Option B: Leadership Skill Development for Self
Use behavior modeling principles to design and facilitate a practical application for developing their own specific leadership skill. Students will interview three successful leaders regarding the leaders’ performance of the focal skill and use the analysis of these research interviews as the basis for crafting a skill development plan for themselves. Students will identify how to practice this new skill, including a method for a peer or supervisor to evaluate their execution. They will also write a self-reflection paper. Project deliverables will be posted in SafeAssign and LiveText, as well as Discussion Board. A one-page presentation must be developed for the last class (included as an Appendix with the Self-Reflection paper). Project deliverables must be posted in Blackboard as well LiveText. Further guidelines for the paper are provided in the syllabus rubric and classroom
Introduction and overview of the leadership skill
From my own personal philosophy of leadership, my preferred leadership skill is change management, with a transformational leadership style being the most effective leadership style for advancing this skill. Change management refers to a structured way to transitioning organizations, teams and individuals from an existing state to the desired state, to implement or fulfill a strategy and vision. It is, therefore, an organizational process that is geared towards empowering organizational members to embrace and accept changes in their current organizational environment. As an outcome of globalization, coping with the turbulent organizational and external environment and application of advanced technologies, organizations are increasingly faced with ongoing transformational processes. They tend to assign responsibility of change anticipation, in addition to offering guidance to their leaders, executives and managers who need new and dynamic roles.
Transformational leaders have been increasingly cited as a critical leadership style for championing change management(Engelen, Gupta, Strenger, & Brettel, 2015).Transformational leadership is a model that is based on empowerment and vision, in addition to being focused on enhancing both employee well-being and effectiveness(Ghasabeh, Soosay, & Reaiche, 2015). Transformational leadership theories, therefore, relate to certain forms of change-oriented behavior. Transformational leaders play a critical role in organizational change management due to their important role in facilitating healthcare reform (Marshall & Broome, 2017). In order to facilitate reform within my organization, I believe that organizational leaders and other decision makers need to have an understanding of the process of organizational change in order to develop a setting that is conducive for organizational change and innovation.
Transformational leaders help in ensuring effective development of a setting that is conducive for organizational change and innovation. Individual change in two fundamental ways, either as agents of change or targets of change, with transformational leaders acting as effective agents of change (Marshall & Broome, 2017). Agents of change are individuals who are entrusted with the responsibility and powers necessary for the implementation of organizational change in practice or policy (Marshall & Broome, 2017). Targets of change refer to individuals who have been recognized within an entity as part of the overall process of organizational change (Marshall & Broome, 2017). Transformational leadership, therefore, helps in encouraging organizational members to focus on the achievement of organizational mission and promoting effective organizational administration.
The reason why I selected change management skill and transformational leadership as an effective leadership model for fostering change management is based on the increasing need for adopting appropriate changes for enhanced performance and survival of an organization. With changing technological and organizational environments, the change management process has become inevitable, and change management skill has gain popularity among effective leaders(Holten & Brenner, 2015). Change management involves the establishment of a controlled identification and adoption of needed changes within an organization. Transformational leadership can be applied to change management through preparation of organizational members for change, implementation of change and sustenance of change. In order to foster change management as an effective leadership skill, there are key behaviors needed for enhancing change management skill. These key behaviors can be examined through the analysis of leadership taxonomies.
Literature on taxonomies of key leader behaviors
Before delving into key behaviors that ought to be practiced for improved change management, I believe it would be important to examine literature on effective leadership behaviors. We can use taxonomies for specifying the fundamental elements of phenomena, simplifying complex concepts, presenting an exhaustive list of critical dimensions, identifying differences and similarities and providing a framework for the generation of hypotheses. Taxonomies allow one to bridge the gap between practice and research through introduction of parsimony between applied and experimental designs, consolidation of redundant constructs and alerting behavioral scientists regarding possible sources of differences that might negate or contaminate research findings in an operational setting(Behrendt, Matz, & Göritz, 2017). The importance of taxonomies lies in providing consistent terminology in the literature search and establishing a consistent base for completing and reporting research.
There have been several attempts to classify key leader behaviors, but this study focusses on the analysis of two most prominent taxonomies, that is, taxonomies by Fleishmann et al. (1991) and taxonomies by Yukl, Gordon, and Taber (2002). The leadership taxonomy by Fleishmann et al. was formulated from a comparison of 65 distinct leadership taxonomies that spanned 42 years of research. The authors arrived at four fundamental dimensions of key leader behaviors, with each dimension comprised of between three and four groupings, including structuring and information search, utilization of information in problem-solving, management of personnel resources and management of material resources.
Structuring and information search includes gathering information, evaluating the collected information and ensuring subordinates understand the communicated information. The second dimension, utilization of information in problem-solving relates to the identification and creation of solutions for organizational problems and communication of instructions to subordinates (Fleishmann et al., 1991). The next dimension, management of personnel resources, related to assessment and evaluation of qualifications of subordinates, assignment of subordinates to appropriate positions, motivation and development of subordinates and performance monitoring (Fleishmann et al., 1991). The last dimension, management of material resources, relates to the allocation of materials such as funds or tools, facilitation of equipment repair and monitoring levels of supplies (Fleishmann et al., 1991).
According to Fleishman et al. (1991), taxonomy place more emphasis on managing material, personnel, and information. The theory of leadership relies on functional leadership perspective, which maintains that a leader’s role involves defining and helping subordinates attain their goals (Liang & Sandmann, 2015). As a result, there is less significant consideration of disparities in styles of leadership. The taxonomy also maintains a primary focus on outcomes, with transformational leadership placing more emphasis on a leader’s arrival at outcomes as opposed to whether or not expected outcomes were attained.
The leadership taxonomy developed by Yukl, Gordon, and Taber (2002) was derived from an extensive review of qualitative data from leadership literature, a study of 318 ratings of managers’ behaviors by their subordinates as well as an exploratory factor analysis that identified a three-factor model of leadership behaviors.
A fourth dimension was added as a qualitative addition by Yulk (2012). The four dimensions of leader behaviors in Yulk, Gordon and Taber taxonomy include change-oriented, relations- oriented, task-oriented and external leader behaviors.change-oriented leader behaviors comprise of envisioning and advocating for change, innovation, risk-taking and facilitating collective learning (Yukl, Gordon, & Taber, 2002). Relations-oriented leader behaviors include empowerment, development, support, and recognition of subordinates. Task-oriented leader behaviors include clarification, planning, problem-solving and monitoring subordinates’ performance (Yukl, Gordon, & Taber, 2002). External leader behaviors include networking with partners within the industry, representing the organization in a positive light and monitoring the external organizational environment (Yulk, 2012).
Developed taxonomy for enhanced change management
|Dimensions of leader behaviors||Classifications|
|Drawn from Fleishmann et al. (1991)||Structuring and information search||Acquisition, organization, and evaluation of information, control and feedback|
|Utilization of information in problem-solving||Identification of requirements and needs, planning and coordination, and communication of information|
|Management of personnel resources||Gathering and allocation, development, motivation, utilization, and monitoring of personnel resources|
|Management of material resources||Gathering and allocation, development, motivation, utilization, and monitoring of material resources|
|Drawn Yulk, Gordon, and Taber (2002) and Yulk (2012)||Change-oriented||Envisioning and advocating for change, facilitating collective learning and encouraging creativity and innovation|
|Relations-related||Support, development, recognition, and empowerment|
|Task-oriented||Clarification, planning, problem-solving, operations and monitoring|
|External||Representing, external monitoring, and networking|
How the new skill will be practiced
For enhanced change management skill and improved leader effectiveness, I believe there is a need for practicing desirable leader behaviors, as outlined in the developed taxonomies of leader behavior. The first dimension of a transformational leader that I came up with is adapting and resolving, which relates to leader behaviors such as problem-solving, management of interpersonal conflicts within the organization, management of emergencies and crises and regulation of emotions. In order to practice these leader behaviors and put them into action, the leader would have to place more emphasis on the correction of problems before they worsen, offering constructive mediation of conflicts within the workplace, making tough decisions during crises, and expressing outward calm despite inner emotional state.
Another formulated dimension relates to the development and promotion of relationships, which involve leader behaviors such as development and maintenance of relationships, interaction with external stakeholders and promotion of teamwork. In the workplace environment, we can foster portrayal of such leader behaviors by asking employees whom they are doing (something that shows interest in personal welfare and well-being of employees), establishing mutual communication with external stakeholders and creating a sense of friendship within the workplace. The third dimension is the development of followers within the organization, and this involves leader behaviors such as the promotion of teaching, mentorship, and innovation. Some of the leader behaviors that ought to be practice to foster follower development include asking questions to make sure employees adequately understand instructions and enhance their skills through continuous professional growth, supporting employees’ success and growth within the organization, in addition to promoting advantages of creative and new ideas.
Feedback received from colleagues
Leadership behaviors as identified in the above section were practiced within my workplace, and I requested two colleagues to perform an observation of the leader as she practiced her desired leader behaviors for enhanced change management and leadership process. Based on the feedback from my colleagues, they were positive about my ability to effectively execute my leadership role, which was typically inspired by desirable leadership behaviors. From the feedback received, my colleagues acknowledged my honest communication behavior, prioritization of employees’ well-being and safety, demonstration of leadership dedication and effort, communication of expectations and roles in an effective way, provision of directions about goals and tasks and leading by example. Colleagues also noted my management of emergencies and change, equal treatment of employees, development of plans and organization of projects, monitoring, and maintenance of workplace safety and development and maintenance of relationships within the organization.
These behaviors are critical for creating an environment that fosters effective change process, owing to their facilitation of the creation of a conducive work environment that is characterized by employee collaboration and teamwork and consistent coordination between leaders and subordinates. The leadership behaviors also inspire organizational commitment by motivating employees or subordinates to act and/or behave in a desirable manner by leading by example. It also fosters the establishment of a sense of belongingness and feeling of being respected and valued among employees by ensuring employees are involved in decision-making processes and acknowledging their contribution through communication. Transformational leaders often have good communication skills, which is employed in the change management process. For effective implementation of change, communication is inevitable. Transformational leadership thus fosters communication across the organization through collaborative practice and leadership.
The proposed taxonomy of leader behaviors that are necessary for effective transformational leadership and change management fosters the incorporation of critical findings in studies on leader behaviors as well as studies on the impact of certain leader behaviors on organizational or group performance. Studies have consistently supported the idea that leaders can improve the performance of an organization, work unit or team through the utilization of a combination of specific change, relations, task and external behaviors that are appropriate for different situations. For continuous optimization of change management skill, there is a need for increased focus on the anticipation of possible changes and adoption of appropriate behavior for change management.
For instance, in an environment characterized by resistance to change, the adoption of leadership behavior that fosters inclusivity and involvement of employees in the change process by gathering their views and perspectives on how to effectively implement the change can help in reducing or eliminating resistance to change by ensuring employees are provided with adequate information about the nature and process of change, its benefits, and limitations and the need for adopting such a change. In such a case, the leader’s behavior can play a critical role in advocating for and fostering successful change implementation. This shows that the impact of leaders’ behavior also depends on the situations. An effective leader analyzes the situation and identifies specific leadership behaviors that are appropriate for different situations.
Behrendt, P., Matz, S., & Göritz, A. S. (2017). An integrative model of leadership behavior. The leadership quarterly, 28(1), 229-244.
Engelen, A., Gupta, V., Strenger, L., & Brettel, M. (2015). Entrepreneurial orientation, firm performance, and the moderating role of transformational leadership behaviors. Journal of Management, 41(4), 1069-1097.
Fleishman, E. A., Mumford, M. D., Zaccaro, S. J., Levin, K. Y., Korotkin, A. L., & Hein, M. B. (1991). Taxonomic efforts in the description of leader behavior: A synthesis and functional interpretation. The Leadership Quarterly, 2(4), 245-287.
Ghasabeh, M. S., Soosay, C., & Reaiche, C. (2015). The emerging role of transformational leadership. The Journal of Developing Areas, 49(6), 459-467.
Holten, A. L., & Brenner, S. O. (2015). Leadership style and the process of organizational change. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 36(1), 2-16.
Liang, J. G., & Sandmann, L. R. (2015). Leadership for community engagement: A distributive leadership perspective. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 19(1), 35-64.
Marshall, E. S., & Broome, M. (2017). Transformational leadership in nursing: from expert clinician to influential leader. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Yukl, G. (2012). Effective leadership behaviors: What we know and what questions need more attention? The Academy of Management Perspectives, 26(4), 66-85.
Yukl, G., Gordon, A., & Taber, T. (2002). A hierarchical taxonomy of leadership behavior: Integrating a half-century of behavior research. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 9(1), 15-32.
Feedback from colleague 1
Prioritizes employees’ well-being and safety
Demonstrates dedication and effort
Leads by example
Communicates expectations and roles in an effective way
Gives directions about goals and tasks
Feedback from colleague 2
Manages emergencies and change
Treats employees equally
Plans and organizes projects
Monitors and maintains workplace safety
Builds and maintains relationships