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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Leadership Tactics, Skills, and Traits

Which strategies do you think are most effective for influencing employees to undertake new tasks? Why? Assess the advantages and disadvantages of these strategies in the context of this scenario.
As with any other method we have discussed dealing with leadership, the selection of a particular tactic should be a situational decision. In this case, we have two senior and valued members of our staff and instrumental compliance processes would not be the best first approach to use. So we would need to make a personality judgement on each to determine which proactive influence tactics would be appropriate for that person. If these influence tactics did not work, we might ultimately have to resort to authority, as “a leader’s authority usually includes the right to make particular types of decisions for the organization.” (Yukl, 2012, p. 186).
Should you use rational persuasion or the tactic of exchange strategy to influence the attorneys you selected for creating and maintaining the new database? Why? Explain how you might combine both, if necessary, to achieve the desired objective.
Because rational persuasion “is very useful when the target person shares the agent’s objectives but does not initially recognize that the agent’s request or proposal is the best way” (Yukl, 2012, p. 203), this would be a better tactic to use with experienced subordinates, although the exchange strategy is “especially appropriate for a request that offers no important benefits for the target person and would involve considerable effort and inconvenience” (Yukl, 2012, p. 204). I could explain that “Prosecution services are a vital part of the institutions the actions of which affirm the rule of law by a fair, consistent, impartial and effective enforcement of the law.” (Dandurand, 2007, p. 248) as a rational appeal while offering a position on a task force that attorney coveted, after completing the database, of course.
What are the inspirational appeals you could make to the attorneys? Explain. Will inspirational appeals work better than pressure tactics? Why?
An inspirational appeal would be more effective than a pressure approach. I could appeal to the concept of prosecutoral responsibility; “The need for accountable criminal prosecutors runs deep. Prosecutors enforce the most serious moral commitments of a society, and control the most serious punishments that a government can impose, short of waging war. In democratic governments committed to the rule of law, the prosecutor must exercise this power responsibly and be able to demonstrate that fact to the public.”(Wright, 2010, p .1589). On the other hand, “pressure is not likely to result in commitment and may have serious side effects.”(Yukl, 2012, p. 206)
As a leader, was it appropriate for you to select the two attorneys who would be assigned to this project? Would it have been better to request volunteers? Do you think this would lessen the need to persuade employees to take on this additional responsibility? Would the use of the paralegals change the dynamic as well as the work assignments?
Returning to the first point, it is my duty to the organization to make particular types of decisions. If I feel that these two attorneys should spearhead the effort, there is a reason for that decision. On the other hand, I agree with them that they should not be doing data entry. That does not mean that they can't tell the interns and paralegals which cases and exactly what data from those cases to enter. “Prosecutors are now often members of interdisciplinary teams, alongside with specialists from other disciplines, and they are expected to exercise new leadership skills” (Dandurand, 2007, p. 250)
How much credence should leaders give to employees' expressions of concern over assigned tasks? Under what circumstances might it be inappropriate for a leader to continue to apply persuasion tactics with employees who appear resistant to performing certain tasks?
Leaders should consider feedback from employees whenever possible, especially in regards to assignments; however, the leader shouldn't allow himself to be influenced by the same kinds of tactics we are discussing if it inhibits the organization from reaching it's goals. Perhaps an employee can not do (as opposed to doesn't want to) a certain task, or needs additional support to do it. It is counter-productive for a leader to continue to use influence at the point where such attempts would cause the organization to suffer negative consequences; suppose I had used pressure tactics on one of my senior attorneys to complete this task...and he decided to move on to a new job opportunity.
Which combination of the various proactive influence tactics would be most successful in influencing the staff? Why?
Although I return to the point of needing to be flexible in using tools depending on the situation, on an otherwise neutral basis I would use the rational appeal process to influence these attorneys to complete the assignment. As senior and capable staff members, I would assume that their support for the office's goals are the same as mine. If necessary, I could also reward them with interesting assignments on an exchange basis for completing the task (personally, I don't like this tactic...I don't mind rewarding staff for doing a good job on a general basis, but I think the idea of a quid pro quo on a daily basis undermines my authority.

Dandurand, Y. (2007). The role of prosecutors in promoting and strengthening the rule of law. Crime, Law and Social Change, 47(4-5), 247-259. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10611-007-9070-8
Wright, R. F., & Miller, M. L. (2010). The worldwide accountability deficit for prosecutors. Washington and Lee Law Review, 67(4), 1587-1620. Retrieved November 18, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/822742858?accountid=87314
Yukl, G. A. (2012). Leadership in Organizations, 8th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved November 18, 2014 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781256650225

Collaboration involves reducing the difficulty or costs of carrying out a request, and it is especially appropriate when compliance would be difficult for the target person. 205

The effectiveness of each type of proactive tactics depends on several aspects of the situation
“Any tactic can be used in a way that is unethical. To preserve a reputation for integrity it is essential to avoid using tactics in a way that is deceptive 207

Is the three-factor taxonomy more suitable than the big five model of personality for describing leaders? Why? Do the three-factor taxonomy and the big five model have any common characteristics? Explain.
The “Three-factor Taxonomy” is a broad assesment of the skills that people use in leadership. Yukl lists the three groups; technical, interpersonal, and conceptual. (Yukl, 2012, p. 148). The three groupings of skills are based on the categories of “Technical” skills (or the “getting the job done” skills), “Interpersonal” skills (or the skills such as the appeals and pressure tactis we discussed last assignment, which are used to inluence people in leader-follower relationships), and “Conceptual” skills (which can be described as problem-solving and “big picture” skills).
In contrast, the Big Five Model categorizes the traits, or personality characteristics, that leaders often have. These are listed as Surgency, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Adjustment, and Intellectance.(South University Online, 2014, para. 2,3) I'll be describing these in more detail in the next question. Farkas (2003) categorizes “skills” as a cognitive (things you think about) set, and “traits” (or habits) as a noncognitive set. Zaccaro states that “leader traits can be defined as relatively coherent and integrated patterns of personal characteristics ... that foster consistent leadership effectiveness” (2007, p. 7)
Because “skills” and “traits” are different concepts, defining common characteristics is difficult. Conceptual skills share some characteristics with intelectance. In addition, certain skills can replicate the results of traits; “Interpersonal” skills can be used to get the same results that surgency or agreeableness can. For example, a leader using the interpersonal skill of a personal appeal can attain the same result an affectionate leader can. Making a detailed analysis of whether a skill or a trait is the cause of a specific leadership action is made even more difficult by the idea that people with strong traits can make better uses of skills that suit those traits. On the other hand, a person with a strong trait may lack the skill to perform a leadership action effectively. An overconfident, surgent leader may use the wrong influence tactic and cause a lack of trust or respect in an employee. “Extraversion correlated significantly with confidence, but not with accuracy. This led to a significant correlation with overconfidence”(Schaefer, Williams, Goodie, & Campbell, 2004, p.477)
Due to these considerations, it is not clear that either model is better suited to describe leadership in general terms then the other. However, in any specific leadership situation, one model may describe that leaders' actions better then the other.
How are the specific traits related to leadership effectiveness? Can they be categorized according to the big five model? If yes, how? If no, why?
The personal traits of intelligence, integrity, flexibility, and decisiveness are related to effective leadership in terms that can be described by the Big Five Model. People skills is a term more appropriate to a skills based discussion. Intelligence can be linked to Adjustment and to Intellectance, Integrity can be linked with Conscientiousness, Flexibility can be linked with Adjustment as well (and we return to a theme in this course of the necessity of a leader 's ability to be flexibile in dealing with different situations), and Decisiveness can be linked to Surgency. People skills can be linked to Agreeableness.
Can the big five model and the three-factor taxonomy be related to effective leadership in criminal justice? If yes, how? If no, why?
We can look to the example of George Beto in our class notes for an example of each Big Five trait, as well as for each Three-Factor skill set, as used in criminal justice leadership.
Beto “quickly formed a list of priority issues” as a demonstratration of Surgency.
He “maintained a positive relationship with the inmate population” as a demonstratration of Agreeableness.
His focus on “importance of order and discipline” is an example of Conscientiousness.
The transition in his career from education to correction shows Adjustment.
Reforms that he initiated in the prison system demonstrates his Intellectance.

His organization of priorities and ability to generate revenues are based on Technical Skills
The impression that he made on State leadership that led to his appointment as well as his popularity with the inmates are Interpersonal Skills, although it could be argued that this was based on Agreeableness.
The reforms he created, the organization, and the new revenue flows all show his ability at Conceptual Skills.(South University Online, 2014)

Farkas, G. (2003). Cognitive skills and noncognitive traits and behaviors in stratification processes. Annual Review of Sociology, 29, 541-562. Retrieved November 19, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/199588119?accountid=87314
Schaefer, P. S., Williams, C. C., Goodie, A. S., & Campbell, W. K. (2004). Overconfidence and the Big Five. Journal of Research in Personality, 38(5), 473–480. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2003.09.010

South University Online. (2014). MCJ6405 :Organizational Leadership:Big Five Model (2 of 4). Retrieved November 19, 2014 from myeclassonline.com

South University Online. (2014). MCJ6405: Organizational Leadership:Case Study—George J. Beto. Retrieved November 19, 2014 from myeclassonline.com

Yukl, G. A. (2012). Leadership in Organizations, 8th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved November 19, 2014 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781256650225

Zaccaro, S. J. (2007). Trait-based perspectives of leadership. American Psychologist, 62(1), 6-16. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.62.1.6

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