Can Theory X Leadership Keep Your Team in Shape?
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs demonstrates that most people are more likely to act when they expect rewards or fear punishment. Any social system is more effective when a hierarchy clearly exists. People who are hired to work, implicitly agree to heed all of their manager's instructions, and that is the main reason that subordinates are employed.
The person in charge of the transaction works on creating understandable structures, consequently making it obvious to subordinates exactly what is necessary, as well as the rewards corresponding with obliging those requirements. Punishment is frequently obliquely stated, but commonly understood, with proper regulation procedures in existence.
Discussing the agreement where the subordinate is given an income and other remuneration, and the company (and by inference the worker's supervisor) acquires power over the worker is handled early period of Transactional Leadership.
When the Transactional Leader allocates work to a subordinate, they are considered to be fully responsible for it, whether or not they have the resources or capability to carry it out. When things go wrong, then the subordinate is considered to be personally at fault, and is punished for their failure (just as they are rewarded for succeeding).
Often the transactional leader will work under the expectation that if something isn't broke, don't fix it. In other words, if a principle is operating to expectations, it doesn't warrant notice. Along with this is the expectation that anything above expectations merits praise and rewarding, and anything below expectations needs corrective action.
Transformational leadership is more sales-oriented, but transactional leadership is more performance-oriented. The difference is sometimes stated 'selling versus telling'. Transactional leadership means that positive or negative consequences all depend on good or bad workplace performance.
Though a good amount of research indicates the shortcomings of Transactional Leadership, it remains a popular approach to management for many. In fact, it is clearly toward the management end of the scale of the Leadership vs. Management spectrum.
To have an effective model of human behavior, we can't assume that people are mainly motivated by reward and are very predictable. This fallacy is supported by the psychological theory of behaviorism, which was made famous by Pavlov's classical conditioning and Skinner's operant conditioning experiments. Unfortunately, these experiments are often performed in controlled lab conditions using animals as subjects, negating the complexity of the human mind and motive.
Using the Behaviorism to sustain Transitional approach proves true in a practical application, which is confirmed through supply and demand in the employment sector in addition to the effects of deeper needs like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. However, when the supply of employees isn't enough to meet the needs of demand, then Transactional Leadership is not sufficient; then other approaches prove more effective in the workplace.
Article Tags: Transactional Leadership
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Wilheir is a project management consultant. Learn more about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, traits of an effective leader, and what defines leadership.