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Effective Leaders

In: Business and Management

Submitted By adtownsend44
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gement Review 1979, Vol. 4, No. 2,215-224.

Task Design Determinants of Effective Leader Behavior^
RiCKYW. GRIFFIN University of Missouri—Columbia
The theoretical and empirical research literature on task design and path-goal theory of leadership is reviewed. It is suggested that task design and individual variables interact to form a construct called individual-task congruence. A model is then developed which depicts leader behavior as a moderating variable between individuai-task congruence and satisfaction and performance. There is an increasing body of theoretical and empirical behavioral science literature dealing with the design of work in formal organizations. Much of this literature is concerned with the diagnosis and description of existing jobs and/or the implementation of task design change programs for the purpose of improving organizational effectiveness. The rationale seems to be that if the needs and capabilities of an individual are matched with the expectations and requirements of a task, higher 9/els of satisfaction, motivation, and productivity .vill result (6). Most published research on task design, however, has not taken other organizational variables into consideration. The general model for contemporary task design research has investigated the moderating effect of certain variables on the relationship between task design and outcome variables such as satisfaction, performance, and commitment (2, 7, 8, 19, 22, 25, 26, 28, 29, 33). A few empirical studies exist, which indicate that the manner in which employees respond to their tasks may affect and be affected by other organizational factors (1, 3, 14, 21). One factor which may be espe'-lally crucial is the behavior of the individual's leader.
The author would like to thank Arthur G. Jago, Andrew D. -zilagyi, John M. Ivancevich, Robert T Keller, and Ronald J. Ebert for their comments on this paper. Portions of this paper were presented at the 10th Annuai Conference of the American 'istitute for Decision Sciences, St. Louis, 1978.
'^^^t>y the Academy ot Management 0363-7425

This argument may be viewed from two perspectives. First, the leader's behavior may serve to structure the task in certain ways. For example, leaders who closely supervise, monitor, and evaluate the performance of subordinates may be affecting the design of particular tasks. They could be decreasing the amount of autonomy and increasing the amount of feedback available to the incumbents. Second, the degree to which the needs and capabilities of employees are consistent with the requirements of the tasks may influence the type of relationship they would prefer to have with their leader. For example, if the employee's skill level, training, and expertise are not sufficient to meet the demands of the job, then the subordinate may looR to the leader for structure and guidance. On the other hand, if the job incumbent's capabilities exceed those required for task accomplishment, then the employees probably will not require assistance from their leader to perform effectively. Instead, the subordinate may prefer social support from the leader, in addition to that available from peers, to counteract the feelings of frustration and boredom encountered in the performance of a simple, routine task. What is needed, then, is some understanding beyond the bivariate individual-task relationship. More specifically, additional understanding is needed to relate task design, leader behavior, and individual variables to one another in a logical and coherent theoretical framework. The development

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of such a model is the primary objective of this paper.

Review of the Literature
Requisite Task Attributes In one of the first empirical investigations dealing with the importance of individual differences in the design of work. Turner and Lawrence (31) found workers from small towns or rural environments expressed higher satisfaction with expanded, high scope tasks. Urban workers expressed higher satisfaction with more specialized, low scope tasks. Hulin and Blood (12) explained these findings of Turner and Lawrence (31) by suggesting that urban workers would tend to be alienated from traditional middle class work norms. They concluded that the higher the alienation from middle class work norms, the weaker the relationship between high scope tasks and employee satisfaction. Hackman and Lawler (7) extended the basic framework developed by Hulin and Blood (12) by empirically testing the hypothesis that individual differences moderate the task scope-employee reaction relationship. They did not focus on demographic and cultural variables as moderators. Rather, Hackman and Lawler suggested that the most critical moderating variable between task scope and employee reactions might be higher-order need strength. This variable, based on Maslow's (16) need hierarchy, relates to the individual's desire for personal growth, self-actualization, and development. Results obtained by Hackman and Lawler (7) generally supported their hypothesis. Job Scope — Individual Response Relationship The research by Turner and Lawrence (31), Hulin and Blood (12), and Hackman and Lawler (7) provides substantial understanding of the job scopeindividual response relationship. Hackman and Oldham (8) have recently formalized this relationship into a job characteristics theory. It suggests that five task dimensions lead to the presence of three critical psychological states which, in turn, lead to such outcomes as high internal work motivation, high performance, high satisfaction, and low absenteeism and turnover. Further, the linkages are moderated by individual growth need strength

(i.e., the proposed relationships are expected for individuals who desire personal growth and development but not for individuals without such desires). In essence, the theory represents a refinement of the original Hackman and Lawler (7) model Empirical support for the theory is presented b y Hackman and Oldham (8). Based on an in-depth review of these and other studies. Pierce and Dunham (20) reach two primaiv conclusions pertaining to task design. First, the dimensionality and scope of jobs varies across settings. Some jobs can be characterized as having high degrees of variety, autonomy, feedback a d n other dimensions, while other jobs have relatively lower degrees of the same or similar dimensions. Second, different individuals respond to these task stimuli in different ways. Some people are m r oe satisfied performing a high scope task, while others prefer a routine, low scope task. The research evidence seems to indicate that this variation among individuals is based to some extent on a psychological variable roughly corresponding to the individual's desire for personal growth, developnnent, and fulfillment. Matching People and Tasks Ideally, organizations should attempt to assign employees with a strong desire for personal growth and development to complex, challenging, high scope tasks. Such an assignment would, presumably, allow these employees to expand their capabilities and, to some extent, satisfy their higher-order needs. Alternatively, employees without a strong desire for personal growth would perform simple, routine, low scope tasks which would not be particularly challenging. Because of imperfections in selection, training, and development techniques, however, individual needs and job characteristics will not always be properly matched. Hence, in a y n particular organization, it is likely that there will b e some employees with a desire for personal growth and development performing high scope tasks a d n others performing low scope tasks. Similarly, there will also be some employees without strong higher order needs performing both types of tasks. It would be naive to assume that individuals i each of the four situations described above would respond to work place stimuli in the same manner.

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Because the most basic individual-organization relationship is probably that between the person and the task, the nature of this relationship will probably have a direct impact on the manner in which the employees respond to other organizational factors, sjch as the leader. Since the leader is generally responsible for optimizing the productivity and satisfaction of subordinates, the interaction between the individual and the leader is of utmost concern. Further, the appropriate nature of this relationship could be dictated by the manner in which the individual responds to the job. That is, appropriate leader behavior may be contingent on the individual's congruence with the job.
Leader Effectiveness

will lead to goal accomplishment and valued rewards. Hence, the leader should be concerned with clarifying the paths to goal attainment. The theory has been revised and extended by House (9), House and Dessler (10), and House and Mitchell (11). In the current version of the theory, four types of leader behavior are identified. They are: a Directive leadership — characterized by a leader who lets subordinates know what is expected of them, gives specific guidance as to what should be done and how it should be done, makes his or her part in the group understood, schedules work to be done, maintains definite standards of performance, and asks that group members follow standard rules and regulations. b Supportive leadership — characterized by a leader who is friendly and approachable, who shows concern for the status, well-being and needs of subordinates, does things to make the work more pleasant, and treats members as equals. c Participative leadership — characterized by a leader who consults with subordinates, solicits their suggestions, and takes these suggestions into consideration before making a decision. d Achievement-oriented leadership — characterized by a leader who sets challenging goals, expects subordinates to perform at their highest level, continuously seeks improvement in performance and shows a high degree of confidence that the subordinates will assume responsibility, put forth effort, and accomplish challenging goals.

In attempting to relate leader behavior and task design variables in one model, a conceptually uselul approach would be to utilize a contemporary leadership model incorporating task-related concepts. One such model is the path-goal theory of leader effectiveness (9,10,11). House and Mitchell (11) suggest that appropriate leader behavior is contingent upon, among other things, the structure ofthe subordinates' tasks. A weakness in the theory is the assumption that individual response to task Jructure will be constant for all employees. More oecificaily. House and Mitchell (11) assume that ^ployees performing highly unstructured (i.e., nigh scope) jobs will uniformly require guidance and direction by their leader, and that people working at highly structured (i.e., low scope) tasks will need social support. The research pertaining to task design suggests that such uniform response to task structure is unlikely, however. For this reason, modifications are necessary for the path-goal theory to be consistent with other research evidence. Attention will now be directed at presenting the basic framework of this theory. Path-Goai Theory of Leadership The initial development of the path-goal theory of leadership can be attributed to Evans (5). He sug'^ests that leaders will be effective by making re•3rds available to subordinates and by making these rewards contingent upon performance. Further, a primary function of the leader involves clarifying for the subordinate the kinds of behavior that
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The theory asserts that the appropriate form of behavior depends on a variety of contingency factors, including task structure. Because the path-goal theory of leader effectiveness is a relatively new model, there have been very few empirical tests of the entire theory. Most reported studies have focused on the directive and supportive components of leader behavior, and empirical support has been mixed (4, 10, 26, 30). In a recent review, Schriesheim and Kerr (23) concluded that the theory is internally consistent, but that external consistency has yet to be demonstrated. Specifically, they suggest that steps must be taken to more clearly describe the nature of expected interrelationships among variables. One obvious modification needed is a treatment of task variables consistent with the task design literature.

A Model of Task, Individual and Leader Behavior Interactions
Based on the task design and path-goal theory research summarized above, it is possible to develop a conceptual model which serves to integrate the two literatures. First, a framework describing individual-task congruence will be developed. Second, the path-goal theory of leadership will be related to this framework to develop a model of task, individual, and leader behavior interrelationships. Task scope may be conceptualized in a number of different ways, although accepted procedure has been to combine perceptual measures of various High Scope
High scope task

dimensions into one overall index of task scope(24 27, 29). For conceptual clarity, the framework to b e developed here will view task design as varying along a high scope-low scope continuum. A h h i g scope task is defined as a job possessing relatively large degrees of conceptually appropriate task dimensions. Oonversely, a low scope task can b e described as having low levels of these same dimensions. The psychological variable that m d r o eates the task scope-individual response relationship is usually termed growth need strength (8).|| can also be conceptualized as a continuous variable, with some people having high growth n e ed strength and others having a low growth n e ed

High scope task Low growth need individual Level of congruence: Low
CELL 1 CELL3 CELL2 CELL4

High growth need individual Level of congruence: High Nature of the Task Low scope task High growth need individual Level of congruence: Low

Low scope task Low growth need individual Level of congruence: High

Low Scope

High Growth Need Strength

Low Growth Need Strength

Nature of the Individual Figure 1 Levels of Individual - Task Congruence

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:rength, with still others varying in between. Using the concepts of job scope and growth-need •ength, a conceptual model can be developed to relate varying degrees of one concept to varying degrees of the other. For the sake of clarity, the two variables will be described as being dichotomous. It should be recognized, however, that this treatment represents a simplification of two fairly complex constructs and that they are, in fact, continuous. By conceptually treating the variables as dichotomous, it is possible to then describe jobs as being either high or low scope, in a discrete sense. In a similar fashion, employee growth need strength can also be described as high or low. This classification allows the description of four possible situations, defined by high versus low growth need strength and high versus low task scope. These four situations can be depicted grapically as in Figure 1. It can be argued that each of these four situations defines a different form of individual-task congruence. Individual-task congruence will exist when the needs of the individual match the motivational characteristics of the task being performed. Hence, two forms of congruence and two forms of incongruence can be described. The two forms of congruence exist when employee growth needs are high and the task is high in scope and when employee growth needs are low and the task is low in scope. Similarly, two forms of incongruence exist when growth needs are high and the task is low in scope and when growth needs •re low and the task is high in scope. Ideally, only cell 1 and cell 4 situations wpuld exist in organizations. The congruence between the individual and the task would always be high. This match does not always occur, however, for two reasons. First, selection, training and development, and other human resource techniques are subject to error. Thus, people are assigned to tasks for which, in a psychological sense, they are over or under-qualified. Second, existing jobs may be redesigned in accordance with behavioral science prescriptions, thereby altering the level of individual-task congruence in either a positive or negative direction. Since the interaction between the employee and the task is probably the most important relationship within an organization, varying degrees of congru-

ence may affect the nature of other employeeorganization relationships, particularly the subordinate-leader relationship. That is, leader behavior may moderate the relationship between individualtask congruence and organizationally relevant outcome variables. Attention will now be directed at relating the various individual-task congruence situations described by Figure 1 to conceptually and/ or empirically appropriate leader behaviors. Following the conceptual development, specific propositions will be derived.

Cell 1: High Scope TaskIndividual Congruence Employees in the cell 1 situation are described as highly motivated and having a strong desire for higher-order need satisfaction. These employees will tend to expect some degree of this need satisfaction to derive from the performance of a complex, nonstructured, high scope task for which they feel responsible, perceive as significant, and are aware of expected performance (7). The job described by the cell 1 situation presumably allows these feelings. Hence, the individual will tend to derive intrinsic satisfaction from the task itself and to become ego-involved in the performance of the task. Two forms of leader behavior from path-goal theory appear to be appropriate for this situation. First, achievement-oriented leader behavior is expected to motivate employees to strive for higherlevels of productivity and to have more confidence in their ability to meet the challenging demands of their job. It follows then that this form of leader behavior may be appropriate for the cell 1 situation. Further, participative leader behavior would also be appropriate. Mitchell (17) suggests that such behavior should serve to clarify organizational contingencies. It should allow subordinates to select goals which are personally meaningful, allow the subordinate more control over the task, and facilitate ego-involvement on the part of the subordinate. If the assumption is made that employees with higher-order growth needs would also be internal in orientation and desirous of autonomy and self-control, then the research of Vroom (32) and Mitchell et al. (18) further supports this line of reasoning.

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Cell 2: High Scope TaskIndividual Congruence Employees who have low growth need strength and who are performing high scope, complex, and challenging tasks will not have a high level of congruence with their work. For this reason, they are not likely to be capable of or want to structure their own activities. Rather, such an individual would tend to not want to become ego-involved with the task and would look to the leader for task structure with the hope of making the high scope task less complex and psychologically demanding. The cell 2 situation is characterized by subordinates performing high scope tasks and who, either because of lack of ability or motivation, cannot cope with such an ambiguous situation by structuring their own activities. The function of the leader here would appear to be to provide task structure by planning, organizing, coordinating, directing, and controlling the work of subordinates. Such behavior is analogous to directive leadership. It is expected, then, that this form of behavior by the leader in the cell 2 situation would lead to favorable outcomes. Cell 3: Low Scope TaskIndividual Incongruence In the cell 3 situation employees with high growth need strength are performing low scope, simple, and routine tasks. These individuals will tend to look to their job as one source of need satisfaction, but will find these needs unfulfilled due to the nature of their task. Their reaction will probably be frustration and dissatisfaction. Research evidence (10, 11) suggests that employees who perform this type of frustrating and dissatisfying work will respond favorably to supportive leader behavior. This form of leader behavior focuses on the leader being friendly and approachable and exhibiting concern for the well-being of subordinates. This supportive behavior will probably not eliminate feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction; however, the dysfunctional consequences of these feelings can, perhaps, be minimized. Cell 4: Low Scope TaskIndividual Congruence In this situation, a low growth need strength employee is performing a low scope task. Hence, the

level of individual-task congruence is high. Directive leader behavior will probably be inappropriate for here, since the employee will not need the j b o structured. Similarly, supportive behavior will a o l s be unnecessary, since the employee is not likely t o be frustrated or dissatisfied. Participative ad n achievement-oriented leader behaviors are a v do cated when the employee is ego-involved with t e h task and is deriving intrinsic satisfaction from it Since these characteristics are not descriptive o f the cell 4 situation, these forms of leader behavior would be inappropriate. Since directive, supportive, participative, a d n achievement-oriented leader behaviors are all u n necessary in this situation, an alternate formi leader behavior may be appropriate. One implici assumption of the path-goal theory (and most oh r te widely recognized leadership models as well) is thai the various forms of leader behavior described b| the theory are collectively exhaustive. That is, t theory assumes that a leader must behave in either a directive, supportive, participative, or achievement-oriented manner. This common characteristic of most leadership models has also been noted b y Schriesheim and Kerr (23). The cell 4 task is of a routine nature and there Isa lack of negative consequences on the part ofthe employee as a result of this routineness. Because of the low level of ego-involvement on the part of t e h subordinate described by the cell 4 situation, n n oe of the leader behaviors suggested by path-goal theory are conceptually appropriate. What maybe appropriate is a form of minimum-interference leader behavior, whereby the leader monitors p r eformance but doesn't actively supervise the e m ployee. Little or no interaction between the leader and subordinate would be required as long as a e dquate levels of performance are maintained. Hence, this form of behavior might be termed ma/ntenance leader behavior. I am indebted to ArthurG. Jago for suggesting this term and assisting in its conceptual development. Maintenance leader behavior is similar to t concept of "substitutes for leadership" (13). K r er argues that, for a number of reasons, a subordinate may be able to perform independently of the leader and, therefore, not require supervision. Factors a c counting for this independence may include \nW

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ctask satisfaction, policies and procedures, edu^^tion, and experience. The concept is also some,hat similar to "laissez-faire behavior" (15) which describes a leader who is essentially a nonparticipant. Maintenance behavior is an independent construct with unique features distinguishing it from ooth substitutes for leadership and laissez-faire

leadership. It is not a lack of leadership. On a direct basis, a subordinate in the cell 4 situation will probably not require directive, supportive, participative, or achievement-oriented behavior on the part of his/her leader. This does not mean, however, that no supervision is required. Rather, the leader in this situation may find it appropriate to maintain a low level of involvement with her/his subordinates. If

High satisfaction

-

High performance i Achievemem Oriented anc Participative Leadership

Directive Leadership

High scope task High growth needs Level of congruence: High
CELL 1 CELL3

High scope task Low growth needs Level of congruence: Low
CELL 2 CELL4

Low scope task High growth needs Level of congruence: Low

Low scope task Low growth needs Level of congruence: High

Supportive Leadership

Maintenance Leadership

r .

1

High satisfaction High performance Figure 2 Relationships Among Individual, Task Design, and Leader Behavior

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performance and/or satisfaction problems arise, the leader may, however, intervene in a directive and/or supportive fashion to deal with the problem. Once the deficiency has been corrected, the supervisor reverts back to maintenance leadership. This form of leader behavior appears to be conceptually appropriate for the cell 4 situation. This relationship, along with those of other leader behaviors, is depicted graphically in Figure 2. The associations suggested in Figure 2 can now be stated in the form of propositions.

Conclusions and Propositions
Both satisfaction and performance are appropriate outcome variables which should be expected to follow the proper matching of individual and job characteristics. Hackman and Oldham (8), for example, suggest that a proper match between these variables will lead to high internal work motivation, high quality work performance, and high satisfaction with work. Further, the general thrust of leadership research has been to investigate ways in which leader behavior can serve to enhance the same variables. Hence, it can be argued that proper combinations of individual, task, and leader behavior variables should have a positive impact on satisfaction and performance. Based on the theoretical and empirical research reviewed earlier and summarized in Figure 2,1 would make the following propositions. a In the high scope task-individual congruence situation (cell 1), achievement-oriented and participative leader behaviors will be positively related to' high levels of performance and satisfaction. b In the high scope task-individual incongruence situation (cell 2), directive leader behavior will be positively related to high levels of performance and satisfaction. c In the low scope task-individual incongruence situation (cell 3), supportive leader behavior will be positively related to high levels of performance and satisfaction. d In the low scope task-individual congruence situation (cell 4), maintenance leader behavior will be positively related to high levels of performance and satisfaction. The theoretical significance of this model may be described from both task design and leader beha-

vior perspectives. As discussed earlier, interactions between task design and individual variables do n t o occur in isolation. Instead, other factors such asthe behavior of the leader may intervene or otherwise influence the outcomes of any particular task d e sign-individual relationship. Therefore, the propositions may be viewed as an extension of the b s ai c model currently used for task design research. In addition, the model may also be described a a s theoretical modification of the path-goal theory o f leadership. This theory suggests that appropriate leader behavior (i.e., that intended to enhance s b uordinate satisfaction and performance) is contingent, in part, on the structure of the task b i g en performed. An implicit assumption of the theory is that all people will respond to varying degrees o f task structure in the same way. The primary thrust of current job design research, however, has b e en to demonstrate that individual charcteristics m d oerate the relationship between job and outcome variables. Therefore, this model can be viewed a s an attempted integration of job design literature a d n the path-goal theory of leadership. The practical significance of the model may b e described from an organizational change perspective. Hackman (6) has suggested that a task design change effort offers the opportunity, and may e e vn require, that other organizational changes be initiated. Specifically, if the relationship between the t s ak and the incumbent is changed, it may be necessary for the leader to alter behavior in order to be m r oe consistent with subordinate needs and expectations (assuming, of course, that the leader's behavior was appropriate before the change). Another feature of the model which should b e noted concerns the level of analysis. Most leadership models (23) focus on group-level processes in their consideration of leadership. The model developed here, however, suggests that leader behavior may more adequately be described at an individual level. This is consistent with the comments oi Schriesheim and Kerr (23). A final point to be considered is the possibility that the various forms of leader behavior included in the model may be appropriate for more than one cell. This possibility exists primarily because the research evidence available pertaining to leader behavior necessitates post hoc interpretation of slud-

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,g designed to assess other models of leadership. '•^e linkages suggested by this model have not een empirically tested. Such an empirical test ight weli indicate other relationships among task, idividual, and leader behavior variables not con- dered here. The model does seem consistent in light of pre-

vious research and tenable as a framework for future empirical investigations. If it is empirically supported, future research imperatives may dictate the inclusion of other organizational variables, such as the reward system and work group, into an even more comprehensive framework.

REFERENCES
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27. Steers, R. M., andD. G. Spencer, "The Role of Achievement Motivation in Job Design," Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 62 (1977), 472-479. 28. Stone, E.F. "The Moderating Effect of Work-Related Values on the Job Scope-Job Satisfaction Relationship," Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, Vol. 15 (1976),

Path-Goal Theory of Leadership in a Health Care Enviw, ment," Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 17 ( 9 4 17^ 622-634.

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32 Vroom, V. H. "Some Personality DeterminantsoftheEllecs

of Participation," Journai of Abnormal Sociai Psychob Vol. 59(1959), 322-327. 33 Wanous, J. P. "Individual Differences and Reactions lo J t o Characteristics," Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 5 (1974), 616-622.

Ricky W. Griffin is Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Received 3/16/78

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...Makes an Effective Leader? 4 Communication 4 Motivation 5 Vision 5 Decisiveness 5 Leadership Behavior 6 Scenario 1: One-on-One 6 Born or Made 8 The Team Consensus 9 Appendix A: Leadership Traits 11 Appendix B: References 12 ODT Map As shown above, the Outcome-Directed Thinking (ODT) is a way for an organization and or an individual to be able to work together towards a common objective. ODT was created for leaders to get things done by effectively utilizing its resources and motivating its employees to reach its objectives. To do this, we have created an ODT map to create an action plan and accomplish our team objectives. This plan is designed as a motivational plan of action to accomplish our positive outcome statement “Create the most complete and convincing paper about leadership qualities”. What Makes an Effective Leader? If you ask an individual what makes an effective leader, more often than not you will probably not receive exactly the same answer. Everybody interprets this question differently; it could be due to past experiences or knowledge you have acquired during your career of what a leader should be. One of the most debatable questions regarding leadership is, is a leader born or made? We will reveal this later in the discussion, but what we can say is there are so many traits mentioned when defining a leader. We have decided that these below make a significant impact on leadership and what it takes to be defined as an effective......

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...White, Michael 03 FEB 2014 An Effective Leader All though-out history we have seen countless leaders in history books, movies leading men into war, running countries or on the local city council. Anybody can be a leader but few can be a good leader, there is not a formula of what a good leader consists of because it is found in a variety of leadership styles, but in these varying types of leadership styles you will find a set amount of traits that each leader possesses confidence, integrity, communication, interpersonal tact, and most importantly the ability to get results. `A leader must be confident in all aspects from making decisions to speaking to your platoon, the ability to be confident in your leadership ability will pay dividends in earning the command and respect of your troops. Having confidence in yourself as a leader will enable you to make better decisions rather than second guessing yourself and being timid. In the military where failure is never an option being confident in your leadership style is up most important. The integrity of a leader will determine how long he will be in power as a leader. A leader without integrity does not have the trust of his soldiers which creates weak links in platoon. Without integrity amongst soldiers, there is not trust, and how can one expect a soldier to fight and die with and for their brothers if they do not trust one another. The Army values integrity so highly that it is one of the Army’s values for all......

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...The Sanctions Debate and the Logic of Choice David A. Baldwin debate over whether economic sanctions "work" is mired in a scholarly limbo. One writer contends that recent international relations scholarship has promoted optimism about the utility of such measures and sets out to challenge this trend} while another notes the pessimism that "pervades the sanctions literature" and proceeds to argue that it is unjustified. 2 A third scholar cites the sanctions literature as an example of fruitless academic debate with little policy relevance.3 Such divergent readings of the scholarly literature are often explained by differences in ideology or fundamentally different theoretical orientations. This does not seem to be the case with respect to the sanctions debate. Under appropriate circumstances, it is quite possible for liberals, neoliberals, realists, neorealists, or globalists to argue in favor of using economic sanctions. If the sanctions debate is bogged down, the explanation does not seem to lie in the essentially contested nature of the subject matter. A second potential explanation is that scholars are talking past one another because they ask different questions, use different concepts, and set the discussion in different analytical contexts. In short, they are talking about different things. This article explores the second explanation. The basic paradox at the heart of the sanctions debate is that policymakers continue to use sanctions with......

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