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Leadership Style

Leadership is influencing the performance of others on the basis of personal contact. The age-old question is whether leadership can be learned or whether it's an innate quality. In other words, do you've to have a certain personality to lead? Personality then refers to the sum of a person's qualities, qualities and traits. The truth must be somewhere in the middle.

For some, leadership, leadership and management are concepts with different loads, for others they're synonyms. We also use them interchangeably for convenience.

Management risk and feedback

Management is work done by people at all levels in the organization. Everyone has a personal management style. Moreover, this style can and will vary depending on, for example, the situation, the work, the persons to be managed or the role to be fulfilled in a team. Nevertheless, characteristic behavioral patterns in organizations can be distinguished in the joint management style. These form the management style of the organization.

Organizational activities often have a characteristic degree of risk and a characteristic speed of feedback on actions. Based on these characteristics, four typical management styles can be distinguished.

"Tough guy macho"

In this style, people take great risks and get feedback on their decisions quickly. Examples include police commissioners, surgeons, film directors, soccer trainers. The slogan is: "find a mountain and climb it".

"Work hard, play hard"

People with this style put pleasure in work and action at the center. They must continuously deliver peak performance, each of which carries little risk. They receive quick feedback on this. Examples are software managers, project managers, hotel managers and managers of large department stores. The slogan is: "it's all in the game".

"Bet your company"

People with this style regularly make decisions on which the long-term survival of the organization depends. So the risks are great; the feedback is slow. Examples include managers of space programs or oil drilling, directors of investment companies and generals in times of temporary peace. The slogan is: "only time will tell".


These individuals focus more on the "how" than on the "what" of their actions. The result of these actions is difficult to determine. The risks are low; the feedback is slow or absent. Examples are directors of bank branches and large civil servants. The slogan is: "first things first; easy does it".


A good manager is communicative, socially skilled and flexible, inspires employees and shows what he finds valuable. shows willingness to take responsibility, make choices, make judgments and use appropriate sources of power.


In the hierarchical tradition, the boss assesses "subordinates" and the boss isn't judged by the subordinates. By adhering to this tradition, management is missing out on growth opportunities. Leaders can easily waste their time, energy, and talent on managing efforts that don't require management, such as flexible, capable, willing employees, or routine work. A final pitfall is an inflexible, highly formalized organization with management without power or authority at a great (mental) distance from employees.

To lead

Creating conditions; charismatic and situational leadership; composition of management teams; power and influence; motivate.

What makes people like Henry Ford, Freddy Heineken, Albert Heyn, Steven Jobs and Moses a leader? They all have (had) one common characteristic: they've or had followers. Having followers is the only thing that distinguishes all leaders from all non-leaders. No one is a leader until he / she has followers. This provides a clear perspective on leadership.

Blank (in Boyett) lists the following natural laws that apply to the relationship between leader and follower (and not to the characteristics, behaviors, and habits of leaders):

- a leader has followers; a central question for the leader is therefore: What are the needs of other people and how do I get them to follow me?
- leadership is a matter of interaction (leadership is mainly between people rather than something personal)
- not everyone will follow the leader's initiative
- leadership manifests as an event
- leaders use influence beyond their formal authority
- leadership entails risks and uncertainty
- awareness - the ability to process information - creates leadership.

Leading is a process that refers back to itself. Leaders or managers and followers process information from their own subjective frame of reference. A manager often has to fulfill different roles and will use a different style per role and per situation.

An effective manager has the knowledge, skills and attitude to meet the needs of the employees as well as those of the organization.

Styles of management / leadership

Decisive for the different styles of management are personal characteristics and personal skills. The selection criteria used in practice are therefore largely based on these aspects.

Personality determines the management style

Managing is influencing the performance of others based on personal contact. The age-old question is therefore whether management can be learned or whether it's an innate quality, in which someone's personality plays a determining role? Personality then refers to the sum of a person's qualities, qualities and traits. In comparison to a non-executive employee, a manager must:

- are more social
- show more initiative
- push more
- have more confidence
- have greater adaptability
- have a greater verbal ability.

Other personality traits are: having a need for power, extraversion, dominance, confidence and performance. Finally, physiological factors, such as being slightly longer than the average person, also play an important role.

Selection criteria for managers

In practice, many (potential) managers appear to be selected and assessed on a combination of the following criteria:

- substantive insight (insight into the field in which the organization operates)
- conceptual ability (the ability to organize events)
- sense of reality (being able to distinguish opinions from facts)
- helicopter quality (the ability to make connections in the daily flow of actions)
- judgment (being able and willing to monitor the progress of activities and agreements made)
- ability to communicate (being able to listen and express their own thoughts)
- ability to influence (inspiring employees and being able and willing to influence employees).

Research shows that managers who want to give and receive affection perform best. These managers are close to people and are willing to share their ideas with others. Research also shows that employees want to work for managers who are honest, competent, forward-looking and inspiring.

The environment influences the management style

However, it's forgotten that the behavior is largely determined by the situation / environment in which someone works. The way of managing is strongly influenced by:

- the employees
- the job characteristics of the work to be performed
- the people to whom the manager reports himself
- the colleagues he works with every day
- the organizational culture.

For the right management style, it's a balanced combination of personality and environment. There are four possible styles of management:

- situational management
- charismatic or transformational
- motivate
- leadership and power.

Charismatic or transformational leadership

Both charismatic and transformational leadership promote a positive self-image of the employee, which enhances the personal commitment and commitment to the employee's task.

Characteristics of charismatic or transformational leadership

The charismatic or transformational manager changes employees' values ​​and attitudes toward their work toward the goals of the organization. It increases personal commitment and commitment to the employee's job. This leadership is characterized by such things as symbolism, visionary and inspiring messages and non-verbal communication. Transformational managers instill pride and confidence in their employees.

Charismatic leadership

Charismatic leadership behavior is aimed, among other things, at creating a shared vision of the future. This can be achieved by individual attention, which means giving feedback and coaching employees. Employees will pursue the ambitious goals when a manager shows that he believes in him.

Transformational leadership

Transformational leadership focuses on the leader's enthusiasm. According to the psychologist Den Hartog (1997), the manager directs:

- show confidence in themselves and their employees
- make high demands on own and other people's achievements
- behave creatively and innovatively
- formulate goals and tasks in ideological terms
- show strong commitment and conviction.

Application of charismatic or transformational leadership

Charismatic or transformational leadership isn't applicable in all situations, but is probably most effective when:

- the situation allows for moral involvement
- performance targets can be easily set up and monitored
- Rewards can't be easily linked to individual performance
- few policies can be drawn up
- an exceptional effort is required from both employees and managers.

Situational leadership

In the view of Situational Leadership, it's the manager's task to enable employees to carry out their work. In other words: the manager is (also) there for his people!

Enable employees to perform their task

In the view of Situational Leadership, it's the manager's task to enable employees to carry out their work. In other words: the manager is (also) there for his people! The manager must be able to estimate the need for leadership of his employees and adjust his own behavior accordingly. The starting point is the task to be performed by the employee.

Estimate the ability for a specific task

For an employee, the degree of required competence (knowledge, skill, experience) for his work can't be indicated in general. It can only be determined per task. After all, some employee duties will expire over time and new ones will be added. Some of these new tasks are in line with the employee's education and experience, while others must be fully trained.

Determine the willingness to perform the task

In addition to the level of competence, his willingness (attitude, self-confidence and motivation) plays an equally important role in the employee's behavior. For example, for some tasks he'll feel sufficiently competent or equipped, for others he may doubt his ability. He's motivated for one type of tasks and less motivated for the other type of tasks. An employee will rarely be 100 percent willing and 100 percent competent.

There will always be a combination of parts of these two elements: the task maturity or the task-related competence level. Seen from this reasoning, there's therefore nothing unjust in treating employees differently.

Authoritarian and democratic aren't contradictions

A source of much research is (has been) the question of how the way in which someone leads can be depicted on a continuum with authoritarian leadership on the one hand and democratic leadership on the other.

In authoritarian hear words like leadership directing, directive, task-oriented and content. The manager determines what, where, how, when and with which he determines and assigns to employees, without being too open to their input.

On the other end is democratic leadership, which includes words such as support, help, relational, people-oriented. The manager indicates the frameworks within which the assignment must be executed (the what). He then supports them in the execution of the work. He keeps the mutual relations pleasant and arbitrates when differences of opinion arise.

Leadership is a combination of task and relationship-oriented behavior

Research by Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson, among others, shows that democratic and authoritarian behavior aren't two extremes on a scale, but that they're two independent variables and that manager behavior is a combination of both. In this school of ' Situational Leadership', leadership is seen as a combination of guiding / directive / substantive behavior and supporting / helping / relational behavior.

It has already been said before that leadership is a combination of guiding and supportive behavior. Characteristic of guiding (task-oriented) behavior is the emphasis on the performance of the task: one-way communication (I say what I want and check where and when).

In supportive (relationship-oriented) behavior, the emphasis is on the mutual relationship: two-way communication (we must do it together) and involving employees in decision-making.

Motivate as a management style

People are always motivated for something. Motivation can be seen as a determining factor in people's behavior. By responding to the needs of employees, a manager can motivate his employees to the desired behavior.


A definition of motivation is the total number of motives that are active at any given time. The motivation of people determines their behavior and it's up to the manager to realize the behavior that's necessary for the task to be performed.

Theory X and theory Y

The way in which a manager wishes to involve his employees is based, among other things, on his vision of man, on his views on people's motives. According to McGregor (1960), there are two fundamentally different human views, X theory and Y theory. In theory X, the manager assumes that people are naturally lazy, stupid, disinterested, unreliable, incompetent and unwilling and in need of a lot of guidance and control. In theory Y, the manager assumes that people are active, sensible, interested, trustworthy, competent and benevolent and function best when they're given reasonable freedom to perform their work within conditions.

A number of main motives

Managers can help employees become more aware of their motives. This gives employees a better picture of their needs and increases the motivation to meet those needs. A manager's task is to ensure that these needs are in line with the tasks of the employees.

Maccoby (1988) once formulated the following motives:

- survive
- belong
- to enjoy
- know and be competent
- play
- be honest
- mean something.

Managerial leadership and power

Management through power (or influence) is based on perceived inequality between manager and employee. By means of power, a manager can influence the employee to perform certain tasks.

Power is an influence

Power is the degree to which a manager is able to let others do what he wants, or to avoid being forced to do what he doesn't want. The manager actually has power when this's experienced by the employee as such. Power is therefore partly determined by the valuation that employees attach to, for example, control over resources.

A manager can draw on two power sources: personality power and position power.

Person power

In addition to the power of the strongest, personal power is also power in the sense of physical attraction and expertise. This source of power can also be described as charisma.

Position power

This power stems from the position that someone has within the organization. A position gives right to and access to certain information, resources and networks. Position power is also called hierarchical power: the power to punish and reward people.

Personal and positional power

A manager derives some power from a combination of personal and positional power. This sometimes applies to, for example, connection power: the manager belongs to a certain group; knows certain rulers. This type of power is therefore also called reference power. Information power is also a combination of personal and positional power. Information power consists of having access to knowledge sources; it's on certain distribution lists etc.


Delegation is inevitable when a supervisor takes his or her employees seriously. Delegating isn't easy. It requires careful preparation by both the manager and the employee. Delegating has to comply with some rules.

Delegation is very difficult for some. They believe that delegating them takes more time than if they did it themselves. Moreover, they believe that they would also do better than their employees and finally, they remain responsible. They just have to wait and see how, if and when the employee does it and finally they still have to check it. However, delegation is inevitable when a supervisor takes his or her employees seriously.

Advantages of delegation

Delegating has advantages. Delegate:

- prevents overloading the manager
- puts thinking and acting closer together
- promotes that employees are often well informed in terms of content
- stimulates employees to develop their talents
- often makes work more challenging and fun
- offers the possibility to steer on the basis of agreements.

Delegation problems

Both the manager and the person to whom an activity is delegated experience quite a few difficulties, specially in the beginning.

For the manager:

- delegating involves a risk: does the employee do well? it can handle it and really wants to do it
- delegation often takes a lot of courage and effort to let go of the substantive involvement. The nice work goes to the employee
- the fear may arise that he or she'll make himself / herself unnecessary
- delegating means more work in the short term (explaining, training, making appointments, checking and correcting)
- proving delegation that she or he has to admit that someone else can do it too
- fears may be raised that he or she may not receive the credits associated with the proper performance of the work.

For the employee:

- Can the new responsibilities weigh (too) heavily
- the non-commitment has ended
- it goes from obligation of effort to obligation of result
- delegating means more and different work with the associated risks.

Delegation is step by step

Delegation starts with thinking carefully about the task, activity or activity to be delegated. What's delegated? Is it work that can and can be delegated? Who can it be delegated to? To what extent is that employee competent and willing to work? Then the steps to go through are:

- the occurrence. The supervisor carries out the work that he or she wants to delegate while the employee watches, asks questions and comments
- do it together. Manager and employee carry out the work together, with the manager acting as a coach
- let it do. The employee performs the work and reports on the implementation, the manager checks and asks questions
- leave it. The employee carries out the work and the manager receives information about the results
- after all, it has become the employee's job. From now on, he'll perform the work independently under the normal progress reports and assessment systems.


Delegation requires that both supervisor and employee observe some rules. For example, the manager will have to make clear agreements about the input, facilities and output of the delegated work. But the manager also serves:

- arrange the assessment and reward
- allow mistakes
- adjust the degree of delegation to the employee to whom he or she delegates
- to give confidence.

Delegation requires the manager to make clear agreements with the employee about help or support to be called in:

- the circumstances under which
- the moments when
- the way in which.

Finally, it's good to remember that delegating a task can only be done properly by delegating the associated responsibilities and powers.

For the employee, he or she:

- doesn't accept responsibilities that she or he can't fulfill or handle
- reports on success, imminent deviations and errors
- get help in time and don't wait until it's too late
- worthy of trust.

The different roles that managers should fulfill

Mintzberg's research (professor at McGill University in Montreal) confirms what every manager already knew: the manager is lived by his environment.

The actual behavior of managers doesn't look orderly and systematic, according to Mintzberg. His research confirms that the manager is lived by his environment. The survey indicates that the manager is generally action-oriented. That his activities are large in number, varied in nature and have a short cycle. That he prefers to transfer information orally and preferably obtains it by 'being there'. That he makes decisions based on incomplete information and that he doesn't apply management techniques effectively.


Mintzberg describes the work of managers in terms of roles. These roles are based on what managers actually do. They're more or less fixed expectations. The way in which the roles are performed is influenced by factors such as situation and personality. The three roles are:

- Interpersonal role. Figurehead: representing and representing the organization both internally and externally. For example at anniversaries, business dinners and receptions. Leader: guiding and supporting employees, ensuring their training and assessment. Intermediary: building and maintaining an external network that must be able to provide information, among other things
- Information role. Observer: the collection, ranking and assessment of information obtained. This allows to recognize changes and to identify problems and opportunities. Spokesperson: providing information to relevant outsiders on behalf of the organization. Transmitter: passing on information obtained externally and internally within the organization.
- Decision-making role. Initiator: initiating and shaping planned changes. Problem solver: responding immediately to unexpected changes in the daily business. For example, conflicts between employees, a conveyor belt that stops, shortages of resources.

Resource allocation: distributing money, manpower, power, machines and materials. Dividing management time to persons or activities.

Negotiator: representing and looking after the various interests of the organization. This in relation to your own staff or to third parties.

Insight into your own accents

Do you want to gain insight into your own accents on these three roles? Then investigate how your time spent will look in a month. Indicate how much time you spend on the activities below:

- direct management of employees
- attend meetings as a liason
- representing the organization at weddings and parties
- passing on information
- analyzing information obtained
- distributing and negotiating resources
- solving disorders
- launching new initiatives
- looking after the interests of the own organization.

Test the analysis with the questions:

- Is the distribution correct in my opinion?
- Is the balance balanced?
- What gives me the most energy?
- What do I enjoy most?
- What do I hate to do?


In practice, a certain role will be emphasized more than the others. This depends on factors such as the position of the manager and the size of the organization. Each of the mentioned roles is observable with some activities requiring multiple roles.

Competencies of managers

In order to manage, someone must have the right attitude and a lot of (people) knowledge. Besides that, a manager has to be able to do and do a lot.

Management competencies

In addition to all kinds of normal human competencies, managers should also have special competencies. By competence we mean the whole of properties such as knowledge, experience, skills and attitude. For example, managers can be expected to be able to communicate effectively. Yet there are many misconceptions about the concept of managing, it:

- doesn't mean that the stage is played
- doesn't mean that everyone is equal (but equal)
- doesn't mean that collisions between people should be avoided
- doesn't mean that the manager behaves the way people in her immediate environment think she should behave
- doesn't mean that the manager is usually able to make others do or think what he thinks should be done or thought
- doesn't guarantee charisma or great popularity
- doesn't mean that the manager is automatically effective in the things that are done.

Management skills

Skills that a manager should have more than others in an organization include:

- making clear and unambiguous decisions
- contracting others, both inside and outside the organization
- delegating tasks with the associated responsibilities and powers
- organizing self-management of the employees
- evaluating / assessing people and their results
- conducting all kinds of employee interviews, such as: selection interviews; assessment and performance interviews; reward interviews; development interviews; bad news conversations.

Management knowledge

A manager can possess knowledge in all kinds of fields and in all kinds of disciplines. As a manager, someone should mainly have knowledge in the field of organizational science and change management, but even more important for a manager is human knowledge.

The manager's attitude

The attitude (or attitude) of a manager includes the values ​​and norms of a manager; to her or his deeper motives. If a manager knows all that's necessary to perform that position and has all the necessary skills, then the attitude determines how that position is fulfilled. This concerns, for example, daring to have a bad news conversation with sufficient empathy, but also wanting to make an unambiguous decision.

20 Annoyances that make (office) life unhealthy

Marshall Goldsmith's book lists twenty daily annoyances. The American Goldsmith speaks of 'flaws', which make the workplace considerably less healthy than necessary.

- Always wanting to win: the need to win at all costs, in any situation, when it matters, when not and even when it's completely irrelevant.
- Wanting to add too much value: the overwhelming need to put our money into every bag.
- Judging: the need to measure others and impose our standards on them.
- Providing devastating comments: the unnecessary sarcastic and false comments that we think appear sharp and witty.
- Answers with 'no', 'but' or 'however': excessive use of these negative qualifications that secretly actually say: 'I'm right, you're wrong.'
- Trumpet how smart we are: the need to show people that we're smarter than they think we are.
- Speaking when you're angry: using emotional volatility as a management tool.
- Negativity or 'I'll explain why that doesn't work': the need to vent our negative thoughts, even when we aren't asked.
- Withholding information: not sharing information to outsmart others.
- Not giving recognition: the inability to praise and reward.
- Showing off other people's feathers: the incredibly annoying way to exaggerate our contribution to any success.
- Apologizing: The need to position our offensive behavior as a fait accompli so that people will take it from us.
- Clinging to the past: the need to shift blame from us and shift it to events and people from our past; always blame part of the other.
- Advancing: not recognizing that we're treating unjustly those we don't favor.
- Don't regret: being unable to take responsibility for our actions, admitting we were wrong, or acknowledging how we can influence others.
- Not listening: the most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.
- Not showing gratitude: the most basic form of bad manners.
- Punishing the messenger: the misguided need to attack the innocent who usually just wants to help us.
- Passing the black beet: the need to blame everyone, except ourselves.
- An excessive need to be 'yourself': to glorify our mistakes as virtues, by identifying with them.

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