Leader Research Paper

This paper will provide an overview of the necessary qualities of effective management and discuss how adhering to core values and maintaining standards of ethical conduct are necessary to achieve managerial leadership. There are certain necessary qualities for effective management. Managers need to have strong organization skills, the ability to communicate, and the capacity to make decisions. These skills are essential for effective management whether one is managing a small business, a division within a company, or has oversight responsibility for a group in any other work environment. However, truly successful managing requires a business owner or a manager to go beyond these basic skill sets in order to set a higher standard of quality. In order to accomplish this, managers need to lead. Moreover, managerial leadership requires that a manager adhere to certain core values and standards of ethical conduct.

Keywords Core Values; Ethical Conduct; Leadership Traits; Management; Managerial Leadership; Organizational Purpose; Qualitative Results; Quantitative Results

Management: Managerial Leadership


Managerial Skills

Regardless of the type of business or work situation, a successful enterprise requires effective management. There are certain basic skill sets that managers must have in order to be effective.

  • First, a manager must be highly organized. This means that they need to manage their time efficiently, prioritize their responsibilities and assume responsibility for the workflow of the group by delegating expediently.
  • In order to delegate, a manager must also be able to communicate effectively. Successful communication requires a manager to speak and write clearly as well as to listen intently. In fact, listening is probably one of the more important abilities a manager must have to communicate effectively. This is because managers need to have a clear understanding of the group and what people can and cannot do. The best managers are those that recognize people's capabilities so that they delegate responsibilities effectively. In short, employees should be put into positions where they are most likely to fulfill their duties successfully. By having strong communication skills, a manager will be able to delegate, and to act decisively (Ramona, Emanoil & Lucia, 2012).
  • Being able to make decisions, whether popular or unpopular, also lends itself to a successful leadership situation.

Essentially, having a successful business, agency or other enterprise requires having effective managers. Effective managers need to have strong organizational, communication and decision-making skills. More than this, successful managers must be capable of leading.

Managerial Functions

In order to lead, a manager must first master the basic functions of management. In his article, Justice Walton (2005) states that there are four functions of management:

  • Short and Long Term Planning.
  • Organizing a line or staff.
  • Directing (taking charge of a department or organization and controlling).
  • Implementing various techniques for managerial control.

Managers are supposed to delegate duties, not perform those duties. Moreover, a manager usually has the responsibility of choosing the people that will be doing the work. This means that the manager is in charge of hiring, firing, training and disciplining employees. Because of this, managers are also responsible for the work that the group performs. To ensure that the group is meeting consistent standards of quality, a manager must be able to motivate people and provide them with a sense of accomplishment. This means that managers need to communicate the big picture to employees by linking their role to the enterprise's main function.

One factor that determines how a manager will perform these functions is his or her personality. A person's temperament, character and personality are directly related to how he or she will not only manage, but also lead. Another important factor is a manager’s emotional intelligence (Boyatzis, Good & Massa, 2012; Davis, 2011). There are certain traits that allow one to be an effective leader. Leaders must be able to work with others and show employees that their role does make a difference. To do this, managers must be positive thinkers and perform their role with energy. In so doing, they will instill energy in the team. Some of the traits that will enable a manager to lead include integrity, pride, sincerity, curiosity, passion and courage (Walton 2005). These traits will be further discussed elsewhere in this article.


Indicators of Successful Management

There are ways to determine if a company or enterprise is being successfully managed. Success usually manifests itself in results and this normally is reflected by financial outcomes, such as profit in a sales organization. This can also be reflected by number outcomes in an educational setting - such as the test scores of a particular grade level or the percentage of students graduating in a school district. Such results are also referred to as quantitative results and while these are important, there are also other results that need to be reviewed: qualitative results. These results can be reflected in a business enterprise by employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, quality control, customer retention, and employee retention. Charles Kerns contends that there are six dimensions of quality results: (i) results need to be values driven, (ii) results should be grounded in ethical behavior, (iii) results must be related to the overall purpose of the entity, (iv) results need to be geared toward learning, (v) results must be able to be measured, and (vi) results need to provide a balanced perspective - both quantitative and qualitative, in determining the success of the enterprise (Kerns 2005).

Importance of Core Values

It is becoming more evident that the success of businesses, educational institutions, hospitals, healthcare providers, not for profit organizations, government agencies, and any other group dynamic where people are working toward a common goal is directly related to the entity's values. This is reflected in both quantitative and qualitative results. A sales enterprise that is lacking a core set of values may be able to sustain itself in the short run, but at the end of the day, its long-term success will be the result of actions that are rooted in a set of core values. Adhering to a set of values lends itself to actions that are constructive and ethical.

Since values are directly related to the long-term success of an enterprise, these values must first be identified and then become part of the entity's basic function. There should also be a means to ensure that these values are adhered to over time. In order for a manager to achieve this, he or she must follow those values. In so doing, managers set an example for the group and thereby gain credibility.

Once a set of core values has been established, the attitudes and behaviors that arise should be grounded in ethical behavior. Ethics has become a buzzword in the wake of the financial accounting scandals that arose not so long ago (for companies like ENRON), but ethical behavior in the long run will enable an organization to sustain qualitative and quantitative results. It is ultimately the responsibility of managerial leaders to adhere to standards of ethical conduct. A manager can lead the way by being truthful, having integrity, extending kindness, treating staffers with fairness, taking responsibility for his or her actions, and for the performance of the group, and finally treating others with respect. In the end, a leader must have integrity and his or her effectiveness and leadership will be affected by whether the staff believes in a manager's integrity.

Creating a Successful Environment

In addition to adhering to a set of values and acting ethically, a leader must be able to link the results of the enterprise and its people to the organization's purpose. According to Kerns (2005), "without a positive connection between work and organizational purpose - what we do each day becomes less meaningful."

Making Employees Matter


Call for Papers
Leader Power: Rigorous Insights on its Causes and Consequences
Rachel E. Sturm, Holger Herz, and John Antonakis

Interpersonal power has been a topic of concern from classical philosophers including Plato, to modern-day scholars across a variety of social-sciences disciplines. Power is an important topic for leadership because to lead requires that one has power. Power entails having the “discretion and the means to asymmetrically enforce one’s will over entities,” be they individuals, teams, or institutions (Sturm & Antonakis, 2015, p. 139).

Psychologists have often focused on the psychological experience of having power (Flynn, Gruenfeld, Molm, & Polzer, 2011). Behavioral economists have used incentivized experiments to study antecedents such as personality traits and incentives, which motivate individuals to acquire or to delegate power (Zehnder, Herz & Bonardi, 2017; Fehr, Herz & Wilkening, 2013).These literatures have greatly contributed to our understanding of power, though there are still many unanswered questions including the age-old question of whether power corrupts or enables who a person is (Bendahan, Zehnder, Pralong, & Antonakis, 2015; Chen, Lee-Chai, & Bargh, 2001). Beyond applied questions of this sort, there are some basic issues concerning how power has been operationalized and measured both in field and experimental settings: In management and applied psychology, studies using experimental designs have been prone to demand effects and studies in field settings are limited because of endogeneity issues (Sturm & Antonakis, 2015).

As concerns challenges the field faces, several influential research streams have been strongly questioned. For example, one research theme on “power posing” (Carney, Cuddy, & Yap, 2010), suggests that a brief pose can increase testosterone levels and risk taking making anyone powerful in a few minutes. However, Ranehill and colleagues (2015) demonstrated that when experimenters were blinded to the power-posing treatment, the effect disappeared; additionally, Simmons and Simonsohn (2017) identified other statistical issues that suggest that this “power posing” effect may not exist. As another example, the popular and easy-to-use “power prime,” which involves asking participants in the power condition to recall a time they had power and write about it as compared to the control condition wherein participants write about something banal (Galinksky, Gruenfeld, & Magee 2003), has been challenged as not being ecologically valid. Results stemming from such a manipulation are difficult to interpret in real terms because recalling the experience of power may differ from actually having it (Flynn et al., 2011), beyond the issue of oftentimes inducing asymmetrical demand effects across treatment conditions (Sturm & Antonakis, 2015). As Flynn et al. (2011, p. 497) point out: “Research on power, especially the social psychology of power, has arrived at a critical juncture [and] criticism has started to mount that the literature is bereft of paradigmatic development, ecological validity, and practical relevance.”

In this special issue, we would like to see the application of rigorous scientific standards to the study of leader power. We intend to publish theoretical and empirical manuscripts, as well as reviews or critiques that will advance our understanding of leader power. Specifically, we are interested in research that will help inform basic or applied research and consequently impact policy. In addition to management and psychology research on leader power, we welcome scholarship from other fields including anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology, among others. Key to success in the submission process is to ensure clear theorizing and operationalization, and well-justified causal claims for empirical papers.

Topics that we will consider, but are not limited to, are as follows:

  • Consequential manipulations of power (e.g., using behavioral economics-type designs) to study outcomes or moderating effects of power, both pro and anti-social
  • Critically analyzing the difference between psychological experiences of power and actual power
  • Probing how demand effects may have been induced in previous research (e.g., in power posing or “think of a time you had power” protocols) and the extent to which participants are aware of such demand effects
  • Using econometric designs (instrumental variable or selection models) to examine the impact of power in field settings
  • Examining what occurs to powerful individuals when they lose power via experimental or field designs
  • Examining the dynamics of group level power (e.g., Boards of Directors) 
  • Examining a leader’s path to, and pursuit of, power
  • Identifying moderators of leader power, in terms of individual differences, governance mechanisms, compensation systems, environmental uncertainty, among others
  • Exploring how advances in technology impact a leader’s power
  • Linking power to follower-centric theories as well as to contextual and contingency perspectives
  • Studying biological perspectives of power including neurological correlates or how biological individual differences (e.g., sex, height, looks, hormones, etc.) impact or moderate the effects of power

Submission Process

Authors can submit their manuscripts starting from 1 March 2018 but no later than the submission deadline of 1 June 2018, online via The Leadership Quarterly’s EVISE submission system at https://www.evise.com/profile/#/LEAQUA/login. 

To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for consideration for this Special Issue, it is important that authors select “SI: Power” when they reach the “Article Type” step in the submission process. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with The Leadership Quarterly’s Guide for Authors available on the journal web page. All submitted manuscripts will be subject to The Leadership Quarterly’s double blind review process.

Research Data

Research data forms the backbone of research articles and provides the foundation on which knowledge is built.  Researchers are increasingly encouraged, or even mandated, to make research data available, accessible, discoverable and usable.  Although not mandatory, the journal encourages authors to submit their data at the same time as their manuscript. Further information can be found at:



Bendahan, S., Zehnder, C., Pralong, F., & Antonakis, J. (2015). Leader corruption depends on power and testosterone. The Leadership Quarterly, 26, 101-122.

Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J. C., & Yap, A. J. (2010). Power posing: Brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological Science, 21, 1363-1368.

Chen, S., Lee-Chai, A. Y., & Bargh, J. A. (2001). Relationship orientation as moderator of the effects of social power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 183-187.

Fehr, E., Herz H., & Wilkening T. (2013). The lure of authority: Motivation and incentive effects of power. American Economic Review 103(4), 1325-1359.

Flynn, F. J., Gruenfeld, D., Molm, L. D., & Polzer, J. T. (2011). Social psychological perspectives on power in organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 56, 495-500.

Galinsky, A. D., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Magee, J. C. (2003). From Power to Action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 453-466.

Ranehill, E., Dreber, A., Johannesson, M., Leiberg, S., Sul, S., &Weber, R. A. (2015). Assessing the robustness of power posing: No effect on hormones and risk tolerance in a large sample of men and women. Psychological Science, 26, 653-656.

Simmons, J. P., & Simonsohn, U. (2017). Power posing: P-curving the evidence. Psychological Science (in press).

Sturm, R. E., & Antonakis, J. (2015). Interpersonal power: A review, critique, and research agenda. Journal of Management, 41, 136-163.

Zehnder, C., Herz, H. & Bonardi, J.P. (2017). A productive clash of cultures: Injecting economics into leadership research. The Leadership Quarterly, 28(1), 65-85.

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