Leaders Can Get Followers to Trust Essay

Pages: 10 (3413 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

¶ … Leaders Can Get Followers to Trust Them

This work will analyze and explore the statement, "There are many ways in which leaders can get followers to trust them," within the context of transactional and transitional leadership in organisations. Trust is an absolutely essential aspect of leadership, leaders must trust those they work with and followers must trust leaders.

Leaders need to be trusted by their followers because trust is the mortar that binds the follower to the leader (Nanus, 1989). Trust in the leader correlates positively with various outcomes such as organizational citizenship behaviors, performance, and satisfaction (e.g. Jung and Avolio, 2000; Pillai et al., 1999). It is suggested that trust is a vital antecedent of satisfaction with the leader because both stem from affective states (e.g. admiration of the leader) and cognitive states (e.g. The leader is held in high esteem because of capabilities or attributes) rather than from observed behaviors of the leader (Conger et al., 2000). (Bartram & Casimir 2006, p. 5)

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Having first defined the basis and importance of trust, the work will define and discuss transactional leadership. It will then move on to define and discuss transformational leadership. Following these discussions the work will address a series of concepts within the context of transactional vs. transitional leadership organisations including; organizational culture, empowerment, job design, leaders' emotional intelligence, the concepts of affective and cognitive trust all while making recommendations. The work will conclude with a brief overview of concepts and discuss the implications and limitations of recommendations made throughout the work.

Transactional Leadership

Essay on Leaders Can Get Followers to Trust Them Assignment

Transactional leadership is to a large degree based on the concept of social/organisational interactions as economic transactions, i.e. social equity theory in the social sciences. In a situation where transactional leadership is stressed each individual must see the work they do as indicative of reward/sanction ideologies and seek to gain further reward by doing a better job, either as a manager/leader or a worker. Task completion is the goal and the individual is either rewarded or sanctioned using traditional organisational means. (Casimir et al. 2006)

Developing trust in this sort of leadership style can be difficult as factors such as incorrect or distorted ideologies of equity often arise, where individuals believe that their work is worth more than they are being rewarded for, changes in productivity and expectations frequently occur and might not coincide with increases in rewards. Individuals might also engender ideas of envy as they believe others are being rewarded at a higher degree than themselves or not being sanctioned at the same level. The individual leader might also have a difficult time engendering trust as those below him or her, not fully aware of his task responsibilities may feel as if he or she is being unduly rewarded for his leadership role, as most organisations have a significant scale variation in payment for leaders vs. task completers. (Casimir et al. 2006) Most importantly transactional leadership, with regard to trust does not foster the development of out of role task development. Individuals are much more likely to trust that the system will reward them only for the transactions they complete within their job role, and will not seek to innovate and build greater role development scenarios. (Boerner, Eisenbeiss & Griesser 2007)

Despite these potential pitfalls the ideology of the transactional leadership style is relatively simple and therefore relatively easy to apply. It is a simple quid pro quo, where rewards match productivity and sanctions are applied when exceptions to productivity occur. In this scenario individuals will seek and possibly achieve a sense of equity and to develop trust in leadership this equity must come in the form of leadership meeting stated promises. If this state of equity, where promises by the leader are kept and equity is achieved the individual task producer will feel trust for the leader and possibly produce at a greater degree and develop the system the way it is intended, as a productive growth oriented organisation. (Casimir et al. 2006)

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership style conversely, is certainly less simple to define but according to Casimir, Waldman, Bartram & Yang in their review of the concept it; "…has been defined in terms of articulating a vision that is shared by followers, strong respect and admiration for the leader, showing determination when accomplishing goals, intellectually stimulating followers, and showing individuals consideration toward followers." (2006 p. 71) According to this same group of experts the style has been shown to be more reflective of follower satisfaction, effectiveness and trust. (Casimir et al. 2006)

As trust is the emphasis of this work transformational leadership will be the leadership style that will be emphasized with regard to the recommendations of the work. Additionally, as the work goes forward one will find that transformational leadership style is far more flexible, allowing for the development of open systems, positive organisational environment, empowerment, empathy, all of which engender greater levels of trust in leadership. The very term transformational indicates that the style follows that the organisation and therefore the people within it are organic and therefore mutable and in need of appropriate guidance to increase innovation, productivity and trust is a tool that can be used by leaders to develop such. Transformational leadership style, converse to transactional leadership style may foster a sense of the need and ability to innovate, as if the individuals in the team believe that their feelings, actions and skills matter they are more likely to not only have ideas about improvements and innovations but bring them to the table when the ideas occur. (Boerner, Eisenbeiss & Griesser 2007)

Organisational Culture of Trust

An organisational culture which is open is said to be more productive as individuals in it feel as if they are aware of the inner workings of the team, including the leader as a member and they feel as if they can voice concerns and offer innovation, whenever the need arises. In general older models such as transactional leadership have a tendency to deliver a hierarchical model, which is inherently a closed system with overt overhead power determining most decisions behind closed doors, while transformational models are more likely to produce an organization that is open and therefore transparent. "Today's managers find it necessary to move beyond typical command and control behaviors to relationships based on behaviors that influence people and develop trust in leadership Trust exists when managers select and apply particular tactics (such as those discussed), which then improve collaboration and the work flow process." (Douglas & Zivnuska 2008)

The potential limits and concerns regarding an open systems model of leadership, often found in transformational leadership would be that when closed door decisions must be made, and occasionally they must, employees may feel cheated and left out, possibly damaging trust. Congruency between goals/values, vision, encouragement and empowerment create, according to many innovative and productive members of a team. Organisations of trust are often exemplary organisations with success in many areas including but not limited to the bottom line. When Organisations of trust develop fully, they are frequently the best at what they do, be it manufacturing or consulting, they excel in their fields of work.


Those organisations who are the most successful, on nearly every level acknowledge that in a competitive environment where concrete forms of reward, such a pay raises cannot be offered to employees at all times other things must be tried to coerce individuals into appropriate motivated action. Therefore they address non-monetary rewards based on concepts of behaviorism that predict that employees with investment in the process of production have a greater sense of motivation and therefore elicit better behaviors. Empowerment processes can include issues that are direct, such as collective votes on pay raises, improvement in working conditions and/or processes or how an individual can seek to appropriately achieve a promotion, but they can also address secondary reward or sanction issues. In general the more empowerment in perceived the greater the motivation to behave positively in the workforce. It must also be said that empowerment often includes receiving regular and meaningful feedback on performance, by both supervisors and coworkers and goals set by the group are more likely to be achievable than those set by management, that may not have direct knowledge of the individual's skills, or weaknesses. (Choi 2006)

Employee decisions making is an essential aspect of empowerment as to elicit trust the leader must follow through with the decisions that individuals collectively or individually make. When a team strategy is used in a flat organizational model, or one where there is a sense of equalized power the individual and group of employees believe that they have some sense of decision making ability. To ensure that this sense of decision making ability is both believed and reenacted decisions must actually come to pass. The decisions must then be displayed in such a way that employees or task completers can see the decision they helped make in action. (Pigg 2004) It is important to note that these decisions… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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