Leaders Can Use These Nine Skills to Become Better Problem-Solvers

Leaders can be thought of as teachers, politicians, warriors, or problem solvers. When we think of leaders as problem solvers, this opens the possibility of honing their problem-solving skills through training. But how can we train leaders to solve problems? Specifically, it is something called “case-based knowledge” that allows leaders to solve complex issues. Case-based knowledge refers to the context of the problem and any previous experience with similar issues, like a mental library of information tailored toward a specific problem.


That It’s OK to Be Me: Authentic Leadership Drives Performance in Stressful Conditions (IO Psychology)

Topics: Leadership, Stress
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly (JUN 2012)
Article: The relationship between authentic leadership and follower job performance: The mediating role of follower positivity in extreme contexts.
Authors: Suzanne J. Peterson, Fred O. Walumbwa, Bruce J. Avolio, & Sean T. Hannah
Reviewed By: Aaron Manier

In stressful working environments, it’s good to know that your boss is a real, caring, genuine person who’s got your back in the toughest of situations. Not only does it seem like a good idea generally, but research is beginning to support the notion that authentic leaders, or leaders who are self-aware, moral, open, and objective, not only increase perceived support among followers, but drive higher performance in extreme and stressful working conditions.


Leadership and Overconfidence (I/O Psychology)

Topic: Leadership
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly (AUG 2011)
Article: When confidence is detrimental: Influence of overconfidence on leadership effectiveness
Authors: Shipman, A. S., & Mumford, M. D.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

It is widely acknowledged within IO psychology that leaders should be confident, but can they be overconfident? And how can overconfidence impact leader effectiveness? To answer these questions, Shipman and Mumford (2011) conducted an experiment in which undergraduates responded to a made-up leadership scenario.


Leadership and the “dark side” of personality

The Predictive Power of Grit: How to Select Successful People

Topic: Leadership, Personality
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly (JUN 2011)
Article: Leader development and the dark side of personality
Authors: Harms, P. D., Spain, S. M., & Hannah, S. T.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Recent research suggests that some positive personality traits (e.g., conscientiousness) are related to leadership outcomes. But what about the “dark side” of personality? In other words, what about subclinical traits (traits that fall between “normal” and what would be considered a personality disorder)?


How I See Me Affects How I See the Boss

Topic: Leadership, Human Resources
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly (APR 2011)
Article: More than meets the eye: The role of subordinates’ self-perceptions in leader categorization processes
Authors: van Quaquebeke, N., van Knippenberg, D., Brodbeck, F. C.
Reviewed by: Chelsea Rowe

First, list qualities that describe your current boss. Now, list the qualities that make a great leader or boss. This latter list represents your “ideal leader prototype.” This comparison to leader prototypes is a major premise of the Implicit Leadership Theory (ILT), whereby the degree to which a leader does (or does not) match up with our prototype forms the basis of how we rate that leader’s performance.


Want CEO Success? Then Focus on Task and Performance

Topic: Leadership, Organizational Performance
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly (FEB 2011)
Article: CEO leadership behaviors, organizational performance, and employee’s attitudes
Authors: Hui Wang, Anne S. Tsui, & Katherine R. Xin
Reviewed by: Chelsea Rowe

In a study of top and middle managers (CEOs, VPs, and senior managers) in 125 Chinese firms, Wang, Tsui, and Xin (2011) investigated the degree to which CEO leadership behavior influenced the performance of the firm.  They took this a step further, also looking at the degree to which employee perceptions of the CEO impacted firm performance.  Firm performance was measured in terms of profitability, asset & sales growth, market share, and competitive status within the industry.


The Winning Team!

Topic: Teams
Publication: Leadership Quarterly (OCT 2010)
Article: Self-management competencies in self-managing teams: Their impact on multi-team system productivity
Authors: J. P. Millikin, P. W. Hom, C. C. Manz
Reviewed By: Lauren Wood

The emergence and increasing popularity of self-managed work teams in the past 25 years have lead many business leaders to claim that self-managed teams are the wave of the future. Indeed, self-managed teams have been shown to positively influence organizational outcomes such as customer service and productivity.

However, some research has contradicted these findings suggesting, in fact, that self-managed teams may be overall detrimental to organizational success. Differences in team composition may be the culprit of these varied results; so, which team member qualities contribute to effective self-managed teams within the larger, multi-team system and which hinder productivity?  


What it Takes to Lead Authentically

Topic: Leadership
Publication: Leadership Quarterly (OCT 2010)
Article: Psychological processes linking authentic leadership to follower behaviors
Authors: F. O. Walumbwa, P. Wang, H. Wang, J. Schaubroeck, B. J. Avolio
Reviewed By: Lauren Wood

Although much research has been dedicated to examining how leaders impact their followers, a fairly new approach to leadership, authentic leadership, is proving to be an important contributor to employee behavior.  In general, four main qualities separate authentic leaders from others: 1) they display deep moral beliefs, 2) they evaluate decisions fairly, 3) they have a strong sense of self-awareness, and 4) they are open and truthful in their relationships.


Do You Feel Like I Do?

Topic: Leadership, Job Performance
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly (OCT 2009)
Article: Do you feel what I feel? Mood contagion and leadership outcomes
Authors: S.K. Johnson
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Everyone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed from time-to-time – and leaders are certainly no exception.

As a recent example, a study by Johnson (2009) shows that followers’ moods are directly impacted by the expressed moods of leaders. This phenomenon is known as mood contagion , which in this case refers to the automatic transfer of moods from leaders to followers. Mood contagion occurs unconsciously and thus employees have little control over it.


Virtual Leadership ≠ Face-to-face Leadership

Topic: Leadership
Publication: Leadership Quarterly (JUN 2009)
Article: Transformational leadership in context: Face-to-face and virtual teams
Author: R.K. Purvanova, J.E. Bono
Reviewed by: Benjamin Granger

Due to recent technological advancements, virtual teams (team members working together from different geographical locations using electronic communication media) have become very common in many organizations. Despite their many advantages, these advancements have introduced new issues that must be addressed.

One area that has received attention relates to the impact of transformational leadership on virtual team performance. By definition, transformational leaders are charismatic, provide a unified vision for their subordinates, treat their employees as unique individuals, and challenge them intellectually.


Don’t know what “it” is…but they’ve got it

Topic: Leadership, Motivation
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly
Article: Speech imagery and perceptions of charisma: The mediating role of positive affect
Blogger: James Grand

The qualities that define charismatic leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry Ford, and Winston Churchill have intrigued organizational scholars for years. Research such as that pursued by Naidoo and Lord in the latest volume of The Leadership Quarterly (2008, Vol. 19, Iss. 3) ensures that such efforts will continue.