LEADERSHIP TRAIT THEORIES
Motivating the “New Workforce i.e. Knowledge Professionals.”
Another current motivation issue revolves
around motivating the “new workforce.” These special groups
present unique motivational challenges to managers. These professionals
possess specialty knowledge of
markets, of customers, of supplier, of software, of hardware, of
technology and are very important to run
the organizations smoothly in 21st
1. Motivating professionals is one of these special challenges.
a. Professionals are different from nonprofessionals and have different
b. Money and promotions are typically low on the motivation priority
list for professionals. Job
challenge is usually ranked high as is support and the feeling that
they’re working on something
Special challenges in motivating professionals include their long-term
commitment to their field of
expertise, with greater loyalty to their profession than to their
employer. Money and promotions are
typically low on professionals’ priority list. Contingent workers lack
the security that permanent employees
have and do not identify with or display much commitment to the
organization. Temporary workers also
typically lack benefits such as health care and pensions. Low-skilled
minimum-wage workers typically have
limited education and skills; offering higher pay is usually not an
The recognition of the important role that
leadership plays in organizational performance is widely
acknowledged by managers everywhere. Leadership is what makes things
happen in organizations.
MANAGERS VERSUS LEADERS
There are distinctions between managers and
leaders. Managers are appointed and have legitimate power
within the organization.
Leaders are those persons who are able
to influence others and who possess managerial authority.
Leadership, then, is the ability to
influence a group toward the achievement of goals.
How leaders influence others Leadership,
the foundation of the management function of leading,
is the process of influencing others
toward the achievement of organizational goals.
Power is the capacity to affect the
behavior of others.There are different types of power depending upon
their sources originally identified by French and Raven.
1. Legitimate power
stems from a position’s placement in the managerial
hierarchy and the authority
vested in the position.
2. Reward power
is based on the capacity to control and provide
valued rewards to others.
3. Coercive power
is based on the ability to obtain compliance through
fear of punishment.
4. Expert power
is based on the possession of expertise that is
valued by others.
5. Information power
result from access to and control over the
distribution of important
information about organizational operations and future plans.
6. Referent power
results from being admired, personally identified
with, or liked by others.
The different types of power can engender different levels of
1. With commitment, employees respond
enthusiastically and exert a high level of
effort toward organizational goals.
a. Commitment is the most common outcome of referent power and expert
b. Commitment is least likely to result from the use of coercive power.
2. With compliance, employees exert at least minimal efforts to complete
but are likely to deliver average, rather than stellar, performance.
a. Compliance is the most likely outcome of the use of legitimate power,
information power, and reward power.
b. Compliance is a possible outcome of coercive power if used in a
way or of referent power of expert power when some element of apathy is
3. With resistance, employees may appear to comply, but actually do the
minimum, possibly even attempting to sabotage the attainment of
a. Resistance is a likely outcome of coercive power.
b. Resistance is a possible outcome of other types of power if used
4. The effective manager is one who does not have to rely on a single
power base but
rather, has high levels of power in several (all if possible) of these
six power types.
Searching for Leadership Traits
Researchers began to study leadership in the
early part of the 20th century. These early theories focused on
the leader (trait theories) and how the leader interacted with his/her
group members (behavior theories).
A. Trait Theories
1. Research in the 1920s and 1930s focused basically on leader traits
with the intent to isolate one or
more traits that leaders possessed, but that nonleaders did not.
2. Identifying a set of traits that would always differentiate leaders
from nonleaders proved
are distinctive internal qualities or characteristics
of an individual such as physical
characteristics (e.g., height, weight, appearance, energy), personality
characteristics (e.g., dominance,
extroversion, originality), skills and abilities (e.g., intelligence,
knowledge, technical competence), and social
factors (e.g., interpersonal skills sociability, and socioeconomic
C. A number of the early research attempts were reanalyzed in the 1950s
and concluded that there is
no set of traits which consistently distinguish leaders from nonleaders.
D. Recent efforts suggest that the trait approach may have been
1. More sophisticated statistical techniques are now available.
2. Several rather predictable traits have now been suggested such as
E. The question of whether traits can be associated with leadership
remains open. Recent research
work has looked at communication skills, human relations skills,
resistance to stress, tolerance of
uncertainty, and others.