Levels Of Leadership: What A Leader Is

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A leader is someone who is working towards mastering their life

  1. They live their life on values based on self-awareness that extends to the world around them
  2. All good leaders are self-aware and have learned to be happy
  3. Leaders are almost always productive
  4. Leaders usually handle their money well
  5. Leaders will usually keep themselves healthy, both physically and mentally
  6. Every leader has a history past successes
  7. Leaders have learned how to honor boundaries and are usually very tactful

There are 5 levels of leadership, working outwards from the self

  • Level 1 Leadership – causes change and gives direction inside themselves
    • Comfortable in their inner world and aware of themselves
    • Maintains their behavior according to proper social standards
    • Sets reasonable goals to productively contribute and attains them through talent, knowledge, skills and good habits
  • Level 2 Leadership – changes others and causes change from others
    • Recognizes their place in a group or in society and observes others’ behaviors and motivations
    • Contributes to the group’s objectives in a meaningful way
    • Works well in a team with assertiveness and without unnecessary conflict
  • Level 3 Leadership – causes changes and directs others
    • Organizes people and resources toward pursuing predetermined objectives
    • Effectively instructs others on what tasks are needed and how to do them
    • Follows up with subordinates and others on a project to ensure the tasks are being done
  • Level 4 Leadership – inspires others to become leaders
    • Gives authority to others and guides them to healthy results
    • Lets subordinates learn and grow on their own as independent leaders
    • Gives a clear vision for others to strive for instead of giving directions
  • Level 5 Leadership – manages and directs entire networks of people
    • Builds greatness by sharing a vision with a varied group of people

Just because someone is in a position of leadership does not mean they are actual leaders

  • It is offensive in most cultures to promote someone to a position and then later forcefully demote them
    • Therefore, a very capable worker will be promoted until they can no longer prove they are competent
    • This proves the Peter Principle: anything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it fails
  • It is still morally right to honor impotent authority, but it is wise to try considering an alternative
  • A lot of our society will promote based on preference instead of on talent
    • Though this is unfair, it’s how the world works, and it’s best to try finding better ventures elsewhere if you’re a victim of it
  • There are ten big ways that all leaders usually fail:
    1. Not enough energy or enthusiasm to motivate others
    2. Accepting mediocrity in doing tasks personally
    3. No clear vision or direction
    4. Bad judgment on big decisions
    5. Unwilling to hear subordinates’ input
    6. Leading only by speaking and not by example
    7. Resisting new ideas
    8. Not learning from mistakes and failures
    9. Poor interpersonal skills
    10. Failing at helping others grow, improve or succeed

There are a many different approaches to viewing a leadership role

  • Believing that no single leadership style fits all situations and they all must adapt to the features of the situation and who is following
  • Having the circumstances themselves define what a leader should and shouldn’t do
  • A leader and follower are engaged in a transaction, where the follower must perform according to the leader’s commands and will pass or fail it
  • The leader and follower are in a relationship, where the leader should inspire and motivate each follower to achieve the results
  • A true leader will always have the following characteristics:
    1. Honest – trustworthy, reliable, open and has integrity
    2. Emotionally mature – well-adjusted without any severe psychological disorders
    3. Motivated – an intense desire to lead others to reach shared goals
    4. Self-confident – has a constant belief in themselves, their ideas and their ability
    5. Mentally capable – able to show good judgment, strong analytical abilities and skilled in understanding concepts
    6. Driven by achievement – puts a high level of effort, enthusiasm and energy into their work

Though leadership is more of an art than a science, there are many great theories about leadership

  • Action Centered Leadership is broken down into Task, Team and Individual
    • The Task is absolutely necessary for a leader to exist and the leader will lead by understanding how to accomplish it
    • The Team is a group oriented towards the Task, and the leader must pull the best possible potential out of them through encouragement
    • The Individual has varying desires, fears, motivations and experiences that uniquely change the leader’s approach to encourage them
  • The Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid breaks out leaders into Concerned for People and Concerned for Tasks/Results
    • Concerned for People focuses on the benefits for the group members, what they’d enjoy the most and what benefits their careers the most
    • Concerned for Tasks/Results is determined to get the job done as successfully as possible and only thinks about the benefits of the organization
    • This creates a model that can be measured on 2 axes
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      • Impoverished management fails on both the task and helping the people
      • Country Club management fails on the task, but the workers love being there
      • Produce or Perish management pays exclusive attention to the task and gives little regard for the employees’ well-being
      • Team management offers the best of both, but reality makes it impossible to effectively provide fully for both of them
  • Dunham & Pierce’s Leadership Process Model addresses how all the key elements that play a role in leadership are all connected with each other
    • There are several major factors
      1. Leader – in charge of a project or team that a group answers to, no matter what their title is
      2. Followers – the ones being led by the Leader who are largely responsible for the results
      3. Context – the circumstances for the Leader to manage the team, which include the duration of the project and scope of management
      4. Outcomes – the results of the project being performed
    • All aspects of leadership are interconnected with one another using a circular relationship, not a linear one, and there are some major points from it
      • Relationships have to grow between the Leader and the Followers
      • People will naturally do what they do best and ignore other things they are supposed to do
      • Feedback is absolutely essential, since everything affects everything else
      • Ethical and honest behavior is absolutely necessary to keep everything in harmony
  • Fiedler’s Contingency Model looks at how circumstances will change based on different leadership styles and approaches
    • A specific leader is only able to lead in one fashion, meaning that another person will need to do the job if a different leadership style is required
    • Rank a potential leader on a number of values from 1 to 8, with the low numbers showing task-based over relationship-based
    • There are three factors of Situational Favorableness that say how a leader will do in a situation
      • Leader’s Position Power ranks a Strong or Weak leader based on how much power they have within the total organization
      • Task Structure is Unstructured or Structured based on how detailed and clear the expectations are from each team member
      • Leader-Member Relations measure how well the relationships are between the team members and the leader
  • Hersey-Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Theory holds that a leader should vary their approach on the skills, knowledge and circumstances of the people they are leading
    • Telling Style (low relationship, high task)
      • The most direct form of leadership where the leader tells them what to do and how they’d like it done
      • There is very little working together between the leader and team members
      • Works best with Maturity Level 1 (M1) – least experienced, will need to be told how to do pretty much everything, could simply be from very little knowledge or background
    • Selling Style (high relationship, high task)
      • More room for collaboration than telling
      • Leader is more likely to engage with the team members and convince them to follow a certain way of doing things
      • Works best with Maturity Level 2 (M2) – have only slightly more knowledge and skill than M1s and are now willing to take on the task more easily, even if they can’t do it correctly without help
    • Participant Style (high relationship, low task)
      • Leader tries to build relationships with team members
      • Leader blends in more fully with the followers, and may not even make all the decisions and instead defer them
      • Works best with Maturity Level 3 (M3) – excited to work on the job and have most of the skill to do it right, can get most of the way on their own
    • Delegating Style (low relationship, low task)
      • The leader passes on most of the responsibilities for a given project or task to various team members
      • Leaders with experienced teams will use this, since they may not need much direction
      • Works best with Maturity Level 4 (M4) – completely able to handle a task and know how to do it without a leader
  • The Tannenbaum-Schmidt Leadership Continuum gives multiple large spectrums based on leadership style extremes, where every leader will fit into the middle somewhere
    • This spectrum runs between Manager-Oriented Leadership (a dictator) and Team-Oriented Leadership (encourages sharing ideas)
      1. Tells – gives direct instructions with limited interaction, often from distrust
      2. Sells – still direct, but allows some dynamic between the leader and follower, the leader still commands but now listens
      3. Suggests – softer in approach and wants the team to have input in the process
      4. Consults – trusts the team members to the point of asking their advice, gives legitimate power to the members
      5. Joins – the leader is more of a member than a dictator, maintains power over choices but uses the team for decisions
      6. Delegates – trusts the team implicitly, steps back and expects the team to perform
      7. Abdicates – leader gives up any involvement and trusts the team to perform from start to finish
  • Lewin’s Leadership Styles Framework holds that each person has 3 distinctive leadership styles inside of themselves
    • Authoritarian Leadership – takes command and doesn’t pass on any decision-making responsibility
    • Participative Leadership – gets involved working as part of the team and expects their input
    • Delegative Leadership – hands off responsibilities fully to team members and trusts them completely
  • Path-Goal Theory says that there is a pathway to a goal and a leader is supposed to guide the way to it
    • A leader has a few key responsibilities
      1. Clearing the path by helping the team members to see the goal, which applies to mid-points if the end isn’t in sight
      2. Removing obstacles that the project runs across and stepping in to correct the problems that inevitably come up
      3. Offering rewards to keep team members motivated and happy
    • There are 4 types of leadership in the Path-Goal theory that can be used or mixed together
      • Supporting Leadership – the leader is building relationships with people on the team and showing interest in each individual
      • Directive Leadership – passes out assignments and objectives
      • Participative Leadership – the leader motivates the team members by treating them more as equals than subordinates
      • Achievement-Oriented Leadership – the leader gives incentives and rewards to make the followers feel recognized and accomplished
Next: Level 1 Leadership – Being A Professional