individual leaves the team, it would put
the project in danger. What would you do in this situation?

□ A. I would do what is right.
□ B. I would do what benefits the most people.
□ C. I would do what a good person would do.
□ D. I would do what shows that I care about my
□ E. I would do what benefits me the most.
□ F. I would do what is fair.

4. An employee of yours has a child with a serious illness and is
having trouble fulfilling obligations at work. You learn from your
administrative assistant that this employee claimed 40 hours on a
timesheet for a week when the employee actually only worked 30
hours. What would you do in this situation?

□ A. I would do what is right.
□ B. I would do what benefits the most people.
□ C. I would do what a good person would do.
□ D. I would do what shows that I care about my
□ E. I would do what benefits me the most.
□ F. I would do what is fair.


management becomes aware of this, they will want you to
increase the quotas. Some of your employees are unable to meet
their current quotas. What would you do in this situation?

□ A. I would do what is right.
□ B. I would do what benefits the most people.
□ C. I would do what a good person would do.
□ D. I would do what shows that I care about my
□ E. I would do what benefits me the most.
□ F. I would do what is fair.

6. You are an organization’s chief financial officer, and you are
aware that the chief executive officer and other members of the
senior leadership team want to provide exaggerated financial
information to keep the company’s stock price high. The entire
senior management team holds significant stock positions. What
would you do in this situation?

□ A. I would do what is right.
□ B. I would do what benefits the most people.
□ C. I would do what a good person would do.
□ D. I would do what shows that I care about my
□ E. I would do what benefits me the most.
□ F. I would do what is fair.

7. Two new employees have joined your accounting team right out
of school. They are regularly found surfing the Internet or texting
on their phones. Your accounting work regularly requires
overtime at the end of the month to get the financial reports
completed. These employees refuse to do any overtime, which
shifts work to other team members. The other team members are
getting resentful and upset. What would you do in this situation?

□ A. I would do what is right.
□ B. I would do what benefits the most people.
□ C. I would do what a good person would do.
□ D. I would do what shows that I care about my
□ E. I would do what benefits me the most.
□ F. I would do what is fair.

8. You are the director of a neighborhood food cooperative. A
member—a single parent with four children—is caught
shoplifting $30 in groceries from the co-op. You suspect this
person has been stealing for years. You consider pressing charges.


shoplifting $30 in groceries from the co-op. You suspect this
person has been stealing for years. You consider pressing charges.
What would you do in this situation?

□ A. I would do what is right.
□ B. I would do what benefits the most people.
□ C. I would do what a good person would do.
□ D. I would do what shows that I care about my
□ E. I would do what benefits me the most.
□ F. I would do what is fair.

9. You have been accused of discriminating against a particular
gender in your hiring practices. A new position opens up, and you
could hire a candidate of the gender you’ve been accused of
discriminating against over a candidate of another gender, even
though the latter candidate has slightly better qualifications.
Hiring the former candidate would let you address this accusation
and improve your reputation in the company. What would you do
in this situation?

□ A. I would do what is right.
□ B. I would do what benefits the most people.
□ C. I would do what a good person would do.
□ D. I would do what shows that I care about my
□ E. I would do what benefits me the most.
□ F. I would do what is fair.

10. You are a professor. One of your best students buys an essay
online and turns it in for a grade. Later in the term, the student
begins to feel guilty and confesses to you that the paper was
purchased. It is the norm at the university to fail a student guilty of
plagiarism. You must decide if you will flunk the student. What
would you do in this situation?

□ A. I would do what is right.
□ B. I would do what benefits the most people.
□ C. I would do what a good person would do.
□ D. I would do what shows that I care about my
□ E. I would do what benefits me the most.
□ F. I would do what is fair.

To score the questionnaire, sum the number of times you selected items


A, B, C, D, E, or F. The sum of A responses represents your preference
for Duty Ethics, the sum of B responses represents your preference for
Utilitarian Ethics, the sum of C responses represents your preference
for Virtue Ethics, the sum of D responses represents your preference for
Caring Ethics, the sum of E responses represents your preference for
Egoism Ethics, and the sum of F responses represents your preference
for Justice Ethics. Place these sums in the Total Scores section that

Total Scores

A. Duty Ethics: ______________
B. Utilitarian Ethics: __________
C. Virtue Ethics: ______________
D. Caring Ethics: ____________
E. Egoism Ethics: ____________
F. Justice Ethics: ____________

Scoring Interpretation

The scores you received on this questionnaire provide information
about your ethical leadership style; they represent your preferred way of
addressing ethical dilemmas. Given a situation with an ethical dilemma,
this questionnaire points to what ethical perspective is behind the
choices you would make to resolve the dilemma. As you look at your
total scores, your highest score represents your primary or dominant
ethical leadership style, your second-highest score is the next most
important, and so on. If you scored 0 for a category, it means that you
put lower priority on that particular ethical approach to guide your
decision making when facing ethical dilemmas.

If you scored higher on Duty Ethics, it means you follow a set of
moral rules and do what is expected of you when facing an ethical
dilemma. You focus on fulfilling your moral obligations and
doing your duty.
If you scored higher on Utilitarian Ethics, it means that you try to
do what is best for the most people overall when facing an ethical
dilemma. You focus on what will result in happiness for the
largest number of individuals.
If you scored higher on Virtue Ethics, it means that you pull from
who you are (your character) when facing an ethical dilemma.
You act out of integrity and you are faithful to your own
If you scored higher on Caring Ethics, it means that you give


a personal bond or commitment.
If you scored higher on Egoism Ethics, it means that you do what
is best for accomplishing your personal goals and objectives when
facing an ethical dilemma. You are not afraid to assert your own
interests when resolving problems.
If you scored higher on Justice Ethics, it means that you focus on
treating others fairly when facing an ethical dilemma. You try to
make sure the benefits and burdens of decisions are shared
equitably between everyone concerned.

By comparing your scores regarding each of these ethical perspectives,
you can get a sense of what is important to you when addressing an
ethical concern. Obviously, if you scored low on in any of these
categories, it suggests that you give less priority to that ethical
perspective. All of the ethical perspectives have merit, so there is no
“best” perspective to maintain.

This questionnaire is intended as a self-assessment exercise. Although
each ethical approach is presented as a discrete category, it is possible
that one category may overlap with another category. It is also possible
that you may have an ethical leadership style that is not fully captured
in this questionnaire. Since this questionnaire is an abridged version of
an expanded questionnaire, you may wish to take the entire
questionnaire to gain a more accurate reflection of your ethical
approach. It can be taken at

Source: Adapted from Walter R. Baehrend Jr. Ethical Leadership Style

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

12.3 Observational Exercise

Ethical Leadership


1. To become aware of the dimensions of ethical leadership
2. To assess how actual leaders exhibit ethical leadership


1. To become aware of the dimensions of ethical leadership
2. To assess how actual leaders exhibit ethical leadership


1. For this exercise, you must observe a public presentation of a
leader in your community. This can be a pastor, a college
president, a mayor, a city commissioner, the head of a social
service agency, or some other community leader.

2. Record what you observe about the leader’s ethics in the
categories that follow. Try to be thorough in your descriptions of
the leader’s presentation.

Leader’s name: ____________________________ Leader’s
title: ______________________________________

Occasion: ___________________________________

1. The character of the leader: What was the leader like? What
kind of person was the leader? What were the leader’s strengths
and weaknesses?

2. The actions of the leader: How does this leader go about
accomplishing goals? Where does the leader stand on (1)
showing respect, (2) serving others, and (3) showing justice?

3. The goals of the leader: What were the leader’s main goals?
Were the leader’s goals clear to you and others in the audience?
How would you assess the value and worth of those goals?

4. The honesty of the leader: What did you observe about this
leader’s honesty? Was the leader open and forthright? How
authentic did you find this leader to be?

5. The power of the leader: Based on French and Raven’s (1959)
types of power, what kind of power did this leader exhibit? What
did you observe about how this leader would use his or her
power with others?


6. The values of the leader: Based on the presentation, what do
you think this leader values? What is important to this leader?
What values did this leader promote in his or her presentation?


1. What is your overall assessment of this leader’s ethics?
2. What specific examples in the leader’s presentation were

particularly revealing of the leader’s ethics?
3. Which factors of ethical leadership (character, actions, goals,

honesty, power, and values) were most apparent in the leader’s
presentation? Discuss.

4. On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you describe this speaker’s
ethical leadership? Defend your answer.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

12.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet

Ethical Leadership


1. This chapter suggests that leadership has a moral dimension and
that leaders have a responsibility to use their authority for the
common good. Do you agree? Discuss.

2. When you consider the character of a leader and what a leader
does (the leader’s actions), which of these two factors is more
important with regard to ethical leadership? Can a person with bad
character be an ethical leader? Discuss your answers.

3. In this chapter, the circumstances at Abu Ghraib prison are used as
an example of unethical leadership. Do you agree with this
assessment? How do you view what happened at Abu Ghraib?


reaction to the story? Do you think Richard was an ethical leader?
How would you have responded in this situation?


1. Based on your responses to the Ethical Leadership Styles
Questionnaire, what are your core values? Do you think other
people know your core values? Are you comfortable talking about
these values with others? In your planning for the future (e.g., next
five years), how will your values influence what you do? Discuss.

2. Character is a fundamental aspect of ethical leadership. What are
your character strengths and weaknesses? List three specific
actions you could take to strengthen your character.

3. In the Observational Exercise (12.3), you observed and analyzed
the ethical leadership of a specific leader. If you were to apply the
same analysis to your own leadership, how would you describe
yourself? What factors best explain the ethics of your own
leadership? If you were to try to become a more ethical leader,
what specific changes should you make in your leadership?

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

Baehrend, W. R., Jr. (2017). Ethical leadership style questionnaire.

Retrieved from

Beauchamp, T. L., & Bowie, N. E. (1988). Ethical theory and business
(3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Bowie, N. E. (1991). Challenging the egoistic paradigm. Business Ethics
Quarterly, 1(1), 1–21.

Ciulla, J. B. (2003). The ethics of leadership. Belmont, CA:


Ciulla, J. B. (2003). The ethics of leadership. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Eisenberg, P. (2011, January 11). Unintended consequences of Giving
Pledge’s good intentions. Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved from

Fowler, G. (2012, September 19). More billionaires sign on to giving
money away. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

Frank, R. (2011, October 27). The biggest gift in the world. WSJ
Magazine. Retrieved from

French, J. R., Jr., & Raven, B. (1959). The bases of social power. In D.
Cartwright (Ed.), Studies in social power (pp. 150–167). Ann Arbor,
MI: Institute for Social Research.

Giving Pledge. (2016). Current pledgers. Retrieved from

Guth, R. A., & Fowler, G. A. (2010, December 9). 16 tycoons agree to
give away fortunes. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

Johnson, C. R. (2005). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership (2nd
ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Josephson Institute. (2008). The Six Pillars of Character. Los Angeles,
CA: Author.


Kanungo, R. N. (2001). Ethical values of transactional and
transformational leaders. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences,
18(4), 257–265.

Kanungo, R. N., & Mendonca, M. (1996). Ethical dimensions of
leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Pitta, D. A., Fung, H.-G., & Isberg, S. (1999). Ethical issues across
cultures: managing the differing perspectives of China and the USA.
Journal of Consumer Marketing, 16(3), 240–256.

Resick, C. J., Hanges, P. J., Dickson, M. W., & Mitchelson, J. A. (2006).
A cross-cultural examination of the endorsement of ethical leadership.
Journal of Business Ethics, 63(4), 345–359.

Velasquez, M. G. (1992). Business ethics: Concepts and cases (3rd ed.).
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.


13 Overcoming Obstacles

“Life is difficult.” That is the first sentence in Scott Peck’s famous book
The Road Less Traveled (1978). Although hard for some to accept, Peck
told us that life is not going to be easy. Obstacles and struggles are an
integral part of life. In the work setting, the same is true. Because obstacles
always will be present, one of the most important things a leader can do is
to help others overcome these obstacles.

Should Leaders Help Their Followers Around Obstacles?

Obstacles Explained
What is an obstacle? It is a hindrance, problem, or hurdle that gets in the
way of followers and makes it difficult for followers to reach their goal.
Obstacles get in the way of what followers intend to do. Obstacles come in
many forms. It could be a physical thing (e.g., bad work space), a
psychological issue (e.g., closed-mindedness), or a task-related issue (e.g.,
a complex work process). In essence, anything that has a negative impact
on follower performance could be called an obstacle. There are many
examples of obstacles. For a busy person who wants to learn to play the
guitar, an obstacle could be finding enough time to practice. For a new
employee in a large hospital, an obstacle could be learning where the
different departments in the building are located. Or, for a fifth-year senior
who isn’t going to graduate, an obstacle could be a lack of motivation.

Obstacles are important for leaders to recognize because they provide clear
cues for what leaders can do to help followers. Addressing obstacles can
be very direct and practical. While some leadership theories are rather
esoteric and prescribe certain leadership strategies (e.g., be authentic),
addressing obstacles is a very concrete approach to leadership. For
example, if a leader asks followers “How can I help you?” or “What


problems are you having?” their answers will point directly to how the
leader can adapt his or her behavior to help the followers with their work.
Maybe followers want more direction or need to be challenged more;
either way, if the leader asks them about their concerns, the obstacles can
be remedied. Learning about and dealing with obstacles is a very effective
way to improve your leadership.

Overcoming Obstacles in Practice
Whether it is by listening to their complaints, encouraging them, or
providing counsel, there are many ways a leader can be helpful to his or
her followers. The first challenge in helping people with obstacles is to
figure out what the problems are; the second challenge is determining what
should be done to solve them. If a leader does this, followers will be more
motivated, productive, and satisfied with their work.

Engaging With Obstacles

Research conducted by House (1971, 1996) on path–goal leadership
directly addresses how a leader can assist others in overcoming obstacles
that hinder productivity. Path–goal leadership suggests that a leader should
choose a style that best fits the needs of individual group members and the
work they are doing. The leader should help these individuals define their
goals and the paths they wish to take to reach those goals. When obstacles
arise, the leader needs to help individuals confront them. This may mean
helping them to navigate around the obstacles, or it may mean helping
them remove the obstacles. The leader’s job is to help group members
reach their goals by directing, guiding, and coaching them along the way.

Based on ideas set forth in path–goal leadership theory, this chapter
addresses the obstacles that followers may face and how a leader can help
followers overcome them. Although people encounter many obstacles in
their lives, this chapter highlights seven major obstacles derived from
path–goal theory (see Figure 13.1). In the following section, each of the
obstacles will be described, and the various ways leaders can respond to
these obstacles will be explored.


Figure 13.1 Obstacles Hindering Goal Achievement

Obstacle 1: Unclear Goals
We have all known people who selected their career goals early in life.
You may remember a grade school friend who said she was going to be a
doctor and then subsequently went to college and medical school and
became a neurosurgeon. You may remember a high school friend who said
he was going to be in the movies and subsequently made it big in
Hollywood. These people stand out because they were especially goal
oriented—they knew what they wanted to do, and they did it. The problem
is that these people are the exception and not the rule. For most people,
finding their life goal is a real challenge.

Clarifying Goals

The same is true in leadership situations. It is not uncommon for
individuals to be unclear or confused about their goals. Whether it is the
salesperson who is required to meet a new sales quota, a hospital volunteer
who is supposed to help patients, or a high school student who must write
a term paper, people are often unclear about the goal or how to reach it.

Sometimes the goal is not known, sometimes it is obscure, and sometimes
it is hidden among a tangle of competing goals. When goals are not clearly
articulated and understood, individuals are less likely to be successful in
achieving them. Furthermore, they will be less excited about their work
and less gratified about their accomplishments.

It cannot be stressed enough that the leader needs to make goals clear and
understandable. Just as leaders need to provide a map in articulating their
vision (see Chapter 7, “Creating a Vision”), they must help others see the
goal, the end toward which everything else is being directed. All members


of a group deserve a clear picture of where their efforts are being directed.
When the goal is vague, the leader needs to clarify it. Similarly, if the goal
is embedded in a complex set of related goals, the leader needs to identify
a specific goal for group members and explain how it fits with all the other

The following list provides a few examples of leaders expressing clear
goals. The examples may not be glamorous, but they exemplify good

Football coach to team: “The goal for the defensive team this season
is to try to sack the opposing quarterback at least two times in every
High school physical education teacher to students: “At the
beginning of every class you are required to jog one lap around the
Orchestra conductor to orchestra: “Our upcoming rehearsals are
going to be difficult because the pieces we are playing are really
challenging. If we practice together every week for five hours, this
concert could be our best all year.”
Staff supervisor at a geriatric facility to volunteer staff: “By helping
the staff to fold the laundry of the patients living here, you will help
to reduce the spiraling costs of our facility.”
College speech teacher to students: “In this speech assignment, you
must make sure to do three things: (1) tell the audience what you are
going to tell them, (2) tell them, and (3) tell them what you have told

In each of these examples, the leaders are helping individuals identify and
clarify the goals of their work. The individuals doing the work will be
more effective and more satisfied as a result of knowing their goals.

Obstacle 2: Unclear Directions
Anyone who has ever bought something that needed to be assembled (e.g.,
a computer table or futon frame) knows how frustrating it is when the
directions are missing from the box, impossible to follow, or written in a
foreign language. No matter how much you want to put the product
together, you cannot do it. This is what happens in work situations when
leaders are not clear with their directions. Bad directions lead to ineffective



The Need for Clear Directions

A leader needs to define the path to the goal by giving clear directions.
Directions that are vague, confusing, rambling, imprecise, or incomplete
are not helpful to anyone. In fact, unclear directions can have a debilitating
effect on individuals. People lose their capacity to move forward when
they do not have clear directions on how to proceed. Some individuals are
lost without directions. They may have a picture of where they are headed,
but they do not know how to get there.

Giving clear directions takes thought and skill. For example, students in a
classroom want clear directions for their assignments. If the assignment is
a term paper, an effective teacher describes in detail the required
components. The teacher might require a two-paragraph introduction, a
thesis sentence, a conceptual framework, a review of the literature, a
discussion section, a conclusion, and a bibliography. When clear directions
are given, students have a sense of personal control because they know
what is required of them. When people know what they are supposed to do
and when they are supposed to do it, they can accomplish their work more

While giving clear directions is important, it is also important to be aware
that individuals vary in their need for direction. Some people want very
elaborate, specific instructions, while others want general directions that
allow them to proceed on their own. It is the leader’s job to adapt
directions to the needs of each individual.

Much like drivers who are relieved to have the navigation system tell them
what interstate exit to take, followers want direction from a calm leader
who tells them what they need to do and when they need to do it. When
they make a mistake or lose their way, they want the leader to redirect
them. Most important, group members want directions that are not
evaluative or critical. If they make mistakes, they want to be corrected in a
kind manner. A good leader will give directions that are helpful but not
judgmental. People appreciate straightforward directions, and like to hear
the leader say they “have arrived” when they get their work done.


Obstacle 3: Low Motivation
What should a leader do when individuals are not motivated? How does a
leader encourage followers to work when they do not want to work? How
can a leader make people excited about work? Answers to questions such
as these have been of interest to leaders for a long time. In fact, hundreds
of articles and books have been written in an effort to explain the
underpinnings of human motivation (see Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene
theory, 1968; Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, 1954; and Skinner’s
work on behaviorism, 1953). All these writings point to the complexity
and challenges leaders face in trying to motivate others.

Overcoming Low Motivation

Path–goal leadership incorporates expectancy theory as a way to motivate
others (House, 1996; Vroom, 1964). Expectancy theory suggests that
people will be more highly motivated when the effort they put into a task
leads to an expected outcome that they value. This occurs for individuals
when they feel competent, they get what they expect, and they value what
they do. If a leader can help individuals in these three areas, then
motivation will be high.

Help Others Feel Competent

All of us have a need to feel competent. We want to present ourselves in a
way that suggests to others (and ourselves) that we know what we are
doing. Whether it is learning how to play the guitar, how to swing a golf
club, or how to play blackjack, we all want to give a good performance.
Letting individuals know that they are competent is the first step in helping
them become more highly motivated. For example, after completing a
complex assignment, an employee would be gratified to hear the manager
say, “You did that assignment exactly the way it needed to be done.”

Help Others Get What They Expect

People are also more highly motivated when their expectations are met.


Knowing that effort will lead to an expected outcome is very important.
Achieving an expected result makes the effort worthwhile, but it is
disheartening and unmotivating when work does not lead to an expected
outcome. In a sense, when individuals do not achieve the results they
expect, they distrust the way the system works.

A leader should make sure the outcome that individuals expect from their
effort is achievable and will likely occur. A leader must be aware of what
outcome individuals expect, and confirm if those outcomes are realistic.

For example, if a salesperson is given a new quota to meet, he or she may
expect a pay increase or financial reward for achieving that goal. It is up to
the leader to clarify for the salesperson whether or not that reward is

Another example that illustrates this point involves a university instructor
who taught a course in public relations. The instructor assigned each group
in the class a client for which the student was to develop a campaign, and
gave the students a basic outline from which to work. One group struggled
with the assignment; the instructor met often with these students outside
class to help them develop their plan. At the end of the semester, the group
submitted a very basic plan that met the minimum requirements for the
assignment and received a C grade. Members of the group were very upset
with their grade and argued that they deserved a higher score because they
had done a lot of work, completed every task the instructor had given them
in their meetings, and met the requirements for the assignment outlined in
the syllabus. The instructor pointed out that higher grades were given to
those who went beyond the minimum requirements. It was clear to the
teacher that her expectations and those of her students were not the same.
As a result, when she taught the class again, the teacher specified that the
requirements outlined in the syllabus were only a starting point: Higher
grades were for those who met and exceeded these requirements in
developing their campaign plans. This example illustrates the importance
of a leader and the group members having a mutual understanding of the
expected outcomes.

Leadership Snapshot: Bill Courtney, Head Coach, Manassas High
School Football


© Matt Carr/Contributor/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty

Football coaches have challenges as part of the job: finding and
grooming talented players, tough opposing defenses, injured team
members. But in 2002, when Bill Courtney volunteered to coach
Manassas High School’s struggling football team in North Memphis,
Tennessee, an inner-city community, he faced some huge obstacles.

Manassas had had a record of 5–95 for the past 10 years, a roster of
only 17 players, a lack of equipment, and a reputation for the being the
district’s “doormat team.” It was rumored that larger schools would pay


to have Manassas be their homecoming game’s opponent so they would
be guaranteed a win.

But Courtney found the personal obstacles faced by his players just as
daunting. The players all lived in poverty, most didn’t have a father at
home, and some lived with a single grandparent or other relative. All of
them had close family members who had gone to jail, but few had any
who had been to college.

“When you’re in generational abject poverty and just hopelessness and
loss and you’re surrounded by it, and that’s all you see coming up, then
that’s all that you expect life is,” said Courtney. “If that’s what your
reality is and that’s all you see and you’ve never traveled more than 10
miles from the neighborhood you were born in, then why would anyone
expect [you] to have a road map to success?” (Ward-Henninger, 2013).

For Courtney, it became more than just teaching the basics of block, hit,
and tackle. A man who knows what it is to grow up without a father, he
found the job morphed into becoming a coach of his players’ character,
resolve, and integrity. As he quoted often to his players, “The measure
of a man’s character is determined not by how he handles his wins, but
by how he handles his failures.”

One of Courtney’s players, Chavis Daniels, joined the team after
spending 15 months in a juvenile detention facility and had serious
anger issues. At one point, he was suspended for several games during
the team’s season for fighting with an assistant coach. The fact Daniels
wasn’t just kicked off the team speaks to Courtney’s commitment to the
individuals and to the impact it ultimately has on those young men.
Despite the suspension, Daniels wanted to remain on the team because
“without football I’ve got nothing” (Lindsay & Martin, 2012).

But coaching doesn’t come without sacrifices for Courtney. The owner
of a successful lumber company and the father of four children of his
own, he admits that neither of these gets the attention it deserves during
football season.

In 2009, the team did the unthinkable: They went 9–1. While the
players were winning on the field, the coach was fighting other battles
off the field. Linebacker O. C. Brown, at 6-foot-2 and 315 pounds, had
a real shot at playing college football, but academically couldn’t
qualify. The coaching staff tried to arrange for tutors, only to be told no
one would come to Brown’s North Memphis neighborhood to tutor
him. The coaches hit upon a unique solution: Brown would live during
the week with one of the assistant coaches at his suburban home and


receive tutoring there. They succeeded: Brown achieved the required
score on his college entrance exam and was signed to play at the
University of Southern Mississippi.

Another student, Montrail Brown, was an academic standout, but an
undersized football player. He, too, dreamt of college. After suffering a
midseason knee injury that took him off the field, he stopped coming to
school. Courtney reached out to him, reminding him that football
doesn’t build character; it reveals character, and character is about how
you handle your failures. Williams continued his physical therapy and
was ultimately able to play in the playoff game. One of the team’s
assistant coaches, Jeff Germany, successfully found a donor willing to
pay 100% of Montrail’s college expenses.

“There’s a story under every helmet,” Courtney says. All of his players
are “equally important to me” and “willing to lay it on the line for [me].

“The only way you do that is to build a relationship with your players
and find out who they are: what their fears are, what excites them and
what hurts them and how you can yell at one kid to motivate him but
you have to pat another on the fanny right next to him because they’re
motivated by different stimulus. I believe you surround yourself with
good talent and you let players win games after you’ve won your
players” (Ward-Henninger, 2013).

Not only does a leader need to be sensitive to what others expect from his
or her work and make sure these expectations are realistic, but he or she
must also ensure that these expected outcomes are realized. For example,
if a student is promised additional points for doing an extra-credit
assignment, the teacher must make sure the student receives them.
Similarly, if a worker expects a raise in pay if he or she meets the new
sales quota, the leader needs to make sure the employee receives the pay

Help Others Value What They Do

The third aspect of motivating others has to do with outcomes. When
people place a high value on what they are doing, they are more motivated.
Without a valued outcome, people are not motivated to put effort toward a

An example about playing a musical instrument may illustrate this. When


Judy, a high school student, takes up a musical instrument (the trumpet),
her first concern is about competence. She wonders, “Can I play this
thing?” After taking lessons for a period, Judy’s thoughts turn to whether
or not she can do a solo recital. With long and hard practice, she is
successful in the recital. Finally, she asks herself, “What is all of this
worth?” This final phase is about the value of the outcome. If Judy really
wants to become a good trumpet player, she will continue to be motivated
to practice and play. If she does not find real value in playing, her
motivation will subside, and she may quit playing altogether.

As a leader, the challenge is to help others see the value in their work
performance. Whether this is done through monetary rewards, positive
personal feedback, or giving special achievement awards, the key is to
help others feel good about those things toward which they are directing
their energies.

In summary, the leader’s challenge to motivate others is threefold: to help
others feel competent, to help others get what they expect, and to help
others see the overall value of their work. When all three of these
conditions are met, individuals will be more highly motivated about their

Leadership and Problem Solving

Obstacle 4: Complex Tasks
Sometimes the obstacle facing people is the task itself. When a task is
unstructured, ambiguous, or complex, it creates an obstacle for individuals.
People are often frustrated and threatened when confronting complex
tasks. Some individuals may even be overwhelmed.

When a task is complex, the leader needs to use a directive leadership
style—to “take charge” and clarify the path to the goal. Directive leaders
give others instruction, including what is expected of them, how it is to be
done, and a timeline for when it should be completed. Being directive
means setting clear standards of performance and making rules and


regulations clear for others. When a leader simplifies complex tasks, it
helps followers to feel more competent about their work.

Being Directive

The following example illustrates how a supervisor effectively used
directive leadership to help one employee become more productive in her
work. Jill Jones was one of four administrative staff working for a team of
45 people in product development at a large corporation. Her job was to do
payroll, scheduling, requisitions, and a number of other secretarial tasks as
needed. Jill had multiple tasks to coordinate but often seemed
overwhelmed about which task to do first. Jill’s supervisor recognized that
she was having difficulty with her job and decided that Jill needed some
guidance in managing her work demands. To reduce Jill’s stress, the
supervisor reassigned one of Jill’s overdue work assignments to another
employee. Next, the supervisor met with Jill and asked her to list all of her
work responsibilities and the day of the month that each had to be
completed. The supervisor had Jill fill out a calendar detailing the days of
the week when each specific task needed to be completed (e.g., Monday 9
A.M. to noon—payroll; Tuesday, 3–5 P.M.— requisitions). Jill felt
relieved after she worked through this process with her supervisor, and the
whole process was win-win. Jill felt better about her work, and her boss
was getting more work done. The manager had removed obstacles that
were keeping Jill from adequately carrying out her job assignments.

To summarize, Jill was facing a complex group of tasks, and her supervisor
responded appropriately with directive leadership. By reducing the
complexity of the task, the supervisor effectively assisted Jill in feeling
competent and successful about her work.

Obstacle 5: Simple Tasks
Sometimes the obstacle to people’s success is not complexity but
simplicity. Like complex tasks, simple and repetitive tasks can have a
negative impact on motivation. There is little excitement in doing the same
job over and over again. With no variety or nuance, simple tasks become
dull and uninteresting.


For work like this, it is important for a leader to use a supportive
leadership style. The supportive style provides what is missing—the
human connection—by encouraging others when they are engaged in tasks
that are boring and unchallenging. Supportive leadership offers a sense of
human touch for those engaged in mundane mechanical activity.

Being Supportive

If you have ever observed people in a weight room at a fitness center, you
have seen how support works to counter the unpleasantness of mundane
work. People who lift weights are usually engaged in a very simple
activity. Doing repetitions is not complex. However, weight rooms are
often marked by camaraderie and supportiveness between the people
lifting. People spot for each other and often engage in friendly banter and
conversation. Their social interaction works to make their repetitive tasks
more tolerable and interesting.

To identify situations that involve mundane tasks, you need not look very
far. Consider the following situations: working on an assembly line in an
automobile plant, swimming laps as part of training for a swim team,
washing dishes at a restaurant, or studying vocabulary cards for a foreign-
language quiz. Many jobs and many aspects of nearly every job have a
simplicity to them that can be negative.

The solution to this problem is for a leader to be supportive and nurturing.
A good leader senses when jobs are mundane and tries to give people the
missing ingredient—social support. Although social support can take a
variety of forms (e.g., being friendly, talking about the other’s family, or
giving compliments), the bottom line is that social support shows care for
the well-being and personal needs of the follower. When the task is not
challenging, an effective leader will provide stimulation in the form of
social support.

Obstacle 6: Low Involvement
Having a voice in what happens is very important to people. When people
are not involved in a group or an organization, their productivity goes


down, and the group or organization suffers. People want to have an
identity that is unique from others’, but they also want to be included and
to fit in with others. By expressing their own thoughts and opinions on
different issues, individuals are able to sense that they are contributing to a
group. When individuals sense they are not heard, their participation
decreases, they contribute less, and often they disengage from the group.

Low Involvement

Leaders should use a participative leadership style to address the issue of
low involvement. Participative leaders invite others to share in the ways
and means of getting things done. They work to establish a climate that is
open to new and diverse opinions. This leader consults with others, obtains
their ideas and opinions, and integrates their suggestions into the decisions
regarding how the group or organization will proceed.

A brief example may help to illustrate the importance of involvement.
Oakwood Bistro is a small, upscale restaurant in a college town. It
employs about 20 people as bartenders, cooks, and waitstaff. The bistro
has two managers, whom we will call Managers A and B. Manager A is
very authoritarian and strict. She stresses rules and procedures. She
interacts very little with the staff and seldom asks anyone for opinions or
feedback. Although Manager A is very competent and runs a tight ship,
very few employees like working shifts when she is in charge.

The opposite is true when Manager B is in charge. Manager B is a
democratic leader who is friendly with everyone. He is as interested in
what the staff and customers are saying as he is in the rules and procedures
of the place. He has nicknames for everyone who works at the bistro. In
addition, he holds weekly “gripe” sessions during which staff members
can express their opinions and make suggestions for how to improve
things. Needless to say, individuals like to work for Manager B, and he is
effective in his role.

Clearly, Manager B in the above example is a participative leader who
allows people to be involved in the workings of the restaurant. The staff
appreciates this involvement. In groups or organizations where everyone is
involved, there are synergistic effects that create remarkable outcomes.


Commitment to the group goes up, and group cohesiveness grows

Obstacle 7: Lack of a Challenge
Some people do not work well because they are not challenged by what
they are doing. Without a challenge, these people find work uninteresting
and not worthwhile. As a result, these people work less hard, or they quit
and move on to something that they find more engaging.

The Need for a Challenge

A leader should adopt an achievement-oriented leadership style in
dealing with individuals who are not challenged. Achievement-oriented
leadership is characterized by a leader who challenges individuals to
perform at the highest level possible. This leader establishes a high
standard of excellence and seeks continuous improvement. In addition to
expecting a lot from followers, an achievement-oriented leader shows a
high degree of confidence that people can reach those challenging goals.

An achievement-oriented leader continually challenges others to excel and
pushes people to higher levels of success. He or she sets standards of
excellence and challenges others to meet those standards. In the classroom,
these leaders are the teachers who use an A+ grade as a way of coaxing
students to do superior work. On the football field, they are the coaches
who promote effort by placing stars on players’ helmets for outstanding
performance. At work, they are the managers who give end-of-the-year
bonuses for individuals who go the extra mile or do more than they are
expected to do. An achievement-oriented leader is always looking for
ways to challenge people to perform at the highest level possible.

It is important to point out that, while achievement-oriented leadership is
good for some people, it is not for everyone. Although some people thrive
on competition and like being pushed to do their best, there are those who
are internally motivated and do not need a nudge from the achievement-
oriented leader. It is the leader’s responsibility to assess followers’ needs
to determine when achievement-oriented leadership is indicated and for



Challenges and difficulties will always be present for people in the
workplace. A leader plays a critical role in helping people overcome these
obstacles. Most important, effective leaders help individuals define their
goals and the paths they wish to take to meet those goals. Based on
expectancy theory, leaders can help others be motivated by helping them
to feel competent, to receive what they expect from their work, and to see
the overall value of their work.

If the obstacle a person faces is a complex task, the leader should provide
directive leadership. If the obstacle is a task that is too simple or mundane,
however, the leader needs to give supportive leadership. Sometimes
leaders have followers who are uninvolved in the group or organization;
for these individuals, the leader should adopt a participative leadership
style. At other times, for followers who are not challenged, the leader
should incorporate an achievement-oriented leadership style.

Obstacles will always exist and present a challenge in all endeavors. The
sign of a good leader is one who is willing to help individuals overcome
these obstacles so that they can more effectively move toward and
accomplish their goals.

Glossary Terms
achievement-oriented leadership 312
competent 306
directive leadership 309
expectancy theory 305
obstacles 302
participative leadership 311
path–goal leadership 302
supportive leadership 310


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13.1 Case Study: Book Quiz Blues?
As a community service project, Trey Morgan volunteered to coach a
Book Quiz team of fourth graders at a local elementary school. As a
college student majoring in education, Trey was excited for the
opportunity to work one-on-one with children to prepare them for the
competition. He felt it would give him a good indication of how much
he would like teaching and whether he would be a good teacher.

The Book Quiz is a competition where teams of students read 10 books
and compete with other teams, answering questions about the books.
The teams have 10 weeks to prepare by reading the books and doing
practice quizzes.

Trey’s team members were selected by their teacher, who mandated
that all students in her class be on a team. Trey spent an hour each week
with his team. He made a chart, and as the students finished reading the
books, he would put a star next to their name. He also established that
the first student to finish all the books would get a prize.

After three weeks, one of the team members, Claire, had finished five
of the books already and was moving way ahead of the other team
members. Shelby had admitted to starting to read four of the books, but
“they were boring” so she stopped reading them. Marco, who
announced at the first meeting that he would win the prize for reading
all 10 books first, had read three of them, but his progress had slowed
considerably. Every time a new star was added to Claire’s name on the
chart, Marco became visibly discouraged and frustrated. Garrett, on the
other hand, wasn’t progressing at all. He was still reading the same 80-
page book he started the first week. Trey observed that during their
meetings Garrett would get up frequently and move around the room.
He also liked to spin in circles, often hitting the other kids accidentally
with his swinging arms. When Trey tried to encourage Garrett to go for
the prize, he shrugged and said, “I can’t win that. I don’t read fast like


Claire and Marco.”

At the six-week point, Trey panicked. His Book Quiz guidebook said
that each team member should have read at least five of the books by
now. Claire had only read one additional book in the past three weeks
because she had joined the track team and had little time after track
practice and homework for reading. Marco had read four books, but
didn’t seem interested in any of the remaining books. Garrett finally
finished the one he started, and Shelby had started them all but not
completed one. Trey hadn’t even begun to quiz the students on the
books because there was no point if they hadn’t read them. He did have
Marco and Claire work together on the four books they had both read,
writing questions and quizzing each other.

With four weeks left, Trey has to figure out a way to get his team
motivated and focused. He has given up any hopes of winning, but does
want his team to at least make a good showing. As he tries to give them
a pep talk, encouraging them to focus so they “won’t look like idiots in
the competition,” Garrett interrupts.

“Who cares if we look like idiots?” he asks. “I didn’t ask to be on this
team. I got put on this team. It’s a stupid competition.”

Marco gets mad. “Garrett, we are going to lose because you and Shelby
won’t read. I don’t like losing, and when we do, it will be your fault.”

Shelby and Claire both start to cry, with Claire saying she feels awful
because she can’t read as much anymore and she is letting everyone
down. “I have too much to do,” she wails.

Garrett gets up and spins in circles.

Marco looks at Trey. “Aren’t you going to do something?” he demands

Trey thinks to himself that if he does anything it will be to change his
major to business.


1. Obviously, things are not working out well for Trey and his team.
If you were Trey, how would you have proceeded from the
beginning to help the team avoid or overcome its obstacles?

2. Based on the seven obstacles discussed in this chapter, identify
which obstacles each of the team members (Claire, Shelby,


Marco, and Garrett) is facing.
3. Some of Trey’s team members seem to lack motivation. Based on

expectancy theory, how could Trey help his team members feel
competent, get what they expect, and value what they do?

4. Based on how his team is feeling and doing, identify three specific
things Trey could do to help his students.

13.2 Path–Goal Styles Questionnaire


1. To identify your path–goal styles of leadership
2. To examine how your use of each style relates to other styles of



1. For each of the statements below, circle the number that indicates
the frequency with which you engage in the expressed behavior.

2. Give your immediate impressions. There are no right or wrong

When I am the
leader . . .

Never Seldom Sometimes Often Always

1. I give clear
explanations of
what is
expected of

1 2 3 4 5

2. I show
interest in

1 2 3 4 5

3. I invite
followers to
participate in

1 2 3 4 5



4. I challenge
followers to
improve their

1 2 3 4 5

5. I give
instructions for
how to do their

1 2 3 4 5

6. I show
concern for the
personal well-
being of my

1 2 3 4 5

7. I solicit
before making a

1 2 3 4 5

8. I encourage
followers to
raise their own
standards of

1 2 3 4 5

9. I give clear
directions to
others for how
to proceed on a

1 2 3 4 5

10. I listen to
others and give



1 2 3 4 5

11. I am
receptive to
ideas and advice
from others.

1 2 3 4 5

12. I expect
followers to
excel in all
aspects of their

1 2 3 4 5


1. Sum the responses on items 1, 5, and 9 (directive leadership).
2. Sum the responses on items 2, 6, and 10 (supportive leadership).
3. Sum the responses on items 3, 7, and 11 (participative leadership).
4. Sum the responses on items 4, 8, and 12 (achievement-oriented


Total Scores

Directive leadership: ______________________
Supportive leadership: ____________________
Participative leadership: __________________
Achievement-oriented leadership: __________

Scoring Interpretation

This questionnaire is designed to measure four types of path–goal
leadership: directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-
oriented. By comparing your scores on each of the four styles, you can
determine which style is your strongest and which is your weakest. For
example, if your scores were directive leadership = 21, supportive
leadership = 10, participative leadership = 19, and achievement-
oriented leadership = 7, your strengths would be directive and
participative leadership, and your weaknesses would be supportive and
achievement-oriented leadership. While this questionnaire measures
your dominant styles, it also indicates the styles you may want to
strengthen or improve.


If your score is 13–15, you are in the high range.
If your score is 6–12, you are in the moderate range.
If your score is 3–5, you are in the low range.

Improve Your Leadership Skills

If you have the interactive eBook version of this text, log in to access
the interactive leadership assessment. After completing this chapter’s
questionnaire, you will receive individualized feedback and practical
sugsgestions for further strengthening your leadership based on your
responses in this questionnaire.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this questionnaire.

13.3 Observational Exercise



1. To develop an understanding of the practical value of path–goal
leadership as a strategy for helping followers reach their goals

2. To identify Obstacles that limit group effectiveness
3. To investigate how a leader’s style helps followers overcome

obstacles to goal achievement


1. Observe a meeting, practice, or session of one the following
groups (or a similar group): a sports team practice, a class project
group meeting, a weekly staff meeting at work, a fraternity or
sorority council meeting, or a planning meeting for a nonprofit

2. Record what you observe at the meeting. Be specific in your

General observations of the meeting:
Observations of the leader’s behavior:


Observations of group members’ behaviors:


1. What are the goals of the individuals or group you observed? Are
the goals clear?

2. What are the major obstacles confronting the individuals in the

3. What style of leadership did the leader exhibit? Was it appropriate
for the group?

4. If you were leading the group, how would you lead to help group

Visit for a downloadable
version of this exercise.

13.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet



1. When it comes to helping people who are having problems, how
do you view your own abilities? Are you comfortable with setting
goals and giving directions to others?

2. One of the central responsibilities of a leader is to help his or her
followers become motivated. This means helping them feel
competent, helping them meet their expectations, and helping
them value what they do. How would you apply these three
principles in a leadership situation?

3. As you reflect on the obstacles discussed in the chapter, which
obstacles would you be most and least effective at addressing?


1. To be an effective leader requires that you clarify the goal and
define the path to the goal. What specific things could you do in


an upcoming leadership situation to clarify the goal and define the
path for others?

2. As you look at your results on the Path–Goal Styles
Questionnaire, what scores would you like to change? Which
styles would you like to strengthen? How can you make sure you
exhibit the most effective style the next time you are leading a

3. People vary regarding their need to be helped. Some want a lot of
assistance, and others like to be independent. Are you prepared to
adapt your leadership to be helpful to those who need it? Discuss.

Visit for a downloadable
version of this worksheet.

Hart, B. (2005, June 10). GPS voice fine for some of life’s roads but not

for others. Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). Retrieved from

Herzberg, F. (1968). Work and the nature of man. New York, NY: World.

House, R. J. (1971). A path-goal theory of leader effectiveness.
Administrative Science Quarterly, 16(3), 321–328.

House, R. J. (1996). Path-goal theory of leadership: Lessons, legacy, and a
reformulated theory. Leadership Quarterly, 7(3), 323–352.

Lindsay, D. [Producer], & Martin, T. J. [Director]. (2012). Undefeated
[Motion picture]. United States: Spitfire Studios.

Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York, NY: Harper
& Row.


Peck, M. S. (1978). The road less traveled. New York, NY: Simon &

Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York, NY: Free

Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York, NY: Wiley.

Ward-Henninger, C. (2013, February 19). Coach Bill Courtney and
Manassas make “Undefeated” a true underdog story.
Retrieved from



a natural or acquired capacity to perform a particular activity

an unassertive but cooperative conflict style that requires individuals
to attend very closely to the needs of others and ignore their own

a leader who challenges individuals to perform at the highest level
possible, establishes a high standard of excellence, and seeks
continuous improvement

the ways one goes about accomplishing goals

administrative skills
competencies a leader needs to run an organization in order to carry
out the organization’s purposes and goals

authentic leadership
an emerging leadership approach that looks at the authenticity of
leaders and their leadership

authoritarian leadership style
a style of leadership in which leaders perceive subordinates as
needing direction and need to control subordinates and what they do

a conflict style that is both unassertive and uncooperative, and
characterized by individuals being passive and ignoring conflict
situations rather than confronting them directly

behavior approach
an approach to leadership research that focuses on behavior and
examines what leaders do and how they act


to stimulate people to commit themselves to change

a move toward something different; a shift away from the way things
currently are

one’s qualities, disposition, and core values

magnetic charm and appeal; a special personality characteristic that
gives people the capacity to do extraordinary things

a sense of “we-ness”; the cement that holds a group together, or the
esprit de corps that exists within a group

a conflict style that requires both assertiveness and cooperation and
occurs when both parties agree to a positive settlement to the conflict
and attend fully to the other’s concerns while not sacrificing or
suppressing their own

a leader who presents himself in a way that suggests to others (and
himself) that he knows what he is doing

a conflict style of individuals who are highly assertive about pursuing
their own goals but uncooperative in assisting others to reach their

a conflict style that involves both a degree of assertiveness and a
degree of cooperativeness

conceptual skills
capabilities that involve working with concepts and ideas, the
thinking or cognitive aspects of leadership


concern for people
refers to how a leader attends to the people in the organization who
are trying to achieve its goals

concern for production
refers to how a leader is concerned with achieving organizational

feeling positive about oneself and one’s ability to succeed

a felt struggle between two or more interdependent individuals over
perceived incompatible differences in beliefs, values, and goals, or
over differences in desires for esteem, control, and connectedness

conflict style
a patterned response or behavior that people use when approaching

consideration behavior
a relationship leadership behavior in which the leader creates
camaraderie, respect, trust, and regard with followers

content conflicts
involve struggles between leaders and others who differ on issues
such as policies and procedures

content dimension
involves the objective, observable aspects of communication

contingency theory
a leadership theory that focuses on the match between the leader’s
style and specific situational variables

democratic leadership style
a style of leadership in which leaders treat subordinates as fully
capable of doing work on their own and work with subordinates,
trying hard to treat everyone fairly, without putting themselves above


being focused and attentive to tasks; showing initiative, persistence,
and drive

an interaction process that occurs in the early phase of conflict that
helps participants define the nature of the conflict and clarify their
positions with regard to each other

directive leadership
a leader sets clear standards of performance and makes rules and
regulations clear for others

emotional intelligence
concerned with a person’s ability to understand his or her own and
others’ emotions, and then to apply this understanding to life’s tasks;
the ability to perceive and express emotions, to use emotions to
facilitate thinking, to understand and reason with emotions, and to
manage emotions effectively within oneself and in relationships with

a process in which an individual suspends his or her own feelings in
an effort to fully understand the feelings of another individual

employee orientation
a relationship leadership behavior in which the leader takes an interest
in workers as human beings, values their uniqueness, and gives
special attention to their personal needs

end values
the outcomes or goals a leader seeks to achieve

ethical leadership
a process by which a good person rightly influences others to
accomplish a common good

ethical values
concerned with the character or virtuousness of the leader

expectancy theory


people will be more highly motivated when they are capable of
performing their work, the effort they put into a task leads to an
expected outcome, and they value the outcome

face saving
communicative attempts to establish or maintain one’s self-image or
another’s self-image in response to threat

the technique of breaking down large conflicts into smaller, more
manageable pieces

Gallup Organization
a public opinion research organization that conducts political polling
and research in other areas of the social sciences

the aims or outcomes an individual seeks to achieve

“Great Man” theories
early trait theories of leadership that focused on identifying the innate
qualities and characteristics possessed by great social, political, and
military leaders (see also trait approach)

telling the truth and representing reality as fully and completely as

initiating structure
task leadership in which the leader organizes work, defines role
responsibilities, and schedules work activities

adhering to a strong set of principles and taking responsibility for
one’s actions; being honest and trustworthy

having good language skills, perceptual skills, and reasoning ability

interpersonal skills
people skills; those abilities that help a leader to work effectively with


subordinates, peers, and superiors to accomplish the organization’s

laissez-faire leadership style
a style of leadership, sometimes labeled nonleadership, in which
leaders ignore workers and their work motivations and engage in
minimal influence

leader-member exchange (LMX) theory
conceptualizes leadership as a process that is centered on the
interactions between leaders and followers

a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to
achieve a common goal

leadership style
the behaviors of leaders, focusing on what leaders do and how they

learned behaviors
actions or behaviors people acquire through experience; ingrained
things they come to understand throughout their life

paying attention to what people say while being attentive to what
people mean

a laid-out path to follow to direct people toward their short- and long-
term goals

the goal toward which a group is working, which provides
organization to the rest of its activities

modal values
concerned with the means or actions a leader takes

the rules of behavior that are established and shared by group



a problem that hinders group productivity

individuals in a group or an organization who do not identify
themselves as part of the larger group, and who are disconnected and
not fully engaged in working toward the goals of the group

participative leadership
a leader invites others to share in the ways and means of getting
things done

path-goal leadership
leadership in which a leader should choose a style that best fits the
needs of individual group members and the task they are doing

path-goal theory
a leadership theory that examines how leaders use employee
motivation to enhance performance and satisfaction

personal style
unique habits regarding work and play, which have been ingrained
over many years and influence one’s current style

philosophy of leadership
a unique set of beliefs and attitudes about the nature of people and the
nature of work that have a significant impact on an individual’s
leadership style

an ideal image of where a group or an organization should be going

positive psychology
the “scientific” study of what makes life most worth living

the capacity to influence or affect others

principled negotiation


an approach to conflict that decides issues on their merits rather than
through competitive haggling or through excessive accommodation

problem-solving skills
one’s cognitive ability to take corrective action in a problem situation
in order to meet desired objectives

process behaviors
behaviors used by leaders to help group members feel comfortable
with each other and at ease in the situations in which they find

production orientation
task leadership in which the leader stresses the production and
technical aspects of the job

realized strengths
personal attributes that represent our strongest assets

relational approach
an approach to leadership research that examines the nature of
relations between leaders and followers

relational conflicts
refer to the differences we feel between ourselves and others
concerning how we relate to each other

relationship behaviors
behaviors used by leaders that help subordinates feel comfortable
with themselves, with each other, and with the situation they find
themselves in

relationship dimension
refers to the participants’ perceptions of their connection to one

relationship-oriented leadership
leadership that is focused primarily on the well-being of subordinates,
how they relate to each other, and the atmosphere in which they work

servant leadership


an emerging leadership approach that emphasizes the “caring
principle” with leaders as “servants” who focus on their followers’
needs in order to help these followers become more autonomous,
knowledgeable, and like servants themselves

situational approach
an approach to leadership research based on the premise that different
situations demand different kinds of leadership

a competency developed to accomplish a task effectively

capable of establishing pleasant social relationships; being sensitive
to others’ needs and concerned for their well-being

social identity theory
explains why and how individuals identify with particular social
groups and how these identifications affect their behavior

social perceptiveness
having insight into and awareness of what is important to others, how
they are motivated, the problems they face, and how they react to

spiritual leadership
an emerging leadership approach that examines how leaders use
values, a sense of “calling,” and membership to motivate followers

standards of excellence
the expressed and implied expectations for performance that exist
within a group or an organization

status quo
the current situation; the way things are now

strategic planning
a conceptual skill, the cognitive ability to think and consider ideas to
develop effective strategies for a group or an organization



attributes or qualities of an individual that account for successful
performance; positive features of ourselves that make us effective and
help us flourish

a blueprint for the work of a particular group that gives form and
meaning to the purposes of its activities

a leader who provides what is missing—the human connection—by
encouraging others when they are engaged in tasks that are boring
and unchallenging; offers a sense of human touch for those engaged
in mundane mechanical activity

the group energy created from two or more people working together,
which creates an outcome that is different from and better than the
sum of the individual contributions

task behaviors
behaviors used by leaders to get the job done

task-oriented leadership
leadership that is focused predominantly on procedures, activities,
and goal accomplishments

technical competence
having specialized knowledge about the work we do or ask others to

themes of human talent
relatively stable, fixed characteristics—similar to personality traits—
that are not easily changed

Theory X
a general theory created by Douglas McGregor in which leaders
assume that people dislike work, that they need to be directed and
controlled, and that they want security—not responsibility

Theory Y
a general theory created by Douglas McGregor in which leaders


assume that people like work, that they are self-motivated, and that
they accept and seek responsibility

a distinguishing personal quality that is often inherited (e.g.,
intelligence, confidence, charisma, determination, sociability, or

trait approach
an approach to leadership research that focuses on identifying the
innate qualities and characteristics possessed by individuals (see also
“Great Man” theories)

transformational leadership theory
a theory that describes leadership as a process that changes people
and organizations

unrealized strengths
personal attributes that are less visible

the ideas, beliefs, and modes of action that people find worthwhile or

a mental model of an ideal future state

limiting attributes that often drain our energy and result in poor



Ability, 2, 128–129, 321
Abu Ghraib prison, 278
Access Trips, 87
Accommodation, 261–262, 321
Achievement-oriented leadership, 312, 321
Actions, 276–279, 281, 321
Adapt, capacity to, 129
Adaptive leadership, 4 (box)
Administrative skills, 118–120, 118 (figure), 321
Affiliation issues, 249
African American employees, 192–193
African National Congress, 27–28
Age Discrimination Act (1975), 188
Allen, A., 196
Anderson, E. C., 61
Apple, 62–63

behavior, 3 (box), 6, 321
defined, 3 (box)
to diversity, 186–190, 187 (table)
“new leadership”, 4 (box)
relational, 4 (box), 6–7, 324
situational, 3–4 (box), 324
trait, 3 (box), 325

Aristotle, 275
Assertiveness, 259
Assimilation, 188, 191, 191 (table), 194
Attributes. See Traits
Audience, adapting vision to, 147
Authentic, feeling, 198 (table), 200
Authentic leadership, 4 (box), 321
Authoritarian leadership style, 83–84, 321
Avoidance, 260–261, 321

Bachal, Humaira, 244–245
Barrera, V., 196


Bass, B. M., 4 (box)
Bates, Edward, 229
Beauchamp, T. L., 223
Behavior approach, 3 (box), 6, 321

change, 108
consideration, 105, 322
learned, 56, 56 (figure), 323
process, 6, 324
relationship, 3 (box), 324
task, 3 (box), 6, 324

Belief conflicts, 243, 245–246
Bentley, Alex, 124
Berggruen, Nicolas, 281
Berkshire Hathaway, 61
Big Brothers Big Sisters, 286
“Big Five” personality factors, 3 (box)
Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, 184–185
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 33, 280
Blake, R. R., 3 (box), 259
Blanchard, K. H., 4 (box)
Boal, K. B., 128–129
Book Quiz, 314–315
Boomers, 185
Booysen, L., 185–186
Bowie, N. E., 223
Breakfast Club, 228
Brewer, M. B., 190
Bribery, 286–287
Brown, Montrail, 308
Brown, O. C., 308
Buffett, Warren, 61, 280
Building Community Questionnaire, 234–235
Burns, James MacGregor, 285
Burns, Ursula, 192–193

Cameron, K. S., 65–66
Capacity to adapt, 129
CAPP. See Centre of Applied Positive Psychology
Caring, 277 (table)


Caring ethics, 294
Carter, Jimmy, 80
Case studies:

climate, 175–176
conflict, 265–266
diversity and inclusion, 208–209
ethical leadership, 289–290
leadership, understanding, 13
leadership styles, 91–92
obstacles, 314–315
out-group members, 232–233
skills, 132–133
strengths, 69–70
task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership, 110
traits, 37–38
vision, 152–153

Centre of Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP), 55–58, 56 (figure)
Challenge, 146–147, 312, 321
Change, 143, 321
Change behaviors, 108
Character, 275–276, 277 (table), 286, 321
Charisma, 24–25, 321
Charismatic leadership, 142
China, 287
Chuard, Alain, 87, 88
Chung, B. G., 191, 191 (table)
Churchill, Winston, 30–31
Citizenship, 277 (table)
Civil Rights Act (1964), 188
Clifton, Donald O., 49

about, 159–160
case study, 175–176
cohesiveness and, 162–166, 163 (table)
defined, 159
norms and, 161–162
positive, 65–66
questionnaire, 177–178
standards of excellence and, 166–173, 167 (figure), 171 (table)
structure and, 160–161


Clinton, Bill, 28–29
Coercive power, 284 (table)
Cohesiveness, 162–166, 163 (table), 321
Collaboration, 262–263, 321

conflict and, 241–242
conflict resolution and, 255–259
positive, 66
skills in, 220
visual, 102

Community, 221–222, 234–235
Competence, 120, 305, 306, 321, 324
Competition, 261, 321
Compromise, 262, 321
Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire, 14–16
Conceptual skills:

about, 118 (figure), 125–126
defined, 125–126, 321
problem solving, 126–128, 126 (table)
strategic planning, 128–130
vision, creating, 130

Concern for people, 105, 321
Concern for production, 104, 321
Conchie, Barry, 52, 53 (table)
Confidence, 23–24, 321

about, 239–240, 243 (figure)
affective element to, 241
belief, 243, 245–246
case study, 265–266
communication and, 241–242
communication strategies for resolving, 255–259
content, 242–243, 245–246
defined, 240, 322
differences and, 241
elements of, 240–241
Fisher and Ury approach to, 250–255, 251 (figure)
goal, 246
handling, as interpersonal skill, 125
interdependence and, 241


interpersonal, 240
intrapersonal, 240
Kilmann and Thomas styles of approaching, 259–263, 260
procedural, 246
questionnaire, 267–269
relational, 246–250, 323
societal, 240
as struggle, 240
substantive, 246
value, 243, 246

Conflict Style Questionnaire, 267–269
Conflict styles:

about, 259, 260 (figure)
accommodation, 261–262
avoidance, 260–261
collaboration, 262–263
competition, 261
compromise, 262
defined, 259, 322

Consideration behavior, 105, 322
Constructive climate. See Climate
Constructive feedback, 170, 171 (table)
Content conflict, 242–243, 245–246, 322
Content dimension, 242, 322
Contingency theory, 4 (box), 322
Contributions, recognizing, 225–226
Control issues, 248–249
Cooperativeness, 259
Courtney, Bill, 307–308
Covey, S. R., 141–142
Criteria, in principled negotiation, 254–255
Cultural Diversity Questionnaire, 210–212
Culture, 47–48, 60, 286–287

Daniels, Chavis, 307
Dark side of leadership, 8–9
Das, Reena, 144–145
Daya Dan (orphanage), 144
Dean, M. A., 191, 191 (table)


Deloitte, 184–185
Democratic leadership style, 85, 322
Determination, 25, 322
Dickson, M. W., 286
Differentiation, 189, 190, 191 (table), 194, 255–256, 322
Directions, unclear, 304–305
Directive leadership, 309, 322
Discrimination, systemic, 202

approaches to, 186–190, 187 (table)
defined, 184–185, 185 (table)
recognizing, attending to, and honoring, 198 (table), 200–201
See also Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion:
about, 183–184
barriers to, 201–205
case study, 208–209
historical perspective, 186–190, 187 (table)
inclusion framework, 190–191, 191 (table), 194
inclusive practices model, 194–197, 195 (figure)
leader practices advancing, 197–201, 198 (table)
questionnaire, 210–212
as terms, 183–184
Xerox Corporation, 192–193

Dorfman, P. W., 22
Dream Foundation Trust Model Street School, 245
Duty ethics, 294
Dyslexia, 102

Eastern Michigan University, 122
Education in Pakistan, 244–245
Egoism ethics, 294
Eisenberg, Pablo, 281
Ely, R. J., 188
Emotional intelligence, 3 (box), 122, 124–125, 322
Empathy, 124–125, 224, 225 (table), 322
Employee orientation, 105, 322
Empowerment, 228
Empower the Children (ETC), 144–145
End values, 285, 322


Engagement, 197, 198 (table)
Equal employment opportunity laws, 187–188
Equal Pay Act (1963), 188
Esteem issues, 247
Ethical leadership:

about, 273–274
actions in, 276–279, 281
case study, 289–290
character in, 275–276, 277 (table), 286
culture and, 286–287
defined, 274, 322
factors, 274–286
goals in, 281–282
honesty in, 282–283
power in, 284–285, 284 (table)
questionnaire, 291–294
values in, 285–286

Ethical Leadership Style Questionnaire, 291–294
Ethical values, 285, 322
Ethnocentrism, 201–202
Excellence, standards of, 166–173, 167 (figure), 171 (table), 324
Exclusion, 190, 191 (table)
Executive Orders (1961–1965), 188
Expectancy theory, 225, 305, 322
Expert power, 284 (table)

Face saving, 257–259, 322
Fairness, 277 (table), 279, 285
Feedback, constructive, 170, 171 (table)
Feelings, 241
Ferdman, B. M., 184, 186, 194, 196, 197, 198 (table)
Fisher, Roger, 239, 240, 250–255, 251 (figure), 256, 258
Fisher and Ury approach to conflict:

about, 250, 251 (figure)
criteria, 254–255
interests, 252–253
options, 253–254
people, 251–252

Fox, Anne, 26
Fox, Terry, 149–150 (box)


Fractionation, 256–257, 322
Francis, Pope, 32
French, J. R., Jr., 284

Gallup Organization, 48–49, 50–53, 51 (table), 52 (figure), 53 (table),
Gandhi, Mohandas, 24–25
Gardner, Howard, 58–59
Gates, Bill, 32–33, 280
Gates, Melinda, 280
Gender-based studies, 4 (box)
Gen-Xers, 185
Getting to Yes (Fisher & Ury), 239
Giffoniello, Rosalie, 144–145
Giving Pledge, 280–281
Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness
(GLOBE) studies, 8, 8 (table)
Goals, 246, 281–282, 303–304, 322
Golden Rule, 279
Gordon, A., 108
“Great Man” theories, 3 (box), 322

See also Trait approach
Group inclusive practices, 195–196, 195 (figure)
Group synergy, 222–223
Gupta, V., 22

Hanges, P. J., 22, 286
Harrison, D. A., 184
Harvey, C. P., 189
Healey, J. P., 188
Henderson, L., 184
Herring, C., 184
Hersey, P., 4 (box)
Hewlett-Packard (HP), 168–169
Hewlett, William, 168
Hocker, J. L., 240, 241
Hogan, R., 9
Holcombe Ehrhard, K., 191, 191 (table)
Honesty, 282–283, 322
Hooijberg, R., 128–129


House, Robert, 8, 22, 302
“House Divided” speech (Lincoln), 230
Human Side of Enterprise, The (McGregor), 78
Hussein, Saddam, 284–285

“I” language, 171 (table)

defined, 185–186
framework for, 190–191, 191 (table), 194
of out-group members, 227
See also Diversity and inclusion

Inclusive practices model, 194–197, 195 (figure)
Individual inclusive practices, 195 (figure), 196, 197
Influence, 7, 88, 89 (figure), 198 (table), 199
Initiating structure, 103–104, 322
Integrity, 26, 29, 286, 322
Intelligence, 22–23, 323
Interdependence, 241
Interests, 252–253
Interpersonal conflict, 240
Interpersonal inclusive practices, 195 (figure), 196
Interpersonal skills, 118 (figure), 121–122, 125, 323
Into Thin Air (Krakauer), 148
Intrapersonal conflict, 240
Involvement, 198–199, 198 (table), 311

Javidan, M., 22
Jay, Rohrlich, 101
Jobs, Steve, 62–63
Johnson, Sally, 107 (box)
Josephson Institute, 276, 277 (table)
Justice, 279, 285
Justice ethics, 294

Kaiser, R. B., 9
Kennedy, John F., 24, 146, 147
Kilmann, R. H., 259, 260 (figure)
Kilmann and Thomas conflict styles:

about, 259, 260 (figure)
accommodation, 261–262


avoidance, 260–261
collaboration, 262–263
competition, 261
compromise, 262

King, Martin Luther, Jr., 25
Kotter, John P., 61
Kouzes, J. M., 142, 173
Krakauer, Jon, 148

LaFasto, F. M. J., 166, 170
Laissez-faire leadership style, 85–86, 323
Language, 148
Larson, C. E., 166, 170
Leader influence, 88, 89 (figure)
Leader–member exchange (LMX) theory, 4 (box), 227–228, 323

as ability, 2,5
as behavior, 3 (box), 6
dark side of, 8–9
defined, 323
evolution of, 3–4 (box), 5 (figure)
as influence process, 7
as relationship, 4 (box), 6–7
as skill, 5–6
as trait, 2, 3 (box)
See also specific topics; specific types

Leadership inclusive practices, 195 (figure), 196
Leadership skills. See Skills
Leadership Skills Questionnaire, 134–135
Leadership Snapshots:

Bachal, Humaira, 244–245
Courtney, Bill, 307–308
Giffoniello, Rosalie, 144–145
Giving Pledge, 280–281
Jobs, Steve, 62–63
Lincoln, Abraham, 229–230
Mandela, Nelson, 27–28
Nooyl, Indra, 10–11
Ransom, Victoria, 87–88
Washington, Coquese, 123–124


Whitman, Meg, 168–169
Wilz, Mick, 102–103
Xerox Corporation, 192–193

Leadership Strengths Questionnaire, 71–73
Leadership styles:

about, 82–83
authoritarian, 83–84, 321
case study, 91–92
defined, 82–83, 323
democratic, 85, 322
laissez-faire, 85–86, 323
leader influence and, 88, 89 (figure)
questionnaire, 93–94

Leadership Styles Questionnaire, 93–94
Leadership traits. See Traits
Leadership Traits Questionnaire, 39–41
Leadership Vision Questionnaire, 154–155
Learn, ability to, 128–129
Learned behaviors, 56, 56 (figure), 323
Legal precedent/ramifications, 254
Legitimate power, 284 (table)
Lembke, Jessica, 106 (box)
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, 146–147
Lewin, K., 83
Lincoln, Abraham, 229–230
Linley, A., 48
Lipman-Blumen, J., 9
Lippitt, R., 83
Listening, 224, 323
LMX theory. See Leader–member exchange theory
Lobo, Rebecca, 123
Loden, M., 185, 185 (table)
Loehr, J., 142

Machiavelli, N., 3 (box)
MacKie, D., 59
Management by walking around, 119
Managerial wisdom, 129
Managing people, 119
Managing resources, 119–120


Manassas High School (North Memphis, TN), 307–308
Mandela, Nelson, 25, 276
Maps, 146, 323
Marathon of Hope, 149–150 (box)
Maslow, A., 247
Mathews, Elizabeth, 106–107 (box)
Mayer, J. D., 124
McGraw, Muffet, 123
McGregor, Douglas, 78

See also Theory X; Theory Y
Meaning, positive, 66
Melting pot metaphor, 188
Microsoft Corporation, 32, 33
Millennials, 185
Mission, 160, 323
Missionaries of Charity, 31–32, 144
Mitchelson, J. A., 286
Modal values, 285, 323
Moral standards, 254
Motivation, low, 305–306, 308–309
Mouton, J. S., 3, 259
Myers, V. A., 186

“New leadership” approach, 4 (box)
NeXT Computer, 62
Nooyl, Indra, 10–11
Norms, 161–162, 323
Notre Dame, 123

Observations, 171 (table)

about, 302–303, 303 (figure)
case study, 314–315
challenge, lack of, 312
defined, 301, 323
directions, unclear, 304–305
goals, unclear, 303–304
involvement, low, 311
motivation, low, 305–306, 308–309
questionnaire, 316–317


tasks, complex, 309–310
tasks, simple, 310–311

Options, in principled negotiation, 253–254
Organizational Climate Questionnaire, 177–178
Organizational inclusive practices, 194, 195 (figure), 197
Ouchi, William, 82
Outcomes, valued, 308
Out-group members:

about, 217–218
case study, 232–233
contributions, recognizing, 225–226
defined, 219, 323
empathy for, 224, 225 (table)
empowering, 228
formation of out-groups, 219–220
impact of, 221–223
including, 227
listening to, 224
questionnaire, 234–235
special relationship with, 227–228
voice, giving, 228

Packard, David, 168
Padilla, A., 9
Pakistan, 244–245
Paraphrasing, 225 (table)
Participative leadership, 313, 323
Path–goal leadership, 302–303, 316–317, 323
Path–Goal Styles Questionnaire, 316–317
Path–goal theory, 4 (box), 323
Peck, Scott, 301
Penn State, 123–124

concern for, 105, 321
managing, 119
in principled negotiation, 251–252

PepsiCo, 10–11
Performance issues, resolving, 170
Performance reviews, 172
Personality clash, 246


See also Relational conflict
Personal styles, 100, 323
Phelps, Michael, 24
Philanthropy, 280–281
Philosophy of leadership:

about, 78
defined, 78, 323
Theory X, 78–80, 79 (table)
Theory Y, 80–82, 80 (table)

Pictures, 142–143, 323
Pixar Animation Studios, 62
Plagiarism, 289–290
Planning, strategic, 128–130, 324
Pluralism, 189
Positive Leadership (Cameron), 65–66
Positive psychology, 49–50, 323
Posner, B. Z., 142, 173
Power, 284–285, 284 (table), 323
Practice, 24
Precedent, 254
Prejudice, 202–203
Principled negotiation:

about, 250, 251 (figure)
criteria, 254–255
defined, 250, 323
interests, 252–253
options, 253–254
people, 251–252

Privilege, 204–205
Problem factor, 251–252
Problem identification, 126–127
Problem-solving skills, 126–128, 126 (table), 323
Procedural conflict, 246
Process behaviors, 6, 323
Production, concern for, 104, 321
Production orientation, 104, 323
Productivity, 164
Professional standards, 254



climate, 177–178
conflict, 267–269
diversity and inclusion, 210–212
ethical leadership, 291–294
leadership styles, 93–94
obstacles, 316–317
out-group members, 234–235
skills, 134–135
traits, 39–41
vision, 154–155

R2 Strengths Profiler, 55–58, 56 (figure)
Randel, A. E., 191, 191 (table)
Ransom, Victoria, 87–88
Rath, Tom, 52, 53 (table)
Raven, B., 284
Realized strengths, 55, 56 (figure), 323
Reddin, W. J., 4 (box)
Referent power, 284 (table)
Reflected Best Self Exercise, 59
Reflection, 225 (table)
Relational approach, 4 (box), 6–7, 323
Relational conflict:

about, 246–247, 249–250
affiliation issues and, 249
control issues and, 248–249
defined, 246–247, 323
esteem issues and, 247

Relationship behaviors, 3 (box), 324
Relationship dimension, 242, 324
Relationship-oriented leadership, 104–105, 104 (figure), 106–107
(box), 108, 110, 324
Relationships, positive, 66
Relationship style, 101, 107 (box)
Resick, C. J., 286
Resources, managing, 119–120
Respect, 198 (table), 199, 223, 277 (table), 279
Responsibility, 79, 81, 277 (table)
Restatement, 225 (table)


requiring, 170
reviewing, 170–173, 171 (table)
rewarding, 173

Reward power, 284 (table)
Rivera, L. A., 205
Road Less Traveled, The (Peck), 301

Safety, 198, 198 (table)
Salad metaphor, 189
Salovey, P., 124
Same-sex couples, 196–197
Scandals, 273–274
Schutz, William, 186, 190, 227
Schwartz, B., 30
Schwartz, T., 142
Scientific judgment, 255
Servant leadership, 4 (box), 324
Serving others, 279
Seward, William, 229–230
Shore, L. M., 191, 191 (table)
Sin, H., 184
Singh, G., 191, 191 (table)
Situational approach, 3–4 (box), 324

about, 117–118, 118 (figure)
administrative, 118–120, 118 (figure), 321
case study, 132–133
communication, 220
conceptual, 118 (figure), 125–130, 321
defined, 5, 324
interpersonal, 118 (figure), 121–122, 125, 323
leadership as, 5–6
problem-solving, 126–128, 126 (table), 323
questionnaire, 134–135
social, 220

Smorgasbord metaphor, 189
Sociability, 25–26, 324
Social identity theory, 219–220, 324
Social perceptiveness, 121–122, 324
Social skills, 220


Societal conflict, 240
Societal inclusive practices, 194, 195 (figure), 196–197
Solutions, 127–128
South Africa, 27–28
Special relationship with out-group members, 227–228
Spiritual leadership, 4 (box), 324

of excellence, 166–173, 167 (figure), 171 (table), 324
moral, 254
professional, 254

Status quo, 142, 324
Stepnick, A., 188
Stereotypes, 203–204
Strategic planning, 128–130, 324
Strength equation, 51, 52 (figure)

about, 47–48
case study, 69–70
culture and, 47–48, 60
defined, 48, 55, 324
developing your, 59–61, 61 (figure)
domains of, 52, 53 (table)
historical background, 48–58
identifying your, 58–59, 58 (table)
questionnaire, 71–73
realized, 55, 56 (figure), 323
recognizing/engaging strengths of others, 63–65
teams and, 52–53
unrealized, 55–56, 56 (figure), 325
work environment and, 65–66
See also Weaknesses

StrengthsFinder, 49, 51–53, 52 (figure)
Structure, 103–104, 160–161, 324
Struggle, conflict as, 240

personal, 100, 323
relationship, 101, 107 (box)
task, 100–101, 106 (box), 107 (box)
See also Conflict styles; Leadership styles

Substantive conflict, 246


Support, 225 (table)
Supportive leadership, 310, 324
Sur-Seal, 102–103
Syllabi, 160–161
Symbols, 148
Synergy, 161, 222–223, 324
Systemic discrimination, 202

Taber, T., 108
Talent themes, 50–51, 51 (table), 324
Task and Relationship Questionnaire, 111–112
Task behaviors, 3 (box), 6, 324
Task-oriented leadership, 103–104, 104 (figure), 106, 108, 110, 324

complex, 309–310
simple, 310–311

Task style, 100–101, 106 (box), 107 (box)
Team In Training, 146–147
Teams, 52–53
Technical competence, 120, 324
Teresa, Mother, 31–32, 142
Terry, Robert, 252
Themes of human talent, 50–51, 51 (table), 324
Theories, defined, 3 (box)

See also specific theories
Theory X, 78–80, 79 (table), 324
Theory Y, 80–82, 80 (table), 324
Theory Z, 82
Thomas, D. A., 188
Thomas, K. W., 259, 260 (figure)
Three Rs, 167, 169–173
Tradition, 255
Trait approach, 3 (box), 325

about, 22
case study, 37–38
charisma, 24–25
confidence, 23–24
defined, 2, 325
determination, 25


global leadership, 8, 8 (table), 22
integrity, 26, 29
intelligence, 22–23
leadership as, 2, 3 (box)
in practice, 29–35
questionnaire, 39–41
sociability, 25–26

Transformational leadership theory, 4 (box), 325
Trustworthiness, 277 (table)

Understanding, 23–24
University of Michigan, 121–122, 148
University of Washington rowing team, 164
Unrealized strengths, 55–56, 56 (figure), 325
Upjohn Company, 166, 167 (figure)
Ury, William, 239, 240, 250–255, 251 (figure), 256, 258
Utilitarian ethics, 294

Valued, feeling, 198 (table), 199, 309

conflict regarding, 243, 246
defined, 143, 325
end, 285, 322
ethical, 285, 322
ethical leadership, 285–286
modal, 285, 323
vision as, 143, 145–146, 147
Wildfire Interactive, 87–88

Values in Action Classification of Character Strengths, 53–54, 54
Values in Action (VIA) Institute, 53–55, 54 (table)
Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS), 54–55
Virtue ethics, 294

about, 141–142
adapting to audience, 147
articulating, 147–148
case study, 152–153
as challenge, 146–147
as change, 143


as conceptual skill, 130
defined, 141, 325
implementing, 148–149, 149–150 (box)
as map, 146
as picture, 142–143
questionnaire, 154–155
as values, 143, 145–146, 147

Visual communication, 102
Voice, giving to out-group members, 228
Vuong, V., 196

Washington, Coquese, 123–124
Washington, George, 29–30
Weaknesses, 56–57, 56 (figure), 61, 63, 325

See also Strengths
White, R. K., 83
Whitman, Meg, 168–169
Whole, feeling, 198 (table), 200
Wildfire Interactive, 87–88
Wilmot, W. W., 240, 241
Wilz, Mick, 102–103
Winfrey, Oprah, 33–34
Wisdom, managerial, 129
Women employees, 192–193
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), 123
Wooden, John, 5
Work, attitudes toward, 78–79, 80
Work and Love (Rohrlich), 101
Work environment, positive, 65–66

Xerox Corporation, 192–193

Yousafzai, Malala, 244, 245
Yukl, G., 108

Zuckerberg, Mark, 281


Table of Contents

Preface 15
About the Author 24
1. Understanding Leadership 26

Introduction 26
Leadership Explained 26

“Leadership Is a Trait” 27
“Leadership Is an Ability” 27
“Leadership Is a Skill” 32
“Leadership Is a Behavior” 32
“Leadership Is a Relationship” 33
“Leadership Is an Influence Process” 33

Global Leadership Attributes 34
The Dark Side of Leadership 36
Leadership Snapshot: Indra Nooyi 37
Summary 40
Application 41

1.1 Case Study 41
1.2 Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire 42
1.3 Observational Exercise 48
1.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 49

References 50
2. Recognizing Your Traits 52

Introduction 52
Leadership Traits Explained 52

Intelligence 54
Confidence 54
Charisma 56
Determination 57
Sociability 58
Integrity 58

Leadership Snapshot: Nelson Mandela 59


Leadership Traits in Practice 62
George Washington (1732–1799) 63
Winston Churchill (1874–1965) 67
Mother Teresa (1910–1997) 67
Bill Gates (1955–) 69
Oprah Winfrey (1954–) 72

Summary 74
Application 76

2.1 Case Study 76
2.2 Leadership Traits Questionnaire 78
2.3 Observational Exercise 84
2.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 86

References 86
3. Engaging Strengths 90

Introduction 90
Strengths-Based Leadership Explained 91

Historical Background 91
Identifying and Measuring Strengths 93

Strengths-Based Leadership in Practice 104
Discovering Your Strengths 104
Developing Your Strengths 106
Addressing Your Weaknesses 108

Leadership Snapshot: Steve Jobs 109
Recognizing and Engaging the Strengths of Others 112
Fostering a Positive Strengths-Based Environment 114

Summary 115
Application 118

3.1 Case Study 118
3.2 Leadership Strengths Questionnaire 119
3.3 Observational Exercise 125
3.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 126

References 127
4. Understanding Philosophy and Styles 131

Introduction 131


Leadership Philosophy Explained 131
Theory X 132
Theory Y 134

Leadership Styles Explained 138
Authoritarian Leadership Style 139
Democratic Leadership Style 141
Laissez-Faire Leadership Style 141

Leadership Snapshot: Victoria Ransom 143
Leadership Styles in Practice 146
Summary 147
Application 149

4.1 Case Study 149
4.2 Leadership Styles Questionnaire 151
4.3 Observational Exercise 155
4.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 156

References 157
5. Attending to Tasks and Relationships 159

Introduction 159
Task and Relationship Styles Explained 160

Task Style 160
Relationship Style 161

Leadership Snapshot: Mick Wilz 162
Task and Relationship Styles in Practice 162

Task Leadership 164
Relationship Leadership 165

Summary 171
Application 172

5.1 Case Study 172
5.2 Task and Relationship Questionnaire 174
5.3 Observational Exercise 177
5.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 179

References 180
6. Developing Leadership Skills 182

Introduction 182


Administrative Skills Explained 183
Administrative Skills in Practice 184

Interpersonal Skills Explained 187
Interpersonal Skills in Practice 187

Leadership Snapshot: Coquese Washington 189
Conceptual Skills Explained 193

Conceptual Skills in Practice 193
Summary 199
Application 200

6.1 Case Study 200
6.2 Leadership Skills Questionnaire 203
6.3 Observational Exercise 207
6.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 209

References 210
7. Creating a Vision 213

Introduction 213
Vision Explained 214

A Picture 215
A Change 215
Values 215

Leadership Snapshot: Rosalie Giffoniello 216
A Map 220
A Challenge 220

Vision in Practice 221
Articulating a Vision 222
Implementing a Vision 223

Summary 226
Application 227

7.1 Case Study 227
7.2 Leadership Vision Questionnaire 229
7.3 Observational Exercise 232
7.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 234

References 234
8. Establishing a Constructive Climate 237


Introduction 237
Constructive Climate Explained 237
Climate in Practice 238

Providing Structure 238
Clarifying Norms 239
Building Cohesiveness 241
Promoting Standards of Excellence 245

Leadership Snapshot: Meg Whitman 248
Summary 255
Application 257

8.1 Case Study 257
8.2 Organizational Climate Questionnaire 259
8.3 Observational Exercise 263
8.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 265

References 266
9. Embracing Diversity and Inclusion 268

Introduction 268
Diversity and Inclusion Explained 269

Definitions 269
Brief Historical Perspective 272

Inclusion Framework 277
Leadership Snapshot: Ursula Burns 279
Diversity and Inclusion in Practice 283

Model of Inclusive Practices 283
Leader Practices That Advance Diversity and Inclusion 287
Barriers to Embracing Diversity and Inclusion 292

Summary 298
Application 300

9.1 Case Study 300
9.2 Cultural Diversity Awareness Questionnaire 302
9.3 Observational Exercise 309
9.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 310

References 311
10. Listening to Out-Group Members 316


Introduction 316
Out-Group Members Explained 317

How Out-Groups Form 318
The Impact of Out-Group Members 320

Out-Group Members in Practice 324
Strategy 1: Listen to Out-Group Members 324
Strategy 2: Show Empathy to Out-Group Members 325
Strategy 3: Recognize the Unique Contributions of Out-
Group Members


Strategy 4: Help Out-Group Members Feel Included 328
Strategy 5: Create a Special Relationship With Out-Group


Strategy 6: Give Out-Group Members a Voice and Empower
Them to Act


Leadership Snapshot: Abraham Lincoln 330
Summary 333
Application 334

10.1 Case Study 334
10.2 Building Community Questionnaire 337
10.3 Observational Exercise 342
10.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 343

References 344
11. Managing Conflict 346

Introduction 346
Conflict Explained 347

Communication and Conflict 349
Conflict on the Content Level 350

Leadership Snapshot: Humaira Bachal 351
Conflict on the Relational Level 355

Managing Conflict in Practice 359
Fisher and Ury Approach to Conflict 360
Communication Strategies for Conflict Resolution 366
Kilmann and Thomas Styles of Approaching Conflict 371

Summary 376


Application 378
11.1 Case Study 378
11.2 Conflict Style Questionnaire 380
11.3 Observational Exercise 384
11.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 385

References 386
12. Addressing Ethics in Leadership 389

Introduction 389
Leadership Ethics Explained 390
Leadership Ethics in Practice 390

1. The Character of the Leader 392
2. The Actions of the Leader 393

Leadership Snapshot: Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates 398
3. The Goals of the Leader 400
4. The Honesty of the Leader 402
5. The Power of the Leader 403
6. The Values of the Leader 405

Culture and Leadership Ethics 407
Summary 407
Application 409

12.1 Case Study 409
12.2 Sample Items From the Ethical Leadership Style


12.3 Observational Exercise 418
12.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 419

References 420
13. Overcoming Obstacles 423

Introduction 423
Obstacles Explained 423
Overcoming Obstacles in Practice 424

Obstacle 1: Unclear Goals 425
Obstacle 2: Unclear Directions 426
Obstacle 3: Low Motivation 428

Leadership Snapshot: Bill Courtney 429


Obstacle 4: Complex Tasks 433
Obstacle 5: Simple Tasks 435
Obstacle 6: Low Involvement 436
Obstacle 7: Lack of a Challenge 437

Summary 438
Application 439

13.1 Case Study 439
13.2 Path–Goal Styles Questionnaire 441
13.3 Observational Exercise 444
13.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet 445

References 446
Glossary 448
Index 459


  • Preface
  • About the Author
  • 1. Understanding Leadership
    • Introduction
    • Leadership Explained
      • “Leadership Is a Trait”
      • “Leadership Is an Ability”
      • “Leadership Is a Skill”
      • “Leadership Is a Behavior”
      • “Leadership Is a Relationship”
      • “Leadership Is an Influence Process”
    • Global Leadership Attributes
    • The Dark Side of Leadership
    • Leadership Snapshot: Indra Nooyi
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 1.1 Case Study
      • 1.2 Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire
      • 1.3 Observational Exercise
      • 1.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 2. Recognizing Your Traits
    • Introduction
    • Leadership Traits Explained
      • Intelligence
      • Confidence
      • Charisma
      • Determination
      • Sociability
      • Integrity
    • Leadership Snapshot: Nelson Mandela
    • Leadership Traits in Practice
      • George Washington (1732–1799)
      • Winston Churchill (1874–1965)
      • Mother Teresa (1910–1997)
      • Bill Gates (1955–)
      • Oprah Winfrey (1954–)
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 2.1 Case Study
      • 2.2 Leadership Traits Questionnaire
      • 2.3 Observational Exercise
      • 2.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 3. Engaging Strengths
    • Introduction
    • Strengths-Based Leadership Explained
      • Historical Background
      • Identifying and Measuring Strengths
    • Strengths-Based Leadership in Practice
      • Discovering Your Strengths
      • Developing Your Strengths
      • Addressing Your Weaknesses
    • Leadership Snapshot: Steve Jobs
      • Recognizing and Engaging the Strengths of Others
      • Fostering a Positive Strengths-Based Environment
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 3.1 Case Study
      • 3.2 Leadership Strengths Questionnaire
      • 3.3 Observational Exercise
      • 3.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 4. Understanding Philosophy and Styles
    • Introduction
    • Leadership Philosophy Explained
      • Theory X
      • Theory Y
    • Leadership Styles Explained
      • Authoritarian Leadership Style
      • Democratic Leadership Style
      • Laissez-Faire Leadership Style
    • Leadership Snapshot: Victoria Ransom
    • Leadership Styles in Practice
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 4.1 Case Study
      • 4.2 Leadership Styles Questionnaire
      • 4.3 Observational Exercise
      • 4.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 5. Attending to Tasks and Relationships
    • Introduction
    • Task and Relationship Styles Explained
      • Task Style
      • Relationship Style
    • Leadership Snapshot: Mick Wilz
    • Task and Relationship Styles in Practice
      • Task Leadership
      • Relationship Leadership
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 5.1 Case Study
      • 5.2 Task and Relationship Questionnaire
      • 5.3 Observational Exercise
      • 5.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 6. Developing Leadership Skills
    • Introduction
    • Administrative Skills Explained
      • Administrative Skills in Practice
    • Interpersonal Skills Explained
      • Interpersonal Skills in Practice
    • Leadership Snapshot: Coquese Washington
    • Conceptual Skills Explained
      • Conceptual Skills in Practice
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 6.1 Case Study
      • 6.2 Leadership Skills Questionnaire
      • 6.3 Observational Exercise
      • 6.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 7. Creating a Vision
    • Introduction
    • Vision Explained
      • A Picture
      • A Change
      • Values
    • Leadership Snapshot: Rosalie Giffoniello
      • A Map
      • A Challenge
    • Vision in Practice
      • Articulating a Vision
      • Implementing a Vision
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 7.1 Case Study
      • 7.2 Leadership Vision Questionnaire
      • 7.3 Observational Exercise
      • 7.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 8. Establishing a Constructive Climate
    • Introduction
    • Constructive Climate Explained
    • Climate in Practice
      • Providing Structure
      • Clarifying Norms
      • Building Cohesiveness
      • Promoting Standards of Excellence
    • Leadership Snapshot: Meg Whitman
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 8.1 Case Study
      • 8.2 Organizational Climate Questionnaire
      • 8.3 Observational Exercise
      • 8.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 9. Embracing Diversity and Inclusion
    • Introduction
    • Diversity and Inclusion Explained
      • Definitions
      • Brief Historical Perspective
    • Inclusion Framework
    • Leadership Snapshot: Ursula Burns
    • Diversity and Inclusion in Practice
      • Model of Inclusive Practices
      • Leader Practices That Advance Diversity and Inclusion
      • Barriers to Embracing Diversity and Inclusion
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 9.1 Case Study
      • 9.2 Cultural Diversity Awareness Questionnaire
      • 9.3 Observational Exercise
      • 9.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 10. Listening to Out-Group Members
    • Introduction
    • Out-Group Members Explained
      • How Out-Groups Form
      • The Impact of Out-Group Members
    • Out-Group Members in Practice
      • Strategy 1: Listen to Out-Group Members
      • Strategy 2: Show Empathy to Out-Group Members
      • Strategy 3: Recognize the Unique Contributions of Out-Group Members
      • Strategy 4: Help Out-Group Members Feel Included
      • Strategy 5: Create a Special Relationship With Out-Group Members
      • Strategy 6: Give Out-Group Members a Voice and Empower Them to Act
    • Leadership Snapshot: Abraham Lincoln
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 10.1 Case Study
      • 10.2 Building Community Questionnaire
      • 10.3 Observational Exercise
      • 10.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 11. Managing Conflict
    • Introduction
    • Conflict Explained
      • Communication and Conflict
      • Conflict on the Content Level
    • Leadership Snapshot: Humaira Bachal
      • Conflict on the Relational Level
    • Managing Conflict in Practice
      • Fisher and Ury Approach to Conflict
      • Communication Strategies for Conflict Resolution
      • Kilmann and Thomas Styles of Approaching Conflict
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 11.1 Case Study
      • 11.2 Conflict Style Questionnaire
      • 11.3 Observational Exercise
      • 11.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 12. Addressing Ethics in Leadership
    • Introduction
    • Leadership Ethics Explained
    • Leadership Ethics in Practice
      • 1. The Character of the Leader
      • 2. The Actions of the Leader
    • Leadership Snapshot: Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates
      • 3. The Goals of the Leader
      • 4. The Honesty of the Leader
      • 5. The Power of the Leader
      • 6. The Values of the Leader
    • Culture and Leadership Ethics
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 12.1 Case Study
      • 12.2 Sample Items From the Ethical Leadership Style Questionnaire
      • 12.3 Observational Exercise
      • 12.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • 13. Overcoming Obstacles
    • Introduction
    • Obstacles Explained
    • Overcoming Obstacles in Practice
      • Obstacle 1: Unclear Goals
      • Obstacle 2: Unclear Directions
      • Obstacle 3: Low Motivation
    • Leadership Snapshot: Bill Courtney
      • Obstacle 4: Complex Tasks
      • Obstacle 5: Simple Tasks
      • Obstacle 6: Low Involvement
      • Obstacle 7: Lack of a Challenge
    • Summary
    • Application
      • 13.1 Case Study
      • 13.2 Path–Goal Styles Questionnaire
      • 13.3 Observational Exercise
      • 13.4 Reflection and Action Worksheet
    • References
  • Glossary
  • Index

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