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Leadership: Leaders, Followers, Environments by Art Padilla

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Leader characteristics and behaviors versus group processes and outcomes

How would you determine if leadership has been constructive or destructive? Recalling our earlier discussion in Chapter 2, there are three principal ways to consider leadership situations:

  • Looking at the leader (the leader-centric approach)
  • Examining the process
  • Considering the group's outcomes

In determining whether a company is doing well and whether its business strategies are working, one could look at the leaders and see what they do and whether they have the “right” characteristics, tendencies, and behaviors. In terms of a sports team, does the coach have the right qualifications and experiences? But a coach or leader could have great credentials and exhibit desirable behaviors and the team could still lose. Second, the process might be considered: how did the team play?15 Again, a team could play well, with passion and sportsmanship, but it might still lose. Third, one could look at outcomes: did the team, playing within the rules, win or lose? In determining whether a for-profit company's business strategies are working or not, one would look at outcomes or at the bottom line: is the company making money or not?

Leader-centric perspectives consider the leader; they focus on what leaders do or how they act.16 From this viewpoint, destructive leadership is defined as something leaders do. An example would be to look for narcissistic or “bad” behaviors of leaders, such as ignoring reality, overestimating ...

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