LEADERSHIP STYLE AND LISTENING PRACTICES OF IMB TEAM LEADERS: A CORRELATIONAL STUDY
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SubjectSouthern Baptist Convention. International Mission Board.
Communication in personnel management.
Listening is a critical skill for those who lead. Research indicates that leaders significantly influence followers through their listening practices; however the relationship between leadership styles and listening is assumed but not conclusively proven (Kouzes and Posner 2002). The purpose of this current study was to determine if a relationship exists between leadership style and listening practices of International Mission Board (IMB) overseas team leaders (Burns 1978, Bass 2004). The population for this research was overseas team leaders of the IMB serving in this position for more than six months with a team of four or more team members. A total of 145 of 391 team leaders participated in this study with a response rate of 37%. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) was used to measure transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant leadership style and the Listening Practices Feedback Report-360 (LPFR) assessed listening practices of attention, empathy, memory, open mind, respect, and response. A correlational analysis using Pearson r was conducted between leadership styles and listening practices. Further analysis was conducted to determine which leadership style was most significantly correlated with each of the six listening practice subscales. The subscale of open mind was not significantly correlated with any leadership style. The findings indicated that transformational leadership had a statistically significant and moderately positive correlation with the total LPFR score and on five of the six listening practices subscales. Transactional leaders also had a moderately positive correlation with total LPFR score and significant correlations on empathy, memory, and response subscales. Passive/avoidant leadership style had a significantly moderate negative correlation with LPFR and with empathy, memory, respect, and response subscales. Transformational leadership scored highest on the LPFR total listening score. Passive/avoidant leaders' showed the lowest total listening scores and were rated ineffective listeners. This study shows that transformational and transactional leadership styles have a statistically significant and moderately positive relationship with listening dimension scores as measured by the LPFR and supports transformational leadership theory.