Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

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Leadership – a SocioPsychological Perspective

Updated: 26 May 2016

What makes a successful leader successful? is a question that appears to have vexed politicians and philosophers from the beginnings of civilisation. Certainly, the number of books and articles on leadership by ‘management gurus’ and social psychologists since the end of World War II indicates an ongoing fascination with the topic and, arguably, a vital need to understand the nature of leadership. Peter F Drucker, Stephen Covey, Warren Bennis, Howard Gardner, James MacGregor Burns, John William Gardner, John Kotter and Peter Senge are just a handful of the heavyweight names who have contributed high-profile books on the subject.

One unequivocal key factor which has emerged from the multitude of investigations into ‘leadership’ is that leadership and management are not the same thing. Drucker (1967) was perhaps the first to say this, articulating: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Covey (p101, 1989) provides an illuminating example to illustrate this point: “…envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They’re the producers, the problem-solvers. They’re cutting their way through the undergrowth, clearing it out.
The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programmes, bringing in improved technologies and setting up working schedules and compensation programmes for machete wielders.
The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation and yells: ‘Wrong jungle!’”

Leadership, then, is about vision – knowing where you are going, what it is you want to achieve and being able to share that vision so that people will follow. Management is about control – how we get to where we need to go, how to maximise the efficiency of the ‘followers’.

In reality one person may occupy both roles, especially in smaller organisations, and the roles may overlap – sometimes quite considerably. The functions of the 2 roles are quite different, though – and it is important to keep that difference in mind. In reality, however, there is often a blurring of the roles.

Are leaders born or made?
In attempting to provide guidance on ‘leadership’, many commentators attempt to undermine the oft-repeated truism, “Leaders are born, not made”, because, if leaders can’t be made, then there’s not much point in providing guidance and training on how to make a leader!

However, the sheer proliferation of views on leadership can be seen as a measure of the complexity of the subject. The issue clearly is so much more than whether a leader is simply ‘born’ or ‘made’.

Fritz Heider’s Attribution Theory (1958) allows us to ponder whether it is the context and the time – the situational – which creates the leader? – or whether there is something dispositional – within them – which makes some people more likely to become leaders than others? Or, indeed, whether is it some combination of circumstance and capability which produces leaders?

Outstanding leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela all showed leadership qualities and indeed led from being quite young – hinting at dispositional factors. However, their leadership activities were situated in the pursuit of great ‘noble causes’ in the cases of Gandhi and Mandela and, in Churchill’s instances, in repeated military crises of ever-greater scale, complexity and desperation. Even Adolf Hitler fits the pattern of attempting to lead from a relatively early age (the ‘Munich Putsch’ in 1923) and then finding that his ideology and would-be leadership were increasingly welcomed in the situation of the economic and social chaos that kept a stranglehold on post-World War I Germany.

From this clutch of famous and infamous leaders, it would appear that leadership is indeed a meshing of dispositional potential and situational facilitation.

Unfortunately, the ‘science of leadership’ – if there can be said to be such a thing – is based on case studies such as those above and driven by the search for a common factor (or factors) to be found in each case study. (Since it seems leaders often emerge in crisis scenarios, it is all but impossible to conduct laboratory tests on large-scale samples in non-crisis scenarios with any real sense of ecological validity – ie: the results reflect ‘real life’.) The common factor – or factors – found in the case studies then become(s) the ‘magic ingredient(s)’ which differentiate successful leaders. According to the particular author/researcher.

One very worthy example of this approach is Howard Gardner’s ‘Leading Minds’ (1996) which identifies story-telling – the construction of a clear and compelling narrative – as the vital ingredient.

However, what Gardner doesn’t explain is why stories are crucial to the success of many leaders but not all. Eg: Lieutenant Colonel H Jones, who led his men to charge an important Argentinean machine gun nest in the Falklands War of 1982, is not known to have had a strong narrative. He simply led his men through action and they followed.

Nor does Gardner explain why some people will respond to a leader’s narrative but others won’t. Eg: in the highly divisive build-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Conservatives largely backed Tony Blair in the parliamentary debate on whether to go to war but 121 Labour MPs rebelled. They didn’t accept their own leader’s narrative. Nor did many in the country, with approximately one million people actively demonstrating against the proposed invasion – a minimum of 750,000 in London alone.

The contention of this article is that there is no one ‘magic ingredient’ to leadership but that the conceptual relationship between leader and followers forms and reforms through a variety of scenarios with different levels of complexity. If there is a common factor, it is that the message – Gardner’s narrative or H Jones’ demonstration of action – must fit both the scenario and the worldview(s) of the followers.

Max Weber’s Types of Authority
Power, authority and leadership are all interrelated concepts. Ichak Adizes (1999) distinguishes clearly between the formal right to make decisions – authority – and the power to implement those decisions. Successful leaders must have the right, or gain the right, to make decisions; and they also must have the power, or be able to source the power, to enforce those decisions. The enforcement of those decisions will often mean management of the ‘followers’…which may well mean a blurring of the differences between leadership and management.

Max Weber (1922) identifies 3 categorisations of authority in the context of wielding power. Weber’s categorisations do not distinguish between ‘leadership’ and ‘management, of course. Nonetheless, they are highly informative.

The first of Weber’s categorisations istraditional authority’. Authority to wield power comes through ascription – you are born to have the authority or inherit it because of who you are. Traditional authority is particularly strong in tribal and/or agrarian societies where, for example, the positions of headman and the tribal elders are often given to the eldest son of the current generation of certain families. Men are assumed to have authority over women and be head of the household simply because they are men. A very specific example of traditional authority in modern, Western societies is that of monarchy. Prince Charles will inherit the British throne simply because he is the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. Even though he has proved something of a controversial figure, the prince’s fitness for the role will not really come into question unless he commits a manifestly-unconstitutional act or is shown to be demonstrably insane.

In terms of Heider’s Attribution Theory, the authority to wield power here is situational. However, traditional authority does not necessarily predicate successful leadership. (Just think of all the hereditary kings throughout history who have been overthrown!) Sustained successful leadership will still require certain personal (dispositional) qualities.

Weber’s second category is ‘charismatic authority’. The charismatic leader is followed and permitted to exercise power because of exceptional personal qualities that enthral people. The charismatic leader is usually a talented speaker and will fulfil Gardner’s notion of the importance of narrative with compelling stories. Nelson Mandela is a leader who unmistakably has displayed charismatic authority at times. John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Benito Mussolini, Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler could all be categorised as charismatic leaders and possibly even Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan too. On a much more mundane level, some teachers clearly display charismatic authority, able to hold a class in thrall by sheer ‘force of personality’.

The authority to wield power is clearly dispositional in that the qualities of leadership come from within the person and those qualities have to win over those who will follow and obey. In that the followers have to be won over and permit the leader to lead them, charismatic leadership requires some receptive elements in the situation to function; but it is largely dispositional.

Moreover, there are memetic cultural factors at work in the public perceptions of leaders. As Alex Haslam & Steve Reicher (2016, p446) point out, “from an early age we are encouraged to see leaders, above all else, as individuals with some special quality that eludes ordinary mortals”. In other words, we are conditioned to expect our leaders to be charismatic.

The third category identified by Weber is ‘rational-legal authority’. This leader is followed and obeyed because the system – particularly a legal system – says they have authority within that system. Thus, a police officer in uniform is to be obeyed unless the instruction is clearly irrational or illegal. In this instance, the uniform serves as a badge of authority. Many teachers – especially those who lack charisma – depend on rational-legal authority to maintain order in the classroom. The judge, the tax inspector and the military commanding officer are all examples of rational-legal authority. Unlike the traditional leader, the rational-legal leader exerts power, not because of who he or she is but because of the social role they occupy. When they step out of that role, their authority disappears too.

Again, in Attribution Theory terms, rational-legal authority is situational…yet dependent on the personal qualities of the leader for sustained success. Eg: the police officer who demonstrates a little empathy with a crowd of young people being ordered to ‘move on’ is likely to be obeyed more readily than the one who just barks orders.

Of course, Weber stressed that these were ideal categorisations of authority and that, in reality, many times a leader’s authority would come from more than one source. Thus, for example, when Charles becomes King, the legal system of the UK enshrines that position for him and states that his power to authorise acts of Parliament, for example, comes from his position as King. Mandela may have demonstrated tremendous charisma but, when he became President of South Africa, he was able to exercise rational-legal authority too.

Traditional authority and rational-legal authority, in that they are primarily situational, are highly contextual. The headman of one tribe may be received with respect when visiting another tribe but it is highly unlikely he would be obeyed unless his instruction was also delivered by the headman of the receiving tribe who would be ascribed the authority to give such instructions. Similarly the police officer is unlikely to be obeyed without his or her uniform or warrant card. The teacher loses his or her rational-legal authority outside of school hours and the physical geography of the school building and grounds.

Winston Churchill, great wartime leader rejected in peace

Winston Churchill, great wartime leader rejected in peace

Charismatic authority, being primarily dispositional, is less contextual, more generalisable. A ‘special person’ in one context may often be a special person in another context because they carry their special qualities within them. However, not all contexts, require a particular charismatic leader’s special qualities. Thus, for example, Winston Churchill was a great wartime leader for the UK but was soundly rejected by the British electorate in 1945 as people began to think about what kind of nurturing and caring society post-war Britain should be.

A vMEMETIC view of leadership
Weber shows us that there are different types of leadership, more or less dispositional and/or more or less situational. However, the distinctions are limited, do not differentiate between ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ and are descriptive rather than causal.

To pursue further the line of reasoning Weber offers, the hierarchical values systems model of Clare W Graves provides a very insightful tool.

Firstly, traditional leadership – the ascription to leadership because of who you are is derived from PURPLE tribalism, as is a fairly rigid demarcation of gender roles. In many instances, ‘traditional leadership’ is more traditional management. In traditional societies, there is little sense of future, with little need for vision (Talcott Parsons, 1964). As the primary motivation is to be safe, the imperative becomes protection and sustainability.

Jerry Coursen (2001) has postulated that, to fulfil the role of tribal leader successfully, something more than simply the motivation to belong to find safety (the PURPLE vMEME’s primary driver) is needed. There has to be some RED – some desire to be powerful and to dominate others. Without that injection of RED, the group of ascribed leaders are likely to be either indecisive or possibly over-consultative with others who are ascribed leadership roles. A static scenario requires little decisiveness…in which case, PURPLE’s lengthy tribal elder deliberations are not unsuitable. However, crises facilitate (situationally) the rise to dominance of an individual with RED dominant in their vMEME stack, allowing rapid, incisive and dictatorial decision-making.

Where an ascribed leader is given rational-legal authority, as in the likely case of ‘King Charles of the United Kingdom’, then we can see the workings of the BLUE vMEME which formalises and systemises with good order.

Weber’s concept of the charismatic leader obviously centres around RED – arguably with a dose of the temperamental dimension of Extraversion. The charismatic leader usually has strong self-esteem, charm and the ability to either relate a strong narrative (to refer back to Gardner) or demonstrate dynamic action (to think again of H Jones’ example).

However, RED is usually not the only vMEME making up the charismatic leader’s persona. To lead people by force of personality in a long-term sustainable manner, you must also offer them a vision. Since RED thinks only of the moment – in that sense, it really is the complete spiral manifestation of Sigmund Freud’s (1923) Id! – the vision must come from the ORANGE vMEME. ORANGE is future-focused and goal-oriented; and it will use the needs and wants of others as resources to achieve those goals.

Weber’s third type of authority, rational-legal, comes largely from the BLUE vMEME. This leader is recognised because he or she is authorised to lead by the system, the law, the organisation… who or whatever is recognised to confer that authority upon an individual. Unfortunately, BLUE tends to future-focus only to anticipate what could go wrong and to prevent it from doing so – a Move-Away-From meta-programme. Thus, pure or nodal BLUE tends to create a stagnation around fixed ideas, providing those ideas work at the time of enshrinement. Leadership thus fossilises into maintain-the-status-quo management. Rational-legal authority, to prevent stagnation, needs a glimmer of ORANGE to get it goal-oriented. As BLUE is focused on what is right, not on human cost, it can be terribly harsh in its treatment of those who transgress its rules. A little GREEN concern for humanity can help to soften the impersonal approach of rational-legal leadership.

Working primarily in Germany in the first decades of the 20th Century, when the economies of much of Northern Europe were dominated by industrialisation, Weber would have had little exposure to ORANGE compared to those living amongst the Western hyper-Capitalism of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. So it’s no surprise his understanding of leadership (and management) is limited to the mid-lower vMEMES of the 1st Tier. ORANGE appears to remain the leading vMEME at a cultural level in the United States and much of Northern Europe, though the social democracy elements in German politics and more completely in the cultures of the Scandinavian countries hint at GREEN taking a hold on the selfplexes of a number of key leaders and thinkers.

As, at the time of writing, Europe struggles on with austerity programmes, it remains to be seen whether GREEN thinking retains the cultural and political bridgehead it has established. From the work of both Graves and Abraham Maslow (1943, 1956, 1971), it can be predicted that necessity will focus attention on lower level needs and motivations. We may already have seen this in Greece. At a whole cultural level, BLUE was weak – otherwise there wouldn’t be such great issues with tax collection – and ORANGE virtually non-existent – otherwise there would be significant pockets of enterprise and growth. The partial and sporadic collapse of public order can be attributed, to a degree at least, to austerity undermining the PURPLE/BLUE tradition of doing the right thing by going to work and doing your job. When there are no jobs to go to anymore, through no fault of their own, faith in that PURPLE/BLUE tradition will suffer and is likely to precipitate the kind of rioting seen in Athens and other parts of Greece over the past few years, as RED nihilism fills the void of disappeared faith in the system. As Susan Blackmore (1999) has shown, when old memes start to become dysfunctional, new ones rapidly take their place. Small wonder that, with Greece buckling under imposed austerity, the Greek public’s perception of what the European Union can do for it has changed massively. While we’re not yet able to assess the effects of the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ on Greece and her citizens’ views on the EU, it can be reasonably predicted that the GREEN-dominated thinking investing huge amounts of EU money into humanitarian support for the migrants washing up on Greek shores will not be well understood by the PURPLE and RED of many impoverished Greeks.

Memetic and vMEMETIC changes can also be seen in attitudes amongst German electors. Once the staunchest advocates of European integration, resentment has mushroomed at German wealth being risked to bail out a country with little or no short-to-medium term prospects of economic growth. At a cultural level, there may yet be a danger of Germany sliding into PURPLE/BLUE protectionism as the ‘European dream’ is undermined from within. Again, the effects of the migrant crisis on the German electorate are not yet fully understood. Angela Merkel’s GREEN leading a welcome to an estimated 800,ooo Syrian migrants in Summer 2015 has been seriously rebuffed by PURPLE/BLUE nationalist elements calling for Germany to house fewer migrants and other EU countries to take more. The reporting of attacks on German women by Syrian men in Cologne on New Year’s Eve – arguably over-sensationalised to create a moral panic  and make what Stanley Cohen (1972) called ‘folk devils’ of Syrian refugees – appears to have greatly strengthened xenophobic parties like Alternative for Germany (AfD) (Alexandra Sims, 2016).

While the UK has little direct involvement in the current migrant crisis, immigration is perceived to be one of the biggest causes of concern among an electorate still struggling with the effects of austerity. The riots and looting in Britain in August 2011 – see the Blog: The Riots – who’s right: Cameron or Blair? – illustrate the dangers of austerity programmes leading to widespread ‘anomie’ – the Robert K Merton (1938) version, as opposed to the Émile Durkheim (1895) version. When ORANGE-driven consumerism continues to promote high-value goods as socially desirable and indicative of status but there are fewer and fewer legitimate PURPLE/BLUE routes to obtaining those goods due to austerity measures, then it is predictable that RED self-expressive and self-indulgent thinking will dominate in the minds of some and they will steal those goods by whatever means available to them.

On the back of these 2 issues – austerity and the migration crisis – where the BLUE, ORANGE and GREEN of the mainstream leaders have left them out of touch with the PURPLE and RED of so many who feel disenfranchised in their own countries, the far right have gained more traction with electorates than possibly at any time since the end of World War II.

As the leaders of the European Union and their advisors try to regain a vision for Europe, they need to factor in these sociopsychological factors. A straightforward union of nations containing Germany at one extreme, dominated culturally by BLUE and ORANGE with some GREEN, and Greece at the other, dominated by PURPLE and RED with some BLUE, was never going to be an easy match-up. (See also Alan Tonkin’s: The EU: an Organisation divided by Values for more on the fault lines in the construction of the EU.) The migrant crisis has exposed deep values divisions between Western and Eastern Europe to complicate matters: PURPLE/BLUE nationalism in the East stands opposed to taking in large numbers of ‘foreigners’. Differentiated strategies between the Union and its members and maybe even different types of membership may be required in the future, as discussed in the Blog: The REAL Reason for staying in the EU.

A Gender Bias in Leadership?
In the discussion of applying these concepts to leadership (and management), a fact that cannot be addressed satisfactorily by reference to either Weber or Graves is that of gender. Why are far more leaders male?

Of course, there have been great female leaders. In the latter part of the 20th Century Indira Gandhi (India), Margaret Thatcher (UK) and Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan) not only held the highest office of state through multiple terms but made their mark indelibly on the national mythologies of their countries. At the time of writing, Angela Merkel is continuing to helm Germany (and, to all intents and purposes, the European Union!) through some of the most troubled social and economic scenarios of recent times. In business there are increasingly women CEOs of ‘blue chip’ organisations, though few have attained the high level profile of Body Shop founder Anita Roddick.

In comparison, though, to the number of men who have held and do hold senior leadership positions in politics, business, education, the military, policing, etc, the number of women in such positions is still relatively small.

Undeniably, in history, there have been economic, social and cultural barriers to women achieving leadership positions. In the Western world and elsewhere, many of these barriers have been at least partly removed, with the result that more women have been climbing ‘leadership ladders’ – initially through lower-level management roles. However, the numbers coming through to true leadership positions are hardly commensurate with the potential opportunities available.

An explanation for this may lie in Hans J Eysenck & Sybil B G Eysenck’s (1976) controversial concept of Psychoticism which they attribute primarily to the male sex hormone testosterone. This hormone has been associated in many studies – eg: John Kalat (1998) – with assertiveness and aggression, as well as sex drive. While women do produce testosterone (from the adrenal glands), it is in nothing like the same quantities as men. So it may be that there is a biological/temperamental factor in explaining the gender differences in people achieving leadership roles. Though this is a huge generalisation and there will be countless exceptions, women, by and large, infrequently have the same degree of assertive drive to compete and win that many men have.

A jokey take on brain differences between men and women

A jokey take on brain differences between men and women

Evolutionary psychologists such as Stephanie Shields (1975) perceive these biologically-based differences as the evolutionary processes equipping men and women for totally different roles in prehistoric times. (Men to hunt and fight; women to raise the children and look after the men.) However, this raises the question as to why women haven’t adapted to the very changed circumstances and opportunities they have experienced in the Western world since the 1960s and become more competitive. Michael W Eysenck & Cara Flanagan (2001) posit that such failures to adapt can be explained through the concept of genome lag – ie: the development of the human genome has lagged behind changes in the environment.

If the genome lag concept is valid, then presumably over time women will adapt and we can expect to see more and more women becoming competitive and challenging men for leadership positions.

As the crucial role of ORANGE in visionary leadership has been noted, it may be worthwhile here to consider Jenny Wade’s (1996) proposition that women tend to skip ORANGE in their Spiral development while men skip GREEN. Although Wade’s proposition lacks empirical evidence other than from her own small group research, theoretically it could help to explain gender differences in leadership.

Leadership and Communication
The ISO 9000 quality system standard is an interesting example of a ‘change management’ tool devised initially (as BS 5750: 1979) from BLUE thinking. It’s a rational-legal tool. Its primary aim was to ensure quality by preventing things going wrong and it only really took on something of an ORANGE improvement focus with the revised issue of ISO 9001: 2000. (In terms of Drucker’s differentiation, ISO 9000 is a management tool taking on aspects of a leadership strategies.)

Yet, nearing 30 years after the standard’s inception and several revisions – the latest is ISO 9001:2015 – quality professionals still debate how successful it really is in assuring quality and why often it doesn’t lead to an improvement in quality in an organisation when the concept is, theoretically, so sound.

If we use the sociological and psychological theories we’ve looked at in this paper, it becomes painfully obvious why ISO 9000 works in some environments and not others.

Since the days of BS 5750, ISO 9000 has been dependent on the written word. It’s also often a used as a means of increasing control via implementing change. Since PURPLE doesn’t value the written word and doesn’t like change, the people whose thinking is dominated by PURPLE thinking will simply not respond or only respond reluctantly when forced to – which is one reason why the auditing function is so crucial to the success of ISO 9000. It doesn’t just provide data for managerial decisions, it acts as a BLUE policing tool to intimidate those who don’t comply (‘transgressors’) into compliance. People whose thinking is dominated by BLUE will follow the ISO 9000 procedures because it’s the ‘right thing to do’. People whose thinking is dominated by PURPLE may follow the procedures because a tradtional/charismatic leader tells them to, acting from a mix of PURPLE and RED…but they will still only pay lip service to the written word and will need plenty of verbal instruction and/or simplified diagrams. That, or they will comply because they are intimidated by the auditing machine. (See also: The SME Spiral.)

So, when designing and implementing change programmes, leaders need to be very aware of what vMEMES they are implementing change with and what is the vMEME(S)-appropriate way of ‘selling’ the change to them.

Bennis (2003) states that leaders are only as effective as their ability to engage followers.

'Spiral Balloon’ - copyright © 1996 NVC Inc

‘Spiral Balloon’ – copyright © 1996 NVC Inc

Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck (2002a) has opined that effective leadership communicates by talking in the language and concepts of no more than half a vMEME in complexity ahead of the current centre of gravity of the people being addressed. If the concepts are too complex, then those being addressed will not be able to understand in terms that are meaningful to them. It will ‘go over their heads’. (The example left shows the thinking of the leaders to be coming from ORANGE but the culture of the people is centred in PURPLE – indicating a c complete values mismatch.) If the language and concepts are too simple for the current centre of gravity, then people are likely to feel they are being patronised.

What Beck is advocating is a sophisticated and values-oriented form of educational scaffolding, as outlined by David Wood, Jerome Bruner & Gail Ross (1976).

The 4Q/8L schematic, developed by Beck (2002b) from Ken Wilber’s (1996) All Quadrants/All Levels concept provides a means of overviewing how well the culture (Lower Left) and the structure (Lower Right) in any context are matched. A structure too complex for the ’followers’ is likely to result in confusion and frustration or even sheer apathy. A structure too simple for the followers is likely to be perceived as childish or patronising.

As Steve Reicher, Alex Haslam & Nick Hopkins (2005) note, successful engagement with their followers means the leaders’ actions and achievement have to be a practical expression of their followers shared values and beliefs.

Beck further adds that it may be necessary to communicate with multiple vMEMES at once in a single message or related series of messages. That indeed is a mighty challenge that many who have taken on board Gravesian ideas are still wrestling with.

So what…? (Conclusions)
Firstly, it’s critical for all leaders (and managers) to realise that people are driven by different motivational systems in different contexts – though there may be overriding self-expressive/individualistic or conformist/collectivist preferences. Thus, while obviously some facets of management have to be applied universally – eg: Health & Safety – there needs to be considerable flexibility in what motivational strategies are used. Leaders and managers need to match the motivating factors to the dominant vMEMES they see in their people.

Another point on this issue is its importance to recruitment and promotion.It’s been recognised for some years now that getting such decisions wrong can be incredibly expensive for an organisation. Getting the right people with the motivational make-up appropriate for the role is crucial if an organisation of any kind is to be successful.

This is especially true when it comes to leadership and management. People dominated by BLUE are likely to excel in running a Move-Away-From meta-programme to spot problems and often will have the potential to become highly effective in administrative roles such as accountants, Health & Safety managers and Quality Assurance managers. However, they are unlikely to be good at visioning – a key aspect of leadership. ORANGE and 2nd Tier thinking are much more the kind of mindsets required for visioning.

The style of leadership needs to be matched to the culture of the people being led. There also needs to be a matching of the culture of the people to whatever systems/functions/structures are in place/to be put in place. The language and the concepts used by the leaders and managers needs to be close to the vMEMETIC level of where the workforce/audience/followers is at or the message(s) will simply not be received in any comprehensible or satisfactory way.

In communication, leaders and managers need to think about what memes they are putting out and how those memes will be accommodated into schemas or not. What people believe will impact upon their motivation but equally their motivation will influence what they believe.

Finally, though empirical evidence is a little mixed, the role of temperament cannot be ruled out and it may have a part to play in explaining gender differences in leadership.

Of necessity, some of the discussion in this article has been overly-brief. The hope is that it will succeed in stimulating further and deeper investigation into the models and theories considered here and their applicability to leadership.


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