Leadership

Warning

A problem with the Leader-Member Exchange Theory is that it assumes that all team members are equally worthy of trust, prestigious projects and advancement. Although we may like to think that everyone is honest, hard-working and worthy of our esteem, the reality can be different!

Managers need to get the best possible results. This means putting the right people in the right places, and it means developing and reinforcing success. Of necessity, this means that talented people will get more interesting opportunities and may get more attention than less-talented ones.

Use the Leader-Member Exchange Theory to make sure that you’re objective in the way that you deal with people, but don’t be naïve in the way that you apply it.

Key Points

The Leader-Member Exchange Theory first appeared in the 1970s. It analyzes the relationship between managers and team members.

Team members typically go through three phases in their relationship with their manager: Role- Taking, Role-Making, and Routinization.

Typically, during the Role-Making phase, group members are classified into one of two groups: In-Group, and Out-Group. In-Group team members often receive more attention and support,  and more opportunities, from their managers. Out-Group members get very little face time, and few opportunities.

You can use the Leader-Member Exchange Theory to identify and validate any perceptions that you might have of people on your team.

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Organizational Behavior by Icfai Business School is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.