Leadership is the process of influencing a group of individuals to achieve shared objectives. The primary function of leadership is to produce change and movement, while the primary function of management is to provide order and consistency to organisations. As both leadership and management are processes, anybody can execute leadership or managerial functions at different times. Leaders cannot be called leaders simply by virtue of the position they hold in organisations. The execution of management and leadership functions by leaders situated in organisations is examined in this blog post.
We are authentic when we own our personal experiences like thoughts, emotions, needs, preferences or beliefs. We get to know ourselves and behave according to our true selves.
Walumbwa and his colleagues (2008) have defined authentic leadership as a pattern of leader behaviour that fosters greater self-awareness, an internalised moral perspective, balanced processing of information, and relational transparency while working with followers, leading to positive self-development.
Self-awareness refers to understanding our strengths and weaknesses and our multifaceted nature. This includes gaining insight into ourselves through exposure to others, and being aware of how our thoughts, attitudes and behaviour impact other people.
Relational transparency refers to presenting our authentic self (as opposed to a fake or distorted self) to others. Such behaviour promotes trust among leaders and followers through disclosures, openly sharing information and expressions of one’s true thoughts and feelings while trying to minimise displays of inappropriate emotions.
Balanced processing refers to leaders who objectively analyse all relevant data before coming to a decision. Such leaders also solicit views that challenge their deeply held positions.
Internalised moral perspective refers to an internalised and integrated form of self-regulation. This sort of self-regulation is guided by internal moral standards and values, versus, group, organisational, and societal pressures. It results in expressed decision making and behaviour that is consistent with these internalised values.
Yukl (2011) states that the most commonly used measure of leader effectiveness is the extent to which the performance of the team or organizational unit is enhanced and the attainment of goals is facilitated.
He states that objective measures of leadership effectiveness include sales, net profits, profit margin, market share, return on investment, return on assets, productivity, cost per unit of output, costs in relation to budgeted expenditures, and change in the value of corporate stock. Subjective measures of leadership effectiveness include ratings obtained from leader’s superiors, peers and subordinates.
However, as the primary function of leadership is to produce change and movement, while the primary function of management is to provide order and consistency to organisations (Northouse, 2013), the above would be measures of managerial effectiveness rather than leadership effectiveness.
Followers’ attitude and behaviour provide an indirect indicator of dissatisfaction and hostility toward the manager. Examples of such indicators include absenteeism, voluntary vacancies, grievances, complaints to higher management, requests for transfer, work slowdowns, and deliberate sabotage of equipment and facilities.
Managerial effectiveness can be measured by the extent to which a person has a successful career as a manager. Is the person promoted rapidly to positions of higher authority? Does the person serve a full term in a managerial position, or is he or she removed or forced to resign? For elected positions in organizations, is a manager who seeks re-election successful?
Follower attitudes and perceptions of the leader are common indicators of leader effectiveness (Yukl, 2011). How well does the leader satisfy their needs and expectations? Do followers like, respect, and admire the leader? Do followers trust the leader and perceive him or her to have high integrity? Are followers strongly committed to carrying out the leader’s requests, or will they resist, ignore and subvert them? Does the leader improve the quality of work life, build the self-confidence of followers, increase their skills, and contribute to their psychological growth and development?
Leader effectiveness is occasionally measured in terms of the leader’s contribution to the quality of group processes, as perceived by followers or by outside observers. Does the leader enhance group cohesiveness, member cooperation, member commitment, and member confidence that the group can achieve its objectives? Does the leader enhance problem solving and decision making by the group, and help to resolve disagreements and conflicts in a constructive way? Does the leader contribute to the efficiency of role specialization, the organization of activities, the accumulation of resources, and the readiness of the group to deal with change and crises?
The study indicates that authentic leadership leads to various dimensions of managerial effectiveness including organisational performance, satisfaction of follower needs, and improvement in the quality of work life. It also leads to a decrease in negative attitudes and behaviour by followers, such as absenteeism, dissatisfaction and hostility. It enhances positive group attitudes and behaviour, and, finally, managers practicing authentic leadership achieve personal success as perceived by their followers.
Authentic leadership leads to various dimensions of leadership effectiveness including respect for the leader, commitment to leader’s requests, enhancement of problem solving skills and group ability to deal with change and crises.
- This blog post is based on the author’s paper Assessing the Effectiveness of Authentic Leadership, International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 9 Iss. 1, 2015
- The post gives the views of its author, not the position of LSE Business Review or the London School of Economics.
- Featured image credit: Photo by Luke Braswell on Unsplash
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Biplab Datta is an associate professor at Vinod Gupta School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India. He received his PhD degree in Service Quality Management from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in 2004. His current teaching and research interests include organisational leadership, service quality management and customer relationship management. He has published several papers in Indian and international journals. He has organised and taught a number of Management Development Programmes on leadership and teamwork for executives and faculty members of other management institutes. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org