Discussion Questions and Exercises

  1. Give the definition of leadership used in this text, and then explain the following components of leadership: process, influence, group context, and goal attainment.
  2. Distinguish between assigned and emergent leaders. Give an example of an instance in which you “emerged” as a leader. Explain how your communication might have facilitated your emergence as leader.
  3. How does gender affect leadership emergence? What is the relationship between likability and leadership?
  4. According to Social Identity Theory (Hogg, 2001), leadership emergence is fostered when a person fits with the identity of the group as a whole. What are some implications of this theory for minority members who aspire to become leaders of a group?
  5. Define power as it is explained in the text, and then distinguish between position power and personal power. Next, define coercion as a specific type of power. Give examples of a leader or leaders you have observed using each of these forms of power.
  6. Define/describe each of French and Raven’s bases of social power. Now, give a personal example of each as you have experienced or applied them in your life.
  7. Contrast leaders and managers from Kotter’s perspective, then from Zaleznik’s perspective. Can someone be a leader and a manager?
  8. In this chapter, leadership is described as noncoercive influence. For what reasons might followers be motivated to respond to a leadership initiative? List as many as you can. Can you give a personal example?
  9. Burns’ view is that power resides in the relationship between leaders and followers and is used by both parties to promote their collective goals. Do followers have other power bases besides referent and expert power?
  10. Should there be boundaries between leaders and followers?
  11. “Leaders change the way people think about what is possible.” How do they do that?
  12. Give an example of a time you were in a follower role and exerted influence on the group’s positional leader. What was the outcome?
  13. Fairhurst (2007) argues that the leadership process can be negotiated through the communication between leader and follower, and not solely stem from a leader’s traits, skills, and behaviors. Give an example (hypothetical or real-life) of how a leader and follower can talk together to mutually understand an issue and see how it should be dealt with.