Unit 430 Leadership Topic 4: Leaders as motivators
Power and influence
Many definitions of power adopt a one-dimensional approach that looks at the leader's ability to influence others. In this framework, power rests solely with the leaders. However, if we revisit the idea of the leadership trilogy, we can see that:
* leaders can influence the behaviours of their followers
* followers can influence the behaviour of their leaders
* situational factors can affect both parties' capacity to influence. (Hughes et al., 2006:
We will use the following definition of power and influence taken from Bass (1990: 151): Power is the potential to influence others, where influence can be defined as the change in an individual's attitudes, beliefs, values or behaviours.
In the 1950s, French and Raven (1959) outlined the bases for power. They categorised the sources of power into five main types:
* expert power
* referent power [relations]
* legitimate power [formal authority]
* reward power
* coercive power
This categorisation is a useful tool for those seeking to identify:
a) where a leader's power comes from
b) when it is suitable to use the specific type of power.
Each of the sources of power ... has pros and cons for organisations.
Expert power is useful, because the knowledge, expertise and skills help to differentiate the organisation and may even be the source of competitive advantage. It can, however, be a disadvantage for an organisation in the market, when the person with the expert power wields it for his or her personal gain.
Referent power can be useful for organisations, because those possessing it often have wide-reaching social contacts and networks. Referent power takes time to develop because it takes time to build relationships. One of the primary advantages of referent power is that it often goes hand in hand with increased and unquestioning follower loyalty. Leaders possessing referent power may find their actions limited by their desire to remain popular.
Legitimate power reinforces the organisation's internal structure. Employees follow the instructions and directions of their superiors, and this chain of command is rarely questioned... Followers possess legitimate power as well. They can undermine a leader's degree of influence by 'working to rule' and leveraging the bureaucratic restrictions that often exist within an organisation.
Reward power is the primary means used by most organisations to motivate employees. Just as leaders can use reward power to influence followers to improve performance, followers can use reward power to influence the way in which the leader distributes the resources.
Coercive power can also lead to better organisational performance. The ability to discipline lazy workers, fire people after they refuse to heed warnings, etc. is vital for the organisation's success and survival. Nevertheless, when used inappropriately, coercive power can lead to an unmotivated and even fearful workforce.
In addition to the five sources of power discussed thus far, Daft (2008) identifies four other sources of power within the organisational context:
1. Interdepartmental dependency
2. Control over information
3. Organisational centrality
4. Coping with uncertainty.
These additional sources all stem from the idea of dependence. The argument is that a leader's power is a function of the degree to which others depend on the leader's ability to allocate resources, reward superior performance and punish substandard behaviour.
In the model described by Daft, a leader can enhance his or her power position based on the flow of materials, resources and information from one department to another (interdepartmental dependency). The dependency levels of people in the department and other departments could either increase or decrease the leader's ability to influence.
Control of information refers to the leader's ability to influence followers based on his or her level of access to important information and the power that stems from the judicious distribution of that information. Here, corporate information is recognised as being a prized commodity, and the person possessing this commodity has power.
The third source of power within organisations, organisational centrality, depends on the organisation's primary business activity. Those leaders who play a role that is central to this primary activity will have a larger degree of power conferred upon them. For example, trainers in a large corporate training organisation where sales is accorded the most importance will have less power than the sales executives.
Finally, the fourth source of power stems from a leader's ability to cope with uncertainty. For example in an organisation where the workforce is heavily unionised, a leader within the workplace relations department may be able to increase his or her influence over the organisation's senior-management team by displaying an ability to manage union representatives (Daft, 2008: 368–371).
Considerable research has been conducted concerning the sources of power. Based on this research, some key observations can be made about the sources of power and effective leadership. According to Hughes et al. (2006: 121), effective leaders generally: capitalise on all their sources of power comprehend the pros and cons of different sources of power selectively emphasise one or another of the bases of power, depending on their
objectives and the situation are
* open to a degree of influence from their followers
* vary in the extent to which they share power with their followers
* constantly seek to increase their various power bases.
In the article 'Power is the great motivator', McClelland and Burnham (1976) build upon the idea that the motivation to influence or control others varies from person to person. They call this motivation the 'need for power'. McClelland and Burnham found that people with a high need for power get satisfaction from influencing others. These people actively seek out positions within organisations where they can influence others. The writers looked at people in management positions and identified three main motivation criteria for analysis:
1. Need for power (or the desire to influence others, give orders and have them carried out).
2. Affiliation (or the need to be liked and the desire to help others).
3. Demonstrated inhibition or self-control.
In their article, McClelland and Burnham identify three kinds of managers: Institutional managers (high in power and self-control with a low desire to be liked).
* Affiliative managers (motivated by a desire to be liked which is greater than their desire for power).
* Personal-power managers (their need for power is higher than their need for affiliation and their self-control is low).
Their study has some interesting implications for leaders and those seeking to understand leadership behaviour. Their findings include:
1. Not all individuals like being leaders (i.e. not all managers want to be leaders).
2. Leadership success is not guaranteed by having a high need for power or a motivation to manage.
3. Long-term leadership success may be dependent on having both a high need for socialised power and a high level of activity inhibition. (Hughes et al., 2006: 121–123)
So far we have looked at power as it applies to a leader's ability to influence others and we have considered the types of influencing tactics that leaders may employ to persuade followers. However, another way to look at power in the leadership context is to consider how it is linked to leader personality. What is the leader's personal motivation to possess or exert power? As we will see, the different motives to possess power will influence the leader's success in acquiring power. This in turn will affect the leader's ability to wield power to influence.
Motivation moves well beyond an exercise of power to force compliance with the leader's desires, and can instead be seen as actions that produce a
willing engagement on the part of the follower.
The basis of most need theories of motivation is the assumption that everyone has basic needs. Leaders can motivate followers by tapping into these basic needs and helping followers to satisfy them. We will consider three needs-based theories of motivation: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Alderfer's Existence-Relatedness-Growth theory and McClelland's Acquired Needs theory.
If leaders want to use this motivation model to make their followers work harder, they need to:
1. Determine where the follower falls on the needs hierarchy.
2. Ensure that all of the low order needs are being satisfied.
3. Begin to structure the follower's work to provide opportunities for meeting the order of needs currently being experienced.
* Physiological Needs
* Security Needs
* Belongingness Needs
* Esteem Needs
* Self-Actualisation Needs
The Existence-Relatedness-Growth (ERG) theory (Alderfer, 1969) is very similar to Maslow's. Alderfer identifies three main types of needs:
1. Existence needs (these correspond to Maslow's Physiological and Safety needs)
2. Relatedness needs (these correspond to Maslow's Belongingness and Esteem needs)
3. Growth needs (these are similar to Maslow's Self-Actualisation needs).
The ERG theory differs from Maslow's model, because it asserts that:
1. Sometimes people try to satisfy more than one need at a time
2. The inability to satisfy a higher level need can result in efforts to satisfy lower-level needs. (Alderfer termed this phenomenon the frustration regression hypothesis.)
If leaders want to use this theory to motivate followers, they will need to:
1. Identify the degree of need relating to existence, relatedness and growth for their followers.
2. Assist with satisfaction of these needs.
After more than 20 years of studying management behaviour, McClelland developed his Acquired Needs theory (McClelland, 1985). He proposed that as people experienced life they began to acquire three types of needs:
1. need for achievement
2. need for affiliation
3. need for power.
As with all the needs-based theories discussed in this section, McClelland proposed that helping someone to satisfy the applicable level of need is a powerful motivational tool. McClelland's theory differs from both Maslow and Alderfer on a number of points. Just as people differ in personality and values, McClelland's theory recognises that people differ in the work they like to do and their motivation to achieve success.
McClelland's theory differs from both Maslow and Alderfer on a number of points. Just as people differ in personality and values, McClelland's theory recognises that people differ in the work they like to do and their motivation to achieve success.
In contrast to needs-based theories, cognitive theories of motivation assume that follower motivation can be achieved by changing the way people think about the work they are performing. There are four major cognitive approaches to motivation:
* goal setting
* expectancy theory
* equity theory
As its name suggests, the goal setting approach assumes that people will be motivated to carry out activities and tasks if they relate to clearly defined goals. Essentially, leaders are responsible for setting the direction and outlining how followers can get there. This is achieved through setting goals and then breaking them down into manageable work activities and deliverables. Followers will then be motivated by the sense of accomplishment derived from attaining the goals set.
The second cognitive theory we will discuss is expectancy theory. This theory proposes that leaders can motivate by understanding the thinking process their followers use to determine whether certain behaviours will lead to valued rewards. Expectancy theory is a highly rational approach to comprehending motivation. It is based on two core assumptions:
1. performance is the outcome of cognisant choice
2. most of the time, people will do what they believe will give them the highest rewards.
John Stacey Adams first put forward his equity theory on job motivation in 1963. The equity theory proposed that the concept of fairness is a vital part of the leader-follower relationship. Adams claimed that followers are motivated when they believe that what they put into their job (e.g. effort, loyalty, hard work, trust in the leader) is in equilibrium with what they get out of their job (e.g. financial rewards, professional development opportunities). Alternatively, if followers believe their inputs outweigh the outputs they receive; they may experience a loss of motivation and adjust their inputs downwards.
Furthermore, Adams states that followers compare their personal inputs and outputs with those of others (a referent group). The argument is that followers will maintain the status quo if what they put in and get of the job roughly equates to what others put in and get out of the job. If, however, a follower perceives an inequity between his/her inputs compared to the referent group's inputs/outputs then the follower will be motivated to restore the
balance relative to the referent group.
Self-efficacy concerns whether someone believes he or she can execute a given task. The theory of self-efficacy was first proposed by Albert Bandura (1998). He proposed that people are likely to engage in activities only to the extent that they perceive themselves able to perform them. Followers with positive self-efficacy are confident and feel they have the power and control to accomplish desired outcomes. Conversely, followers with negative self-efficacy will often give up when confronted with a task they perceive as being beyond their capabilities. It is important to note that the perception of self-efficacy will vary from task to task.
Situational approaches to motivation assume that leaders can change the situation in order to improve follower motivation. The two main situational approaches to motivation are the operant approach (also known as reinforcement theory) and empowerment.
The operant approach to motivation is used by many organisations. It proposes that the way to alter follower behaviour is by using rewards and punishments.
* Contingent Rewards
* Noncontingent Rewards
* Contingent Punishments
* Noncontingent Punishments
For the operant approach to be successfully implemented, Hughes et al. (2006: 268–269) recommend the following:
* Leaders must clearly define and communicate the important behaviours they want from their followers, including how often and to what level.
* Leaders should identify which behaviours are currently being rewarded, punished, or ignored.
* Leaders need to establish what their followers consider to be rewarding and punishing.
* Leaders should avoid administering individual rewards and punishments that could be considered inequitable by others.
* Leaders can be creative and do not need to limit themselves to organisationally endorsed rewards and punishments.
The final approach to motivation we will analyse is known as empowerment. Empowerment involves a shift of power from leaders to their followers. It involves providing employees with the necessary resources, skills and authority to make their own decisions and, to an extent, be self-managing. Empowerment increases motivation, because it gives people a sense of ownership over their jobs and control over their daily activities. It also results in people taking responsibility for their actions.
Robert Cole (1987: 39–40) identified five leadership principles that promote empowerment:
1. Have faith and trust in people—believe that they can do it when given a chance.
2. Think of people as investments and invest in them—provide them with coaching, mentoring, training opportunities and work experience.
3. Recognise, reward and celebrate accomplishments to show people that they are valued.
4. Let go of decision-making—let it be decentralised and closer to the customer.
5. Live and breathe cooperation, because people working together accomplish more.
Total reward management system
Balancing inputs and outputs into a job, aiming to increase followers' beliefs in their self-efficacy and empowering followers are all examples of ways leaders can use 'intrinsic' rewards to motivate. Intrinsic rewards derive from the way the job is designed, and the feelings of accomplishment and self-worth that employees get from doing the job and doing it well. On the other hand, 'extrinsic' rewards come from the wages or salary, superannuation, company cars and other benefits which together are often called the 'remuneration' attached to the job. Both types of rewards; intrinsic and extrinsic, are important aspects of a total reward management system
There are many benefits associated with implementing a total reward management system. Kramar et al. (1997: 412) suggest that organisations with good total reward management can:
* attract the right people to the organisation (potential job applicants)
* reduce turnover and retain good staff
* motivate employees by rewarding and recognising employee effort and contributions
* administer pay within legal reporting requirements
* achieve key business goals and objectives
* gain and maintain a competitive edge.