A Communicative Theory for Leadership

23 Feb

As a student at our fine university, your thoughts are constantly turning to the big picture. What are you going to do when you graduate? What’s out there on that big scary road we call the future? When you graduate, you will apply for entry-level jobs, pursue paid internships, and hunger after the chance just to be the boss’ assistant. Sadly, that’s where a lot of graduates make their first mistake. Everyone should know the steps to be an effective leader if you ultimately want to reach a high rung on the ladder of success. The LMX (Leader-Member Exchange) Theory is a highly suggested theory used in organizational communication for leaders in the workplace.  I have taken this theory and broken down its stages into three quick, easy steps that will help you to become the best leader that YOU can be!

1. Acceptance of the Role

When a new member joins a team that has already been in the creation process, their abilities and interactions with the other members of that team need to be immediately assessed. Ask yourself; can they work cohesive with the group? Do they handle new task and team building strategies well? Do not feel as though you are adding unnecessary pressure towards this new team member. It is important for them to establish their standing and show themselves as capable and proficient. If said member is not tested, then you as the leader will be at fault for any failures that occur or tasks that cannot be fulfilled. So it is vital that you utilize this stage to discover the strengths and weaknesses of the new member.

2. Creation of the Role

If you have moved into stage two, this means the new member has been accepted. This makes him a part of your “in” group. Your “in” group contains high level positions of trusted officials. These are the people you have chosen to represent your ideas and carry out your direct orders. In war, they would be your lieutenants and colonels. At this stage, your confidence and assurance in them is solid since they have shown great consistency through stage one. However, the members should always be reminded that your trust is earned, not given freely and can easily be revoked should failure become constant. This shouldn’t be looked at as too harsh though, as the member should receive rewards as well. A position of importance and benefits is given in return for loyalty and ambition. Therefore, the member has something to continuously work to keep. They need to remember that there are always new members on the horizon.

3. Routinization

By this stage you and the member should have a comfortable social exchange established. There should be no need to explain projects when they are assigned or expand on information already given. The member agrees with your goals and actively helps you accomplish those goals. Many members become an apprentice of the leader and therefore become leaders themselves. The leader can then trust them to lead others. They understand the thoughts and motives why something is needed. You have ultimately trained and groomed them to become extensions of your own self.

People have always said that life is one big race, and as a college graduate you are putting yourself ahead of the competition. Statistically the majority of people who are managers, CEOs, and supervisors pursued higher learning. You will find yourself in a position of leadership, so it is important that you know how to not only get there, but stay there! Remember; do not follow where the path may lead. Instead, go where there is no path, and lead a trail. That is true leadership.

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