Organizations need effective leaders
Motivated workforce for long-term sustainability:
No time in the history than today, the topic of leadership and
motivation of workforce have been subjected to much discussion, with a
So many articles on the subject of either leadership or motivation
have been appeared in papers recently ("Are great leaders born to lead"
in Daily News on 29.01.2010 by Charmeine Fernando, "Leadership
challenges for government organizations, state corporations" in Sunday
Times on 17.01.2010 by Gamini Jayaweera, "Business needs more leaders
than managers" in Daily News on the December 03, 2009 by Dr. K
Kuhathasan, "Motivational techniques past and present" in Daily News on
29.09.2009 by Dr. K Kuhathasan, just to mention a few).
As these articles give very comprehensive information on respective
aspects, my intention here is to give a hybrid of both these two aspects
but in a summarize form.
The country needs leaders so as the organizations, industries and
even the smallest unit of the society, the family. No doubt that, in all
sections, we need managers too, but in such an unpredictable situation,
there is a felt need for any organization to have leaders.
Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to
accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes
it more cohesive and coherent. Leaders carryout this process by applying
their leadership attributes.
While a manager advocates stability and maintain the status quo, a
leader creates instability and therefore the change. As the saying goes
a successful organization needs a good manager and also an effective
Despite the importance, we cannot think about leaders if there are no
followers and if simply put, a leader cannot exist unless there are
From an organizational perspective, a leader must have an ability to
motivate employees and inspire them to become followers. Motivation, on
the other hand, is the process of arousing and sustaining the goal
directed behaviour of the people.
Motivation theories can be classified according to the focus and
thus, there are different types of theories put forward to explain
motivation at work.
(1) Based on need (Need Theories - for ex. Abraham Maslow's Need
Hierarchy, McGregor's Theory X & Y, McClelland's Need Theory and Clayton
Alderfer's ERG Theory)
(2) Based on experiences that satisfied and dissatisfied people at
work (for ex. Hertzberg's Two Factory Theory)
(3) Based on social exchange process (for ex. Adam's Equity Theory)
(4) Based on personal perception (for ex. Vroom's Expectancy Theory)
(5) Based on goals to achieve (for ex. Goal Setting Theory)
(6) Based on job characteristics (for ex. Job rotation, job
enlargement and job enrichment)
The right time has come to pay attention to the theories behind
motivation of people at work, by the present day leaders and in this
article I expect to discuss briefly about one of the theories of
motivation which I think more relevant for today's context. The
Expectancy Theory of motivation is put forward by Victor Vroom in 1999
and the main focus of it is the personal perception of their performance
Expectancy theory of motivation (The model)
People desire certain outcomes of behaviour and performance which may
be thought of as rewards or consequences of behaviour, and that they
believe there are relationships between the effort they put forth, the
performance they achieve and the outcomes they receive.
model is depicted in Figure 1.
The key components of the expectancy model of motivation are the
expectancy, which is the belief that effort leads to performance, the
instrumentality, which is the belief that performance is related to
rewards and the valence, which is the value or importance one places on
a particular reward. This model (or theory) helps explain why lot of
people are not motivated on their jobs and do only the necessary to get
Valence, expectancy and instrumentality are all important to a
person's motivation. Within the expectancy theory framework,
motivational problems stem from three basic causes. These causes are
(1) A disbelief in a relationship between effort and performance - a
pertinent question an employee might ask, would be "if I give the
maximum effort, will it be recognized in my performance appraisal?"
(2) A disbelief in a relationship between performance and rewards - a
pertinent question an employee might ask, would be "if I get a good
performance appraisal, will it lead to organizational rewards?"
(3) Lack of desire for the rewards offered - a pertinent question an
employee might ask, would be "if I am rewarded, are the rewards found
If the motivational problem is related to the employee's belief that
effort will not result in performance, the solution lies in altering the
One possible source of low employee motivation is the belief by the
employee that no matter how hard the employee works, the likelihood of
getting a good performance appraisal is low. The employee can be shown
how an increase in effort or an alteration in the kind of effort put
forth can be converted into improved performance.
If the motivational problem is related to the employee's belief that
performance will not result in rewards, the solution lies in altering
Many employees see the performance-reward relationship in their job
as weak. The person can be shown how an increase in performance or a
somewhat altered form of performance will be converted into rewards.
If the motivational problem is related to the value the employee
places on, or the preference the person has for, certain rewards, the
solution lies in influencing the value placed on the rewards or altering
the rewards themselves.
The employee works hard in hope of getting a promotion but gets
something else which is of little concern. This highlights the
importance of the rewards being tailored to individual employees need.
Success on a job is facilitated or hindered by the existence or
absence of support resources as well. A general way of thinking about
employee performance is as a function of the interaction of ability [A]
and motivation [M] and thus performance [P] = [M] x [A]. If either of
these is absent or inadequate, performance will be negatively affected.
An individual's intelligence and skills (subdued under the label
ability) must be considered in addition to motivation if we are to be
accurately explain and predict employee performance.
There is something missing yet! One needs to add opportunity to
perform [O] into this equation, thus making performance [P] = [M] x [A]
x [O]. The figure 2 depicts this. Even though an individual may be
willing and able, there may be obstacles that hamper performance.
This is where the leaders can play a role in providing opportunities
to perform those individuals who are desire to do so.
The days of command and control as well as "blame culture" are long
gone and therefore, what we need at this hour is to have leaders who can
inspire people to follow them.
The "influence culture" is what we need today in order to achieve
goals and objectives, which will resulted in job satisfaction of
employees. When you can inspire the people to work with you then you
become a leader automatically.
The notion that "leaders are born rather than made" has been proved
to be not so as many people have become leaders through sheer
determination and will power.
So a leader of today can make use of theories of motivation, to suit
to the particular situation and I presume that the expectancy theory of
motivation can be one of such.
In no time, a "leader" becomes an effective leader, if he/she
determines to produce a motivated workforce, thus having a group of
It's a usual and or a traditional practice the "next in line" concept
when elevating a person to a position with responsibility. Being the
"next in line" does not necessarily be a pre requisite to become a
person qualified for such leadership positions.
Although the position as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Director,
Manager, or Supervisor etc etc., gives one, an authority to accomplish
certain tasks and objectives in the organization, this power does not
make you a leader and it simply makes one, a boss.
Leadership differs in that it makes the followers want to achieve
high goals, rather than simply bossing people around. We have seen, in
many instances that people have failed miserably after being elevated to
In the eyes of the employees, your leadership is everything you do
that affects the organization's objectives and their well-being.
Respected leaders concentrate what they are, what they know and what
they do (such as implementing, motivating and provide direction).
One study examined over about 75 key components of employee
satisfaction and found that (1) trust and confidence in top leadership
was the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an
organization and (2) effective communication by leadership in three
critical areas was the key to winning organizational trust and
(1) Helping employees understand the organization's overall business
strategy, (2) Helping employees understand how they contribute to
achieving business objectives and(3) Sharing information with employees
on both how the organization is doing and how an employee's own division
is doing - relative to strategic objectives.
So it's high time that the organizations do have mechanisms to assess
the leadership qualities and or skills, of people those who will be
placed in such responsible positions, rather than merely depend on the
paper qualifications and 'age old experiences' in the profession, for
that matter, always.
If an organization has leaders but not bosses, in positions, and also
motivated staff under each, miracles can happen, especially under the
present day scenario.
Leaders must make followers but not subordinates, so that the
leader-follower relationship will see, whether it is an organization, a
division, a unit etc. etc, thrives sustainably.
To say the least an effective leader can inspire the employees to
stay together in any weather as there is no other power in this world
can overpower manpower! If an organization has effective leader/s and
motivated workforce, by itself, long term sustainability would be