Leadership is less about ones needs, and more about the needs of the people one is leading. Leadership can be defined as the ability to influence or inspire others to strive towards achieving a set objective. While it is easy to confuse management and leadership, management is the process of getting things done through people. Though they go hand in hand, they are not the same thing but are complementary. In business, it involves channeling the efforts and energy of a group of people toward pursuing the leaders` vision within the parameters set. A number of leaders have managed to lead their groups towards accomplishing their objectives yet these achievements would not be achieved without the input of every member of the group.
Leadership has evolved over time forms of leadership have been changing giving rise to modern and more holistic approaches to leadership. Leaders of the past used their hierarchy and positions to do tasks which are not right for a good leader. Modern leaders have turned this tradition around making it a trust investment into their people and having skilled employees who coordinate with each other to accomplish targets. Leadership styles are not things to be tried on to see which fits they should be adapted or selected depending on particular demands of a situation or challenge. Through understanding these leadership styles and their impact in business, one is able to develop his/her own approach becoming a more effective leader (Kouzes & Posner, 2010). This paper is going to discus and asses leadership skills available to leaders showing the benefits and challenges facing each of them. It also tries to explain the expectation of leaders towards realizing visions and plans for their organizations.
Leadership styles of senior executives
In the business world, transformational leadership is arguably the best approach to use. Transformational leaders are people with integrity, setting clear goals, inspiring people of common vision of the future, motivating them towards the set goals, managing delivery and communicating with their teams. In my previous place of work, our senior executive officer used to employ different approaches to challenges, in essence applying different leadership styles to problems. One of the styles he used was Bureaucratic leadership style. This implies that he worked by the book and rigorously followed rules and ensured that employees follow procedures precisely. This approach is appropriate for risky jobs involving the use of machinery, working at dangerous heights or involving toxic substances. It also comes in handy for employees who work in manufacturing organizations as they do routine tasks (Kouzes & Posner, 2010).
The disadvantage of this leadership style is that it is ineffective with regards to teamwork and organizations that employ it are rarely flexible, creative or innovative. In most cases, this form of leadership would not positively impact on employees because of its routine nature. Often, most of these bureaucratic leaders get to their positions, not because of their qualification or expertise, but because of their firm ability to uphold rules (Manning & Curtis, 2003). Another leadership style that my former CEO used was Transformational leadership. This type of leadership style is inspiring because they expect each team member to play his/her part as well as himself. This leads to engagement by every member and in return high productivity.
This style, however, cannot work if the leader is not supported by detailed people. This is because in as much as the leader may pass the enthusiasm into the team members, the members also must become keen individuals who are able to work with the vision of their leader to its achievement. That is why in most organizations both transformational and transactional leadership styles are used. Transactional leaders ensure routine jobs are done correctly while transformational leaders innovate new ways of working and add value to the company products (Kouzes & Posner, 2010).
Organizational structure and Culture
The relationship between an organizational structure and organizational culture is very close organizational culture usually develops around the organizational structure. Again organizational structure can remain but organizational culture changes with change in management depending on how employees are assigned work. Organizational structure is the arrangement of lines of authority, rights and duties and communication channels of an organization. It determines how roles, power and responsibilities are assigned and coordinated between the different levels of management. The organizational structure depends largely on the organizations objectives, in a centralized structure the top most layer of management has more power on decision making and control over all company departments and divisions (Conger et al, 2006).
In a decentralized set up, powers are distributed giving divisions and departments varied degrees of independence. I would like to work in an organization that adopts a decentralized organizational set up because it will allow me to make decisions based on my professional judgment and experience and also gives opportunities to employees to be creative and innovative in their own fields or line of work. Motivated employees or workers provide the energy that propels a company`s growth. With proper channels of communication employees are able to contribute ideas and innovative ways making them feel valued in the organization. By creating this friendly culture, employers are able to retain employees more, and customer satisfaction is also increased. In addition, operation costs are also reduced because of the efficiency of employees, therefore, improving the company`s performance.
Evaluation of leaders` performance based on their ethical conduct
All executives and administrators should be aware of their responsibilities and leadership requirements and expectations. They should seek to work towards complying with the ethical codes of conduct as it benefits both themselves and the organization as a whole. Leaders also should try to create an environment in which ethical decision making and principles are given the importance they deserve. The performance of the leader whose styles are stated above is quite impressive he conducted himself ethically encouraging employees to follow suit.
The use of bureaucratic leadership style ensured that all the company`s` laid down procedures were followed to the later. This would mean that all day to day operations would become a routine and thus monotonous and demotivating. His type of leadership style also ensured that company`s` code of conduct were adhered to, and any trend that is contrary is met with stiff disciplinary action. With this style of leadership, employees find their work routines boring and start to become lazy leading to absenteeism and work related issues. This greatly affects productivity and company performance in general. The CEO also used transformational leadership style which is much more effective in improving employee performance and productivity. This leadership style engaged employees in working together as a team towards a set target (Conger et al, 2006).
Organizational culture is strengthened using this method and ensures that there is input from each member of the organization. The CEO also delegated some decision making powers to team leaders of various groups selected for handling certain tasks. This ensured that centralization of the decision to the top level managers is minimized. Employees were motivated here and were enthusiastic about working with the leader. He communicated well through the laid down channels, and the feedback also returned through the same. This led to higher team work by employees and more strengthened culture (Pillai & Stites-Doe, 2003).
Three main ways to motivate employees
Motivation is the strong energy and desire to achieve something. The drive to be motivated is basically from the hopeful aspiration to succeed and reap worthy result. The following are the three main ways employers motivate their employees
Motivate by needs the idea behind this is that humans are motivated mostly by unsatisfied needs. Therefore, linking or connecting the achievement of organizational objectives and the satisfaction of their needs will inspire them to work harder towards it. The challenge that comes with this is that people have different needs over time and also need lose their motivational drive. No business surpasses the collection of people behind it pushing it forward. Putting employees in mind, is very important to leaders as this will ensure that the leader does not lose sight of the employees weaknesses to the level or point where it affects the progress of the business. Leaders should establish friendly and good communication with each employee so as to get to know him/her well in terms of skills and flaws. By doing this, the leader will be able to assign employees to different tasks based on their strength (Daft & Lane, 2008).
Motivate through job design this is based on the degree or level of challenge involved challenging tasks are seen as motivating rather than boring. Ensuring a continuous challenging environment through variety and decision making authority can enhance motivation. This sometimes involves expanding the scope of a job to allow different tasks be done under the same roof.
Motivate from the inside out Intrinsic motivation is based on internal factors rather than external factors that is needs, intrinsic motivation differ from person to person. For example, A sense of meaningfulness is important to some people while others value the sense of choice and being able to make their own judgments. Different combinations of these factors also motivate different individuals as the key idea in intrinsic motivation is that motivation comes from within the individual (Conger et al, 2006).
Challenges leaders encounter when managing diversity and how diversity helps business organizations better compete in global markets.
Diversity means differences this may arise due to age, race, sex, religion and culture. Different people work indifferent organizations creating a diverse workforce, this becoming a concern to organizations to know how to manage them. Leaders face many challenges arising from diversity some of them being it increases complexity, ambiguity, and confusion. It can be also hard to come to a common ground on issues and agreeing on the best course of action. However, there are advantages coming with diversity. Diversity in the workplace increases shareholders value. The diverse experiences and knowledge by the workforce is used in generating profits for the organization since the workforce is seen have the potential to understand the international market (Pillai & Stites-Doe, 2003).
Having different characteristics, they are able to contribute to the organization different operational skills and their experiences providing different perspectives in decision making. The ability to communicate to different communities and know what they want is also a great asset. Multicultural companies are able to penetrate and expand their markets with the knowledge of Political, social, and economic environments (Daft & Lane, 2008).
Conger, J. A., Riggio, R. E., & Bass, B. M. (2006). The Practice of Leadership: Developing the Next Generation of Leaders. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Daft, R. L., & Lane, P. G. (2008). The leadership experience. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. (2010). The Leadership Challenge. New York: Wiley.
Manning, G., & Curtis, K. (2003). The art of leadership. Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Pillai, R., & Stites-Doe, S. (2003). Teaching leadership: Innovative approaches for the 21st century. Greenwich, Conn: Information Age Pub.