Motivation and emotion/Book/2020/Leadership and morale

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Leadership and morale:
How does leadership affect morale?

Overview[edit | edit source]

Focus questions
  • How does leadership affect morale?
  • How does morale provide motivation?
  • What are the leadership styles and personality traits of a leader?
  • What is the relationship between leaders, morale, motivation and effective leadership?
  • What makes a good leader?
Figure 1. US president Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) was described as the champion of the people and the country's greatest morale during war.

This chapter builds on the leadership motivation (2015). The 2015 chapter demonstrates the motivations of individuals to become a leader, however this chapter explores how leaders provide individuals with motivation focusing on the aspect of morale. By exploring leadership and leadership qualities, we understand how leaders provide morale. Having a high morale provides individuals with motivation allowing for an increase in productivity, a change in perspective or opinion and/or a unification of an idea. The chapter information has been guided by the focus questions.

Leadership can be demonstrated throughout history to have particular personality traits. Depending on leadership, they can promote the morale of the people inspiring them to be motivated and to achieve a higher standard of outcome. Having a high morale can provide a productive value allowing for further contributions and commitment even to mundane and repetitive tasks. Leaders have the opportunity to provide and maintain group goals and sense of motivation influencing members{gr}} perspective through persuasion, action, encouragement and leading by example.

Following cases from sports, education, business, management, politics and military, leadership can be demonstrated to to have an importance in providing communication and uplifting morale. For example Abraham Lincoln, can be described to be a memorable leader throughout history. He inspired people to take action and was deemed the champion of the people he lead to the emancipation of the slaves, he lead the nation in the American Civil War and his accomplishments impacted he American history (Wikipedia, 2020).

By providing morale, it should allow a group to be more determined into successfully completing their objective. This book chapter demonstrates the influence of leadership on morale, outlining the makings of a leader and how specific qualities in a leader affect morale.

Morale and motivation[edit | edit source]

Morale is defined as "is the capacity of a group's members to maintain belief in an institution or goal, particularly in the face of opposition or hardship." (Wikipedia, 2020). With a maintained and continual belief of a goal, members of a high morale have a higher success in achieving a group's goal as they are more resilient against failure. Morale indicates a group's mental capacity of motivation and provides a predictive measurement of group performance in both collaboration, overall outcome quality and the success of completing the task. Having high morale provides increased productivity (Kahn & Katz, 1952) and increased performance (Stewary-Banks et al., 2015) which becomes a valuable attribution in group work, organisations and businesses. Within industry, policies and practices regarding morale provides a focus on human relationship within the structure which greatly impacts people-performance and level of productivity (Katz, 1949).

Positive psychological constructs provide optimism and interventions to promote recovery. Organisation work stress and work demands provide a decrease in overall work performance. The conditions with negative work experience lead to overall job dissatisfaction and product output. The importance of a positive psychological framework in organisation behaviour correlates to how morale provides motivation. With a positive response to work demand individuals develop more meaningful and productive outcomes (Britt et al., 2007). This particular construct is emphasised within military context as soldiers persevere under extreme duress.

Personalities of a leader[edit | edit source]

There are various types of individuals who can be seen as a leader. Whilst there are leadership positions particularly in hierarchical systems, there can be individuals who possess the qualities and personalities of leaders.

Following the leader categorisation theory a schema can be created to have particular attributes. These schemas have been influenced from our experience, perception and knowledge as we portray and compare individuals to this standard to determine if they are a leader. This determines some discrepancy to favour particular individuals over another as observed in politics. In a study comparing the descriptions of leaders, there are common traits and qualities in which people believe a leader should have (Reeve, 2018).

However, individual and group differences also explores the variance between the different leadership styles. These styles contribute to different working habits and particular sets of conditions and rules enforced by the values of the leader. These can be dependent on a leader's preference influenced on personality, experience and group's goals and values.

Leadership qualities[edit | edit source]

Every individual has a self-employed leadership schema. A person who is characterised to have similar or some of the qualities to the leadership schema has the assumption to possess the all of qualities of the schema. These close association is the reason how they are perceived to be a leader. These ethical leaders will have self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and the social skills to bring culture, training and experience to the organisation achieving results for the company.

Leaders defined by Kouzes and Posner (2002), enable others to act, encourage passion and ambition, provide innovations and models the attitudes and behaviours of the group. These are the principles necessary for leaders to possess especially when indicating a need for effective management of people. Leaders with these qualities inspire vision and ambition in a group allowing for a stronger innate desire for success. These allow a foundation towards stability, trusts and role model providing positive morale growth. These personality qualities provide the skills and atmospheric ideals that improve the effectiveness of positive morale building. Creating positive morale also employs strategies that considers the balance between the need to keep individuals happy and the achieving a successful end state of their goals.

Leadership styles[edit | edit source]

Depending on personality, experience and group values there are a multitude of leadership styles which can be utilised in leading. Most leadership styles especially in managing positions prefer styles that incorporate flexibility and ease of conversion as it provides more effective methods in businesses. Leadership styles defined by Wiley (2015) can be defined by the table below.

Table 1. Description of the six leadership styles
Coercive •Attitude: “Do as I say.”

•Can be effective in a crisis situation, kick start a turnaround situation, dealing with a problem employee, or when trying to achieve immediate compliance

•Can be ineffective in many other situations and can have a negative impact on the climate of the organisation or project

Authoritative •Attitude: “Come with me!”

•The leader outlines a clearly defined goal but empowers people to choose their own means for achieving it

Affiliative •Attitude: “People come first!”

•Affiliative leaders try to build strong emotional bonds that translate into strong loyalty building team harmony, morale, trust, or communication

Democratic •Attitude: “What do you think?”

•The leaders try to get other’s ideas, while building trust, respect, and commitment allowing a everyone a say in decisions that affect their work

Pace setting •Attitude: “Do as I do, now!”

•Leader sets high performance standards and has an obsession for doing things better and faster

Coaching •Attitude: “Try this!”

•The leader helps people identify their unique strengths and weaknesses so that they can reach their personal & career goals

These styles are attributed to the highest performance and success (Goleman Emotional Intelligence, 2020). However Goleman (2000) also suggests that that the best leaders do not rely only on one leadership style, but may use several different styles depending on the situation. A leader must manage to master all styles and have the flexibility to change to a given contact will provide the most effective leadership. The leaders will have the ability to understand and manage relationships and corporate resources through confidence in ability and skill in conflict resolutions. Supplementary with communication and delegation, it promotes equitable performance, reciprocity of expectations, and impartial judgement within the group.

Emotional intelligence[edit | edit source]

The role of emotional intelligence can affect the effectiveness of leadership. Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage our relationships and ourselves better. Effective leadership is the capability to have the emotional intelligence to understand the individual and their perspective. The capabilities of EI provide the self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills to regulate and understand individuals. Emotional self-awareness provides the reading and understanding your emotions as well as how your emotions impact your job performance and those around you. Through realistically evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, a leader should have a strong and positive sense of self-worth. Seeing and understanding other people’s emotions, and being genuinely concerned in their problems and interests (empathy) provides awareness of current activities and perception of the individual (Reeve, 2018).

EI provides the capability to understand a team's overall morale. It is demonstrated by recognising the emotional value of others and the overall threshold of the group. With EI, leaders can provide solutions to adapt to the team's current state. Overall morale is an accumulative average of everyone's individual morale. So, it is possible for a single individual to bring morale of others down following the emotion-contagion effect. Leaders should ensure individual's morale levels are maintained as each individual morale contributes to the overall morale of the team.

Communication nets[edit | edit source]

Marvin Shaw (1954) study builds upon Bavelas’ mathematical models of group structures and communication nets and Leavitt’s the deterministic factor of “centrality” group behaviour of information and control. This is similar to network topology in information technology models. The communication observed can be shown in Figure 2 where the centrality index of the nets is arranged from highest (wheel) to lowest (circle).The emergence of leaders becomes the central position allowing the distribution of information relating to a higher interaction of group problem-solving behaviour. Within a business scenario of transitioning a company to another, factors of speed, communication, questionnaire results of leadership and morale were tested. Response in group organisation, leadership and connection primarily utilises a central organisation such that information is preferable in a highly centralised organisation. Compared to connection of all however this does not support consistent product as information sent everywhere is more likely to make individuals to solve problems independently instead as a whole. Individual centrality and leadership is determined by the amount of communication activity. Therefore a higher enjoyment of the task is received as a consequence of control of information and behaviour. The Shaw's findings on "unequal distribution of information in communication networks" demonstrate that individual centrality and number of channels are perfectly correlated with the emergence of leadership as the highest centrality index in the net would maximise the difference in individual centralities.

Figure 2.Three common communication nets

The results from study also lead to the conclusion that there is some relationship between individual centrality and individual morale, but this relationship is tied very closely to the position preference component. The information distribution variable produced equivocal results: additional information either had no effect upon individual morale (as indicated by job satisfaction and group cooperation ratings) or increased the individual morale (as shown by the positions comparisons ratings in the wheel and the circle and the group performance ratings in the slash).

Meaning individual centrality are individuals who undertake the role of a leader. As the central position of leader, the effectiveness of morale correlates to the centrality index as it determines the amount of connections and interactions an individual has.

Test your understanding

Everyone has the same ideals of what a leader should possess


Theories and models of leadership[edit | edit source]

There are various patterns and personalities that we attribute to defining what a leader is. The topics below demonstrate the various types of theories and models in which individuals are associated to the type of leadership. In the expectation of motivation, specific types of leadership lead to efficacy on building stronger and or weaker morale. This further explores on expanding the motivations in leadership. Leadership motivation indicates why people become leaders but also demonstrates the effectiveness of a leader. An effective leader is more likely to attain to a higher morale as overall stability, production, social view and outcome are more desirable. Leadership trait models indicate unique leadership qualities that predict effective leadership (Romano, 2007).

Leader categorisation theory[edit | edit source]

In accordance to information-processing model, the perception of individuals are automatically appraised and classified as a leader or not. However action and reaction of others are additional factors in how an individual formulates judgements of an individual. An individuals beliefs and character creates a perception of what leaders possess (implicit leadership theories) and this is used as a reference to compare individuals to. It is the cognitive representation that form prototypes specifying trait and abilities that characterise "ideal" leadership persona (Reeve, 2018). For example, a person perceived to be an outgoing and charismatic leader may be assumed to posses qualities of being loyal, friendly and generous. Therefore individual perceptions on a particular leader can vary amongst others depending on how the individual categorises them.

Leadership motive pattern[edit | edit source]

The leadership motive pattern describes a threefold pattern containing: (1) need for power; (2) need for affiliation; (3) inhibition. Effective motivation pattern indicated by McClelland (1982) is high power, low affiliation, and high inhibition. This pattern structure best represents father figures and commanders in military context. This also demonstrates why in military context, military commanders inspire troops by providing high morale in combat. Leaders can provide morale through either speech, influence or action providing the a rapid increase in morale turning a losing battle or game into their favour.

Effective leaders and managers were seen to have a pattern containing high need for power, low need for affiliation and a consideration of self-control (McClelland & Boyatzi, 1982). This pattern scheme (high power, low affiliation, high inhibition) was also produced by workers rating their managers who were most productive with the alternate where power and affiliation remained constant but inhibition was low resulted in lower rating scores (McClelland & Burnham, 1976). This also reflects how internalised characteristics provide effective management and discipline. Additionally power under control gives rise to positive individual characteristics. This provides effective morale increase and stability over time among one's followers (Winter, 2010).

Through a high-affiliation motivation this reflects the relationship and effectiveness of communication between follower and leader. Having a strong communication and bond with leader and individual the increase of one's morale is more effective compared to a unbalanced relationship and trust in leadership. This is also one of the factors that can determine the likelihood of morale succeeding to motivate the individual (Winter, 2010).

Compassionate leadership profile[edit | edit source]

The contemporary compassionate leadership profile is characterised by high power, high affiliation, and high inhibition from the motive pattern (Steinmann et al., 2015).It is contrasting to the traditional leadership motive pattern. The compassionate leadership style is also associated with the leadership's identity. Responsibility is characterised by high power and strong morals whilst selfishness is characterised by high power and weak morals (DeCelles et al., 2012). Selfishness and responsibility in a character provides the consideration of trust on a leader. Trust builds teamwork and collaboration which are factors in increasing morale.

The two implicit motive profiles that characterise effective leadership are:

  1. Traditional leadership motive pattern: high power, low affiliation, high inhibition
  2. Contemporary compassionate leadership profile: high power, high affiliation, high inhibition
Test your understanding

1 What leadership motive pattern was seen to be rated as the most effective leadership by workers?

low power, high affiliation, low inhibition
high power, low affiliation, high inhibition
high power, low affiliation, low inhibition
high power, high affiliation, low inhibition

2 What is the contemporary compassionate leadership profile threefold pattern?

low power, high affiliation, low inhibition
high power, low affiliation, high inhibition
high power, low affiliation, low inhibition
high power, high affiliation, low inhibition

Leadership and morale[edit | edit source]

The relationship between leadership and individual motivation is demonstrated by how leaders provide morale to both the group and individual. It requires leaders to have competencies in communication, fostering trust, team building, and have set a clear direction (Ngambi, 2011). These competencies impact the effectiveness of motivation from morale. Morale is the mediating variable between leadership styles and staff performance. If a leader's behaviour is satisfied by the staff the entire morale of the staff will be high which leads to better performance (Noor & Ampornstira, 2019). As noted from leadership motive pattern the pattern demonstrates the qualities in a leader particularly affiliation provides supporting evidence for these results.

Leadership and morale provides a predictor of success in achieving a group's goals. It is an indication of creating resilience in hardships and stress. Leadership provides the stability and the revival of high morale providing the fortitude and motivation to continue towards the group's goal. This exemplifies to why leadership becomes critical where success is depended on overall morale and motivation. Leadership provides morale in circumstances of low motivation and where context conditions makes success seem impossible. Leadership influences and shifts the perspectives of others increasing their morale providing the hope and inspiration to achieve the group's goal. As romanticised and dramatised in films and stories, leadership has been seen as an anchor and character arc in story. It is a depicted trope, where leader's provide morale typically as an inspiring speech which becomes the underlying factor of winning and changing the undesirable outcome ("Sports Story Tropes - TV Tropes", 2020).

Leadership requires a balance of competing priorities, supporting subordinates, the following of rules, and adapting to changing conditions to achieve a desired goal (Squires & Peach 2020). When leaders provide an effective balance employees are more likely to have a clear meaningful role. A clear and meaningful role will provide a high level of morale predicting strong identification and retention to an organisation. As a result employees will intend to stay in an organisation. Squires and Peach (2020) findings support Competing Values Framework (CVF) and show the importance of effective leadership in stressful conditions.

Leadership provides an increase in a team's collegiality and morale. Self-regulation minimises the negative impact of emotional contagion (Prochazkova & Kret, 2017) in which reflects the effective self-awareness and social skills that contribute to effective conflict resolution (Doucette, 2017).

Prediction in Presidential effectiveness

The leadership motive provides the framework in assessing effectiveness of leadership as explored with U.S. presidents (Spangler & House, 1991; Winter, 1973, 1987, 2005, 2010). Coded by Winter (1973, 1987) presidents contain similarities in social needs of achievement, affiliation and power in which are indications of a president's effectiveness. There is a difference between power striving presidents and achievement-oriented presidents in which power strivings were seem more favourable by the people despite both orientations proving presidential worth. Politics in particular, rely on trust, communication, and relationships between people. These are primary qualities in which can affect the morale and predict overall performance (Noor & Ampornstira, 2019).

Military context

Britt and Dickinson (2006) definition of morale in military settings is “a service member’s level of motivation and enthusiasm for achieving mission success”. Military has a clear hierarchical structure following a more centralised communication network (see Figure 2) demonstrating the importance of the role of leadership. Under continuous traumatic events and stressors experienced under deployment, the positive psychology construct becomes a necessary factor in leadership guidance and support. As observed from research, it has indicated that the majority of soldiers do not develop psychological problems following deployment. This is due to adaptive functioning as a result of positive psychology constructed from leadership. Focusing on supporting characteristics and leadership-provoking behaviour, morale becomes a predictor in the work environment for enhanced motivation and enthusiasm.

In traditional leadership motive pattern, leaders in military context demonstrate how effective morale is to soldiers. Leadership and morale can be primarily be demonstrated in high stress conditions such as the military context. The risks in battle such as fears of failure, death of themselves and others, and the requirement to capture, harm and/or kill as an order in a battle operation provides individuals in an extremely stressful environment. These pressures surrounding can decrease an individual's morale and motivation which can become a liability in a quick-decision making environment. This is why leadership in military context are highly associated with the leadership motive pattern of high power, low affiliation, and high inhibition. Leadership in combat not only provides a hierarchy for management, but also provides as the role model that inspires, supports and boosts the morale of their troops.

Examining Britt et al (2007) longitudinal study, 1,685 U.S. soldiers on a peacekeeping mission to Kosovo participated were analysed. The structural equation modelling analysis revealed confidence in unit functioning and leadership best predicted morale. Specifying the antecedents of positive and negative outcomes within stressful work environment, morale provided a predictor of soldier deployment where the environment contains stressors and negative events. Having meaningful work and an objective to follow, morale provided the motivation to allow continual acceptance of the hard conditions. Alternatively to the benefits, the absence of morale and motivation provided an increase correlation between depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and negative perceptions of deployment.

Test your understanding

Effective leadership _____ morale of the people


Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Morale provides motivation and fortitude to achieve a group goal, it is the implicit value from which effective leadership can provide. When morale is explicitly increased to a higher-morale state it can provide the team to become more productive and be more successfully in achieving their goals. Leadership affects morale by how an individual interacts with each other. The effectiveness in increasing morale is determined by a leader's capability outlined by the leadership's qualities, traits, personality, style and emotional intelligence. Leaders should recognise the importance of morale as it is a predicator for successful goal achievement. Morale and leadership becomes especially important during stress-levelled environment as high stress can reduces individuals morale. Leaders need to be aware of the environmental factors and the factors of stress and provide strategies and solutions to overcome these issues.

Morale provides meaningful work and confidence in functioning as both an individual and as a group. However future research needs to also emphasise the specific behaviours associated with supporting individual morale in addition to leadership.

See also[edit | edit source]

Motivation and emotion book chapters

Chapters similar to this content

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Other points of interest:

References[edit | edit source]

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External links[edit | edit source]