NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL VOLUME 25, NUMBER 4, 2007 Leaders of the Lost Art Don DeMoulin Doctoral Faculty College of Education Argosy University - Atlanta ABSTRACTThis article specifies the “Effective Leader” as one with distinct traits thattransforms a mere leader to an effective leader. The author emphasizes that in manyinstances, people think that because a person is an effective teacher that she/he willbe an effective principal or that an effective employee will make an effectivesupervisor. According to the author, an effective leader means developing orenhancing specific leadership traits. Introduction S omeone once said that leadership is like beauty: it is hard to define, but you will know it when you see it. Among theorists, leadership does seem to be a difficult concept to define although there are many theories that attest toleadership. In my 20+ years of studying and writing on leadership, I have discovered thata few people have a high potential for effectively leading in almost any situation, but theyare leaders only when they lead. The following are components that I have been exposed to over the years(although non-inclusive by no means) that contribute to good leadership: • the ability to define a vision to work toward and inspire others for the critical ‘buy-in’ factor, • the ability to define the goals that are needed to attain the set-forth vision, • the ability to effectively communicate goals to appropriate people, • the ability to determine the most appropriate path to reach these goals, 1
NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL2_____________________________________________________________________________________ • the ability to instill confidence in subordinates that the goals defined and the path to these goals are both valid, • the ability to use the power of the leadership position as tactfully as possible to meet the goals that have been set when others are in opposition, • the ability to effectively move the organization and reach the goals that have been set, • the ability to match people to jobs and obtain the maximum benefit , and • the ability to take risks and move beyond status quo in reaching the goals. Effective leaders are also highly skilled in Decision Making, Delegation,Communication, Listening, Time Management and Implementation. These are criticalareas that were uncovered during years of research and are included in the DLSinstrumentation provided by PanTesting and The American Psychological Association(see Appendix A). In the entire realm of leadership, there are only two ways people succeed: becauseof the leader or in spite of the leader. Few people succeed in spite of the leader. That isbecause an ineffective leader can dramatically influence the outcome s/he has not boughtin to. Success, then would mean that the followers would have to take on all aspects ofsuccess—without leadership, and this is highly unlikely nor desired. Success because of the leader means that the leader has taken control of thesituation and has provided the necessary guidance with trust and credibility to assistothers to succeed. Leadership, therefore, is a process of influence; leaders influence andmotivate others to do a task. The attention given to leadership has been increasing as aresult of ongoing research convictions that describe leadership as a significant factor ineffective organizations. The daily activities of leaders clearly indicate a broad and highlydemanding job. Leaders who are successful in managing and leading their organizationsdisplay confidence in their leadership capacity. Unfortunately, there has been a trend over the past many years of mistaken thosewho manage as leaders. There is a huge difference in one who manages and one wholeads. One can be an effective manager, but not be an effective leader. An effectiveleader also is an effective manager. The difference between a manager and a leader isthat a manager is given formal authority to plan, organize, budget, staff, control, directthe activity of others, and focuses what it takes to get things done on a day-to-day basis.A leader defines the vision, aligns people with that vision, inspires them to make ithappen, develops them, listens to them, and empowers them to reach that vision throughestablished and measurable goals and objectives. In essence, an effective leader produceseffective change and sees the vision. What It Is To Be an Effective Leader Throughout this article, I will use the term ‘Effective Leader’ because in myexperience there is a distinct set of traits that transforms a mere leader to an effective
DON DEMOULIN_____________________________________________________________________________________3leader. The good news is that becoming an effective leader can be learned by people butit cannot be assumed in people. I say this because in many instances, people think thatbecause a person is an effective teacher that s/he will be an effective principal or that aneffective employee will make an effective supervisor. These are not always the casebecause being an effective leader means developing or enhancing specific traits and whilesome can be effective in a classroom or work place, they may not be able to advance towhat is required to become the effective leader. Effective Leadership Traits as Measured by the DLS First and foremost, effective leaders are people of good character and know what ittakes to be effective. In essence, the leadership potential as a leader can been seen andidentified within as the character needed to be successful. They know and understandthat without character, their capacity to be successful will be greatly diminished becausepeople of character carry more weight in establishing the critical trust factor than peopleof questionable character. This is because people of questionable character incorporatelies, manipulation, deceit, and other questionable actions into their behavior—basicallyputting on one face to some and another face to others. Once the behavior of theseindividuals is identified, their credibility is damaged beyond repair and they are avoidedto the point where achieving success is severely limited. That sets the stage for effectiveleadership to emerge. Effective leaders know their leadership style and can make the necessaryadaptations from developing relationships to keeping people on task. There is a delicatebalance in moving from one area to the other and the effective leader knows how tomaintain that balance. They know that developing strong relationship is critical to getpeople actively engaged in the vision, but also know that there are times when there is aneed to go beyond the relationship component and move people out of their comfortzone. Successful leaders are not afraid of making decisions and utilize appropriate use ofcommittees or teams to gain valuable input. These teams are also useful to identify avision as a viable part of overall effectiveness and success. Effective leaders seek todevelop and nurture an effective team spirit that fosters a sense of belonging andownership while focusing attention on measurable goals and objectives proven to beeffective in similar situations—not only goals that work, but those goals that work best.Their attention is focused on reaching their well-established and carefully definedobjectives and the use of teams aid in the decision-making process. Effective leaders develop carefully planned processes and procedures thatminimize individual differences by providing structured activities that enhance personaldevelopment and increasing productivity. These leaders usually see the “big picture”from a linear perspective. They understand the value of following step-by-stepapproaches to task completion. Emphasis is placed on a vision and set of defined goalsand the proper preparation and completion of objectives to reach the goals toward the
NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL4_____________________________________________________________________________________vision. The initiation of long- and short-term organizational goals and objectives isparamount prior to establishing successful vision attainment. Without a vision, it isdifficult to get people directed in the same direction, at the same time, working towardthe same thing. Effective leaders use specified goals and objectives to meet their identifiedoutcomes. They evaluate their performance through measurable goals and objectives—celebrating the little successes as they are obtained. Effective leaders plan effectively, delegate wisely, and work according topriorities. Because they are well respected and are perceived to have an honestdemeanor, there is a harmonious climate with a strong sense of loyalty, a solidrelationship, a high degree of trust, and a low potential for conflict. With thisconstructive environment, little time is lost on unnecessary altercations and debates. Theeffective leader has provided the proper training that is aligned with the vision so thateach member of the team can function as an appendage of the leader. These leaders, inessence, gain power by giving it away and constantly pursue ways to improve the peopleon the team. Effective leaders have communication skills that rank high among the qualitiespeople evaluate and consider when forming impressions of a persons educationalbackground and intellect. They make the most of individualized communication tomotivate positive behavior practices and are considered effective the role models forothers. They accomplish this by basically sharing messages, ideas or attitudes thatproduce a certain degree of understanding. They understand that communication iseffective when the purpose is known (free of jargon) and is explained in a down-to-earthfashion leaving little doubt about what is being addressed. Effective leaders alsounderstand that communication is ineffective when people voluntarily modify acommuniqué for selfish reasons, fail to relay segments of a communiqué due to lack ofunderstanding, have unnecessary distractions within the communique’, or are sidetrackedby things other than the communiqué itself. Effective leaders are good listeners. Unfortunately, listening is widely consideredto be the weakest component of all communication skills. Although it takes a great dealof proficiency to speak appropriately, it takes a far greater skill to listen intently.Ineffectual listening results from inadequate training or poorly developed listening skills.Studies have suggested that American output could be doubled if the people practicedeffective listening skills. Most of us think we are good listeners but we usually find outthat we may be good hearers, but that does not make us good listeners. Effective leaders are great managers of time. Time is a precious commodity; weeach have the same amount of it each day. How we partition time determines theimportance and the value we place on things; the more time we set aside for something,the more important we perceive it to be. But, in reality, we should ask ourselves, "Howmuch of me does this task deserve?" Yesterdays time is gone and we will never be ableto recoup it, nor help anyone, yesterday so it is imperative that we make awfully good useof the time we have been given. Effective leaders possess the ability to get things done—getting themselves andothers to achieve desired outcomes and reach personal goals. The ability to implementplans of action separates a leader who is progressive from one who is stagnant. A person
DON DEMOULIN_____________________________________________________________________________________5who is an effective implementor is one who is actively engaged in personaladvancement and development. Individual who have difficulty implementing ideas,plans, or strategies falls short of being a successful leader. Concluding Remarks According to John Maxwell, people usually follow into one of four dreamcategories: 1) they never see the dream—and meandering through life without purpose;2) they see the dream but never personally act on it—depending on or following others toget them to the dream; 3) they see the dream and chase after it—finally realizing andachieving the dream; 4) they see the dream, achieve the dream and then help others findtheir dream—becoming leaders. Effective leaders are people who do not seek recognition but seek an opportunity tohelp others improve themselves. Just like an effective referee is unseen but controls thegame, an effective leader controls the situation through laying the proper groundwork andsetting the parameters for success. Each of the areas discussed in this article is measured in the DLS. It is good for usto know how we measure in the different categories when compared to experts in therespective areas. It is also good to know if a person who thinks s/he is ready for aleadership position to know what areas are his/her strength, what areas are good, andwhat areas are a concern that need to be strengthened. The DLS provides thisinformation so proper training can be implemented to maximize the potential ofbecoming an effective leader versus a leader by position. The DLS instrumentation also went through the rigorous analysis of PanTestingand the American Psychological Testing for inclusion in their test batteries and areavailable for review at www.pantesting.com and www.apa.org ReferencesMaxwell, John (1991). The 21 indispensable qualities of a leader: Becoming the person people will want to follow. T. Nelson. Amazon.
NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL6_____________________________________________________________________________________ Appendix ADEMOULIN LEADERSHIP SERIES The DeMoulin Leadership Series (DLS) is designed to provide organizations with aviable source of information for individual and/or group evaluations and performanceenhancement. These evaluations can be used in a variety of ways as a supplementalinformational resource, from pre-employment screening to assessing the effectiveness of in-service programs to identifying potential supervisors/managers/principals/superintendents. The DLS contains a collection of eight instruments designed to effectively measureindividual strengths and/or areas of concern within specific leadership categories including:Leadership, Decision Making, Delegation, Communication, Listening, Time Managementand Implementation. ♦ Myself as a Leader ♦ Leadership Assessment Profile ♦ Myself as a Decision Maker ♦ Myself as a Delegator ♦ Myself as a Communicator ♦ Myself as a Listener ♦ Myself as a Manager of Time ♦ Myself as an Implementor The DeMoulin Leadership Series was thoroughly tested and normed with reliabilitycoefficients ranging from .89 to .94. Questions concerning face, content, construct, andconcurrent validity were sufficiently addressed and answered utilizing the Delphi techniqueand Principle Component Factor Analysis. Test retest reliability was conducted with theseparate components over one, two, and three week intervals, with resulting Pearsoncorrelation coefficients ranging from .81 to .93. External concurrent validity for the DLS has been assessed in a number of ways. Onenotable example involved the comparison of the judgment of a panel of experts with DLSscores. The Memphis area National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Test Center provided continuing education training in which the characteristics ofparticipants were assessed pre and post by a panel of 11 experts using rating scales. Apass/fail cutoff score was derived for each assessed area, and in overlapping content areas.Preprogram judgments evidenced a 91% rate of agreement with cutoffs derived from theDLS. Post training ratings by the panel of experts evidenced 89% agreement with DLS-derived cutoffs. A more traditional assessment of DLS concurrent validity was undertaken using Dr.Russell N. Cassel’s Leadership Ability Inventory (LAI). Assessments were made ofmilitary officers and business leaders using the two instruments. Correlation coefficientsbetween overlapping DLS/LAI content areas ranging from .75 to .84.
DON DEMOULIN_____________________________________________________________________________________7 Each area of the DLS for norming of scores utilized people deemed experts in therespective categories which formulated calculations for individual tests and where resultswere transformed into T-scores for interpretation. Numbers for norming included:Leadership (Number for Norming = 327)Leadership Assessment Inventory (LAI—Number for Norming = 327)Myself as a Decision Maker (MAADM—Number for Norming = 295)Myself as a Delegator (MAAD—Number for Norming = 313)Myself as a Communicator (MAAC—Number for Norming = 267)Myself as a Listener (MAAL—Number for Norming = 188)Myself as a Manager of Time (MAAMT—Number for Norming = 236)Myself as am Implementor (MAAI—Number for Norming = 210)