Monday, August 29, 2011

Leadership Summary (Part 3)

Leadership Summary (Part 1)
Leadership Summary (Part 2)
My final summary of Northouse (2012):

Chapter 10: Overcoming Obstacles
This chapter addresses the kinds of obstacles that can arise as a leader and followers are working toward their goals.  Such obstacles can include things like 1) unclear goals (leader needs to make goals clear and understandable), 2) unclear directions, and 3) low motivation.

For low motivation, Northouse suggests leaders should help others feel competent, help others get what they expect, and help others value what they do.  When this sort of an environment is present, groups will tend to be more motivated.  "Expectancy theory suggests that people will be more highly motivated when the effort they put into a task leads to an expected outcome that they value" (214).

Different obstacles merit different leadership styles.  If the obstacle is 4) complex tasks, then a "directive" leadership style may help a group move forward.  If the tasks are 5) simple, then a "supportive" leadership style can help motivate.  If the obstacle is 6) low involvement, then a "participative" style may create involvement.  If there is a 7) lack of a challenge, then an "achievement-oriented leader" may be needed.

This chapter features a key aspect of leadership that was often overlooked in the past.  Good leadership is not only a matter of certain traits or skills.  It is the ability to exercise the right skills in the right situations.  Indeed, different situations probably call for leaders with different skills.

Chapter 11: Addressing Ethics in Leadership
Ethical leadership is about moving others to do the right thing in the right way for the right reasons.  Northouse breaks it down into five categories:

1. The character of a leader
The Josephson Institute (2008) frames character around dimensions like trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

2. The actions of a leader
Ethical actions show respect, serve others, and show justice (234).

3. The goals of a leader
"Identifying and pursuing just and worthy goals are the most important steps an ethical leader will undertake" (236).

4. The honesty of a leader
"More than any other quality, people want their leaders to be honest" (237).

5. The power of a leader
Northouse (2012) identifies five bases of power: 1) referent power (power because followers like the leader), 2) expert power (power because followers consider the leader to be competent), 3) legitimate power (formal authority because of position), 4) reward power (power because the leader can reward followers), and 5) coercive power (power because leader can punish followers).

6. The values of a leader
"Values are the ideas, beliefs, and modes of action that people find worthwhile or desirable" (240).  "The challenge for the ethical leader is to be faithful to his or her own leadership values while being sensitive to the followers' values" (240).

Here endeth the book...

Josephson Institute. (2008). The pillars of character. Los Angelos: Author.

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