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高效團隊建設:領導和員工之間的主動性互補原理

放大字體  縮小字體 發布日期:2011-07-13  作者:食品翻譯中心  瀏覽次數:2446
核心提示:沃頓商學院管理學教授亞當•格蘭特(Adam Grant)與兩位同事近期就領導力和群體動力學發表最新研究,對最高效的領導者往往是外向的人這一傳統假設提出了質疑。這份報告即將于美國管理學會學報上發表,題為“對外向型領導者的挑戰:員工主動性的作用”(Reversing the Extraverted Leadership Advantage: The Role of Employee Proactivity)。


Conventional wisdom tells us that leaders are the men and women who stand up, speak out, give orders, make plans and are generally the most dominant, outgoing people in a group. But that is not always the case, according to new research on leadership and group dynamics from Wharton management professor Adam Grant and two colleagues, who challenge the assumption that the most effective leaders are extraverts。

In fact, introverted leaders can be more effective than extraverts in certain circumstances. The determining factor is who leaders are managing, according to Grant and co-authors Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School and David Hofmann of the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Extraverted leadership involves commanding the center of attention: being outgoing, assertive, bold, talkative and dominant. This offers the advantages of providing a clear authority structure and direction. However, pairing extraverted leaders with employees who take initiative and speak out can lead to friction, while pairing the same group of employees with an introverted leader can be a pathway to success, the researchers note. This has implications for leaders and managers at all levels who want to improve their own leadership styles. "If you look at existing leadership research, extraversion stands out as the most consistent and robust predictor of who becomes a leader and who is rated an effective leader," Grant says. "But I thought this was incomplete. It tells us little about the situations in which introverted leaders can be more effective than extraverted leaders."

So he and his fellow researchers began looking at the issue through the lens of a business that could easily track productivity and team effectiveness -- pizza delivery franchises。

"We wanted to study an organization where we could actually see differences in performance, and where people were generally doing the same work," Grant notes. "If there is variation in franchise profitability, as a function of who leads and who your employees are, then that would be a very powerful statement about the true impact of a leader on a group."

Threatened By Proactivity

The researchers obtained data from a national pizza delivery company. They sent questionnaires to 130 stores and received complete responses from 57; the responses included 57 store leaders and 374 employees. To adjust for differences in location that were beyond the leaders' influence, the researchers also controlled for the average price of pizza orders and worker hours. Leaders were asked to rate their own extraversion -- the degree to which they commanded the center of attention by acting talkative, assertive, outgoing and dominant. Employees were asked to rate levels of proactive behavior in the store, such as improving procedures, correcting faulty practices, speaking up with ideas and stating opinions about work issues。

What Grant and his colleagues found was a simple inverse relationship: When employees are proactive, introverted managers lead them to earn higher profits. When employees are not proactive, extraverted managers lead them to higher profits. "These proactive behaviors are especially important in a dynamic and uncertain economy, but because extraverted leaders like to be the center of attention, they tend to be threatened by employee proactivity," Grant notes. "Introverted leaders, on the other hand, are more likely to listen carefully to suggestions and support employees' efforts to be proactive."

Pairing an extraverted leader with a proactive team, he says, can hurt, not just hinder, the company's effectiveness. "Once the extraverted leader responds in a less receptive way, that becomes discouraging for employees and makes them less willing to work hard," Grant states. "It may also make them less willing to share ideas in the future, which would limit creativity and innovation."

In fact, the personality conflicts can lead to a power struggle within an organization, openly pitting leaders against employees. This is especially true in companies or groups with a flat hierarchy -- for example, if the leaders were recently promoted from the peer level, or if a new leader's competence and skills are not yet established. Such situations would "be much more likely to lead employees to challenge, and leaders to feel threatened," a situation known as "status uncertainty," according to Grant。

"If you are leading a pizza franchise, you are often doing this as your full-time job, and you might be managing high school and college students who have a different set of aspirations and, in some cases, might actually look down upon you as the leader," Grant points out. At that point, an employee with a better idea for how to get orders processed efficiently on Super Bowl night, or a suggestion for a new coupon or special deal, could make extraverted leaders feel like their "status is being threatened. They might say, 'I'm supposed to be in charge here. Let me reassert my authority.' Whereas the introverted leader, with less of a concern for position, status and power -- and a willingness to spend more time listening and less time talking -- is likely to quietly process the ideas that come up. That leader is worrying less about the ego or image implications of employees taking charge and introducing ideas."

The T-shirt Challenge

The research team also conducted another study that looked specifically at extraverted leadership behavior, not just self-reported traits. They took 163 college students from a university in the Southeastern U.S. and designated them as team members and leaders in a T-shirt folding group. The aim was to fold as many shirts as possible in 10 minutes, with iPods as a reward for the top performers。

Some students were randomly assigned to lead in either an extraverted or introverted manner. The extraverted leaders were given examples of famous leaders who were bold, talkative and assertive, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jack Welch. The introverted leaders were given examples of famous leaders who were quiet and reserved, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln. Both groups were then asked to reflect on a time when they led effectively in a similar manner. Meanwhile, two other graduate students, or "confederates," were paired with each group and secretly told to act either passively or proactively, with proactive confederates offering a new, efficient away to fold T-shirts。

The researchers found a significant interaction between extraverted leadership and proactive behavior that meshed with the findings from the pizza study. When the confederates were passive, teams performed better when led in an extraverted manner, but when the confederates were proactive, teams performed better when led in an introverted manner. "When the confederates were proactive, participants perceived the more extraverted leaders as less receptive to ideas, and they invested less effort in the task," the researchers write。

The implications of the power struggle for the leader-employee relationship and labor relations became very clear, according to Grant. "At some level, the power struggle is finished, with the leader asserting authority and the employees saying, 'We're not going to work as hard on your behalf.'" The employees basically decided that "Hey, these leaders are not receptive to good ideas .... We don't really have a ton of respect for the leader. We don't want this leader to be one of the top performers. We want to feel, at the end of the day, like our ideas are valued and our contributions are appreciated."

Interestingly, neither the introverted leaders nor the extraverted leaders showed higher productivity or profitability than the other. The difference, Grant and his researchers found, was in the pairing of leaders and employees。

"It shows that introverted and extraverted leadership styles can be equally effective, but with different groups of employees," he says. "As a social scientist, this is appealing -- people in organizations are sufficiently complex that you can rarely ever conclude that one style is always more effective than another.... Our research provides insight into when each style is effective, as opposed to trying to test which one is better -- which I think is the wrong question."

Given these conclusions, why does the popular view persist that extraverts are better leaders across the board? The authors point to several possible reasons: One is that extraverts are often perceived as more effective because of a "halo effect." "This may occur because extraverted leaders match the prototypes of charismatic leaders that dominate both [Western and Eastern cultures] and are especially prevalent in business," they write. One online survey of 1,500 senior leaders earning at least six-figure salaries found that 65% actually saw introversion as a negative quality in terms of leadership。

Creating Space for Employees

Grant says the study has broad implications for corporate leaders who want to examine their own leadership styles as well as make changes in the lower management ranks. "We tend to assume that we need to be extremely enthusiastic, outgoing and assertive, and we try to bring employees on board with a lot of excitement, a clear vision and direction," Grant says, "but there is real value in a leader being more reserved, quieter, in some cases silent, in order to create space for employees to enter the dialogue."

He worked with the CEO of one Fortune 500 company who has a policy of silence for the first 15 minutes of meetings. He does not utter a single word, although he is an extravert. "He feels that he has a tendency, once he gets excited about ideas, to run with them to the point where, at times, it leaves employees feeling like they weren't included," Grant says. "So he tries to combat that: 'I want you guys to tell me whatever you're thinking about -- suggestions, feedback, questions -- and the floor is yours.' He listens quietly and takes notes."

There are also lessons to be learned about giving employees authority and autonomy to make decisions on their own -- "providing them with choice about what work they do, as well as how, when and where they complete it," Grant notes. "One of the strongest predictors of proactivity is a sense of responsibility for the larger team or department or organization. When employees feel like they are responsible for a larger unit, they are much more likely to broaden their roles beyond their specific individual job descriptions."

So how can managers actually implement some of the lessons from the study? Grant suggests that once prospective team members have the required skills and expertise, leaders can explicitly look at personality in making the final selection -- examining both the employees and the managers, figuring out which teams will work best together. "When I have extraverted leaders, if I have the opportunity I tend to invite in some of the less proactive employees who I think are more likely to want a clear, dominant vision from a leader and who are also more likely to get energized, to step a little bit out of their comfort zones."

And how do you identify those employees who might fit better with an introverted leader at the helm? By looking and listening, Grant says. "Proactive employees, by definition, spend more of their time and energy taking initiative -- whether that's in terms of generating ideas, coming up with a new work process, staying late to help their colleagues or even going out of their way to seek feedback. You develop a reputation pretty quickly for that set of tendencies."

Extraverted leaders also need to be careful to delegate responsibility to proactive employees, Grant suggests -- putting such workers in areas where they have ideas for moving forward or want to take on larger responsibility. These leaders also should actively solicit feedback, positive and negative, and listen to it. Some companies employ 360-degree feedback surveys, but those can be harder to use in small groups. "Asking for advice from employees on how to change can kill two birds with one stone," Grant says. "It allows the leader to actually learn, and it creates opportunities for employees to contribute right there and then."


參考譯文:
  傳統觀念總是認為領導者都是那些積極表現、勇于發言、擅于發號施令、制定計劃的人,通常在人群中處于最主導的地位。然而事實未必如此。沃頓商學院管理學教授亞當•格蘭特(Adam Grant)與兩位同事近期就領導力和群體動力學發表最新研究,對最高效的領導者往往是外向的人這一傳統假設提出了質疑。

  事實上,在某些環境下,內向的領導者要比外向的領導者更加高效,關鍵就在于被領導的人。格蘭特在與哈佛商學院的弗蘭切斯卡• 吉諾(Francesca Gino)以及北卡羅來納大學克南-弗拉格勒商學院的大衛•霍夫曼(David Hofmann)共同撰寫的研究報告中提出了這一論點。

       這份報告指出,外向型領導風格意味著成為注意力的中心:開朗、決斷、大膽、能言善辯并有能力占據主導地位。這種領導者能提供明確的權力結構和發展方向。但是,如果這些領導者所管理的員工同樣具有良好的主動性并勇于發言,就有可能產生摩擦。而如果把這些員工與內向型領導組合起來,就可以通往成功。

  這對于任何想要改善領導風格的領導者和管理者而言都具有一定的指導意義。“縱觀當下流行的領導力研究報告,外向的性格總是一致被看作是成為一名領導者以及高效領導者的最重要因素,”格蘭特表示:“但我認為這種觀點并不完善。某些情況下,內向型領導者可能比外向型更為有效,而傳統觀點并沒有涉及這一領域。”

  在這種背景下,格蘭特和他的研究伙伴試圖以某種容易跟蹤生產力和團隊效率的經營業務為對象,就上述問題進行觀察分析。他們選取了披薩外送連鎖店。

  “我們希望選取那些容易比較業務績效的企業,且組織內部的人員所從事的工作具有同質性,”格蘭特表示。“作為有領導者以及被領導者的組織,如果各分店的盈利性出現差異,那么就可以證明領導者對群體的真實影響。”

主動性帶來的威脅

  研究人員從一家全國性的披薩外送公司獲取數據。向130家門店發送了問卷調查,其中57家門店反饋了完整的信息,這些反饋來自于57位門店經理和374位員工。為了排除不受領導力影響的地段差異等因素,研究人員還對披薩訂單的平均價格和工作小時數進行了控制。在問卷中,領導者需對自己的外向程度進行評分——即通過言辭、決斷力、開朗的性格和主導力能夠在多大程度上引導注意力。而員工則需對自己在門店工作中的主動行為進行評分,例如積極改善流程、糾正不良行為、大膽表達自己的想法以及發表對工作問題的意見。

  格蘭特和他的研究伙伴發現領導者及其員工呈現出一種直接簡單的反向關系:如果員工主動性高,內向型管理人員能夠帶領他們創造更高的盈利;如果員工不是那么的積極主動,那么外向型管理人員則更能夠帶領他們創造高盈利。“在動態且不確定的經濟中,這種主動的行為尤其重要,但由于外向型領導者本身就容易成為注意力的中心,因此員工太過主動反而可能令他們遭受威脅,”格蘭特表示“相反,內向型領導者更傾向于認真聽取建議,并支持員工發揮主觀能動性。”

  同時,格蘭特還進一步指出,如果將積極主動的員工與外向型領導者相組合,那么不僅僅會阻礙,甚至可能會損害公司的經營效率。他認為“如果外向型領導者不能很好地接受建議,就會讓員工感到沮喪,降低他們對工作的積極性。同時,還會讓他們變得不愿分享觀點,從而限制創造力和創新。”

  事實上,性格沖突可能會導致組織內權力無法發揮,造成領導與員工的公開對抗。如果公司或群體采取的是扁平式的組織架構,這一問題則會更為突出——舉例來說,如果平級的同事近期內獲得提升成為領導,或是新領導的能力和技巧尚未成熟的情況下,就有可能“誘發員工對權威的挑戰,并讓領導遭受威脅”。格蘭特把這種情況稱為“地位不確定”(status uncertainty)。

  “如果你是一家披薩連鎖店的管理人員,你通常會將其作為全職工作,而你管理的人員可能是些高中生和大學生,他們有著不一樣的志向,有時還很可能對你這個領導根本不屑一顧,”格蘭特說道。“這時,如果有員工提出改善流程,從而能在‘超級碗’比賽當晚送出更多的披薩或是有員工提出發放新的優惠券或特別優惠的建議時,外向型領導會覺得他們的‘地位受到了威脅’。他們很可能會說‘我才是這里的負責人。讓我重申一下我的權力’。而內向型領導人則不那么在乎職級、地位和權力,他們說得不多,并愿意花更多的時間來聽取建議,如果遇到同樣的情況,他們很可能會安靜地采納并執行這些建議。這種領導者不會太在意自我,也不會想象員工可能奪取他們的位置、施加自己的觀點。

疊T恤比賽帶來的啟示

  研究小組還進行了另一項研究,對外向型領導的行為進行仔細觀察,而不僅僅依賴于這些領導者的自我描述。研究人員在美國東南部的一所大學選取了163位大學生,并把他們分為不同的小組,每個小組都有成員和組長。他們的任務是在10分鐘之內疊好盡量多的T恤,疊的最多的小組的每位成員都可以獲得一個iPod作為獎勵。

  研究人員隨機挑選了部分學生作為組長,既有外向型,也有內向型。對于外向型的組長,研究人員向他們展示了那些以大膽、能言善辯和決斷力著稱的著名領導人的例子,例如小馬丁路德金和杰克威爾士。而針對內向型組長,研究人員則向他們展示了類似圣雄甘地和阿伯拉罕林肯等安靜保守的著名領導者形象。之后,需要兩組人員按照所展示的風格來有效地領導他們的團隊。與此同時,研究人員還選取了另外兩名大學生作為“盟友”,并將其分配給兩個小組,暗中讓他們采取被動或主動的表現。配合采取主動表現的“盟友”需要向組長建議一種新型高效地疊衣服方式。

  研究人員發現在外向型領導風格和主動性行為之間存在著重要的互動關系,與披薩研究的結果一致。盟友采取被動表現時,外向型領導風格帶領下的團隊取得了更好的績效;而當盟友采取主動表現時,則是內向型領導風格下的團隊取得更高的成績。“當盟友表現積極時,小組成員會認為外向型領導人不能很好地接受意見,因此也就不愿意賣力工作,”研究人員在報告中如此分析。

  領導者和員工關系以及勞動關系之間權力的對抗變得非常明顯,格蘭特說,“當領導者重申權力,員工表示‘我們才不會為你賣力工作’時,權力的對抗就會結束。”然而員工會認為“瞧,這些領導人根本不接受好的意見…我們沒必要對他們表示尊敬。我們可不想讓這種人奪第一。我們希望在一天結束的時候,能讓他們體會到我們的意見是有價值的,我們的貢獻能夠得到認可。”

  有趣的是,就盈利性而言,外向型領導者和內向型領導者本身并不存在孰優孰劣。格蘭特和他的研究伙伴發現,真正的差異來自于領導者和被領導者的組合。

  “事實證明內向型和外向型領導風格的效率不分上下,但成員組合的方式不同,就會對結果造成差異,”格蘭特表示。“作為一名社會科學家,這樣的結論無疑有著重大的意義——一個組織內的成員結構非常復雜,你很難說哪種風格就一定比另一種風格更有效…我們的研究著重在于在何種環境下哪種風格更有效,而不是簡單地嘗試證明哪種更好——我認為這根本就是個錯誤的命題。”

   既然結論如此,那么為什么整體而言流行觀點都認為外向型的人才是更好的領導者呢?報告給出了幾個可能的原因:其中之一就是“暈輪效應”(halo effect)。“造成這種觀點的原因可能是因為外向型領導人更符合東西方文化中人們對于魅力型領導者的描繪,這一點在商場上尤為突出,”報告指出。一項針對收入在六位數以上的1500位高級管理人員的在線調查顯示,65%的受訪者認為內向是影響領導力的負面品質。

為員工創造空間

  格蘭特表示他們的研究對于希望改善領導風格、改革低層管理級別的企業管理人員來說有著廣泛的意義。“我們總是傾向于認為我們需要表現得熱情、開朗并富有決斷力,嘗試讓員工感到興奮,為他們描繪清晰的愿景、指明方向,”格蘭特說,“但事實上,有時候領導者需要采取更為保守和安靜的姿態,某些情況下,甚至是一言不發,從而為員工創造更多的參與對話的空間。”

  格蘭特曾與一家財富500強企業的CEO共事,這位CEO為自己定了一個規矩,即在會議開始的15分鐘內保持緘默,不說一句話——盡管他是個非常外向的人。“他發現他有種傾向,就是一旦想到一個他認為很棒的點子,就急于讓員工接受,有時,這會讓員工覺得自己并沒有參與在過程中,”格蘭特表示,“所以他嘗試改變這一現象:‘我希望你們告訴我你們的任何想法——建議、反饋或是疑問——這個舞臺是你們的。’而他則會安靜的聆聽并記錄重點。”

  對于為員工提供更大的權力和決策自主權——即“讓員工選擇做什么工作、如何做、何時及何處完成工作”——研究報告也給出了許多值得借鑒的意見。格蘭特指出:“想讓員工變得積極主動的一個最重要因素就是培養他們對于大團體或部門或整個企業的責任感。如果員工覺得自己應該為集體利益負責,他們就會在特定的個人崗位描述范圍之外,主動承擔更多的責任。”

  那么管理人員應當如何將研究報告中的發現運用到實踐中呢?格蘭特建議一旦潛在的團隊成員已經掌握必需的技能和專業知識,領導者就可以開始觀察他們的性格,以便進行最終的團隊組合——領導者應對員工及管理人員同時進行觀察,思考如何組合成員才能讓團隊發揮最大的效率。“如果我的管理人員都是外向型的,那么有機會的話,我會傾向于招一些不是那么主動的員工,這些員工更能夠從領導那里獲得清晰、主導性的愿景,更容易被鼓舞,從而發揮更大的積極性。”

  至于如何定義那些適合內向型風格領導的員工,格蘭特認為可以靠觀察和聆聽。“積極主動的員工會花更多的時間和精力來主導自己的工作——無論是提出建議、規劃新的工作流程、加班幫助同事或是超越自己的工作范圍來征求反饋。你會很快發現這些趨勢和特征。”

  除此之外,外向型領導在下放責任給主動性員工時也需保持謹慎,格蘭特指出,應當讓這些員工從事他們所希望的領域,這樣他們才會有動力前進并承擔更大的責任。這些領導者還應該主動搜集反饋,無論是正面還是負面意見都應該悉心接受。有些公司會采用360度全面反饋調查,但這很難適用于小的群體。“向員工征詢如何進行改革的意見可謂是一石二鳥的舉措,”格蘭特說道,“既可以讓領導更多地了解員工的想法,也可以為員工創造更大的貢獻空間。”
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