Blog Article Topic: Leadership Behavior and Motivation
Frank was watching the two bull elk through his binoculars late in the fast October afternoon sun. The horns were locked; possibly until exhaustion which would leave them both for the wolves. It had the hallmarks of Washington DC that July with the nation wondering if we had lost our contentious form of government to corners of positions.
He walked back to the new Apple and saw the email had arrived from Martha, his trusted counsel on leadership and legal consequences. The firm had been created to provide design and consultation using Autodesk. Autodesk offered the innovative Civil, Mechanical and Architectural programs, now in 3D. Finding people who could use the software and explain the proposed design to clients was beyond Frank’s patience and expertise. Amazing he thought, we have operating capital, margins for operating and successful planning, and this magnificent building to create our designs. We don’t have a plan for leadership; I am an entrepreneur, not a leader. As always, money and mission had been my priorities, not what motivation and leadership would work well in the 3d environment, or even the old LAND software?
Martha had been commissioned to find a leader the day before and she said the bulls probably were dinner for the wolves by now, that I should answer her questions.
1. What method of leadership do you want?
2. Will you need a motivator for following the procedures or creativity?
3. Do you have a board of Directors or just stake holders, or partners?
The stake holders are the owners, there are 5, two are performing designing drafters; in addition there are 2 architects, (one structural) who use pencils and boards. One does not do computers. I am the fifth stakeholder, we are all equal. Each person has invested 2 million dollars to participate and produce. My role is to have fun and enjoy opening the doors while I watch the wild life and help bring in business if that is needed. I can operate the computer and CAD if needed.
Next morning, my mentor, Jack and I ventured to the two bull elk I had watched the afternoon before, and removed the horns locked together. Jack will mount the horns for the office as a reminder regarding power and position, lest any of us go there. Jack remarked always carry your pistol, there are only seconds with a bear.
Our office is located on a plateau looking across the harvested valley and towards the ridge line of 8000 ft behind and above the deck I was standing on.
More questions about our leadership, Martha was reading books, one of which defined a theory of behavioral leadership styles, identifiers of how and why leaders influence the followers and participators in management.
After a peek at the online book she referred me to, “ Integrative” looked to be a google word she had used in her email. This style combines trait, behavioral and contingency theories.
We would like Leader who connects with followers and independents, who also has participated in most project management styles in drafting and architectural environments. The folks who are here in this new office are independent, but like a strong leader who is networking the clients, bankers, venture capital, and other members the AIA and Drafting circles.
I, being the manager really wanted to make sure we had everyone on the same page regarding computers, software and the remedial details such as office supplies, etc. A meeting was scheduled by video using VIPER and GOOGLE software to determine which we liked. Would the meetings always work this way or is it just a temporary leadership decision?
Update: The office is now open for 1 month, 5 projects are keeping everyone challenged, 4 of these carried from my previous office. All members are following the drawing standards established by my previous business. There is at least one drafter and one architect present all day long, Monday thru Friday, opening at 6am closing at 5pm.
I emailed Martha the information she requested and an online connect to books by Lussier/Achua, asking if we could have people to interview within a week. My leadership skills while managing are being shared with other members each day, which has proven to be a transition time for the office and direction, where we were before and where we are now.
One fortunate element of our firm is the current projects will continue thru the end of this year and well into the 2nd quarter of next year. One commitment to another project is thru year 3. The normal industry challenge requires we have the leadership to keep us out there seeking clients who want our design value.
The equipment purchased has include both Apple and PC environments, offering choices each day for the drafters and architects. Plotters, desks, printers, (Staedtler for the sketchers) have all been chosen with participatory input and can be changed at their will.
The members have all requested continuing learning thru online and on location seminars, I place a high importance on cutting edge ideas and using the latest technology for those who will participate.
Most of our daily communication is by email, I need a history to reference daily and my hearing latency is a challenge at times. The others enjoy conversations with emotion in office with clients and on location. They are equipped with phones and SLR feature that do excellent pictures and are transferred by the hour to our in office screens.
By now it is the afternoon and again with my standup spotting scope, I am watching the bear and wolf challenge each other for dinner rights, the bears always seem to be the heavy weights.
The leadership question keeps pressing, we will need all the partners in each interview, either by google or viper. If the candidate is ok’d after the first interview, an in office tour will give the personal touch. Probably 3 canidates to interview.
I decided to send Martha some additional info from the thousands of sites , should the leadership influence be identified in theory, the behavioral attitude toward project management or some other process. All the members have agreed to send their ideas, requirements to Martha without including me. After reading the short motivation theories below, will anyone here jump to the need of motivation. Everyone has indicated they are motivated with the environment and design possibilities, perhaps we should listen closely to the candidates and what they offer in motivational ideas.
Classic motivational theorists such as Maslow and Herzberg have given leaders useful pointers:
• motivators at work are not the opposite of factors that de-motivate
• reducing dissatisfaction around the job does not motivate – leaders must do more, such as provide a sense of achievement or recognition
• paying more money sometimes motivates when seen as a tangible achievement and recognition measure.
• An overly controlling style de-motivates and results in poor delivery. Although intended to boost performance, this style is perceived as lacking trust. Eventually individuals lose their motivation to make decisions or act, which leaders see as proof of poor performance and so the cycle is reinforced. Alternatively, leaders can treat individuals as good performers and use a more motivational style allowing greater discretion. Praising outputs, asking opinions and giving interesting assignments, for example, in turn reinforce a motivational cycle.
• The book Leadership and Motivation (2006), comes from leadership guru John Adair of Action-Centred Leadership fame. Adair became leadership training adviser at the royal military academy, Sandhurst, and continues to advise the military on leadership development.
• He is clear that leaders cannot motivate others unless motivated themselves – motivation is caught, not taught, he says. His 50:50 rule states: 50 percent of motivation comes from within and 50 percent from a persons environment, especially their leader. This means the link between leadership and motivation is strong.
• Motivation theories, considered old hat by many leaders, have been around for more than 40 years. Recently these theories have slid off the leadership agenda through the belief that people should be totally self-motivating.
• Increasingly however, leadership training courses and development programmes are putting motivation centre-stage. We are all motivated by the people around us – and motivation is increasingly important in these uncertain times to help people perform at their peak.
Next week Day 5
The leader has been chosen, and her name is Elissa, she will provide the participating style we need. The most striking comments were: we all will contribute, provide expertise from our individual disciplines and agree to a common resolution. She will be the final signoff
Elissa has a friendly mannerism, is obviously a lady of the outdoors and loves design. Her experience as a leader has been from academic projects, and work with a diversified group from the west coast. Being a firm using eco green and functional approaches to design, she will lead us with vigor. She is driven by our achievement, with regards to design and client satisfaction. After answering questions from the members, her vision is that we allow influence of guiding direction rather than a strong leader herding young kittens. Her first directive was to choose Jim, a drafting guru in the office, as the collector of standards for the documents, he has agreed with inspiration to complete the basic document.
During the interview, Elissa related that she has not established a firm approach to a particular style of influencing those working with her, she explained that observing people before making a choice of what leadership works for process and completing the expectations of a project is a natural. This could be by project circumstance. She explained “ I am fine with making a decision, even if there is a change out to be made by the next Monday”. “I trust the decisions made by members, please keep me in the loop of information, so I am a part of what we are doing each day.” She is a devout believer of visiting by email, phone, face to face and will be present in client meetings when they occur.
Her authority power is explained in the simple contract regarding group agreement on project expectations, cash flow, margins, etc, and weekly status reports will be sent each week to the firm’s members. She is the final signoff when required. If there are circumstances which arise that need an arbitrator with binding authority, meaning the issue is above us all, that possibility has been designated to a local group here in the valley.
So what is she really doing here: Networking with the AIA, becoming involved with the projects locally and regionally, so watch for new innovation, and what isn’t meeting expectation. Monitoring our cash flow and returns on completed projects, assigning members to individual participation with in project completion. The initial time will include finding which members have what skills be they architects or design drafters. She will be asking members to taking continuing classes in both MAC and PC autodesk programs for 3D applications.
A client is asking for a mechanical change in urinals which were to be waterless, they now want a standard urinal using water fed flushing. We are to research the green standards and see how many points are lost. Elissa says she will answer that question from experience on a previous job, I am glad she will step up to answer a question regarding a seemly basic component.
There is a request by Elissa that we consider a smaller project to build a summer home with or with out electricity and only using rain and a well backup for water. The project would have a deadline of 6 months, would start immediately, has funding upfront , the land is been purchased, access approved, and permits can be procured. We will meet this afternoon to reach a yes or no vote, possibly needing another designer to meet the deadline.
Martha has sent an email regarding our first days with Elissa and wants me to read a recommendation that a former colleague has sent her, which should be kept private. I have agreed. The jist of what has been sent alludes to an possible imbalance with regards to margins in project bidding. Elissa may find a need to reduce the margin to remain competitive and feel that is the normal priority, are there boundaries established by the ownership for this circumstance. Elissa is fast with a choice and decision.
Not to forget the outdoors on the daily blog, The firm is purchasing two SUV’s for travel , neither will be hybrid, both will have V-8’s and 4 wheel drive transfer. We are not looking to require competitive bids, we are looking to have members visit the dealer or private party and drive the vehicles before purchase. This decision was made before Elissa came on board, and she has gladly agreed to support the plan.
One of members was in a visiting mood, and talking about the motivation styles being learned at a night class. The notion in our group is that completing a project would be our greatest achievement and motivator, the client’s eagerness to use what we had designed. But he had read of motivation by consequences that could be negative, or you can’t perform this task anymore because of the mistakes that have formed a pattern. Another form was motivation by reward if expectations are made for milestones, or completion of deadline items on time, etc. He felt that our daily motivator was the challenge of each drawing being completed would be understood by the person it was intended for. I explained that was part of Elissa’s role, checking in to see how we are doing and is there a feeling of slow down or I have been drawing on this for days, will it ever be done. Almost like we need the variety of traveling to the site after the drawings have been submitted to see the progress and note changes if they are needed. The Maslow man claims we need a motivated leader to keep us going. He also acknowleged we all make more than enough money, are continually asked if we want to change the participation level on projects. Elissa is expected to keep us informed with information from the accountant on how we are doing with each project and from clients. How do they feel about our progress. Elissa walked to our location and asked: when will you two be available for a online meeting to decide the summer home project, We agreed right now. The other 3 folks joined and the biggest question was who will be doing the project. That was yet to be answered, there were no enthusiastic volunteers. Everyone was busy and content with what they were currently doing. Elissa said she could meet with the client get the preliminary info and then we meet again and make the decision. We all voted yes!
Early the next morning I was out walking my favorite trail for some fresh air and saw the new snow on the ridge line and thought another month and everyone will be skiing and work may mean leadership is keeping the doors open. So by now the reader should see where we are.
Leadership style refers to a leader’s behaviour. It is the result of the philosophy, personality and experience of the leader.
 Autocratic or authoritarian style
Under the autocratic leadership style, all decision-making powers are centralized in the leader, as with dictator leaders.
They do not entertain any suggestions or initiatives from subordinates. The autocratic management has been successful as it provides strong motivation to the manager. It permits quick decision-making, as only one person decides for the whole group and keeps each decision to himself until he feels it is needed to be shared with the rest of the group.
 Participative or democratic style
The democratic leadership style favors decision-making by the group as shown, such as leader gives instruction after consulting the group.
They can win the co-operation of their group and can motivate them effectively and positively. The decisions of the democratic leader are not unilateral as with the autocrat because they arise from consultation with the group members and participation by them.
 Laissez-faire or free rein style
A free-rein leader does not lead, but leaves the group entirely to itself as shown; such a leader allows maximum freedom to subordinates, i.e., they are given a free hand in deciding their own policies and methods.
Different situations call for different leadership styles. In an emergency when there is little time to converge on an agreement and where a designated authority has significantly more experience or expertise than the rest of the team, an autocratic leadership style may be most effective; however, in a highly motivated and aligned team with a homogeneous level of expertise, a more democratic or laissez-faire style may be more effective. The style adopted should be the one that most effectively achieves the objectives of the group while balancing the interests of its individual members.
 Narcissistic leadership
Main article: Narcissistic leadership
Various academics such as Kets de Vries, Maccoby and Thomas have identified narcissistic leadership as an important and common leadership style.
 Toxic leadership
Main article: Toxic leader
A toxic leader is someone who has responsibility over a group of people or an organization, and who abuses the leader-follower relationship by leaving the group or organization in a worse-off condition than when s/he first found them
In contrast to individual leadership, some organizations have adopted group leadership. In this situation, more than one person provides direction to the group as a whole. Some organizations have taken this approach in hopes of increasing creativity, reducing costs, or downsizing. Others may see the traditional leadership of a boss as costing too much in team performance. In some situations, the main the team member(s) best able to handle any given phase of the project become(s) the temporary leader(s). Additionally, as each team member has the opportunity to experience the elevated level of empowerment, it energizes staff and feeds the cycle of success.
Leaders who demonstrate persistence, tenacity, determination and synergistic communication skills will bring out the same qualities in their groups. Good leaders use their own inner mentors to energize their team and organizations and lead a team to achieve success.
According to the National School Boards Association (USA)
These Group Leadership or Leadership Teams have specific characteristics:
Characteristics of a Team
• There must be an awareness of unity on the part of all its members.
• There must be interpersonal relationship. Members must have a chance to contribute, learn from and work with others.
• The member must have the ability to act together toward a common goal.
Ten characteristics of well-functioning teams:
• Purpose: Members proudly share a sense of why the team exists and are invested in accomplishing its mission and goals.
• Priorities: Members know what needs to be done next, by whom, and by when to achieve team goals.
• Roles: Members know their roles in getting tasks done and when to allow a more skillful member to do a certain task.
• Decisions: Authority and decision-making lines are clearly understood.
• Conflict: Conflict is dealt with openly and is considered important to decision-making and personal growth.
• Personal traits: members feel their unique personalities are appreciated and well utilized.
• Norms: Group norms for working together are set and seen as standards for every one in the groups.
• Effectiveness: Members find team meetings efficient and productive and look forward to this time together.
• Success: Members know clearly when the team has met with success and share in this equally and proudly.
• Training: Opportunities for feedback and updating skills are provided and taken advantage of by team members
I spent the next two hours reading from the sources listed above and emerged with comfort that while more than one style may work in our mission, the participative or democratic style would be advantageous.
What is charisma? In Dubrins book on leadership he suggests that charisma “involves a relationship between the leader and the people being led”6. He furthermore points to the importance of “management by inspiration” as he calls it and he point to the different communication styles of a charismatic leader7. In essence, charisma is a key aspect of leadership, as Dubrin discusses.
Steve Jobs is famed for his ability to give speeches and captivate the audience’ attention8. He is able to captivate his employees and audience with the ability of an evangelist. In this respect we can observe that he posses the charismatic abilities that Dubrin demands by communicating his ideas using metaphors and analogies and storytelling9.
Interestingly, when presenting the new Apple product “iPad” he would sit down on a couch as some of us would have at home and create a scenario that helps the viewer and listener to imagine a Sunday-morning scene at home, using this new product while reading a paper. Jobs then also started by opening the webpages of an American newspaper. By creating these stories in our head he communicates the advantages of his products most efficiently.
He is a gifted speaker with an uncanny ability to confound his employees and the public with an almost evangelistic delivery (referent power10).
Jobs charisma is largely dependent on his deep knowledge and understanding of the technology he is immersed in (expert power11). Jobs technical knowledge might not be that of his engineers, however, Jobs has been the founder of Apple together with Wozniak, and together they developed the very first hardware. Certainly Jobs understanding of the technologically possible, combined with a visionary gift help him to develop his visions and then efficiently communicate them, for execution, to his employees.
His charisma enables him to whip up the enthusiasm of his employees (job involvement) to achieve more by doing seemingly impossible tasks, and also convince customers to buy Apple products.
His charisma type could be described as being personalized12. This means in accordance to Dubrins explanation, that one serves primarily own interests and exercises only minor restraints on the use of power. In Jobs case this means that he does not only motivate by story telling but also by force. Jobs is described by some as being manipulative, dishonest, and boorish13.
An indication for this can be found, when he says, for instance: “My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better. My job is to pull things together from different parts of the company and clear the ways and get the resources for the key projects. And to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better, coming up with more aggressive visions of how it could be.”14 He wants people to follow him, expects obedience and much of it seemingly out of the self-interest, since working at “Apple” is what he considers a valuable goal in his life15.
In conclusion, we can say he is a visionary type who communicates his visions well in this story telling fashion16. This vision, and the way that he can communicate it is the main attribute that makes Jobs being perceived as Charismatic.
Because of his “manipulative” behavior he is considered by some of his employees as autocratic. His behavior in meetings for instance is described as being rude, authoritative and obnoxious17.
Dubrin explains the importance of consideration and, what he calls, initiating structure18. Considerations stands for the degree that a leader offers emotional support, while structure is the way work is organized, i.e. by schedules, orders, guidelines etc. “Getting the job” done is highest on their priority list.
Because of his quest for perfection, Jobs has domineering presence which makes some of the employees fear him. This would let us assume that his consideration level is rather low (else he would care about peoples fear and try to counteract it) and his initiating structure level appears rather high, as we saw in the former paragraph on “charisma”, when we saw him saying “My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better. My job is to pull things together from different parts of the company and clear the ways and get the resources for the key projects.”19
However, in his later years, he shows more warmth and less vindictiveness towards his employees. In fact, a current rating of approval by his employees shows Jobs to get a 90% approval rating20. Nevertheless, it is not at all clear that this rating is based on him being softer on people today or simply on people’s admiration for him due to his success.
Autocratic versus participative
Jobs seems to micromanagement at Apple. Jobs admits that there are an incredible amount of up to 100 individuals reporting directly to him21. As mentioned above, he is perceived as autocratic. The fact that so many individuals report to him directly is representative for his will and eagerness to hold all the strings in his hands. Total control is certainly the basis for this leadership.
Dubrin describes an autocratic leader as one who tells “people what to do, asserting themselves, and serving as a model for team members”22. In contrast, a participative leader would be interested in hearing everyone’s opinion and integrate them into a group-decision either in a democratic way (let a vote decide), a consensus finding manner (strive for an agreement of compromise) or consultative (consult with all group members, then decide)23.
We assume that the amount of Jobs’ participative leadership is low. Anecdotes rumor that he is a rather rude participant in meetings and extremely impatient24. This behavior certainly does not contribute to people wanting to voice their opinion and participate. In contrast, Dubrin explains that a participative leadership style demands for “teamwork approach” where the leader does not try to dominate the group25.
From the documentary “The triumph of the nerds” we may conclude that his humility levels are very low, bringing his personality in conflict of the requirements for a participative leadership style26. This documentary has Jobs talk about some of his less successful episodes, blaming others for the losses.)
At the same time Jobs is being described as entrepreneurial: “Jobs may be a multibillionaire, but that hasn’t cut into his work ethic. He brings an entrepreneur’s energy to tasks many CEOs would see as beneath them”27.
Dubrin defines an entrepreneur as someone with a strong will for achievement and a sensible risk taking, high degree of enthusiasm, tendency to act quickly on opportunity, being impatient, visionary, amongst others28. From the above discussion we have seen already, that Jobs can be described as being enthusiastic and a visionary, being impatient and having a strong will for achievement. Additionally, Jobs has taken risks and seized on opportunities many times in his career, for instance when leaving Apple (though being forced to) and leading Pixar to success, just to come back to Apple some years later and saving the day for a company in dire straits at the time29.
His continued entrepreneurial spirit is also shown by the fact, that he repeatedly introduced products to the world that revolutionize the entertainment industry, and the way entertainment media is distributed (e.g.: the iPhone and iPod as media devices, and iTunes as distribution channel).
Dubrin defines a transformational leader as one who “brings about major, positive change for the group, organization or society”30. As we just heard, Jobs has transformed several companies over the years. He has transformed Pixar into a success story31.
He has all the necessary attributes to be considered one, based on some requirements that Dubrin mentions32: he leads by example, he practices empowerment, he has a vision and as mentioned he can be perceived as charismatic.
However, he appears to lack the humane qualities of a transformational leader, which are also mentioned as a prerequisite for a transformational leader by Dubrin33, namely: emotional intelligence, personal encouragement, building trust (Apple is famous for its secrecy, even admitted by Jobs himself: “It is generally not Apple’s policy to trumpet our plans for the future; we tend to talk about the things we have just accomplished”34) etc.
In asking “why” someone strives for power, Dubrin explains two major motives, the personalized and the socialized power motive35. In Jobs’ case neither seem to fit completely. The personalized power motive would require the striving for status, money and luxury, something that is hard to pin on Jobs. Socialized power motives on the other hand would require the use of power for the greater good, or to help others.
We may leave the description of his motives to himself, by citing his words:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice; and the most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary”36.
His motives appear selfish, but without the typical requirements of the personalized power motive. It would possibly be fair to assume that power is not his driving force, at least, when we trust his own words, but rather that for him, power is something that is a necessity for what really drives him: achievement in itself.
Personality traits of effective leaders
Dubrin mentions several character traits for an efficient leader37. We want to briefly mention them an state what we feel is true for Jobs from the above discussion:
Self-confidence: intimidatingly high
Humility: incredibly low. (The documentary “The triumph of the nerds” can be used for reference38. This documentary has Jobs talk about some of his less successful episodes, blaming others for the losses.)
Trustworthiness: probably low, if the mentioned secrecy he exhibits in dealing with the world outside the company is in any way a reflection of how he deals with flow of information within the company (which is likely, since many projects remain incredible enough, secret until they are unveiled, like exemplified in the recent introduction of the iPad39).
Authenticity: true authenticity is based on self-reflection, which requires a degree of humility we can safely assume from the already analysed not to be found in Jobs.
Extraversion: his self-confidence may at first be mistaken for extraversion, however, extraversion in a socially interested way appears not to be extractable from the above analysis.
Assertiveness: the description of how he runs meetings and the aggression with which he motivates his employees speaks for a high degree of assertiveness.
Enthusiasm: his speeches and his entrepreneurial behavior indicate a large degree of enthusiasm.
Sense of humor: he never exhibited it, in case he posses it.
Interestingly, in general Jobs personality traits would not be characterized as the traits of an effective leader. In a way, he is far from a classical “text-book” example, as Dubrin for instance describes it. Nevertheless his charisma, self-confidence and passion for work overshadow all his negative characteristics thus making him one of most successful CEO’s of the decade.
The article on Steve Jobs, in which the authors get to describe in self indulgent words and expressions, does move around in behavior, describing ill conceived patience and demanding conversations from employees. So, enough from outside people.
We are all in agreement the Elissa should take on the new vacation home and hire a temporary performer if needed. The Adobe online communications is working well, everyone has a download to reference what is being said and written in the communication palettes. There is a feeling that we should also have viper for the large pictures, so that will be retained. I have suggested that time should be taken daily for fresh air and if an outdoor exercise room is needed that can be added. Lots of laughter on that one.
We are finding the apples need more memory to run parallels and all the CAD programs, at least 16 g’s, will get that changed quickly, the pc’s are running fine with 12g’s. We are still debating the plotters; this may be farmed out to a local group. During the trips are members are doing fine with pencils and sketch books, yet everyone wants an I Pad 2 or an Air. I am also implored to put all the adobe programs on every computer, especially acrobat pro x. Seems like people still want to open PDF’s with XP.
There has been a request to find a trainer for VIEWPORT printing and drawing in CAD, I remembered how confusing that was to learn, but then couldn’t live without it.
After a week of referencing, reading, writing and creating my scenario; leadership and motivation behaviors are available from more than the traditional designated authority, which I believed was the primary source for most of my working days. The blog is ending; I have enjoyed this chance to revisit leadership and motivation. Yes, I the writer, am Frank and Steve Jobs is an Idol.