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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Yeah, absolutely it does, in fact I kind of smiled a bit when I read it because I guess over the years it kind of made me think about the different bosses I had and I sort of, sat back and thought how did I, how do I influence them, how do I get them to my way of thinking? And so I guess you know, some of the consistencies throughout that period were, first of all I think it’s really important to understand their goals and objectives because unless you do that you can sort of, go to them either with an idea or suggestion, whatever it might be and if it’s not aligned with where they’re going then invariably they won’t be interested.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds I think secondly building that trust and respect sometimes, and you have to be careful how you do this because I’ve seen people who are constantly in the face of their boss or leader and it can work the opposite effect as to what I’m about to suggest, but more often than not I think that if you have a job actually doing something above and beyond that which will help you know, the general organisation with the blessing of your manager is quite a good way of demonstrating that you’re ready to take on broader responsibility and particularly change.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds And if you becoming if you like an ambassador for change, a change agent then I think that holds you in good stead as you go forward. I think its important and I can remember having a negative situation once when I believed I understood what my boss expected of me and what my key deliverables were and this is going back a few years, it probably wouldn’t happen today because we like to write everything down. But we then got to the end of the year and I’d had a good year and so I went to my boss ready for my annual review. His perspective was different. His expectation was different and higher to the one that I thought we had agreed.

Skip to 2 minutes and 23 seconds So, when you have a mismatch like that it’s quite hard to influence your manager or your boss in whatever way it is that you’re trying to influence them, either to support you if you want to go and develop into a new role, maybe go and do you know, some further education, whatever it might be, you know, it only works if you’re both kind of at the level.

Leader-member exchange

This is a relationship-based dyadic theory of leadership, which looks at the relationship between a leader and each subordinate independently, rather than the relationship between the leaders and the group (Northouse 2013).

The theory acknowledges that the quality of each relationship is likely to differ. Thus, the same leader could have good interpersonal relations with some subordinates and bad relations with others. In a high quality Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) relationship, there is trust, liking, professional respect and loyalty (Liden and Maslyn 1998). As the LMX theory is relationship-based, there is a social exchange of valued resources between the leaders and followers (Rockstuhl et al 2012).

For example, the leaders may provide support, mentoring, and developmental opportunities among other benefits to the employee. In reciprocation, the employees show commitment, engagement, loyalty and higher levels of trust (Graen and Uhl-Bien 1995). The degree to which the employees want to please their leader will have an influence on the quality and outcome of the LMX relationship.

Your task

Are there any experiences that you can share with your peers based on the LMX theory? Have you worked in an organisation where it is clear that the leader has good relations with some subordinates and bad relations with others? What could be done to improve this relationship?

See what suggestions the other learners are posting. Do you agree or disagree with anything in particular? Why?


Graen, G., and Uhl-Bien, M. (1995) ‘Relationship-Based Approach to Leadership: Development of Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory of Leadership Over 25 Years: Applying a Multi-Level Multi-Domain Perspective’. Leadership Quarterly 6, 219 –247

Liden, R. C., and Maslyn, J. M. (1998). ‘Multidimensionality of Leader–Member Exchange: An Empirical Assessment Through Scale Development’. Journal of Management 24 (1), 43-72

Northouse, P. (2013)  Leadership: Approach and practice, 6th edn. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publishing

Rockstuhl, T., Dulebohn, J.H., Ang, S., Shore, L.M. (2012) ‘Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) and Culture: A Meta-Analysis of Correlates of LMX Across 23 Countries’. Journal of Applied Psychology 97, 1097–1130

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Leadership Theory: The Basics

Coventry University