The business environment is increasingly becoming dynamic, complex and socially aware. Most organizations are becoming agile and responsive in order to survive and succeed in a competitive business environment. It is noteworthy that organizations are exploring effective management skills to enable them deal with challenges thus achieving the set objectives. Globalization and rapid advancements in technology demand proper management procedures especially for a business that intends to succeed. As a result, emphasis should be placed on the type and style of leadership. This is necessary since it creates innovation that propagates business advantage.
Effective management is crucial in any business since it determines an organization’s culture and the productivity of employees. Effective management begins with developing one’s own leadership qualities. This paper focuses on describing the leadership process accurately. It aims to make a distinction between ineffectual and successful managers through explaining the leadership process by exploring the trait theory of leadership and behavioral approach. The trait theory of leadership emerged from studies which claim that one is born with the abilities that are essential for quality leadership. These abilities cannot be developed over time (Manning, G & Curtis, K, 2002, p 16). Other studies later disputed the trait theory of leadership; focusing on what managers do rather than their traits. Researchers opted for a behavioral approach which investigated how managers carry out and complete their tasks. Based on the behavioral approach, managers can be described in relation to their job-centered behavior or to their employee-centered behavior (Manning, G & Curtis, K, 2002, p 16).
Trait theory of leadership
This theory of leadership emerged from studies that claim that a person is born with the abilities necessary for becoming an excellent leader. Therefore, one is incapable of realizing success if they were not born with these skills. According to this theory, one cannot develop leadership skills over time (Manning, G & Curtis, K, 2002, p 16). A complete spectrum of managerial leadership traits would make it easy to recognize people who have these traits. Organizations can then hire these individuals since they display leadership qualities.
Contrary to the implications of the trait theory of leadership, contemporary management thoughts, propose that leadership ability cannot be explained through traits inherited by an individual. Moreover, it is the belief of business analysts that a person is capable of learning how to be an outstanding leader (Manning, G & Curtis, K, 2002, p 16). Several employees in various sectors undergo training aimed at becoming better leaders.
The trait hypothesis of headship proved to be dissimilar from authentic leadership skills. Researchers; therefore, focused on other approaches aimed at explaining leadership as a success or failure. Research reduced their concentration on the traits exuded by exemplary managers thus started investigating what managers do. This was a behavioral approach which focused on exploring how managers carry out and complete their tasks. Based on this study, managers can be described in relation to their job-centered behavior or to their employee-centered behavior (Manning, G & Curtis, K, 2002, p 16). The study exemplified two basic dimensions of leadership behavior: a people dimension and a work dimension. The behavioral theory aims to explain leadership by group varying behavioral patterns together which then constitute leadership styles. This has become a crucial component incorporated when training managers.
The difference between management and leadership
Leadership is a multifaceted issue, whose analysis assumes various perspectives and contexts. It is difficult to give leadership a precise definition since several authors come up with different definitions. It is noteworthy that peoples’ perspectives of leadership are entirely personal. As far as management goes, leadership is about influencing others as well as possessing managerial authority (Mullins, 2005, p 17).
In as much as leadership and management are not the same, they bear significant similarities. Leaders in business organizations should comprehend the difference between the activities carried out by managers and leaders. This way, one will know the duties they should carry out thus attaining organizational goals. There are managers who can be classified as exemplary. Nonetheless, some managers do not concern themselves with providing direction and supervision to their subordinates; they only manage institutional assets (Nurmi & Darling, 1997, p 55). Leadership is a subset of the activities used to influence others in an organization; therefore, it forms part of management that deals with concepts pertaining to behavioral tendencies. In comparison to leading, management is more comprehensive since it entails dealing with issues that relate to resources and behavioral tendencies. In general, not all managers are viewed in the same light as leaders even though the most effective of managers, over time can be considered leaders (Nurmi & Darling, 1997, p 55).
Leadership involves guiding employees’ behavior towards attaining organizational goals. It is notable that guiding means influencing the behavior of individuals in a certain manner. In an ideal situation, the desired behavior should be aligned with key factors, which include policies, culture, procedures, job specifications and most importantly, goals of the organization. Leadership aims at getting things done through other people. This means it is one of the key activities that can significantly enhance the management system. Leadership is a crucial requirement for business success; therefore, one must have a concrete comprehension of what headship incorporates in order to attain goals (Antonakis, Cianciolo, & Sternberg, 2004, p 4).
In the current business environment, mere possession of management skills is not enough to be successful. The existing business practices demand that managers acquire knowledge and experiences that enable them understand the differences between leadership and management. They must also understand how the two activities are integrated to make a business successful. Most business people have the belief that a manager should ensure the completion of tasks and duties within the stipulated time frame. On the other hand, a leader appreciates the diverse needs of employees and what they require in order for them to display exceptional performance. An executive who can amalgamate these concepts can apply logic whilst carrying out the requisite commerce activities. However, one should be considerate about the needs of his employees when applying these tactics (Antonakis et al, 2004, p 11).
Factors distinguishing between effective and ineffective managers
The distinction between effective and ineffective managers can be best explored through the behavioral theory. There are the essential qualities in business that allow managers to handle both work and people. Apt leadership lays emphasis on interpersonal behavior. Most of the time, this is dependent on the willingness and enthusiastic behavior of employees. A manager should at all times to interact with subordinates, peers and seniors whose support he or she needs to achieve objectives (Gootrick & Gootrick, 2000, p 107). Excellent management entails effective process of delegation and empowerment. A manager can effectively achieve organizational goals by empowering his subordinates. It is; therefore, essential to organize several training sessions and seminars for staff members. Delegation of duties is the best way of ensuring that staff members focus on their duties without any distractions. Employees who have a clear job description are likely to tend to their duties diligently, especially when trained on how to go about these duties.
Adequate knowledge of a business is necessary for success. In order to be efficient, a manager should comprehend the business under operation. This means taking one’s time to acquire knowledge from books and personal experiences so as to learn about the history of the business. It enables one to come up with ways of improving the business. This is necessary for any business person; however, it is an art that should be mastered by mangers that endeavor to succeed. With a good understanding of the business, the manager should ensure that his entire team is also well conversant with the business and its operations by organizing training and seminars as frequently as possible (Amos, Ristow, Ristow & Pearse, 2009, p8). An ineffective manager is oblivious to the importance of education because they fear having subordinates who are equally smart or smarter than them. Such managers set themselves up for poor performances since their team is likely to do things the wrong way.
An ineffective manager leads by dividing and conquering; therefore, in such an organization, communication breakdown becomes common. They tend to take all the credit when things are going as planned; unfortunately, they are quick to point fingers when things fall apart. They enjoy keeping people submissive to the leadership process. One of the fundamental skills in business management is being an excellent listener. This enables a manager to pay attention to details thus gathering information that one is likely to ignore. As opposed to speaking, being an excellent listener adds to the knowledge base of a person (Nurmi & Darling, 1997, p 58). A manager who accommodates the views of his subordinates inspires confidence in them thus enhancing proper working relationship in the organization.
A true manager demonstrates integrity by handling problems that arise at work. A manager also accepts errors and does not blame other people in an unfair manner. A manager with integrity is likely to inspire his subordinates to stand by him during a crisis. A manager who lacks integrity is likely to lose the trust of his or her subordinates. Another way of inspiring trust and as building integrity is by demonstrating consistent behavior. Noble qualities of character like honesty, integrity and minding the well being of others indicate genuineness only when demonstrated consistently (Amos, Ristow, Ristow & Pearse, 2009, p8). One must also be able to think ahead. This is because the business environment is constantly changing in a variety of ways. An outstanding business manager keeps an open mind to enable him, or her adapt to current information thus handling change. One should also be decisive and have the courage to support the decisions one makes. This is because upstanding decision-making skills define skilful managers and leaders thus setting them apart (Amos, Ristow, Ristow & Pearse, 2009, p8).
Strategic management of Wal-Mart
Evidently, effective management of a business is quite dependent on the skills demonstrated by a manager. There are various organizations all over the world that have tremendously grown over the years as a result of remarkable management. Wal-Mart is one such organization; which has undoubtedly demonstrated the significance of effective management of a business. Walton’s vision for his organization was well crafted and innovative. With this vision, he started his own company making it one of the leading retailers. A solid management has seen this organization through controversy with regard to a variety of issues (Wal-Mart Corporate).
Wal-Mart has improved its stature over the years as a result of careful implementation of the strategic decisions. Being able to make concrete decisions and influencing subordinates to follow is one of the key aspects of the behavioral theory. Walton was regarded as one of the greatest entrepreneur since he had the reputation of caring for his employees, his customers and the community at a broader level. Currently Wal-Mart executives are maintaining its market position by keenly following the management guidelines developed by Walton. Walton recognized the importance of his employees’ welfare. This is a constituent of the behavioral approach of leadership that emphasizes the need to be concerned about one’s employees. Walton being an exemplary manager knew the importance of empowering and training his employees. He also ensured that he would attain set objectives by organizing his employees in a manner that productivity would increase (Prasad, 2009, p 34). Every Wal-Mart store bears a sign that reads ‘Our People Make the Difference’. Employees often give suggestions on how to reduce costs through the ‘Yes We Can Sam’s Program’ (Wal-Mart Corporate). This program enabled Wal-Mart associates to save enough funds used in the construction of additional stores. The ‘Yes We Can Sam’s Program’ plays a substantial role in the growth of Wal-Mart organization (Wal-Mart Corporate).
Some of the fundamental features of Wal-Mart’s approach to implementing the strategies provided by Walton lay emphasis on building working relationship with suppliers and employees. Walton being an exemplary manager knew the importance of sharing decisions with his employees. This is another aspect of the behavioral theory that was demonstrated by Sam Walton (Prasad, 2009, p 34). This is what enabled him to capitalize on costs and also create a high-performance spirit in his organization. Similar strategic formulas are used by Wal-Mart at the moment to give consumers access to quality goods. It is noteworthy that these goods are availed to consumers regardless of the time and place. The formula has also helped Wal-Mart come up with a cost structure which enables competitive pricing, building and maintaining a reputation that ensures complete trust from consumers (Prasad, 2009, p 34).
It is noteworthy that the objective of organizational behavior or tendencies is to gain insight, thus managers should use the organization behavior management towards the success of a company. However, a manager should not be disillusioned thus thinking that they can develop a company alone. The success of the company depends on the employees’ behavior in terms of carrying out their duties as required of them (Murray, Poole & Jone, 2006, p 308). Managers have the responsibility of influencing the behavior of personnel, including subordinates towards achieving ideal performances. Without any doubt, a crucial concept of successful management is handling personnel in an effective mode (Murray, Poole & Jone, 2006, p 308).
The market is consistently changing and continually presenting challenges to businesses. It is vital to recognize the implications of ineffective management of an organization before situations become dire and complicated. Consumers can now find a wide range of products and service in the market hence stiff competition in the business world. In order for a company to grow thus compete favorably, outstanding leadership is demanded. Effective management of an organization is the best way of ensuring team work, diligent working towards achieving organizational goals.
The effective management of an organization is dependent on the management styles selected. Evidently the behavioral approach to management ensures effective management of an organization. Some of the ways that lead to apt management, which in turn, lead to improved work performance include being able to emphasize on the attainment of solid objectives. An exemplary manager should, therefore, be able to organize his subordinates as well as commerce activities in a manner that set goals are achieved. An effective manager cares about his employees’ welfare. He is considerate and respectful towards subordinates, peers and senior personnel. An individual will not only earn the same respect back but also trust. It is vital to ensure that managers help employees gain a sense of self- worth through according recognition and credit when it is due. Business advantage is propagated when a manager can take decisions on behalf, of his subordinates and influence them to follow instructions. This is another component of the behavioral approach to leadership. Finally, for a manager to be effective, he or she should at all times include subordinates in the decision-making process of the organization. It is imperative to listen to each person’s opinion in order to establish the most appropriate ways of dealing with the ever changing business environment.
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