Describe three aspects of motivation that support leadership skills and an example of how a work colleague, employee, or leader exhibited these aspects of motivation.
In relation to the skills approach, Northouse (2016) explains that there are three aspects of motivation that support leadership skills: (a) willingness to lead, (b) willingness to express dominance, and (c) commitment to the social good of the individuals of the organization and the organization as a whole (pg. 52). I believe that for an individual to become an effective leader, they must want to become a leader. In my opinion, leadership in an organization is a job that is too complex for an individual to be effective at if one does not actually want to do it. Secondly, I do not personally prefer the word “dominance” when discussing leadership. In my opinion, dominance is a term that is related to position and authority only, not influence and the development of employees. I would describe this second aspect as one having the willingness to put their influence into action. The first step is wanting to lead while the second step is taking intentional action to lead. Lastly, I believe that a leader must appeal to the masses of the organization if they want the organization to succeed. If the leader is only worried about themselves or a few individuals, the team/organization will likely fail. Leaders must recognize the importance of shared values, leadership alignment, and take the necessary action to advance the individuals and the organization toward collective success (social good).
I have been fortunate enough to have a colleague that expressed all three of these skills. Regarding the willingness to lead, this individual would volunteer to solve problems, frequently do more than he was asked, and would continuously seek mentorship from his superiors. He showed his willingness to lead by not only performing more work than was required but immediately began to invest in his subordinates when he was promoted to a higher position. He would frequently review work with his subordinates and conduct leadership and personal development them. Lastly, this individual proved his commitment to the social good of the organization, and the individuals within the organization, by meetings expectations, exceeding set standards, helping develop his subordinates, and verbally promoting the culture and mission of the organization. He conducted himself in a way that showed he was committed to the organization’s goals and vision, giving the subordinates a visual example to follow.
Explain how each of these aspects of your analysis relates to the motivation and leadership theory.
The first aspect identified, the internal desire to lead, mostly relates to idealized influence characteristic of the transformational leadership theory. Northouse (2016) explains that idealized influence happens when leaders act as role models because of their respective moral and ethical action (pg. 167). I believe this attribute shows the willingness to lead because the individual is showing the willingness to set and maintain a high standard for themselves. This shows that they want to lead themselves, which many individuals would rather be told what to do and how to do it. However, if an individual wants to lead themselves, this does not necessarily mean they want to lead others. Even though it doesn’t prove one would want to lead others, I do believe leading oneself is a prerequisite to leading others.
The second and third aspect, expressing dominance or taking intentional leadership action, and advancement toward the social good of the organization, relates to both the inspirational motivation aspect of the transformational leadership theory and separately, the path-goal theory. Northouse (2016) explains that inspirational motivation requires communication revealing a shared vision, high expectations, and results in increased employee performance and common goals (pg. 168). This shows intentional leadership action and advancement of an aligned goal that will hopefully result in organizational success. Regarding the path-goal theory, leaders must understand how to leverage the social good of the organization to meet the motivational needs of their employees (Northouse, 2016, pg. 115). Once this is done, the leader can then take the necessary steps (express dominance) to create motivation in their employees, resulting in an organization operating toward a common goal.
Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com
Motivation is an attribute that impacts individual leaders and their development of leadership skills and style (Northouse, 2016). Motivation focuses on three aspects that impact the leadership skill development (Northouse, 2016). Leaders must have the willingness to lead and tackle complex problems Northouse, 2016). For instance, the willingness to lead is an attribute of transactional, transformational and situational leadership. The second attribute is dominance over a group of followers to influence desired outcomes (Northouse, 2016). Leaders set the vision and desired outcomes of the organization (Kotterman, 2006). The dominant vision of the leader influences an organization (Bass & Avolio, 1993). The leader’s point of view dominates the vision and desired outcomes that the organization must achieve. A situational leader may take inputs from other members of the organization, but ultimately it is the leader’s decision that dominates the direction. The last attribute is the leaders focus on the social good of the organization (Northouse, 2016). The strategy and the desired outcomes set by the leader are focused on the greater good of the organization and not the leaders self-interests.
A past leader that exhibited all three attributes of motivation was Karim Khoja. Khoja was the chief executive officer of Roshan, a mobile phone operator in Afghanistan. Khoja willing led the organization and solved the complexity of building a mobile phone operation in a post-war country for ten years. The Khoja’s strategic vision to build the network dominated the goals of the organization. The dominating vision was necessary as the challenge of building a network in Afghanistan created additional challenges. Lastly, the strategic vision established by Khoja maintained the social good of the organization. All projects had to further the mission of the company and to meet the goals.
The first attribute of motivation, the willingness to lead, is part of all leadership theories. The line between management and leadership is the willingness to lead others by setting a vision, outcomes, and direction for the organization (Kotterman, 2006). For example, transformational leaders get followers to put aside personal needs for the greater good of the organization (Bass & Avolio, 1993; Effelsberg, Solga, & Gurt, 2013; Northouse, 2016). In the second attribute of motivation, a leader must exert a dominant influence on the organization (Northouse, 2016). A transactional leader expresses dominate influence by providing an extrinsic reward to the followers to achieve the organization goals (McCleskey, 2014). A transformational leader influences the organization to work towards a common goal based on the leaders vision (Bass & Avolio, 1993; Northouse, 2016). The last attribute of motivation is a leaders focus on the social good of the organization and the leader’s self-interest (Northouse, 2016). A leadership theories work under the assumption that the leaders intentions and directions are for the social good of the organization.
Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B.J., & Shamir, B. (2012). Impact of transformational leadership on follower development and performance: A field experiment. Academy of Management Journal, 45(1), 112-121.
Effelsberg, D., Solga, M., & Gurt, J. (2014). Getting followers to transcend their self-interest for the benefit of their company: Testing a core assumption of transformational leadership theory. Journal of Business & Psychology, 29(1), 131–143. doi:10.1007/s10869-013-9305-x
Kotterman, J. (2006). Leadership versus management: What’s the difference? The Journal for Quality and Participation, 29(2), 13-17.
Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
McCleskey, J. A. (2014). Situational, transformational, and transactional leadership and leadership development. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4), 117-130. Retrieved from http://www.jbsq.org