Psychological Self-Help

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Leadership and management skills.
Good leaders persuade us to give up some of our personal
interests and commit ourselves to group tasks and goals. How good is
our leadership in industry? 60% to 75% of workers say the supervisor
is the worst part of their jobs. Experts agree. Research indicates that
60% to 75% of managers are incompetent (Hogan, Curphy & Hogan,
1994). About 20% fail to act with authority when it is needed and 16%
are tyrants. Clearly, like with spouses, we have lousy leader selection
systems. For some reason, management resists using personality
measures, the best predictors of effectiveness and team building, in
the selection process. Persons with personality disorders--hostile,
unstable, untrustworthy, etc.--and exaggerated notions of their talents
usually make poor leaders. 
There are many ways to become a leader regardless of your official
assignment. You can become an expert and lead by virtue of your
knowledge and inventiveness. You can develop interpersonal skills and
lead by relating well with everyone, by being trustworthy, and by
helping others get along. You can lead by being a good decision-maker
and organizer and by persuading or inspiring others. You can lead by
having access to rewards (or being able to create "payoffs") for
desired behavior. You can lead by being hired as "the boss" or without
being the appointed leader. Most work sites have a social or
interpersonal leader (the person who makes plans for doing something
after work), the morale leader (the person who cheers everyone on or
tells jokes and keeps spirits high), the "effective" leader (the person
who says, "OK, let's get at it!" after the boss has given her/his orders
and left), the expert or old-timer who knows how to get things done,
the consoling co-worker who helps with everyone's personal problems,
and on and on. Almost always, you can find some leadership role for
yourself if you look carefully. 
Many situations require a task-oriented leader. What would happen
if a band had no conductor, a team had no coach, a class no teacher, a
platoon no commander? Someone must plan, organize, and coordinate
the group activities. Many management books speak to the issue of
exercising control (Bennis & Nanus, 1986). Research has shown that a
task-master usually emerges in a task-oriented group. This person,
called the task leader, talks the most but 85% of the time is not the
most liked group member, because he/she pushes the group and may
even be critical and antagonistic at times. The social-emotional leader
eases the tensions, soothes hurt feelings, and keeps the group
together; he/she is often the second most active person in the group
but is the best liked. These two leaders often work together closely,
not in competition. Occasionally, one person fills both roles (Michener,
DeLamater, & Schwartz, 1986). 
The task leader may, of course, use different leadership styles,
such as authoritarian, democratic, non-directive, or even radical
approaches (Culbert & McDonough, 1985). Several studies have shown
that group members like the democratic leader best. In some
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