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“Global Executive Leadership Inventory” by Kets de Vries Term Paper

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Updated: Dec 5th, 2021


The book “Global Executive Leadership Inventory” by Kets de Vries proposes a unique vision and interpretation of leadership and its role in modern organizations. The author underlines that in modern organizational environment, leader faces miscellaneous challenges caused by internal and external factors and economic transformations. The purpose of modern leadership is to supply organization with an agenda in which judgments can be made which will have an impact on the organization. A conscious effort to organize the effort and to manage its development is preferable to an unmanaged and random evolution. The book is divided into chapters devoted to different leadership and management problems applied to modern organizations.


The first set of the chapters covers such topics as “360 degree feedback”, leadership competency, dimensions of leadership and trust, and feedback report. Kets de Vries states that in order to improve leadership skills, a manager should take into account situational changes and consequences of his actions. Other leadership aims include ensuring that the staff is staying on the topics at hand and not wasting time. A risk is that it may become a social forum. This is because employees usually try to get along in groups. They can drift off track, and it is the leadership’s task is to keep them focused on the task. The leadership task requires the leader to act as a “quarterback” transferring tasks and ensuring that an employee has the right information. The conventional view of the leader as someone out in front of the charismatic personality with the strong personality, directing the staff and receiving credit for the results, is not what is inferred by the term manager. Kets de Vries singles out two main characteristics of modern leadership: charismatic and “architectural” (p. 7). “The charismatic role involves visioning, empowering, and energizing— behaviors that direct, inspire, and motivate. The architectural role involves implementing processes to improve organizational design and to acknowledge and reward the contributions of employees” (p. 7). The manager should not be out in front, nor should the leader get all the credit for constructive results. In a modern environment, the staff gets credit–all employees contribute and all employees share in the success. The leader is mainly the signal caller, who solves problems, inspires motivation, and contributes to goal attainment.

For change management, Kets de Vries follows a three stage model: unfreezing, transition and escalating stability. “Information … serves as a basis for change” (p. 51). Change function is different than the management task. The control task concerns influencing and the leadership function, team process. The change role is to more with who is in charge or leading the team at a particular point and time. Objectivity is also significant. The thoughts and feelings of employees cannot be accurately predicted–even in closely mixed groups. In other words, leaders are not good at judging what other people think. Rather than worrying, employees should be more productive if they concentrate impartially on the issues at hand. Objectivity is another of the ground rules for leadership, and is a topic in which employees should be motivated. Change management can help leaders to act more objectively and to sort out personality issues from substantive issues. Change management can help employees to improve their performance and concentrate on short-term and long-term goals.

The second part of the book covers action planning and management functions. Kets de Vries underlines that the main elements of planning are visioning, empowering, energizing, designing and aligning, rewarding and feedback, team building, outside orientation, global mindset, tenacity and emotional intelligence. There are other conditions under which management does have much of an effect one way or another upon productivity. This is largely true of machine — paced performance or those in which the person is essentially following a plan and need not exercise much judgment. In those cases where management is actually associated with low productivity, it is typically because a frozen group has developed which restricts efficiency as a price of membership. The leaders who enjoy the security of belonging to the staff will be quite content and may register high management scores on many attitude scales, but they will also tend to be consistently low in production.

Also, the author pays attention to stress and possible methods to reduce stressful situations. “They realize the impact of career decisions on their mental and physical health and understand how life pressures exerted by family or financial concerns can affect their mental state. They recognize the importance of good health to being effective both at work and in their personal lives” (p. 16).These issues show that certain traits are expected to drive management to success. As managers evolve, their skill sets are being improved by experiences.

The value of the book is that it proposes a unified and detailed approach for modern management aimed to improve organizational performance and introduce new practices. Change is also a viable tool that will ensure that such traits are used effectively. Management, as described by scientific proponents becomes effective when a development stage is being outlined. The change typically involves identification of employees with such qualities. Then the process of removal begins until the right personnel is identified for the change. The few leaders will usually resent their isolation rather resentfully, and this will be reflected on attitude scales as low confidence, yet their productivity will run high. In spite of these issues, the maintenance of new practices and methods of work and principles must be seen a main responsibility of a leader. In its turn, the duty and duty of managers, leaders and administrators are to apply new principles to organizational environment and meet responsibility issues and take into environmental concerns.

The book will help managers and leaders to structure their actions and plan future transformations. The proposed approaches to management are guided by situational realities. The achievement of leaders in a variety of situations is initiated by a strong sense of collaboration. In a more complete definition, effective leaders are moulded into successful directors and members. There are causes that are apparent to affect management within situations. The considerations expand from events to contingencies where the sturdy leaders usually emerge. The organizational culture being followed in companies act as consolidator of philosophy, aims, assumptions, and values of the employees. In most instances, the strong organisations provide the best results. These changes are critical in ensuring the survival of firms in competitive environments. Leadership in established organization is characterized by strategic direction and development strategies. Leadership style is main determinant of the ensuing learning progress and contributive performance of those being supported and led. In declining organizations, culture change and economic wellbeing will be a problem. The role and task of a leader are to keep positive climate in order to support employees and direct their actions. Motivation and good atmosphere are the main priorities of effective leadership. “Recognizing how their own behavior affects others, they actively use feedback to improve themselves and help others to do the same. Their care and concern for others help people open up to them and inspires trust ” (p. 15).


The book is objective and based on theoretical materials and literature. the strength of the book is a unified approach to leadership and detailed explanations of the main concepts. The challenges mentioned above require strong personal skills and knowledge of leader. Individuals whose status factors are matching tend to show certain uniformities of behavior that are different from those manifested by employees whose status factors are not congruent. The weakness of the book is lack of real life examples and case studies to illustrate the theoretical materials. the author offers interesting and significant uniformities for theoretical discussion. Since this agreement goes against the grain of many persons, it sets the stage for conflicts and wastes the potentialities of both the individual and the company. The change and leadership controls are presumably necessary to keep employees in line and to prevent chaotic inefficiency, but the author asserts that this assumption is just plain wrong and that when individuals are positively motivated, they can actually be a lot more supportive and efficient without controls than they ever could be with them. Not only is the employee capable of keeping himself in line without having a leadership peering, but he can even create more because he will not have to drain off so much energy and ingenuity in finding methods to thwart the foreman. The employee’s own internal order costs less and accomplishes much more than the compulsory discipline of the organization. The best approach involves such issues as influence, inspirational motivation and individualized considerations. Modern management should have both personal and organizational dimensions, the former concerned with the leader’s power over employees and groups. The two are unified, for leadership influences the activities and efficiency of organizations through setting strategic aims and providing direction and motivation. Also, a leader must know the demands and expectations of his employees as well as the organizational settings and technical aspects of performance.


Kets de Veries, Manfred F. R. (2004). Global Executive Leadership Inventory. Pfeiffer; Workbook edition.

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