This semester we have been learning about leadership. There are so many different theories, styles and other factors that impact leadership. As the years have past and these factors have changed dramatically. The Leader- Member Exchange is one of my favorite theories. Yes I am sure that must sound strange. Why would this be one of my favorites? Let me tell you why.
The Leader- Member Exchange is also referred to as LMX. LMX emphasizes that leaders have different sorts of relationships with different subordinates(Kinicki and Williams 2012). Wow ! That means I can be different with each of my team members. Great ! I know that with each of my team members I need to use different styles to encourage them to do their while at the same time getting the job done. This is a good example of in-group exchange. In- group exchange is when there is trust and respect. The relationship between the leader and follower becomes a partnership. There is a mutual trust, respect and liking with common goals (Kinicki and Williams 2012). I have two teams with 6 members on each. In my Billing team I have a few who will help whenever and however I need them to help. I appreciate this type of teamwork. They also know that if I am asking for help we need the help to attain our goal. At the same time they know that I am willing to stop what I am doing to help work towards that same goal. I respect their work and they respect me.
LMX research has been very helpful in understanding organizational behaviors (Muchinsky and Culbertson 2016). If an organization has a strong LMX the employees will trust their managers. Why is this important? When the time comes for organizational changes the resistance from these employees will be less because they trust the manager (Muchinsky and Culbertson 2016). I have witnessed this first hand. I like to talk about my billing team because they have only reported to me for 3 years and that is a short time. I like to keep things changing and they are not used to that but in the beginning they would fight me on that. So I started to talk to them about why I made the changes and asked that they give it a chance. If after 3 months they truly felt that it was not working or benefiting everyone we could discuss it as a team. The first change was small and it worked as expected. The second was a little bigger but again worked as expected. Now when I bring up change they are willing to try without the big battle.
Something that I like to mix in with LMX is Transformational Leadership. Transformational Leadership is a conception that leadership is the process of inspiring a group to pursue goals and attain results (Muchinsky and Culbertson 2016). I feel that these both work well together. If I can inspire others to work together to reach a goal it will create a better work environment with team building. Our company has male dominant management team and purchasing teams. I have worked hard from a support team member to a manager and I am a woman. All of my team members are also women. Half of them are young and willing to learn so if I can inspire them that working as team best practice I have already accomplished so much. I wish that over the years I had a leader who inspired me like this. I was motivated to move up the ladder for other reasons such as raising my family as a single mom and being told that I could not do it without a degree. So I went back to school not to better my team or how I lead but to prove to them that a piece of paper would not change me as a leader. I will admit it has changed me as a leader but not in the direction that I think they expected. This journey has only reinforced that my leadership style is perfect for me.
This is why LMX is one of my favorite theories. I enjoy knowing that my team is behind me and that they know I support them. I know that I can count on most of them to get the job done. Know that someone appreciates what you do makes each person know that they do count. I like to keep humans in the work. Some may question me on how close I am with my teams but I know that no matter what I can ask each of them to stop what they are doing to do something else , something more important and they will do it no questions asked. They know that I am involved with the daily work and you may ask why. If I do not know or understand what their daily work is, how can I tell if they are or aren’t busy. My leaving comment is this treat others how you want to treated and you will be surprised at the outcome.