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PSY 3541 Psychology of Leadership

Course Description

Examines the research and application of the essential competencies of effective leadership such as managing conflict, facilitating communication, and leading groups and teams.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to

  • Familiarize students with an appreciation of the various operational definitions of leadership, management, and supervision at both a micro and macro level
  • Explain and interpret how influence is key to leadership traits and behaviors
  • Recognize the difference and necessity of both managers and leaders to the organization
  • Identify and explain the various individual aspects of leadership and leader emergence
  • Investigate various theories of motivation, reinforcement, and needs of followers
  • Explore politics, power, negotiations communication, and networking
  • Explore various contingency theories of leadership
  • Explore the necessity and impact of followership on leadership
  • Explore culture and values as they relate to organizations and leaders
  • Examine various facets for groups and teams
  • Compare and contrast charismatic, transformation, transactions, and servant leadership theories
  • Identify various self-reflection methods and strategies for individual development of various leadership skills and traits

Week 1

Lecture: What is Leadership?


  • Recognize the ambiguous nature and variety of operational definitions of leadership
  • Understand the micro and macro nature of leadership study
  • Recognize the difference and necessity of both managers and leaders to the organization
  • Recognize the various levels of analysis of leadership
  • Recognize the various components that enable leadership emergence
  • Understand the basic element of leadership
  • Explore basic keys to leadership success
  • Explore lessons learned from leadership failures
  • Explain the difference between leadership and management
  • Understand the meaning of leadership and see the leadership potential in yourself and others
  • Recognize and facilitate the six fundamental transformations in today’s organizations and leaders
  • Identify the primary reasons for leadership derailment and the new paradigm skills that can help you avoid it
  • Recognize the traditional functions of management and the fundamental differences between leadership and management
  • Appreciate the crucial importance of providing direction, alignment, relationships, personal qualities, and outcomes
  • Realize how historical leadership approaches apply to the practice of leadership today

Week 2

Lecture: What Does a Leader Look Like?


  • Examine each student’s own leadership prototype
  • Examine and understand the various stages of development of individualized leadership
  • Examine in depth LMX and its relationship with POS
  • Recognize the limitations of personality testing to the work environment
  • Explore Jung’s typology and MBTI along with their utility
  • Identify personal traits and characteristics that are associated with effective leaders
  • Recognize autocratic versus democratic leadership behavior and the impact of each
  • Know the distinction between people-oriented and task-oriented leadership behavior and when each should be used
  • Understand how the theory of individualized leadership has broadened the understanding of relationships between leaders and followers
  • Recognize how to build partnerships for greater effectiveness
  • Understand how leadership is often contingent on people and situations
  • Apply Fiedler’s contingency model to key relationships among leader style, situational favorability, and group task performance
  • Apply Hersey and Blanchard’s situational theory of leader style to the level of follower readiness
  • Explain the path-goal theory of leadership
  • Use the Vroom-Jago model to identify the correct amount of follower participation in specific decision situations
  • Know how to use the power of situational variables to substitute for or neutralize the need for leadership

Week 3

Lecture: Underestimated Interplay of Behavior, Motivation, Power, and Politics


  • Explore the major motivation theories
  • Explain how to motivate with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Describe the value and danger in expectancy and equity perceptions
  • List the University of Iowa leadership styles
  • Describe similarities and differences between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University leadership models
  • Discuss similarities and differences between the Ohio State University Leadership Model and the Leadership Grid
  • Discuss similarities and differences among the three content motivation theories
  • Discuss the major similarities and differences among the three process motivation theories
  • Explain the four types of reinforcement
  • State the major differences among content, process, and reinforcement theories
  • Explain the differences between position power and personal power
  • Discuss the differences among legitimate, reward, coercive, and referent power
  • Discuss how power and politics are related
  • Describe how money and politics have a similar use
  • List and explain the steps in the networking process
  • List the steps in the negotiation process
  • Explain the relationships among negotiation and conflict, influencing tactics, power, and politics

Week 4

Lecture: Contingency Approaches


  • State the major difference between behavioral and contingency leadership theories, and explain the behavioral contribution to contingency theories
  • Describe the contingency leadership theory variables
  • Identify the contingency leadership model styles and variables
  • State the leadership continuum model major styles and variables
  • Identify the path-goal leadership model styles and variables
  • State the normative leadership model styles and the number of variables
  • Discuss the major similarities and differences between the behavioral and contingency leadership theories
  • Compare and contrast four major differences among the four contingency leadership models
  • List which leadership models are prescriptive and descriptive, and explain why they are classified as such
  • Explain substitutes and neutralizers of leadership

Week 5

Lecture: Followership, Communication, and Conflict


  • Explore the dynamics of followership
  • Explore the idea that every leader is also a follower
  • Explore the art of delegation
  • Seek to identify and understand dysfunctional and functional conflict
  • Recognize your followership style and take steps to become a more effective follower
  • Describe the leader’s role in developing effective followers
  • Apply the principles of effective followership, including responsibility, service, challenging authority, participating in change, and knowing when to leave
  • Implement the strategies for effective followership at school or work
  • Describe what followers want and contribute to building a community among followers
  • List the steps in the oral message-sending process
  • List and explain the three parts of the message-receiving process
  • Describe paraphrasing and state why it is used
  • Identify two common approaches to getting feedback, and explain why they do not work
  • Describe the difference between criticism and coaching feedback
  • Discuss the relationship between the performance formula and the coaching model
  • Define the five conflict management styles
  • List the steps in the initiating conflict resolution model

Week 6

Lecture: Culture, Diversity, and Teams


  • Define culture
  • Explore the power of culture
  • Explore the dynamics of high and low performing cultures
  • Explore diversity issues to include diversity of thought
  • Examine the six stages of group development
  • Explain why shaping culture is a critical function of leadership
  • Recognize the characteristics of an adaptive, as opposed to an unadaptive, culture
  • Describe and apply how leaders shape culture and values through ceremonies, stories, symbols, language, selection and socialization, and daily actions
  • Identify the cultural values associated with adaptability, achievement, clan, and bureaucratic cultures and the environmental conditions associated with each
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of working in teams
  • Describe the seven characteristics of effective teams
  • Describe top management’s and the team leader’s roles in fostering creativity. For each, list activities they should undertake to promote creativity
  • Outline the three parts of conducting effective meetings
  • Explain the differences between conventional and self-managed teams
  • Describe how team member characteristics impact self-managed team effectiveness
  • Describe the benefits of using self-managed teams in organizations
  • Describe the guidelines for improving self-managed team effectiveness
  • Describe the challenges of implementing effective self-managed teams

Week 7

Lecture: Macro Leadership Issues


  • Examine the characteristics of a charismatic leader
  • Examine and differentiate transformational and charismatic leaders
  • Examine the transformational process
  • Explore servant leadership
  • Describe personal meaning and how it influences attributions of charismatic qualities
  • Briefly explain Max Weber’s conceptualization of charisma
  • Describe the behavioral qualities that differentiate charismatic from noncharismatic leaders
  • Explain the locus of charismatic leadership
  • Discuss the effects of charismatic leadership on followers
  • Describe the characteristics that distinguish charismatic from noncharismatic leaders
  • Discuss how one can acquire charismatic qualities
  • Explain the difference between socialized and personalized charismatic leaders
  • Distinguish between charismatic and transformational leadership
  • Explain the difference between transformational and transactional leadership
  • Explain the four phases of the transformation process
  • Explain the basis of stewardship and servant leadership
  • Explain the relationship among vision, mission, and strategy

Week 8

Lecture: Developing Your Leadership Style Through Self-Awareness and Valuing Others


  • Define self-awareness and discuss the importance of knowing one’s strengths and limitations
  • Discuss the value of self-awareness in communicating at work, identifying the need for change, and achieving peak performance
  • Describe self-assessment tools you can use to discover your learning style, assess your communication skills, and identify what motivates you
  • Compare tangible skills to soft skills, and identify tools you can use to learn about you and your employees’ interests, talents, knowledge, and skills
  • Analyze assessment results to become a more effective supervisor and identify strategies for using information about your employees to set them up for success

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. March 2012