How the appearance influences the leadership authority
Is it a given that managers automatically have leadership authority? And if so, what does it look like in concrete terms? Leadership or a leadership style can take on very different forms. From authoritarian to cooperative to laissez-faire, everything can be imagined and implemented. But what will the nextleader – the leader of tomorrow – be most successful with? Which is the most effective way?
Is it better to be loved or feared?
To do this, one must first know that before we come to a judgment about a person, all of us – and consequently also employees with regard to the manager – consider two factors:
- How lovable is this person (philanthropy/warmth)?
- How powerful (competence/strength) is its essence?
Regardless of the correct naming, these are indisputably two of the most important dimensions in evaluating people. Because they provide answers to the questions, what are the intentions of another towards me and is she or he also capable of implementing them?
Psychological studies show that the two dimensions are responsible for more than 90 percent of the positive or negative impression.
Today’s leaders tend to play to their strengths above all else and put warm-heartedness in the back seat. But this is the wrong way for the nextleader. Because fear is a bad advisor. It can limit creativity and openness and cause employees to stop progressing or even withdraw completely.
Therefore, the nextleader should first and foremost be perceived as warm. Because this is the only way to succeed in exerting influence. Warm-heartedness creates trust and promotes communication and the reception of ideas. The important thing for the nextleader is to maintain an exchange and build up a relationship, and to be open to the employee’s concerns.
Because – managers who radiate strength but have not established a relationship of trust put themselves at risk of triggering counterproductive behaviors among employees. For example, people who are considered competent but cold trigger envy, which is composed of respect but also aversion. In contrast, people who are seen as warm but incompetent are more likely to elicit pity from employees. Both not really optimal.
A high degree of philanthropy on the part of the manager coupled with a high level of competence ensures admiration and active commitment on the part of the employees. The optimal leadership, therefore, lies in a balanced interplay of relationship competence and strength.
This creates natural leadership authority.