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“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell 
Flexible Leadership 
A Survey and...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
Figure 1 Blake & Moutons’ Managerial Grid 
Flex...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
to see to it that that sound decisions are made...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
support those programs and systems. And finally...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
Average STDEV 
Clarifying 4.03 0.96 
Planning 3...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
• 14% of respondents disagreed that their manag...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
to accomplish the organizations’ objectives (Yu...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
Within the survey, respondents rated their lead...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
stating that their manager does not seek their ...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
Supporting 
An effective leader must support th...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
adequate training to do their job. These repre...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
For leaders to effectively provide recognition...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
are needed to provide a balance of relations o...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
• Only 35% reported that changes that have tak...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
strategies. Innovation helps move an organizat...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.68 out...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
Networking 
Leaders need to be able to build r...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
conferences, allowing employees to attend indu...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
Being more participative may require a leader ...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
Appendix 1: Survey Questions 
Meta- Category 
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
22 
My manager actively listens to me when I h...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
44 
My manager builds positive relationships w...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
References 
Ackerman Anderson, L., & Anderson,...
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Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 
Nelson, B. (2005). 1001 Ways to Reward Employe...
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Micah Schrom_Flexible Leadership

  1. 1. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell Flexible Leadership A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness Micah P. Schrom, MBA
  2. 2. 1 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness Figure 1 Blake & Moutons’ Managerial Grid Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness The business world is awash in a sea of books and concepts around leadership theory and management principles, many of which claim to be the authority and a pivot point in helping leaders to take their careers to the next level. These books focus on developing simple models that are easy to read and follow, some of which use catch phrases such as “1 minute” and “simple”, however; becoming an effective leader is anything but easy and surely takes more than 1 minute or even 1 year to master. In reality, effective leaders are learning and modifying their behaviors over their lifetime. The Foundations for Leadership Development The foundations of leadership and management theory are embedded in the assumption that leadership is based upon two different dimensions; a task focused dimension and a people focused dimension. This is the core of the Managerial Grid which was developed by Blake and Mouton, the model developed by Fleishman, as well as several others. Fleishman’s model is one that is behavioral in nature and defines two factors; consideration and initiating structures. Initiating structures relate to how much a leader defines roles, strives toward the attainment of goals, and engages in communication. Consideration relates to how much a leader shows concern for their people, provides feedback and appreciation, and provides support to their employees (Judge, Piccolo, & Ilies, 2004). Blake and Mouton’s model was influenced by the work of Fleishman and is one which is based upon attitudes rather than behaviors. This was due to a concern by Blake and Mouton that their model needed to greater foster synergies between the two dimensions within their model rather than fostering a narrow view of leadership where the goal is to be high on both dimensions (Blake & Mouton, Theory and Research for Developing a Science of Leadership, 1982b) (Robert & Mouton, 1964). The Managerial Grid as shown in Figure 1 illustrates the model developed by Blake and Mouton. It plots specific leadership styles which are related to the degree to which a leader has a concern for task and a concern for people. The ideal style in this model would be the Team Leader. Under this style, a leader’s attitude would be one which shows high concern for task and people and as a result would behave in accordance with that combination of attitudes. In Blake and Mouton’s research, those who would fall into this Team Leader style include those who answered a survey question stating “my job is to make decisions; but it is equally important
  3. 3. 2 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness to see to it that that sound decisions are made” (Lottier Jr, 1979). The Need for a Flexible Model The challenge with the Managerial Grid and other two dimensional grids is that it fails to address more modern leadership challenges and look at perspectives beyond the people and the tasks. Blake and Mouton themselves recognized the need to evolve their model in 2007 as a result of work they were doing at Exxon; they determined the need to factor motivation into their model. Motivation became a third dimension, accounting for those that fall in between the extremes (Blake & Mouton, Managerial Grid, 2007). As organizations grow and the demands of leaders change, a more flexible model of leadership is needed in order to adapt to the changing landscape. In 2004, Gary Yukl and Richard Lepsinger, a Professor at the University at Albany’s School of Business developed a new model of leadership; one that accounts for the needed flexibility in today’s environment. The emphasis for this model is on behaviors; things that leaders can change in order to increase effectiveness rather than items such as personality which are more ingrained. Furthermore, this model accounts for the fact that leaders must adapt their style based on the situation and conditions and as a result, leaders must possess a balance of the categories which the model defines (Yukl & Lepsinger, Flexible Leadership, 2004). As illustrated in Figure 2, in order for an organization to be effective, there are 3 factors that must be addressed. An organization must be innovative and adaptive to change, they must be efficient and reliable at meeting their financial and operational targets, and they must develop, retain, and motivate their employees. To do so, there must be a balance between all three factors which may or may not be equally distributed. An organization and its leaders simply cannot book record revenue and profits while not developing their talent or addressing change that’s needed. This might lead to short term effectiveness, but long term this will have a detrimental impact. To address these three factors, the organization can implement systems and programs such as merit pay systems and quality management programs, but these programs and systems must also be accompanied by leadership behaviors which help to Figure 2 The Flexible Leadership Model 2004
  4. 4. 3 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness support those programs and systems. And finally, like many models, leaders must be watchful of the situational factors that are at play so a leader can apply the correct mix and balance in order to drive effectiveness. Leadership Behavior Taxonomy As stated, the Flexible Leadership model calls for certain direct behaviors which leaders need to exhibit in order to drive organizational effectiveness and by extension, leadership effectiveness. Gary Yukl and his colleagues’ research and development of his model has led him to create a taxonomy of leadership behavior which addresses 15 behaviors grouped under 4 meta- categories. As one can easily tell in Figure 3, task-oriented and relations-oriented seem quite familiar to the models developed by Blake and Mouton as well as Fleishman. Beyond these examples, similar dual axis models are prevalent throughout leadership theory (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012). There are, however; two distinct differences. First, Yukl’s model is expanded and includes the need for change oriented behaviors as well as behaviors needed for leaders to have an external view. The second difference is the depth which is given to each category. Rather than plotting, for instance, task-orientation on an axis, this taxonomy provides more clarification that would explain how a leader falls between the extremes of that meta-category. Figure 3 Flexible Leadership Behaviors A Leadership Effectiveness Index The focus of this paper is to analyze and survey the behaviors of leaders based upon the flexible leadership model and behavior taxonomy. This analysis includes responses from 182 employees in a range of occupations who were asked to rate their leaders behaviors. The intent of surveying employees rather than managers is to avoid the bias that would result from asking leaders to rate their own behaviors. Those surveyed were asked a series of 49 questions with each question mapping to a specific behavior. Those behaviors were then summarized by meta-category in order to provide a view of effectiveness for each meta-category. Task-Oriented •Clarifying •Planning •Monitoring Operations •Problem Solving Relations-Oriented •Supporting •Developing •Recognizing •Empowering Change-Oriented •Advocating Change •Envisioning Change •Encouraging Innovation •Facilitating Collective Learning External •Networking •External Monitoring •Representing
  5. 5. 4 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness Average STDEV Clarifying 4.03 0.96 Planning 3.59 1.07 Monitoring Operations 3.74 1.11 Problem Solving 3.95 0.95 Task-Oriented 3.83 1.03 Supporting 3.52 1.30 Developing 3.78 1.05 Recognizing 4.15 0.79 Empowering 3.11 1.14 Relations-Oriented 3.64 1.17 Advocating Change 3.50 1.01 Envisioning Change 3.55 0.86 Encouraging Innovation 3.23 1.25 Facilitating Collective Learning 3.68 1.03 Change-Oriented 3.49 1.12 Networking 3.34 0.95 External Monitoring 3.06 1.25 Representing 3.72 0.99 External-Oriented 3.38 1.13 For all 49 questions, employees were given a statement and asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed ranging on a 5 point scale from 1 being strongly disagreed to 5 being strongly agreed. Throughout the survey, there were 7 reverse coded questions which were inserted in the survey with the intent to identify respondents who were not reading the questions, but instead responding to each question the same way. Appendix 1 includes a list of each survey question and which behavior and meta-category it aligns to. Additionally, Figure 4 summarizes the average response and standard deviation of responses for each behavior. Of the 182 respondents who completed the survey, the average age of those respondents was 40.70 years old with a range of 25 to 66 years old. The respondents were solicited from a wide range of sources including social media and corporate contacts. Of those who responded, 43% of those respondents are in the Training and Development industry and 17% in the Insurance industry. With that said, more than half of those who responded are from a single organization which is an international healthcare management organization. Additional respondents include a range of industries including education, customer service, engineering, financial services, technology, manufacturing, and hospitality. The remaining pages will provide an analysis of how managers were rated for each behavior and provide recommendations for increasing effectiveness where opportunities or challenges exist. TASK-ORIENTED BEHAVIORS Key to leadership effectiveness is being able to align and be sure your resources are being used in a way that is efficient and that will enable the organization to meet its objectives (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012). To measure a leader’s task orientation, those surveyed were asked twenty questions which shape their view of a manager’s ability to clarify, plan, monitor, and solve problems. Overall, respondents were rated middle of the road with results of 3.83 out of 5.0, rating their leaders highest on being able to clarify and lowest in being able to plan effectively. Clarifying Those surveyed were asked five questions in order to rate their manager’s effectiveness in providing clarity to them on both their role, but also the role of their team and how that aligns with where the organization is moving. Overall, respondents agreed that they have a sense of clarity, rating their manager 4.03 out of 5 on the survey. Figure 4 Averages and Standard Deviations for Survey Respondents as summarized by behavior
  6. 6. 5 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness • 14% of respondents disagreed that their manager has clearly defined changes in the organization • 11% disagreed that they have a clear sense of direction. Although the majority of respondents felt they had a good level of clarity, we must understand the impact of 11-14% that do not feel as though they have a high level of clarity and whether there are clear expectations of their role and effective communication. According to the National Business Research Institute, “when employees know what is expected of them, which aspects of their jobs are most important, and how their performances will be evaluated, workgroups typically will have higher teamwork” (National Business Research Institute, 2014). In order to foster a strong sense of clarity and direction, leaders should meet regularly with their teams to communicate changes and provide the opportunity for two way communications. Additionally, leaders should conduct one-on-one meetings with them in order to provide ongoing coaching and clarity that may be more individualistic in nature. The output of those communications, in part, should include setting goals at both a team and individual level. These goals being established should be challenging and clear as goal theory states that setting challenging and clear goals will lead to a higher level of performance than setting goals that are vague or less challenging (Mind Tools, 2014). A good model for goal setting is to ensure that they are SMART: • Specific • Measurable • Attainable • Realistic • Time-bound By setting goals, a leader is creating a means to motivate their team, create a sense of accountability, and monitor progress which reinforces other flexile leadership behaviors. Planning As a pre-requisite to communicating expectations and providing direction to the team, a leader must be able to plan effectively in order to determine what the organization should be striving toward. It is essential that in order for a team member to have a clear sense of direction and understand their role, decisions need to be made regarding how the teams efforts are prioritized, how work will be assigned, defining a schedule for tasks, and ensuring that resources are being used effectively in order “All of us have seen baseball games where two outfielders ran for the same ball, then looked at each other as the ball dropped to the ground between them” (National Business Research Institute, 2014).
  7. 7. 6 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness to accomplish the organizations’ objectives (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012). Beyond understanding what needs to be done, an effective leader needs ensure they have the right people to do that work. As it relates to the clarifying behavior, a leader then must be able to communicate this effectively to their team. Of those surveyed, the respondents rated their leaders 3.59 out of 5.0 on their ability to plan effectively. • 60% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that work is assigned effectively within their teams. • 82% believe that work on their team is assigned in a way that creates duplication which is an item that should be addressed closely by leaders. • 18% believe that work is not allocated to the appropriate resources within their team. • 20% believe that work is not efficiently allocated to the team. It is clear that enabling leaders to plan and staff their teams more effectively should be a priority for organizations. When reviewing responses to the clarifying questions, it suggests that employees have a general understanding of their role and expectations, but the workload is not being managed as effectively as it could be. A better job of planning will allow for clearer expectations to be set as well. In order to increase this level of effectiveness, leaders need to be communicating with their teams to understand where gaps in planning exist, then work to determine how improvements can be made. In addition to addressing the gaps, leaders need to identify the projects or tasks that exist with their team, determine how those projects or tasks are interrelated and then, create a broader plan for managing all of those components which includes meeting with individuals to ensure the right people and resources are aligned to support them (Yukl & Lepsinger, Flexible Leadership, 2004). By understanding the workload at a higher level, the leader is then able to see opportunities for efficiency and consolidation, but also to see which people possess the best skill set in order to complete each piece. Monitoring Operations As plans are made and roles are clarified, a leader must be able to monitor the work being completed to ensure that is the expectations which were set and being met. This provides leaders with an incredible opportunity to provide feedback to their team, praising those doing well, but also providing on the spot coaching for those who need more support. All of this is greatly supportive of relations-oriented behaviors (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012).
  8. 8. 7 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness Within the survey, respondents rated their leaders monitoring operations behaviors at 3.74 out of 5.0. • 71% of those surveyed reported that their manager meets with them one-on-one to provide feedback on performance. • 72% reported the feedback they receive is useful. • 64% reported that their manager checks on their progress regularly. A simple opportunity to improve monitoring is to manage by walking around (MBWA). The concept was developed by Hewlett-Packard and is simply the process of frequently observing front line operations, providing feedback, and getting opinions (Packard, 1995). A similar method is used by Toyota as part of its six sigma program. While this is a simple concept, it is one that must become a habit in order to improve effectiveness. It must be done regularly and with a level of sincerity, otherwise people will feel that is disingenuous or a flavor of the month. Once it becomes a habit, the evidence shows that this practice is important at being able to improve performance. A study conducted by Harvard Business School showed that practicing management by walking around led to improved perceptions of performance in that it allowed for problems to be solved faster and easier and allows the manager to see the problem in context, leading to better decision making (Tucker & Singer, 2013). Therefore, this practice should help facilitate the problem solving behavior in addition to monitoring. Problem Solving Throughout the course of business it is natural for problems to arise that require leadership attention. The role of an effective leader is to quickly find the root cause of the problem and determine a solution to that problem. That solution must be in the form of clear direction and setting clear expectations of what needs to be done (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012). The employees in the survey rated their manager 3.95 out of 5.0 on problem solving behaviors. • 18% reported that decision making is delayed and similar numbers reporting that communication of the problem is ineffective and that their manager doesn’t work to remove obstacles from their path with 12% and 13% reporting as such respectively. • 87% reported that their input is sought in order to solve problems with only 6% Figure 5 Sean Covey's Time Management Matrix
  9. 9. 8 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness stating that their manager does not seek their opinion to solve problems. • 86% stated that their manager communicates a commitment to ethical behavior. Only 5% stated otherwise. As was the case for monitoring operations, practicing management by walking around is a tool that all leaders should use in order to identify and address problems quickly. Over time a shift should be made from problem solving to planning rather than managing reactively to issues as they occur. This includes process improvement and identifying possible issues ahead of time in order to increase the performance of their team (Yukl & Lepsinger, Flexible Leadership, 2004). Stephen Covey articulates this point well in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In it, he outlines a time management matrix which suggests that everyone’s work falls into four categories that have a combination of urgency and importance. Within the matrix as shown in Figure 3, most problem solving efforts fall into quadrant 1 which many times amounts to putting out fires and reacting to issues as they arise. By shifting focus to enabling more planning behaviors as outlined in quadrant 2 of the model, leaders can focus more on identifying the root cause of problems and building quality solutions that will prevent future occurences (Covey S. R., 2004). Coupled with the practice of Management by Walking Around, this will give leaders the visiblity to see where the opportunities exist and be able to plan more effectively. As one of the survey respondents stated “my organization and team is poorly run and managed especially my local team. I'm actively seeking new employment for this reason”, providing clear consequences for not focusing on effectively managing the organization. RELATIONS-ORIENTED BEHAVIORS Leaders exhibit relations-oriented behaviors in order to build the knowledge and skills of their employees, to help support their employees’ needs, to motivate, and build a sense of commitment and organizational citizenship. We must balance our task-oriented behaviors with our relations-oriented behaviors to be sure people are bought into the direction of our team and that what we are trying to solve for will truly do so. As an example, one respondent noted “I think sometimes management, whether directly or indirectly, is looking out for the bottom dollar; not how it effects or affects the team. Sometimes there is a gap between what they think we need and what we actually need and this disrupts the flow, teamwork and function of the teams that they are 'trying' to improve.” We must be conscious of how our task-oriented behaviors impact relations-oriented behaviors which include supporting, development, recognizing, and empowering. For all relations-oriented behaviors, those surveyed rated their manager 3.64 out of 5.0 on relations-oriented behaviors with the highest rating for recognizing behaviors and lowest for empowering behaviors.
  10. 10. 9 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness Supporting An effective leader must support their employees’ needs which could include actively listening, showing concern, and helping their employees work through difficult situations (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012). Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.52 out of 5.0 on supporting behaviors. • 79% reported that their manager shows concern for their needs and feelings and also that their manager provides them with the needed support for their job. • 84% reported that their manager actively listens to their problems. A popular concept that is related to supportive leadership behaviors is Emotional Intelligence, which is a leader’s ability to monitor and manage their emotions and the emotions of others. While there is more to Emotional Intelligence than supporting employees, it is critical to the success of a leader. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 report that emotional intelligence is “the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellent” accounting for 58% of performance in all of the job types that is studied (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009). As one of the survey respondents noted “I think being positive in the work place and showing concern for your employees and customers goes a long way.” To promote and increase emotional intelligence, leaders must make a conscious effort to understand and manage their emotions and that of others, be very deliberate in how they engage with others, listen actively, and focus on building trust and relationships among others. Developing In addition to supporting the needs and concerns of employees, flexible leaders must help to provide a path forward for them as well by aligning development opportunities and ensuring they have the appropriate skill set for their role. While development can take many forms, the leader must have a level of accountability for facilitating that process. This can include on the job training, job rotation, supporting higher education, or helping an employee acquire the skills needed to get to the next stage of their career even if that means moving out of the organization. Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.78 out of 5.0 on developing behaviors. • 20% reported that they do not believe their career goals could be met within their current organization. Along with that, 14% reported that their manager has not discussed their development needs and 15% reporting that they do not have the 90% of high performers also have high Emotional Intelligence. -Emotional Intelligence 2.0
  11. 11. 10 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness adequate training to do their job. These represent significant opportunities for improvement. • 13% reported that their most recent performance appraisal did not reflect their performance. • 78% reported that their manager would support their career development even if it meant leaving the team. The numbers within this survey are encouraging for this group when compared to other data. According to a study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board on leader led development 72% of direct reports feel that their leader is somewhat effective or ineffective at helping rising leaders develop and 78% reported feeling on their own in terms of their development efforts (Corporate Executive Board Learning & Development Leadership Council, 2006). Beyond the emotional intelligence that is needed for supporting employees, flexible leaders must also demonstrate action in supporting their teams. One of the most effective ways that a leader can develop his or her team is through coaching which can be completed either by practicing management by walking around or through the use of one-on-one meetings. For a leader, the practice of coaching should include them helping to assess their current skill set and identify strengths and weaknesses, developing a plan for helping them overcome those weaknesses, helping to align training and development opportunities, and providing useful advice to help employees advance. The American Management Association’s study on coaching in 2008 reveals that this as a significant opportunity. In their North American study, only 52% of company use coaching today and while it is gaining acceptance that is still a large shortfall because coaching is associated with higher performance when there is a clear purpose for it, the right coach is used. Companies should consider using coaching from both internal and external sources as this study showed that external coaches are more effective (American Management Association, 2008). Recognizing Developing employees provides a leader with the opportunity to see where people are succeeding and when they do, provide recognition for that success. Effective leaders take a proactive stance on looking for these opportunities and being sincere, timely, and specific on providing this feedback (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012). Those surveyed rated their manager at 4.15 out of 5.0 on recognizing behaviors. • Only 6% of those reported that their manager does not show appreciation when they do a good job and no one reported that their team members are not recognized.
  12. 12. 11 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness For leaders to effectively provide recognition to employees, it should include recognition on a variety of achievements, be done so in an appropriate setting, be equitable and meaningful for employees, and it should be timely, specific, and sincere (Yukl & Lepsinger, Flexible Leadership, 2004). Recognition can be in the form of both tangible and intangible rewards, formal and informal, individual or group based, and can also be based upon a short time period as well as day-to-day recognition. Day-to-day recognition in fact is likely the most valuable and according to Dr. Bob Nelson, the author of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, “the most important ways that employees prefer to be recognized is when they do good work – that is, simple day to day behaviors that any manager can express with their employees, the most important of which is praise” (Nelson, 2005). That simple day-to-day praise that is free and can be implemented into leaders daily efforts. This fits nicely into management by walking around, regularly engaging with employees. Simply put, when you see, say it. Additional forms of recognition can be employee excellent awards, awards for quality, and financial bonuses. Any recognition program that is built should be one that can be sustained and that will truly achieve the desired result for the organization. Empowering When we empower employees we show and recognize that we trust them to make their own judgments and that we value their talents. Sometimes the best thing a leader can do is simply get out of the way and let their employees do their work and by empowering our employees, we can often times get a better quality result, more buy-in, and increase employee satisfaction while developing those employees talents at the same time (Vroom & Yetton, 1973). Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.11 out of 5.0 on empowering behaviors. • 80% reported that they have the freedom to use their own judgment to make the right decision which is a good number overall and leaders should continue to look to see how they can continue to improve this number. • 81% do not believe that diverse talents are leveraged on their team. Leaders should consider how they can work to leverage talents and also communicate that effectively to their employees. • Only 55% of those reported that the thoughts and opinions of the team are used to make decisions with 25% of those responding neither agree nor disagree. Effective leaders allow their people discretion over how to complete assignments, encourage them to take initiative, are effective at delegating tasks appropriately, provide employees with the authority needed to complete their tasks, and coach employees when they make mistakes or have opportunities for improvement (Yukl & Lepsinger, Flexible Leadership, 2004). Being able to empower employees effectively requires the use of other flexible leadership behaviors including providing the needed support, recognition, and development; all of which
  13. 13. 12 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness are needed to provide a balance of relations oriented behaviors that can help facilitate change and growth. CHANGE-ORIENTED BEHAVIORS When we look at the leadership models of Fleishman, Blake and Mouton and others, the focus was predominately on behaviors or attitudes related to tasks and people, however; in today’s organizations, leaders must be able to lead change effectively. When the previous models were developed, change management wasn’t a discipline that existed. It wasn’t until the 1980’s when change management gained acceptance and not until the 1990’s until it became a strategic tool in organizations (Ackerman Anderson & Anderson, 2001). In today’s organizations, it’s almost incomprehensible to imagine not having change as a key tool and activity in organizations. Change-oriented behaviors are needed in order to innovate, facilitate learning, to inspire and communicate a vision, and to adapt to the external environment (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012). For all change-oriented behaviors, those surveyed rated their manager 3.49 out of 5.0 on change-oriented behaviors with the lowest rating being with empowering innovation. For effective and flexible leadership, leaders must use change behaviors such as advocating change, envisioning change, encouraging innovation and facilitating collective learning. Advocating Change In order for significant change to occur in an organization, there must be a high level of cooperation and buy-in from all levels of the organization. To do so, leaders must be able to create a sense of urgency in order to drive the change. According to John Kotter, a Harvard Business School Professor and one of the world’s foremost leaders on change, when the sense of urgency is low and especially if there is a high level of complacency, it is very difficult to develop a team that can drive that change. Even if a team is developed, without a sense of urgency and an urgency at all levels, the change effort will fail to gain the needed momentum and acceptance leaving the change leaders effectively pushing and forcing a change effort which will likely fall short of implementation (Kotter, Leading Change, 1996). Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.50 out of 5.0 on behaviors for advocating change. • 74% report being aware of why change is happening in their organization.
  14. 14. 13 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness • Only 35% reported that changes that have taken place within the last 12 months have improved their ability to do their job. 38% reported neither agreeing nor disagreeing with that statement. To successfully advocate for change, leaders must explain why the change is needed and “what’s in it” for those impacted. For instance, advocating for change to a problem that isn’t clear and advocating a solution that doesn’t clearly address a problem will likely not generate urgency. As a result, employees and other leaders will not feel compelled to act. Instead, a leader can raise a sense of urgency by articulating outside threats and opportunities that exist, by demonstrating urgency every day, looking for opportunities when crises occur, and working to address those that are highly resistant and destructive to change efforts (Kotter, A Sense of Urgency, 2008). Envisioning Change As is the case in so many settings, effective communication is imperative in order to be successful and can be a key point of failures for those that do not. A leader needs to be able to articulate a strong vision for change and for the future, one that is challenging but achievable and that is connected to the organizations values and mission (Yukl & Lepsinger, Flexible Leadership, 2004). It is important that the vision is linked to the organizations values and mission because ultimately that change effort will need to be anchored into the corporate culture of the organization (Kotter, Leading Change, 1996). Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.55 out of 5.0 on behaviors for envisioning change. • Only 60% reported that they have a clear understanding of the change that is occurring is related to the values of the organization. Potentially 40% of those surveyed are unclear as to how changes relate to the values of their organization. With that said, the implication here is the potential for a high level of resistance, a poor ability to institutionalize that change in the organization, and the strong likelihood that the change does not stick. As a matter of practice, change efforts should have a solid communication plan and vision that can be communicated to those impacted and all leaders should be conscious of how their efforts align with the organization. If the vision for change cannot be articulated in a way which relates to the values or the organization, perhaps that is an effort that does not fit strategically within the organization and thus be rethought. Encouraging Innovation If anything is constant in organizations today it is change and with change comes innovation; the desire to continuously improve our processes, products, and Figure 6 John Kotter outlines in his book Leading Change, 8 Stages that should be worked through in order to effectively lead change. “Effective leaders help others to understand the necessity of change and to accept a common vision of the desired outcome.” -John Kotter
  15. 15. 14 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness strategies. Innovation helps move an organization to the next level and in order to make that move, leaders must be effective at encouraging this innovation at all levels of the organization; it’s not simply a research and development or product development concept. Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.23 out of 5.0 on behaviors for encouraging innovation. • 83% reported that they are encouraged to be innovative and 71% reported that they can feel free to challenge the status quo within their teams, however; 82% report that their organization is not responsive enough to change. To move beyond these numbers address employees who do not feel as encouraged to be innovative and to challenge the way things are, our leaders need to build an organization with a high level of trust and safety so that employees can feel free to put forth new and innovative ideas (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012). This idea of trust is something that Stephen Covey refers to as smart trust which is to say that organizations should develop both a high propensity to trust one another, but also to analyze, evaluate, reason, and engage in healthy conflict with one another (Covey S. M., 2006). Within an environment of smart trust, employees can be encouraged to challenge and question assumptions, look at problems from different perspectives, and encourage people to spend time on innovation. To promote this, awards and recognition should be put into place to help acknowledge those innovative ideas (Yukl & Lepsinger, Flexible Leadership, 2004). In addition to this, when input is sought, it must be used. As one of the survey respondent stated, “Management claims to want innovation, however; the same processes are used to do the same things over and over”, underscoring that encouraging innovation must be sincere and with the intent of implementing change. For instance, at UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest healthcare organization, innovation is promoted at the very top of the organization. Each year, an Innovation Day is hosted for all employees to attend both in person and remotely which promotes various innovation concepts and products. Beyond that, the CEO sponsors an “innovation challenge” which is a competitive process where any employee in the organization can put forth and idea and the rest of the more than 150,000 employees can vote on which ideas are the best. Ideas are put into categories based upon the organizations culture values and winners for each category are awarded prizes in addition to their idea being implemented. Doing so promotes a strong sense of competition and innovation, but innovation that is directly related to the values of the organization which is important for any change initiative to be successful. Facilitating Collective Learning In order to help facilitate change and innovation in the organization, we must learn and have a diverse perspective. Leaders must facilitate and encourage collective learning and to do so, they must be flexible leaders who are open to new ideas and encouraging their employees to think outside the box and challenge the current state.
  16. 16. 15 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.68 out of 5.0 on behaviors that facilitate collective learning. • 79% feel encouraged to reach outside of the organization in order to learn new things, but significantly less, 50% reported that their manager reaches outside of the organization in order to improve the skills of the team. There are a couple of things organizations can do in order to facilitate collective learning. First is creating opportunities for job rotation. Many large organizations do so for leadership development including GE, Johnson & Johnson, and UnitedHealth Group and these programs help to motivate employees and give them a higher level of skill variety and increasing their commitment which is important for job satisfaction. In a study conducted by Curtin University of Technology, researchers tested whether job rotation programs increased job satisfaction and increases the perception of training effectiveness. Their analysis was favorable in testing both hypotheses and particularly when employees were more educated which is likely why such opportunities are typically aligned with recent undergraduate or graduate students (Huang, 1999). In addition to job rotation, organizations should promote involvement in industry events and organizations and encourage employees to bring those concepts and new approaches back into the organization. With that, employees should be encouraged to experiment with those new ideas, identify lessons learned, and adapt best practices (Yukl & Lepsinger, Flexible Leadership, 2004). By implementing such programs, it brings the outside into the organization. Beyond this, organizations should also encourage employees to disseminate this organization in a way that fosters social learning and extends the benefits to other employees as well who may not have attended these events. This can be in the form of lunch and learn presentations, newsletters, and special projects to help implement these practices. Overall, flexible leaders must be able to see change, advocate for it, encourage it within their organization, and promote the collective learning needed to develop the best ideas and concepts that will help drive their organizations forward. EXTERNAL LEADERSHIP BEHAVIORS As outlined, flexible leaders must promote collective learning. This must include not just learning across different areas of the organization, but also looking outward. Flexible leaders must be able to develop a network of other professionals that they can collaborate with, keep an eye on what’s happening within their industry, geographic area, or discipline, and be an advocate for their team as they work with external audiences. For all external behaviors, those surveyed rated their manager 3.38 out of 5.0 on externally focused behaviors with the greatest opportunity for improvement being with external monitoring.
  17. 17. 16 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness Networking Leaders need to be able to build relationships inside and outside the organization, with peers, more senior leaders, suppliers, and others who can help provide information, support, and resources to the organization (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012). Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.34 out of 5.0 on networking behaviors. • Nearly 1 in 4 respondents reported that their manager does not build positive relationships inside the organization. Only 35% reported that they do with 38% neither agreeing nor disagreeing. • 60% reported that their manager builds positive relations with others outside of the organization. Quite possibly the simplest way for leaders to build a network is using social media platforms such as LinkedIn. In 2011, Lab42 conducted a study on how professional use the social media site. Two thirds of those surveyed use LinkedIn more than a few times per week. More than 20 percent of executives and middle managers use Linked in for industry networking (Gunelius, 2011). To be a flexible leader, one must ensure that this statistic is not indicative of the broader usage of networking as if that is the case; this presents a significant opportunity for leaders to focus in order to become more flexible leaders. The results of the survey do reflect this opportunity, however; not quite at the same level which is understandable as there are multiple forms of networking beyond social media. In addition to social media, leaders should look to other forums such as industry events, leaders groups, the Chamber of Commerce and other professional organizations which can provide face-to-face networking events for leaders to help provide additional opportunities that may not be achievable using social media. External Monitoring In order for an organization and its leaders to craft a strategy that is a strategic fit, there must be insight into the conditions of the external environment and to compare it to the internal environment (Thompson, Peteraf, Gamble, & Strickland III, 2014). Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.06 out of 5.0 on external monitoring behaviors. • 83% reported that their manager communicates industry trends that the team needs to focus on, but only 8% reported that they are encouraged to participate in industry events themselves. A strong report from the survey is that the vast majority of respondents reporting that their managers do communicate industry trends, but do not encourage participation in industry events. To improve this, leaders should engage in networking, encourage their employees to do the same, and communicate the trends and external data that will help to drive the vision and strategy for the organization. This could include sending top performers to industry
  18. 18. 17 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness conferences, allowing employees to attend industry events during company time, and encourage those that do to bring the information back into the organization to foster collective learning. Representing Related to networking is the need for the leader to effectively represent the needs of their employees. A flexible leader is not just a strong leader within their team, but also an ambassador of their team; negotiations, advocating, defending, and promoting the needs and interests of their team. As organizations become more cross-functional and interdependent, the need for this behavior increases (Yukl, Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention, 2012). Those surveyed rated their manager at 3.72 out of 5.0 on representing behaviors. • 71% reported that their manager mediates conflicts between different groups and 79% reporting their manager has positive relationships with those groups. • Only half of the respondents reported that their concerns are communicated across the organization. In order to promote a higher level of representation, leaders should work to build their credibility and influence among their peers, superiors, and externally. By doing so, they will strengthen their ability to be a strong ambassador for their team. Some opportunities for a leader to become a strong representative include taking the time to discuss what their team is working on and any challenges that exist, actively enlisting the support of others to solve those challenges, and providing effective communication back to their team. In many ways, leaders need to apply the same practices to their external stakeholders as they do to their employees including setting clear expectations and goals and following up on those expectations. As organizations become increasingly cross functional, this may become more important as control becomes less centralized and we depend more on other teams to achieve our goals. Flexible Leadership Moving Forward Being a flexible leader is not about being 25% of each of the 4 meta-categories, but instead finding the right balance between each category and in each situation. For example, a focus on improving the efficiency of a process may require a greater focus on task-oriented behaviors, but may very well make change more difficult (Yukl & Lepsinger, Flexible Leadership, 2004). Additionally, a leader must be mindful to not become so task-oriented as to burn out employees or compromise relations-oriented behaviors as this may lead to longer term challenges. This is the case as we know from the work of Vroom and Yetton in their normative decision making model which states that different decisions procedures should be used depending upon the situation at hand. Their research which has shown that leaders who make decisions that are consistent with the normative decision making model, the more effective they are (Vroom & Yetton, 1973). This may include being more participative in some situations.
  19. 19. 18 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness Being more participative may require a leader to encourage innovation and be highly supportive of their employees. In contrast, another situation could dictate a more directive type of decision making which requires a higher level of task orientation, but at the same time ensuring expectations are clear and communication is effective. Beyond specific situations, as leaders grow and the organizational structure changes, leaders must be mindful of how that mix of each category needs to change. According to Gary Yukl’s analysis, the longer a leader spends in one type of position, the less adaptable they become. As those organizational changes occur, what was once strength may now be a weakness and we must be conscious of how we must adapt to the demands and constraints of the organization (Yukl, The Importance of Flexible Leadership, 2008). For example, an Information Technology leader who may have been effective with a greater focus on task may now be less effective as IT organizations become more aligned with operations. This may instead require that IT leader to advocate for change and represent their team more than in the past. Additionally, rapidly changing technology may also require a greater focus on developing and training their team to adapt. An effective leader must be flexible in adapting their style as needed. As a result, leaders must truly understand the relationship between the categories in the Flexible Leadership Model and how their behavior and the programs in which they implement will impact each of these categories. Leaders must not just be flexible, but also conscious of the decisions being made. In their strategy, leaders must account for these categories of behavior and the programs and structures which coincide with them in order to create the balance needed to achieve the desired results. To the extent that a leader is flexible will in part dictate and influence their future as well as the future of those which they lead.
  20. 20. 19 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness Appendix 1: Survey Questions Meta- Category Specific Behavior # Survey Question Task Oriented Clarifying 1 My team has a clear sense of direction 2 I DO NOT have a clear understanding of how my job supports the business goals 3 My manager has clearly defined the changes we are making in the business 4 I have a clear idea of what is expected of me in my job 5 The goals set for the team are challenging but realistic Planning 6 The work that is organized within the team is done so in an efficient manner 7 Work within the team is assigned to members effectively 8 The decisions made within the team will lead to positive business results 9 The priorities that the team is focused on will lead to the needed business results 10 Resources are effectively allocated in the team so that those resources are not being wasted 11 I have the appropriate materials and equipment to complete my job effectively 12 Work is assigned to the team in a way that reduces duplication Monitoring Operations 13 My manager gives me useful feedback on my performance 14 My manager conducts regular one-on-one meeting with my to discuss my goals and performance 15 My manager checks in on my progress regularly throughout the course of business Problem Solving 16 On my team, decisions are made without undue delay. 17 My manager communicate effectively. 18 My manager works to remove obstacles that impede our work processes. 19 I am encouraged to provide my input to solve problems 20 My manager communicates a commitment to ethical behavior Relations- Oriented Supporting 21 My manager shows concern for the feelings of team members
  21. 21. 20 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 22 My manager actively listens to me when I have a problem or issue 23 My manager provides the needed support for me in my job 24 There is NOT a high level of trust within my team Developing 25 My manager and I have discussed my development needs 26 Overall, I feel that my career goals can be met within my organization 27 I have received adequate training for my present job 28 My most recent performance appraisal accurately reflected my performance 29 I manager would support my career development even if it meant leaving the team Recognizing 30 My manager shows appreciation when I do a good job. 31 Team members are NOT recognized for a job well done Empowering 32 I have the freedom to use my own judgment in order to make the right decisions for our customers' needs 33 My manager does NOT do an effective job of leveraging diverse talents 34 The opinions and thoughts of the team are often used to make decisions by management Change- Oriented Advocating Change 35 When changes occur, the reasons why are clearly communicated to the team 36 The changes in systems and business processes that have taken place in the past twelve months have improved my ability to do my job Envisioning Change 37 I have a clear understanding of how the changes occurring in the organization are related to the values and ideals of the organization Encouraging Innovation 38 Employees on the team are encouraged to be innovative; that is, to develop new and better ways of doing things 39 On my team, we are NOT very responsive to change 40 My team feels free to challenge “the way things have always been done.” Facilitating collective learning 41 I am encouraged to reach outside of my team in order to learn new things 42 My manager often researches information from outside the organization in order to improve the teams knowledge External Networking 43 My manager builds positive relationships with others in the organization
  22. 22. 21 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness 44 My manager builds positive relationships with others outside of the organization External monitoring 45 My manager communicates industry trends that our team needs to focus on 46 I am encouraged to participate in and follow industry events Representing 47 My manager mediates conflicts that arise with our team and those we interact with 48 My manager has a positive relationship with the groups that my team interacts with (e.g. other departments, customers, suppliers) 49 My manager communicates the concerns of our team across the organization
  23. 23. 22 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness References Ackerman Anderson, L., & Anderson, D. (2001). The Change Leader's Roadmap. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. American Management Association. (2008). Coaching: A Global Study of Successful Practices. New York, NY: American Management Association. Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1982b). Theory and Research for Developing a Science of Leadership. Journal of Applied Behavioural Science, 275-91. Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (2007). Managerial Grid. Bloomsbury Business Library, p. 53. Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. San Diego, CA: Talent Smart. Bridges, W. (2009). Managing Transitions Third Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. Corporate Executive Board Learning & Development Leadership Council. (2006). Leaders Who Develop Leaders: Strategies for Effective Senior Leader-Led Development. Washington, DC: Corporate Executive Board. Covey, S. M. (2006). The Speed of Trust. New York, NY: Free Press. Covey, S. R. (2004). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, NY: Free Press. Gunelius, S. (2011, 08 09). Study Reveals How Professionals Use LinkedIn. Retrieved from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2011/08/09/study-reveals-how-professionals- use-linkedin/ Huang, H. (1999). Job Rotation from the Employees’ Point of View. Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 75-85. Judge, T. A., Piccolo, R. F., & Ilies, R. (2004). The Forgotten Ones? The Validity of Consideration and Initiating Structures in Leadership Theory. Journal of Applied Psychology, 36-51. Julie, S. (2002). The 4-Dimensional Manager. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. Kotter, J. (1996). Leading Change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Kotter, J. (2008). A Sense of Urgency. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing. Lottier Jr, L. F. (1979). THE NEW MANAGERIAL GRID (Book). Training & Development Journal, p. 24. Mind Tools. (2014, 05 27). Locke's Goal Setting Theory. Retrieved from Mind Tools: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_87.htm National Business Research Institute. (2014, 05 27). Managing Team Work. Retrieved from National Business Research Institute: http://www.nbrii.com/employee-survey-white-papers/managing- teamwork/teamwork-planning/
  24. 24. 23 Flexible Leadership: A Survey and Analysis of Leadership Effectiveness Nelson, B. (2005). 1001 Ways to Reward Employees. In B. Nelson, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees (p. 1). New York, NY: Workman Publishing Company. Packard, D. (1995). The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built our Company. New York, NY: Harper Business. Robbins, S., & Judge, S. P. (2012). Essentials of Organizational Behavior Eleventh Edition. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Robert, B. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1964). The Managerial Grid. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company. Thompson, A. A., Peteraf, M. A., Gamble, J. E., & Strickland III, A. (2014). Evaluating a Company's External Environment. In Crafting and Executing Strategy (p. 45). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin. Tucker, A., & Singer, S. (2013). The Effectiveness of Management-By-Walking-Around: A Randomized Field Study. Harvard Business School. Vroom, V., & Yetton, P. (1973). Leadership and Decision Making. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. Yukl, G. (2008, April). The Importance of Flexible Leadership. The Importance of Flexible Leadership. San Francisco, CA, USA: 23rd annual conference of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Yukl, G. (2012). Effective Leadership Behavior: What We Know and What Questions Need More Attention. Academy of Management Perspectives, 66-85. Yukl, G. (2012). Leadership in Organizations 8th Edition. Prentice Hall. Yukl, G., & Lepsinger, R. (2004). Flexible Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass A Wiley Imprint.

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