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Motivation, Leadership and Delegation


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Motivation, Leadership and Delegation
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Traditional Perspective: Principles of Management

Motivation, Leadership and Delegation

Text Box: This chapter includes 

• Basic understanding of the different theories explaining motivation
• Guidelines for managers to motivate their staff
• Leadership as a key function of a manager
• Delegation as a modern managerial tool
• Case studu about the right style of leadership

Motivation derives from the term ‘mouere’ meanings to move. It implies taking action and the effort and energy required to do so. In order to get the best out of people at work, it is necessary to learn what draws people to do the things that they do and how can such energy be managed.

Professor Kakabadse and his colleagues argue that, ‘not only does the manager of the group have to consider the objectives to be achieved and the means and resources available to achieve them, but also he has to raise the level of motivation of each individual in the group’ (1987; 120).

Motivation is a complex subject, it concerns the individual’s needs, incentives, perceptions and their expectations. Mullins (1993) suggests that people’s behaviour is determined by what motivates them, and that their performance is a product of both ability and motivation

Definition of Performance

Performance = function (ability  x motivation)


A manager in order to improve the work of the project or the organisation as a whole has to pay attention to the level of motivation of the members. This requires directing their energy and combined efforts towards achieving the goals of the project. Moreover, since motivation is influenced by many variables, managers have to understand and identify what the needs and expectations of the people are and how they can be motivated.

Approaches to Motivation

There are basically three approaches to motivation, these are concerned with

meeting the needs of people

providing the right incentives at work

identifying the people’s expected outcome from their effort and contribution at work

Need Theory

Professor Maslow believed that there are five levels of needs which are hierarchical in relation to one another. These are: Physiological, Security, Social, Self esteem and self - actualisation. Maslow believed that the ascending nature of these needs suggests that each level of needs must be reasonably satisfied before other levels are considered.

Diagram : Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Evolving need requiring fairly constant attention

Step 5


(eg challenging job)

Step 4


(eg job title)

Step 3


(eg compatible work group)

Step 2


(eg job security)

Step 1


(eg work conditions)

What are the needs of the individuals?

Each lower order need must be satisfied before the next higher order need assumes dominance

When an individual need becomes satisfied, it declines in importance and the need at the next level of the hierarchy increases in importance

When the individual moves up to the highest level need, satisfaction of this need increases in importance (self - actualisation)

The number and variety of needs increases as an individual’s psychological development takes place.

Incentive Theory

Hertzberg (1964) argued that, it is not only the needs of the individual which must be satisfied, other external influences must also be considered. Realistically, managers have in their possession only certain resources or abilities in order to provide incentives for their employees. Therefore it is important to select staff with needs which can be satisfied and whilst paying attention to the ‘motivators’ and at the same time attempt to reduce or minimise the dissatisfying factors at work.

It is suggested that there are two distinct groups of factors to which managers have to pay attention in order to sufficiently motivate their employees. These are:

Maintenance/hygiene factors


Hygiene Factors

Maintenance factors refer to the intrinsic aspects of the job. These factors, whilst they cannot act as the main motivators, they protect the individual from dissatisfaction. These include:

company policy and administration



interpersonal relations; and

physical working conditions


According to Professor Hertzberg, while it is true that not all people are motivated either extrinsically or intrinsically, research indicates that internal drives of the individual can play an important part in their motivation towards their work. These are:



work itself

responsibility; and


Analoui (1997) supports this view and added that attention ought to be paid to both sets of factors simply because in different cultural and contextual settings, people may show preference for one or more of the factors. Managers have to realise

The importance and limitations of money as a motivator

The Manager can create the right conditions for staff to be motivated more effectively

Personal goals must be identified. They may include:

A need to feel sense of achievement

Recognition for good work

Advancement and promotion

Participation in decision making

Increased responsibility

Freedom to plan and organise own work

Challenge and personal growth

Expectancy Theory

Do individuals exercise a choice of behaviour? Do they consider the optimal reward which might be obtained by following a particular course of action? Professors Vroom and Deci (1977) argue that, yes, individuals do weight up the probabilities of success when adopting alternative courses of action and then choose the behaviour which is likely to produce most options as well as ensuring the greatest reward.

These principles are;

People show preferences for different outcomes

People have certain expectations with regards to a particular action, outcome or incentive offered to them.

People can distinguish between successful and unsuccessful behaviours

Peoples’ behaviour is determined by their preferences and their expectations at the time of their decision for action.

Guidelines for Managers

What can you do as a manager to motivate your staff more effectively?

Try to identify and understand the needs and personal goals of your staff. Beware of your assumptions, which may be false and misleading.

Remember that money is not the only motivator. Many other rewards which you influence may be more effective than money in getting your staff to work harder.

Set your staff targets, which are realistic and achievable but also stretch ability. If possible involve subordinates in setting their own targets.

Always recognise achievement by praise or some other reward.

Do not alter targets without consulting with the staff concerned. If changes are necessary these should be agreed jointly.

Harness the strength of the group. Group pressures can affect motivation positively and negatively. Involving your staff as a group in making decisions will strengthen commitment.

Keep your staff informed about what is going on in the organisation.

(see the case study at the end of the chapter)

Leadership in Organisations

Many business and project failures can be traced back to ineffective leadership. Since a manager's performance is related to other individuals and group activities, it is, by and large, agreed that leadership is an aspect of a manager's job. Leadership in management may occur at all levels in an organisation and the quality of the manager's performance is directly related to his management of the performance of his/her subordinates. In this way leadership is viewed as a process of influencing people towards the achievement of a given goal. This enables us to identify three common features which most leaders (managers) share. These are as follows:

a)    Leadership is a process

b)   It occurs in a social context

c)    It is concerned with the achievement of given, implied or unconscious goals and objectives

Studies in Leadership:

Leadership as a subject has been the concern from time immemorial. However, the most notable attempts can be traced back to 1900 and the assumption that leaders were born and therefore the qualities of leadership are intransmutable. Nowadays, it is believed that successful leaders possess knowledge and skills of the kind that enables them to diagnose people and tasks in a given situation and furthermore, they are able to modify their style appropriately to the specific needs of the situation in which they find themselves.

Approaches to Leadership:

Although studies of leadership often create conflicting results, in order to gain a substantial understanding of leadership, three broad areas of concern are identifiable.

The Traditional Approach that attempts to provide acceptable explanations as to how an individual happens to become a leader, (e.g. Trait Theories).

The Behavioural Approach, which is more concerned with how leaders (managers) behave when involved in managing situations (e.g. Classical/Human Relation Approach); and

The Contingency Approach, (situational) which is concerned with understanding how different situations can be effectively managed by adopting different styles of leadership.

Traditional Approach

These studies initially were concerned with the characteristics of good leadership. It is usually implied that factors such as personal qualities (age, intelligence, experience) or personal traits (extroversion and dominance) play a determinant part in the making of the leaders. This characterises the ways in which charismatic leaders were viewed. As we move away from this position which stipulates the inherent and unique qualities of the individuals, the traditions in general, customs and ways of life, in particular, are viewed as determinant factors for leadership. In this way it is the normative procedure, which creates the need for a situation in which its occupant is a leader, (for example, a chief). Lastly, with the increased complexity of the organisation structures, it is believed that leaders are chosen by the nature of the role relative position with the hierarchical structure of the organisation. It is the accumulated body of rules and regulation which stipulates the presence of a hierarchy of roles and the organisation status of its occupants. Therefore, it is believed that what makes an individual a manager or a subordinate, is their relative importance of the position, which he or she may occupy in the hierarchy.

Behavioural Approach

The advocators of this approach turned their attentions to the behavioural aspects of leadership. That is, how a leader behaves and, more importantly, how his/her behaviour is influenced by the underlying assumptions that he or she holds concerning the nature of people, organisations and work. Therefore, it was argued that the emphasis must be placed on the interaction between leaders and their subordinates. Subordinates work better for managers who use a certain style of leadership behaviour than they will for others who employ different styles.

Managerial Styles: Another significant contribution, is that of Tannenbaum and Schmidt (1973). They identified two styles, namely Authoritarian and Democratic, which were viewed by these authors as the two ends of the same continuum. They suggested that there is a range of styles available to the leaders (managers) and this can vary from task centred style to an almost participative (people centred) style.

These are as follows:

Manager tells: Authoritarian style, subordinate role is to follow.

Manager sells: Still in control and as decision-maker likes to attract the willingness and compliance of subordinates.

Manager tests: Still in charge, reasons the right to accept or refuse and provides an alternative.

Manager consults: Still reserves the right. Information from subordinate can be incorporated into the final solution.

Manager joins: Totally participative; do it together.

Diagram : Continuum of leadership styles

The manager tells sells tests consults joins

Authoritarian Continuum of leadership styles Democratic

Managerial Grid: Black and Mouton have also offered a range of styles which a manager can adopt. They identified two dimensions 'Concern for production' and 'Concern for people' which were arranged as two dimensions for a grid. Each dimension constituted a nine point scale. The five identified styles are as follows:

Styles of leadership

Concern for task

Concern for people

Task Management

High (9)

Low (1 )

Team Management

High (9)

High (9)

Middle of the road

Medium (5)

Medium (5)

Country club management

Low (1 )

High (9)

Improvised management (Apathetic)

Medium (1

Medium (1)

Diagram : The managerial grid Robert R. Blake and Jane Srygley Mouton

High concern for people

Low concern for production (soft-line theory X)

(country club 1.9)

High concern for people

High concern for production(theory Y)

(team management 9.9)

Low concern for people

Low concern for production

(apathetic management)

Low concern for people

High concern for production (hard line theory X) (scientific management 9.1)

Contingency (Situational) Approach

The contingency models of leadership are grounded on the assumption that different situations may call for different styles. This approach to leadership is in complete contrast with the traditional view which views the organisation as a closed system (see chapter one). Hersey and Ken Blanchard developed a model of situational leadership. They identified two dimensions - these are:

Task Behaviour: The extent to which a manager defines roles, diagnoses the way people should behave and the way things are done.

Relationship Behaviour: The extent to which a manager (leader) maintains and promotes relationships between himself and others.

They argue that there is no best style of leadership. A manager needs to work out which approach to use, which combination of task/relations behaviour is appropriate in a given situation. This model is very similar to that of Tannenbaum and Schmidt (1973) with the difference of added delegation.

Diagram : Situational Leadership













Low Task behaviour High

Situational leadership: leadership styles developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard

To conclude it must be noted that although each manager may prefer a particular combination of styles, the effective manager is capable of adapting his/her style to the pressures of the situation.

Guidelines and Action Levers

Remember leadership is required because someone has to point the way and that same person has to ensure that everyone concerned gets there. Organisational effectiveness depends on the quality of leadership.

Objectives of a Leader

The overall aim of a leader is to achieve the task with the help of his group.

To meet this overall aim, the leader has three main objectives:

To gain the commitment and co-operation of his team.

To get the group into action to achieve agreed objectives.

To make the best use of the skills, energies and talents of the team.

A leader's aim is to get people to do what he wants by obtaining willing co-operation, not grudging submission. He must also build up the morale of his group, which will be high when the group is productive and the people in it work well together.

John Adam’s study 75 top of executives reveals that 12 qualities rated most valuable and necessary in order to become successful chief executives. These are:






Willingness to work hard

Analytical ability

Understanding of others

Ability to spot opportunities

Ability to meet unpleasant situations

Ability to adapt quickly to change

Willingness to take risks

Factors Influencing Success

Professor Margerison studied chief executives in UK and discovered factors and influences, which led to their success. These are ranked below:

Ability to work with people 78

Early responsibility for important tasks 75

A need to achieve results 75

Leadership experiences early in career 74

Wide experience in many functions before age of 35 68

Ability to do deals and negotiate 66

Willingness to take risks 63

Ability to have more ideas than colleagues 62

Having talents `stretched' by immediate bosses 60

Ability to change managerial style to suit occasion  58

Note: Rating out of 100

Essential requirements for successful leadership

The leader must be perceived as `one of us'. He shares certain characteristics with the members of his group and is not perceived as an outsider.

The leader must be perceived as the `most of us'. He must incorporate to a special degree the norms and values which are central to the group. He can influence values by his visionary powers but he may fail as a leader if he moves too far away from them.

The leader must be perceived as the `best of us'. He has to demonstrate that he is an expert in the task facing the group, indeed that he is superior to his team in those abilities, which are relevant to the group task. He must prove that he can direct and harness this expertise in obtaining results.

The leader must fit the followers' expectations. He is more likely to gain the respect and co-operation of his followers if he behaves in a way which they expect of good leaders. These expectations will vary according to the group but will often include being straight, fair and firm as well as being considerate, friendly and approachable.

Leadership Roles

Because of the complexity involved leaders have to play many roles. These can be classified into two groups:

Primary functions which are essential to the process of leadership, namely:

The leader as visionary. He has a vision of the future and conveys his belief to his team.

The leader as executive. He determines the objectives of the group and directs and co-ordinates the group's activities in achieving them.

The leader as planner. He decides how the group should achieve its ends.

The leader as policy-maker. He participates in formulating policies in the shape of continuing guidelines on what the group does.

The leader as expert. He has the expertise and information required by the group.

The leader as controller of relationships in the group. He decides how the group should be organised and influences how people in the group work together.

The leader as purveyor of rewards and punishments. He has the power to apply rewards and punishments and thus exercise control over group members.

Accessory functions which are those a leader may assume or be assigned because of his leadership position, namely:

The leader as exemplar. He serves as a model of behaviour for the group members.

The leader as symbol of the group. He provides a focus for group unity.

The leader as father figure. He can become an object for identification or even submissiveness.

The leader as scapegoat. He may become the target for the aggressions of a frustrated, disappointed, disillusioned group.

Leadership Skills

If you want to be an effective leader you have to do six things:

Know yourself

Know your situation

Select management styles which are appropriate to the situation (these are discussed in the final section of this chapter)

Satisfy task needs

Satisfy team needs

Satisfy individual needs.

Know yourself

As a leader, you will start with certain natural abilities and by experience you will have developed certain skills. To improve your leadership qualities your first step is an analytical one - know yourself. Check each of the ten qualities and skills listed below and see how you measure up to them:

Ability to work with people

Ability to gain the respect and support of people



Imagination (vision)

Ability to inspire others with your enthusiasm and vision

Willingness to work hard

Analytical ability


Ability to change leadership style to suit occasion.

Assess your strengths and weaknesses under each heading. Analyse the occasions when you have succeeded or failed and why. Try to assess how you exercised these abilities or skills and answer these questions:

Was it directive?

Was it supportive?

Was it appropriate to the situation?

Did it work? And if so, why? And if not, why not?

Following this analysis if you know your strengths, you can develop them, and if you know what works in particular circumstances you have a good idea of the approach you should adopt in similar situations. If you are aware of your weaknesses, you can do your best to manage them, remembering.

Know your situation

Having got to know something about yourself as a leader - your strengths and weaknesses - you have to carry on using your analytical powers to understand the situation so that you can exploit your strengths, minimise your weaknesses and adopt the most appropriate management style. Your situational analysis should answer the following questions:

The task

What needs to be done and why?

What results have to be achieved?

What problems have to be overcome?

Is the solution to these problems straightforward or is there a measure of ambiguity?

Is this a crisis situation?

What is the time-scale for completing the task?

What pressures are going to be exerted on me?

The team

What is the composition of the team?

How well is the team organised?

Do the members of the team work well together?

What will they want to get out of this?

How am I to get this particular team's commitment?

How am I to get results by satisfying their needs?

How are they likely to respond to the various leadership styles or approaches I might adopt?

The individuals in the team

What are the strengths and weaknesses of each member of the team?

What sort of things are likely to motivate them?

How are they likely to respond individually to the various leadership techniques or styles I might adopt?

Select an Appropriate Management Style

Finally, after above analysis, adopt a situational approach to leadership by using your analises of yourself, the task, the team and its individual members to decide on the most appropriate style or styles to adopt.


The managerial perspective to which managers prescribe their values, thoughts and beliefs, to large extent determines the degree to which they use “delegation” as a modern managerial tool. It is however important to remember that delegation is a difficult task. It is perhaps the hardest thing that managers have to do. The problem is getting the balance right between delegating too much or too little and between over- or under-supervision. When you give someone something to do you have to make sure that it gets done. And you have to do that without breathing down his neck, wasting your time and his, and getting in the way. There has to be trust as well as guidance and supervision.

Advantages of delegation

It relieves you of routine and less critical tasks

It frees you for more important work - planning, organising, motivating and controlling

It extends your capacity to manage

It reduces delay in decision-making - as long as authority is delegated close to the point of action

It allows decisions to be taken at the level where the details are known

It develops the capacity of staff to make decisions, get things done and take responsibility.


What to delegate

You delegate tasks that you don't need to do yourself: difficult, tedious or unrewarding tasks.

Those include:

a)    Routine and repetitive tasks which you cannot reasonably be expected to do yourself - as long as you use the time you have won productively.

b)   Specialist tasks to those who have the skills and know-how to do them. You cannot do it all yourself. Nor can you be expected to know it all yourself. You have to know how to select and use expertise.

As a manager you must know what specialists can do for you and you should be knowledgeable enough about the subject to understand whether or not what they produce is worth having. Remember, if delegation is carried out properly it will in fact, make your life more difficult, but also more rewarding.

Choosing who Does the Work

Ideally, the person you choose to do the work should have the knowledge, skills, motivation and time needed to get it done to your complete satisfaction. Frequently, however, you will have to use someone who has less than ideal experience, knowledge or skills. In these cases you should try to select an individual who has intelligence, natural aptitude and, above all, willingness to learn how to do the job with help and guidance. This is how people develop, and the development of your staff should be your conscious aim whenever you delegate.

The best way is to try people out first on smaller and less important tasks, increasingly giving them more scope so that they learn how far they can go and you can observe how they do it. If they get on well, their sense of responsibility and powers of judgement will increase and improve and you will be able to trust them with more demanding and responsible tasks.

Giving out the Work

When you delegate you should ensure that your subordinate understands:

Why the work needs to be done

What he is expected to do

The date by which he is expected to do it

The authority he has to make decisions

The problems he must refer back

The progress or completion reports he should submit

How you propose to guide and monitor him

The resources and help he will have to get the work done.

You can make a distinction between hard and soft delegation.

Hard delegation takes place when you tell someone exactly what to do, how to do it and when you want the results.

Soft delegation takes place when you agree generally what has to be achieved and leave your subordinate to get on with it. You should still agree limits of authority, define the decisions to be referred to you, say what exception reports you want, and indicate when and how you will review progress.

Guidance and Development

You should always delegate by the results you expect. Even if you do not need to specify exactly how the results should be achieved, it is a good idea when delegating a problem to ask your subordinate to tell you how he proposes to solve it. You then have the opportunity to provide guidance at the outset; guidance at a later stage may be seen as interference.

Your subordinate may need guidance on how the work should be done. The extent to which you spell it out will clearly depend on how much he already knows about how to do the work. You don't want to give directions in such laborious detail that you run the risk of stifling your subordinate's initiative. As long as you are sure he will get the job done without breaking the law, exceeding his or her budget, embarrassing you or seriously upsetting people, let him get on with it.

Delegation not only helps you to get your work done; it can be used to improve your subordinate's performance and therefore your trust in his ability to carry out more responsible work. Instruction, training and development are part of the process of delegation.

Monitoring Performance

At first you may have to monitor a subordinate's performance carefully. But the sooner you can relax and watch progress informally the better. You will have set target dates, and you should keep a reminder of these in your diary so that you can ensure they are achieved. Don't allow your subordinates to become careless about meeting deadlines.

Without being oppressive, you should ensure that progress reports are made when required and that you discuss deviations from the original plan in good time. You will have clearly indicated to your subordinate the extent of his authority to act without further reference to you. He must therefore expect to be reprimanded if on any occasion he exceeds his brief or fails to keep you informed. You don't want any surprises and your subordinate must understand that you will not tolerate being kept in the dark.

Try to restrain yourself from undue interference in the way the work is being done. It is, after all, the results that count. Of course, you must step in if there is any danger of things going off the rails.

There is a delicate balance to be achieved between hedging someone around with restrictions, which may appear petty, and allowing him licence to do what he likes. You must use your knowledge of the subordinate and the circumstances to decide where the balance should be struck. The best delegators are those who have a comprehensive understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their staff and the situation in which they are working.

Effective delegation stretches [H1] the individual but does not break items

Decision-making style

Deciding how to decide is an essential but often neglected stage in the decision - making process. The option you use will affect:

the quantity and quality of information on which the decision will be based;

the extent to which the decision is accepted by subordinates;

the degree of commitment displayed by subordinates in implementing the decision;

the speed with which the decision needs to be taken.

These five choices of style are open to managers for decision making (see section on Leadership)

These are

I.     The decision is made by you using only the information available to you at the time.

II.  the decision is made by you after obtaining necessary information from your subordinates.

III.The decision is made by you after consulting subordinates individually to obtain ideas and suggestions.

IV.The decision is made by you after consulting your subordinates as a group to obtain ideas and suggestions.

V.  You join with your subordinates and make a decision which has the support of the whole group.

The following case study demonstrates the problems invoked [H2] in adopting the wrong style of decision making and delegation. Read the case study and attempt to answer the questions which follow:

Case Study: `The right style?'

After spending two weeks on a management training course. Paul Martin returned to work eager to test out some of his new knowledge and skills. The final weekend session on decision making was still buzzing through Paul's head as he drove into work on Monday morning. 'Decisions. Plenty of those to make' he thought. In addition to the ones he should have dealt with before going on the course he anticipated more problems to have arisen during his absence.

One decision in particular he had been putting off for some time, even though his boss was exerting pressure on him to make the decision and get it implemented. This also happened to be the type of decision which Paul thought lent itself to group decision making. 'I'm sure they’ll take to the idea. In fact they’ll probably be so full of themselves that they’ll suggest higher targets than I dare set them. Besides which, I've got an awful lot of work to do during the next couple of days. Discussing their targets will keep them off my back and give me a chance to catch up.'

Paul supervised a section of five assembly workers who made up and tested electronic timers to customers' specifications. They worked to daily output targets set some years ago before computer assisted testing equipment had been installed which reduced the assembly-testing cycle time. However, the targets had not been reviewed and Paul thought that this presented an excellent opportunity to involve his staff in decision-making - something he had never been in favour of before the course convinced him otherwise.


As soon as he arrived at work Paul called his staff together and announced that the targets needed revising. Particularly now they were using the computerised testing rig. He asked his subordinates as a group to decide what the new targets should be and report back to him with the new targets before 5 p.m. on Tuesday. They approached the task enthusiastically, using lunch, tea breaks and even stayed over for an hour on Monday evening.

Paul called his staff together on Tuesday afternoon and the decision was announced to him. Much to Paul's amazement they had concluded that the targets were too high. They had decided to reduce them by 20%. 'We appreciate that the new equipment has made testing easier' said the group’s spokesman, 'but it's the assemblies - they’re getting more and more complicated. By the time you've got used to one type, the specification changes and you start all over again.'

Paul knew that his boss would never accept the new targets, but how could he overrule the decision after giving his staff the authority to make it? 'How on earth do I get out of this without losing face?' Paul asked himself.

Source: Adair, J. (1993) Management Training Manual, Gower

Which decision-making style should Paul have used?

What mistakes did Paul make in attempting to involve his subordinates as a group in making the decision?

Having allowed his staff to make the decision, what advice would you give Paul to help him through his problem?


Page: 56
 [H1]stretches ???

Page: 57
 [H2] or involved ????

Politica de confidentialitate



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