In this last installment of this Research Spotlight Series on "Who wants to follow the leader?" by Dr. Christian Thoroughgood & Dr. Katina Sawyer, we're discussing the authors' suggestions for best practices for practitioners in the field. These best practices should help you as an HR practitioner and leader consider the impact that your leadership style has on your employees.
Influence depends on its target.
The results of this research have pointed to a typically overlooked fact: influence depends on its target. Organizations often overlook the importance of matching leaders with situations that fit their styles; not every leader's style is going to be a great fit for any given issue that comes up in an organization. Organizations would do well to consider who will be the best fit to lead in a given situation.
Matching supervisors & subordinates based on personality.
Not every supervisor is going to be a great match for every employee. Different personality types, work styles, and work values for each person are going to play a major role in how that relationship pans out, and how successful and productive it is (or isn't). Organizations should consider matching subordinates to supervisors that would be the best fit for them, which will hopefully translate to a better working relationship and stronger professional development for the employee.
Be aware of too much similarity.
While matching leaders to similar subordinates has many pros, organizations must be careful to not consistently match leaders to subordinates that are too similar; "Too much similarity between supervisors and subordinates may stifle constructive dissent or creative problem-solving" (Thoroughgood & Sawyer, 2017, p. 13). HR practitioners thrive off of innovation and disruption, so maintaining groups that are too similar may cut off opportunities for new ways of thinking and new ideas. A healthy balance of different individuals and leaders should create the most productive and the most innovative team.
Stay tuned to the blog for our next Research Spotlight Series and for more tips on how HR research translates into your organization.