After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer these questions:
- What is the nature of leadership and the leadership process?
- What are the processes associated with people coming to leadership positions?
- How do leaders influence and move their followers to action?
- What are the trait perspectives on leadership?
- What are the behavioral perspectives on leadership?
- What are the situational perspectives on leadership?
- What does the concept “substitute for leadership” mean?
- What are the characteristics of transactional, transformational, and charismatic leadership?
- How do different approaches and styles of leadership impact what is needed now?
John Arroyo is thrilled with his new position as general manager of the Springfield Sea Lions, a minor league baseball team in. Arroyo has been a baseball fan all of his life, and now his diligent work and his degree in sports management are paying off.
Arroyo knew he had a hard act to follow. The general manager whom John replaced, “T.J.” Grevin, was a much-loved old-timer who had been with the Sea Lions since their inception 14 years ago. John knew it would be difficult for whoever followed T.J., but he didn’t realize how ostracized and powerless he would feel. He tried a pep talk: “I’m the general manager—the CEO of this ball club! In time, the staff will respect me.” [Not a very good pep talk!]
After his first season ends, Arroyo is discouraged. Ticket and concession sales are down, and some long-time employees are rumored to be thinking about leaving. If John doesn’t turn things around, he knows his tenure with the Sea Lions will be short.
Questions: Is John correct in assuming that the staff will learn to respect him in time? What can John do to earn the loyalty of his staff and improve the ball club’s performance?
Outcomes: During the winter, John thinks long and hard about how he can earn the respect of the Sea Lions staff. Before the next season opener, John announces his plan: “So I can better understand what your day is like, I’m going to spend one day in each of your shoes. I’m trading places with each of you. I will be a ticket taker, a roving hot dog vendor, and a janitor. And I will be a marketer, and an accountant—for a day. You in turn will have the day off so you can enjoy the game from the general manager’s box.” The staff laughs and whistles appreciatively. Then the Springfield mascot, Sparky the Sea Lion, speaks up: “Hey Mr. Arroyo, are you going to spend a day in my flippers?” “You bet!” says John, laughing. The entire staff cheers.
John continues. “At the close of the season, we will honor a staff member with the T.J. Grevin Award for outstanding contributions to the Sea Lions organization. T.J. was such a great guy, it’s only right that we honor him.” The meeting ends, but John’s staff linger to tell him how excited they are about his ideas. Amidst the handshakes, he hopes that this year may be the best year yet for the Sea Lions.
Sarah Elizabeth Roisland is the manager of a district claims office for a large insurance company. Fourteen people work for her. The results of a recent attitude survey indicate that her employees have extremely high job satisfaction and motivation. Conflict is rare in Sarah’s office. Furthermore, productivity measures place her group among the most productive in the entire company. Her success has brought the company’s vice president of human resources to her office in an attempt to discover the secret to her success. Sarah’s peers, superiors, and workers all give the same answer: she is more than a good manager—she is an outstanding leader. She continually gets high performance from her employees and does so in such a way that they enjoy working for her.
There is no magic formula for becoming a good leader. There are, however, many identifiable reasons why some people are better and more effective leaders. Leaders, especially effective leaders, are not created by simply attending a one-day leadership workshop. Yet effective leadership skills are not something most people are born with. You can become an effective leader if you are willing to invest the time and energy to develop all of the “right stuff.”
According to Louise Axon, director of content strategy, and her colleagues at Harvard Business Publishing, in seeking management talent, leadership is an urgently needed quality in all managerial roles.