Angela Merkel’s leadership style

Published: 2021-07-10 05:25:04
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As The Economist (September 28th 2013) says, Angela Merkel won a landslide victory and became the chancellor of Germany for the third time. The crisis gave us a hard time and most big European countries dumped their leaders during this period. However, Angela Merkel again proved to be a leader that most people follow and admire. Is it purely because she does things right for her people? Or does it rather spark from her personality, including her behavioral, communication skills or influential authority?
This paper will elaborate ideas on what makes Germany’s chancellor such a powerful leader and by using psychological theories it will lead the reader to defining the leadership style Ms. Merkel exercises. To define and get to know Angela Merkel’s personality closer, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an excellent tool, which reveals preferences and one’s personality with a reliability of 83%. As Psychologytoday. com claims (Psychologytoday, 2012) and one could also anticipate it, she is an ENTJ type person. This basically means that Ms. Merkel is decisive, honest and powerful enough to become a leader.
In addition, an ENTJ type person notices illogical and inefficient procedures quickly and is able to solve problems fast and effectively due to being well informed and not afraid of presenting strong opinions. This is also backed by her notoriety of disagreeing with most of other’s opinions in the European Parliament and Council. Communication is rated as the single and most important factor when it comes to selecting managers or job success. As regards communication (Independent. co. uk, 2013) we must say that Ms. Merkel is a mediocre debater and she does not give many speeches.
Nonetheless is she able to contribute to connecting emotionally with German or other people. What about body language? It can either draw or drive away one’s attention and determines to a significant degree how much an individual likes another. They are basically unconscious signs and their perceptions that provide meaning. As for Ms. Merkel, she meets success early and her body language, mainly exercised by her low steeple “trademark” of hands has become notorious and well used amongst people. It expresses a significant level of assertiveness and contributes to a highly elevated level of confidence, which makes other people trust her.
She mainly relies on her body language in expressing herself, which other people very well understand. What about her appearance in public? According to a scholarly article from the University of Amsterdam (van Zoonen, Liesbet, 2006), Angela Merkel represents a deep political and professional persona to the public and does not reveal her private persona at 1 all, such that it has become an issue in the election campaign. Not to mention her appearance and style that has been strongly criticized since the beginning of her public career.
These facts are closely linked to perception and how a person would judge her at first glance. As we quickly tend to “judge a book by its cover” according to physical and social perception, Ms. Merkel would definitely not be the book we would be willing to read. A probable explanation for her lack of interest in her appearance, reserved character and strong self-discipline comes from her earlier life, as beliefs about ourselves are built during our early childhood. She was raised in East Germany and has always been a high achiever mostly caring about her career rather than appearance.
Additionally, people tend to develop significant beliefs about themselves as adolescents or adults, for instance when they arise from strong emotional experiences. As chairwoman of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany), Ms. Merkel survived the union’s financial scandals as well as other harsh times the party faced. Her careerist past and present has lead her showing less interest in caring about what others think about her. Taking the above-mentioned opinions into consideration, how is it still possible that she is taken as Europe’s most powerful woman?
In general, pure physical traits should not be the basis of judgment. The way we perceive a person also depend on our previous education, experience, state of mind, similarity, social status or expectations. If we take the social status of Angela Merkel and the expectations German people have of her, we can conclude that what she is doing is perceived as right, no matter what critics say about her public appearance. When it comes to such a leader, it is not anymore about appearance. According to the Guardian (theguardian. com, 2013), Ms. Merkel knows what her country wants.
She gets her people and Germans get her as well. She simply makes sure Germany works and gets away with her mistakes and in the end looks like a good “mum”. This leads to the discussion of the authority she exercises which persuades people around her that she is on the right track. Using the types of influence tactics from McShane’s and Von Glinow’s book of Organizational Behavior (McShane, Von Glinow, 2010), we can analyze Ms. Merkel’s influencing authority. She exercises silent authority meaning compliance alongside with resistance leading to hard influence tactics.
To better understand these concepts let’s have a closer look at the influencing tactic of ingratiation and impression. Within silent authority these terms mean that one tries to increase the liking by, or perceived similarity to, some 2 targeted person or group of people, being the Germans in this case. Impression management, similarly to ingratiation aims at achieving popularity by actively shaping one’s public image. These perfectly apply to Angela Merkel’s acts of contradicting to every opinion that would be against German people’s interest and expressing her thoughts by emphasizing it.
However, the way she achieves this compliance is through resistance. This is backed by her control of information and assertiveness about any effects that might be adverse to her people. In fact, (theguardian. com, 2013) she never mentions plans, visions or ideologies. Despite, in public she sticks to “good housekeeping” but in private she becomes keener on achieving her objectives. What is important here is that people are aware of this and as long as their interests are represented or their disinterests are dismissed, they will follow such a leader.
Taking into consideration the above opinions, theories and facts we can present the successful leadership style of Angela Merkel with the help of the path-goal theory of leadership. The path-goal theory states that a good leader is the one who provides the information, resources and support to his or her employees (McShane, Von Glinow, 2010). What makes it different from previous theories is that the path-goal theory concentrates more on the employee side, not the leader side. In other words, the leader is acting as a servant to fulfill their employees’ needs in order to maximize their ability.
In the path-goal theory there are four different leadership styles which are Directive, Supportive, Participative and Achievement-oriented. Directive leadership style means that the leader clarifies to employees about the goals and the way to achieve these goals. This gives the employees a clear perception of their roles in the particular task. In supportive leadership style, the leader is friendly and considerate for the employees and tries hard to create a pleasant atmosphere for people to work in. This style is quite the same as people-oriented leadership. Participative leadership style encourages
employee involvement in the management decision process and the leader often consult employees’ opinions and suggestions before making a final decision. Achievement-oriented leadership style encourages employees to achieve the peak performance. Leader with this kind of leadership style usually sets challenging goals, seeks improvement in employee performance and shows confidence in employees ability in accomplishing high level tasks. Considering different kinds of situations, leadership style may vary from one to another. There are four main contingencies of path-goal theory that determine which 3
Leadership style is the most appropriate one for leaders to choose. These contingencies are Skill and experience, Locus of control, Task structure and Team dynamics. By analyzing these four main contingencies step by step we can conclude a clear leadership style of Ms. Merkel. Although things are a little different from companies and organizations when talking about leading a government and a whole country, the fundamental theory is the same. First of all, it’s common sense that most Germans are not professionals about politics, and not familiar with the issues which Ms.
Merkel and her government are faced with every day. So we can say the chancellor is leading a country where people cannot fully understand what is going on. In this situation, it’s good to apply the directive leadership style to lead and achieve the country’s goal. Secondly, when it comes to locus of control, it’s not hard to find out that the majority of Germans are with the characteristic of internal locus of control. In this situation, it is better to adopt the achievement-oriented leadership style instead of the directive one. Thirdly, the tasks, which Ms.
Merkel and her government deal with every day, are not routine, because they have to handle lots of emergencies and unexpected difficulties. Under these circumstances, the directive style is the right way to lead the government and the people. Last but not the least, there exist many other parties in the parliament and throughout the country we can find disagreements about Ms. Merkel’s governance. Even in her party, the Christian Democratic Union, different opinions occur every now and then. How to control the chaos and organize all of them to work towards the same goal?
The directive and participative leadership style might be the solution. Taking all the four contingencies into consideration, we can analyze and find out that the leadership style of Ms. Merkel is mostly directive, which turns sometimes into participative and achievement-oriented when needed. And this conclusion is in accordance with what Ms. Merkel have done as the chancellor of the German government. She is a powerful woman with a determined mind. She is quite aware of what her goal is and she understands exactly what her country wants (the guardian. com, 2013).
She sticks to her country’s objectives and exhibit the shared vision to her people. She leads her government to well handle with tough issues such as Iraq, Iran and its nuclear power station. She lowered the unemployment rate from 11. 3% to 5. 3% and lead Germany to survive through the financial crisis and European debt crisis. In this directive and achievement-oriented style 4 of leadership she wins the hearts of most of Germans and gets the majority of their votes, which is a new record for her. To conclude, we can go through the competencies of effective leaders in the book of Organizational Behavior (McShane, Von Glinow, 2010).
As it is said in the book, when talking about personality, the leader’s higher levels of extroversion and conscientiousness are important for an effective leader, which is not the case with Ms. Merkel. However, except for the personality aspect, Ms. Merkel is a perfect leader in all other aspects, i. e. Self- concept, drive, integrity leadership motivation, knowledge of the business (the state), cognitive and practical intelligence and emotional intelligence. No wonder Ms. Merkel has become the most successful and powerful woman in Europe.

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