In his paper, Messick analyzes leadership by focusing on the relationship between leaders and followers. Messick postulates that followers chose to be led because doing so provides them certain benefits. In choosing to be led, the followers act in ways beneficial to the leader. Thus leaders and followers are linked together in a symbiotic psychological relationship by exchanging benefits. Messick identifies five dimensions along which this exchange of benefits takes place.
Benefits Leaders offer Followers Benefits Followers offer Leaders
i Vision-Direction Focus-Self Direction
ii Protection-Security Gratitude-Loyalty
iii Achievement-Effectiveness Commitment-Effort
iv Inclusion-Belongingness Cooperation-sacrifice
v Pride-self respect Respect-Obedience
The first benefit of a Vision-Direction provides focus to the efforts of followers. It helps followers visualize a future state that is better than the current and motivates them to work towards it. Leaders provide answers to the questions "Why are we here", "What is our purpose", "Where are we going" and "How are we going to get there". If the followers identify with the leaders vision, they are more likely to take ownership of the vision and work towards the goal with minimal oversight. As the followers work towards the goal they expect leaders to provide them security, stability, continuity and a sense of purpose especially during times of uncertainty. In return, the followers feel an obligation towards the leader and his cause thus strengthening the bonds between them. On the next dimension of "Achievement and Effectiveness", Leaders convince their followers that audacious and difficult goals are achievable. The... [continues]
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