3.1 Leadership Interaction. The
principles of sound leadership apply whether the Leader is responsible for a vast multinational company with tens of thousands
of Subordinates or a small segment (unit) of that organization with only two or three direct reports; with the only variable
being the potential magnitude or repercussions of his or her actions or decisions (Fayol). And regardless of the scope
of his or her position or span-of-control, every action or decision made by a Leader is analyzed, dissected, and critically
interpreted by each of his or her Subordinates. With no action or decision being so small or inconsequential as to escape
this diagnostic evaluation in terms of its potential impact on each Subordinate's security or self-interest. Consequently,
Leaders who demonstrate the qualities most valued by their Subordinates (e.g., fairness, foresight, determination, trustworthiness,
job expertise, open-mindedness, compassion, or appreciation) consistently achieve a higher degree of influence over their
Subordinates' output than those who appear to be completely out of sync with such expectations. A Leader's general interactive
style and leadership skills therefore ultimately determine his or her Subordinates' esprit de corps and competency levels.
As "the attitudes, the habits, [and] the expectations of the Subordinate will be either reinforced or modified to some degree
as a result of every encounter with the boss [Leader]" (McGregor, HSE p200).
(A) Incontestably, Leadership effectiveness
is influenced by both the direct and indirect messages that Leaders send to their Subordinates. And what Leaders say,
imply, write, or demonstrate through policy changes, performance reviews, terminations, acquisitions, selection of new employees,
or their personal demeanor are all part of the total message that is received by their Subordinates. This process is
inescapable; for again, what Leaders do or how they act will always speak far louder than whatever they actually say (Emerson).
As "every phase of line management's job is accomplished through people; consequently, every act of management [at every echelon]
influences the quality of human relations in the organization" (McGregor, LM p169). Thus a Leader who repeatedly demonstrates
faith in his or her Subordinates to achieve the objective, who demands high proficiency standards, and who works diligently
to maximize their potential will rarely have cause to be disappointed with their performance. For invariably, great
"coaching [leadership] is not how much you know. It's how much you can get your players [Subordinates] to do" (Oail
Andrew "Bum" Phillips, American Football Coach, 1923-20?? ).
(B) To further clarify their leadership
philosophy, Leaders should consciously look for opportunities or situations that can serve to illustrate their operational
perspective as to how they want things done or how they want their supervisors to in turn treat their own Subordinates.
However, precedent setting examples are best selected as events unfold rather than being staged or explained hypothetically;
and must be well balanced in view of the circumstances so as not to appear melodramatic. For if a Leader overreacts
to a situation or in effect uses an elephant gun to kill a fly, he or she is certain be negatively interpreted by his or her
Subordinates regardless of the underlying merits of the action taken or the value of the lesson purportedly being taught.
And though a specific incident may accurately illustrate the Leader's ideals or principles, any over-zealous demonstration
may lead to a misunderstanding of his or her character and unproductively intimidate his or her Subordinates. But regardless
of the nature or relative importance of any particular situation, Leaders can expect that how they handle it will be widely
circulated and discussed among their Subordinates long after its occurrence; and much like tossing a stone into a still pond,
the resulting ripples of such interactive experiences take on a far greater magnitude than the initial kerplunk. Thus
depending upon how momentous the event and how they responded to it, Leaders may initiate a positive, long-standing precedent
or negatively skew their Subordinate relationships or attitudes, some irreversibly.
(C) Therefore Leaders should develop the
daily habit of evaluating all their Subordinate interactions in behavioral terms; so as to assess the quality and virtues
of the long-term message they are sending and how it is actually being received. In this way, Leaders can favorably
amplify the impact they have on their Subordinates by developing a greater understanding of the motivational aspects inherent
to each of their personal interactions, decisions, or behaviors. As each of these actions has a positive, negative,
or neutral affect on how Subordinates feel about themselves or their Leader. Subsequently determining how motivated
they will be to accomplish their objectives and exerting a far greater influence on productivity than the superficial positive
reinforcement techniques commonly used to recognize constructive Subordinate behavior on a daily basis (e.g., "you did a great
job today"). Thus in the broader scheme of things, "the boss [Leader] can be autocratic or democratic, warm and outgoing
or remote and introverted, easy or tough, but these personal characteristics are of less significance than the deeper attitudes
[e.g., trust, candor, honesty, or fairness] to which his [her] Subordinates [ultimately] respond" (McGregor, HSE p134).
And for self-evaluative purposes, the greater majority of a Leader's actions or behaviors should be carefully analyzed with
regard to how they effect one or more of the rudimentary elements of motivation, including: (i) commitment, (ii) responsibility,
(iii) exuberance, (iv) character, (v) respect, (vi) confidence, (vii) loyalty, (viii) dependability, (ix) recognition and
appreciation, (x) development and growth, or (xi) personal achievement; and the specific influence or personal impact
they have on each of his or her Subordinates. So at the end of each day, Leaders should reflect upon how their actions
have impacted each of their Subordinates from this broader motivational context, and resolve to curtail those behaviors that
they deem to be counterproductive. For "if men [women] think that the ruler [Leader] is religious [introspective] and
has a reverence for the Gods [common values and fairness], they are less afraid of suffering injustice [abuse] at his [her]
hands" (Aristotle, Greek Philosopher, Pupil of Plato, Tutor to Alexander the Great, 384-322 B.C.), and are far less likely
to consider him or her to be insufferably arrogant. They are also more apt to voluntarily shoulder greater responsibility
for their assigned objectives working for someone who goes beyond the normal superficial level of most Leader-Subordinate
relationships than for someone who remains interpersonally aloof.