Literature Review Chapter: Manager's Likeability

Pages: 20 (5811 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 30  ·  Level: Corporate/Professional  ·  Topic: Leadership  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … Manager's Likeability

on Leadership Success

Assessing the Impact of a Manager's Likeability on Leadership Success

The likeability of a manager will determine how effective they are on transactionally-oriented tasks while also being a very accurate predicator of hwo effective they will be in more transformational roles in an organization. The intent of this analysis is to define likeability from a leadership standpoint, illustrating how this aspect of a leader's personality must be authentic, transparent in approach and genuine in how a leader earns and keeps the trust of subordinates, peers and superiors. A likeable person is by definition one that is known for their friendliness or the ability to create an ongoing dialogue that includes a significant level of self-disclosure and ability to communicate with accuracy, clarity and honesty (George, 1995). A likeable leader is one that has the ability to combine friendliness, relevance of communication to others, empathy or the capacity to feel what others are also feeling ands enunciate those emotions, all unified by a very strong level of authenticity, integrity and realness (Gabriel, Griffiths, 2002). All of these factors together define a likeable person, and add in the willingness of a leader to self-sacrifice, create and stay consistent with roles in an organization that capitalize on the unique strengths of an associate, and a strong foundation of transformational leadership begins to emerge. One of the key findings of this study is that to the extent a manager has the ability to create and sustain a high level of trust with subordinates is the extent to which they are able to also sustain transformational leadership in a team. While leaders have varying levels and depths of skills that contribute to their ability to be transformational in the scope of their work, those with demonstrated high levels of emotional intelligence (EI) combined with the four foundational aspects of transformational leadership skills consistently have a higher level of likeability than their more transaction-oriented counterparts (Gabriel, Griffiths, 2002). In evaluating if likeability leads to greater leadership performance, a model of proposed Likeability and Organizational Transformation has been created and is presented in this analysis.

The existing body of research indicates that likeability is one of the foundational elements of effective transformational leadership, yet it does not exist in isolation. The accumulated research completed for this study indicates that likeability of a leader is highly correlated to their level of EI. The dimensions of EI have a direct, predictive effect on how likeable and effective a leader will be. Another finding from this analysis is that likeability by itself does not guarantee a leader will be effective; it is only their ability to translate EI-based skills in conjunction with a very strong foundation of transformational skills that they are able to accomplish challenging goals and propel an organization to fulfill its shared vision. This study also concludes that likeability is also not essential for success either, as the many examples from leaders and CEOs renowned for being very difficult to work with who have propelled their organizations to leadership positions in their industries. Larry Ellison of Oracle, known for being exceptionally demanding and for creating a culture of mistrust and intense internal competition is not likeable according to the dimensions of the research completed for this study. He is however exceptionally effective in driving his organization to attain its vision and mission. What this study has found is that when the triad factors of Emotional Intelligence (EI), trust and transformational leadership are combined, leaders increase the propensity of being liked. These three factors combined provide leaders with a solid foundation of being effective in their roles as well. Likeability does not assure results however. Figure 1, Analysis of Key Factors of Likeability, shows how these three factors must be balanced and in proportion to each other in a leader's management style to be effective. Deficiencies in EI for example could lead to a very collegial work environment yet the leader would not know how and when to define tasks and key strategies to accomplish objectives over time. All three must be balanced in order for a catalyst of continued progress to be formed and stabilized within an organization.

Figure 1: Analysis of Key Factors of Likeability in Leaders

Based on analysis of the following sources: (Gardner, 1983) (Izard, 1991) (Sanders, 2006)

Likeability, Leadership and the Pursuit of Results

In completing the literature review and background analysis of likeability and its implications on managerial and leadership effectiveness, a recurring trend emerged. Likeability in and of itself, even when an organization has an exceptionally compelling vision, does not deliver results. Just by being likeable and having a strong level of authenticity, transparency and trust a transformational leader will have the ability to motivate their teams to significant levels of accomplishment (Sanders, 2006). Yet the paradox emerged from the analysis indicating that without a strong foundation and sense of just how to correctly interpret the specific cultural, psychological and sociological cues of subordinates, peers and superiors, even the most transformative leader would not achieve challenging goals much less the overarching vision of the enterpirse. This paradox of leadership, as is shown in the literature review and subsequent analysis, requires a strong foundation of EI to correctly interpret and respond to situations occurring in real time throughout an enterprise. The ability of any leader to correctly interpret and respond to a given situation, whether it be a risk or an opportunity, must be consistent and transparency in order for trust to be continually kept and strengthened over time. EI acts as the gyroscope in Figure 1, keeping the entire learning ecosystem functioning correctly over time. EI is also how leaders earn and keep trust over time as well, with the focus on hwo best to create transparency of direction and motives. All three components are balanced in leaders who have high levels of reliability and performance. It takes an insightful and self-aware leader to also seek to balance these factors using EI skills they continually improve on (Ciarrochi, Chan, Caputi, 2000). This study also shows that EI levels are not necessarily innate. Managers have the ability to become transformational by shifting their approach to managing across the four dimensions of this area of their managerial style. These four dimensions include individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealized influence. Studies have shown that managers who continually invest in training and seek out opportunities to strengthen these four areas of their leadership approach can over time have more transformationally-based success than the short-term transformational approaches to leadership allow. Having a more transformationally-oriented approach to leadership also helps to create higher levels of trust, thereby increasing likeability. As Figure 1 shows, these factors combine to create an ecosystem that fuels likeability and the ability to get challenging tasks completed. Likeability, while an aspiration of many managers and leaders alike, is the most useful when relied on for creating a highly focused, galvanized team that seeks to attain higher levels of performance over time. As the ecosystem of factors shown in Figure 1 are so critical to the success of supporting team-based productivity and performance with likeability, these factors are analyzed to determine how and leaders can accomplish more while attaining higher levels of likeability in the process (Goleman, 1995). The greatest leaders have an innate sense of how and when to bring the four elements of transformational leadership into a given situation and ensure the attainment of goals over the short-term and vision of the company over the long-term (Goleman, 1995). This ability to sense what and how to do a given task with their teams while also keeping their teams balanced and motivated through individualized attention and motivation, forms the foundation of likeability as an attribute of effective, productive leaders.

The Foundations of Likeability Are Found in Emotional Intelligence

Many of the theorists and researchers in the three academic disciplines that form the foundation of this analysis have stated that the study of EI had a negative connotation and was seen by early researchers as potentially manipulative and Machiavellian in scope. Early researchers were from an era when corporations could dictate much greater control over the lives of their workers than they do today, so it was a natural extension to believe that EI would become a tactic to emotionally controlling subordinates (Young, 1936; Schaffer, Gilmer & Schoen, 1940). As of the 21st century the greatest challenge is unleashing the intelligence and expertise of workers and creating a highly collaborative, nurturing environment they can excel in. This shift, a nearly 180-degree turn from the early researchers who were more focused on the pure efficiency of EI and its implications on transitionally-oriented workflows throughout an organization. This shift in seeing EI as a necessary catalyst of productivity is also aligned with the transition of time-and-motion oriented approaches to management including Taylorism and a higher prioritization on the commitment of employees and the transformational potential of unleashing their intelligence and insight into solving complex problems. Subsequent research… [END OF PREVIEW]

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