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Keywords: Becoming_a_Better_Leader_





The Dynamics of
Inclusive Leadership

November 2 – 5, 2016 CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Opens October 15, 2015
Deadline: February 1, 2016
[email protected]


11 :: 1. THE LEADERSHIP TOOLKIT by Michael Genovese
22 :: 2. HOW TO BE A BETTER FOLLOWER by Marc Hurwitz
by Aneil K. Mishra and Karen E. Mishra
44 :: 4. ETHICAL LEADERSHIP by Lonnie R. Morris, Jr.
by Robert M. McManus and Gama Perruci
58 :: 6. BEING A VIRTUAL LEADER by Nita Cherry
by Michael Harvey
by Rian Satterwhite
92 :: 10. COMING TO JUDGMENT by Nathan Harter
by Al Bolea and Leanne Atwater
by John Eric Baugher and Éliane Ubalijoro
by Rob Nielsen, Jennifer A. Marrone, and Holly S. Ferraro
by Kathryn Goldman Schuyler
by Carlos Martí Sanchis
by Faith Wambura Ngunjiri, Karen A. Longman, and Susan R. Madsen


Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D. In the first edition of the Handbook of Leadership, renowned leadership researcher, Ralph
Stogdill (1974) stated, “there are almost as many different definitions of leadership as
is the Henry R. Kravis Professor there are persons who have attempted to define the concept” (p. 7). Anyone who has
of Leadership and Organizational studied leadership and its definitions will realize that this is an exaggeration. Although
Psychology and former director there are a number of different ways to define leadership, there are many common
of the Kravis Leadership Institute elements in most of these definitions, such as the ability to motivate/inspire, providing
at Claremont McKenna College. goal direction, and fostering good leader-follower relationships. I wish the same thing
could be said about methods of leadership development.

There are so many different approaches to developing leaders and leadership that it
may not be hyperbole to rework the Stogdill quote: “there are almost as many
different ways to develop leaders as there are individuals who work in the area of
leadership development.” The problem, however, is that so little of the vast array of
leadership development strategies and techniques have been adequately tested for
effectiveness. Moreover, all too often, techniques and programs that purport to
develop leadership are not based on theory or research, but merely have what social
scientists refer to as “face validity” – they look like they work, but they have not been
fully tested. An analogy from the early days of medicine is the enormous variety of
pills, potions, and lotions peddled by medical practitioners that would “cure what ails
you.” These remedies appeared to have a sort of face validity: “If it smells and tastes
bad, it must work.” As a result, many patients in the bygone era simply held their
noses and took the medicine, hoping that it would work. Sadly, some leadership
development efforts are like that.

The point is not to liken leadership development practitioners to snake oil salesmen,
but rather to emphasize that if you want to actually develop leadership, it is important
that the development program be both theory-based and have some demonstrated
effectiveness. We know that leadership development efforts can and do work. Bruce
Avolio and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of over 100 years of leadership
intervention research, and showed that on the whole, leadership development
programs, particularly those based on solid theoretical foundations, do indeed work
(Avolio, Reichard, Hannah, Walumbwa, & Chan, 2009).

Becoming a Better Leader contains strategies and methods for leadership development
that are based on research and theory, and those that have demonstrated
effectiveness. The authors are some of the top scholars and practitioners in leadership
studies and leader development. The development strategies, like the authors, are
diverse in terms of their background and experience, but all are recognized experts.



Included in this collection is a leadership toolkit by one of the top scholars of political
leadership, as well as a five-component model for leadership from two of the leading
leadership educators in the United States. You will also hear from top-notch
leadership coaches about ways to garner trust and to be more effective in leading
diverse groups. Experts discuss global leadership and issues related to gender and
leadership. The focus is not only on leadership, but also on what makes an individual
an effective follower. Research in the past decade has increasingly recognized the
important role of followers in the leadership equation.

Our experts also focus on specific aspects of leadership. Simple strategies such as
how to lead decision making processes, and basic communication and conversational
skills are discussed, as well as more complex elements of leadership, such as
leading in an increasingly diverse world, leading virtually, how to build trust, leading
ethically, and leading with humility. Beyond focusing on how to lead and how to lead
well, several of the chapters in this collection address the key question of
“Leadership for what?” – for example, addressing the challenge of climate change
and environmental stability, or for garnering international cooperation.

Developing leadership is not as simple and straightforward as one might think.
Leadership, at its core, is about relationships – leaders and followers working
together, navigating a complex environment, overcoming obstacles, being innovative,
in order to get things done. This book is a good starting point for the development of
new or prospective leaders, but it is also a terrific guide for established leaders (and
followers) to develop leadership capacity, in themselves, and in the teams, groups,
organizations, and collectives where they work and live.

We do know from research on leadership development that there are certain
requirements for effective leader development. First and foremost, there must be
motivation to develop as a leader (Reichard & Johnson, 2011). An individual (or a
team) must seek to develop and be willing to work hard to improve leadership skills
and capacity. Second, good leadership development often begins with some sort of
assessment – a means to measure current leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities
to provide some baseline to be able to note improvement. Then, the leadership
development intervention takes place, and much of this book focuses exactly on that
– strategies to improve leadership and leader effectiveness. Finally, evaluation is
needed to provide feedback about improvement and to allow for further improvement
and refinement. Leadership development programs that have all of these elements
tend to be more effective.



In summary, welcome to Becoming a Better Leader. You are likely reading this
book because you have the motivation to develop yourself and your team or your
organization’s leadership capacity. I truly believe that this book will aid in your efforts,
and, as the saying goes, it is important to remember that leadership (and leadership
development) is not a destination, but a journey. Good luck with that journey.

Avolio, B.J., Reichard, R.J., Hannah, S.T., Walumbwa, F.O., & Chan, A. (2009).
A meta-analytic review of leadership impact research: Experimental and
quasi-experimental studies. The Leadership Quarterly, 20(5), 764-784.
Reichard, R.J., & Johnson, S.K. (2011). Leader self-development as organizational
strategy. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(1), 33-42.
Stogdill, R.M. (1974). Handboook of leadership: A survey of theory and research.
New York: Free Press.

“A number of relevant insights from the applied
literature are included in an accessible manner.
It provides a useful link between theory,
evidence and application to real world
organisations. This textbook provides a useful
and well-argued treatment of relatively
abstract and difficult topics, such as motivation
and leadership.”- Abhijit Sharma, Bradford University School of Management




Whether you’re a CEO in a fast-paced, high-pressure position, a student organizing a
group project, or occupying any role in between, the odds are you could benefit from
tips on improving your leadership skills. In partnership with the International
Leadership Association, Routledge is proud to present this carefully curated selection
of practical, succinct skills for leadership development. The contributors and
excerpts represent a selection of timely, diverse topics that will illuminate key skills
and concepts every leader should master.

In this eBook, you’ll learn what makes a leader, how to lead ethically, how to be a
leader in a virtual environment, how to lead with humility, how to tackle global
leadership challenges, and more! Feel free to skip around and focus on the topics
that are most important to you. And remember, if you’d like to delve deeper into any
of these topics or simply learn more about leadership, all of the titles featured in
Becoming a Better Leader are available in full from our website.

The International Leadership Association (ILA) is the global network for all those
who practice, study, and teach leadership. The ILA promotes a deeper understanding
of leadership knowledge and practices for the greater good of individuals and
communities worldwide.


This chapter from Building Tomorrow’s Leaders Today by Michael Genovese equips
readers with an easy-to-digest toolkit for skills, temperaments, and specific
competencies that will be valuable as we face future leadership needs in a rapidly
changing environment. As a political scientist and presidential scholar, Michael
Genovese incorporates a wide range of disciplinary perspectives and research on
leadership in this book to give students, practitioners, and leadership scholars a
welcome and engaging look to the future.


Leadership is only half the story – there is no leadership without followership.
Dr. Marc Hurwitz is co-author of Leadership is Half the Story: A Fresh Look at
Followership, Leadership, and Collaboration, Chief Insight Officer at FliPskills, and
faculty at Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology Centre, University of
Waterloo, Canada. He lends his years of experience to illustrate the importance of



combining leadership and followership to create great partnerships and healthy,
impactful collaborations.

Aneil K. Mishra and Karen E. Mishra, managing partner of Total Trust Coaching &
Consulting and a business school professor respectively, address how leaders are
both born and made in this chapter. They assert that the way leaders build trust is a
function of both their innate character and their learned abilities.

Lonnie R. Morris, Jr. is a high-powered leader with more than 15 years of higher
education experience as a change agent in admissions, recruitment, financial aid,
continuing education, graduate enrollment, and articulation. In this chapter he makes a
simple case for ethical leadership: you can never go wrong when you do the right thing.

Any individual who aspires to become better at an endeavor must first acquire a
certain level of knowledge related to it. In this chapter Robert M. McManus, Associate
Professor of Leadership Studies at Marietta College, and Gama Perruci, Dean of the
McDonough Leadership Center at Marietta College, allow you to do just that by
breaking leadership down into five straightforward components.

In an ever-changing world leadership issues are constantly being re-thought,
re-negotiated, or adjusted. Professor of Leadership at Swinburne University of
Technology in Melbourne, Australia Nita Cherry provides tips on how to stay
energetically engaged in a virtual environment in this chapter.

A key aspect of being an effective leader is recognizing and fostering leadership
potential in the next generation. In this chapter one of Europe’s most experienced
leadership coaches, Michael Harvey, examines how to effectively coach rising starts
– especially those who may be affected by the gender gap.




Rian Satterwhite serves as Director of the Holden Center for Leadership &
Community Engagement at the University of Oregon. In this chapter, he addresses
how the field of leadership must address the challenge of climate change and
environmental sustainability in the context of everyday life.


As the world becomes increasingly connected the ability to lead people from very
distinct cultures, nationalities, and ethnic groups has become fundamental to
effective leadership. Here Juana Bordas strives to address the bias toward Western-
or European-influenced ways of thinking and broaden the spectrum of leadership.
Bordas is former trustee of the ILA and a founder of Mi Casa, one of the first Hispanic
organizations in the U.S. focusing on serving Hispanic women.


Nathan Harter, J.D., is Professor of Leadership Studies at Christopher Newport
University and has distilled the discussion on judgment and decision-making in a
leadership context to an accessible overview. His chapter serves to efficiently
illustrate the process by which leaders, followers, and investigators decide on a
course of action.


Al Bolea and Leanne Atwater have paired concrete narratives with succinct research
synopses to show how to expand the potential of people and organizations by having
effective conversations. Bolea is the founder and architect of the Applied Leadership
Seminars and the former CEO/GM of a large independent oil company in the United
Arab Emirates. Atwater is a widely-published Professor of Management in the Bauer
College of Business at the University of Houston.


This essay by John Eric Baugher and Éliane Ubalijoro argues that humanity is
inexorably tied to suffering and that to strive to be a better leader is a deeply human
pursuit. Baugher is visiting associate professor in Sociology at Goucher College,
Ubalijoro is a professor of practice for public-private sector partnerships at McGill



University’s Institute for the Study of International Development, and together they have
demonstrated how developing your capacity to suffer will make you a better leader.

In this chapter, Rob Nielsen, Jennifer A. Marrone, and Holly S. Ferraro demonstrate
how a humble leader is an effective leader, but is also a confident one. This chapter is
full of practical tools, including five simple ways to behave more humbly.

Kathryn Goldman Schuyler, PhD, is a sociologist, organizational consultant, and
educator who supports leaders in moving with awareness through challenging
change. In this chapter she explains how to foster a healthy environment where
leaders make all feel included.

Over the past 15 years, Carlos Martí Sanchis has served in different business schools
and universities. He has used his extensive leadership experience to hone in on 10
common, avoidable errors in leader management and give you the tools you need to
navigate them.

Scholars and practitioners around the world are in agreement that women remain
underrepresented in leadership positions, whether in the arena of business,
government, education, civil society, or nonprofit organizations. Drs. Ngunjiri,
Longman, and Madsen have been collaborating over the past three years on a book
series sponsored by the International Leadership Association and have addressed in
this chapter effective ways to enhance women’s leadership.





For the latest news, research, techniques and resources on
Leadership and related topics, visit our website.





The following is excerpted from
Building Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
by Michael A. Genovese.
©2014 Taylor and Francis Group.
All rights reserved.
Purchase a copy HERE .

Michael A. Genovese

received his Ph.D. from the
University of Southern
California. He currently holds
the Loyola Chair of leadership
studies, is a professor of
political science, and director of
the Institute of Leadership
Studies at Loyola Marymount
University in California. In 2006,
he was made a fellow of Queens
College, Oxford University.
Professor Genovese has written
over thirty books on leadership.

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Although all these lists are comprehensive, even exhaustive, the central leadership
competencies can be more usefully broken down into twelve key categories:
1. Judgment
2. Emotional Intelligence
3. Empathy
4. Flexibility and Balance
5. Moral Courage and Compass
6. Self and World Knowledge
7. Communication Skills
8. Recognize and Develop Talent
9. Articulate a Compelling Vision
10. Adapt
11. Learn from Mistakes
12. Contextual Intelligence

These twelve essential skills, if properly developed, may lead to what Aristotle referred
to as phronesis , the ultimate goal of all leaders, and a subject we return to later.


There is no more important leadership skill than sound judgment. We are all children
of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, a time when we believed that humans were
capable of self-governing because they were capable of rational thought. The
government of the United States is grounded in this belief, as Alexander Hamilton so
aptly noted in the very first of The Federalist Papers : It has been frequently remarked
that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and
example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable
or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are
forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.

“Reflection and thought,” the very basis of rationality. But do we flatter ourselves
when we posit such a praiseworthy self-portrait? Are humans really rational beings?
The entire basis of the science of politics in which I was trained (as were economists,
sociologists, and many others) is the belief assumption that we are rational beings
who can make rational decisions. If so, our actions are somewhat predictable, and if

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predictable, one can make forecasts or predictions of how humans will behave. But is
this image so?
In the past few decades, challenges to the rational actor model have emerged that
call into question the very basis of these sciences. The primary challenge has come
from the field of what many call brain science, a branch of neurology (the study of the
nervous system).
Just what do we mean by judgment? As Nan Keohane, former President of Duke
University, writes, “we can understand judgment as a distinctive mental faculty or
skill, a way of approaching deliberation and decision making that combines
experience, intuition, taste, and intelligence.”
The new thinking on judgment and decision-making suggests that there are three key
sources of input that contribute to a decision: the head (the rational part of our brains);
the heart (the emotional side of our brains); and the gut (the intuitive part of our brains;
see Table 3.5 ). These three parts, rather than being in conflict can—in sound decision-
making—work together in positive, cooperative, and constructive ways.
Good decision-making requires both the rational brain and the emotional brain to
work together. As Jonah Lehrer puts it:

What we discover when we look at the brain is that the horses and the
charioteer depend upon each other. If it weren’t for our emotions, reason
wouldn’t exist at all and the process of thinking requires feelings, for
feelings are what let us understand all the information that we can’t
directly comprehend. Reason without emotion is impotent.

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In thinking, the keys are openness, self-awareness, balance, flexibility, and metacognition.

Still, there are a number of decision-making traps into which we often fall. Our brains
are energy drains—they need tons of energy to function at a high level. So to save energy,
the brain takes shortcuts that make us prone to self-delusion. Framing is a particularly
vexing problem for decision makers. Our choices are susceptible to the way options are
presented to us. Once we accept a frame, we funnel our ideas and options through that
frame, excluding other options. For example, never look at the sticker price when buying
a car. If you do, that dollar amount will frame the negotiations, and you will begin the
process already having given up valuable territory. If the salesman can get you to start
from the sticker price, he has you. Better to go online and find the dealer cost (much
lower) and insist on starting there—it is a better frame (for you at least).

Hubris is another dangerous cognitive trap. It means pride or arrogance and an
overestimation of one’s own power or competence. One could see the hubris involved
in the George W. Bush administration’s lead-up to the war in Iraq in 2003 when they
insisted that “we would be greeted as liberators,” and “the oil money from Iraq’s
wells would pay for the war,” and it will be a slam dunk, and “we know where the
WMD (weapons of mass destruction) are.” Such blind overconfidence led the
administration away from doing its due diligence, and by the time we realized how
wrong we were, thousands of lives and millions of dollars had been spent.

Groupthink is yet another common decision making problem. When part of a group,
we often value harmony, collegiality, belonging, and group membership over hard
analysis. We are hesitant to go against the group for fear we will be excluded, or
divided. So we go along, keep our doubts to ourselves, and “fit in.” At times the group
can even go so far as to make it clear that dissent is seen as disloyalty. This narrows
options and can lead to tragic mistakes. 9

Leaders make decisions with limited and often confusing information in an
atmosphere of deep uncertainty. This bounded rationality should cause us to be
humble about our ability to make good decisions. Any decision involves risk and is at
best an educated guess. And there are recurring patterns of incompetence even the
best of us are prone to make. Thus, all leaders need a large dose of humility. We are
not as smart, or as rational as we believe. Good judgment is important, and so too
might be reflection and learning from experience, reliable and diverse information, an
open and alert mind, critical thinking skills, creativity, and a strategic sensibility.

In the end, leaders confront three types of decision challenges: individual (decision
traps, hubris, ideology, information absorption, emotion, etc.); group (where our team

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degenerates into groupthink, yes-men and sycophants, group insulation, partiality,
etc.); and organizational (bureaucratic inertia or competition, poor information flow,
unclear communication, etc.).

In general, leaders will need stamina, intelligence, optimism, creativity, honesty, and
a bit of cunning; wisdom; courage; a sense of humor; empathy; a healthy sense of
self-esteem; compassion; caring; a thick skin and a rugged stamina; a power sense;
a knowledge of self, the world, and the organization; a sense of history; the ability to
communicate and persuade; political and managerial skills; the ability to judge
others and appropriately delegate responsibility; vision; quick thinking; self-
confidence but not arrogance; the ability to put team members together and make
them work in concert; and emotional intelligence. A long list indeed.

Leadership is the game of the grandmaster of chess. You must see the entire board;
calculate many restraints, challenges, and opportunities along the way; calibrate and
then recalibrate; and design and redesign your strategic approach as the game
evolves. The hand you draw may be a good one or a bad one; you may be able with
skill to improve your hand; you may be able to bluff your way to victory.

Winning involves a combination of luck and skill. Napoleon used to say, “Find me a
lucky general!” And the great golfer Gary Player used to say, “The more I practice,
the luckier I get.” Of course, both knew that one can help force fortune’s hand with
hard work and skill, that great leaders make their luck as much as fortune smiles
upon them. The basketball player who seems to pick up cheap baskets is called
lucky, but her movement away from the ball creates opportunities for her to take
advantage of loose balls and broken defenses. It is skill that creates opportunities for
fortune to smile upon her. She is in the right place at the right time, not by accident
but by design. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong
men believe in cause and effect.” And Gracian reminded us of the art of being lucky.

There are rules of luck and the wise do not leave it all to chance. Luck
can be assisted by care. Some content themselves with placing
themselves confidently at the gate of fortune, waiting till she opens it.
Others do better, and press forward and profit by their clever boldness,
reaching the goddess and winning her favor in the wings of their virtue
and valor. But a true philosophy has no other umpire than virtue and
insight—for there is no good or bad luck except wisdom and foolishness.

Being attuned to opportunities is a prerequisite for success. In this, it is often wise—in
chess as in leadership—to make the first move. Plutarch, in The Rise and Fall of

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Athens, noted this exchange between Eurybiades and Themistocles: “ ‘You know,
Themistocles, at the games they thrash anybody who starts before the signal,’ to which
Themistocles replied, ‘Yes, but they do not crown anybody who gets left at the post.’ ”

But in this, as in all things, think. As Gracian warned, “Think beforehand. Today, for
tomorrow, and even for many days hence. The greatest foresight consists in
determining beforehand the time of trouble. For the provident there are no
mischances and for the careful no narrow escapes.”

For successful leadership, skill is important, but skill is never enough. Even the most
skilled individuals face formidable roadblocks. Skill helps determine the extent to
which a leader takes advantage of or is bound by circumstances, but circumstances
or the environment set the parameters of what is possible regarding leadership.
President Reagan referred to the “window of opportunity,” his way of talking about
how open or closed circumstances were for exercising presidential leadership. If one
is dealt a weak hand, there is only so much that skill can do. But if one is dealt four
aces, what Machiavelli called fortuna (fortune), not skill, determines the outcome.
This is not to say that skill is unimportant. But in the constellation of factors that
contribute to success or failure, skill is but one determinant.

Machiavelli spent a great deal of attention on fortune. Good luck is a valuable asset,
but one can never rely on it. We are all familiar with the story of the princess, who,
coming upon a frog, kissed it, and transformed it into a prince. Less familiar, but
more common, is the less frequently told story of the princess who kissed a toad, and
it remained a toad. If you are kissed by good fortune, so much the better. But it is best
to make your own luck and not passively rely on fortune.

But more than luck is involved here. Skill (what Machiavelli was referring to when he
wrote of virtu) matters as well. And what skills must the effective leader possess?
Machiavelli answered the question with an analogy. The skilled leader must play both
the lion and the fox. The lion was strong, a great fighter who instilled fear in rivals.
But the lion lacked cunning, wisdom, and the ability to fool an adversary. The fox is
the skilled manipulator, who by cunning, guile, and deception was able to misdirect
an adversary. Although the fox was not a master in battle, it was skilled in the art of
deception and wise in the choice of tactics.

The great leader combines the skills of the lion and the fox. As Machiavelli stated in
The Prince , “as a prince is forced to know how to act like a beast, he must learn from
the fox and the lion. Those who simply act like lions are stupid.”

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is co-author of Leadership is by MARC HURWITZ
Half the Story: A Fresh Look at
Followership, Leadership, and HOW TO BE A BETTER FOLLOWER
Collaboration, Chief Insight
Officer at FliPskills, and faculty Just before the start of the new millennium, I was working in a corporate job as a
at Conrad Business, senior technical specialist; the logical next step in my career was to take on a
Entrepreneurship, and management role. To prepare for this increased responsibility, I embarked on an MBA.
Technology Centre, University of
Waterloo, Canada. The next three years of my life were spent working during the day, taking classes at
night, doing assignments and projects on the weekend, and trying to balance all that
with a young family. It was not easy, but just as the clock ticked over to the year 2000,
I celebrated with a similar freshly minted degree.

Shortly after, I was promoted to my first managerial role. This new responsibility
quickly taught me that there was still a lot I didn’t understand, even with an MBA!
For example, now that I was leader, why was it that I was spending so much time
dealing with my boss rather than leading my team? Should I also be leading my boss?
And, what was I to do when my specific team members did not want to follow me?

A piece of the puzzle was missing from my education, and even from the mentoring
I was given at work. After puzzling on this for a couple of years, it hit me: followership!
This insight was the start of 10 years’ research, development, and field-testing that
culminated in a book exploring the many practical implications of understanding
followership and leadership as complementary roles.

Q: What do you get when you put 100 leaders in a room?
A: Not much!

In fact, whenever multiple people try to exercise leadership at the same time, you get
a lot of self-promotion, separate agendas, arguments, and politicking. Not much real
work gets done. Followership is essential; there is no leadership without followership.

Now imagine two teams, both of which have excellent leaders. The first team is
populated by bad followers – passive, combative, unengaged, literal order-takers,
individualistic, etc. – and the second team has excellent followers – proactive,
engaged, curious, supportive, etc. Which team do you think is going to do better? If
you had a team with a mixture of both types of follower, which followers are going to
get promoted or given choice assignments? And which people do you think will be
more satisfied at work?

Strong followership is integral to effective, creative collaborations. It also has
personal benefits including better raises, more choice assignments, greater
influence, higher job satisfaction, and an increased sense of autonomy and freedom.

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Here is what the research says about followership:
• Companies, divisions, and teams with strong followership have higher revenue,

quality, and customer satisfaction of 17-43% compared to those with poor
• About half of performance evaluations are based on followership.
• The importance of followership increases as you move up the organizational
ladder (much like leadership).

Everyone in an organization – front-line staff, front-line manager, director, vice-president,
and even the chief executive officer – has times when they lead, and other times when
they follow. Not knowing how to follow reduces your personal effectiveness, hurts any
team or collaboration you are involved with, and limits your ability to mentor others.

That change in thinking from ‘leadership is everything’ to ‘we all have both leadership
and followership responsibilities’ is game changing. In my work, we have applied
these ideas and practical advice in many situations, from individual coaching to
company-wide change initiatives.

Here are six followership practices that will instantly improve any team you are on.


Creativity is a hot-button issue because the world has become smaller, more global,
faster, and more demanding. Creativity is essential for simply staying in the game,
but unfettered creativity is less than useful.

Consider these two scenarios: the first was a group tasked with creating a new menu
concept for a restaurant chain. After exploring the problem, the group was divided
into teams of five; each team was to investigate and propose a new menu item for the
chain. One team, motivated by a single strong-willed team member, developed an
entirely new restaurant.

The second scenario was of a senior management team challenged by the CEO of
their large retailing business to increase same-store sales without spending any
money. The team decided to find out what customers were doing in the store, how
they shopped, and what might be stopping sales. It turned out that when customers
entered the store some of them did not take a cart. When these customers’ hands
were full, they went to the checkout even if they could have stayed longer more and
bought more. The management team decided to place shopping bags around the

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store and see if that would change behavior. It worked like magic! Now, when the
customer was tired of carrying store items, they would go over, get a shopping bag,
and keep shopping. In-store sales went up immediately.

You have probably heard of this second scenario for two reasons. The first is because
it worked, and it got implemented. The second is that the retailer was IKEA, and the
solution was the big yellow bags you see everywhere in the store. But the odds are
you have never been to one of the new restaurants designed by that first group. Why?
Because the boss never implemented the solution.

When a leader asks her team to think outside the box, what she actually wants is for her
team to think outside their box, i.e., what they normally do, but inside hers – what she
feels is most needed, valued, possible to achieve, and sellable within the organization.

How can followers do this? First of all, clarify expectations. Find out what type of solution
is useful. In the IKEA example, Ingvar Kamprad (the “IK” in IKEA) made his expectations
clear. Not every leader does this and, when that happens, a strong follower takes the
initiative to clarify the situation. Is an incremental improvement valued or is there an
appetite for something more disruptive? What resources are available? What cannot be
changed? How much risk is tolerated? What values must be preserved?


Few things are more disruptive than having to build new relationships at work. And
few relationships are more critical to workplace success than between a boss and a
direct report. What is surprising, however, is the number of people who put their
heads in the sand when a new manager arrives, hoping that nothing will change and
expecting that their work will speak for itself. The problem is that change is almost
guaranteed in this situation, and work rarely speaks for itself.

Here are four specific conversations to initiate whenever there is a new boss.

Conversation 1: Build the relationship. Take full responsibility from the start for making
the relationship with your new boss work. Ask about his working style preferences and
adapt to them. Also, be sure to communicate your own working preferences but
recognize that coordination is the key; you have one leader but they have many
followers so it is most efficient/appropriate for you to do more of the adapting.

Conversation 2: Share and acquire organizational knowledge. If your new leader is
from outside your department or organization, or this is her first time leading, you

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may be able to smooth the transition with some reverse mentoring. Let her know
what the team norms have been, but be diplomatic and flexible to change. If you are
the one who is new to the team or organization, ask about what to expect and develop
an expert network to learn as much about the area/business as you can.

A successful strategy is to make a list of 20 questions to ask about the area, from
small things such as, “Do meetings generally start on time,” to larger questions such
as, “Who are your star performers and why are they considered stars?” Ask a few
questions at every update meeting, document the answers, and use it as a personal
development tool.

Conversation 3: Adapt and align to better support the leader. When someone starts a
job, it is natural to try and figure out how to do it well. Ultimately, however, a strong
follower does more than do her own job well, she also figures out what her leader
needs and provides that. It means going beyond the formal job description and doing
tasks that are called extra-role behaviors.

How do you know what else to do? Find out what your boss’s boss expects of your
leader, and how can you help him achieve those goals? What challenges, opportunities
and priorities does he have? What does your leader not like doing, or does poorly, and
figure out if it is something you could take on? Clarify whether your goals and priorities
are providing the maximum support. The follower’s number one job is to help her
leader maximize effectiveness while staying true to a supportive role.

Conversation 4: Advocate for your leader and her decisions. All of us want to feel valued
and supported at work. It is the single biggest factor behind workplace motivation and
engagement, and a key to retention. Most of us know it, and value and support staff in
our leadership role, but then promptly forget to do it in our followership role.

At a recent workshop, we asked over 100 employees which of them had shown genuine
appreciation for a task their leader had done in the last month? About a dozen hands
went up. We then asked how many of them had told their leader that they ‘had their
back’, and supported initiatives their leader had done? Even fewer raised their hand.
This lack of support is unsurprising – research has documented that people routinely
fail to recognize extra efforts by their leader – but it is weak followership.

Being a leader can feel like being a parent; a lot of work that garners little
appreciation. But the leader-follower relationship is not the same as a parent-child
interaction. Instead, it is two adults who have agreed to take on certain roles to be
more efficient and more effective together. As a follower, show appreciation. Give
your explicit support. The results may astonish you.

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Good communication, so we are told, is two-way. The leader sends out information
and the follower responds. Perhaps this one-sided perspective is why over 20% of a
leader’s time is spent seeking out information.
Strong followers think about communication as four-way. It is a mutual process
where followers also take initiative to offer information, and the leader provides
feedback. After all, leaders are not telepaths and do not have secret crystal balls that
lets them know what is going on, or when to ask a question.

There is a critical difference, however, between leadership and followership
communication. In general, the purpose of leadership communication is to unleash
follower initiative. The purpose of followership communication is different: to
stimulate the right leadership action. What does your leader need to do with the
information you are providing? Make a decision? Get involved? Change expectations?
Panic less? When considering communicating upwards, be clear, candid, and to the
point, and always keep in mind what you think the leader should get involved in,
when, and how.


When hiring, most employers say they want self-motivated, independent thinkers
with the ability to work under little or no supervision. But is that who they actually
want to lead?

We worked with one person who came to us after having been turned down for a job.
At the job interview, our client was asked what she wanted from her leader. Her
response was: “Well, I really don’t need a boss who micromanages me as I am very
responsible and reliable. My ideal boss would understand that I like to work
independently, that I know how to do my job, and that I can be counted on to get the
job done.” She then added, “I can manage myself.”

It is hard to lead, coordinate, or manage a team when its members are determined to
be independent. Rather, the best followers work at being easy to manage.


Back in the 1980’s, about 20% of work was done in teams. Now that number is closer
to 80%. Gone are the days when being a team player meant just getting along,

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cooperating, and not causing conflict. Today you need to collaborate: to think, create,
and build with a team, while leveraging its strengths. It is like the difference between
a flock of sheep (the old days) and a wolf pack (today).

Sheep are passive, consistent, and do as they are told. It is not an exaggeration that a
flock will follow their leader off a cliff.

In a wolf pack, when it is hunting, one wolf may circle around to get behind the prey,
another might lunge forward, yet another may cut-off an escape route. Each takes on
whatever role is needed by the pack and actively looks for opportunities to support
the effort. There is still an alpha dog – the formal leader – but during the hunt,
leadership can be taken on by any of the pack members. Hunting is a collaborative
activity. Sheep, well, they bleat and a lot and, as Benjamin Franklin said, “Make
yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you.”

Ask yourself, what are all the ways to add even more value to my team and
organization? What disruptions am I causing? When do I need to take on a leadership
role, and when should I be the best possible follower?


Contrary to popular opinion, devil’s advocate behavior is disruptive, destructive, and
often just bad followership.

The origin of the devil’s advocate role comes from the process of canonization in the
Catholic church. The devil’s advocate is a lawyer specifically charged with arguing
against conferring sainthood, while their counterpart who argues in favor of it is
known as an angel’s advocate. Having a devil’s advocate is important to canonization,
but has a limited place in most teamwork. It should be used judiciously.

If you want to have influence and be a true thinking partner, it is usually better to be a
decision advocate. This does not mean being a yes-man, but it does mean saying “yes
and” more than “no, but.” During meetings, build on ideas. Build up ideas. Figure out
how they could work rather than why they won’t work. Keep your approach and tone
positive. Studies show that you need to give at least four times as much decision
support as criticism to be considered effective. The time to be critical is after an idea
has been thoroughly explored and contrasted with the other ideas on the table.

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Followership is integral to leadership. It is also different from leadership: if
leadership is about setting goals for a team to follow, then followership is about the
pursuit of team goals and the best ways of doing it. Framed this way, everyone has a
followership role from time to time, regardless of position in a formal hierarchy.
When done well, leadership and followership combine to create great partnerships
and healthy, impactful collaborations. To quote Mr. Spock giving a ‘traditional’ Vulcan
greeting, “I am pleased to see that we are different. May we together become greater
than the sum of both of us.”

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The following is excerpted from 3 :: LEADERS – BORN OR MADE?
Becoming a Trustworthy Leader
by Aneil K. Mishra and by ANEIL K. MISHRA and KAREN E. MISHRA
Karen E. Mishra.
©2013 Taylor and Francis Group.
All rights reserved. Yes, true leadership requires abilities such as charisma, accountability, and passion
that some are born with in abundance. However, we all have these qualities, whether
Purchase a copy HERE . we admit it or not, and they are more or less developed by the experiences that have
shaped us, plus nature’s head start. Are leaders born? Yes, I think so. Some people
are blessed with these qualities in abundance at birth. Can leaders be made?
Absolutely. One of the primary qualities that separates humans from the rest of life is
self-awareness and our ability to react, create, and shape our actions. We clearly can
strengthen our weaknesses and play on our strengths. I, for one, was the antithesis
of a leader in my 20s.

Today I run a successful software company and think I have leadership skills.
Organizations largely agree with the assessment that leaders can be made;
otherwise, they would not spend 21% of their training dollars or $12 billion per year
on leadership development training. 12 This investment is applied to many forms of
developing leaders, including classroom training, individual coaching, and action-
learning. Scholars believe that the value of this leadership development training is
that it builds both human capital (individual competencies) and social capital
(relational competencies). Social capital is critical for building and maintaining trust.

Here, we assert that the way leaders build trust is a function of both their innate
character and their learned abilities.

Based on our own direct collaborations with leaders, we believe leaders are both born
and made, and that they have learned to build trust with others because of some qualities
that may be innate, but also because of their experiences. They may have a greater
propensity to trust others than the general population, although we haven’t measured
this specifically. Their experiences have directly shaped how they build trust with others.
In general, they have demonstrated parts of the ROCC of Trust in accordance with the
needs they perceived in their organization. For example, if transparency was lacking, they
may have chosen to emphasize openness in their trust-building efforts.

The people with whom we’ve interacted behave both humbly and heroically, but they
are not superhuman or unbelievable. They may be extraordinary leaders, but they are
still ordinary people who rose to the challenge of creating transformational change
by building the ROCC of Trust. Leaders are critical to building trust in organizations,
and when followers trust their leaders, they have the potential to enjoy numerous
benefits, including better job performance, greater organizational commitment,
higher job satisfaction, and lower intention to quit.

R O U T L E D G E 31 R O U T L E D G E . C O M

Dr. Aneil Mishra 3 :: LEADERS – BORN OR MADE?

is managing partner of Total by ANEIL K. MISHRA and KAREN E. MISHRA
Trust Coaching & Consulting in
Raleigh-Durham, North Leaders who are trusted by their followers are also more easily able to effect change
Carolina. He is the coauthor of quickly in their organizations. 15 Of course, for change to take place in an
Trust is Everything: Become the organization, individuals must trust more than a single leader, and they will
Leader Others Will Follow. Aneil distinguish between trusting a leader at the top of the organization versus trusting
has been a business school their own immediate bosses or other managers.
professor at Penn State
University, and Duke University. AND SYSTEMIC
Aneil mentors leaders and
teams, helping them to build The leaders we’ve studied have recognized that in order to achieve lasting positive
trust in order to improve results in their organizations, they need to address three levels of change in their
organizational performance. trust-building efforts: personal, interpersonal, and systemic.
Aneil is a graduate of Princeton
University and earned his PhD The personal level constitutes the attitudes, values, and behaviors that individuals
from the University of Michigan demonstrate that shape the capacity for influencing others. The interpersonal level
Ross School of Business. constitutes the attitudes, values, and behaviors that individuals demonstrate toward
one another that shape their collective action.
Dr. Karen E. Mishra
The systemic level of change involves organization-wide or extra-organizational
is a business school professor in forces that enhance or impede organizational change, including organizational
Raleigh-Durham, North culture, structure, and external stakeholders.
Carolina. She has been a
business school professor at At the personal level, leaders need courage, humility, and authenticity to challenge
Michigan State University, Wake the status quo, define excellence for others, and craft a compelling vision of the
Forest University, and Penn future. They also need the personal wherewithal to build trust, which includes
State University. She conducts physical stamina, emotional stability, and the ability to withstand repeated rejection.
research on how leaders build
trust and engagement through At the interpersonal level, leaders take the initiative to demonstrate the ROCC of
internal communication. She is Trust in order to build commitment and overcome followers’ resistance to change,
coauthor of Trust is Everything: and encourage them to collaborate with one another to implement change.
Become the Leader Others Will
Follow. She is also an executive This interpersonal trust encourages colleagues and employees to act in ways that
coach, helping leaders build lead to lasting change and better performance. At the systemic or broadest level,
trust with their teams. She leaders build a culture of trust throughout an organization; institutionalize change
earned her MBA from the efforts by focusing on processes, norms, rules, and reward systems; and build trust
University of Michigan Ross with external stakeholders, such as customers and suppliers. These positive results
School of Business and her PhD then help to affirm the leaders’ trustworthiness and trust-building efforts.
from the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. Of course, the ways in which a leader creates an organizational culture of trust will
be infl uenced by the national culture within which the organization is situated. We

R O U T L E D G E 32 R O U T L E D G E . C O M



would expect that leaders in countries whose denizens value strong hierarchies are
more likely to emphasize reliability and competence as ways to demonstrate their
trustworthiness, rather than openness. The current CEO of Lenovo, Yang Yuanqing,
started to build trust with his staff by moving to the U.S. headquarters in Cary, North
Carolina, to build relationships there. As Lewis Broadnax, executive director of web
sales and marketing at Lenovo, told us,

When Lenovo bought the IBM ThinkPad division, the question was,
How can Lenovo, which no one’s ever heard of, come in and compete
with the likes of Dell, Gateway, and HP? ThinkPad was the rock-solid
brand with IBM. When people thought of ThinkPad, they didn’t think,
Chinese company. The two don’t really match. How could Lenovo
actually grow this business? How long would this really last? The
initial CEO of the company came over from IBM to make sure that the
transition happened properly. Then Bill Amelio was brought in from
Dell to start really driving this business hard, to get us in a position
where we could compete with the likes of Dell. Yuanqing Yang, who is
our current CEO (and was chairman of the board previously), then
took over the reins, and his responsibility was really to take the
company to the next level.

He’s an incredible man; he’s still not 50, and is thought of as one of the industry’s great
visionaries and leaders. His personality exudes confidence and trust. You see him
around the local campus, and he greets you with a smile and asks you how you are
doing. His demeanor, his thought process, and the way he approaches any issue are so
calm and effective that I think everyone really just got behind him immediately. The big
turning point for me was Yuanqing’s statement on culture within the company, what
Lenovo was going to be, and how that was distributed throughout the entire
organization. It was very clear early on that we were in this thing for the long haul. We
were going to be a world-class organization. We were going to be the best. It was clear
that they were communicating to every employee, everyone that had anything to do with
the company, what the culture was going to be, and making sure that everybody was on
board with that. Everyone became focused on driving the company to those levels.
Then, as the numbers started to come out, I think that comfort level with him just grew
and grew. I think he’s one of the few CEOs that really does want to empower you to go
out and make the right decisions, make the right calls.

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We have found that the virtuous trust cycle often depends on three critical leadership
characteristics: courage, humility, and authenticity. Leaders exhibit personal courage
by empowering employees or sharing critical information with them, both of which
entail being vulnerable to others. When leaders also display humility, which, like
courage, leaves them vulnerable to their followers, their subordinates may be more
likely to be vulnerable and build trust with each other. Humble leaders can foster a
sense of shared fate by acknowledging that they don’t have all the answers and need
help from their followers, especially in times of crisis. Authentic leaders are
transparent in their motives and open in their values, and they act consistently with
those motives and values. Authentic leaders thus have the capacity to encourage
others to be vulnerable to them. Then their followers feel confident that they will not
be exploited. Subsequently, they are more trusting of those leaders. Indeed, empirical
research has found that a leader’s level of transparency is positively related to
followers’ perceived trust and evaluations of the leader’s effectiveness.

A leader is courageous when he or she is willing to confront the status quo, is
confident about the future, 28 and is confi dent about his or her ability to make a
difference. We believe that leaders who possess greater courage engage in greater
trust-building efforts. Research has found that leaders who are more self-confi dent
are more trusting in general, which in turn makes them more likely to build trust with
others. For example, we all know it takes courage to admit mistakes. Leaders with
greater courage will be more likely to admit to and repair mistakes by building trust
with others. Leaders who are willing to confront the status quo are more likely to
elicit cooperation from others, and this cooperation is enhanced by the trust the
leader has built. When the leader has confidence in the future, he or she will want to
develop the trust necessary to convince others to cocreate such a future together.


One leader we have followed for many years who is clearly courageous is Mary Ellen
Sheets (founder, Two Men and a Truck, International). Mary Ellen told us that she
started Two Men and a Truck, international when she learned her bosses at the State
of Michigan would never promote her. They had refused to promote her several times,
assuming she would never leave because she was a woman. At the same time, her
sons had been moving others’ goods and furniture as a way to earn money for college
during their summer holidays. When her sons returned to college, the phone kept
ringing—people were calling and asking for moving services. Seeing an opportunity,

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Mary Ellen hired two guys, Joe and Elmer (see Figure 3.1), and she purchased a used
truck to keep the business going. This side business supplemented her income as a
data analyst. Despite her lack of formal training, she took on the bookkeeping,
scheduling, customer relations, fleet management, hiring, and fi ring. She delegated
the actual moving to Joe and Elmer. Eventually, she left her comfortable but stagnant
government job to run the business as a full-time career. With abundant courage,
and just a $350 initial investment in that truck, she created a franchise-based firm
that now grosses more than $220 million annually, with 1,400 trucks operating in 37
states, Canada, Ireland, and the UK.


A leader with humility is also more likely to build trust with others. Humility is defined
as “a desirable personal quality refl ecting the willingness to understand the self
(identities, strengths, limitations), combined with perspective in the self’s
relationships with others (i.e., the perspective that one is not the center of the
universe).” 31 Leaders who are humble are aware of their limitations and discuss
them freely with others. This openness helps the leader ensure he or she is moving
in the right direction.

Humble leaders are also aware of how others perceive them and make an effort to
integrate these perceptions with their own self-perceptions. Humble leaders are also
more likely to build trust with others because they are open to feedback—which itself
is a vulnerable and trusting act. Notably, humility is thought to be a trait that can be
developed in leaders. Based on the leaders we’ve worked with, we would argue that
early developmental experiences and failures or mistakes are key sources of humility.

Figure 3.1
Mary Ellen, an Early Truck,

and Joe (or Elmer)

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Bob Lintz, the former GM plant manager (see Figure 3.2), was just a college graduate
in training when General Motors hired him. Soon after he was on the job, the general
superintendent came to welcome him to the plant. He said, “Welcome, Robert,” and
asked him what he could do to help him. Bob said that none of his friends or family
ever called him Robert and that he would like to be called Bob. The general
superintendent looked scornfully and answered him, “Yes, Robert.” This was a
significant emotional event for Bob. He got the message loud and clear: We are not
all the same, and rank matters. Bob vowed that from that day on he would insist that
his subordinates call him Bob and he would treat everyone with dignity and respect,
no matter what their position was in the organization.

Over the next two decades as he advanced within GM, Bob eliminated other status
barriers between management and labor, including discarding formal dress
distinctions and the executive dining room. He made these efforts long before other
GM plants adopted these practices. By removing these and other barriers, Bob
transformed the $250-million Parma, Ohio, stamping plant (scheduled to be shut
down) into a billion-dollar enterprise that has lasted more than 20 years after it was
slated for closure. Achieving this long-term success began with the humble way that
Bob dealt with everyone, including his own management team.

Figure 3.2
Bob (far left), his Wife Karen,

and Two Friends with the
Original Ghostbusters Vehicle.

R O U T L E D G E 36 R O U T L E D G E . C O M



He said,

What I learned about myself was that I was truly 100% committed to
building trust with others and changing the organization. I learned
how to handle all of the frustrations and letdowns that come along
with a large change process. We had meeting agendas for my
management team, and I couldn’t wait to talk because I’ve got a lot
of energy, and I want to sell my points. I recall times when I went into
those meetings, well prepared, with seven items on the meeting
agenda, and I would come out of the meeting zero for seven. In many
cases I wasn’t even close to having the best proposal. I walked out of
there a lot of times thinking, “Why did I even open my mouth?” Going
back to my office with my head down thinking, “Oh, they must think
I’m a complete idiot.” Then, to recapture my self-esteem, I would say
to myself, “The good thing is that I lead and helped create an
environment where we could talk openly, were every staff member
was expected to contribute to make sure we made the best quality
decisions.” Especially since we were going to be impacting thousands
of people in the plant and surrounding communities. I had the ability
to admit to myself that I’m not as smart as I thought. Synergy really
works and I was gifted with some very outstanding staff members.
We had three or four staff meetings away from the plant to agree
upon on how we would maximize our effectiveness in the decision-
making process. One of the most important [results] was an
agreement that once a consensus decision was reached, each
member would support it 100%, no matter how hard he or she
fought on an alternate approach. No whining or politicking after the
meeting. Only a personal commitment to get out and make it happen.
They NEVER let me or each other down.

Bob is too humble to say so, but we’re also willing to bet that many others in his team
also came in thinking that their ideas were the best of the bunch, but as a result of this
trust-based team decision making, came out realizing that the collective ideas and the
decisions that followed from them were better than their own individual ideas.


Finally, an authentic leader is one who lives the values that he or she espouses.
Authentic leaders have greater self-awareness, have an internalized moral

R O U T L E D G E 37 R O U T L E D G E . C O M



perspective, relate transparently with others, and focus on positive self-development.
Authentic leaders are not perceived as being hypocritical, because no gaps or
differences are discernible between their words and their actions. They are also
“perceived by others as being aware of their own and others’ values or moral
perspectives.” Of course, here we are assuming that the leader’s values are
consistent with the ROCC of Trust such that his or her authenticity is able to promote
building trust. Clearly, a leader who is greedy, dishonest, or favors certain employees
is unlikely to build trust with others, no matter how authentically these negative
values are displayed.

Ted Castle (Rhino Foods; see Figure 3.3) coached collegiate hockey for the University
of Vermont and had a small family ice-cream business on the side. Today, Rhino
Foods adheres to the philosophy that life is a game to be won by playing fairly and
honestly. “We try to bring a lot of what motivates people in a game, any kind of game,
into our business,” Castle noted. Early on, he realized that his employees would be
more motivated if they knew the rules, were told the score, and could succeed
through hard work. Ted’s authentic actions paved the way for his employees to trust
him. To encourage his employees to think more like owners (although the firm was
and is privately owned), he created a game that was consistent with what motivated
him as hockey player or whenever he played board games. He modeled it after games
or contests in which there was a clear set of winners and losers, scores were kept,
consistent rules were adopted, and rewards for success were fair.

Figure 3.3
Ted Castle Wearing the

Rhino Foods Hat

R O U T L E D G E 38 R O U T L E D G E . C O M



Ted opened his books to show his employees how to make the firm more profitable.
Then, if his employees improved earnings, they were rewarded with profit-sharing.
This built a great deal of trust with employees because he was being open about
sharing sensitive financial information and demonstrating compassion for their
well-being by sharing his company’s success. In another effort, Rhino Foods worked
with Ben & Jerry’s to develop its Cookie Dough Ice Cream, which helped Ben &
Jerry’s become the first company to create such an ice cream product. Rhino Foods
still supplies Ben & Jerry’s with the cookie dough that goes into their ice cream.
Rhino Foods now grosses more than $30 million annually.

We have found that courage, humility, and authenticity often coexist within leaders
who have built trust and demonstrated trustworthiness effectively. Other scholars
have agreed, finding that “humility tempers other virtues, opens one to the influence
and needs of others, and insists on reality rather than pretense.” Some researchers
believe it is possible to develop the capacity to become an authentic leader while also
developing other attributes, such as moral reasoning, confidence, hope, optimism,
resiliency, and future-orientation. Research has indeed found that authentic leaders
are also courageous, in that they advance ahead of others when there is a risk in
doing so. As do courageous leaders, authentic leaders have high physical and mental
energy, persevere in the face of obstacles and difficulties, and analyze personal
failures and setbacks as temporary—if not learning experiences—and view them as a
one-time unique circumstance. Authentic leaders are easily motivated to work
harder, are more satisfied, have high morale, have high levels of motivational
aspiration, and set stretch goals. Moreover, authentic leaders have been found to
enhance team performance through their effect on trust.

Sheldon Yellen, CEO of Belfor Holdings (see Figure 3.4 ), a diversified building
services company that owns Belfor Property Restoration, the world’s largest property
restoration company, provides a very compelling example of courage, humility, and
authenticity as well as demonstrating the ROCC of Trust. His incredible success in
building Belfor has clearly required a great deal of courage, but because of his
humility it took quite some time before we were able to convince him to be profiled in
this book. Consistent with how we’ve worked with other leaders, however, once we
established trust and respect with each other, he became willing to share his story
with us.

R O U T L E D G E 39 R O U T L E D G E . C O M



Figure 3.4
Sheldon Yellen

(on the right)

The humility, openness, generosity, and authenticity we’ve witnessed in him have
made it quite easy for us to learn how he became a great leader. Sheldon, the oldest
of four boys, had a very humble beginning. His father was in and out of hospitals for
much of Sheldon’s life, enduring nine operations for several serious stomach
problems. As a result, his father was often out of work, necessitating that the family
go on welfare. Sheldon courageously started working full-time at age 11 to support
his family. He actually signed over his paychecks each week to his mother to help her
make ends meet. He shined shoes, folded laundry, operated videogames and
collected their quarters, and performed numerous other jobs to help his family.
Sheldon missed graduating from high school by one credit because of his long work
hours (he finally received his high school diploma in 2011). After attending Michigan
State University for one year (back in the mid-1970s, MSU obviously didn’t check to
see if high school was completed before allowing students to matriculate), he
dropped out to continue supporting his family. At age 26, he joined his father-in-law
and brothers-in-law in a Michigan awning company they owned, and Sheldon then
built it into a $1.5-billion-a-year (revenue) business.

Sheldon chooses to reinforce his humility in several ways. As he reminded us during
an interview for this book,

You can’t lead with titles. You can’t lead with rules. You can’t lead with
words. You lead with trust, compassion, listening, and by example.

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I’m sorry for being repetitive, but you can’t hide behind a title, behind
an office, behind a structure. You’re going to give back more to others
who will then follow and trust. I was not born the CEO of a
$1.5-billion company. You know that. I had to gain the trust of people
along the way, and I did it by implementing those six characteristics I
mentioned earlier. I did it by not hiding behind my business card and
title, and I did it by living what I espoused to my people. I set the bar
high for the company because I set the bar equally high for myself. To
me, the responsibility to stay as close to the frontlines as possible is
key. It’s critical. I would never ask anybody that works with me to do
something that I would not do myself, never. To build a business,
you’ve got to have humility; you’ve got to always be reminded of
where you came from. “Back to the beginning”— my simple little way
of reminding myself. Everybody can pick a different way of reminding
themselves. I choose to keep my pictures on the floor, not on the
walls, as you’ve seen yourself. Because in the beginning, as I remind
myself every day, I didn’t know if we’d make payroll. It’s a lifelong
effort to share with people your insecurities , and by letting somebody
know your insecurities you’re building trust.

Sheldon’s authenticity has been demonstrated to us in many ways. For example, he
has remarked to us many times that he doesn’t allow people to say they work “for
him,” but rather “with him.” Each of the employees we’ve met has said the same.
Indeed, his two executive assistants say they still get reprimanded by Sheldon any
time they tell a visitor to Belfor that they work for Sheldon. Sheldon still personally
signs every birthday card and writes notes in each one, even though Belfor now
employs more than 6,000 people. When Sheldon was the subject of the CBS television
show Undercover Boss in 2011, his compassion for his employees and his willingness
to do any job given to him was completely consistent with the compassion and
humility he’s demonstrated in our time with him. Sheldon’s authenticity comes in
large part because of his willingness to give his most valuable asset, his time , to his
employees and customers. It is because of his compassion for them, I believe that a
leader’s role in building trust is to garner what I call “all the time” relationships [his
emphasis]. Your business relationships, and not just your friendship relationships,
have to be real. You’ve got to believe that life is all about people. If you believe that
then you’re halfway there. So you have to want to go to a wedding. You have to want to
go to a kid’s graduation of one of your employees. You feel a loss when somebody
dies. You feel a joy and excitement when somebody’s born.

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A retirement party should be as important to you as the person retiring. I call these
“all the time” relationships, not what others think are just work relationships. I believe
a leader’s role in building trust is you have to feel that. “All the time” relationships are
what are important. I think leaders are made based on the relationships with people
that you have along the way. As I shared with you before, I’ve been accused of
“collecting people.” I’m not sure I love that term, but in its proper context, if you’re a
person lucky enough to want to do that, “collect people,” then you’re a leader, because
in your collecting people you’re going to gain as much as you give.

We think Sheldon will be in an excellent position to “collect more people” in the future.
His episode of Undercover Boss was the highest rated in the series’ three years, and
more than 6,000 people applied to work at Belfor in the weeks following the episode.


Consistent with others’ work on leadership, we believe that leaders build the ROCC
of Trust according to their individual talents and capabilities and focus on their
strengths. Other scholars have argued that leaders should be helped to identify,
develop, and leverage their unique strengths and talents. When leaders do so, they
help others identify and nurture their strengths; they build awareness of possibilities,
generate hope about the future, and encourage others to take courageous action to
become their hoped-for possible selves. They also can become more humble in the
process, because properly focusing on one’s own strengths requires acknowledging
others’ strengths, and just as importantly, recognizing one’s own weaknesses.

Sheldon Yellen told us that, on a recent conference call with all 140 heads of Belfor’s
business units worldwide, once all of them had assembled on the call, Sheldon got
on the phone and simply said to the group, “Be humble or get humbled.” After
several seconds of silence, one of the executives asked, “Is that it?” Sheldon replied,
“Yes,” and hung up. He was making the point to his managers that Belfor’s incredible
success, including rapid growth in revenue and earnings even during the very tough
economy since 2008, was no reason for them to become complacent. Sheldon’s
advice for leaders who need to become more humble is to recognizeother’s strengths.
Sheldon Yellen also chose to emphasize compassion in building trust with his
employees and his customers, forgiving employees who he could have easily fi red,
and, on his very first restoration job, buying Christmas presents for the children and
getting a hotel room for a family whose home had burned down right before
Christmas, even though nobody had told him to do so.

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The leaders profiled in this chapter have each faced adversity many, many times.
Their courage, humility, and authenticity enabled them to build trust with key
stakeholders, whether they were employees, union leaders, customers, or
franchisees. Individuals in leadership positions or aspiring to be leaders must
develop courage, humility, and authenticity so that they can find trustworthy others
and build trust with them to become better leaders.

1. Even if you don’t feel like you were born a leader, you can still become one

by improving your leadership skills and abilities.
2. Be courageous by having trust in others, admitting your mistakes, and

having confidence in the future.
3. Demonstrate humility by understanding yourself and being open to

feedback from others.
4. Others will know you are authentic when they see no difference between

your words and actions.

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Lonnie R. Morris, Jr. 4 :: ETHICAL LEADERSHIP

is an organizational behavior by LONNIE R. MORRIS, JR.
specialist with particular
expertise in leadership, ethics, INTRODUCTION: THE CASE FOR ETHICS
innovation, and organizational
culture. He is the President and Generally speaking, leaders are expected to operate from a foundation of high
Chief Leadership Officer for morality and ethical discipline. Their actions should be in accordance with productive
Griffin Rodgers & Associates, values and beliefs. It is from this leadership pedestal that ethical standards are
a leadership and organization expected to flow. Over time many have fallen from the leadership dais as a result of
development consulting firm. their own ethical loose footing. In the balancing act of social, judicial, cultural,
political, and economics challenges, it has been revealed that our leadership
protagonists sometimes moonlight as unethical, rule-breaking villains.

Recent workplace surveys show signs of ethical decline. Reports of ethical
misconduct are met with acts of retaliation. Fearful of losing their jobs, employees
are tempted to engage in unethical behaviors to meet unrealistic work expectations.
More people are describing their work cultures as ethically weak. Images of greed
and dishonesty are causing employees to lose confidence in their senior leaders.

Leaders often face ethical dilemmas brought on by unjust circumstances and
organizational hardships. Ethical challenges can be more complex than merely
choosing between right and wrong. Sometimes ethical conflict arises when what is
right for the leader is in direct conflict with what is right for the organization. In those
instances, the battle for ethical equilibrium is waged between the leader’s ethical ego
(personal righteousness) and the leader’s altruism (concern for others). Even leaders
with the high moral standards can approach ethical dilemmas with a situational
sensitivity. Leaders may behavior ethically in some situations and less ethically in
others. Becoming a better leader is about leading with ethics, inspiring followers to
apply a standard of moral evaluation, and creating a work environment that functions
on an ethical autopilot.

In many instances, leaders are driving sales, profits, and market share with a
vengeance. Yet they are coasting in neutral when it comes to ethics. When leaders are
passive or ambiguous about ethical standards, employees improvise. They may guess
at what behavior is appropriate. They may craft their own responses. Or perhaps they
follow suit with whatever questionable behavior they observe. Becoming a better
leader means actively modeling the principles of respect, service, justice, honesty,
and community while simultaneously coaching and monitoring that behavior in
others. This chapter explores what it means to be an ethical leader and the impact
ethical leadership can have at the individual, group, and organizational levels.

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Leadership is the social phenomenon of influencing others toward goal achievement.
When we examine leadership through the lens of ethics, we are searching for
behaviors that align with moral character and virtuousness. Our fascination with
morals dates back to the teachings of Aristotle when courage, generosity, honesty,
modesty, fairness and justice were among the traits attributed to a moral person.
It was this moral fabric that ordained someone as fit to live well in a community
amongst peers. Those classic virtues still apply in contemporary times. They are the
ethical standards by which we measure leaders seeking to live well amongst others
within their organizational communities.

Leaders with a propensity for ethics embody positive values, exhibit good moral
judgment, and apply both as active agents in their personal leadership philosophy.
Their keen sense of moral responsibility manifests through communication, action,
and decision-making. Some of these leadership drivers correspond with our
expectations of leaders in general. Ethical leaders model fairness by making
principled decisions, practicing impartiality, and taking responsibility for their own
actions. Ethical leaders model empowerment by actively engaging others in decision-
making, listening to others’ ideas, and supporting employee voice. Ethical leaders
model transparency by clarifying expectations, delineating performance targets, and
allowing open communication about individual and group goals. Ethical leaders
model people-orientation by showing genuine concern for others, supporting
subordinates and peers, and ensuring everyone’s needs are met. Other drivers of the
leadership experience are specifically correlated with leader virtue. Ethical leaders
model ethical guidance by communicating regularly about ethics in the workplace,
explaining the ethical expectations of employee behavior, and promoting ethical
conduct among the ranks. Ethical leaders model ethical awareness by considering
the impact of their work beyond the immediate environment, demonstrating care for
society at-large, and promoting internal and external sustainability.

The gift of ethical leadership comes wrapped in a bow of integrity. It is the unspoken
expectation that leaders operate from a platform of high morality and ethical
discipline. It is the consistency of words and deeds. It is the congruence of the moral
person and the work persona. Leading ethically is a great responsibility and a difficult
leadership task. However, when executed properly, the re-gift of ethical leadership
can positively affect individuals, groups, and the organizational as a whole.

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The propensity for ethical leadership has an internal barometer. With experience
leaders can develop an acute sense of self-awareness regarding their individual role
within the organization in relation to others. This awareness becomes a predictor of
the leader’s cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses within the organization. As
it matures, the leader develops a distinct commitment to organizational members
who share similar values. This metamorphosis is when ethical leadership begins to
take root. Leaders begin to see subordinates, peers, and superiors as an extension of
self. What was once a casual and figurative scan across the organization becomes
more reflective. It is an exercise akin to looking at oneself in the mirror. The
commitment to righteousness, fairness, and integrity is enhanced because the
leaders sees himself in others. The leader’s level of concern is raised when others
encounter issues of work injustice. Deviations from normatively ethical behavior are
deemed violations of trust. The communal needs of some are adopted as the
collective needs of all.

The act of leading ethically also has an external gauge of leader progress. Leadership
with an exhibited propensity for ethics can prove beneficial for the individual’s career
trajectory. There is a sense of egotism associated with leading ethically. A team
leader focused on driving her team to be the top company performer is indeed
concerned for others. But this drive also shines an impressive spotlight on her role
as the team leader. Leading her peers to this goal creates a gateway for upward
mobility. Bonuses, raises, promotions, and greater responsibilities are likely to
ensue. Additionally leaders who exhibit high levels of ethical leadership behavior can
stand out against ethically neutral work backgrounds. This attracts attention from
superiors and increases leader promotability.


Leaders with a high propensity for ethics embody principles associated with happiness
in the workplace such as honesty, trust, and fairness. Work groups that perceive their
leaders to be ethical experience a greater sense of collective well-being. The positive
emotional state of the work group is enhanced because individuals experience less
feelings associated with fear, anxiety, and anger. The transparent nature of ethical
leadership encourages regular communication within and between work groups. As a
result, interpersonal disputes decline and effectiveness thrives. The ethical leader’s
proclivity for open communication regarding performance objectives enables more
work groups to cross the norming-to-performing threshold. As a result, productivity

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soars. When ethical leadership is modeled, normatively appropriate and socially
responsible group behavior is an outcome. The work group develops a collective
conscientiousness that fuels interdependence, collective diligence and consolidated
effort. Ethical leadership paves the way for constructive group voice. Members readily
make suggestions for improvement, share new ideas, and problem solve. When ethical
leadership is modeled it positively influences feelings of group belongingness.
Individuals begin to openly and readily identify with the work group. In turn, work
groups develop a collective sense of pride with the association. Group behavior mimics
the ethical leadership behaviors modeled. Association with the group becomes a
source of social capital.


Ethical leadership has a cascading effect within organizations. Ethical leadership
behavior from the top of the organization influences behavior and actions throughout
the ranks. When senior-level managers exhibit strong moral character in their
intensions, actions, values, and visions, similar practices are embraced by mid-level
managers. Then mid-level managers pass along those associated behaviors and
actions to employees on the front lines. As ethical behavior flows through the
leadership ranks it permeates the organization.

This cascading effect is pivotal in creating ethical organizations. Organizations in
which ethical conduct is modeled, supported, and reinforced have work climates in
which ethical leaders thrive. Organizational leaders are the primary source for
ideology and core values associated with desired organizational outcomes. Thriving
ethical leadership promotes organizational integrity, organizational trust, cross-
functional collaboration, and risk-taking. When ethical leadership is modeled, it
influences how behavior is interpreted, how decisions are approached, and how
problems are solved across the organization. Since ethical leaders measure, control,
and reward ethical behavior, the organizational conscious develops in concert with
those standards. As organizational members emulate ethical leadership behavior, a
higher moral paradigm shepherds how behavior is interpreted, decisions are
approached, problems are solved, and crises are averted. Heightened sensitivity to
ethics and morality transcend individual and group performance. Members are aware
of potential ethical dilemmas and have a unified organizational understanding of how
to accommodate ethical concerns and how to solve problems within ethical
parameters. Altruism begets collegiality. Informal working relationships triumph.
Ethics codes are established. Ethics training is standardized. Members begin to

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assume personal responsibility for ethical challenges. They surrender personal
interests for the ethical interests of the organization. Ethical conflicts are readily
confronted. Ethical standards are upheld.
Ethical norms that develop from the infusion of ethical leadership into the organization
are important. These standards serve as a behavioral compass for organizational
members even in the absence of an ethical leader. Ethical organizational practices lead
to fiscal stability. Ethical organizations are successful organizations.

Becoming a better leader is broader than the typical performance measures.
Becoming a better leader is modeling better behavior. Leading with ethics means
folding personal morals into your leadership approach. Apply fairness in decision-
making. Empower employees by soliciting their input. Approach goal setting with
transparency so everyone is clear about where you are going and how to get there.
Consider all vantage points before taking action. Question how your decisions impact
the external environment. Actively engage in conversations about workplace ethics.
Morals, virtues, and ethics are critical to the workplace. The ethical leader should
be a reflection of the ethical person. The leadership influence should be one of
social responsibility and integrity. Leading with ethics is a catalyst for personal
growth. It positively impacts personal development and career trajectory. Ethical
leadership triggers positive group behavior. Under the influence of ethical leadership
group members experience stronger feelings of belongingness and begin to
associate group membership with social capital. Leaders who incorporate ethics
into the standard of how they operate witness how those standards being adopted
throughout the organization. Ethical behavior norms guide organization-wide
understanding of how to resolve ethical dilemmas.
The case for becoming a better leader in respect to ethics is simple. You can never
go wrong when you do the right thing.

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