Motivation and emotion/Book/2020/Leadership and morale

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Leadership and morale:
How does leadership affect morale?

Overview[edit | edit source]

Figure 1. US president Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) was described as the champion of the people and the country's greatest morale .

This book chapter is to understand how leadership affects 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 following structure adapted from 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. By having a high morale this can provide a productive value allowing for further contributions and commitment even to mundane and repetitive tasks. Leaders have the capacity to provide and maintain group goals and sense of motivation influencing members perspective through persuasion, action, encouragement and leading by example.

Following cases from sports, education, business, management, politics and military, leadership is involved in providing a variety of importance and morale. For example Abraham Lincoln, can be described to be a memorable leader throughout history. He was a leader whom inspired people to take action and is described as the country's greatest morale (Wikipedia, 2020). He 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 changed the American history.

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

Focus questions

Leading question: How does leadership affect morale?[edit | edit source]

  • How does morale provide motivation?
  • What are the leadership styles and personality traits of a leader?
  • What is the correlation between leaders, morale, motivation and effective leadership?
  • What makes a good leader?

Morale and motivation[edit | edit source]

Morale[1]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 the determination to achieve the group's goal to succession. 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 and Katz, 1952) and increased performance (Stewary-Banks et al., 2015) which becomes a valuable attribution in group work, organisations and businesses. Within industry, polices and practices regarding morale provides a focus on human relationship within the structure which greatly impacts people-performance and level of productivity (Katz, 1949).

Makings of a leader[edit | edit source]

There are various types of individuals who we can attribute to a leader. Whilst there are leadership positions particularly in hierarchal systems, there can be individuals who posses the qualities and personalities of leaders.

Following the leader categorisation theory we have created a schema attainting to particular attributes of what a leader should be. 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. However by comparing the descriptions of leaders, it can be presented that there are common qualities a leader should maintain.

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 in which a person who is characterised to have similar qualities we create the assumption that these individuals possess the same standards as our our leadership schema. These close association makes us believe that they are truly 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 posses especially when indicating a need for effective management of people. In addition to a level of experience and skill competency, leaders with these qualities they inspire vision and ambition as the group strive 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 initially be followed from democratic, authoritative, coaching, pace setting leading to affiliative style.

Six leadership syles Description
Coercive style •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 organiaation or project

Authoritative style •Attitude: “Come with me!”

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

Affiliative style •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 style •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 style •Attitude: “Do as I do, now!”

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

Coaching style •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]

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage our relationships and ourselves better. The ability to provide as an effective leadership onto a person requires the capability for a leader 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.

In correlation to morale, EI provides the capability to understand the teams overall morale. It is demonstrated by recognising the emotionally value of others and understand the capabilities and threshold of the group. With EI, leaders can also provide solutions and actions adaptable to the teams 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 individuals morale levels in addition to the overall level of the team.

Models of leadership[edit | edit source]

Leader categorisation theory[edit | edit source]

In accordance to information-processing model, we automatically appraise individuals and ourselves as to what can be classified as a leader. Others action and reaction formulates judgements of one's beliefs and character creating a perception of what leaders possess (implicit leadership theories). It is the cognitive representation that form prototypes specifying trait and abilities that characterize "ideal" leadership persona.

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, high inhibition. This pattern structure best represents father figures and commanders in military context. This also demonstrates why leaders in military context how military commanders inspire their troops providing high morale in combat. These leaders provide the aspiring qualities through either speech, influence or action providing the a rapid increase in morale which turns 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 likely hood of morale succeeding to motivate the individual.

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 leaderships morale 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 characterize 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

Leadership and morale[edit | edit source]

The relationship between leadership and morale, is that the competencies such as communication, fostering trust and team building set a clear direction for the college impact on morale (Ngambi, 2011). Morale is a mediating variable between leadership styles and staff performance, if the leadership behaviour is satisfied to staff the morale 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 the effectiveness and success of achieving a groups goals. It is an indication of creating resilience in hardships and stress as leadership provides the stability and the revival of high morale providing the fortitude and motivation to continue towards ones 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 one's goal. As romanticised and dramatized 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.

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

Within context, 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 the trust, communication and relationship of the people. These are primary qualities in which can affect the morale and predict overall performance (Noor & Ampornstira, 2019).

Military context

Primarily following traditional leadership motive pattern leaders in military context have additional considerations to why they are effective in providing morale. Leadership and morale can be primarily be demonstrated in high stress conditions such as the military context. The risks in battle contemplates the fears of failure, the caution of death of themselves and others, as well as the conditions to capture, harm and/or kill as an order provides individuals in an extremely stressful environment. These pressures surrounding can decrease one'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, high inhibition. Leadership in combat not only provide as a managerial and hierarchy, but also provide the supporting figure that inspires and boosts the morale of their troops.

Examining from a longitudinal study of 1,685 U.S. soldiers on a peacekeeping mission to Kosovo (Britt et al., 2007). 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.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Morales in groups provide the motivation and fortitude to achieve ones goals, it is an implicit value from which the effect of 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 the effectiveness in which morale can be improved upon. The effectiveness of morale improvement is determined by a leaders capability outlined by the leadership's qualities, traits, personality, style and emotional intelligence. Leaders should recognise the importance of morale as morale is as predicator for success. Morale and leadership becomes especially important when stress-levelled environment is indicated as high stress reduces individuals morale.

Test your understanding[edit | edit source]

Test your understanding of what you learnt.

Choose the correct answers and click "Submit":

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

3 Leaders _____ the morale of the people


4 Everyone has the same ideals of what a leader should possess


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]

Ann Arbor, MI. Leadership practices in relation to productivity and morale, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. Retrieved from

Blair, R. J. R. (2004). The roles of orbital frontal cortex in the modulation of antisocial behavior. Brain and Cognition, 55(1), 198-208.

Buckholtz, J. W., & Meyer-Lindenberg, A. (2008). MAOA and the neurogenetic architecture of human aggression. Trends in Neurosciences, 31(3), 120-129.

Dabke, D. (2016). Impact of leader’s emotional intelligence and transformational behavior on perceived leadership effectiveness: A multiple source view. Business Perspectives and Research, 4, 27–40.

DuBrin, A. (2018). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Eckardt, M., File, S., Gessa, G., Grant, K., Guerri, C., Hoffman, P., & Tabakoff, B. (1998). Effects of moderate alcohol consumption on the central nervous system. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 22(5), 998-1040.

George, B. (2010). True north: Discover your authentic leadership. John Wiley & Sons.

Goleman, D. (2000). Leadership that gets results. Harvard Business Review.

Goleman, D. (2017). What makes a leader? Harvard business review classics. Harvard Business Press.

Kahn, R. L., & Katz, D. (1952). Leadership practices in relation to productivity and morale, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, pp. 612-628. Retrieved from

Katz, D. (1949). Morale and motivation in industry. In W. Dennis, et al., Current trends in industrial psychology (p. 145–171). U. Pittsburgh Press.

Ngambi, H. (2011). The relationship between leadership and employee morale in higher education. African Journal Of Business Management, 5(3), 762-776.

Noor, A., & Ampornstira, D. (2019). Effects of Leadership on Employee Morale in Higher Education. International Journal Of Business And Social Science, 10(7).

Reeve, J. (2018). Understanding motivation and emotion (7th ed., pp. 152-226). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Stewart-Banks, B., Kuofie, M., Hakim, A., & Branch, R. (2015). Education Leadership Styles Impact on Work Performance and Morale of Staff. Journal of Marketing & Management, 6(2). Retrieved from

Uzonwanne, F., 2014. Leadership styles and decision-making models among corporate leaders in non-profit organizations in North America. Journal of Public Affairs, 15(3), pp.287-299.

External links[edit | edit source]

  1. "Morale". Wikipedia. 2020-08-26.