Two Types of Leadership and How They Relate to Each Other

In this episode, I dive into a topic that’s often muddled in misconceptions: leadership.

You see, when we talk about leadership, there’s usually a default image that comes to mind – the one tied to titles, hierarchies, and organizational authority.

But here’s the thing: there’s more than meets the eye. In fact, there are two distinct types of leadership at play, each with its own set of dynamics and implications.

So, buckle up as we embark on a journey to dissect these two facets of leadership: assigned and emergent.

We’ll explore where their powers originate, how they shape decision-making, and most importantly, how you can harness them to amplify your influence and effectiveness within your statistical domain.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and delve into the fascinating world of leadership nuances while I talk about the following key points:

  • Leadership Misconceptions
  • Two Types of Leadership: Assigned vs. Emergent
  • Sources of Power: Organizational Authority vs. Trust and Influence
  • Decision-Making Dynamics
  • Leveraging Leadership for Statistical Impact
  • Strategies for Enhancing Influence: Communication, Trust, and Goal Setting
Tune in now and discover how understanding the nuances of assigned and emergent leadership can revolutionize your approach to decision-making. Elevate your influence and drive meaningful impact within your organization. Share this with your friends and colleagues and harness the power of leadership to drive meaningful impact in the realm of statistics together! Check out this program: The Effective Statistician with Leadership Program


Two Types of Leadership and How They Relate to Each Other

[00:00:00] Alexander: Welcome to another episode of The Effective Statistician. Today I want to talk about a very, very common misunderstanding in communications when it comes to leadership. When I talk about leadership, then there are a lot of Misunderstandings very often because there are at least two types of leadership and I want to discuss these two different types of leadership today.

[00:00:32] The first type of leadership is what we very often see in companies as what leadership is defined as. It is about people management, it is about hierarchies, it is about how many people report to you directly or indirectly, and this type of leadership. And there are a lot of Leadership [00:01:00] training in companies, it is supervisory onboarding kind of thing where you learn about all the different HR things about what you are required to do so with your, do to your direct reports or with your direct reports.

[00:01:19] Sometimes it’s a little bit more what you do to your direct reports than what you do with your direct reports, but You learn about all the things in terms of which forms you need to fill in, how the onboarding process works, how you fire people. There’s this modern term, let go of people, but that is a euphemism, I think.

[00:01:44] And then there is this Other type of leadership. And that is what Gary and I call in our leadership training, emergent leadership. The difference between these two types [00:02:00] of leadership is where the power comes from. And yeah, I speak in terms of power, in terms of how much. You have the power to influence people.

[00:02:15] Influence in, in terms of how you can make them do something.

[00:02:22] As an assigned leader, as a person who has a title, who has given authority from the organization to lead a group, a department, whatsoever, you get the power from the organization. The organization decides, okay, you are now the boss. You are now the team leader, the group leader, whatever. And then, the organization Gives you the power to make decisions for what the people that report to [00:03:00] you should do.

[00:03:01] To set goals and give feedback and decide on salary and all these kinds of different things. And that is assigned leadership. The problem here is that the power can be taken away from you at any moment. Every day someone could walk into the office of such an assigned leader and say as the organization decided you don’t deserve this position anymore and we have a new person that just is coming here with me and that is a new leader. That’s it. Power gone.

[00:03:45] All the power is then coming just from the title, the position, and that is assigned leadership. Of course, there’s a history to it, why it [00:04:00] works. It works especially in these emergencies. Where is this coming from? It is coming, for example, from the military. And there, very often, it is about the speed of decisions and there are no discussions on the battlefield, there is command and order.

[00:04:23] Do it now. If you think about the Royal Navy. A couple of hundred years ago, yeah, you are on a ship somewhere in the ocean and this is a sailing ship and there are the pirates or there’s another military ship and you fire cannons against each other, you know, like in these movies and it is about fast decision making and then you need this kind of power.

[00:04:55] However, in our typical settings, there [00:05:00] is not that big of an emergency. It is not about deciding within seconds what you write in your SAP or how you design your study, or how you analyze a certain endpoint, or Where you send your publication to, which kind of journal or what is the correct title of an abstract, whatsoever.

[00:05:26] All these decisions usually don’t demand that you have a very, very fast decision to make. You can have discussions. And. Here, a very different thing comes into place, and that is much more the power of an emergent leader. The power of an emergent leader relies on people trusting that person to make the right [00:06:00] decisions.

[00:06:00] People want to follow their advice. They want to do what this person says. Here,, like always actually with leadership, the action is with the followers. And also the decision to follow is with the followers. The followers act on the ideas of the leader, and that is emergent leadership. Now this happens, for example, if you as a statistician, think about, we need to design the study differently.

[00:06:43] It would be much better to have an adaptive design, because then we could save a lot of sample size potentially, and therefore we should go for an adaptive design. And yes, there are potentially [00:07:00] some regulatory hurdles, but the potential upside are going worth going for it.

[00:07:09] As a statistician, you are usually not in a position to tell people what to do. You need to convince people what to do. And that is what Gary and I call emergent leadership. People follow you because they trust you and they Understand your ideas, they understand the benefits for the team, and for themselves, and therefore they decide to do these kinds of things.

[00:07:43] The interesting thing here with the power is that the power comes from within you as an emergent leader. And Nobody can walk into the door and just say, Oh, you don’t have this power [00:08:00] anymore. You basically take the power with you all the time. The power is based on your trust with others, is based on your network, is based on your skills to communicate.

[00:08:18] All these kind of different things and nobody can take that away from you. If you move into a new organization, you can rebuild this power, this influence pretty fast because you know how to build it. You know how to build trust, how to network, how to ensure that people understand where you’re coming from.

[00:08:45] People see. Your knowledge, your experience, all these kind of different things. And that is a lot of power. Now these two types of power [00:09:00] are not mutually exclusive. So if you are an assigned leader, if you’re a supervisor, then you can also use The power of an emergent leader. Instead of telling people what to do, you convince them to do.

[00:09:22] And good assigned leaders use this type of approach most of the time. The tricky thing is That they can never be really sure why people in their team follow them. Is it because of their title or because they were successful in convincing them?

[00:09:44] That is a little bit of a tricky thing. They can only see that once they get out of the position if people still want to follow them. Then they had really the power of an emergent leader. Otherwise, it was just their [00:10:00] assigned leadership role.

[00:10:02] Assigned leadership also rarely works well in these more voluntary setups. Like If you think about one of our scientific organizations like PSI or FS I or BBS or ZASA or any of these ones, they rely on emergent leadership pretty much all the time. Yeah. See. Chair of the organization cannot just tell people what to do because people are in this organization voluntarily.

[00:10:38] They can leave anytime. Of course, these organizations have a process to still kind of elect people and for that reason gives them power from the organization to make certain decisions. But this is a little bit more like, okay, we understand that certain [00:11:00] tasks should be decided at certain levels. And therefore we agree that this person should make the decision in terms of, let’s say, budget.

[00:11:08] And this person should take care of contracts. And this person should take care of communications whatsoever. So

[00:11:17] it’s. A little bit of a mix of assigned and emergent leadership. Now, there are different tools that both of these Leadership, styles, use. So communication and all the different tools within communication are very often used by both types. Well, there are certain types that of course only one can use. For example, a command you can only use as an assigned leader.

[00:11:51] Feedback. You could potentially use both as an assigned leader for sure. And as an emergent [00:12:00] leader, there’s a very important tool that assigned leaders must use. Well, some of the bad ones don’t use it. And that emergent leaders really can leverage as well. And these are one to ones. The goal of one to ones for assigned leaders is really to build trust with their direct reports.

[00:12:26] Now, the bad ones don’t know that, and therefore they don’t see the value in having regular one to ones. And when I say regular, I mean at least once a week, yeah? And The bad ones, you know, they speak with their director reports whenever they want to speak to them. Maybe that’s once a month, maybe that is only on demand, whatsoever.

[00:12:58] And then they [00:13:00] worry, why don’t they do what they, what I tell them? Well, because there’s no trust. Now, one to ones you can use as an emergent leader as well. As an emergent leader, you can set up one to ones with lots of different peoples. You can set up one to one with the physician you’re regularly working with, with the medical writer you always work with, with the whoever.

[00:13:28] Set up one to ones with those people where you need to build trust with, where you need to have a good relationship, so that they Act on your ideas. In these one to ones, you can build trust, if you do them correctly. The next thing that you need to have is goals. As an assigned leader, it is one of the most important tasks for [00:14:00] you to make sure that there are goals for your team and for all the different individuals.

[00:14:08] Now, Peter Drucker says you need to make sure that there are goals. And by the way, Peter Drucker is one of the, yeah, the leadership gurus that most of the literature that we have about literature leadership is, is based on. And. He doesn’t say that the assigned leader need to decide on the goals. He needs to make sure that there are goals.

[00:14:38] Now how you get to goals is yet a completely different thing, and I’ll talk about this in another episode, but as a emergent leader, you can do the same. You can make sure that in your study team, you are clear on what are the [00:15:00] goals that you want to get to. So often, everybody thinks that, yes, we have a common goal.

[00:15:09] But it’s not the case. If you Come from different perspectives, people will have different emphasis on the goal. One will might say, well, for me, the most important thing is that we actually have a study. Another person might say, well, for me, everything is fine unless we get over the budget. The next person says, well, I want to have a quality decision.

[00:15:37] What is really the goal here?

[00:15:40] Especially when there’s a lot of debate and a lot of backwards and forwards, it might be the case that there’s no common goal. Or at least a good understanding of what the common goal is for everybody. So make sure that [00:16:00] when you work in a project team, you are clear on what is your goal.

[00:16:06] Do you want to have this compound get approved in the broadest pop, broadest population possible? Or do you want to get it approved really, really fast? Do you want to absolutely make sure that you stay below a certain budget threshold? Do you need to be faster than the competition? What are the most important things that you care about?

[00:16:40] So, having one to ones is one important tool for assigned leaders. Having goals is another important tool for assigned leaders and both can be used by emergent leaders as well. And the next is feedback. Now, the goal of [00:17:00] feedback is to reinforce good behavior and stop or change bad behavior. Or unwanted behavior.

[00:17:11] And this is something that is primarily actually be decided by the assigned leader. What is wanted behavior and what is unwanted behavior from the organizational perspective.

[00:17:29] So. As an assigned leader, you need to provide feedback all the time.

[00:17:36] And if you do it correctly, it works. I’ll speak about this also in a later episode. As an emergent leader, you will probably not use feedback so much.

[00:17:54] You can’t really tell others what is wanted and what [00:18:00] is unwanted behavior. Unless you have a lot of trust. Actually, you need always a lot of trust to, to provide feedback. The, it then only works if the other person, the feedback receiver really wants to grow, really wants to learn, really wants to become better, then you can be in the position to provide feedback.

[00:18:31] Otherwise, it might be really, really weird. Imagine you go to your physician and you say, May I give you some feedback? And the physician says, yes. And then you say, hey, how you started the presentation today with the story. That was really, really good. It allowed me to get really fast into the into the [00:19:00] presentation and stay always on top of the presentation.

[00:19:06] Sounds a little bit like a weird idea. This really only works if you have a very, very good relationship to that person. And if the, if you know, What is good and wanted behavior, where that person is in terms of their skill set, what is an achievement, what is not an achievement, all these kind of different things.

[00:19:35] Only works in these situations. So. Be aware about these different tools. And if you are an assigned leader, then you absolutely need to master these three tools. One to ones, setting goals, and feedback. And they also go together [00:20:00] very, very nicely in that. Basically, you need to have all three of them, because if one of them is missing, it doesn’t really work.

[00:20:12] So that is something that I will talk about in another episode. Okay. So today I refer to a lot of future episodes, so stay tuned for more of these Friday episodes to come.

[00:20:27] If you like these episodes, and if you benefit from it, please tell your colleagues about it. I record these episodes to help us as statisticians, as data scientists, as programmers, to have a bigger influence in the organizations. To make sure that we can Create the evidence that that is needed to make the right decisions.

[00:20:57] Whether that is to [00:21:00] run a new study, whether that is to stop a compound, whether that is on the regulatory side to approve a product or the payers or the Physicians, or even the patients, that all of them have the right evidence in, at the right time, in the right format, to make the right decisions for patients.

[00:21:21] And I strongly believe that we as statisticians need to work on our leadership skills here. And here I speak about both the emergent and the assigned leadership. So if you like these podcast episodes, then please tell your colleagues about it so that more and more can learn and improve their leadership skills.

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