Leadership Behaviors in Sales Organizations

Seminar Paper, 2013

19 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of Contents

Executive Summary

List of Abbreviations

List of Tables

List of Figures

1 Introduction

2 Problem Definition

3 Objectives

4 Methodology

5 Theoretical Background
5.1 Definition of Leadership
5.2 Major Types of Leadership Behavior
5.3 Traits and Skills of Leaders

6 Singularity of Sales Organizations and their Leaders
6.1 Leadership Behavior and Traits in Sales Organizations
6.2 Connection between Theoretical and Practical Part

7 Results & Conclusion


Online Sources

List of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

List of Tables

Table 1: Traits of Leaders

List of Figures

Figure 1: Model of Leader Attributes and Leader Performance

1 Introduction

Today, soft skills and leadership behaviors are essential for successful leading of employees or companies. Having good soft skills attitudes, means having an emotional intelligence with the opportunity to reflect one’s own feelings and those of others. These people are generally high motivated, have very good communication skills and empathy and can exactly reflect their own behavior.[1] But what means leadership behavior exactly? And how can it be generally clarified? Well, that’s the major problem in this scientific case. There is a lot of research done on this task, but there is no consistent result because of different perceptions and deductions and that’s the reason why there is no absolute set of correct behavior categories.[2] Behavior analyses are more or less items of observed characteristics and managerial activities. Even in the year of 1523 and 1524 Niccolo Machiavelli has occupied with the topic of leadership behaviors. In his lettering “The Prince” he closely describes behaviors and traits of leaders and the effects of their behaviors. For example, he writes that a leader should be nice and cruel at the same time; which were typical traits of leaders in that decade of time.[3]

However, these observed attitudes of top leaders were bundled as key success factors and describe the essential skills of today’s leaders. It is important to know that not every effective leader has to have the similar behavior and attitudes, but it is important to realize that successful leaders can efficiently use their soft skills and have characteristic attitudes which differs them from others. Exactly this usage of soft skills and behavior is the basis for research on this topic.

2 Problem Definition

In the past and today a lot of studies were done on this specific science field, to find out which behavior styles, traits, and skills differ leader from non-leader and if these skills and traits are connate or can be developed.

3 Objectives

The main objective of the theoretical part is to find out if there exist typical leadership behaviors which differs leader from non-leader and if these traits and skills are inborn or can be trained. The objectives in the practical part are to find out if sales leaders have special traits and if these traits are connate or trainable. Another objective here is to discover which leadership behavior leads at least to the higher success.

4 Methodology

The work paper will start with a theoretical background, the definition of leadership, major types of leadership behavior and the traits and skills of leaders. Afterwards the author will show what the sales organization differs from other business units and tries to find out which traits and behavior is expected in sales organizations. The last step will be a connection between the theoretical and practical part of the work paper, before giving a short conclusion.

5 Theoretical Background

As already mentioned in the introduction, there has been a lot of study done on this issue. This chapter will show the key results on the topic of leadership behaviors and will start with the definition of leadership before having a look on the common leadership behavior types and the traits and skills of successful leaders.

5.1 Definition of Leadership

As the reader can expect, there exist many definitions of the scientific field of leadership. It has been often defined in terms of traits, behaviors, influence, interaction patterns, role relationships, and occupation of an administrative position. The definition mostly depends on the research field of the scientist and his research focus. Yukl (2013) comes to the conclusion that “most definitions reflect the assumption that leadership involves a process whereby intentional influence is exerted over other people to guide, structure, and facilitate activities and relationships in a group or organization”[4]. That means that leadership directly or indirectly influences the behaviors, thoughts and feelings of others. Additional, leadership creates organizational structure, allocates resources and expresses strategic visions.[5] Deeper studies talk about a direct and an indirect leadership, which differs the different possibilities of influencing others. While direct leadership works with a direct interaction between the leader and his followers, indirect leadership touches also people who are not directly connected with the leader and a direct interaction does not take place. This indirect leadership takes place by a transmission of managerial behavior of the leader through others and can cause a change in employee attitudes, beliefs, values, or behaviors. Also programs and management systems or well defined structures can probably be noticed as indirect leadership.[6] Another form of indirect leadership and a way to influence followers is the cultural leadership. The Three Levels of Culture by Edgar Schein, exactly describes the situation. On the one hand, leaders try to influence the employees with implemented structures and standards and on the other hand with beliefs and values. These values are developed from goals, rules, ideals and ideologies and tell people how to interact with humans, tasks and changes.[7] Leaders can also try to change a corporate culture, to win synergies. But it is important to recognize that cultures develop from inside and outside, which means that leaders and employees influence a corporate culture and a change is only possible if both sides work together.[8]

5.2 Major Types of Leadership Behavior

As already noticed, scientists try to find out the key behaviors of successful leaders to systemize and categorize them to general valid assumptions. Today, three major types of leadership behavior have been identified; the task-, relations- and change-oriented behavior.

Task-oriented behavior is given when the leader does only focus on the job which has to be done. The main challenges for this type of leadership behavior are to organize work activities and to improve efficiency. These leaders plan short-term operations and goals, assign work to employees, clarify what results are expected, explain work priorities, set specific goals and standards for task performance, explain rules, policies, and standard operating procedures, direct and coordinate work activities, monitor operations and performance, and resolve immediate problems that would disrupt the work.[9] The benefit of this leadership behavior is that it ensures that deadlines are met and it is especially useful for people who do not manage themselves well. These behavior characteristics define work very well and do not leave any space for individual organization, which means that every work flow is planned into detail. A main problem for this leadership behavior type is that the employee-satisfaction can be at a very low level. But this depends on the individual and is not universally valid; because some studies identified that subordinates were more satisfied with a structuring leader.[10] The author believes that the satisfaction of employees which have a task-oriented leader depends on the soft skills of the leader and how he manages the tightrope walk between strong given tasks and no individual evolvement and motivation. The main challenge for a successful leader is to keep the subordinates following him to get the work done without feeling themselves under-challenged. There is also a high risk, that leaders get caught in the trap and confuse the task-oriented behavior with an autocratic leadership style. Well, most autocratic leaders have task-oriented behaviors, but not every task-oriented leader has to be an autocratic leader.[11]


[1] Peters-Kühlinger & John (2012), pp. 7 – 8.

[2] Yukl (2013), p. 63.

[3] Machiavelli (2001), pp. 82 – 86.

[4] Yukl (2013), p. 18.

[5] Green et al. (2003), pp. 38 – 45.

[6] Yukl (2013), p. 21.

[7] Schein (2010), p. 24.

[8] Ibid., p. 235 – 250.

[9] Yukl (2013), pp. 64 – 66.

[10] Ibid., p. 70.

[11] www.mindtools.com , Leadership Styles, accessed August 2013.

Excerpt out of 19 pages


Leadership Behaviors in Sales Organizations
University of applied sciences, Nürnberg  (IOM)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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638 KB
Leadership, Soft Skills
Quote paper
Diplom-Kaufmann (FH) Johann Gross (Author), 2013, Leadership Behaviors in Sales Organizations, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/266628


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