Self Leadership

Is it possible for people to lead themselves? An increasing body of research suggests that many can. Proponents of self leadership propose that there are a set of processes through which individuals control their own behavior. And effective leaders (or what advocates lie to call super leaders) help their followers to lead themselves. They do this by developing leadership capacity in others and nurturing followers as they no longer need to depend on formal leaders for direction and motivation.

How do leaders create self-leaders? The following have been suggested:

1. Model self leadership: Practice self-observation, setting challenging personal goals, self-direction and self-reinforcement/then display these behaviors and encourage others to rehearse and then produce them.
2. Encourage employee to create self set goals: Having quantitative, specific goals is the most important art of self leadership.
3. Encourage the use of self rewards to strengthen and increase desirable behavior. In contrast self punishment should be limited only to occasions when the employee has been dishonest or destructive.
4. Create positive thought patterns: Encourage employees to use mental imagery and self talk to further stimulate self motivation.
5. Create a climate of self leadership: Redesign the work to increase the natural rewards of a job and focus on these naturally rewarding features of work to increase motivation.
6. Encourage self criticism: Encourage individuals to be critical their own performance.

The underlying assumption behind self leadership is that people are responsible, capable, and able to exercise initiative without the externals constraints of bosses, rules, or regulation. Given the proper support, individuals can monitor and control their own behavior.

The importance of self leadership has increased with the expanded popularity of teams. Empowered, self managed teams need individual who are themselves self directed. Management can’t expect individuals who have spent their organizational lives under boss centered leadership to suddenly adjust to self managed teams. Therefore, training in self leadership is an excellent means to help employees make the transition from dependence to autonomy.

This statement is false. There is no evidence to support the myth that men make better leaders than women, and there is evidence suggesting just the opposite. Through the late 1980s, the common belief regarding leader and leadership effectiveness was that men made better leaders than women. This stereotype was predicted on the belief that men were inherently better skilled of leadership due to a stronger task focus, lower emotionally and a greater propensity to be directive.

In the 1990s this male advantage stereotype was replaced with one arguing that there was a female advantage. This view evolved from studies that showed female leaders, when rated by their peers, underlings, and bosses, scored higher than their male counterparts on key dimensions of leadership including goals setting motivating others, fostering communication, producing high quality work, listening to others and mentoring. Moreover, it was agued that when they rely more on a democratic leadership style they encourage participation, share power and information, nurture followers and lead through inclusion and that this style matched well with the contemporary organization’s need for flexibility teamwork trust and information sharing. Males it was argued were more likely to use directive command-and-control style that worked better when organizations emphasized rigid structures individualism control and secrecy.

The most recent assessment of the evidence concludes that women actually have a leadership advantage. Although the differences are fairly small, meaning that there is a great deal of overlap between males and females in their leadership styles women do have on average a slight advantage. A recent review of 45 companies found that female leaders were more transformational than male leaders. These authors concluded. These data attest to the ability of women to perform very well in leadership roles in contemporary organizations.