Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

3d Leadership - Strategy-Linked Leadership Framework for Managing Teams

Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

3d Leadership - Strategy-Linked Leadership Framework for Managing Teams

Article excerpt

Managers who can inspire teammates and successfully align team actions with the strategic business environment of the organization are rare. This article would identify such managers as strategic team leaders. Being a strategic team leader calls for the abilities to understand the business context of the firm, create powerful team vision, cultivate task competencies within team, and inspire members to drive willingly toward accomplishment of organizational goals. Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School observes that the hardest thing managers do today is improve people and corporate thinking simultaneously (Kanter, 2010).

The above being a complex and skillful task, managers across the world are increasingly asking for guidance on how to integrate strategic thinking into their leadership practices. Leadership theory however is not sufficiently equipped to provide this guidance as conceptual models combining team leadership with strategic thinking are scarce. 3D Leadership or 3DL, the model presented here, is a framework that guides managers in their day-today leadership practice as strategic team managers

3D Leadership (3DL) - Theoretical Background

Past leadership theories - the traditional, behavioral, situational, transactional, transformational and visionary models - have all done the remarkable task of guiding managers on how to develop, motivate and inspire fellow associates for excelling performance. But modern organizations have become increasingly complex, nonlinear and strategically-demanding entities structured with advanced networks of highly empowered teams of knowledge workers (Snowden & Boone, 2007; Daft, 2014) making it difficult for any one of these theories to singularly address the challenge of providing strategic guidance to team managers. Against this background, the 3DL model combines both past and recent leadership research to provide a multi-theory integrated leadership framework that can help organizational managers lead successfully in today's strategic business environment. For better understanding of the theoretical roots and context of the model a review of relevant literature is outlined.

Leadership Thoughts - The Classic Models

Early leadership studies were focused on the traits or qualities of leaders. Personality traits or qualities such as assertiveness, adaptability, confidence, intelligence, and social skills were observed to be associated with successful leadership in organizations (Bass, 1990; Yukl, 2002). Soon, interest shifted to behaviors of leaders with focus on what successful leaders do, not how they appear to others (Halpin & Winer, 1957; Yukl, 2010). The famous Michigan and Ohio State Studies identified "employee orientation" and "production orientation" or "consideration" and "initiation structure" as the two fundamental dimensions of leader behavior (Halpin & Winer, 1957; Katz et. al., 1950).

As research progressed, a third set of theories combined the above two approaches and defined leadership effectiveness in terms of the interaction between the personality (traits) of the leader, the leader's behaviors, and the situation in which the leadership process occurs. These theories, called contingency or situational theories, assumed that leadership effectiveness varies from situation to situation and that the effects of any one variable on leadership are contingent on other influencing variables. Several contingency variables were identified and many contingency or situational theories also emerged (Evans, 1970; Fiedler, 1967; Vroom & Yetton, 1973; Men, 2014).

While the contingency/situational theories remained popular, additional leadership theories appeared chief among them being transactional leadership, transformational leadership and visionary leadership. Transactional leadership assumes leader's position power as important in influencing followers and focuses on ways to manage day-to-day operations efficiently (Burns, 1978; Yukl, 2002, 2010; Men, 2014). …

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