Leadership styles and emotional competencies: an exploratory study

Leadership styles and emotional competencies: an exploratory study

PT Joseph

ABSTRACT

This paper is a summary of the results of an empirical study done on 295 managers in the last two years. The hypothesis of this study is to test whether the leadership style of a manager is a function of the emotional competencies of that individual Based on the Enenagram and the FIRO scales, nine leadership styles are identified. Then the response of each leadership style to nine emotional competencies is tabulated. These competencies are: stress response, emotional literacy, ability to express emotions, dealing with the emotions of other people, resilience, interpersonal connections, compassion, ability to trust others and happiness.

1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

Leadership is the result of the interaction among the leader, the follower, and the leadership situation. The leadership process contains all these three key elements. Leadership theory and research can be summarized in shown in table 1 (Bryman Alan, Charisma and Leadership in Organizations, Sage Publications, London, 1992, p. 1):

In this study, I am focusing only on the manager’s leadership style based on emotional competencies. This approach differs from the normal ‘style’ approach as given in table 1.

2. METHODOLOGY

I have analysed the leadership styles and a few emotional competencies of 295 managers who participated in the management development programme on emotional intelligence. The method used was a self-discovery program through inventories, interaction sessions and group work. The tools used were Ennegram, FIRO(Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship Orientation) scales and Emotional Intelligence. FIRO scales divides people into three categories based on their interpersonal behaviour (Schutz W., FIRO, WSA Inc, Muir Beach, CA, 1998, p. 17): These categories are Inclusion, Control and Affection. Each of these categories are sub-divided into three. Thus according to FIRO, there are nine types of interpersonal behaviour.

According to Enneagram theory, there are nine types of people based on a dominating passion.. Correspondingly, there are nine leadership styles. If the Enneagram type of a manager is known, that information can be used to predict the leadership style of that person.

There is a relationship between FIRO scales and the Enneagram as shown in Table 2. Combining these two, I have attributed the corresponding leadership styles to each of the types in the last column of table 2. The relationship can be related like this:

Combining these two paradigms, and after having studied their emotional and interpersonal behaviours, each type is identified to have a particular leadership style. These leadership styles are listed in the last column of Table 1. I shall highlight the characteristics of each of these styles and follow the Enneagram method of calling each type by it number. The distribution of the 295 managers belonging to each leadership style is shown in Table 3.

To identify the emotional competencies, I have used some of the instruments provided in the book ‘Executive EQ’ (Cooper R., Sawaf A., Executive EQ, The Berkeley Publishing Group, New York, 1996, p.287). From these emotional competency analysis, I have summarized the emotional characteristics of each of the types. The average score in each sample is calculated and compared with other styles.

3.1 THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF THE ONE: PRINCIPLE CENTRED LEADERSHIP

‘Principle-centered leadership’ is the title of a book by Stephen Covey (Covey S., Principle Centered Leadership, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1990) Principle-centered leadership is based on the reality that we can not violate these natural laws with impunity. Whether or not we believe in them, they have been proven effective throughout centuries of human history. Individuals are more effective and organizations more empowered when they are guided and governed by these proven principles. They are not easy, quick-fix solutions to personal and interpersonal problems. Rather, they are foundational principles that when applied consistently become behavioral habits enabling fundamental transformations of individuals, relationships, and organizations. Principles, unlike values, are objective and external. They operate in obedience to natural laws, regardless of conditions.

3.2 THE TWO LEADERSHIP STYLE THE TWO: THE SERVANT LEADER

Servant-Leadership is a concept developed by Robert Greenleaf and is given in his book ‘On becoming a Servant-Leader’ (Greenleaf R., Spirituality as Leadership, Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership, Indinapolis, 1988). A servant-leader is one who is a servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.

3.3 THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF THE THREE: ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP

Much of modern management theory in the recent past is about trying to teach people to be entrepreneurial. The ‘just-in-time management’, which squeezes out savings by delivering components and materials precisely when they are needed instead of warehousing them, puts a high premium on planning and teamwork. Entrepreneurial leaders naturally manage by objectives as enunciated by Peter Drucker (Drucker P., Management: tasks, responsibilities, practices, Harper and Row, New york, 1974, p.430). By building in plentiful and measurable feedback, they constantly readjust along the way with the goal always in mind. The difference between companies that achieve their strategic objectives and those that do not may well be accounted for by the CEO’s level of commitment to Management By Objectives.

3.4 THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF THE FOUR: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP Transformational leadership was proposed by Burns (Burns, J.M., Leadership , Harper &Row, New York, 1978). Transformational leadership inspires followers and enables them to enact revolutionary change. These leaders through their personal traits and their relationship with followers go beyond a simple exchange of traits and productivity. It calls for constant innovation. Whereas change refers to making things different, innovation refers to a new idea applied to initiating or improving a product, process, or service. Innovation requires identifying new ways of solving existing problems and meeting the customer’s requirements, not optimising the current set-up. Innovative organizations tend to have similar cultures. They encourage experimentation. They reward both successes and failures. Now all managers are not attuned to innovation in the same way. Transformational leaders are highly motivated for innovation because innovation is a personal trait for them. This transformational Leadership style is a popular one in our age of e-commerce and internet business. It often characterizes managers who innovate business processes through newer technologies. Innovators are usually somewhat ambitious, know the technology well, stay on top of their jobs, and get the jobs done.

3.5 THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF THE FIVE: STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP

A strategic model of organizational performance includes the competitive position of the a firm within an industry and to be competitive the leadership has a major role through strategic leadership. Strategic management can be defined as a series of steps in which organizational members analyze the current situation, decide on strategies, put those strategies into action, and evaluate and modify strategies as needed. It entails all of the basic managerial functions: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. The organization’s strategies must be planned, organized and put into effect, and controlled. What we can say then is that the process of strategic management involves strategy formulation, strategy implementation, and strategy evaluation. (Coutler M., Strategic Management in Action, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1998, p.5).

The implementation mechanism of the strategy is a sequential decision process. The selected strategy of the organization is translated into a series of statements on the goals and objectives, policies and procedures, programs and plans, and immediate actions for each subdivisions. The creation of direction and purpose depends a lot on information and expertise.

3.6 THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF THE SIX: TRANSACTIONAL LEADERS

Transactional leadership is based on the concept of exchange between leaders and followers. The leader provides followers with resources and rewards in exchange for motivation, productivity, and effective task accomplishment (Nahavandi A., The Art and Science of Leadership, Prentice Hall International, London, 1997, p.190). Transactional leadership teaches leaders to provide contingent reward to reinforce appropriate behavior and to discourage inappropriate behavior. Transactional leaders are responsible and reliable. They make sure that the existing system is well maintained. Normally, they look into all the details and make sure nothing goes wrong. They are highly logical and also fair-minded. In situations of conflict, they refer to rules and procedures. The rules and standardized operations work fine as long as today is just like yesterday. But when cases arise that do not precisely fit the rules, the system breaks down. The transactional leader is efficient only as long as employees confront problems that they have previously encountered and for which programmed decision rules have already been established.

3.7 THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF THE SEVEN: VISIONARY LEADERS

Powerful transforming visions have the following properties (Bennis, W., Visionary Leadership, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1992, p. 29):

1. They are appropriate for the organization and for the times.

2. They set standards of excellence and reflect high ideals.

3. They clarify purpose and direction.

4. They inspire enthusiasm and encourage commitment.

5. They are well articulated and easily understood.

6. They reflect the uniqueness of the organization, its distinctive competence.

7. They are ambitious.

Visionary structures work best when the business calls for :

* flexibility

* rapid change

* high professionalism with little supervision

* interdependent experts

* cross-disciplinary ideas

* innovation

* complexity

* advance planning

* optimism about the future

3.8 THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF THE EIGHT: CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP

Charismatic leaders are defined as leaders who have profound emotional effect on their followers. They are perceived not as simple bosses, but rather as role models and heroes who are larger than life. The issue of charismatic leadership surfaces when certain individuals emerge as leaders in either leaderless groups or to replace an appointed leader. Almost all the charismatic revolutionary leaders of the world achieved their place without being formally designated. Distinguishing Attributes of charismatic leadership are given as follows:(Nahavandi A., The Art and Science of Leadership, Prentice Hall International, London, 1997, p.184)

3.9 THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF THE NINE: EMPOWERING LEADERSHIP

Empowering leadership style has its roots in Japanese style of management, the quality circle efforts of the 1970s, and the psychological concept of self-efficacy. The underlying themes of empowerment is the giving away and sharing of power with those who need it to perform their job functions. Such power sharing provides people with a belief in their abilities and their sense of effectiveness (Nahavandi A., The Art and Science of Leadership, Prentice Hall International, London, 1997, p.89). Empowering leaders are participative decision makers. The essence of participative style is the participation of many persons in decision making. One expression of the participative style is democracy, in which representatives of the people, rather than a dictator, make decisions. Another expression, is the participation of subordinates in decision-making. The most common form of this participation is group decision-making in which the head acts not as a boss but coordinates and facilitates decision-making by the group as a whole. This sort of decision-making is based on free and frank discussion, sharing of information and views, generation of many alternatives, and the gradual emergence of a consensus view to which everyone feels at least some commitment because it has emerged participatively.

4. EMOTIONAL COMPETENCIES OF EACH LEADERSHIP STYLE:

The concept of emotional intelligence is an umbrella term that captures a broad collection of individual skills and dispositions, usually referred to as soft skills or inter and intra-personal skills, that are outside the traditional areas of specific knowledge, general intelligence, and technical or professional skills.

An emotional competence is a learned capability based on emotional intelligence that results in outstanding performance at work (Goleman D., Working with Emotional Intelligence, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London, 1998, p24). In Working With Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman applies the emotional intelligence concept to the workplace setting. In this analysis, he argues that the emotionally intelligent worker is skilled in two key areas he presents in his emotional competence framework.

In the book Executive EQ, the authors identify 14 EQ competencies (Cooper R., Sawaf A., Executive EQ, The Berkeley Publishing Group, New York, 1996, p.287). From these, I have chosen 9 competencies for this study and they are: stress response, emotional literacy, ability to express emotions dealing with the emotions of other people, resilience, interpersonal connections, compassion, ability to trust others and happiness.

5. ANALYSIS OF EMPIRICAL DATA

5.1 Leadership style and Stress

The stress response of each leadership style to stress varies. As seen in Table 4, Principle-centered leaders and Transactional leaders are the most stressful types. Empowering leaders, strategic leaders and visionary leaders are the least stressful. To measure the stress factors, life events, work pressures and personal pressures were taken into account.

Table 4: Stress response and Leadership style

5.2 Emotional literacy:

Emotional literacy is the ability to recognize, respect and value the wisdom of emotions As shown in Table 5, Strategic leaders are the lowest in emotional literacy and Servant leaders, visionary leaders and charismatic leaders are the most literate with regard to emotions.

5.3 Ability to Express emotions

Emotional expression measures the ability of the individuals to express their felt emotions. The ability to express emotions vary with each Leadership style. As shown in Table 6, Transformational leaders and Strategic leaders have the least ability to express emotions while Visionary leaders and entrepreneurial leaders are the best at it.

5.3 Ability to Express emotions

Emotional expression measures the ability of the individuals to express their felt emotions. The ability to express emotions vary with each Leadership style. As shown in Table 6, Transformational leaders and Strategic leaders have the least ability to express emotions while Visionary leaders and entrepreneurial leaders are the best at it.

5.4 Ability to deal with other people’s emotions

The ability to recognize the feelings in others and to respond appropriately is a valuable emotional competency, It helps a lot in inter-personal communication. As shown in Table 7, Strategic leaders and Transactional leaders are poor in dealing with other people’s emotions while Visionary leaders and Entrepreneurial leaders are very good at it.

5.5 Resilience: Resilience is the ability to bounce back when a person is faced with failure. As shown in Table 8,Transformational leaders, Strategic leaders and Transactional leaders have great difficulty in bouncing back while Visionary leaders have great facility to bounce back.

5.6 Interpersonal connections

Interpersonal connection measures the ability to establish connections with other people. As shown in Table 9, Entrepreneurial leaders and Visionary leaders are the best while transformational leaders and Strategic leaders are lagging behind in establishing interpersonal connections.

5.7 Compassion

Compassion measures the ability of the person to empathize with others. As shown in Table 10, Empowering leaders, Servant leaders and Visionary leaders scored high whereas Strategic leaders and Entrepreneurial leaders scored lowest on compassion.

5.8 Trust radius

Trust radius measures the ability to trust other people. As seen in Table 11, transformational leaders are poor in this competency while Empowering leaders, Visionary leaders and servant-leaders are great in trusting others.

5.9 Happiness and quality of life

This competency measures the person’s satisfaction with life and work. As shown in table 12, Visionary leaders and Servant leaders expressed more satisfaction as compared to others. And the most dissatisfied were transformational leaders.

6. CONCLUSIONS

Going by the empirical data connecting emotional competencies and leadership styles, the characteristics of each Leadership style can be predicted. The hypothesis that leadership style of a manager is a function of the emotional competencies of that person is true.

6.1 Principle-centered leaders: They experience dissatisfaction with the world because it is imperfect and this causes stress in them. They are aware of other people’s feelings and their own, but their ability to deal with them is limited. Very often, failures do not stop them from making an effort to work harder to improve the situation. Their ability to connect with other people, their trust levels and their compassion levels are also limited. According to them, their quality of life is average.

6.2 Servant leaders: They experience dissatisfaction with the world because people are making too many demands on them. Their awareness of their feelings and the feelings of other people are good and they can handle the emotions of other people well. Failures do not discourage them. They easily connect well with others, trust others and have compassion on others. They are satisfied with life.

6.3 Entrepreneurial leaders: Their relentless striving for achievement gives them a lot of stress. Their awareness of their own feelings, the feelings of others and their ability to deal with the emotions of others is very limited. Their resilience is low. They can connect well with others and they trust others but they lack compassion. They are not happy with life.

6.4 Transformational leaders: They are the most stressed of all types. Their awareness of their own emotions, their ability to express emotions, and their ability to handle the emotions of other people are very limited. They stay in their negative emotions for a long time. They do not connect easily with other people. They have great difficulty in trusting others. They have compassion for others. They are most dissatisfied of all the types with regard to happiness.

6.5 Strategic leaders: Their stress levels are medium. Their awareness of their feelings, the feelings of others and their ability to deal with other people’s feelings are extremely limited. They are resilient. Their trust levels and compassion levels are very poor. They are not satisfied with the quality of their lives.

6.6 Transactional leaders: They are highly stressful due to their fears and worries. Though they have awareness of their feelings and the feelings of others, they find it very hard to deal with the emotions of others. They take a long time to bounce back from failures. They do not connect well with others and they do not trust others. However, they rate themselves as somewhat happy with life.

6.7 Visionary leaders: Their positive outlook helps them not to experience any stress in life. They are aware of their emotions, the emotions of other people and they are experts in handling the emotions of other people. They easily bounce back from failures They connect well with others, they trust others and are compassionate. They are the most happy people of all the nine types.

6.8 Charismatic leaders: They take charge of everything that they do not feel much stress in life. They are minimally aware of their feelings, they don’t care too much for other people’s feelings. Their ability to handle the feelings of other people is limited. They can easily bounce back from failures. They can connect well with people. They have limited ability to trust others. They are compassionate. They are satisfied with life.

6.9 Empowering leaders: They are the least stressful of all the types. They are aware of their own emotions and the emotions of other people. They can easily deal with the emotions of other people. They are not unduly bothered by failures. They are extremely compassionate. They trust others very much. And they are generally happy.

7. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY:

1. The sample sizes for the nine types are not equal. The sample size for type 4 and 9 are too small.

2. The stress levels may have affected the emotional competencies of the managers and it is not taken into account in this study.

Table 1. History of studies on leadership

PERIOD APPROACH CORE THEMES

Up to 1940s Trait approach Leadership is innate in the

person

1940s to 1960s Style approach Leadership effectiveness is

a function of the behavior

of the leader.

1960s to 1980s Contingency approach Effective leadership is

affected by the situation

Since 1980s New Leadership approach Leaders need vision

Table 2. Relationship between FIRO, Enneagram and Leadership styles

FIRO TYPES FIRO- ENNEAGRAM LEADERSHIP STYLES

SUBDIVISIONS TYPES

Undersocial 5 Visionary leader

INCLUSION Social 6 Bureaucratic leader

Oversocial 7 Charismatic leader

Autocrat 8 Authoritarian leader

CONTROL Abdicrat 9 Empowering leader

Democrat 1 Principle-centered leader

Over-personal 2 Servant-leader

AFFECTION Personal 3 Entrepreneurial leader

Under-personal 4 Innovative leader

Table 3: Sample size corresponding to each Leadership style

Leadership 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Style

Sample 71 17 40 10 44 26 40 36 11

size

CHARACTERISTIC DESCRIPTION OF CHARISMATIC LEADER

Power base They exhibit strong personal power

Leader-follower Transforms people to share the radical

relationship changes that they advocate

Articulation Inspirational articulation of future vision and

motivation to lead

Trustworthiness Passionate advocacy by incurring great

personal risk and cost

Likableness Shared perspective and idealized vision

makes them an honorable hero worthy of

identification and imitation

Future goals Idealized vision that is highly discrepant from

status quo

Table 4: Stress response and Leadership style

Leadership 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

style

Stress 36.5 36.2 42.3 44.6 37.4 42.8 30.9 34 25.9

response

Table 5. Emotional literacy and Leadership style

Leadership 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

style

Emotional 20.4 21.6 19.6 20.3 18.5 21 23.3 21.8 21.5

literacy

Table 6: Emotional expression and Leadership style

Leadership 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

style

Expression 15.8 17.7 15.8 16 15.5 17 19.2 17.5 17.2

of emotions

Table 7: Ability to deal with others’ emotions

Leadership 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

style

Dealing 24.3 25.3 25 24.4 23.2 23 27.4 25 26.5

with other

peoples’

emotions

Table 8: Resilience and Leadership style

Leadership 1 2 3 4 5

style

Resilience 24.3 26.2 24.7 23.2 24.9

Leadership

style 6 7 8 9

Resilience 24.4 28.6 26.6 24.5

Table 9: Interpersonal connectivity and Leadership style

Leadership 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

style

Inter- 20.2 21.3 20.6 18.8 18.9 19.5 23.7 21 22.4

personal

connection

Table 10: Compassion and Leadership style

Leadership 1 2 3 4 5

style

Compassion 22.4 24.9 21.3 23.8 21.8

Leadership 6 7 8 9

style

Compassion 22.3 26.7 24.4 27.5

Table 11: Trust radius and Leadership style

Leadership 1 2 3 4 5

style

Trust radius 16.8 18.5 18.2 14.2 16.4

Leadership 6 7 8 9

style

Trust radius 16.1 19.7 18.7 22.5

Table 12: Happiness and Leadership style

Leadership 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

style

Happiness 21.7 23.7 21.2 18.9 20.1 21.4 25.4 22.9 22

Professor PT Joseph earned his Ph.D. at Marquette University in 1992. Currently he is a Professor of Information Systems and Organizational Behavior at XLRI, Jamshedpur, India.

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