Showing posts with label leadership traits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leadership traits. Show all posts

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Exploration and Exploitation as Effective Parts of Leadership

Exploration and Exploitation are two facets of leadership not often discussed in academic circles. Exploration in leadership is a process that leads to new creative breakthroughs and knowledge while exploitation is the process of using that new knowledge in a way that creates the most effective outcomes. Well rounded leaders should be able to explore new ideas and then develop strategies to capitalize on their findings.

Exploration makes possible the understanding of new information and gathering knowledge on key issues. Exploitation is the ability implement sound strategies that can meet and achieve organizational objectives. People who are able to expand their current knowledge and then put that knowledge to good use are an asset to the organization.

According to Keller & Weibler (2014) both exploration and exploitation comes with certain personality traits. For example exploration is associated with open to experience and environmental dynamism while exploitation are closely tied to conscientiousness and transactional behaviors. Without an open mind it is difficult to learn new ideas and without conscientiousness it can be hard to create effective policies.

Leaders should be good managers and managers should strive to be better leaders. Leadership is based in part on our personality traits and our ability to rise above current processes to explore and implement new ideas. These ideas cannot be haphazard or unfounded but should be goal directed and effective. Leaders will need to be good managers to be effective.

Exploration is leader’s process of learning that allows them to tap into new ideas, find different associations, and improve existing processes by trying something new. Exploitation is the ability effectively and efficiently maximize that learning to find concrete results. Leaders who have both the ability to experiment with new ideas and the knowledge to implement new strategy effectively will do well in leading their organizations through change to higher levels of performance.

Keller, T. & Weibler, J. (2014). Behind managers ambidexterity-studying personality traits, leadership and environmental conditions associated with exploration and exploitation. Schmalenbach Business Review, 66 (3).

Friday, January 24, 2014

Methods of Leadership Selection in Military Colleges

Developing leadership in military colleges has been a major focus of such institutions. Leadership extends beyond military service and into government, business, civics, and many other arenas. Understanding how leadership is developed in military colleges can help other universities learn how to select and develop those for advanced leadership development. The researchers Shepherd & Horner (2010) assessed the metrics used in undergraduate military schools to determine their effectiveness in evaluation.

Leadership in the business world and military service has been around for a long time. Fredrick Taylor introduced leadership in the scientific management field (1916). It wasn’t long after that the Hawthorne studies of the 1920’s and 1930’s discussed the linkages between environment and employee output (Roethlisberger, 1941). Leadership is then a conception of self within a wider environment.

Military colleges seek to develop leadership for later military usage by offering increasing levels of responsibility, chain-of-command socialization, and theoretical work on leadership. Each helps to put into practice experience, learning, and structure to develop a stronger personal conception of leadership among graduates. It is hoped they will put this to strong use in securing the country’s interests.

Leadership is seen as a continuum of development that includes a number of stages within broader aspects of understanding. Leadership is first seen in a dependent state (stages 1–3) where people follow others but recognize leadership appointments. It then moves onto continued development (stages 3–4) where they recognize the interdependence of leadership with others. In the final development, concepts of leadership responsibility (stages 5-6) emerge where leaders develop their followers while developing themselves.

The study found that not all measures are beneficial for finding leaders within a particular environment. They believe that multiple measurements such as peer ranking, cumulative grade point average, and leadership knowledge appear to be valid approaches. This provides an assessment of intelligence, awareness, and peer perception. Heavy reliance on a single measure may not only ignore the other aspects of leadership but may also cut out minority leaders that do not have the same cultural backgrounds.

Shepherd, R. & Horner, D. (2010). Indicators of leadership development in undergraduate military education.  Journal of Leadership Studies, 4 (2).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Developing Transformational Leadership and Emotional Intelligence to Create Firm Performance

Leadership is the ability to draw people to higher levels of personal performance and development. Without the ability to understand other people it will be difficult to raise their performance to new levels. Transformational leadership and emotional intelligence can work together to create stronger organizational performance based upon the ability to understand oneself and the social group they are working with. The development of transformational leadership skills along with emotional intelligence is a worthwhile endeavor for higher levels of personal and group influence. 

Organizational leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence create stronger organizational performance. According to Jandaghi et. al. (2009), successful organizations contain higher levels of transformational leadership within their ranks. Understanding how transformational leadership and emotional intelligence combine to create higher group performance is important for choosing and developing future company executives.

Transformational leadership describes a leader’s ability to connect with employee’s self-identity and project that into visions that enhance group performance. The trait can be defined as the ability to create mechanisms wherein leadership and followers work together to develop enhanced levels of morale and motivation (Bass & Avolio, 1994). This type of leader is uses clearly defined visions and charismatic approaches to achieve goals.  

Emotional intelligence is a significant predictor of performance success. The concept of emotional intelligence entails the ability to be self-aware, self-managed, self-motivated, have empathy and utilize social skills. Research highlights the concept that emotional intelligence and transformational leadership are associated (Esfahani & Soflu, 2013). It is through this self-awareness that such leaders can better understand themselves to better manage their environments. 

There is a connection between awareness of oneself and the awareness of the environment. Transformational leaders and emotionally intelligent leaders are associated with each other in terms of traits (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003). This means that the traits seem to work with and influence each other to create stronger leadership approaches.  Traits overlap and manifest themselves in positive group influence. 

Does emotional awareness create group awareness? Available research seems to support the concept that understanding oneself (emotional intelligence) helps leaders to understand others perceptions of themselves (self-identity/group identity) to create a dynamic combination of skills that push groups to perform at higher levels to achieve clearly defined personal and organizational goals. 

Such leaders understand that goals that do not have much meaning for employees are unlikely to be fulfilled. Employees will simply be dragged along because the work does not conform to their self-identity or the nature of how they see themselves within their wider social networks. Transformational leaders understand how these social mechanisms operate in order to create enhanced levels of financial performance. It is difficult to understand social structure and its motivating mechanisms unless one has first conquered their inner emotional understandings of self.  To master the self allows the mastery of groups and in turn enhance financial performance. Social and financial aspects are associated concepts that rest in the development of group performance. It takes many hands to build something worthwhile.

Bass, B. & Avolio, B. (Eds.) (1994). Improving organizational effectiveness through transformational leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Esfahani, N. & Soflu, H. (2013). Emotional intelligence and transformational leadership in physical education managers. Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences, 8 (1). 

Jandaghi, G. et. al. (2009). Comparing transformational leadership in successful and unsuccessful companies. International Journal of Social Sciences, 4 (3). 

Mandell, B. & Pherwani, S. (2003). Relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership style: a gender comparison. Journal of Business & Psychology, 17 (3).

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Altruism as an Enhancement to Leadership

Leadership is something of interest to businesses administrators, students and politicians. Leadership is often defined using  both its results as well as its traits. Recently, altruism has garnered greater interest among researchers as an additional trait of inclusion in high performance leaders. New research helps to understand what connection altruism has with networking, interpersonal influence, effectiveness and success.

Leadership ability often comes from the social capital built within greater networks. Nothing great can be done alone. These networks are described as a purposeful focus on how a person is perceived in relationships (Luthans, et. al, 1988). It is this perception of self that creates positive affectivity by balancing the leader’s personal image with that of others. If you don’t have an understanding of how people are perceiving you it will be impossible to enhance that impression.

The researchers further move on to argue that performance, satisfaction and subordinate organizational commitment are symptoms of effective leaders. Such leaders should be able to encourage performance in others, develop a level of commitment to particular causes, and ensuring the needs of followers during this process.

To develop maximize performance and create strong social networks that encourage focused action a level social intelligence is needed (Kolodinsky, 2003). Social networks must run both inside and outside organizations to create effectiveness. Without being able to understand the subtle nature of social cues and influences it will be hard to develop higher levels of influence. 

This influence also relies on emotional stability, optimism, intelligence, analytic ability, intuition and interpersonal relations (Kotter, 1982). By using these skills to a higher degree, leaders can develop a level of effectiveness that sets them apart from others. Each skill should be toned and developed to its full bloom to create a multitude of methods in order to see and solve problems adequately.

Few would trust a leader if their social intelligence were used only for self-serving purposes. A level of altruism and concern for the greater good needs to be part of  the decision making process. Therefore, leadership cannot be separate from moral character (Kanungo, 2001). That moral character is the ability to serve others and go above the call of duty to create ethical successes (Price, 2003). 

Research conducted by Moss & Barbuto  (2010) analyzed interpersonal political skills and its success as moderated by altruism. They used a multi-level model centering on employees from four organizations to create a variety of conditions. A total of 217 participants were used gauge overall perceived effectiveness of such leaders in determining the association of elements. 


-Interpersonal influence was positively related to effectiveness.
-Networking ability was positively related to effectiveness and success.
-Altruism strengthened the relationship to social intelligences and effectiveness.
-Altruism decreased the relationship between networking and success.

Business Analysis: 

Networking and connecting with others is an important part of leadership. Through this networking, people are more able to be effective and successful in their endeavors. Altruism seems to enhance one’s social intelligences and overall effectiveness in their leadership abilities. However, altruism also seems to have an opposite effect on networking and success. It is possible that there is a level of selfishness in some people’s use of networking. It may lead to an assumption that many people use their social networks to gain personal success but that that success is not based in the need to enhance people. Further research could uncover the percentage of people who network for their own benefit versus the benefit of others.  History seems to confirm this belief that politicking and altruistic behaviors are not necessarily mutually exclusive but are different activities that lead to effectiveness. It is we that define what effectiveness means. You may want to ask yourself what the differences are between greater and lesser leadership.

Luthans, F., Hodgetts, R. M., & Rosenkrantz, S. A. (1988). Successful vs. effective real
managers. The Academy of Management Executive, 11, 127-132.

Moss, J. & Barbuto, J. (2010) Testing the Relationship Between Interpersonal Political Skills, Altruism, Leadership Success and Effectiveness: A Multilevel Model.  Institute of Behavioral and Applied Management.

Kolodinsky, R. W. (2003). The role of political skill in intra-organizational outcomes: An
initial empirical examination. Paper presented at the Academy of Management
national conference, Seattle, WA.

Kotter, J. P. (1982). General managers are not generalists. Organizational Dynamics,
10, 5-19.

Kanungo, R. N. (2001). Ethical values of transactional and transformational leaders.

Price, T. L. (2003). The ethics of authentic transformational leadership. The Leadership
Quarterly, 14, 67-81. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 18, 257-265.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Emotionally and Socially Intelligent Leader

Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EI) is an important quality in a leader.  Barrett (2006) stated,
Emotional Intelligence is emotional and social knowledge and the ability to be aware of, understand, and express yourself, be aware of, understand and relate to others, deal with strong emotions and control your impulses, adapt to change, and to solve problems of a personal or a social nature. (p. 14)
Many studies have been published on how individuals with high emotional intelligence can enhance and increase the potential for positive outcomes.  For example, people can work to increase their emotional intelligence, thus, improving performance.  Emotional intelligence is a learned and practiced skill.  Goleman (2012) stated that for individuals in leadership positions, 85% of their competencies are in the EI domain.

In fact, one’s professional success can be improved when emotional intelligence is improved (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009).  EQ is so critical to success that it accounts for 58 percent of performance in all types of jobs.  It is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence” (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009, pp. 20-21). (Bottom line that should appeal to all... more money can be made when you have a high EI.) 

Emotional intelligence “refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic” (Cherry, 2010).  Although we are born with emotions (consider a crying or laughing baby). However, we are born with the intelligence to develop and refine our emotions.  Learning when and how to use these emotions to gain the trust of others is emotional intelligence.  Work and personal relationships can be positively affected by EI.

Social Intelligence
Social intelligence requires the leader get beyond his or her own needs and focus on what the individual or group needs to be successful” (Mueller, n.d.).  A socially intelligent individual can evaluate the emotional environment of a group of people, and then make a constructive response.  When a person has social intelligence, he or she can lead a group into being creative, thinking as a team, and discovering inventive methods to conquer barriers.  In simple terms, social intelligence can be called 'people sense' or 'people smarts'.  Social intelligence is not just associated with work relationships, but it is also related to personal relationships.
Goleman and Boyatzis (2008) found that emotions were based off of experiences and one could not experience one without the other.  Social intelligence is “a set of interpersonal competencies built on specific neural circuits (and related endocrine systems) that inspire others to be effective” (Goleman & Boyatzis, 2008).

Emotional and Social intelligence are being used as new leadership models.  For example, when looking at candidates for a job, employers are seeking those that show emotional and social intelligence.  Murphy (2012) stated,

Virtually every job (from neurosurgeon to engineer to cashier) has tests that can assess technical proficiency. But what those tests don’t assess is attitude; whether a candidate is motivated to learn new skills, think innovatively, cope with failure, assimilate feedback and coaching, collaborate with teammates, and so forth. (para. 4)

The former Southwest Airlines CEO, Herb Kelleher, stated, “we can change skill levels through training, but we can’t change attitude” (Murphy, 2012).

It seems to be very hard to dissect emotional intelligence from social intelligence.  We are born with the ability to form emotions and grow up in a social world where we must express our emotions appropriately.  As a corporate trainer, I had coached several managers on communications and dealing with one's emotions.  I told the audience to remember this: "When in doubt about saying something wrong, count to ten and don't say anything at all.  Let your brain kick in.  Get your emotional and social intelligence in line... then, you can speak with a calmer more rationale voice."  The very next day a co-worker did something downright irresponsible.  My rage was rising to the top and I was about ready to spew words that just were not professional.  I stopped and pulled together my thoughts.  Never let them see you sweat!

Author: Andree C. Swanson, EdD

Barrett, D. J. (2006). Leadership communication: A communication approach for senior-level managers. Rice University. Retrieved from http://scholarship.rice.educ/handel/1911/27037
Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. San Diego, CA: TalentSmart.
Cherry, K. (2010). Emotional Intelligence - What Is Emotional Intelligence. Psychology - Complete Guide to Psychology for Students, Educators & Enthusiasts. Retrieved from
Goleman, D. (2012). “Emotional intelligence: Issues in paradigm building.” Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations.
Goleman, D., & Boyatzis, R. (2008). Social intelligence and the biology of leadership. Harvard Business Review, 1-4. Retrieved from
Mueller, A. (n.d.). How to enhance your physical, emotional, social and spiritual intelligence Retrieved from
Murphy, M. (2012, Jan). Hire for attitude. Forbes. Retrieved from