Effective and Efficient Leadership, Essay Example
Leadership in an organization is distinctive in successful integration of all stakeholders participating in achieving the mission and vision of the company. Effective and efficient leadership involves management in motivating and empowering staff for total quality products and services. Leading, following and team building are aspects of leadership which maximize improvement and change management. Group processes and community environment in the organizational culture is element in getting employees involved and excited about meeting goals and objectives. Individuals who are in leadership roles have the responsibility of setting the example for having a value system which supports high moral and ethical standards. Effective and efficient leaders create opportunities for the extraordinary to occur.
Leadership and Management
Historically leadership and management have developed and changed through the years; evolving into new ideas and concepts. Early practices of leadership were not delineated from management as much as they are today. Leadership in the 1900’s was thought of more in the context of a person having an innate ability to lead which they were born with. Around the 1930’s group leadership was considered more effective. This proved ineffective as there were too many leaders without efficiency due to the problem. Around the 1950’s leadership was considered a trait that a person possessed. This theory supported the concept that universal traits were common for leaders. This led into the 1960’s and the idea of behavior patterns resulting in effective leaders.
Around the 1970’s theory of effective leadership was attributed to specific situations and the behaviors which the leader used to deal with the state of affairs. By the 1980’s a combination of the previous concepts was considered. “Having tried and discarded all of these fragmentary approaches, leadership researchers determined that leadership is simply doing the right thing to achieve excellence” (Leadership: An Overview).
As the 21st century arrived it became apparent that the philosophy of leadership is not about traits or behaviors, but centered more on the idea of interaction, shared relationships and community. Instead of honoring one person as a leader, the idea is central to a team of leaders participating in community commitment. Leadership concepts abandoned the self-centeredness of a single leader and focused on values such as trust, accountability and sharing. Instead of leadership meaning ‘power’ it has developed into a role of creativity and occasionally participating in hands-on work along with employees.
Leadership no longer is a formal role of authority but rather a role of promoting and providing direction. Leadership enlists participation while management instructs how to perform. Leadership previously also managed; today leadership guides and management gets things done. Historically leaders were expected to be good at managing people, now they leave that duty up to the managers. The relationship between managing and leading is close and sometimes intermingled. Typically leaders provide new direction while management takes care of moving in that direction.
Managers are typically administrators and work with business planning and implementation, budgets and progress evaluation. “Leaders on the other hand, get organizations and people to change” (MacCoby, 1). Management takes care of problem solving and maintains political correctness in the organization. “Management is a function that must be exercised in any business, leadership is a relationship between leader and the led that can energize an organization” (MacCoby, 2). Management is usually built of a team to handle the various different tasks such as budgets or planning.
Influence stories can affect an organization in a motivational manner. Story-telling is a strong leadership tool used in times of catastrophe can help an organization with crisis management. It is also used to promote trust from the employees. This is a method of using creativity in generating ideas for quality business practices. Storytelling helps to internalize values and pass leadership lessons to the next set of apprentice leaders.
Organizations and people are overwhelmed with information. An organization needs leaders and managers that generate trust and faith. Stories are the pathway to creating faith. Employees “want faith – faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell” (Dinesen, 1). Stories inspire people and create inspiration, trust and faith in the workplace and is a powerful leadership tool. In order to engage staff, leaders should make an effort to always tell their stories of who they are and why they are with the organization. A leader who tells a meaningful and true story of their own investment and faith in the organization will inspire employees to trust and consider their own personal stories.
Stories motivate and create commitment from employees. Leaders who share their personal history with creative, meaningful and sincere stories create a bond with staff. Leaders who limit relationships with providing just facts will neglect the opportunity to emotionally touch staff and provide a link and connection to staff. Sincerity cannot be overlooked or taken for granted in storytelling or a leader will alienate the staff. People do not want to hear “a bunch of touchy-feely stuff . . . or . . . yet another consultant jumping on the latest bandwagon” (Dinesen, 3). Personal stories allow people to see what the speaker is about internally, personally and emotionally. This creates the connection and fosters the inspiration and trust a leader needs to be able to effectively lead.
Motivating and creating commitment through storytelling does not have to be with personal stories. Leaders can also use other inspirational stories just as effectively. The main concept is to convey a story in an interesting, intelligent, and personal manner. Some leaders use self-disclosure to foster a bond. “At a deep level we know that true strength is found not in perfection but in understanding our own limitations” Dinesen, 3). Showing that all people have trials and tribulations, with leaders not being exempt, is a strong point in storytelling.
Leadership and Followership
The concept of leadership and followership is not one-dimensional. The premise is simple: all people follow but only some lead. Therefore, a leader must have been a follower at one time. In order to be a leader, that person had to excel at following. To be effective at one thing, you have to have accomplished being efficient.
Leadership is subjective and difficult to define, impossible to measure and cannot be taught in school (Leadership, 1). Theoretical perspectives of a leader include having a guiding vision and integrity. They should process self-knowledge and maturity. Honesty of self, devotion to ethical and moral standards is fundamental. Dedication, direct observation, self-awareness and the ability to work and learn from others is vital. A leader must have the necessary qualities in order to be able to encourage and empower others. The leader must be committed, well informed and understand the astute use of power. Eloquence in communication and consistency in keeping the mission and vision of the organization in the forefront of thought and action. Psychological attributes include “self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills” (Leadership, 4).
Perspectives for followership include the ability to adhere to authority and respect the leader’s formal position. They are position based and follow the leader. Some are safety based and need the security of following. Meaning based followers expect leaders to provide order to the workplace with meaning for the organizational goals. “Identify based followers seek to enhance their own self esteem by identifying with leaders they perceive as powerful and attractive” (Riggio, 314).
It is important for leaders to occasionally place themselves in the followership role. It is a partnership in reciprocal following (Riggio, 17). Leaders, having been followers at one point, need to continually remember the role of the follower and what it represents and the importance to an organization and community of workers. Being able to recognize when leadership should enter a followership role is being responsible and accountable to the good of the organization. Leaders are like teachers who instruct students; having at one time been a student themselves. Being able to follow is a good competency of a leader.
The ability of a leader to transform into a followership role affects the staff in the workplace to promote a different level of bonding. Leaders who distance themselves from employees and avoid interaction foster feelings of uncertainty and ambiguity. Leaders who assume a followership role demonstrate to staff the emotional commitment they have to the organization and promoting quality products and services. Following enables the staff to realize the significance of what the organization’s vision and missions are. The effective leader who follows occasionally is using creative visionary leadership to provide evidence of solidarity and loyalty.
Community and Team Building
Being a part of a team takes time and dedication. Trust is something earned and not assumed. Teams need to work together to build identities and establish their community. Leadership and management play an important role in team building. Encouraging and training on team and community work along with providing activities and projects which foster member involvement. Building team identities and community empower employees and instill friendships, trust and dedication between the members. Building teams promote a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Teams may wish to adopt a name or logo and have specific activities such as bulletin boards, lunch or dinner meetings and service projects to build unity and companionship among the members.
Workplace community is inclusive and flexible, recognizing membership diversity in experience and skills. Being open to the perspectives and influence of the individual members separately and collectively taps into the available resources the diversity offers (Membership, 1). The workplace environment benefits from community through recognizing the dynamics of employees being interdependent and autonomous at the same time. Being in a team and a community does not mean losing individuality to assembly mentality but rather applying individual talents collectively.
Community in the workplace environment instills pride in connection to the organization. It is characteristic of a successful organization. Three components are necessary for balanced consideration and achievement; human, social and financial consideration (Membership, 5). Considering decisions based on the impact for the organization is using human consideration. Social consideration requires the community to look at the ethical components. Considering the products and services and how this will serve the external community the organization serves. Financial consideration means making rational and logical decisions based on accountability for costs. The effects of financial obligations or burdens on long-term decisions can create a huge impact on the organizations and the stakeholders.
Community in the workplace is a basic connection with each other. Employee retention is a consideration in an organization’s strategic planning. Promoting community in the workplace can be an effective retention strategy. For a full-time employee, more time is spent at work than at home five days a week. For the workplace instilling a sense of community the employees have the opportunity to have ‘daytime family’ per se, instead of the historical separation from others during the day and just performing duties. Turnover in staffing is costly and detrimental to the climate of the organization. It creates distrust and questioning in employees. Building a workplace community builds relationships among employees and this promotes retention as the teams begin to care about each other and that impact the organization positively.
Communities in the workplace have short and long term benefits. It promotes a career philosophy in the employees over job philosophy. Going to work with an attitude of meaningful and satisfying purpose gives employees a reason to work in a career and not a job. The community approach has four conceptual cornerstones – philosophy, influence, culture and inner transformation (Parker & Gadbois, 1). Creating and living a philosophy of community influences the culture and creates an inner transformation of the organization necessary for employee involvement. Group processes of a community are important in identifying strategic problems and developing appropriate and innovative programs to solve them (Delbecq & VanDeVen, 467). Determinates of group processes include team building, task cohesion, social cohesion and group performance.
These determinates are interrelated and the individual concept importance depends on the organization and products and services offered. Group members setting objectives to achieve goals will share information within the group for proper identification of problems and solutions for task and social cohesion. These are vital to the success of team building for a unified community philosophy in the workplace. Social cohesion is important for team building relationships, but it task cohesion which determines group performance. Teams with a specific set of goals and agenda for the projects perform better than teams focusing more on the social aspects.
Advantages and disadvantages of group process determinates have practical application in the real world experiences. Advantages of team building include a sense of connectedness and camaraderie for the successful completion of a project. Group performance depends on how well a team is committed to the project. In my experience team building is important on the outcome of the project. Having team members who are willing to share in the workload and have a shared interest in good results is important. However, all members must share the common goal and be all invested in the outcome.
A disadvantage of team work happens when there are one or more persons on the team who is not as invested and not as interested in equally sharing the workload. Having a team member who is lazy or complacent and passes their work off on others will be severely detrimental to the group performance. Having an individual on the team who is not invested will not only hinder the overall performance but will likely discourage other members to take the same attitudes. In a severely dysfunctional team it potentially can come down to one or two persons carrying the entire load of the project.
Task cohesion is advantageous to the group performance and vital in providing direction for the timeframe and quality of the project. The higher the degree of task cohesion the greater the group performs as a whole. Task cohesion matters to the group performance and is important in providing the route for each member to take in duty structure and deliverance. In the workplace duty delegation among the team members is vital in providing the cohesion for the overall project. Assigning tasks to each member with each person understanding their role and committing to successful completion will ensure the final product.
Disadvantages of task cohesion occur when clear instructions are not outlined and determined by the group. Each member of the team must understand how their portions play a role in the concept of task cohesiveness and quality group performance. To avoid this disadvantage the group must decide upfront on the details of the specific tasks, timeframe and accountability by each member.
Social cohesion provides the social networking for the team members. Having lunches and dinners together builds relationships and provides better understanding for the problems individual members may be experiencing which could be affecting their work. However, this concept is not directly related to group performance. It is advantageous for the overall camaraderie but not specifically for performance. A disadvantage would occur in the event team members developed an animosity among themselves.
Overall in my experience applying the determinants to a team project has been useful in the outcome of the projects. For the most part my participation in group processes has been positive. I have seen on occasional the individual who rests on the other members and is not committed or willing to share the workload. In this situation I found the other team members willing to take that person’s ineffectiveness and be willing to share the shortcomings to be able to produce high group performance. Interestingly instead of becoming upset or petty, the other members rallied and considered the overall project and not the ineffectiveness of the one group member. The group performance was the goal and the group made allowances and accommodations to be productive, effective and efficient.
Personal and Organizational Values
Values are qualities that represent priorities and define behavior. Values are various and individuals and organizations must decide the importance of each. Examples of values are integrity, responsibility, respect, diversity, dedication, honesty, courage, wisdom, compassion, generosity, and dependability. These examples are not all inclusive and the list is endless. Each person and each organization place values in order depending on the influence and culture of the organization or the person’s philosophy.
Effective organizations will identify and develop clear values; beliefs and priorities for proper direction for the organization. Values help establish priorities and guidance for decision making. Personal and organizational values are usually similar for the most effective and efficient working environment. Supporting the values of an organization typically mean that the individual supports like values.
My personal organizational values include equality, collaboration, empathy, challenge, influence and learning. My work environment fosters these values through commitment to the organization and the employees. Management has a clear direction for equality and ensuring the employees satisfaction and fair employment practices. They support and nurture the values. They follow a transparent philosophy and address problems and issues early to avoid them from evolving into large issues.
Overall my values and my organization’s values are very similar. This is one reason that I enjoy working in my organization. Having similar values promotes my motivation and gives me a sense of accomplishment overall. Working in an environment where values are not the same is disquieting and disruptive to my commitment. Previous employers with differing values from my own showed me the importance of aligning with an organization that shares my philosophies. Attempting to fulfill the dynamics of a project working with an organization that does not value the same belief system is difficult. This makes it very hard for an employee to know where they stand within the organization and if they are performing the duties as they should.
The impact this has had on my current position has been solid and productive. I enjoy working for a common goal and knowing that my participation is valued and important for the successful completion of any project or duty I am charged with. Motivation is a vital component of a job well done. The importance of motivation cannot be underestimated or undermined by leadership or management. An organization should make their values known in the beginning or the hiring process. Recruiting, hiring and retaining employees working with similar values are important to the success of the organization and the personal success and feeling of accomplishment by the employee.
Core values by the person and the organization means understanding what the central core values are and being able to live them day-by-day. Having an ingrained set of core values also means that you live what you believe, at home, work and in the community. An important concept of a value system is the commitment a person has to maintain the values without compromise or rationalization for substitution under pressure. Practicing good principles with high ethics is powerful in personal and organizational devotion and attitudes. The organizational culture overall benefits from core values shared by all.
Ethical leadership is an understanding and commitment to core values. Laurie Haughey states there are five components of ethical leadership: communication, quality, collaboration, succession planning and tenure (6). Practicing good principles does not always mean high ethical standards are involved. Leadership must closely inspect the relationship between the two. Leaders are in a position to ‘make or break’ an organization. Having high ethics is vital to making the organization successful.
Ethical communication by leaders set the standards for employee behavior. Ethical leadership will place a high emphasis on proper and honest communication. This promotes truthfulness to the fullest. When leaders do not follow high ethics in communication they are opening the organization up for disaster. Organizations with improper communication standards open the avenue for dishonesty and corruption. Ethical communication from all levels must be a priority and a specific mandate for employment. Truthful information to employees, the public, stakeholders, board of directors and investors should be high on the list of priorities, if not placed directly at number one.
Ethical quality of products is an artifact of ethical leadership. It is up to leaders to direct and fund quality products and services throughout the organization. It comes from the top down to endorse high ethical standards on products and services. Innovation in quality and setting standards with metrics for evaluation is a component of leadership which is dependent on the ethical and moral standards of the company. Six Sigma is a concept which has been popular among leaders and organizations to assist in promoting ethical production of quality products and services. This management tool has a long history of effectiveness.
Ethical collaboration among leaders is advisable for mentoring, lending and gaining useful advice. Helping each other through collaboration, gaining insight on others experiences and history is one of the best practices a leader can adopt. Closing off communications with other organizations reduces the valuable information that can be deemed from other leaders. Ethical collaboration helps leaders make better decisions; informed and tested decisions. An ethical leader will work to reduce risks and threats to the organization. Benchmarking and collaborating with other organizations minimizes the risks and threats. Having a circle of ethical collaboration resources will broaden the leader’s knowledge and provide successful examples to draw from.
Ethical succession planning provides a form of control for maintaining ethical leadership. Leaders can no longer rely on keeping their positions secretive and seductive. They must plan for the future which includes understanding a time when they may not be there in the organization any longer. Leaders move to other organizations or retire. Identifying ethical leadership succession is important in maintaining the ethical standards set in place. Unexpected circumstances such as an accident or death are also reasons to have a leadership succession plan in place. Allowing others to learn and build leadership skills under the guidance of the current leaders will ensure the continued success of the organization should leadership change through the course of time.
Ethical tenure follows along the theme of succession planning. The length of time a leader should lead depends on many factors. The organizational design, the age of the leader, the goals of the leader and the organization are a few examples for considering tenure. Some organizations believe leaders should not be in a leadership position but for a predetermined length of time. Maintaining ethical leadership for long periods of time can make a leader become lax and ethics can sometimes go to the wayside. Collaboration with other ethical leaders provides succession planning for the trustworthiness of potential candidates. The leadership external community can be important in determining tenure and succession planning.
Promoting or opposing ethical practices is an individual decision. Employees with high and similar ethics will promote ethical and moral practices. Ethical principles are relevant to the conduct of the employees. Conflicting interests is one example of why someone would oppose the ethical practices of an organization. Different perspectives and values can create a situation where there is conflict. Promoting or opposing the practice for the employee can depend on the general outcome. A person may oppose an ethical practice that may be good for the organization but not for society as a whole. Self-interest is also a reason that some individuals may oppose an ethical practice. Ethics are subjective and with no clear mandated rules or laws for ethical practices, an employee has the right to their opinion. This is in consideration of ethical practices which are outside the limits of the legal system.
Effective and efficient leadership in an organization is multidimensional. Leaders must understand the dynamics of successful leading. Realizing the effective tools available and being able to follow as well as lead is instrumental in successful leadership. Building communities and working in teams can be successful with the proper leadership model. Developing and implementing organizational values is important to the personal commitment by employees. Effective and efficient leadership must have ethical and moral standards and approaches to be able to sustain and thrive in the competitive business environment.
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