Leadership in The Age of Disruption
Exploring the Level UP leadership model, and six factors that contribute to leader-follower success and engagement.
The Level UP Leadership model is a theory based on specifying a leader’s style or trait that best fits the relationship between the follower and the organizational-work environment in order to meet and exceed the strategic goals of both the organization and follower.
Level UP Leadership identifies six factors that contribute to follower success and engagement: professional communication and authentic leadership, decision-making, motivating people, managing people, leading people, and leading change.
The Six Styles of Level Up Leadership:
1. The professional development and authentic leadership trait refers to both oral presentations as a leader to persuade followers through inspiration while providing an authentic leadership presence. The model argues that this trait, when used effectively, produces the most positive effect and when used inadequately causes followers to rebel and disconnect, leaving them unsatisfied. The most predominant use of this trait is during crisis times — but when a leader uses professional communication and authentic leadership by remaining steadfast, calm, and honest about current and future situations — this behavior tends to alleviate anxiety and win the hearts and minds of followers.
2. The decision-making leadership trait refers to situations where the leader sets an environment for challenging decision-making responsibility for followers, expecting them to perform at their highest level while avoiding groupthink, and provides confidence in their ability to make decisions at their level offering a clear justification of empowerment. This sees, organizations with a flat-structure in which decisions can be made at lower levels of the organization where most predominant, as opposed to tall-structures and centralized decision-making.
3. The motivational leadership trait involves leaders as assessors of the followers’ status-quo and makes suggestions for improvement. This style of leadership is predominant when employees are high on the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs (i.e., esteem, self-efficacy, and self-actualization). However, followers at the lower levels will still be motivated if the leader can address their needs.
4. The managing people leadership trait is directed toward the four functions of management by addressing the followers’ needs and preferences. The leader shows concern for the amount of control the follower needs, the individual leadership ability of the follower, how organized the followers are, and their ability to plan accordingly. This leadership trait is especially needed in situations in which tasks are challenging, ambiguous, and antiquated, or the relationship between the leader and followers are psychologically or physically distressing.
5. The core leadership principles trait refers to situations where the leader lets employees know what is expected of them by determining the tasks that the follower will perform, assessing follower-readiness levels, and picking the most appropriate leadership style (i.e., telling, selling, participating, delegating). The theoretical foundation and models attributed to this trait have been developed since 1930 with Kurt Lewin and this leadership application has the most positive effect when the followers want to be led but feel the push toward becoming a leader themselves for intrinsic satisfaction.
6. The leading change leadership trait refers to change agents, visionaries, and mission-driven leadership. Leaders let followers fend for themselves when the leader is not available in order to build a transformational leadership presence in an organization. The trait argues that change is a moving target and circling back to authentic leadership reveals a need for a proactive response to change as it occurs or is created. Recent focus has been on contingency planning and resilience. The most positive effect of this trait is when the followers have buy-in, feel empowered, and are acting as agents of change themselves.
These goals are designed to increase and build rapport between leaders, and followers — inspire them, and increase their satisfaction with their career so that they can become engaged and productive. Follower satisfaction is contingent upon the leader’s performance as both a facilitator and inspirer.
Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies, and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.
Michael J. Provitera is an associate professor, and an author of the book titled “Mastering Self-Motivation” published by Business Expert Press. He is quoted frequently in the national media.