Leadership and Motivation Theories

Analysis of managerial behavior using one or more theories – leadership and motivation

Leadership is the process by which one individual influences others to accomplish desired goals. A traditional definition of leadership is: “Leadership is an interpersonal influence directed toward the achievement of a goal or goals”. A leader can be a manager, but a manager is not necessarily a leader. When a manager is an influential person who can mobilize his employees to achieve organizational goals without using his or her formal authority to do so, then the manager can say to be a true leader.

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John P. Kotter in his book “A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs From Management” (1990), says that managers must know how to lead as well as manage. Any organization can be successful only when its employees can work towards the organizational goals. Since managerial behavior involves leading the team of employees towards achieving these organizational goals, the quality of leadership the manager exhibits is a critical determinant of organizational success.

Leadership studies can be classified as a trait, behavioral, contingency, and transformational. In the 1920s and 1930s, it was felt that the effectiveness of leadership depended on the personal traits of the leader. Though the trait theory successfully pointed to key traits for effective leadership such as drive, desire to lead, integrity, self-confidence, intelligence, and job-relevant knowledge, it was unable to explain whether these traits were inherently present in individuals or could be developed through training and education. The behavioral theorists felt that leadership was based on behavioral aspects that could be learned through training.

Douglas McGregor’s leadership theory called “Theory X and Theory Y” referred to two different ways in which leaders viewed employees. Theory X managers believe that employees are motivated mainly by money and take a negative view of them as being lazy, uncooperative, and have a poor work ethic. Theory Y managers on the other hand are positive about their employees and believe in their ability to work hard, be cooperative, and have positive attitudes.

Theory X is the traditional view of direction and control by managers. The managers follow an authoritarian style of leadership with the assumption that all employees dislike work and can be made to work only through force and control. These assumptions are limiting and prevent managers from taking a broader perspective during planning. Theory Y on the other hand is more positive and reinforces the view that individual and organizational goals can be integrated.

Theory Y believes that work is natural and employees can be made more committed to their work by using rewards and providing them a suitable environment that will encourage them to take more responsibilities. Theory Y believes in the immense potentiality within each of its employees and holds that the best can be brought out by creating a suitable situation, in which an employee can achieve his personal goals by aligning them with the objectives of the organization. This theory is links improvement in managerial competence with the satisfaction of higher-level ego and self-actualization needs.

Fred E. Fiedler’s contingency theory is based on the premise that there is no best way for managers to lead. Managers need to adopt different leadership styles for different situations. Fiedler includes three factors to define the condition of a managerial task: leader-member relations, task structure, and position power. The theory also rated managers as to whether they were relationship-oriented or task-oriented.

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Task-oriented managers tend to do better in situations that have good leader-member relationships, structured tasks, and either weak or strong position power. They do well when the task is unstructured but position power is strong. Also, they did well at the other end of the spectrum when the leader-member relations were moderate to poor and the task was unstructured. Relationship-oriented managers do better in all other situations.

Leaders accept that motivation is the primary part of their job. To be good leaders, managers must have the ability to motivate effectively. A few theories of what motivates people have become widely popular and accepted by managers. Maslow (1954) proposed that all people seek to satisfy five basic kinds of needs: psychological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs.

Maslow suggested that these needs constitute a hierarchy of needs, with the most basic or compelling physiological and safety needs—at the bottom. Maslow argued that these lowest-level needs must be met before a person will strive to satisfy needs higher up in the hierarchy, such as self-esteem needs. Once a need is satisfied, he proposed, it ceases to operate as a source of motivation. The lowest level of unmet needs in the hierarchy is the prime motivator of behavior; if and when this level is satisfied, needs at the next highest level in the hierarchy motivate behavior;

In the context of managerial behavior, Maslow’s hierarchy implies that; money is not the only motivator in the workplace; different people need different levels of motivation depending on their needs, and what motivates a person may change over time/

Basing his theory on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, McClelland (1961) theorized that individuals have three basic motivational needs: affiliation, power, and achievement.

The affiliation motive can be explained as a strong desire for social acceptance and friendship. The power motive is expressed as a strong desire to exercise influence over events or others. The achievement motive is based on the need to achieve and win. McClelland found that learning, education, and training can stimulate a greater need to achieve. Managers can use their understanding of the three needs to match employees to tasks that help them fulfill these needs, resulting in high performance.

For example, it would be a waste to position an individual with a high need for achievement in a routine job. Likewise, people with a high need for affiliation are likely to perform better in jobs with a lot of interpersonal contacts, as well as personal support and approval tied to their performance.

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According to Victor Vroom’s expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964), human motivation is affected by anticipated rewards and costs. An employee will be motivated to work toward a particular goal if it is perceived that a person need will be satisfied. The employee’s desire for a goal (valence) multiplied by what the organization expects (expectancy) will equal satisfaction and motivation.

The leadership and motivational theories of motivation suggest that it is important for the manager at Phitone Music Company to provide a work environment facilitation good performance, provide training and support to its employees, understand what the employees need, ensure that good performance is distinguishable from bad performance and good performance is always rewarded

Critical evaluation of managerial behavior in the areas of leadership and motivation drawing on relevant research as well as your own practical experience

In recent times, the role of the manager has acquired new significance due to changes in the work environment. There have been changes to the work environment in two ways: tasks have become team-oriented and there is increasing diversity in the workplace. This has created new challenges for the manager. The manager has to be a transformational leader to promote organizational success. Transformational leaders are considered to be especially suited to today’s organizations, as they are characterized by charisma, inspiration, and intellectual and individualized stimulation (Luthans, 2005).

Transformational leadership appears to have a powerful influence on job satisfaction both directly and indirectly through its influence on a person’s intrinsic task motivation (empowerment). Effective transformational leaders identify themselves as change agents, are courageous, believe in people, are value-driven, are lifelong learners, can deal with complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty, and are visionaries (Bass and Riggio, 2006). They choose to empower their employees.

When an organization takes actions to improve customer and employee engagement, two different kinds of intervention activities are required: transactional and transformational. Both activities are designed to create sustainable organizational change (House, 2007). Transformational activities are designed to help managers do things in new and better ways. Transformational activities are interventions designed to fundamentally alter the structure or culture of the company (Morse, 2007). A transformational leader encourages group members to challenge and to reframe each other’s ideas (IS) and also to show understanding and consideration for each other’s opinions (IC). By clarifying the leader’s expectations, these behaviors motivate participants to stimulate others and to express understanding and support for their ideas. (Pawar, 2004).

The Aluminum Company of America’s (ALCOA) Magnesium Plant in Addy, Washington, was in trouble in 1989. There were many injuries in the factory and even a fatality. National management stepped in and replaced the plant manager with Don Simonic. Simonic displayed the kind of authority that many had observed lacking at Addy. In setting goals for the plant, Simonic sought input from top-level management, made the decisions about goals, and avoided getting bogged down m the consensus problems that had paralyzed the plant.

According to then-personnel manager Tom McCombs, Simonic was guided by four clear principles: Leaders have to lead, leaders haw to make decisions, leaders haw to have a clear vision, and leaders have to set direction (Olberding 1998, 52). Currently, the plant is back on track and appears headed for success again (Bass and Avolio 2002, 55). This shows the impact a manager can have on a company’s success through his leadership.

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Many top managers of successful companies have relied on motivation for their success. For example, Mary Kay Ash, Chairman Emeritus of Mary Kay Cosmetics, focuses her efforts on her employees. Her organization has become a Fortune 500 company, and her secret is her active attention and recognition of her employees. Lawrence Bossidy is CEO of AlliedSignal. Bossidy implemented education and career planning strategies for his employees and made an effort to reward those who were willing to make a commitment, show passion, and take ownership. The employees responded extraordinarily well to his efforts, as shown in subsequent organizational performance.

Bernard Marcus, Chairman, and CEO of Home Depot, allows employees to purchase company stock 15% below market price, wages are 20% and 25% above industry average, and employees receive full health and dental benefits. The company also offers training programs to its employees, and those employees have responded to the rewarding atmosphere.

Transformational leadership, according to its founder James Burns, it the engagement of one person, the leader, with others, the followers, in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality. Transformational leaders share emotions and passions about a desirable future state with their followers. Six major themes have been identified as being evident in any transformational leadership process. These are the creation of a shared vision, communicating the vision, building relationships, developing a supportive organizational culture, guiding implementation, and exhibiting character (Grosse, 2000).

These allow managers and employees to become self-motivated. Transformational leaders motivate effort by raising the awareness of followers to make them aspire to higher-order needs and values and by developing them to fulfill their aspirations (Hemphill, 2006)

At the end of the day, all businesses look for the business rewards of the changes that are put in place. Transformational changes where leadership and motivation are determinant factors are needed to improve the overall performance of the company in the global age. Analysis of the managerial behavior of not adapting to the changing global situation shows that the manager needs to be a transformational leader making himself and his employees self-motivated to a high degree.

Recommendations to improve managerial competence in the areas of leadership and motivation

Improving managerial competence in the areas of leadership and motivation may be deduced from the various leadership and motivation theories. According to the theory of situational leadership effective leadership depends on two factors: the followers’ level of readiness or maturity and situational demands.. An effective leader is one who can adapt his or her style to meet differences in these two factors. Based on this model, Hersey and Blanchard have deduced four styles of leadership: authoritative, supportive, participating, and delegating. Hence, it is evident that the manager should adopt different leadership styles for different people for different tasks.

He should also ensure that the environment slowly facilitates the delegation of various tasks to his employees. A person who is used to selling guitars and drums directly will not be sufficiently equipped to sell the same online. Such employees should be given training and allowed to work under some guidance initially. The situational theory of Hersey and Blanchard holds that the employees may be moved forward from a strictly supervised style towards delegation through praise and recognition. This indicates the use of praise and recognition as motivators in the move towards delegation of work. On the other hand, if they are not found fit for the job, they should be demoted. This would ensure that the manager is an able leader, bringing forth the good performance of the company.

People are motivated not only by money but also by intrinsic rewards such as promotions, rewards, and a sense of belonging. It is the responsibility of the manager, as a leader, to create an environment in which people can feel challenged and motivated to work. When employees appear to be unmotivated, managers must evaluate the leadership situation and take appropriate action.

Vroom’s expectancy approach describes motivation as depending on employees’ seeing the link between performance and rewards. People will continue behavior that is rewarded. When the payment is not enough, or when payment is not used as an incentive for better performance, employees tend to be demotivated. Moreover, when the company’s profits spiral down, it indicates that the manager is failing to convey to his employees that they should find their work inherently satisfying and he believes in their ability to improve the company’s profitability. Effective motivation depends on effective communication. Motivation does not necessarily mean giving money for more work, informal recognition as praising and encouraging daily are also great ways of motivating people and telling them they are valued.

Sheldon, Elliot, Kim, and Kasser (2001) examined ten fundamental motives that people strive to fulfill through satisfying events or experiences and found that motives labeled as self-esteem, relatedness, autonomy, and competence were strongly related to an individual’s most satisfying experiences. This suggests that people are motivated to achieve a sense of self-respect (self-esteem), meaningful contact with others (relatedness), enhanced perceived control (autonomy) and challenging work that demonstrates their own capabilities (competence).

The manager must be able to incorporate these fundamental motives into goals. Two of these fundamental motives, striving for self-esteem and competence, can be related to goals or personal strivings associated with task achievement. Task-oriented employees have a strong desire to accomplish task-related goals as a means of expressing their competence and building self-esteem

To be an effective leader the manager should cultivate the following attributes:

  • Vision: The effective leader has a vision that he can convey throughout the organization.
  • Credibility: By being willing to admit mistakes, sharing information, being open and transparent in his decisions, the effective leader commands trust among the employees in the organization.
  • Collaboration: The effective leader must develop his interpersonal skills, promote cooperation and collaboration, encourage them to give their ideas, and helps them solve their problems.
  • Communication: A good leader must be a good communicator as well. Only through communication, he can motivate, inform and inspire.
  • Action-Orientation: The effective leader plans and delivers results with speed and excellence.
  • Feedback and Recognition: The effective leader provides usable feedback and recognizes people for their accomplishments. He can appreciate the contributions of others; uses praise more often than criticism, gives positive feedback and recognition for good performance, and finds ways to celebrate accomplishments.
  • Accountability: Finally, the effective leader practices accountability. He can conduct periodic performance appraisals and accept responsibility for his decisions.
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