We are used to thinking of short-term results as a promise (or at least indicator) of long term results. If a student does well on a spelling quiz, he or she should be on the way to becoming proficient with vocabulary and language as a whole.
But that is not always the case. I wrote in Unschooling Rules:
Rule 24: Teaching is leadership. Most teaching is bad leadership. (#unrules24)
Specifically, using the wrong form of leadership means sacrificing long term behavior changes in order to get target short-term behavior. If you order a child to write a paper on Roman history, you often enough are creating a long term resentment of both writing and history.A great source for research on leadership comes from: Yukl, Gary (2002). Power & Influence in Leadership in Organizations 5th edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
- First, what are the outcomes of the application of leadership (both good and bad)?
- Second, what are the range of inputs available to a leader? How is leadership applied?
- Finally, what is the system that connects inputs to outcomes? What inputs (or actions) lead to which outcomes and in which conditions?
- The first outcome is resistance, where a subordinate is opposed to the leader’s request and will try to avoid doing it.
- The second is compliance, where the leader provides a direct order to the subordinate and the subordinate carries out the order. This type of influence is often appropriate as the leader faces direct, immediate, high-stakes situations where accomplishing the mission at all costs is what matters. However, Yukl et al., (in press) have found that while compliance may be effective, it may also result in the subordinate becoming more apathetic and exerting less effort to future requests.
- The third outcome is commitment, where the subordinate has a favorable attitude towards the leader’s request and puts forth the necessary effort to carry out the request.”
- Pressure - Using explicit demands
- Legitimate request - Source of authority is basis for request
- Exchange - A trade of desired actions or items
- Personal appeal - Friendship or loyalty is basis for request
- Collaboration - Assistance or resources are offered
- Rational persuasion - Experienced expert provides evidence or logical arguments
- Apprising - Explaining benefits of specific requested action (benefit not under Advisor control)
- Inspiration- Using strong emotion to build conviction
- Participation - Involving others to establish “buy in”
- Relationship building - Rapport and mutual trust are basis for request
Connecting Approach to Results
The pragmatic issue, of course, is "how do you use the right approach to get the desired results?" This involved understanding the connections between actions and results.
Yukl found that certain influencing techniques were more likely to drive the result of commitment, while others were more likely to drive compliance. As clear examples, pressure (“do this now”) often drives compliance while collaboration often drives commitment.
Finally (and this is a bit nuanced), the best leaders further match the right style of leadership to the target of influence's specific resistance:
- Logical (“head”), if the target did not feel intellectually connected to the goal;
- Emotional (“heart”) if the target did not feel emotionally connected to the goal;
- Cooperative (“hands”) if the target needed help;
- Direct if the target just needed to know what to do quickly and simply.
Here's a chart:
|Type of Resistance||Successful Influencing Techniques|
|Cognitive / "Head"||Rational Persuasion, Exchange, Apprising|
|Emotional / "Heart"||Inspiring, Personal Appeals|
|Cooperation / “Hands”||Collaboration, Participation|
|Direct||Pressure, Legitimate Request|