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The “Motivational” Leader vs the “Instructional” Leader

Posted on: September 19th, 2016 by The Moderator 3 Comments

Sam: Instructional leadership builds skills to improve current performance. It engenders managers and consumers. At best it leads to change. Motivational leadership encourages creativity. It engenders leaders and creators. At best it leads to transformation.

The Octagon: Great points raised thus far…. we can all agree that a little bit of both is necessary.

As organizations scale up, Should leadership be decentralized to ensure they achieve more and stay true to their core?  In managing tomorrow’s people, do business leaders and HR teams need to revise their current strategies accordingly? What are the key skills leaders need in today’s work environment filled with millennials?

Chude: For millenials – one key skill would be listening. The unending capacity to listen. Like to say that power has changed hands from employer to employee. Especially in a Knowledge worker context. It’s essentially a seller’s market and in that context, employers must learn the humility of ceding decision making powers,

Sam: And the willingness to see failure as an acceptable by-product of experimentation.

Chude: But aren’t there cultural mind maps that sometimes make it difficult to rally people towards a goal in this space ie Nigeria-West Africa. When I say culture though, I don’t mean traditions (Atilogwu dancers etc:) or even heritage as much as I mean context. Eg in a society where people are not used to speaking up how does a leader get crucial feedback.

Oyiza: It could play a significant role; however I believe accountability or the lack thereof (in this case) also has a role to play. If there is a willingness to hold people accountable; I’m certain we’ll begin to see mindset shifts across board. This is where a leader needs to show authenticity by deliberating eliciting feedback. Creating avenues/opportunities that enable employees freely speak up without fear of any backlash. It really boils down to the culture within the organization and whether it is one that promotes open and honest feedback or not.

Aruosa: You are now referring to the Entrepreneurship-Leadership culture I speak of. A leader should be willing to do both paper work (instructional) and people work (motivational). Again, here is where leadership style comes to bear – seeking and encouraging feedback must be deliberate and continuous. Jack Welch, called it a “Culture of Candor”. You need to motivate (Motivational Leadership) people to give feedback and to respect it when it comes AND you need to build in a process/system/policies (instructional leadership) for this feedback to keep coming. Example: GE have some thing they called “Work Out”, and Warby Parker has something they call “Warbles”.

Sam: There are cultural meta responses. Leadership must factor them in. It is a component of the corporate culture in every society. One way you get people to speak up is make speaking up part of the evaluation process. It’s going to be a fight to free employees from the impact of generations of culture. A survey we carried out left us wondering which was more powerful. Whether the employees fear of speaking up or the leader’s abhorrence to honest feedback. Both were a problem, but getting leaders to accept honest feedback in the face of failing strategy left more dead bodies on the field.

Dikko: Employees fear speaking out because most times management come down with a hammer for little mistakes made. I find that when we aren’t as harsh on mistakes, which happen, they respond by letting you know whats up when there are issues. And remember, leaders have more excuses to give for failure. So when we level the playing field –  the number one task of the motivational leader – we spurt towards our true capabilities both as people and organisations.

Oyiza: Absolutely Dikko. I think ‘fear’ has a big role to play here. Once people know that they will not be ‘crucified’ for making mistakes but rather are provided the required guidance and support to ensure the same mistake is not repeated, the outcomes are much better.

The Octagon: Awesome guys. We will be ending this conversation in 4 minutes because of our delayed start. We would appreciate if everyone can share their final thoughts on this. Thank you.

Sam: Though both “types” of leadership will create a spike in organizational productivity in the short term, fitting the right one to type and phase of organization will ensure sustainable productivity.

Chude: I think it’s crucial to note what Sam said Re: practical contexts. There can be a temptation in this age of TED talks to glorify one type of leadership in public. But in reality the workplace requires a fusion of strategies and leaders, while noting that employees these days are more Talent than Human Resource – we must take that into consideration.

Oyiza: Irrespective of the leadership style, I believe the right leadership behaviors are key to driving organizational performance irrespective of size or type of business. Thanks guys for the robust discussions. Definitely learnt a few things here today!

Aruosa: Pleasure conversing people….have a great week

Sam: Keep up the great work!

Dikko: Thanks everyone

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3 Responses

  1. Liz Akinbulumo says:

    I learnt so much reading all contributions. I will suggest that this platform be widely publicize for others to gain from. Thank you all.

  2. Mr. Dikkos point about leaders being visible and accessible is a great lesson for me.

    Very Inspiring session.

  3. Oragudosi Adaora says:

    Very Insightful Conversation. I learnt a great deal from Dikko about Motivational leader. I learnt from Sam as well.

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