Hi guys,

Hoping to get your inputs on the following.

I just read an article titled Successful Small Team Leadership: Manage the Group, Not the Individual ( Following is a quote from the article

"Most managers believe that you should treat everybody differently," Kinicki says. "But our results reveal that, while that approach may seem to make sense, you should realize that, in a team setting, it can actually lead to negative effects. That's our most important finding -- that there are real negative consequences when you adopt an individual-focused style of differentiated leadership." 

It's based on a study which concludes that "differentiated" or "individual-focused" leadership is actually "less effective" and "downright damaging in team settings", compared to "group-focused" leadership.

I find that this conclusion may run counter to the spirit of one-on-ones and using the behavioral profiles of directs in managing them.




ken_wills's picture

Thanks Lou, for sharing this ... I'll be interested to read a little more.  My first reaction that that their findings may indeed indicate what they say (and you're right that those findings run counter to a lot of other literature and thinking).  But I'll be interested to see if it says anything about their sample size or research methods.  It doesn't seem to me to be really hard to get a study that produces those results...the real question is whether the findings are really "right" or just mathematically accurate.

neeo's picture

Hi Ken,

I agree, the research method used may not be that effective. Results based on web based surveys may be inconclusive. There are so many variables to be considered (e.g. did the managers of "individual-focused" led teams practice effective management like conducting one-on-ones, or did they just simply play favorites).

I hope they make another study to diagnose the problems of the "individual-focused" led teams. Or maybe it's already part of the study. Too bad I can't find the actual paper of the study.

Maybe the problem is in the application, and not the principle itself (of "individual-focused" leadership). 



mjpeterson's picture

If you only held O3's with your High I & High S team members, because they are people focussed, then it would.  Applying O3 to the entire team is in-line with the team based approach.   What I dislike about the article, is that it is not very actionable.  Of course if Mike & Mark were presenting the information they would follow it up with something like "and here is what you do to be a team focused leader" followed by detailed example and instructions for what to do.  I guess I have become an MT snob about how I want my advise. 

jhack's picture

Hard to believe, and I, too, would like to see more about how they conducted the study (like how they measured "effectiveness"). Web-based self-reporting is notoriously inaccurate.

And it's a false dichotomy. You can have team focus on goals and on mission, and still coach individually. MT isn't a purely individualized regime; in fact, there is a very strong team orientation to the recommendations.


John Hack