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.


Can Leadership Style Fix Machiavellian Employees?

Are you having trouble with Machiavellian employees? Personality can have a dark side, or as researchers say, a “dark triad.” These dark traits include psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. Machiavellian (Mach) employees use deceit and duplicitousness to achieve personal gain. They can be charming but manipulative, and for them, the end justifies the means. Mach employees may damage team spirit by acting selfishly, for example, keeping score on who owes them a favor.

Contrast this with employees who display organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). This is behavior that goes beyond performing minimum job requirements. Researchers have found that OCB’s can include “affiliative” forms, such as interpersonal cooperation, as well as “challenging” forms that emphasize contributing ideas, initiative, and voicing issues that may challenge the status quo. These challenging OCBs are often rated highly by managers and strongly contribute to the organization overall, but may involve losing face and social capital, so Mach employees can be reluctant to perform them. However, could Mach employees be led to perform these challenging OCB’s? If so, how? […]

The Consequences of Abusive Supervision

Abusive supervision is detrimental to the workplace. While research has previously confirmed that abusive supervision can deplete an employee’s sense of self and—as a result—lead to acts of deviance in the workplace, there is no integrated approach to the behavioral outcomes of abusive supervision. A new study (Vogel & Mitchell, 2016) provides a unified perspective and examines what happens to employee behavior as a result of abusive supervision. […]

Empowering Leadership Leads to Success for Virtual Teams

The recent increase in virtual teams—or teams of geographically dispersed members—is likely due to advances in technology, the ability to hire irrespective of location, and the cost savings associated with needing less office space. With the growing pervasiveness of virtual teams, there is also a growing need to understand the leadership styles that promote virtual collaboration and successfully manage remote workers. […]

Shared Leadership Can Boost Team Performance

How is shared leadership different from ordinary leadership? Traditional models of leadership involve a formal leader who holds authority and power and has a set of followers. The leader delegates, makes decisions, and holds followers accountable.

In contrast, the idea of shared leadership relies more on the sharing of authority, power, and influence. Teams that have more shared leadership still have a formal leader; however, their leader is willing to pass authority to the team when it is appropriate. Is shared leadership good for teams? If so, how do we transition from more traditional models of leadership to a model of shared leadership? Researchers (Chiu, Owens, & Tesluk, 2016) examined 62 teams across a variety of organizations in Taiwan to find out. […]

How Childhood Poverty Limits Later Leader Emergence

People enter the workplace with different experiences, personalities, and career paths. Organizations benefit from a diverse set of employees who bring different strengths and skill sets to work every day. Over time, certain employees begin to emerge as leaders and take on more responsibility. Are leadership teams just as diverse as the rest of the organization? Are there certain employees who are more or less likely to emerge as leaders? Researchers (Barling & Weatherhead, 2016) used data from over 4,000 American children and adults to understand why children exposed to poverty were less likely to emerge as leaders later in life. They found two reasons: a lack of quality education and a lack of personal mastery. […]

How to Get the Most out of Leadership Training

There are quite a few skeptics within the HR community who view Learning & Development programs or leadership training as costly and non-essential business expenditures, especially when budgets are tight. In truth, it can be hard to change go-to reactions or ingrained communication styles during a three hour seminar, or even a week-long retreat. Long-term and sustained learning and behavior change takes time and practice, and can be hard to quantify and tie back to business unit performance. However, a new article in Harvard Business Review (Beer, Finnstrom, & Schrader, 2016) makes the case that leadership training can provide a strategic competitive advantage when it is carried out in the right context, and with the right infrastructure in place. […]

How Managers Can Become Leaders

It is easier said than done, but managers can become leaders. First, imagine you’re a newly appointed manager who has some decision making power and a few direct reports. Although your role as a manager brings with it formal authority, you don’t really feel like a leader yet. What can you do to be seen as more of a leader? What are the important qualities that transform a manager into a leader? Researchers (Chiu, Balkundi, & Weinberg, 2016) recently discovered the role of social networks in determining whether or not managers were perceived as leaders. […]

The Best Combination of Leadership and Organizational Culture

Leadership and organizational culture are two very important parts of I-O Psychology. Yet, researchers are still discovering how the two concepts interact with each other to drive organizational performance. For example, are certain types of leaders more beneficial in certain organizational cultures? New research (Hartnell, Kinicki, Schurer Lambert, Fugate, & Doyle Corner, 2016) considers two different types of organizational culture and two different types of leadership behavior. The results show that CEO behavior can be more effective by tailoring it based on the type of organizational culture already in place.


How to Increase the Proportion of Women in Higher-Level Management Positions

How do we increase the proportion of women in higher-level management positions? One strategy organizations take involves implementing work-life practices. The theory is that giving women greater control over their work schedules and reducing the burden of family responsibilities will help women stay in the workforce and perform better, making them more likely to get promotions. In reality, do work-life practices actually help women reach higher levels of management? The researchers (Kalysh, Kulik & Perera, 2016) analyzed data over a twelve-year period from 675 organizations in Australia to find out.


How Can Leaders Effectively Manage Employees’ Negative Emotions?

Leaders often have to deal with employees’ negative emotions. Whether employees are feeling anxious about a project, feeling sad about being turned down for promotion, or feeling angry about being unfairly treated, leaders play a part in managing these emotions. New research (Little, Gooty, & Williams, 2016) has shown that how these emotions get handled can affect employees’ performance and how they feel about their jobs.


How Childhood Social Class Influences CEO Risk Taking

The American Dream symbolizes the opportunity for individuals from any social class or background to achieve occupational success via a “rags to riches” transformation. In fact, some of the most successful CEOs were born into very humble beginnings, including Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Ursula Burns (Xerox), and Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs).


Power Disparity on Teams: Now We Know When It Works

Power is what makes people obey even when they don’t want to, and power disparity on teams refers to a situation in which power is not evenly distributed among team members. Imagine a situation in which a powerful and experienced executive works with several junior associates on a project. This might be called high power disparity, because one person will have all of the power.


Can Leadership or Climate Influence Underreporting of Workplace Accidents?

Workplace accidents threaten the lives or well-being of employees, and if that’s not enough of a reason to prevent them, they are also very costly to organizations. Missed work time, potential lawsuits, and increases in health care costs are all among many reasons why accidents affect an organization’s bottom line. But if organizations want to reduce the likelihood of accidents, they need to be aware of their occurrences. Labor statistics vary, but all estimate that the majority of workplace accidents go unreported. New research (Probst, 2015) uncovers two factors that influence the degree to which accidents go unreported.


Transformational Leadership: Good for You and Good for Them

Transformational leadership is characterized by motivating, inspiring, and coaching employees to achieve change and innovation. As you can imagine, research has supported the benefits of this leadership style for the followers of such an inspirational leader. For example, research has found that followers of transformational leaders have greater job satisfaction and more creativity. But new research (Lanaj, Johnson, & Lee, 2015) has found that transformational leadership is also beneficial to the leader. How does that happen?


Narcissistic Leaders Can Use Humility to Succeed

Are narcissistic leaders good for business? Are they good for employees? It’s a difficult question to answer, especially considering that research has found mixed results. Narcissistic people may be bold risk-takers with supreme confidence and unshakeable vision. This sounds like the kind of person we’d want leading, right? On the other hand, they have personal grandiosity, a feeling of superiority, and the constant need for admiration. Well, maybe we don’t want this person in charge. Fortunately, new research (Owens, Wallace, & Waldman, 2015) helps us resolve this dilemma. They found that narcissism can be good for leadership, but only when it’s tempered with a healthy dose of humility.


How is Personality Linked to Charismatic Leadership in Different Work Conditions?

When we think of charismatic leadership, we see someone who is energetic, inspiring, and likeable. Maybe famous CEOs like Jack Welch and politicians like Barack Obama come to mind. Charismatic leaders can be powerful agents of change by getting others on board to achieve their vision. In fact, research has shown that charismatic leaders tend to have more satisfied followers and better company performance.


Role of HR

The Role of HR as a Strategic Partner: Forming the G3

What is the role of HR in the modern workplace? The world of work has changed a great deal over the last few decades, but there is one truth that continues to stand the test of time; people are a firm’s greatest asset. Human capital, or the knowledge and collective intelligence inherent in a company’s workforce, can be a businesses’ strongest competitive advantage, and also its greatest source of risk. It is incumbent upon CEOs and CHROs, or Chief Human Resources Officers, to work together to manage their firm’s people assets, and to unlock the potential in every employee. The authors of the current article suggest that organizational decision making can be enhanced through open dialogue and discussion among the “G3” or the CEO, the CFO, and the CHRO.


Leader Decision Making

Leader Decision Making: Balancing Company Needs Versus Employee Needs

Leader decision making is an important topic that affects all organizational leaders. Leaders are often faced with unique challenges that test their abilities to manage diverse teams and situations. They are forced to make hard choices involving satisfying the needs of the organization and those of the employees, which can sometimes cause conflict.


Evaluate Leaders

Stigma-by-Association: How Follower Characteristics Influence Evaluation of Leaders

Evaluation of leaders is becoming an increasingly important workplace topic. This is especially so, because some research suggests that racial disparities within the US workforce have increased over the last decade, as some minority groups are greatly underrepresented in positions of management. There may be a number of reasons for this, but new research (Hernandez, Avery, Tonidandel, Hebl, Smith, & McKay, 2015) suggest that one reason could be biased appraisals of leaders (i.e. evaluations of performance, value and competence) that occur due to characteristics of individuals in the group. This means that the racial composition of the leader’s group, influences opinions of that leader’s effectiveness.


Emotional Leaders

Emotional Leaders Can Affect Job Performance

It’s understandable that we have emotional leaders. After all, on a typical work day, people can experience many emotions. We can be happy about our work, frustrated at a missed deadline, or angry at the way a co-worker treated us. People often express these emotions to others around them, and these displays can affect the performance of those on the receiving end. This influence is especially potent when the displays come from more powerful people like organizational leaders.


Workplace Incivility: Nice Employees Finish First

Workplace Incivility: Why Nice Employees Finish First!

Organizations have seen a drastic increase in the amount of workplace incivility that employees experience on a weekly basis. Way back in in 1998, research revealed that 25% of employees experienced rudeness in the workplace at least once a week. A decade later, nearly 50% of employees reported experiencing incivility in the workplace at least once per week. Incivility is formally defined as “insensitive behavior that displays a lack of regard for others” (Anderson & Pearson, 1999), and is very costly for organizations as it is related to decreased performance and creativity, as well as increased employee turnover.



The Hidden Danger of Narcissistic Leaders

Narcissistic leaders can bring down an organization even when they are trying to build it up. Work by Galvin, Lange, and Ashforth (2015) uses extant organizational research findings to propose a new theory that may explain why this is so. They say that something called narcissistic organizational identification is to blame, and they demonstrate several ways that it happens and discuss how we can make sure this phenomenon doesn’t end up ruining businesses.



Manager Personality Can Lead to Organization-Wide Performance

Is personality related to job performance? This classic I-O psychology question is still debated today, and thanks to the latest research, clearer answers are emerging. A new study (Oh, Kim, & Iddekinge, 2015) shows that the manager personality is related to important organization-wide outcomes. This finding has clear implications for selection of organizational leaders.



Ethical Leadership Inspires Trust and Employee Success

Ethical leadership certainly sounds like a good idea, but I-O psychologists will require scientific evidence before being convinced. Is ethical leadership something different from other effective leadership styles or behaviors, and does ethical leadership lead to anything positive in the workplace? New research (Ng & Feldman, 2015) has answered this question. Results show that ethical leadership is a real, distinct idea, and it can indeed lead to positive workplace outcomes that extend beyond the effects of other leadership styles.



Which Leadership Style Leads to Burnout?

Leadership style is often indicative of the type of emotional response strategy that leaders will use when interacting with their employees. According to the researchers (Arnold, Connelly, Walsh, & Martin Ginis, 2015), leaders engage in three primary response strategies: surface acting, deep acting, and genuine emotion. They say that the type of response strategy will affect the likelihood that a leader will experience burnout. Here is a brief description of each type of acting that leaders may use:


Hypocritical Leaders.fb

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: How Hypocritical Leaders Affect Employee Turnover

What are the negative organizational effects of hypocritical leaders? Late author Stephen Covey once said, “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” A recent study (Greenbaum, Bardes, Mawritz, & Piccolo, 2015) shows that these are more than mere words of advice, but rather a warning to managers and organizations about the importance of leaders “walking the talk.”

Effective organizational leaders role-model appropriate workplace behavior; however, some leaders do not always practice what they preach. This increases the possibility that employees will experience negative workplace outcomes. That is, when leaders themselves engage in behavior that subordinates are not supposed to mimic, subordinates may perceive the leader as hypocritical, leading to an increased likelihood of job turnover.


Passive Leaderhip fb

How Rude! Passive Leadership May Encourage Workplace Incivility and Employee Withdrawal

Workplace incivility, the use of rude or discourteous behaviors in the workplace, is a growing organizational problem that leads to negative outcomes for both employees and employers. Examples of workplace incivility include talking negatively about others, checking emails during work meetings, and failing to acknowledge another’s presence in the workplace. Experiencing workplace incivility can have lasting effects on employees, such as lowered creativity, job satisfaction, and commitment, as well as increased job turnover and burnout.

Previous research on incivility has identified the negative outcomes associated with witnessing or experiencing rude or discourteous behaviors while at work. However, it is also important to understand why incivility occurs, and the workplace conditions that may lead to employees engaging in this behavior.


How to Make Meetings Productive

How to Make Meetings Productive: The Role of Employee Participation

We wouldn’t think that the purpose of meetings is to encourage employee participation. After all, meetings are held for a variety of specific work-related reasons. But the results of these meetings can vary incredibly. Productive meetings can include the successful collaboration of ideas, while unproductive meetings can result in decreased morale in employees. How can we do better? New research (Yoerger, Crowe, & Allen, 2015) investigated the relationship between participation in decision-making, or PDM, and employee engagement in the context of meetings.


Servant Leadership Benefits Performance through Serving Culture

The concept of servant leadership is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the service industry. Multiple studies have found that servant leadership is positively related to individual and organizational outcomes such as performance and organizational citizenship behavior, which is when employees go beyond their formal job requirements to help the organization.However, curious people may still wonder how servant leadership produces these positive outcomes. The lack of understanding of how servant leadership leads to these positive effects can make it difficult for organizations to implement this leadership practice and to fully enjoy its benefits.

New research (Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014) has found that servant leadership leads to favorable individual and organizational outcomes through fostering a serving culture and enhancing employees’ sense of identification with their organization.


Lack of Supervisor Justice Leads to Team Cohesiveness

Lack of Supervisor Justice Leads to Team Cohesiveness

Supervisor justice sounds like a good thing, and it is. This term refers to leaders who treat their employees fairly, and when speaking specifically about interpersonal justice, it means that they treat their employees with dignity and respect. Past research has highlighted the positive outcomes that occur when supervisor justice is at a high level, for example, employees will be more committed to the organization. However, a new study (Stoverink, Umphress, Gardner, & Miner, 2014) found the opposite. When supervisor justice is perceived to be lacking, there could be a positive benefit for employees who work on teams.


Abusive Supervision may have Roots in Childhood

Abusive Supervision may have Roots in Childhood

Supervisor anger is a common workplace problem. This can include a supervisor who is angered too easily or a situation when the supervisor’s anger is disproportional to the situation at hand. This study explores the true reasons behind this anger, hypothesizing that a history of family aggression is the root of angry reactions and abusive supervision.


How Leadership Styles and Fairness Can Help Increase Job Performance

Stress is an inevitable part of working life within any organization. Every employee encounters different types of stressful situations, which ultimately shape our attitudes towards, and perceptions of, the organization we work for. The authors of “It’s Not Fair….Or Is It? The Role Of Justice And Leadership In Explaining Work Stressor-Job Performance Relationships” proposed that people encounter two types of stress in the workplace, which includes challenge stressors and hindrance stressors.


Are Defiant Employees Causing their Bosses to be Abusive?

Both managers and employees sometimes act inappropriately in the workplace. For example, managers can excessively yell at, ridicule, or make fun of those working for them. We’ll refer to this as abusive supervision.

Similarly, employees can deliberately break rules and ignore norms, harming the organization they work for in the process. We’ll refer to this as organizational defiance.

Researchers have always believed that abusive supervision and organizational defiance often seem to occur in the same workplaces. But which one is the cause, and which one is the result?


How Well-Connected Leaders are Improving Workplace Innovation and Creativity

In recent years organizations have recognized the importance of fostering workplace innovation and creativity. The problem is, how can they make it happen?

New research suggests that the key might be dependent on the size of team leaders’ social networks. By working with leaders who have substantial social networks within the organization, employees are granted access to more resources, ideas, and strategies to utilize in creative ways.


Successful Leadership for Virtual Teams: Strategies to Increase Performance

Successful leadership for virtual teams is becoming an increasingly important issue in the workplace. Due to increasingly sophisticated technologies, organizational globalization and flexible work structures, virtual teams are steadily growing in popularity, and more traditional leadership research may have somewhat limited application.


The Secret Recipe for Good Workplace Conflict

The term “Workplace Conflict” sounds ominous. It conjures up images of yelling, screaming, finger pointing and, in rare cases, hunkering down under makeshift table forts and lobbing used Styrofoam cups at rival camps.

But can workplace conflict occasionally be good? New research by Todorova, Bear, and Weingart (2014) has found that, under the right circumstances, frequent workplace conflict can lead to an exchange of valuable information and, eventually, to higher job satisfaction.


The Pitfalls of Inconsistent Leader Behavior

Bad boss alert! Let’s say your supervisor was incensed with the results of yesterday’s baseball or football game. As a result, today he’s been condescending, hypercritical, and an all-around sourpuss. Can he make up for it by being extra nice and helpful to you tomorrow?


Leadership Self-Efficacy: The Key to Leaders’ Reactions to Challenging Experiences

Many researchers believe that leadership is a skill learned through experience—specifically, through overcoming challenging experiences.

Studies show that challenging leaders is beneficial, because it causes them to demonstrate more engagement, skill, motivation, and transformational leadership behaviors.

However, the fact is that leaders occasionally respond negatively to challenges. But this outcome is rarely studied within the usual theories of leader development.


How Organizations Can Fast-Track Transitioning Leaders

New job roles can be a daunting prospect for anyone. There are contrasts with old responsibilities, new expectations, and all sorts of surprises that pop up along the way. Adjusting quickly to the demands of a new position is important for productivity. But how can organizations fast-track transitioning leaders to help them gain the knowledge and skills they need?


Organizational Attachment: An Outcome of Social Satisfaction and Relationships

Previous studies on organizational attachment have looked at the role of positive relationships on the attitudes of employees. But, for the most part, they have ignored the impact negative relationships can have.

To examine the influence of negative relationships, authors Venkataramani, Labianca, & Grosser (2012) conducted a study on employees in a midsize manufacturing company and a product development firm.


Empowering and Directive Leadership Styles: When Unsatisfied Followers are Better than Satisfied Followers

The dynamic workplace of today requires employees to take on less-formalized tasks. As a result, traditional views of leadership that center on task proficiency may no longer be effective.

Proactive behaviors– those involving taking charge, voicing issues, and initiating change– may have newfound value in organizations. Therefore, this study examined how empowering and directive leadership styles influence employee task and proactive behaviors.


Sustaining Corporate Social Responsibility through Responsible Leadership

When an organization works to benefit an environmental, social or humane cause– whether by donating money to non-profit organizations or providing goods and services to them pro bono– it’s called Corporate Social Responsibility. What seems on the surface to be a purely charitable effort also helps to further the company’s work culture. But, according to a study by Susana C. Esper and Kathleen Boies, Responsible Leadership is required to ensure sustainable grassroots involvement.


Problem Solving at Work: It’s Not What You Know, but WHO You Know

When it comes to problem solving at work, it doesn’t necessarily matter what you know as much as who you know.

Employees who work directly with products or customers have first-hand experience with some of their company’s biggest issues. But many don’t have the influence or resources to solve those problems without assistance from organizational leaders. Who they turn to for help is often more about their relationships with the various leaders than on the person’s position, or company protocol.


If you’re happy and you know it, your boss doesn’t matter: How a positive mood makes up for transformational leadership

One of the major areas of recent leadership research has been on the impact of transformational leaders. Transformational leaders exhibit behaviors that go above and beyond basic job requirements, including behaving in a manner that helps employees focus on group needs rather than individual, showing high levels of optimism and positive feelings, creating an intellectually stimulating work environment, and helping employees feel personally cared for at work. The behaviors of transformational leaders are seen to have positive outcomes within an organization, increasing creativity as well as helping behaviors. The current study suggests that a transformational leadership style may be less influential when employees have a naturally more positive demeanor, looking specifically at both employee creativity and helping behaviors.


The Role of Social Networking for Cultural Entrepreneurs

The last few years have seen a growing trend of cultural business start-ups, globally. A cultural business (events, arts, music, theatre, etc.) is significantly different from a commercial business for more than one reason. Cultural businesses are usually at an agency level with a limited number of people. They still have their founding member(s) actively involved in the day to day dealings of the business. Additionally, the success measures for these businesses rely heavily on social networking and strong interpersonal connections in addition to fiscal outcomes. Constructing sturdy social ties lies at the very heart of a successful cultural venture. Maintaining healthy relations with competitors and building on personal networks directly helps a cultural business gather information and resources for mutual benefit.


When Powerful Leaders Hinder Team Performance

When we think of powerful leaders, we often imagine people who can get others to do what they wish. After all, power and leadership, by definition, involve the capacity to control or influence the behaviors of others. However, this study by Tost and Larrick shows that having more powerful leaders can actually harm team performance.


3 Tips for Effective Decision Making from the Expert

In his recent interview in the Harvard Business Review, Ram Charan, noted author, renowned scholar, and trusted advisor to the corporate elite, shares his tips for effective decision making in the twenty-first century. As someone who has counseled senior executives and board members alike, he admits that “getting to the right answer is tougher these days.” Technological advancements and the rapid pace of change within organizations, as well as in the greater marketplace, have made strategic planning a more important but more challenging endeavor than ever before.


Leading Creative People

Creative individuals value freedom, are highly specialized, self-motivated, and prefer to develop their own knowledge base rather than be taught. These characteristics can make leading creative people a challenge.

So far most research on leadership has been about objective knowledge, in other words, what is required to be a good leader. However, the how of leadership is more significant, when leading ‘creative experts’.


When Leaders Do Not Treat Employees Equally

New research by Tse, Lam, Lawrence, and Huang (2013) has discovered what happens when leaders have better relationships with some employees and worse relationships with others. The results are discouraging. When leaders do not treat employees equally, many problems arise, and ultimately job performance may suffer.


Genuine Leadership: How sincerity is the key to successful organizational leadership

By now surely everyone knows that the key to successful organizational leadership is sincerity. Genuine Leadership — that is, leadership by individuals who make an effort to be open and honest in their dealings — has become the gold standard for successful team building and a basic expectation for professional advancement. No one wants to work for someone who is cold or aloof. Master networkers and business leaders earn their titles by being authentic and real. However, there’s a fine line between being genuine, on the one hand, and over-sharing or talking about yourself in a self-deprecating manner, on the other. If you ever hope to be seen as a credible source, you want people to be able to trust in you and take you seriously. That means you must be able to walk a tightrope between the two extremes. Not an easy task. Fortunately, the authors, Rosh and Offerman (2013), have explored this issue and bring us new information regarding leadership psychology that provides some helpful tips and advice on how to balance along that line.


Entrepreneurial Leadership: Business Secrets Every Successful Entrepreneur Knows

Entrepreneurial Leadership can loosely be defined as an approach combining a variety of tactics: acting, thinking, and creating blue prints of endless opportunities. These opportunities are created for the leader, the organization, and society at large. Every leader at some point in time has either consciously or unintentionally employed Entrepreneurial Leadership. So what really is Entrepreneurial Leadership, what makes it so powerful and how can it be acquired?


Empowering Leaders vs. Directive Leaders: Which is more effective?

Team building is one of the hottest and most studied topics in the world of I/O psychology today. More and more organizations are beginning to realize and benefit from the synergies that result when people pool their knowledge, skills, resources, and creative efforts to achieve a common goal. What’s the secret to building effective work teams? Well, as anyone who has ever worked in a group setting will tell you, a team is only as good as its leader.


Clueless Leaders Need Warmth and Competence

What makes for a successful leader? It’s an ongoing, circular debate. One day you hear that leaders are born, not made, then the next day you are invited to a training seminar on the top ten leadership tips to practice. I cannot even imagine the number of books out there about how to be a great leader… (it may exceed the number of times Cher says “As if?!” in Clueless. That many. Whatever.)

In, “Connect then Lead” the authors take findings from social psychology research and apply them to leadership effectiveness. The authors identify two key leadership attributes that people are first drawn to when judging others: warmth and competence. They suggest that warmth and competence are not only the primary factors in how we judge others, but these two attributes alone account for a vast majority in the impressions we form of others.


Responsibly Irresponsible

Imagine that while waiting in line at Starbucks for your tall extra dry half-caff non-fat cappuccino with two Splenda, you notice that the person in front of you drops a dollar. In response, you pick up the dollar, give it back to the person, and give yourself a gold star. The next morning, while waiting for your skinny vanilla latte with no whip, the person again drops a dollar, but instead of returning it, you keep it, since you filled your moral quota for the week the day before. In other words, being morally responsible on Monday gives you license to act immoral on Tuesday. This is what Margaret E. Ormiston of the London Business School & Elaine M. Wong of the University of California at Riverside found, but the venue was Fortune 500 companies instead of coffee shops. Specifically, a firm’s past corporate social responsibility was positively related to future corporate social irresponsibility. Further, the more moral a CEO appears in public, the stronger this relationship is.


Lead, Follow, Or Get Out of the Way (IO Psychology)

What comes to mind for most of us when we think of leadership styles we admire can be summed up in two words, “transformational leadership.” Transformational leaders inspire others with a mission and vision for the future, and motivate their followers to achieve more than they ever dreamed possible.

Traditionally, the bulk of research in the area of transformational leadership has focused on transformational leaders’ personal qualities and how they drive change. Less has been known about the conditions under which a transformational leadership style is most successful and when it has the most impact on followers.


Bad Behavior At Work: Are Managers Asking For It? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Counter-Productive Work Behavior, Leadership, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (January, 2013)
Article: Blaming the Organization for Abusive Supervision: The Roles of Perceived Organizational Support and Supervisor’s Organizational Embodiment
Authors: M.K. Shoss, R. Eisenberger, S.L.D. Restubog, T.J. Zagenczyk
Reviewed By: Ben Sher, M.A.

stressed_man_portraitCounterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) occur when employees do things that go against organizational goals.  For example, stealing, bullying, unnecessary absence, swivel chair racing, beer pong in the break room, and assaulting the copy machine with a baseball bat when it is out of toner are all classified as counterproductive work behaviors.  I-O psychology research has typically tried to predict which type of person will engage in these devious behaviors.  However, a recent study by Shoss, et al. (2013) has found that certain organizations may also be causing an increase in bad behavior.


Take the Lead!

Topic: Business Strategy, Change Management, Leadership
Publication: Harvard Business Review (JAN/FEB 2013)
Article: Strategic Leadership: The Essential Skills
Authors: Paul J. H. Schoemaker, Steve Krupp, and Samantha Howland
Reviewed By: Susan Rosengarten

imagery_09_11_08_000051Whether you set your sites on becoming CEO or simply want to take your lemonade stand to the next level, there are a couple of essential skills you’ll need to have. According to Schoemaker, Krupp and Howland, mastery of these six skills will help you navigate the murky waters of the 21st century and become a strategic leader in your own right.


Get Ahead by Getting Emotional (IO Psychology)

Topic: Leadership, Emotions
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2012)
Article: Looking Down: The Influence of Contempt and Compassion on Emergent
Leadership Categorizations
Authors: S. Melwani, J.S. Mueller, J.R. Overbeck
Reviewed By: Ben Sher, M.A.

PR_027-_SI_-_23_05_12-416Do you want people to think of you as a leader?  Do you want to cultivate and mobilize hordes of dedicated minions in pursuit of world domination?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are in the right place.  New research by Melwani, Mueller, and Overbeck (2012) has provided new insight into why certain people are perceived as leaders.  Unlike past research, which has focused mainly on personality traits, this study found that certain emotions can be influential as well.


I’ve Got Your Back: Reciprocity Among Corporate Leaders

Topic: Leadership
Publication: Administrative Science Quarterly (JUN 2012)
Article: Helping Other CEOs Avoid Bad Press: Social Exchange and Impression Management Support among CEOs in Communications with Journalists
Authors: James D. Westphal, Sun Hyun Park, Michael L. McDonald, and Mathew L. A. Hayward
Reviewed By: Susan Rosengarten

Have you ever watched those videos where person A opens the door for person B, which spurs person B to help person C? Well, that behavior is something called social exchange theory in a nutshell; one good deed begets another. When someone helps us out, we feel indebted to repay the favor in some way and “even the score,” so to speak.


Should Leaders Care About the Work or the Workers? How About Both?!

Topic: Leadership, Counter-Productive Work Behavior
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (in press)
Article: Effects of Leadership Consideration and Structure on Employee Perceptions of Justice and Counterproductive Work Behavior
Authors: Brian C. Holtz & Crystal M. Harold
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Although research on a variety of leadership “types,” such as charismatic and visionary leaders, has flourished in recent years, there has also been a return to a basic distinction that was made in the leadership literature many years ago: the distinction between consideration and initiating structure. Consideration refers to leaders’ “people-oriented” behaviors, such as showing respect for followers and facilitating group cohesiveness. Initiating structure refers to clarifying roles, establishing rules, and providing a framework for effective group and individual performance. These dimensions are not mutually exclusive, and some leaders may be high on both, others low on both, and still others high on one and low on the other. With interest in these dimensions increasing, a recent study examined them in relation to two important outcomes: employee perceptions of justice, and counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs).


Getting by Giving: Why Leaders Succeed by Serving (IO Psychology)

Topic: Leadership, Organizational Performance
Publication: Personnel Psychology
Article: CEO Servant Leadership: Exploring Executive Characteristics and Firm Performance
Authors: Peterson, S. J., Galvin, B. M., Lange, D.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Sometimes you have to give more to get more. The same is true when it comes to how CEOs lead their company and how well their company performs. According to Peterson and her colleagues, when the CEO (usually the most powerful and influential player in the organization) demonstrates servant leadership their firm becomes more successful.


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.


Paradoxes and Self-examination: Exploring the gaps in Global Leadership Literature

Topic: Leadership, Culture
Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice (JUN 2012)
Article: Global Leadership: A Developmental Shift for Everyone
Authors: Katherine Holt and Kyoko Seki
Reviewed By: Nupur Deshpande

To begin on a personal note, in reading even the first few lines of this article, I had several ‘Ah-ha’ moments! This article details the potential issues of having only American or U.S.-based psychologists studying cross-cultural issues in the field. The Western ideals and perspectives may bias the research and be inapplicable to other audiences. This article brings to light all the discrepancies inherent in the cross-cultural psychology literature such as definitional confusion about culture-general and culture-specific dimensions, intercultural sensitivity, and competency models.


Dangerous Jobs: A Reason to Play Hooky? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Leadership, Culture, Health & Safety
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2012)
Article: Aversive workplace conditions and absenteeism: Taking referent group norms
and supervisor support into account.
Authors: M. Biron, P. Bamberger
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Why do people play hooky from work? The stress-free paradise of a day at the beach, great seats for a baseball game on a perfect summer afternoon, that irresistible allure of Olympic equestrian as it airs live on TV… these are all possible reasons. But what
about workplace dangers? Is it possible that people avoid work because they are afraid of getting injured while doing dangerous jobs? Actually, research has found mixed results. Sometimes workplace danger means more absenteeism and sometimes it means less absenteeism. What explains this? Recent research by Biron and Bamberger (2012) has provided an interesting answer to this question.


Can Mindfulness Make Your High Potentials Higher Promise? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Burnout, Leadership, Talent Management
Publication: The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist (JAN 2012)
Article: Accelerating the Development and Mitigating Derailment of High Potentials Through Mindfulness Training
Authors: R.A. Lee
Reviewed By: Chelsea Rowe

High Potential employees (HiPos) are the highly sought after, cream of the crop, high performing, next generation leaders.  Senior management proactively seeks these stars and then sends them through numerous assessments, coaching, special training, and other rigorous developmental opportunities with the intention of producing a bigger, better, faster, stronger next generation of leadership for their company.  Despite confidence and extra investment in these HiPos’ promise, these shining stars often fail to live up to their fabled promise or worse: burnt out.  So how can companies increase the likelihood of retaining their stars and develop them without burning them out?


Like Pulling Teeth: How to Get Greater Employee Feedback (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Feedback, Leadership, Job Attitudes
Publication: Personnel Psychology
Article: Ask And You Shall Hear (But Not Always): Examining the Relationship
Between Manager Consultation and Employee Voice
Authors: Tangirala, S., & Ramanujam, R.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Whether you’re a researcher, consultant, HR professional, or manager, you know that the best sources of information about a job or organization are the employees themselves. But, you also know that gathering open, honest, and constructive feedback can sometimes be difficult. This type of feedback is also called voice, or an employee’s expression of opinions, concerns, or suggestions, and is either increased or decreased by both external and internal factors.


The Human Side of Organizational Change (IO Psychology)

 Topic: Change Management, Leadership
Publication: Personnel Psychology (2012)
Article: The Role of Affect and Leadership during Organizational Change
Authors: M.-G. Seo, M. S. Taylor, N. S. Hill, X. Zhang, P. E. Tesluk, N. M. Lorinkova
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

Organizational change initiatives have become increasingly commonplace in the modern workplace. Despite their increased prevalence, typically, change efforts fail to achieve the organization’s desired results. Although multiple reasons for change failure have been identified, researchers are increasingly taking notice of the role that the “human element” plays in the change process.


Predicting executives’ ability to think strategically (IO Psychology)

Topic: Leadership, Personality
Publication: Personnel Psychology (Winter 2011)
Article: Developing executive leaders: The relative contribution of cognitive ability, personality, and the accumulation of work experience in predicting strategic thinking competency.
Authors: Lisa Dragoni, In-Sue Oh, Paul Vankatwyk, & Paul E. Tesluk
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Effective leaders need to think strategically. So, if you’re looking to develop leaders or choose someone for a leadership position, it would help to know what predicts strategic thinking. In a recent study, Lisa Dragoni and her colleagues investigated how work experience, cognitive ability, and personality traits relate to executives’ ability to think strategically.


How leaders may affect followers’ resistance to change (IO Psychology)

Topic: Leadership, Change Management
Publication: Personnel Psychology (AUTUMN 2011)
Article: Leadership and employees’ reactions to change: The role of leaders’ personal attributes and transformational leadership style Authors: Oreg, S., & Berson, Y.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Does your organization go through change? I’d be willing to bet that it does, so you may be interested in what kind of impact leaders have on their followers’ intentions to resist organizational change. The authors of this study investigated how the traits, values, and behaviors of leaders explain their followers’ resistance intentions.


Leadership Potential, Age, and Gender: What if you’re not a young man? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Leadership
Publication: Personnel Psychology (AUTUMN 2011)
Article: Age and gender-based role incongruence: Implications for knowledge mastery and observed leadership potential among personnel in a leadership development program
Authors: Hirschfeld, R. R., & Thomas, C. H.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

In your organization, you likely (and certainly should) have females and older workers in your leadership pipeline. However, could their age or gender affect their observed leadership potential (OLP) or their mastery of leadership knowledge? Hirschfeld and Thomas (2011) used archival data to investigate these questions.


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)?


Why LMX Works: Some Reasons Why High-Quality Relationships Are So Important

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Leadership
Publication: Personnel Psychology (Autumn 2011)
Article: How Leader–Member Exchange Influences Effective Work Behaviors: Social Exchange and Internal–External Efficacy Perspectives
Authors: Walumbwa, F. O., Cropanzano, R., & Goldman, B. M.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory has been an influential leadership theory for many years. The central tenet of LMX theory is that managers and other individuals in leadership positions are likely to form relationships with their subordinates that differ in quality. A leader’s relationship with some subordinates may be close, personal, and open, while their relationship with other subordinates may be more formal, with less communication about non-work issues. LMX theory posits that these relational differences will lead to a variety of outcomes, including differences in performance and satisfaction among employees.


How Leaders Sharing Organizational Values Boosts Team Performance

Topic: Leadership, Teams, I/O Psychology
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Person-Organization Value Congruence: How Transformational Leaders
Influence Work Group Effectiveness
Authors: Hoffman, B.J., Bynum, B.H., Piccolo, R.F., & Sutton, A.W.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Why is it that some leaders or managers are adept at “rallying the troops” while some seem to be ignored? The former may be a transformational leader. Transformational leaders are those that inspire their subordinates by instilling a sense of mission and purpose to attain long-term goals. These types of leaders have already been shown to positively influence work group effectiveness, but the question of “why” still remains. In an attempt to understand some of the underlying factors governing this relationship, Hoffman and colleagues tested if person-organization and person-leader value congruence at the group level mediates the relationship between transformational leadership and group effectiveness.


They Make How Much!? Why History Matters with CEO Pay

Topic: Leadership, Compensation
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Do CEOs Encounter Within-Tenure Settling Up? A Multiperiod Perspective on Executive Pay and Dismissal
Authors: Wowak, A.J., Hambrick, D.C., & Henderson, A.D.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Past studies have found a significant yet modest relationship between CEO pay and performance. In an effort to challenge this finding, Wowak, Hambrick, and Henderson tested whether a multiperiod “settling up” view should be taken when defining the pay to performance relationship, rather than the more common cross-sectional snapshot. According to the authors, settling up is when executive boards dynamically adjust current pay according to historical performance.


Trust in the leader is important for team performance

Topic: Leadership, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: Cognition-based and affect-based trust as mediators of leader behavior influences on team performance
Authors: Schaubroeck, J., Lam, S. S. K., & Peng, A. C.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Little research has explored the role that trust in the leader plays on team performance. This study examined that relationship and provided support for a model of affect-based and cognition-based trust in the leader mediating (linking) the relationship between leader behavior patterns and team performance.


There to Serve: Servant Leadership and Team Success

Topic: Leadership, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: Antecedents of Team Potency and Team Effectiveness: An Examination of Goal and Process Clarity and Servant Leadership
Authors: Hu, J. & Liden, R. C.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Teams are used in a wide variety of organizations for a wide variety of purposes. While teams can be useful to organizations in many ways, there are risks as well. By forming individuals into collective teams, organizations must risk conflict and competition amongst group members. Generally, it is also necessary to have one or more individuals lead a team. In essence, teams can yield very positive results, but they must be designed and managed thoughtfully. A new article by Jia Hu and Robert Liden addresses how a particular type of leadership – servant leadership – might be especially useful in guiding teams to success.


Effective leadership: I was born (and made) this way!

Topic: Leadership, Human Resource Management
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (JUN 2011)
Article: Great man or great myth? A quantitative review of the relationship between individual differences and leader effectiveness
Authors: Hoffman, B. J., Woehr, D. J., Maldagen-Youngjohn, R., Lyons, B. D.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

How many times have you heard or considered the following question: Are leaders born or made? The general consensus is that leaders are both born and made, but which do you think is more influential? This article delves into that issue by comparing many individual differences that could potentially predict leadership effectiveness.


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.


Predicting and developing leaders: Traits or behaviors?

Topic: Human Resources, Leadership
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2011)
Article: Trait and behavioral theories of leadership: An integration and meta-analytic test of their relative validity
Authors: D. S. DeRue, J. D. Nahrgang, N. Wellman, S. E. Humphrey
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

You want to hire the best potential leaders for your organization, but how do you know whom to choose? Do you pick the most extraverted applicant? The most intelligent? The most charismatic? The literature on what makes for an effective leader is fragmented, so this article is an attempt to integrate the literature on trait and behavioral theories of leadership and determine their relative importance.


The Best Leadership Style: Depends on Leader Status

Topic: Leadership, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: Taking the Reins: The Effects of New Leader Status and Leadership Style on Team Performance
Author: S.J. Sauer
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

You’re the new team leader and it’s your first day on the job! So, what type of management style will you try out? Will you crack the whip and exercise your authority, or might it be better to let your guard down and allow your employees to participate in the management process? According to research by Sauer (2011), you should choose wisely, because depending on who you are, one method will work much better than the other.


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.


Critical Leadership Competencies for Every Manager, Regardless of Culture

Topic: Leadership
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: A Convergence/Divergence Perspective of Leadership Competencies Managers Believe are Most Important for Success in Organizations: A Cross-Cultural Multilevel Analysis of 40 Countries
Authors: W.A. Gentry, T.E. Sparks
Reviewed By: Rebecca Eckart

With an increasing amount of employees working in global and multinational environments, it is critical for organizations to understand and develop the competencies deemed most important for success. In a recent study, Gentry and Sparks (2011) investigated if four leadership competencies (Resourcefulness, Change Management, Building and Mending Relationships, and Balancing Personal Life and Work) are valued as important for managerial success across cultures or just in some countries. 


Group Culture and Speaking Up

 Topic: Culture, Teams, Leadership
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2011)
Article: Speaking Up in Groups: A Cross-Level Study of Group Voice Climate and Voice
Authors: E.W. Morrison, S.L. Wheeler-Smith, & D. Kamdar
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Think of the last time you had an important suggestion to make while at work.  Did you say it?  According to research by Morrison, Wheeler-Smith, and Kamdar (2011), the answer may reveal as much about the beliefs of the people you work with as it does about you. 


The need for ethical leadership in a global and capitalist world

Topic: Ethics, Leadership
Publication: Journal of Business Ethics (2010)
Article: Ethical leadership and global citizenship: Considerations for a just and sustainable future
Authors:  Deborah C. Poff
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

In a scathing critique of global capitalism and its effects on social, economic, and environmental justice, Poff (2010) lays out the argument for a realignment of values.  The problems associated with global capitalism, Poff argues, are numerous.  It threatens the environment in order to support the massive production of material goods, its problems are being used by charismatic extremists to win over the populations of developing nations, and the tenets of consumerism are distorting values towards possession of material goods over quality relationships and meaningful pursuits.  How, then, is the world to shift away from such a destructive course?  Through a massive realignment of values; championed by ethical leaders in business, education, and government.