The term leadership refers to an aleatory concept that can take different forms: spiritual, shared, and corporate leadership are some of its most common aspects. However, while leading ability is easy to identify, it is difficult to define (Antonakis & Day, 2018). A broad definition relates leadership to the relationships between a leader and a group of followers, and it depends on the traits and behaviors of the leader and the expectations and attributions of the outcomes of the followers. This paper will deepen some aspects of the psychological dynamics among leaders and followers/employees through the analysis of the concepts of psychological contracts, engaging leadership, and intelligence and inspiration.
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Psychological Contracts, Engaging Leaderships, and Role of Intelligence and Inspiration
Understanding leadership in the organizational environment means understanding the unwritten agreements among leaders and employees. When a working collaboration between a company and a professional begins, a series of expectations rise from both parties and are defined by unspoken and unwritten psychological contracts (Cutler, 2014). These agreements relate to all the aspects that govern relationships in a company, including personal development, motivation to work, ethical code, and corporate values.
If employees’ expectations are not met, performance will decrease, and the leadership can even be perceived as abusive (Schyns, Felfe, & Schilling, 2018). Understanding and motivating employees through adequate behaviors define good leaders who can effectively shift the balance towards the optimization of personal achievements of employees and the company’s goals.
From this perspective, engaging leadership has a powerful effect on the motivation and performance of followers (Storey, 2009). It improves self-confidence, self-efficacy, and involves followers in the attitudinal, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects. Finally, engagement requires intelligence and inspiration to create groundbreaking innovations. Knowledge alone, without intelligence and inspiration, is useless (Wu, 2013). On the contrary, observing, associating, encouraging practice, and nurturing impulsiveness are creative and engaging.
Importance and Implications of Psychological Contracts, Engaging Leaderships, and Intelligence and Inspiration
Psychological contracts offer different insights to deepen organizational dynamics, disclosing a complex world where interactions among employees and leaders occur at different levels. The facets involved in the dynamics are numerous and varied, making the topic especially interesting from the psychological perspective. Understanding psychological contracts and interactions within an organization would help a leader to handle the relationship with followers effectively and satisfactorily for both parties. Engaging leadership responds to the demand for quality leaders, capable of involving employees to get and give most from and to a professional position. Finally, intelligence and inspiration can be considered the binding force that allows leaders to understand psychological contracts and motivate followers.
How a Leader Might Use Psychological Contracts, Engaging Leaderships, and Intelligence and Inspiration
An illuminated leader would frame and understand the personality of his/her followers to shape ad hoc psychological contracts. Understanding if an employee belongs to the neuroticism category rather than to the extraversion, for example, gives a manager some advantages. The leader can stimulate specific characteristics that would increase the satisfaction of the follower, resulting as well in the most advantageous outcome for the company (Cutler, 2014). Intelligence and inspiration, then, would create the proper engaging leadership to improve commitment, boost enthusiasm, and engage followers in innovative performance.
Leadership is a complex concept, heavily characterized by multilevel relationships among leaders and followers. Psychological contracts are the unwritten agreements that are created when a collaboration begins. They depend on variables related to duties and expectations and are influenced by the psychological types of both managers and employees. A manager able to understand psychological contracts can adopt strategies to engage followers effectively. Although knowledge is a requirement of the leader, yet it is not sufficient to define the ability to drive others: intelligence and inspiration are crucial in creating engaging leadership, and satisfaction for both managers and followers.
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Antonakis, J., & Day, D. V. (Eds.). (2018). The nature of leadership (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Cutler, A. (2014) Leadership psychology. How the best leaders inspire their people. London, UK: Kogan Page Limited.
Schyns, B., Felfe, J., & Schilling, J. (2018). Is it me or you?—How reactions to abusive supervision are shaped by leader behavior and follower perceptions. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, pp. 1-22. Web.
Storey, J. (Ed.). (2009). Leadership in organizations: Current issues and key trends (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Wu, B. (2013). New theory on leadership management science. Oxford, UK: Chartridge Books Oxford.