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What Works for You May Not Work for (gen) Me: Limitations of Present Leadership Theories for the New Generation” Published in the Leadership Quarterly

Essay by   •  April 24, 2018  •  Article Review  •  601 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,192 Views

Essay Preview: What Works for You May Not Work for (gen) Me: Limitations of Present Leadership Theories for the New Generation” Published in the Leadership Quarterly

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Article Reaction Paper 5

This reaction paper focuses on the article titled “What works for you may not work for (Gen) Me: Limitations of present leadership theories for the new generation” published in The Leadership Quarterly. To briefly summarize the article aims to discuss why the original idea of established leadership theories such as Transformational Leadership, Leader Member Exchange, Authentic Leadership or Ethical Leadership may not be relevant entirely for upcoming generation of workers. The authors though assert that generational gaps discussed in the paper do not signal the demise of the current leadership theories. Indeed, the age cohort effects discussed would provide researchers with interesting avenues of future research and even the possibility of developing new theories of leadership that will better suit the 21st century workplace. The summary table describing influences of generational changes in leadership theory is provided in Appendix section on the next page for the reference. The primary focus of this reaction paper would be to understand these generational changes and possibly provide recommendations regarding how current leadership theories could be adapted in modern times.

Transformational leaders, for instance, may find it difficult to engage Millennials’ by appealing to a sense of community to achieve common goals), goal setting, however, may still be effective. Younger generation tend to be motivated by meaningful, challenging work and the potential for individual achievement. Hence, revisiting the dimensions of transformational leadership, especially intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration can possibly offer some insight into how to motivate and manage generations entering the work setting. Some of the ways this could be achieved could be reframing of goals in a way that individual goals align with organizational objectives. Further, linking long term extrinsic rewards to the established goals when possible may also activate Millennials' drive to succeed. Talking about Leader Member Exchange Theory (LMX), the nature of social exchange has transformed dramatically since the advent of LMX. Specifically, Millennials prefer to use computer-mediated or text-based communication. This new way of communicating aligns with the trends of globalization in business, but also complicates the process of building relationships. It is unlikely that this trend will reverse, but leaders can use the new, text-based communication skills of Millennials to their advantage.  For instance, while Millennials may not develop deep rooted relationships with others using new media, but they can possibly develop an expansive network of shallow connections, which could be leveraged for various positive organizational outcomes, including organization-to-organization partnerships, resource acquisition, or marketing initiatives. As far as ethical leadership is concerned, younger generations are more inclined towards gaining extrinsic rewards which may be the major driving force in creating a desire to achieve goals in an unethical manner. A potential solution to this is to incorporate metrics for ethical behavior into formal performance management systems. General perception that ethics is not rewarded but expected is changing and hence maybe it is time now for leaders to create their own informal reward for ethical behavior.  To conclude, the applied work setting environment is changing in recent times and hence leadership theories must also change to a certain extent if not entirely. Generational gaps should not be viewed as threats to science of leadership, but as an opportunity to develop new strategies for leading individuals in an organizational setup.

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