Fair… but not equal

My office and their relationship with advisors relies heavily on transactional leadership. The very effectiveness and ability for the consultants at my internship site to perform their job rests on the transactional leadership that has been utilized. As I watch, listen, and interact with the consultants during their calls with Lincoln advisors, the transactional relationship existing between the two entities makes more and more sense to me. This is due to the fact that Lincoln Financial Network exists to generate cash flow and provide the best clients with the best benefits. With that in mind, this transactional style allows employees to identify who they should be allotting their services to. I wish I could say that my team specifically serves some higher mission or purpose, or some moral code they follow in all their operations, but they simply do not. Their day to day does not depend on the higher morality of the firm, or the strong company mission that exists at the core of marketing, communications, or retirement planning services departments. At every turn and interaction between employees and advisors, transactional leadership plays an important role in how conversations go and decisions are reached.

In their adherence to path-goal theory, transactional leaders are generally expected to set specific goals, communicate their expectations to the members of their organization or team, how they will be rewarded or punished depending upon the meeting of goals, and finally, provide feedback. After considering path-goal theory and transactional leadership more in the context of Lincoln Financial Network, it became clear to me that contingent rewards for performance are given.

Essentially, the Lincoln Financial Advisors are organized based upon the money they can deliver Lincoln, and how much revenue they drive by delivering Lincoln products to their clients. If they continually deliver a great deal of profit and positive results to the network, they will be rewarded with extensive training, constant on the clock assistance with cases, clients, and implementation of Lincoln deliverables. The advisors are broken into two separate groups: TRG (The Resource Group) and Premier Partners. TRG members not only produce more than the middle of the road advisors, but pay a premium for extra service and attention from the employees on my team. The Premier Partners are essentially lower producing advisors who require less attention, since they do not bring in as much capital to the firm as a whole. They are often forwarded video training links and can be referred to another team for walk-through guidance, as opposed to the transactional rewards given to the TRG members.

With how large Lincoln is, expanding across the country with more than 10,000 employees, it is imperative that some teams are more transactional and profit-minded than others. That being said, analyzing my team through this transactional, path-goal theory lens has allowed me to better understand how the members on my team lead the external advisors with these contingent rewards. This application has also deepened my understanding of transactional leadership and how it can interact with such a structured, large organization like Lincoln.