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Leadership – self-esteem or competence or a combination of both?

Michael Marshall

Studies and research into management and leadership is showing that the motivation of individuals striving to be in management and leadership and stay in these positions, is primarily based on achieving power and achieving self-esteem; both, self-esteem how they feel about themselves and how they think others perceive them. Contributor Michael Marshall, PhD –

Lower self-esteem can cause over achievement and high aspirations oriented to help compensate for this. High self-esteem can stimulate the same. These can be a big motivator to achieve higher needs and wants and higher self-gratification. Management and leadership often have a strong personal drive to achieve management and leadership position levels to satisfy self-esteem needs, self-worth, self-ego and what is referred to as ‘self-actualisation’ of higher wants and needs well beyond the basics and norms.

Sociology influences can be a motivator
Father, mother, relatives, brothers, sisters, close neighbors, friends, peers of all types that may possibly be in management or leadership positions can influence individuals to be motivated to strive for management and leadership positions to be equal or worthy of relationships.

A passion for some type of change can also motivate an individual for such as well. When individuals are personally driven for management and leadership due to any of these things, often, they are referred to as having ‘ambition’.

As individuals with personal drive for management and leadership get older in age and become tired of the responsibilities, tired of worrying and caring about having power and what others think about them due to their position, they then may lose the drive for such needs and wants. The needs and wants have been overly and exceedingly satisfied.

They are ready to move on with life and enjoy other aspects of life more. This can happen at various ages. Psychologically this can be referred to as ‘extinguishing’. Sociologically this can be referred to as ‘retirement’ and being ready to retire. Achieving competency of higher levels unfortunately, often, is not always part of the capabilities, skills or motivation.

Unless the individual has a personal drive and passion for higher level competence and extending considerable personal effort to increase their skills, expertise and knowledge, continually; they will lack the higher level of competence that is needed. Only a minority of management and leadership has such self-driven passion driving high level competencies.

Of course, a fundamental 10 to 20 question assessment of management and leadership fundamental skills as it applies to their responsibilities can be easily utilized to help measure competence and skill levels, but many will not like this, may not be cooperative, may be very resistant to take such an assessment and may even refuse.

An easy way to know if a manager or leadership truly has higher level competencies, just ask or inquire what personal efforts they have made to gain more knowledge, skills, competencies, trainings, etc., recently and in the last few years; in the next 1 to 2 months and what efforts are they continually are doing to stay at higher level competency, leading edge knowledge and skills as time progresses, change happens and advancements occur.

This is one of the many good reasons why it is highly recommended and needed for companies, businesses and organizations to bring in annually/yearly, professional advisors/consultants for all departments and functions to review all and make progressive recommendations.

Just like the importance for all individuals to go to a doctor/physician annually/yearly, for a physical with blood tests to keep us healthy, prevent bad health and illnesses, and prevent diseases; same applies for companies, businesses and organizations with bringing in outside professional advisors and consultants for all departments and functions to review and make good progressive recommendations to keep all healthy and help grow the business in profits, markets, sales, operations effectiveness and many other important things.

Just like an attorney/lawyer who thinks they are competent in all areas of law, representing themselves in a court of law for their own personal issues/problems and thinks they do not need to utilize highly trained and knowledgeable specialists; has a ‘big fool’ as a client.

Leadership that thinks they and their management have good high competencies doing the best job possible and think they do not need annual/yearly outside professional advisors/consultants to review all departments and functions and make progressive recommendations, are so foolish and they too have a client as themselves as a ‘big fool’.

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