Transformational Leadership and Value Congruence

Feb 06

My latest research paper in Leadership focuses on the relationship between leadership and the alignment of values, both between leader and follower and relative to their organization. The research demonstrates that “The state of value congruence occasions a number of efficiencies, including similarity of cognitive processes and communication systems. The predictive character of behavior among people with value congruence further streamlines cooperation between leaders and followers and among peers. The levels of follower satisfaction and commitment both increase when values are aligned interpersonally and organizationally.” You can read the paper below: Download Transformational Leadership and Value...

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Leadership Myopia

Jan 28

Humans are fascinated with strength, beauty, intelligence and many other human characteristics. American fascination with these human characteristics is seen in our literature, comic books, movies and in the stories told about men and women who have risen from rags to riches; from weakness to power. In The Atlantic, Tara Burton asks why American colleges are so obsessed with Leadership. This not only highlights that there are followers, but also that there are other possible roles, such as a “lone wolf” or “team player”. In the right context, these non-leadership roles can bring as much value (and sometimes more) to organizations. Another point the article makes is that often, when we discuss leadership, the real context is management. Rather than producing real change and movement, the focus is one of managing and structuring to achieve maximum profit. As one surveys history to identify great leaders, some of the most compelling and effective leaders obtained very little in the way of riches or power. Those that did obtain power did so after many years of toil. Is there value in pursuing a universal model of leadership? Could it be that the ocean of literature devoted to finding the secret to producing outstanding leaders is really distracting American academia from opportunities to more richly educate and prepare tomorrow’s workforce? For those students who don’t naturally lean toward leadership, the myopic American focus on leadership in university studies may be cheating them of much more rewarding career training and opportunities. It’s tempting to take the article one step further and notice that leaders are rarely noted for how well they do what they’re told. The idea of teaching leaders to be leaders and sending them into the world to lead seems at odds with the idea of leadership. Many who become leaders will do so regardless of their educational...

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Leadership and the Value of Fair Play

Jan 22

One key value that affects the effectiveness of leadership is fair play. Expectations, implied or expressed, are the basis of whether actions are seen as exhibiting fair play. Teamwork requires that team members trust that their expectations will be met. The expectation of fair play derives from human attitudes toward reciprocity and equity. A great historical account that illustrates this important value in a leader is when Abraham Lincoln made an agreement with Henry E. Dummer, John Hardin and Edward D. Baker that they would rotate the nomination every two years and would help each other win the election. After Mr. Lincoln had helped others win their elections, it was his turn. In the face of some resistance he wrote to them, reminding them of their agreement and citing that “turn about is fair play”. Reckless Self-Interest The political environment today is rife with excess and unfair play. There seems to be an endless stream of kickbacks, misuse of funds, inappropriate relationships and many other types of behavior that does not meet expectations. A notable, although not isolated, example of this behavior is seen in the actions of Chris Christie’s staff in recent months. Political retribution, manipulation and coercion all demonstrate a reckless self-interest on the part of a leader. Consequences of this type of behavior are almost universally negative in the long term. Alliances are short lived, trust is absent making skepticism high and outcomes are rarely in the best interests of the people who are represented. Decreased Influence A lack of fair play in leadership will eventually result is a diminished capacity to influence others and effect real change. Leaders who brush aside fairness and equity, who fail to reciprocate when expected, will find that their personal and positional power decrease over time. Unfortunately, many leaders learn this disappointing outcome when the stakes are highest, in times of...

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CardSwap Marketing Case Study

Jan 18

The first case study assigned for marketing focuses on the Canadian Company CardSwap. The case mentions pay-per-click advertising and some traditional offline media as possible customer acquisition methods. After a careful review of the company, its profit potential and the complexity of forecasting given the unpredictable nature of the the target market, I didn’t endorse either approach. One proposal I did make in my analysis was that CardSwap should offer their own open loop gift card, which I later found out that they do. From my paper: Continued investment in automation technologies for verifying the current balance of existing cards, social media integration and fine tuning of analytics technology are likely to bring the most long term benefit and growth to CardSwap. You can read or download the complete paper below. Download the CardSwap case study...

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Functions of Management and Leadership

Jan 11

The primary textbook in my Leadership course this semester is Leadership, Theory and Practice by Peter G. Northhouse. The book is broad in scope and aims to synthesize the last century of academic effort to define Leadership. Each chapter is packed with references to related and supplementary material. The introductory chapter included a figure that is packed with insight, at least for me. It speaks to the differences between the role of leader and manager. The idea that management seeks order and consistency while leadership drives for change and movement sets important expectations. There have been times in the past when I hired someone without a clear expectation of whether I wanted order or change. I may even have expected both at the same time. There are also work situations in which expectations on my performance were not clearly identified. I lean toward change and movement. I find it difficult to engage it tasks designed primarily to produce order and...

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