My Role as a Corporate Leader, Essay Example
Many organizations, whether product or service oriented, are having difficulties in this very trying economy. The issue over which I am most concerned is the contribution I can make to help my company achieve its greatest return on investment (ROI). Although there can be many avenues that affect ROI, the one with which I am most concerned is being able to motivate employees to maximize output for the least cost. The way for me to accomplish this goal is for me to do some introspection and to bring to the forefront my personal qualities which will help my workers to achieve both personal and company goals. During my examination of my personal qualities, I also need to recognize those personal characteristics which I possess that may be construed as negative and will, if displayed by me, prove to be counterproductive.
The first of my leadership qualities is the ability to persuade others to do my bidding. Persuasion can be characterized as both formal and informal (Simons, 2001). For example, if I am one of the company’s leaders, determined by my place on the organization’s hierarchy, and I convince others to follow my example, I am exercising, formal persuasive authority. If I am not in a position of formal authority but I simply have a personality that will convince others to follow my lead, then my persuasive ability can be characterized as informal. Informal persuasion is not necessarily negative. If I am a simply a line worker in a product oriented business and I have a personal goal to produce more finished products than any other employee, I am setting an example for others and in friendly competition, the entire department may produce at top-speed.
Persuasion can also produce negativity which is neither good for me or for the organization as a whole. If I am a moody person, if I don’t take orders well, or if I have the proverbial “axe to grind,” I may inadvertently be slowing down production for the entire department or organization to which I am assigned (Rogers, 2007). If I am cognizant of my qualities I need to be able to internally separate my good qualities for those which can be construed as negative.
Casteen (2004)identified four steps to successful persuasion. The first is to establish credibility. Think about the consumer who goes to the store to inquire about an appliance purchase. The consumer will be served by one of two the people: The first will give the size and the color of the appliance but will know little else except what he or she can read from the box. A much more credible salesperson is one who has studied the product and who knows just about any answer asked by the consumer.
Just as the salesperson in the preceding paragraph can be defined as credible, he or she also understands their audience (point 2). Being sharp, this same salesperson can speak about the product in detailed, interesting, and knowledgeable language (point 3). The fourth and final item is that the salesperson can connect emotionally to the customer. The concept is that the salesperson can speak knowledgeably about the product and can verbalize about both the strengths and weaknesses of the product.
In my organization, if I can exhibit the similar qualities whether I am dealing with bosses, coworkers, or consumers, I can define myself as a persuasive employee. I need to be everybody’s friend and I need to display true interest, not only in personal relationships with other interests, but in the best interests of my company.
Weber (1947) was the first theorist to discuss charismatic leadership. To those whose roles in life are to follow, a charismatic leader is almost god-like. Whether loved or hated by many, the charm they express in dealing with those who will follow their example, follow without question. Examples of those charismatic leaders who were historically loved include Gandhi (who fought for India’s independence), King (who fought for minority rights), and Hitler (who fought for a world controlled by a dominant race). Charismatic leaders strongly appeal to the followers’ values and it is this relationship that helps the bonding process to occur.
Charismatic leadership is a multiple-step process (Turner, 2003). The first step is identification, not by the leader, but by those destined to follow him. Typically, a social situation exists which is affecting large groups of people: this could be a political issue, health issue, or some other kind of social issue. The followers recognize their lives are not good, but don’t know how to fix it. They begin to look around for someone who seems to be knowledgeable of their plight and who they believe may be able to help them. Having been identified, the leader is finally brought to the forefront. He acknowledges the need for change and calls his followers to action, saying will guide them but is powerless to make any changes without their help.
As the leader and followers become committed to change, the leader loses his charisma. In order to make things happen, in order to make the changes expected by his followers, he can longer be mister-nice-guy. He needs to bring to power other souls he deems trustworthy and he assigns them tasks—he departmentalizes his duties. Now, with leadership departmentalized, not all of the department heads will achieve the same success as the leader. Sometimes the followers sense this failure and some of them will break away from the cause. With departmentalization comes depersonalization; those who thought they were once friends with the leader think he has now become estranged to their needs. In the final stage of charismatic leadership, the followers become alienated from the leader. What the followers have failed to realize is that the changes they requested from their leader has probably been accomplished.
If I am to structure myself as a leader in my newly restructured organization, I probably need to decide what comes first, the chicken of the egg. In my case, I see the egg as charismatic leadership. I view the chicken as persuasive leadership. If I become that person to lead my organization to positive structural change, I need to assume the role as a charismatic leader. If I want my organization to succeed, to raise themselves from the ashes once positive changes have been made, I need to demonstrate the powers of persuasion. Where is my place in my organization? If I am too high on the organizational hierarchy I will probably find myself detached from my organization and, although I may possess the expertise for planning and exercising the corporate mission, I will probably not be a good influence on my workers. If I too low in the organization, although others may see my strengths they will probably be demonstrated informally. Thus, I believe my position of greatest impact will be as a middle manager.
Casteen, John. (2004). The power of persuasion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Rogers, W. (2007). Persuasion: Messages, receivers, and contexts. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Simons, H. (2001). Persuasion in society. Thousand oakes, CA: Sage Publications.
Turner, S. (2003). Charisma reconsidered. Journal of Classical Sociology 3(5): 5-26.
Weber, M. (1947). The theory of social and economic organization. (Translated by A, Henderson). New York: Free Press.
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