Leaders, Behavior, and Followers

Leadership–as Aubrey and James Daniels point out in their book, Measure of a Leader–is about behavior; most importantly, the behavior of followers.  The most effective leaders are those who guide/direct the behavior of followers so that the leader’s and the organization’s goals, priorities, and values are implemented.  I just posted on Amazon my review of Aubrey and James Daniels, Measure of a Leader.  Here’s the review:

Be a Behaviorist and Up Your Game!

Consultants Aubrey and James Daniels explain how personnel “everywhere” in the organization—at the executive level, filling management positions, or performing any organizational function—can be “leaders” who have optimum effect on the behavior of others (pp. 7-8). As they state at the outset: “We are discussing the effect that any one person has on the behavior of others” (p. 4). And it’s these “others” we must focus on if we are to have the greatest effect on them. Everywhere-leaders focus not so much on themselves (“focus . . . not [on] the leader”, pp. 8-9) as they do on “others”, on “followers”, on those whose behavior, “power”, they direct (primarily via positive reinforcement) to advance the organization’s (or sub-unit’s) goals, priorities, and values (“power resides in the follower”, p. 12).

“It’s all about behavior” (pp. 45-56); the behavior of everywhere-leaders that guides and measures the antecedents, consequences, and behaviors of followers. The authors acknowledge that their understanding of effectiveness in organizations is based on “the science of Behavior Analysis”, and they cite and quote numerous behaviorist theorists and researchers, including B. F. Skinner.

Measure of a Leader is an assigned textbook in my Master of Public Administration course, Leadership in Public Sector Organizations: A Quality Management Approach. I encouraging my students: Be a behaviorist and up your game!


About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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