James R Lewis Ph.D

Lewis Institute

North Carolina State University





The staff takes on the work style, ethics, and habits of the leader.

Effective leadership is not just about the behavior of leaders; it is also about the nature of the followers, the situation, and environment.




Three factors that determine whether followers will be willing and able to respond to a leader as would be desired is tools, people, and systems employed. People will follow if they think you will get them to a destination.


Belief – if we get our people trained they will perform

However, the three items holistically will ultimately determine the outcome.

I.E., if we improve accounting every part of the operation, will be fixed. However this is false. I.E. Put best engine in a poor car body does not make it the best car.



Frontline supervisors need the most training. Typically they are elevated from below because they performed well, this does not mean they are born leaders.

However, everyone needs training in people skills, teamwork, and conflict management.


Abilene Paradox – cheating is not asking for help in class    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abilene_paradox






Tools include anything you use to get the job done.

Be cognizant of what it takes to make a conducive environment to work in.


Systems are a large component of decay in an atmosphere – pay attention to it.

Key Items:

Management information systems

Reward Systems

Performance tracking systems

Communication systems

Beer order example

Song comes out sales go up; novelty wears off; sales fall off. The boomerang effect causes an an increase in production and personnel, but if you are not paying careful attention, you will end up with layoffs.



Usually, performance appraisals do not measure properly.

The preferred method uses Behaviorally Anchored Rating System – this details measurable points in the progression – this is difficult to do but it is the best method. Not once a year model commonly deployed.


Do not set goals that are outside of their capability. Otherwise, you demotivate people.


You can not fit people into a normal distribution curve of performance. If you are doing your job, you will get rid of the ones, which re-shapes the curve.



This is a better distribution.


However, this is what you should shoot for.



You can not be effective if you do not motivate your staff.

Unmotivated – can be turned on (fixable)

De-Motivated – can not be turned on

As a leader, you must be aware of what you do that turns people off and make changes – self-aware. If you can correct these issues, people will become motivated.


Hertzberg says that pay for performance systems ultimately fail, because some of your staff will view it as unfair, and then they poison others.




You cannot be effective as a leader if you have issues that cause performance deficits. Again, pay attention to people, systems, and tools.