Four Factors of the Theory of Leadership
The four factors of the theory of leadership are: support, interaction facilitation, goal emphasis and work facilitation. This conceptual model was developed in 1966 when Drs. David Bowers and Stanley Seashore studied individuals in leadership roles at 40 life insurance offices around the country. The result was a leadership theory that is still utilized today to quantify a leader's relationship to his direct reports, peers and organization. In addition to use in leadership development training, the four factors can also be used as a predictor of organizational effectiveness.
Support is the first factor that Bowers and Seashore outlined. In the context of leadership, support is defined as acting in a way that increases feelings of value and self worth in those around you. According to Bowers and Seashore, it is important to be supportive as a leader to effectively motivate direct reports, interact positively with peers and increase organizational morale. Organizations that do not have leaders who exhibit support can predict lower morale and compliance with leadership directives.
Interaction facilitation is the second factor of leadership, which gauges how well a leader encourages members of their team or organization to communicate and build relationships with one another. Organizations with leaders proficient in interaction facilitation can predict greater efficiency, especially organizations in industries where a lot of people "touch" the product or service before it is delivered, such as manufacturing or insurance.
The third factor of Bower and Seashore's leadership theory is goal emphasis. Leaders who are proficient in goal emphasis are able to behave in a way that stimulates excitement and dedication to accomplishing goals from team members. Goal emphasis can also be seen as a leadership quality where the team wants to be working toward their combined goals, instead of simply needing to work to earn a living. Organizations can predict their output and in some cases their profit margin based on how their leadership measures in goal emphasis.
Simply communicating enthusiasm for the goals isn't enough; according to Bowers and Seashore, the leader must also assist in the actual accomplishment of the goals. This is why the final factor in the model is work facilitation. A leader exhibits proficiency in work facilitation when he makes it a priority to assist his team through efficient planning, resource allocation and operations management. Organizations that have leadership that is weak in work facilitation can predict a growing gulf between management and employees that can lead to high turnover and decreased productivity.