Relational leadership according to Kurucz et al (2017) is a relational process of individuals in their attempts of accomplishing changes or making a difference for their benefits by employing inclusive and ethical philosophical values. This is attained by following five primary elements: ethics, purpose, empowerment, inclusivity, and process-orientation. Marchiondo, Myers, and Kopelman (2015) argue that the relational leadership model focuses on organizations or group’s positive social advancement and development.
Figure 1: relational Leadership Model
The five components are applicable in the Knowing-Being-Doing framework of an exemplary leader.
Figure 2: Knowing-Being-Doing framework
Inclusive: This component opens and welcomes diversity from other people’s ideas and viewpoints. In the Knowing-Being-Doing framework, inclusivity involves the knowledge of self and others, organizational culture, multiple realities, and citizenship. The group or individual requires understanding the significance of diversity among people; every person is important, conceptualize organization and groups as wen-like structures, and understand the importance of equality and fairness. The last element of the framework is doing, where leaders should have skills in engaging civil discourse, framing/reframing, constructing cohabitations, listening, and developing talents.
Purpose: leaders require having individual commitments to an activity or goal where in collaboration with others they will establish a common mission, vision, and purpose. Leaders require having an understanding of the role of vision/mission as well as understanding the change model and process. Purposeful leaders require having a belief that the individual, the groups and the enterprises will make a difference. Secondly, they should have an attitude that is optimistic, positive and hopeful. Lastly, purposeful leaders require skills in involving others in vision-building, creative thinking, meaningful, envisioned and ability to identify goals.
Ethical: ethical leaders are driven by standards and values of leadership that are moral or good. Such leaders understand ethical decision making, value self, and others, influential of justice systems, and develop values. They require believing that it is better to pursue actions that are beneficial to others than self, setting high standards for others, develop character through group participation, and encourage socially responsible behavior. Lastly, ethical leaders have the skills to confront inappropriate behaviors, identify issues requiring ethical decisions, courageous, responsible and reliable, be trustworthy, and behave congruently. A leader in collaboration with his subordinates requires setting standards.
Process-oriented: this is defined as the way group acts, remains as a group and accomplishes its purpose as a group. This requires knowledge from a system perspective, relational leadership concepts, group process, and community. Their effectiveness is by the belief that good outcomes are as a result of trust, encourages high quality, and that both process and outcome are significant. They have skills in challenging, meaningful, reflecting, and collaboration. Several processes are vital among relational leaders including meaning-making, community building, civil confrontation, feedback, reflection, and collaboration. As a process-oriented leader, the leader requires being conscious of the process. This is evidenced by leaders who are caring, collaborative, challenging, and reflective.
Empowering: leaders should empower all their subordinates by applying knowledge in self-esteem, empowerment, and power. They require having belief in power-sharing, valuing all contributions, having concern for group growth, and that each person has much to offer. This is facilitated by skills in information sharing, gate-keeping, encouraging others, renewal, promote self-leadership, and capacity building. By empowering, leaders should eliminate the aspect of humiliation and fear and operate on inclusivity and trust. Empowering leaders should involve and include the employees in every facet of life and have faith in them.
Reflection of the Relational Leadership Model
Before starting this course, I thought leadership is when an individual takes charge or leads others. However, this course has made me understand the different facets of leadership. In this assignment, I will provide my reflection of relational leadership and how I have interpreted my leadership skills and my progress over time. I first learned about the relational leadership model in this class and it has brought the inspiration of my argument about leadership. This model has taught me that a good leader is one that assists others to act on behalf of their cause. This is based on the major argument that one individual is unable to accomplish a meaningful change individually which calls for inclusionary leadership model to support others into generating a remarkable achievement.
Where I Excel
I have learned that leadership is based on the leader’s relation with others and I believe I excel in building and maintaining relationships. In particular, I am more comfortable with being process-oriented, purposeful, and empowering. The reason why I think I am process-oriented is due to my ability to identify the small steps that are essential in attaining the objectives set. Another value is my ability to identify any missing step that would be of benefit in attaining a similar goal with better results in the future. Before a process, I deeply evaluate every process to ensure that I trust the process.
The second important element is that I am purposeful as I am always creating goals for all my groups and being future-oriented. It is also my strength to integrate my teammates and ensure that we collaboratively attain the set goals. I also have strengths in the aspect of empowering as I understand the value of each person and that their opinions and viewpoints matter. Besides, I believe in operating through shared decision making where each individual’s contribution to the process is valued. Throughout I have identified that shared decision making promotes the effectiveness of a project. I embrace individual and group learning while encouraging others to help them understand their leadership skills.
One element that I struggle with is inclusivity, particularly while delegating tasks to others and maybe challenging to include other’s opinions during the delegation process. During delegation, I am cautious and fearful that some individuals may not deliver the best in the process. As a perfectionist, I like it when others follow the process to the last edge. This greatly affects the delegation process which results in favoritism. I thus think that my delegation process is not always inclusive as it lacks fairness and equality. This is a way that opens my form of leadership prone to inequality.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I can rate myself on number 7. Rate 1 in this scare means never endogenic while rate 10 means always exogenic. In this case, it means I am more exogenic than endogenic where for example, I have internal reliability which according to Brower, Schoorman, and Tan (2000) is essential for the multifaceted role of a coach, trusted advisor, and a mentor. People who are more exogenic are ethically sound to their principles and beliefs where they make up exemplary role models in their place of work. Endres and Weibler (2017) explain that a leader with internal reliability has the potential to reinforce progress, practice and develop skills, provide resources, form the right attitudes, attain the desired outcomes, identify opportunities, and reward.
A leader can move more to the exogenic scale. This can be attained by a leader who creates a culture of trust with the subordinates and commits to their tasks within groups. Secondly, leaders can be attentive to their workers by listening to their concerns and ideas. Thirdly, the ability to reward employees where one learns their mistake and responsibility. Another element is maintaining ethical standards for the goodness of their group and the organization in general.
Relational leadership can be cultivated by creating a genuine interest in others by creating a personal relationship with every possible person. Forming a personal relationship with many people is the core of a strategic partnership in the future. This is attained through sincere, authentic and driven by a genuine interest to others. Another strategy to be a relational leader is by understanding others through empathy. Empathy is a significant element to transform even casual acquaintances and can critically form a strong foundation for the leader. Thirdly, a leader should have large and small gestures of friendship as it portrays genuine signals that a leader values and understands the employees. Generally, it is possible to be a relational leader through empathetic, authentic and reinforced by friendship cultures.
Brower, H. H., Schoorman, F. D., & Tan, H. H. (2000). A model of relational leadership: The integration of trust and leader-member exchange. The Leadership Quarterly, 11(2), 227-250.
Endres, S., & Weibler, J. (2017). Towards a Three‐Component Model of Relational Social Constructionist Leadership: A Systematic Review and Critical Interpretive Synthesis. International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(2), 214-236.
Marchiondo, L. A., Myers, C. G., & Kopelman, S. (2015). The relational nature of leadership identity construction: How and when it influences perceived leadership and decision-making. The Leadership Quarterly, 26(5), 892-908. Kurucz, E. C., Colbert, B. A., Luedeke-Freund, F., Upward, A., & Willard, B. (2017). Relational leadership for strategic sustainability: Practices and capabilities to advance the design and assessment of sustainable business models. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, 189-204.
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