Leadership – Motivation From the Heart

“Whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister; and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (ASV, Mt. 20: 26-28).

Are you a leader? What type of leader are you? Why?

Many management books point out various types of leadership styles based on achieving organizational goals as well as provide guidance to leaders on influencing followers to meet and exceed those goals. Some leadership books teach people leadership transformation by providing practical, “how-to” sections, such as changing behaviors or attitudes. Although researching and writing these books is certainly a noble endeavor, real leadership change occurs from the inside–out. The leader looking for actual leadership style transformation must first explore his or her intrinsic motivations from the heart and, then, acknowledge the behavioral impacts on the people and the organization.

Organizational Leadership Styles

Many types of leadership styles used in organizations achieve outcomes with the hope of producing effective results. For instance, charismatic leadership may produce loyalty to the leader and his passionate ideals; transactional leadership may achieve urgent project goals through the use of bonuses; while humane-oriented leadership, preferred in Southern Asia, shows achievement based on collaboration. Regardless of which leadership style is socially and culturally accepted, leaders are influenced both by their own intrinsic motivations, as well as perceived outcomes, when operating within organizational parameters trying to achieve “effective results.”

Whether an individual or a group achieves effective results is a subjective opinion laced with cultural, personal, and ethical biases–one manager may demand fast-paced task completion to achieve goals, while another manager may discourage the intense pace because he considers it employee hounding. According to author Peter Northouse, balancing both types of leadership styles, task-oriented and relationship-oriented, make it possible to achieve organizational goals. However, Northouse’s research does not show “a consistent link between task and relationship behaviors and outcomes such as morale, job satisfaction, and productivity.” Therefore, it is doubtful employees operating with low morale, mediocre job satisfaction, and average productivity generate effective results. Is this effective leadership?

Consideration: the Heart of the Matter

Although management and leadership books champion effective leadership, surprisingly, researchers “have not been able to identify a universal set of leadership behaviors that would consistently result in effective leadership,” according to Northouse. Gary Yukl, leadership scholar and author, purports “the only strong finding about leadership styles is that leaders who are considerate (emphasis added) have followers who are more satisfied.” In essence, this satisfaction encourages follower motivation, which, in turn, produces desired organizational outcomes.

Merriam-Webster defines consideration as: continuous and careful thought; thoughtful and sympathetic regard, esteem; an opinion obtained by reflection. Imagine a self-centered leader with greed as his motivation trying to have real “consideration” for other people. It just does not work. Consideration is rooted in thinking about others and, therefore, a heart-felt value not instantly attained by reading about leadership behaviors in a book. Trying to change leadership behaviors on the surface may produce short-term results; however, people see right through somebody acting insincere and inconsiderate. Therefore, a leader attempting to transform leadership style without transforming values in the heart, still finds it difficult to reach organizational goals.

Change of Heart, Attitudes, and Behaviors

Author Bruce Winston believes a leader who embraces the leadership values and behaviors as described in The Beatitudes of the Bible ultimately achieves leadership effectiveness. A person striving for this type of values-based leadership operates in a continuous self-reflective mode, filtering feedback from others, whether followers, peers, mentors, or other leaders. According to leadership consultants Chris Watkin and Ben Hubbard, “the willingness to engage personally and change as a result of feedback is what differentiates the best leaders from the rest.”

Once a leader makes a decision for heart transformation, changes in attitudes and behaviors evolve based on embracing a new or transformed set of values. Followers notice because the leader exhibits true behaviors on the outside reflecting internal motivations. Christians believe values engraved in the heart eventually come out in spoken words, whether good or bad, in healthy conversation or heated debate. Further, although leadership experts and organization development theorists group people by leadership style labels, every leader has a unique moral foundation and, therefore, a different leadership style.

“Consider-Others” Leadership

Many moral values exist within religious and social belief systems. The Buddhists believe in “Right Intent,” a commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement, such as the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion. Hindus believe in “karma,” a moral law of cause and effect, and “moksha,” a realization of the unity of all existence–perfect unselfishness and knowledge of the Self. Muslims embrace Islam by accepting, surrendering or submitting to God. Christians believe in loving one another, loving your enemies, and loving your neighbor as yourself. One aspect stands out among all these religions–a dying to self. A type of selflessness that puts the believer last and the other person first–true consideration.

Jesus believed in serving others; what leadership experts consider a “servant-leadership” style. Robert Greenleaf first coined the term “servant-leadership” in an essay: “The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first; perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types.” Leaders, motivated by a deep sense of consideration, look at others first and not at their own interests, and this shapes their personal leadership style.

Motivate Your Leadership Style

Leaders motivated by consideration from the heart courageously and genuinely exhibit outward behaviors of honesty, trust, respect, friendliness, and helpfulness, regardless of social norms or what others say. Once leaders embrace heart-felt consideration, then motivation is directed toward achieving organizational goals using transformed leadership styles. Followers experiencing consideration through their leaders transformed leadership style exhibit increased job satisfaction and higher morale that enables motivation, which, in turn, produces desired organizational outcomes.

Once a leader recognizes his or her leadership style is based on intrinsic motivation, achieving effective organizational goals suddenly seems much easier.

What motivates your leadership style?

LISA R. FOURNIER is a doctoral student in the Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL) program with the School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship at Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Lisa is also the President of Idea Evolutions LLC, a consulting company serving entrepreneurial leaders.
Email: lisafou@regent.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Lisa_R._Fournier/518270

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