This research paper has analyzed the different aspects and features of leadership in the context of efficient and effective results being obtained for organizations and employees. The research has been conducted into various features of leadership and the varied styles that have been used in the corporate world and the historical development of societies. The paper also discusses how leaders have developed efficient and effective styles of leadership in influencing people and employees in different periods and circumstances. The paper also focuses on the different theories of leadership and to what extent they are used in the real world is proving to be of utility to organizations and people. Ultimately the main object of the paper is to demonstrate an understanding of how various aspects of leadership impact the day-to-day working of organizations and their growth and profitability.
This dissertation presents the findings of effective leadership as prevalent in today’s business environment as also as the areas where leadership can be improved in bringing out better results for the businesses operating in a typical global environment. The study reflects upon the effective and ineffective managerial and leadership behaviors exhibited by leaders in different businesses and environments. Attempts have been made to describe how the circumstances have challenged various aspects of the competency frameworks and the executive leadership development programs in different situations. Moreover, the research will make known as also discuss the extent to which the results of different efforts to develop leadership have become widespread about the results from studies carried out about leadership and management efficiency in varied organizations. The contribution of this research will be discussed with the current debates regarding the commonality of management and leadership, along with the evidence available regarding different management systems. This dissertation deals with the least effective executive leader behaviors exhibited by directors, heads of departments, and other top managers within the global business environment. It also reports on how such findings can be utilized in informing about varied HR initiatives in different companies as related to the depth, selection processes, and progress of executive leaders. Additionally, the research provides the results of comparative and equivalent findings from several similar studies of the effectiveness of managerial leadership within private and public sector companies. They are then measured in the context of current debates regarding the applicability of management and leadership as related to evidence-based management principles.
There has been an immense concern in recent years about the way research has been conducted on leadership issues. Over the preceding fifty years, large numbers of research efforts were made in ascertaining the nature of work as done by managers. It has been found that very few attempts were made in determining the reasons for not getting good management results. Very few efforts were made on what influences and enhances the effectiveness of managerial leadership. As a result, there has hardly been any consensus about literature that constitutes the meaning of effectiveness of leadership amongst managers. There have also been insufficient attempts at determining the correlation between different organizational settings across different segments and cultures.
According to Carter McNamara (1997), “Many people today are seeking to understand – and many people are writing about – the concept and practices of leadership” (McNamara,1997). He further goes in saying that “There are a great many reasons for the popularity of the topic, including that organizations are faced with changes like never before. The concept of leadership is relevant to any aspect of ensuring effectiveness in organizations and in managing change. There has been an explosion of literature about leadership lately. Leading is a very human activity — we’re all human — so many people consider themselves leadership experts. Unfortunately, many people make strong assertions about leadership without ever really understanding a great deal about leadership. Understanding the concept of leadership requires more than reading a few articles or fantasizing about what great leaders should be” (McNamara,1997).
Most of the understanding about leadership pertains to the belief that it has its roots in conflict. Leadership implies what is proved by army generals in outwitting the enemy, by politicians that influence and induce different groups into a specific course of action, and by people who can manage crises effectively. In thinking on this pattern one is bound to relate to leaders like Napoleon, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. The stories of all these leaders amply prove that they dealt with crises and took appropriate decisions at moments when it became imperative for one person to decide a course of action. These leaders had a vision regarding what had to be done and how it would be done, in addition to the communication strategy they would use. In essence, the quality of leadership is pivotal in the endurance and victory of organizations and varied groups. In this context, it is rightly put forth in The Art of War, which is perhaps the oldest military literature, that “the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people’s fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or peril” (Heifetz, 1994, pp. 146-149).
According to John Ball, “Fundamental to the management of people is an understanding of the importance of leadership. Managers must lead, and as such must accept responsibility for the activities and successes of their departments. All leaders must exercise authority, but leadership styles will vary. It is generally accepted that a leader’s style will affect the motivation, efficiency, and effectiveness of their employees. The main leadership theories present two basic approaches – task-centered and employee-centered” (Ball, 2009)
Leadership can be described as a set of qualities that can be known only when observed. Although there are several definitions of leadership, it is often related to a single person who leads. Firstly, to lead effectively, the leader must be able to influence others. Secondly, when leaders are present, it is implied that they will have people who will follow them. Thirdly leaders are said to surface as and when problems arise or whenever there is a crisis or when there are specific problems faced by society at large. Fourthly leaders are people who can depict sets of ideas clearly and succinctly and express what they desire to accomplish. Therefore, leaders are individuals that can think and take action in creative ways in situations that are not routine. In making such attempts they get into the process of influencing the way people act, believe, and feel, and in this aspect, the leader becomes personal by influencing others’ actions through his qualities and actions. According to Bass (1997), “there are three basic ways to explain how people become leaders” (Bass, 1997, pp. 130-139). These theories are:
- “Some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles. This is the Trait Theory” (Bass, 1997, pp. 130-139).
- “A crisis or important event may cause a person to rise to the occasion, which brings out extraordinary leadership qualities in an ordinary person. This is the Great Events Theory” (Bass, 1997, pp. 130-139).
- “People can choose to become leaders. People can learn leadership skills. This is the Transformational Leadership Theory. It is the most widely accepted theory today and the premise on which this guide is based” (Bass, 1997, pp. 130-139).
Leadership is however viewed differently in terms of the roles played by managers and experts. There may be confusion in this aspect of leadership since all managers cannot be expected to demonstrate leadership qualities nor can all leaders be expected to display good managerial qualities. The classical theories of leadership provide for four distinct theories that evolved over some generations and dealt with the trait, behavior, contingency, and transformational aspects of human behavior. However, all these theories are not mutually exclusive to each other and are not entirely time-bound.
According to Maurik (2001), “Although the progression of thinking indeed tends to follow a sequential path, it is quite possible for elements of one generation to crop up much later in the writings of someone who would not normally think of himself or herself as being of that school. Under the circumstances, it is correct to assume that every generation has contributed in throwing light on the discussion on leadership issues” (Maurik, 2001). Maurik further goes on in saying that “This fourfold division of ‘modern’ (management) leadership can go under different titles (e.g. we might discuss charismatic rather than transformational leadership), and there are other possible candidates e.g. skill-based approaches and self-management or shared leadership (discussed elsewhere on these pages). However, these four formations can be seen as sharing some common qualities – and we can approach them as variations of the ‘classical’ model of leadership” (Maurik, 2001, pp. 248-253).
Much has been contributed by Warren Bennis regarding the Trait Theory of leadership. Leaders are individuals who can put forth their points very meaningfully before people, “they also know what they want, why they want it, and how to communicate what they want to others, to gain their co-operation and support. They know how to achieve their goals” (Bennis 1999, pp. 71-80). While thinking about what qualities make people extraordinary, one is bound to understand the same from the lives of leaders such as Mao Zedong, Margaret Thatcher, and Nelson Mandela.
The behavioral theory focuses on the belief that effective leadership can be based in terms of behavior that can be learned and defined. This theory does not aim to find inherent traits and abilities but instead considers what leaders can do. Assuming that success can be explained in the context of actions that can be described, such actions can be modeled by other people also in acting in similar ways that leaders do. This aspect becomes easy to teach and to adapt to the required abilities and traits. The behavioral theory of leadership has been a major leap since the trait theory because it assumes the possibility of learning leadership skills. The theory enables the opening of options in learning leadership skills in opposition to the belief that leaders are always born.
Behavioral theories of leadership are easy to understand since all that is required is to access the leadership traits of successful leaders and then encourage leadership aspirants to model them. Behaviors that fail can be identified, thus enhancing the level of understanding.
The early researchers however we’re unable to outline a clear explanation for leadership theory and gradually turned towards determining the causes of leadership behaviors. The focus shifted from leaders to leadership, which became the dominating method for dealing with leadership issues in organizations during the 1960s. Different leadership styles were identified with different behaviors and this approach became very popular while imparting management training. The four primary styles identified by them were Concern for a task, Concern for people, Directive leadership, and Participative leadership (Wright, 1996, pp.25-31).
This theory of leadership assumes that the ability of the leader to lead depends on some specific circumstances, such as the preferred style of the leader, the competency and behavioral patterns of their team members, and other related aspects. This theory is in effect a behavioral theory in contending that there is no single method of leading and that a specific style will not be effective in all circumstances. Consequently, leaders that succeed under specific conditions may not succeed in other circumstances. This is why some leaders who suddenly attain fame disappear also in the same manner in being unable to make successful decisions at all times and under different circumstances.
Contingency theory is in some ways comparable to situational theory since it assumes that there is no single way to achieve success as a leader. The difference between the two lies in situational theories tending to increasingly focus on the behaviors to be adopted by leaders under the given circumstances, while contingency theory broadly focuses on this aspect by including certain conditional factors regarding the abilities of leaders and other variables.
Researchers started measuring leadership in terms of the ways it was exercised. Some concentrated on the processes that made leaders emerge in different situations and some attempted to find ways in which leaders and followers viewed each other in different contexts. The basic belief was to assume that almost everything about leadership was ascertained in this context. Some writers introduced the ideas of style about leadership and assumed that the required styles would change with circumstances. Alternatively, the same belief implied that certain circumstances would entail specific kinds of leadership. This benefited people who could imbibe abilities in working differently in varied conditions in being able to alter their styles to adapt to given situations. This commenced as a contingent approach and its central idea implied that effective leadership relied on a combination of different factors. In this context it was argued by Fred Fiedler that effective leadership depended on two interrelated factors; the style of leadership and the extent to which the leader can influence and manage the situations (Fiedler and Garcia 1987, pp.23-25). The following are important in this context.
- The relationship that leaders have with followers
- The task structures
- Power positioning by the organization on leaders
The above model has helped a great deal in adapting attitudes in different situations. The organization can be more directed in situations where immediate responses are required and where employees are habitual in being pushed to do what they ought to be doing instead of working and taking initiatives themselves.
The theory is based on the assumptions that people will follow an individual if he motivates them, he is an individual with passion and vision, and he can make extraordinary achievements. It is a wonderful experience associating and working with transformational leaders. Such leaders are passionate and energetic about all that they are engaged in and care about their team members in wanting them to be successful. This leadership starts with the building of a dream in desiring a future that will motivate and encourage more people to become their followers. Such a vision can be built by leaders, by senior management teams, or by discussing amongst team members. Once the vision is developed the leader consistently makes efforts to sell the idea to more and more people. However, such efforts require a great amount of commitment and zeal because there will initially be very few people that will instantly get influenced by such major ideas especially when there will be many who will procrastinate in joining immediately. Therefore, the transformational leader uses all opportunities that have the potential in convincing people to join him. To get more followers, such leaders must be cautious in making themselves trustworthy and in displaying a high sense of integrity.
In addition to getting supporters and followers, transformational leaders must find ways to move forward. Such leaders know their way and want that others should simply agree with them in all respects. Although moving ahead in the desired direction may not be obvious, but if the leader has is visionary, the direction for the group will be found spontaneously. Such a process becomes a constant endeavor for the leader and he has to repeatedly encounter challenges and hurdles along his way. Till the time that the transformational leaders feel that they are making progress, they will feel happy and comfortable. Such leaders are always alert in standing up to be noticed instead of hiding behind their team members. They set an example by initiating action and demonstrate how others should act. They make relentless efforts in motivating and rallying their supporters by guiding and being empathetic with them. Transformational leaders have immense strength and commitment and always aim at influencing their supporters with high levels of devotion and farsightedness.
Transformational leaders use techniques of motivation such as cultural symbolism and rituals in improving upon their image as positive change agents for the betterment of people. They make concerted efforts in working towards their goals and in influencing and keeping their followers in a charged mental state. Most of them are people-oriented and believe in achieving success only using sustained and committed efforts. While the transformational leader works towards transforming the organization, his followers also change to some extent, more in the way they wish to be having qualities similar to their leader. The followers become transformed in keeping with the goals of the organization.
Transformational leaders portray a lot of charisma in their appearance and behavior although they are not pure charismatic leaders since they tend to be narcissistic. This implies that they are not charismatic leaders in believing that their success is primarily because they believe in themselves instead of in others. A tricky perspective with transformational leaders pertains to the fact that passion and buoyancy are often misunderstood as being true and real. A lot of achievements have indeed been made through such obsessive leadership style but many of such leaders have made people and societies get into deep chasms just because he held that he was always right. Transformational leaders can have big goals but are often unable to think of the details and end up getting into trouble and failures. These leaders sometimes seek to bring about transformation when the organization does not actually require the changes to happen and then they get frustrated. However, in the right situations, they can take control in becoming personally responsible by steering the organization away from its troubles.
According to Bass (1997), it is possible to differentiate between transformational and transactional leaders. The latter are inventive leaders that aim at appealing to their followers while the former view their followers in terms of trading different things for each other. Burns thought that leaders should be understood as being change agents for the betterment of organizations. The following differences were outlined by Bass regarding the two categories of leaders.
Transactional and transformational leadership
The transactional leader:
Recognizes what it is that we want to get from work and tries to ensure that we get it if our performance merits it.
Exchanges rewards and promises for our effort.
Is responsive to our immediate self interests if they can be met by getting the work done” (Bass, 1997).
The transformational leader:
Raises our level of awareness, our level of consciousness about the significance and value of designated outcomes, and ways of reaching them.
Gets us transcend our own self-interest for the sake of the team, organization or larger polity.
Alters our need level (after Maslow) and expands our range of wants and needs” (Bass, 1997).
Source: Bass, B.M., (1997), ‘Does the Transactional-Transformational Leadership Paradigm Transcend Organizational and National Boundaries?’, in American Psychologist, 52(2), pp. 130-139
Bass also suggested that we should look at ways in which the two categories can be interrelated which make the resultant transformational leadership more realistic because of the sophisticated expectations of leaders. Maurik (2001) has argued in the context of such expectations that these demands “center around the high levels of uncertainty experienced by leaders, their staff and, indeed, the whole organization… today” (Maurik, 2001, pp. 248-253).
Authority and Leadership
It is quite common to confuse authority with leadership. To understand this it is helpful to refer to Heifetz’s arguments. He views authority as being a means of control and of power assumed to be taken from formal roles. In many companies, much emphasis is given to managers and officers. They are viewed as functionaries that have the authority to direct and control workers. They are obeyed since their power and authority are viewed as being lawful. It is the likelihood of workers getting sacked, demoted, or disadvantaged that makes them comply with their orders and instructions. These authorities could also be followed because of their leadership position in the organization. But in this manner leaders do not truly influence the activities of workers and employees. What is required is to reveal that they do not get distracted or fazed by crises and unexpected happenings. Heifetz (1994) argues that although leaders do have formal authorities, they mainly exercise their informal authorities. Such actions are a result of their personal qualities and way of doing things. They are capable of being trustworthy and respectable for the expertise that they have and can be followed for their abilities to influence people (Heifetz, 1994, pp. 146-149).
The authority conferred on leaders pertains to an understanding that if they do not prove to be effective and to meet the given objectives, they risk being absolved of the leadership responsibility which may then be handed over to another leader. Such decisions are taken by those that have formal authority vested in them. However the flip side also needs to be considered in that, knowing or unknowingly, followers may take for granted the right of the leader to lead and the leader to relies on such assumptions and on followers to provide feedback. Without the presence of such assumptions the leaders will not have the resources and information to execute the given tasks and will be unable to perform effectively since both leaders and followers are independent.
There are instances of people who do not hold formal leadership roles but exercise power and authority. For example, in a football match, the team manager does not always wield the maximum power which may be held by a team member who can manage the team members into a specific course of direction and encourage them towards victory. A typical example is that of Gandhi in politics since he was able to inspire millions without holding any formal position of authority. In effect, holding formal authority can prove to be an asset as also a limitation. It can entail the availability of resources and systems and if handled well can result in the benefit of people. Conversely, formal positions of authority imply a lot of expectations from the leader and can prove to be ineffective during crises. It has been rightly put forth by Heifetz:
“raise hard questions and one risks getting cut down, even if the questions are important for moving forward on the problem. Being outside the formal power structure, but within an organization, can be an advantage. You can have more freedom of movement, the chance of focussing on what you see as the issue (rather than the organization’s focus), and there is a stronger chance of being in touch with what people are feeling at the frontline” (Heifetz, 1994, pp. 146-149)
It is important to look at the issue of charisma while examining the role of effective leaders. Wright (1996) has described charisma as being a gift and blessing of God and its role in the realm of leadership was brought by Max Weber. Charisma is used in leadership roles in describing how self-appointed leaders are looked upon by people for support in difficult times. Such leaders become influential in being viewed as having specific competencies and aptitude that can lead people in escaping from the pain and suffering that they pass through in their working environment. Charisma directly reflects on the skill, personalities, and presence of specific people, although this is just one side of the picture. While examining the role of leadership in different situations there is a need to examine the circumstances in which charisma comes into the picture. During times of distress, there is a natural tendency to turn towards people who appear to have solutions. To facilitate a smooth life people tend to pass on burdens on those who may be capable of handling them well. This way charismatic people come into the picture and they attempt to influence people about their ability to solve the problems in crises. According to Gardner (1989),
“When these things come together something very powerful can happen. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem is dealt with – but we can come to believe it is. Regarding such leaders with awe, perhaps being inspired in different ways by them, we can begin to feel safer and directed. This can be a great resource. Someone like Martin Luther King used the belief that people had in him to take forward civil rights in the United States. He was able to contain a lot of the stress his supporters felt and give hope of renewal. He articulated a vision of what was possible and worked with people to develop strategies. But there are also considerable dangers” (Gardener, 1989, pp.12-13).
Charisma entails a lot of dependencies and often implies getting away from responsibilities. Unfortunately, it becomes easy for people to allow others to handle their problems and by giving authority to such charismatic leaders; a distance develops between them and the common people. Such leaders appear to be in control of situations and of people. Instead of facing problems themselves and finding solutions to them, people often become followers and eventually arrive at a situation whereby the dependency is doubted since all solutions do not make things better and people are not satisfied. There is often a point of time when such leaders are exposed by way of some scandal which makes them immediately unpopular and people begin to see them in a bad light. However, it is also known that as and when the leader has destroyed people turn again towards another charismatic leader instead of looking at personal capacities to solve problems.
There are several theories of leadership. Theorists have also attempted to associate personality traits with leadership styles. The theory as propagated by Oscar Ichazo bifurcates leadership styles into nine categories. All these categories are related to a diverse set of centralized complexes and passions in the personalities of people. There is no basis to assume that anyone’s leadership style is better than another since there are ineffective leaders in each style. The leadership styles are analyzed as under:
Leaders are labeled as idealists if they have an obsession with precision. Idealists emphasize achieving high levels of perfection and are viewed as wise and judicious leaders with powerful convictions and ethical ideologies. A powerful and well-accepted idealist can enable a powerful vision for his people and can be an excellent role model. However such leaders may lack patience and often chastise people around them for being unable to become perfect in their sphere of activities. They are also prone to slip into phases of self uprightness and rigidity. The main strengths of such leaders pertain to a strong sensation of anger in their personalities. Since such leaders have the propensity to become angry, they can explode at any time on people who do not perform as per their expectations. An example of such a leader is Mahatma Gandhi.
Compassionate and caring leaders fall under this category. Mentors show a great deal of empathy towards others and have the ability to inspire people to their full potential. They support and encourage the development of best practices of customer service in the working environment. They win over the admiration and satisfaction of people by helping in developing and building upon their capabilities. Mentors are motivated by an intense desire to be loved, understood, and wanted, and when such desires are not fulfilled and betrayal is perceived by them, they often become vindictive. Such leaders are not prone to refusing anything and are most effective in setting clear limitations with people that they deal with. Mother Teresa is an ideal example of such a leadership style.
The main driving force for such leaders is the pride that they have in whatever they do. Achievers are often live-wire leaders who are ready to take any amount of risks to make sure that they achieve success in their endeavors. Such leaders are highly efficient and aim to achieve given goals relentlessly. They are self-promoters and are very charming and sociable. Sometimes achievers are seen as being exploitative opportunists in prevailing upon their objectives than of the group as a whole. Leaders who are achievers are highly ambitious and a perfect example of such a leader is Bill Clinton.
It helps all organizations to use the services of an innovator in some functions of leadership. Innovators are unique in having abilities in viewing things from a different perspective and their contributions mostly result in giving a new outlook to the projects and problems. They invariably learn new techniques and easily acquire new skills whenever they get an opportunity to learn and practice them. Innovators do not get satisfied easily and are always on the lookout for new opportunities and better ways of doing things, but they often overdo things and are not able to live in the present moments. They may have difficulty viewing things in the same way as others in their team may be viewing. Given their prolonged sense of dissatisfaction innovators may become withdrawn and secluded. An example of such a leader is Albert Einstein.
Synthesizers are prone to exerting pressure on people around them and can see the potential in work that they take up. They can quickly discover methods and processes to incorporate into the different constituents of the projects they are involved in. Such leaders show signs of having immense knowledge about impending problems and can assimilate intelligence to find the required solutions. They are highly resourceful with vision and excellent strategies. Synthesizers are entirely detached from emotions which serve them well in integrating the complicated elements. However such leaders are not empathetic with people around them and this trait often causes them to eventually lose ground in being unable to consistently support those that they lead. An example of a synthesizer is Richard Nixon.
Such leaders get motivated by the fear that prevails on account of failure to achieve results. Hence the partner will always believe in teamwork and direct his team in bringing out the best results amongst themselves. Such leaders encourage their teams by throwing challenges at them so that they become accountable for their respective roles and the corresponding results. Partners are viewed as being dependable, truthful, and faithful as also capable to sacrifice for their team members. However, they may instill a spirit of self-doubt in their team members due to the high sense of fear in them. Some leaders in this category may become habitual in seeking hidden agendas amongst their subordinates. A typical example of a partner is Colin Powell who has amply demonstrated his expertise in successfully partnering with the cause of his nation by collaborating with other nations.
Cheerleaders are charming leaders and often play significantly important roles within their organizations. Such leaders often have several talents and can master the performance of several functions in the organization. They focus on enthusiasm and are optimistic in emphasizing the positive aspects of situations rather than blabber about the negativities. Cheerleaders are reluctant in viewing problems from a negative angle which makes them incapable of making contingency plans while leading their teams and projects. Sometimes they may be extra specific about details and fail to analyze tasks in proper perspective. John F Kennedy is an example of this category of leadership.
Challengers exhibit a great deal of self-confidence and are soft-hearted. They command high levels of loyalty from those around them and inspire their people to have confidence in the policies that they follow. Such leaders get motivated with the desire to wield more power, are prone to take on a great deal of responsibility, are much independent, and display a high sense of independence. They are very courageous and can face adversities with strength and confidence. Challengers are willing to take big risks, even at the cost of their life to achieve their objectives and goals. An example of a challenger is Fidel Castro.
The diplomat style of leadership pertains to traits that build upon cooperation in projects and within organizations. They are the referees of the organization and can resolve issues amongst those that they work with. They foster unity within their groups and can get along well with everybody around them. They have a knack to work harmoniously in diverse circumstances within the workplace and are extremely trustworthy. They have a weakness in being unable to understand all aspects of specific issues and hence may become detached from their desires. They get strength from the desire to search for harmony in their surroundings, but may in this process neglect the core issues and problems. Abraham Lincoln is an ideal example of a leader who constantly worked to build cooperation amongst the people of his country.
Theorists have also defined leadership styles in terms of being authoritarian, participative, and delegative. Authoritarian leaders clearly define the needs of the organization and how they are to be executed. They make autonomous and self-regulating decisions and do not wish others to partake in the decision-making process. Hence this style tends to be less creative and normally abused leaders are known to characterize this style. Authoritarian leaders are effective where decisions are made for small groups.
Participative leadership is most effective and is also known for its effectiveness in the democratic process that is used in meeting the goals of the organization. Such leaders guide and motivate their team members, undertake group discussions in arriving at decisions and make employees party to the decision-making process. Since the group members have a sense of participation the result proves to be better in terms of productivity and job satisfaction. Such leaders do not guide their team, nor do they encourage participative teamwork and resolution exercises. The style is effective when employees are well qualified and competent. But there is a lack of motivation in this style and eventually, the group loses total commitment.
In the modern business environment, it becomes imperative for business leaders to imbibe the best of techniques in influencing employees to deliver maximum productivity. According to Muna Wanjiru, “Effective leadership styles take time and energy but they provide more benefits. The leadership style model helps to achieve effective leadership styles. It includes how to involve employees in decision-making and discussions with their supervisors from time to time. The leadership style will have a great impact on others. Therefore courses and programs are offered for leaders to set a good role model for their team members” (Wanjiru, 2009).
It has been claimed by Axelsson (1998) that “despite volumes of management research, few studies have produced empirical results that can be generalized beyond particular organizational settings” (Axelsson, 1998, pp. 307-17). Similarly, Kim and Yukl (1995) have said that “not only is the number of studies on specific behaviors still small, but different researchers have examined different sub-sets of behaviors which have made it difficult to compare and contrast the findings from one study with another” (Kim and Yukl, 1995, pp. 361-77). In a similar vein House and Aditya (1997, pp. 409-65) have drawn attention in saying that there was no trend of leadership behavior found to be constantly correlated with any principles relating to the effectiveness of managers and supervisors.
Avolio, Bass, and Jung (1999, pp. 441-463) have explained that there have been several weaknesses in the design of research efforts. It is widely held that there has been a significant lack of a centralized monitoring system in the processes used in the majority of the management studies. These have resulted in shortcomings in generalizing the findings in this area. They argue that to find solutions to these shortcomings the same models of research and design procedures should be used. According to Bass (1997), there can be a commonality of leadership styles in diverse societies, while Bennis (1999) has suggested that there are several competencies in leadership styles. Such beliefs are supported by House and Aditya (1997) who have opined that several nonspecific leadership roles classify the common and efficient leadership behaviors. They have explicitly held that: “most of the management and leadership research continues to be divorced from the world of practice. This is because it has been overly theoretical and abstract and does not recognise sufficiently the problems and challenges facing the acting manager. The much-talked-about relevance and utility gap in management research are seen by many as problematic and are the subject of much debate” (House and Aditya, 1997, pp. 409-65).
Under the circumstances, it becomes important to ascertain how managerial and leadership behaviors of leaders in the corporate world are displayed in different business environments. It is also required to ascertain which of these behavioral patterns are recognized and pronounced by people in an organization to be the ideal examples of effective leadership or ineffective leadership. To come to a concrete conclusion the study was conducted in three stages. The first stage required the collection of real instances of a critical nature that had a bearing on the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of leadership behaviour by using different techniques. This was possible by observing employees at different levels in organizations. The second stage required the compilation of a large number of such incidents into a more compact collection based on behavioral patterns. The third stage was an analysis that compared the stage two results with similar research that was carried out at the beginning. Further results regarding the methodology and research used in ascertaining the inner and outer validities are given as under:
|Positive (Effective) Behaviours||Negative (Least Effective ) Behaviours|
| || |
Source: Kim H and Yukl G, (1995), ‘Relationships of Managerial Effectiveness and Advancement To Self-Reported and Subordinate-Reported Leadership Behaviors from the Multiple-Linkage Model’, in Leadership Quarterly, pp. 361-77
The early researches on leadership behaviors involved a great amount of concern by the leader for his people and relationship with them. Emphasis was made on personal favors, giving time for listening, defending, and protecting one’s team, and consulting with them on the relevant matters. The leader was expected to initiate measures in accomplishing tasks and discouraging poor performances as also to coordinate, teach and assign duties. Managers that are caring and understanding will face a lesser number of grievances and lesser turnover amongst employees. Managers that have higher initiating structures will experience a larger number of grievances and a higher level of turnover amongst employees. According to research conducted by Bass (1997), there were very few instances where consideration and turnover were in harmony. There was no harmony amongst the initiating structures and turnovers. Research has found that leader behavioral patterns, group procedures, and the measures relating to group performances can be ascertained by using interviews and questionnaires. Structures can be initiated by using task-oriented behavior such as coordinating, scheduling, and planning. Relations-oriented behavior can be brought about by using procedures of confidence and showing trust, much the same as in the case of consideration.
Participative leadership pertains to ascertaining patterns of leadership through the use of survey research. Managers and employees are given questionnaires in diverse industrial and business establishments to measure the attitudes and traits in terms of behavior and antecedents as related to behavioral results such as satisfaction levels and turnover amongst employees as emanating from the research. There may be certain limitations to this method such as ambiguity and bias in responses. Experimental research has also been used in manipulating the behaviors of leaders by using training procedures. The limitations of this process pertain to the inadequate feasibility of the research methodology. While using interviews, open-ended questions, which are generally descriptive, are posed before the respondents. This process too has its limitations by way of a large variety of leaders observed, respondents are predetermined who know what kind of behaviors are sought, thus becoming prejudiced by personal biases.
Researchers have found that managers who are highly task-oriented and relationship-oriented relate positively to execution. In essence, it was conveyed by them that effective leaders do not only utilize a combination of tasks and relationships but also opt for particular concerns for tasks, people, and situations. Effective leadership behavior implies that leaders usually encourage their teams to get empowered and well equipped in realizing the shared visions by using ethical practices and solutions with honesty. According to Gonzales (2006), leadership behaviors aim at equipping the employees with appropriate training according to the needs of providing them with empowerment and opportunities to perform tasks relating to developed skills. They initiate structures by designing the task plans and analysis of projects. They encourage, provide, praise, and give awards as related to the individual performances, give proactive assistance and develop a system whereby areas requiring improvements can be identified.
Effective leaders bring inefficiencies by organizing work activities, make plans for short-term operations, and allocate work in keeping with the potential and capabilities of employees. They are competent to clarify the requirements from specific tasks and set appropriate goals and models for task performances. They also clarify the prevailing rules, regulations, and the customary operating processes, and set examples in directing and coordinating the work-related actions. Effective leaders can successfully keep track of the operations and performances and find solutions to problems that may otherwise stall the smooth functioning of the procedures.
Leaders have to provide support and encouragement to workers that have difficult portfolios and encourage their groups in having the capability to execute difficult tasks. Effective leaders instinctively socialize with different people to develop relationships and understand the contribution and accomplishments of individual workers. They have the competence to coach and mentor whenever the situation demands and interact with people on matters that affect them. They allow the flexibility to enable people to perform tasks in their ways and regularly keep in touch with them about activities that influence them. They facilitate the solution of conflicts in the best possible manner and make use of storytelling, rituals, formal procedures, and symbols to develop identities for teams.
How to Monitor Employees
An inherent trait of powerful leaders pertains to their proactive attitude in monitoring the external circumstances to perceive threats and opportunities. They can interpret different happenings in explaining the immediate need to change, can analyze the behavior of outsiders in getting ideas to bring improvement, and envisage stimulating and novel ideas for their organization. They have the potential to encourage their employees to confront problems and opportunities effectively and build groundbreaking strategies associated with core competencies. They can experiment with new ideas to achieve business goals and make representational changes that are in keeping with the new visions.
In keeping with the requirements of specific task behaviors, effective leaders can identify the necessary actions and their optimum sequences. They estimate the time required for every action and fix the starting time and deadline for all actions. They calculate the estimated cost of such actions, fix accountability for them, and build processes to monitor the progress. They clarify all roles and objectives by defining the applicable job responsibility for each section of employees. They determine the scope of authorities and clarify the imperative job tasks, strategies, and prerequisites. In assigning appropriate work functions they effectively explain the assignments, priorities, time frames, purpose and check whether the process has been grasped by workers. Effective leaders set feasible performance goals that are relevant, clear, precise, and stimulating.
Effective leaders monitor all operations and performances by identifying and measuring the main performance indicators. They keep track of procedures and their outcomes as against the planned and budgeted strategies. It is required of leaders to build independent means of getting information regarding performances. Whenever possible they take upon themselves the task of observing operations and keep enquiring about the status of work. They support the reporting of problems and occurrence of mistakes and conduct regular review meetings for progress made in different periods.
Effective leaders have to demonstrate specific behaviors in maintaining positive relationships. They must have a supporting attitude by displaying a high sense of acceptance and respect for people. Effective leaders are polite and caring and treat all subordinates as individuals. They are not rude and supercilious and maintain a personal touch with each employee while being tolerant and helpful in explaining and giving instructions to subordinates. They are sympathetic and supportive whenever an employee is in a poor emotional state and express a high level of confidence in people when they are faced with complex tasks. They assist in work performance whenever the need arises and are ready to assist in resolving personal problems. It is required of effective leaders to develop their teams by way of coaching so that people can analyze their performances. They must give constructive feedback about the effective and ineffective behaviors by demonstrating the best ways to accomplish difficult tasks and procedures. They have to become mentors in helping people to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, to attain competencies and knowledge, to offer opportunities, and act as role models. Career counseling is an important issue for leaders and they recognize the need to praise and to show admiration to employees for their good work and important achievements. Effective leaders can evolve a strategy whereby appropriate recognition is given to deserving workers by way of appreciation, awards, and incentives (Gonzales, 2009).
Most employers need to be sure about being engaged in constructive work and do not wish to be watched upon, thus creating a conflicting situation regarding monitoring at the workplace. According to Privacy Rights:
“New technologies make it possible for employers to monitor many aspects of their employees’ jobs, especially on telephones, computer terminals, through electronic and voice mail, and when employees are using the Internet. Such monitoring is virtually unregulated. Therefore, unless company policy specifically states otherwise (and even this is not assured), your employer may listen, watch and read most of your workplace communications” (Privacy Rights, 2009).
It is now common practice for employers to monitor their employees primarily because they were concerned about litigations and the growing role played by electronics substantiation in legal matters and investigation by government departments. According to a survey conducted by the American Management Association in 2005, almost 75% of employers monitor workers by keeping checks on the frequency of their visits to websites that are not related to their work. This is to discourage the practice of undesirable surfing. 65% of employers are known to be using software to restrict connectivity to sites that are not of relevance to employees. Employers also keep a tab on the keystrokes and time used on the keyboards in addition to retaining and reviewing their emails. Employers do not indulge in such practices guardedly which is evident from the fact that about 80% were found to be disclosing the procedures to their workers. Many Employers have in place policies for use of the internet and email (AMA, 2005).
How to Create Effective Employees
All employers seek employees that are effective in having strong work ethics to meet corporate objectives. Employees need to be motivated so that they have a positive attitude at their place of work. Passionate and fervent employees work hard and imbibe skills quickly and do not get disheartened by hurdles that are faced in executing assignments. They create a positive working environment in the workplace, enhance the morale of fellow workers and encourage them to work hard as well. Employers aim at having employees who are hard-working in addition to following through with the entire tasks that they are entrusted with. Most employees do not exhibit initiatives regarding their scheduled portfolio of work and expertise. They need to be motivated to display a readiness to involve themselves in other related functions by helping and encouraging others. Effective employees can create solutions for the complex issues that arise during the working process.
Employees have to be led and motivated in being punctual and in meeting specific targets on time. An employee proves to be a good investment if he is meeting all production targets in time, in addition to being talented and experienced. It becomes the duty of every employer to encourage employees by constantly enhancing their skills through training programs and team working. All jobs require a large amount of interaction amongst workers which makes it imperative to encourage them to imbibe the spirit of teamwork. They should be able to express themselves clearly, precisely, and truthfully, in writing as well as orally. They must be encouraged to be good listeners and learners and to follow the directions of their leaders. Employees must be dependable and ready to take on responsibility even in adverse situations.
How to Foster Effective Teamwork
In the current business environment business leaders have to use a collaborative approach by involving and encouraging teams and synergy in solving problems, generating ideas, and meeting business objectives. Every business goal requires the involvement of several people and hence it becomes pertinent to consider using teams. Fostering effective teamwork amongst employees is very beneficial in terms of combining employee skills, knowledge, ideas, and viewpoints. A systematic working of teams enhances employee efficiency and the attainment of job contentment. They become a major source for employee motivation, significance, and dignity in having been appointed as team members. According to David Javitch,
“The good news is, with effective direction and facilitation from the right team leader, team-building can be a very productive and cost-effective process. To help ensure success, the team needs to consider six crucial success factors: clear identification and ownership of the team goal; clear definition and acceptance of each person’s role and responsibilities; clear delineation of team processes, such as decision-making, conflict resolution, communication, and participation; clear opportunities to build trust between participants; and finally, clear acceptance of each other’s strengths and limitations in a manner that encourages positive working relationships” (Javitch, 2003).
Effective teamwork needs to be fostered to bring the benefits of synergy to the organization. There are specific procedures that foster teamwork and the most successful are those that make people want to be a part of a specific team. If an employee is successful along with the team it implies that the team has been successful. Effective leaders are known to distribute responsibility within teams which removes the psychological hurdles amongst people. A lot of time is wasted in the corporate world because all teams do not succeed and employees end up wasting their time and talent in matters that do not have much significance for the organization. Thus the team also ends up wasting time, capital, and resources on such employees.
Managers need to have faith in teams and to encourage teamwork dedicatedly by providing support whenever required. Teamwork can be fostered by encouraging teams and giving employees a high sense of belongingness and independence. The basic needs of employees must be understood and aligned with the purposes of the business. The teams should be given what they need. It is not necessary to be rigid with them regarding having a strong will in achieving objectives, for teams act spontaneously in recognizing the most productive and effective ways of functioning. The leader ought to structure the business activities around teams by identifying the core reasons for existence, the core inherent values, and the objectives for the future.
Effective leaders can measure and reach the center of their businesses and foster the values and purposes of the team with the overriding objectives of the organization. Effective teamwork can be fostered with the identification of the directions in which the team is aligned and the problems that they face. The trouble spots and areas where team members get stuck have to be identified. The objections raised by team members, workers, and customers have to be noted and acted upon. These are the sticky spots that prove to be misalignments in fostering the values and purposes of teams. Fostering teams is certainly not an easy task and requires an immense amount of vital, clear-headed, and disciplined deliberative process and personal modesty in taking stock of where things may be going wrong. On the brighter side, once this is done, it becomes much easier to develop resolutions and effective procedures in fixing the loopholes since it is then known what is required to be fixed.
Senior leadership in every company has to be specific about their expectations from employees and about their strategies for them. In this context, the management must provide time to work with employees and ensure that they understand their needs and expectations from the organization. Fostering teamwork starts from the top and does not stop there. Employees always start with good intentions as far as work is concerned but get diverted easily. A certain amount of autonomy must be given to teams. In situations where the company shows signs of becoming disjointed, the leadership must search for a core conception that is acceptable by all and then makes attempts to work towards it by involving teams. There has to be a positive response from such measures since there is something very important for everybody, and if people do not act, the company will suffer losses and eventually go out of business.
According to Timothy Duffy, “productivity, job satisfaction, morale, and communication contribute to strong teamwork, and without teamwork, companies cannot be successful” (Kristy, 2006). Duffy further asserts that:
“you can define success however you like, whether it’s job satisfaction, more money, more time off, whatever it is. At the end of the day, people want to be successful. Teams, sharing the opportunities and the risks, are the best way to do it. For someone who wants to do it all, it comes down to coaching-let they understand that as good as they might be, they’re better with a team. As smart as you are, you can’t know everything. As good as you are, you’re going to make mistakes. We all make mistakes, and that’s fine. If you have team members there, you’ve got people that can support you. They might see the mistake earlier — they can help you out. It’s in their best interest to share with the team, to delegate, to share tasks” (Kristy, 2006).
Communication between Employees and Leaders
It is important to help employees in understanding that communication is crucial for personal and organizational success. It is pertinent to identify personally as well as the team’s strengths and weaknesses in providing the foundation for enhancing skills and competencies, which is possible by improving the communication processes within the organization. Effective communication between business leaders and employees becomes crucial so that everybody understands and remains focused on contributing towards the business strategies. It is only through effective communication that management can understand the turmoil and change processes that employees go through. It is only through effective communication that leaders can win over the hearts of employees so that they contribute wholeheartedly to improving the bottom line of the organization. Most of the answers to the problems faced by workers lie with the management and leadership of any organization, which in turn depends on their ability to communicate meaningfully and efficiently with all employees.
Research has amply demonstrated that action taken by management and senior managers are the main determinants of employee efficiency and contentment. It is thus vital for leaders to become well connected with workers and to communicate effectively with them to maintain high levels of commitment. According to Melcrum (2006):
“Like a good orchestra, an effective leadership team is in concert in its messages to employees. Consistent, simple, and repeated messaging about the business and its top priorities helps build trust between employees and leadership because it visibly demonstrates focus and prioritization. It also aligns everyone in the organization behind common goals, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will be achieved, even under less-than-ideal circumstances” (Melcrum, 2006).
Research has proved that the biggest indicator of employee efforts is the relationship between the jobs and the organization’s strategy. Leaders should be able to judge how every worker in their team makes a difference to the success of the organization and workers should be made aware of this connection. This is all possible through the communication of facts which becomes a beneficial approach in transmitting information and winning over individual employees and groups. However, to influence and relate with employees, leaders can engage in storytelling as a communication tool. This also reveals the human approach of the leader which makes the strategy of storytelling an important tool for the leaders of today.
Effective leaders can grasp that acknowledging the efforts made by employees and celebrating them proves to be a winning situation even during hard times and becomes a powerful motivating factor. Genuine recognition proves to be very effective and is not required to be backed by expensive programs. Just saying thank you by a leader to his subordinate or group member proves to be a powerful means to motivate and win employees. Melcrum (2006), has written in this regard:
“In today’s challenging economic climate, two-way communication has become even more important, as employees want the opportunity to truly dialogue with their leaders about what’s happening externally and how it is impacting the business. There are many formal and informal ways leaders can ensure they are hearing and addressing their employees’ questions, thoughts, and concerns. They can host small group meetings, lunches, or roundtables, hold teleconferences with small groups, conduct daily team huddles, or simply walk around and talk to people. The important thing is that they listen” (Melcrum, 2006).
While dealing with employees, leaders should keep in mind that communicating effectively with them proves to be a powerful tool in meeting corporate goals. Their messaging system should be simple and repeatable and they should create a system whereby every employee can understand how he or she makes a difference to the organization. They can themselves make a big difference by avoiding too many questions and answers and instead focus on creating a dialogue that models the desired culture in the organization.
To manage people effectively leaders and managers need to widen their roles from mere decision takers to catalyst agents, coaches, and facilitators. They need to ask a larger number of questions and do a lesser amount of telling. According to Wright (1996): “The biggest mistake managers make, regardless of experience level, is to think they need to have all the answers. Managing people effectively means motivating and engaging them so they feel valued and important. The best way to engage employees is to ask them for their input to problem-solving. You can pat them on the back for a job well done, give them clear direction but if you never ask them for their advice or suggestions they will never feel fully engaged” (Wright,1996, pp.25-31).
According to Tammemagi (2009): “people management is the primary role of every manager, team leader, or supervisor. People Management is quite complex as it requires people-centered competencies, like Leadership skills, understanding others, effective communication skills, outcome thinking, and motivational behaviors. It also requires effective management structures and processes to manage performance, motivate and develop each team member” (Tammemagi, 2009).
The best way to have effective people management is for leaders and managers to understand that they must act as facilitators, catalyst agents, and coaches in addition to being effective decision takers. Less effective management makes the blunder of viewing its role very narrowly in the context of people management. They emphasize more on their role as decision takers which makes them believe that they have to resolve all work-related issues personally. Management that is not effective will base its entire beliefs and identities on its capability in providing the best solutions and remedies than any other person.
To ensure that the organization is engaged in the best people management practices, leaders and managers should know how their team members are different. The team members should be asked to identify those leaders and managers that motivate and positively influence to know how many employees are inclined towards taking positive action and how many would like to have a role in the functioning of the company. From their response, it can be ascertained how many favor a manager that is firm and fair so that he can be treated and dealt with accordingly. There will be employees who will want to get deeply involved in the company’s affairs. They should be asked more questions about the possible solutions to the given problems to determine their capability in resolving the problems. More questions can be asked to ascertain their thought patterns.
People have to be managed by dealing with them tactfully and by making their roles clear to them. They have to be influenced into understanding the advantages of the facilitating role of the management and leadership. They have to be apprised about the benefits accruing to them from the efforts of the management. Workers should be engaged and fostered towards making them have a stake in the company, which would develop them further. Managing people effectively entails holding regular meetings with them whereby they are encouraged to give feedback about weak areas where they feel things are not doing well. They should be encouraged to give suggestions and to appreciate what they feel to be praiseworthy in the company. While discussing the weaknesses as pointed out by them, leaders and management must instigate them to discuss them along with their solutions.
Workers should be praised whenever they do a good job. Such activities encourage the sense of belongingness in workers and go a long way in making them productive employees. The management must think tactically about the decisions that it should take and those that can be passed on to others. But such delegation has to be in terms of issues that have a strong bearing on the company’s performance and entail development challenges instead of issues that the management does not want to handle. To manage people efficiently it is required to widen the role of the management and leadership to inculcate a bigger role as catalyst agents, of coaching, and of acting as facilitators for employees.
The function of Human Resources Management in any company implies a large number of activities, major amongst them being the decisions that are taken regarding staff requirement and about independent agencies that have to be used for this purpose. Decisions have to be also taken about staff being hired through the in-house process. Other roles of HR include recruitment and training, enhancing competency levels of employees, managing performance appraisals, and ensuring that the management and employee-related practices are in keeping with the prevailing rules and regulations. HR is also expected to efficiently manage the company’s policies relating to compensation and employee benefits, keep employee records and personnel policies. Most of the smaller companies engage in HR activities on their own since they cannot afford an entire department for the same and would not be able to afford the resulting financial burden. However, all companies have to ensure that their workers are aware of the existence of the HR department and the current policies regarding the same.
Mostly, both Human Resources Management (HRM), and Human Resources Development (HRD) are used for common purposes and functions within the organization in ensuring the smooth implementation of company policies. HRM is a function that is mostly performed by the top management while HRD is considered a profession. However, both have undergone tremendous changes in the past three decades. Several years ago when professionalism was not fully adopted in dealing with employees, it was the Personnel Department in organizations that catered to the needs of managing people in terms of hiring and compensation policies. Other functions such as training, motivation, and compensation were not considered to be of much relevance at that time. Organizations now are much dependent on the HR Department which plays a major role in training and recruitment and assists a great deal in managing people, ultimately for the organization to benefit in terms of higher employee morale and productivity. This way the organization works in full potential and performs in a highly satisfying manner.
The management of human resources has been aptly defined by Susan Heathfield as: “Managing human resources refers to the functions that a manager performs relative to the organization’s employees. Managing human resources includes, but is not limited to:
- planning and allocating resources,
- providing direction, vision, and goals,
- developing an environment in which employees choose motivation and contribution,
- supplying or asking for the metrics that tell people how successfully they are performing,
- offering opportunities for both formal and informal development,
- coaching successful contribution and performance development,
- setting an example in work ethics, treatment of people, and empowerment worthy of being emulated by others,
- leading organization efforts to listen to and serve customers,
- managing the performance management system,
- challenging the employees to maintain momentum, and
- removing obstacles that impede the employee’s progress” (Heathfield, 2000)
How to Improve Employees
For businesses to succeed management and leadership must keep a close watch on the outcome of all efforts and the bottom line. A major factor that significantly and directly influences the company’s profitability is the productivity of workers. Hence it becomes sensible to make all possible efforts in enhancing productivity by influencing worker productivity. Employee performance can be improved in several ways, primarily by motivating the employees to consistently showing high levels of productivity and performance.
An extremely effective way to enhance employee productivity pertains to creating a direct relationship between productivity and salary payable, by working out a piecework compensation plan for employees. With such a plan there is no procedure for making hourly payments; instead, workers are paid based on how much they have produced in the assembly line or how much they have sold, or how many hours of work they have recorded. Although such a practice does not succeed in all manufacturing functions, it can be broadly implemented to achieve higher levels of production. Employees can be given incentives in terms of granting them internal promotions which will act as strong motivating factors in increasing productivity. Workers do not like the idea of being stuck up in jobs where they may face dead ends or where their performance goes unnoticed. If employees can realize that their hard work will certainly be rewarded by way of internal promotions, they will cover the extra mile in getting better results for the organization.
Employees must be well equipped so that their productivity does not become limited. Workers require the best implements to have the required self-confidence and if the factory is equipped with obsolete machinery as compared to the latest equipment in other similar establishments, there will be motivation for workers to shift jobs to those organizations. If the machinery is outdated or if the office computers are very old, it is required of the organization to take immediate steps so that employees do not feel they are not getting fair opportunities to maximize their productivity. Employees will improve and care for the organization if they are given a personal stake in the outcomes resulting from their efforts. This can be achieved by implementing a plan of profit-sharing whereby employees are given a predetermined percentage of the profits accrued by the company. Employees will then benefit from extra compensation as a consequence of the progress made due to their extra efforts.
It is beneficial for companies to initiate the giving of achievement awards to employees in addition to the financial incentives since a large number of workers are inspired by the need to be recognized from the social perspective. By rewarding outstanding employees with achievement awards, the organization stands to benefit in terms of higher productivity. Most achievement awards are in the form of certificates, mementos, commemorative inscriptions, and prizes, and are given to those workers who achieve the minimum production targets and standards as set by the management. The organization needs to provide appropriate breaks to its employees since it acts as a counterproductive measure in improving overall productivity. The chances of getting good breaks make people look forward to something pleasant and also allows them to recharge before they get back to their jobs. After enjoying the break most employees return fully revitalized and revitalized and ready to take on fresh challenges for the eventual benefit of the organization.
Regarding effective management, Margaret Francis (2007) has rightly said that: “Developing effective management skills to deal with specific challenges and problems of each organization is the urgent need of many businesses and organizations in the global competitive environment and the rapidly changing technology and business environment. The new tendency of training and development of successful organizations over the world today is developing effective skills in dealing with specific challenges of their organization to reach their mission and objectives in the new organization that characterized by the networked, flat, flexible, diverse, global organization” (Francis, 2007).
It is essential to display effective management skills in the business environment of today to help employees and organizations to improve upon their efficacy and effectiveness. The present trend of globalization and technological development is a clear indication that the world is in a phase of intense competition. Under such complex circumstances, it becomes vital to have effective management. The prevailing pattern of management styles in any organization and the quality of its managers give a reflection of not only the culture but also the productivity of employees and success of that organization. Management should be able to exhibit leadership qualities in directing supervising, encouraging, inspiring, and coordinating employees. This way management can facilitate the taking of appropriate actions in guiding the change processes. Leaders can initiate actions in developing their distinct management processes and of others in the organization. Effective management entails the utilization of planning, communication, and organizational development skills which are extremely important along with behavioral traits such as reliability, sincerity, audacity, devotion, authenticity, zeal, fortitude, empathy, and sensitivity.
According to Francis (2007), and effective management should have the undermentioned skills:
- “Creative Problem-Solving Skills: (1) Describing and analyzing a problem, (2) Identifying causes of a problem, (3) Developing creative options and choosing the best course of action, and (4) Implementing and evaluating effectiveness and efficiency of the decision” (Francis, 2007).
- “Communication Skills: (1) Listening skills, (2) Presentation skills, (3) Feedback Skills, (4) Report writing skills” (Francis, 2007).
- “Conflict Management Skills: (1) Identifying sources of conflict – functional and dysfunctional conflicts, (2) Understanding the personal style of conflict resolution, (3) Choosing the best strategy for dealing with a conflict, and (4) Developing skills in promoting constructive conflicts in organization and teams” (Francis, 2007).
- “Negotiation Skills: (1) Distinguishing distributive and integrative negotiations, position and principle negotiation, (2) Identifying common mistakes in negotiation and ways to avoid them, (3) Developing rational thinking in negotiation, and (4) Developing effective skills in negotiation that benefits all parties involved” (Francis, 2007).
- “Self-Awareness and Improvement: (1) Understanding the concept of self-management, (2) Evaluate the effectiveness of self-management, (3) Developing creative and holistic thinking, (4) Understanding the importance of emotions in works as well in self-development, (5) Understand of self-motivation, and (6) Effectively managing self-learning and change” (Francis, 2007).
Additionally, effective management must have the ability to plan actions for the short and long term. While employees are functioning towards goals that are already outlined, management has to look beyond the present goals in wisely selecting the future course of action. In being able to visualize the ultimate consequences of varied plans, the management should decide in favor of a plan that is optimum in terms of being implemented effectively by the teams. Management has to ensure that work is executed smoothly and problems are resolved in time. The required resources must be appropriately arranged and allocated by the management. Effective management must be able to access information that is essential for the teams and must exercise its authority over them so that entire teams benefit in the productivity process. Every company faces problems that can cause employees to leave and in this context, the management must be able to protect the interests of workers. Management must ensure that all proposals put forth by team members are given a proper hearing and implemented if found suitable. Any problem faced by team members must be resolved at the earliest.
Effective management is expected to be visionary in terms of knowing which directions to go, and in terms of having the ability to articulate such actions. Efficient management should be in positive touch with employees and members of teams within the organization. Senior managers are links between teams and the larger organization and must be able to negotiate effectively by using techniques that lead to the success of the teams and projects. Management has the means to effectively use communication techniques to facilitate achievements by individual employees and teams, as also to enable strategies for the achievement of missions and the career development of the team members. Senior managers cannot afford to have a negative attitude. Managers who can infuse enthusiasm and excitement amongst employees are devoted to their duties and display such devotion by optimism and action.
In the current business, environment managers are expected to lead employees and their team members rather than just be technically qualified as was expected in the past. Any management is considered competitive if it has a track record of enabling a winning environment in the organization. Management must have the ability to challenge, motivate, facilitate, develop and encourage team members. They should also have the ability to delegate tasks to the right people in keeping with their competency levels. Effective managers can demonstrate their trust in other team members by way of their actions. Effectiveness comes from the ability to be able to keep checks and controls, to delegate to the right people, and to encourage people to be participative in the organization’s activities.
Effective management remains cool under pressure since there are always problems in terms of projects not being delivered on time, costs exceeding budgets, and worker issues. An effective leader who has strong willpower will view such issues in their stride. When confronted with stressful situations strong leaders find them to be of immense interest and take them on as a challenge. They also view them as opportunities in influencing the outcomes for the company and the betterment of their employees. Effective management can nurture excellent team-building abilities. A team builder is considered strong if he can provide the basis that brings people together for a common cause in moving towards the desired goals.
A team can progress only if the members can be coordinated as a cohesive unit, and a strong leader can at best recognize the dynamics and processes that bring about such transformation. Such achievements are possible if the leaders are aware of the leadership styles to use in different phases of team building. The leader should be able to understand the varied styles used by the team members and how best to make use of them at the appropriate time in resolving the issues at hand.
If employees are expected to be hardworking and dedicated to the business, they have to be communicated in keeping with their aspirations. A receptive communication style fosters dependability and enables workers to be proud of their organization. They can then comprehend the degree to which their endeavors add to the strength of the organization. Employees should be given some amount of independence and work can be delegated to them about their strengths and weaknesses. In using such strategies the management can succeed in enabling workers to build upon their strengths and to achieve positive results for the organization.
Effective management assists its employees in setting their work objectives so that they remain focused and motivated. All employees need to be spoken to and the management should work with them in fixing their individual goals related directly to the objectives of the business. Employees need to grasp the route of their professional development in the organization. The management must keep a tab on any sign of personality conflicts amongst team members and of sagging productivity in any area. Any change that is noticed in the attitude and habit of workers should be addressed immediately before it can adversely impact more employees.
All problem employees should be dealt with by first identifying the trouble areas. Mostly such problems can be resolved by discussing honestly with the concerned employee because such problems normally relate to attitude and intermittent tardiness. Management has to coach by working individually with problem workers and reassigning duties to get rid of the shortcoming. The leader as a mentor is required to facilitate solutions and feedback to employees to improve performances. Nevertheless, a lot of endurance and a considerable investment of time is required for coaching but it results in modifying the behavior of the employee. It is very true that poor performances are not primarily due to poor competency levels but maybe just due to negligence and jumbled methods of working. This problem can be resolved by corrective guidance and counseling and enhancing skills by way of training and coaching.
Sometimes employees cause difficulties in being incompatible with the allocated tasks and duties due to poor skills. In such cases, they merely need to be trained further and assigned a different job portfolio to avoid the creation of disgruntled workers. Employees do make mistakes and when this happens, the mistakes have to be pointed out so that they improve upon their performance. It is better to remain positive while dealing with such employees and efforts should be focused on making the employee realize his importance to the organization. Effective management will understand the specific knowledge requirements of different sections and hierarchies of employees and will tailor its messages to cater to the needs of each audience. Effective messages meaningfully appeal to the employees in making them realize how their duties have an impact on the performance of the company. The messages should address the value systems and dignity of the employees. Regular interactions can significantly strengthen positive attitudes in workers and inspire and assist them in adapting to changes.
Change is constant in the current business environment, and in managing change employee feedback plays a very vital role. The management should measure employee reactions to different work situations and monitor the change process by encouraging discussions in employee focus groups. Employees can be encouraged to give feedback by e-mail since communication is the foundation of a successfully managed change process. Speaking to employees is not a one-time process and the management has to constantly reinforce its messages in communicating regularly with them. To be efficient, the management must have a thorough understanding of its strengths and weaknesses as also those of its people across the entire organization. An efficient action plan should be introduced with every process to achieve objectives in different segments and amongst different teams. A strong and efficient team of people has to be developed that collaborates with the management’s resolve to realize the goals. All team members have to be supported in achieving their best so that the organizational goals are achieved.
According to research conducted by Ruth Marcou (1989), and effective management gets its strengths from effective leadership. In expanding upon his contention he has outlined the following qualities of effective and efficient leaders:
- “They are honest. This gives them credibility, resulting in the trust and confidence of their people. Credible leaders foster greater pride in the organization, a stronger spirit of cooperation and teamwork, and more feelings of ownership and personal responsibility” (Marcou,1989).
- “They do what they say they will do. They keep their promises and follow through on their commitments” (Marcou,1989).
- “They make sure their actions are consistent with the wishes of the people they lead. They have a clear idea of what others value and what they can do” (Marcou,1989).
- “They believe in the inherent self-worth of others” (Marcou,1989).
- “They admit to their mistakes. They realize that attempting to hide a mistake is damaging and erodes credibility” (Marcou,1989).
- “They create a trusting and open climate” (Marcou,1989).
- “They help others to be successful and to feel empowered” (Marcou,1989).
- “They don’t push too much. They encourage members to do more, but know when it’s too much” (Marcou,1989).
- “They roll up their sleeves. They show the members they aren’t just the figurehead or decision-maker. Members respect leaders more when they show the willingness to work alongside them” (Marcou,1989).
- “They avoid phrases that cause resentment, reluctance, and resistance. For instance, instead of saying you have to do something, effective leaders request or recommend that members do something” (Marcou,1989).
How to Keep Employee Recognition Programs Effective
All employees feel good to be praised and recognized but supervisors and leaders very rarely adopt the practice and whatever little amount is done is mostly not done creatively enough. Recognition and award programs in organizations should provide employees with incentives and encouragement to perform their best. Most employees remain dissatisfied with their company awards and recognition programs. According to research conducted by The Business Research Lab (2009),
“Compensation is important. If the average compensation in your company is well below average for other competing firms (firms in competition for your workers, not necessarily direct competitors in your industry), then certainly it is an issue you should address. However, the most prevalent complaint we have observed about compensation is the lack of relationship between pay and performance. If there is a lack of a strong pay/performance relationship in your organization, a non-monetary recognition program will be of limited value. If your organization pays its employees market rates, and grants larger pay increases to top-performers, an employee recognition program should be able to boost morale” (Business Research Lab, 2009).
In essence, recognition programs are not expected to be a drain on the company’s financial resources. Their structures appear to be limited but actually, they can be very effective by displaying a high sense of fairness, visibility, and consistency. For recognition programs to be fair, they must be managed in a way that no employee is shown favoritism because of his or her influential status within the organization or relationships with managers and leaders. Employees must be identified by using an efficient means whereby they can be recognized for their contributions. To make these programs more effective managers and supervisors can maintain a list of prominent achievements by employees.
Consistent implementation of such programs can be carried out for better results if the management can make certain that they will be introduced in keeping with the expectation of employees, ultimately in boosting their morale. The management should not develop the reputation of the programs so that they are viewed as programs of the month as patronized by the management because the nominations will decline and those viewed as being favorable to the management will be nominated.
It is important to note that achievements that appear to be minor and have very strong meaning may be left out unless an effective process is formulated in soliciting nominees. The actual rewards could be in the form of anything, and one way is to initially have small recognitions and awards and to enhance their value as the employee proceeds in improving his performance in a given period. The Business Research Lab (2009) has provided for some awards that can prove to be meaningful for employees and to make the programs effective. They have suggested awards such as “Dinner certificates, a trophy or plaque, cash bonus, Pizza party thrown in the recipient’s honor, or for an entire group that has done a great job, bonus miles for airlines, top achiever ribbons, reserved parking space, an extra paid day off and movie passes” (The Business Research Lab, 2009).
The rewards should be a part of the procedure and the recognition can be given by arranging for the rewards to be given during a function where all employees gather, recognize, and applaud the efforts of such awardees. The awards can also be recognized by internal publications of the company such as corporate newsletters and intranet sites.
How to be Absorbed and Redirect Complainers
Management has a role in dismantling an environment that encourages a dysfunctional and disapproving atmosphere within the organization. There are occasions when employees complain amongst themselves about what they disapprove of and become reluctant to come out with their grievances during meetings. Instead of speaking out and conveying what they are not happy about they keep grumbling and encourage the main complainant to just go on complaining within the group without allowing fixing the problems. Hence it becomes important to create a culture that fosters openness amongst colleagues to avoid a negative environment. The management has to enable positive communication in an environment where employees do not communicate negatively. The leader has to contribute to solving the problems since he is in a position of authority and can influence employee behavior by his or her reactions.
For example, if a worker had visited the manager earlier and the complaint was not effectively attended to or the concern of the employee was not given importance, in normal circumstances the employee will not return to his manager with further hardships that he may face in his environment. A big mistake that some leaders make pertains to justifying for themselves their behavior as being appropriate instead of empathizing with the employee’s concerns. The manager should understand the thought process of the employee and his or her perceptions and then tactically probe into the intricacies of the problem. Having understood the entire problem he can then take initiatives in resolving the issues instead of giving a defensive rebuttal. If the manager fails to pay attention to the concerns of the employee and his or her perceptions, he is skipping vital information and closing down the communication procedure.
It is not justified for the manager to secretly take pleasure in enjoying the juicy conversations about the problems and grievances of different sections of employees. Often employees form into groups and indulge in negative gossip about each other or the boss. There are times when such groupings develop into factions that become very difficult to repair. Under such conditions, it is wise to direct the complainant to go and speak to the concerned people. There is a strong need to be empathetic with the employee and to counsel him or her to speak to the right person failing which the issue may never get resolved. Whenever an employee is upset because of another’s behavior it is better to soothe his or her feelings and to help in finding solutions. The leader must repeatedly examine his or her reactions to any complaint about individuals or work-related problems to enable a healthy working environment.
How to Set Boundaries with Problem Employees
There are always employees who constantly plague the management with personal problems consistently. Some managers want the management to come out with some magic wand that makes all problematic issues with employees disappear. Workers are not punctual, make repeated mistakes, and do not keep deadlines. In other words, some employees take away a great deal of the management’s time to the detriment of organizational interests. In the face of the given problems, it becomes difficult to draw a line between being empathetic and making things possible. Moreover, it is very difficult under such conditions to carve out sufficient time and emotive energy in completing other tasks. It is hence difficult to set boundaries while dealing with persistently troubled and problematic employees.
It is natural for people in problems to expect people in authority to bail them out and when such employees are confronted by such leaders, they are more than likely to adopt a defiant attitude in forgetting their grown-up status by regressing into their childhood years. It is because of nurturing attributes of leaders and people in authority that a lot is expected from them by employees who are having a difficult time. Although it is not necessarily implied that age brings in a lot of maturities, it becomes a natural tendency for the young to expect high levels of wisdom from people in authority. Such interpersonal dynamics cannot be avoided and leaders need to be prepared to deal with employees who are bent upon bending the ears of the management regularly. It is required to stop listening to them sympathetically and indulge in a solution-based debate and a detailed plan of action that includes deadlines for execution. The responses of employees should be so managed that they reflect on the kind of problems that they encounter.
In dealing with such employees it should first be ascertained if the issues are personal or work-related. Dr. Johnston feels that “If a troublesome employee keeps plaguing you with personal problems, obviously there’s not a lot you can do to solve them. Listening sympathetically while an employee blows off steam can help the employee relieve tension in the short run; however, you don’t do either one of you a favor by continually offering a shoulder to cry on.
You may be unwittingly teaching your employee how to manage his or her emotions without coming up with a solution” (Johnston, 2009).
While dealing with privacy issues, the manager or leader needs to keep in mind his or her role as the organization’s agent. The employee must be made to understand the difference between caring about his private issues and deserving preferential treatment because of such issues. For example, if an employee wants to take sick leave on a specific day it is ok, but if he or she develops this as a habit of asking to be allowed to skip work due to personal issues or for health problems for which he or she is not serious about taking treatment, then the permission can be misunderstood as the intention of slacking from work.
In the case of official problems, an informal investigation must be done to ascertain the facts as narrated by the problem employee. The onus should be put on the employee to identify the areas where he or she needs to be trained or assisted to perform duties in a better way. At times it is better to adopt a holistic approach whereby the manager against whom several complaints have been received may require to be checked in terms of his skills. It is required to be verified if the senior managers have undergone the required training for coaching and delegating. It must also be checked if the managers have been promoted only in having the requisite technical skills without ensuring that they have the much-needed interpersonal leadership skills. Several problems can be prevented by taking proactive steps so that they do not become a concurrent feature (Hales, 1986, pp. 88-115).
If an organization’s management is spending a great deal of time dealing with problem employees they need to adopt the three boundary strategies of resisting, resources, and referring. However tempting it may be, the management must resist the enticement of imparting advice as and when troubled employees come with their difficulties. They must be asked about their ideas in resolving the problems, what efforts they have made and what resources they require for the same. If the management is asked to mediate in a conflict situation the concerned employees should be asked to suggest solutions themselves. Proper and effective mentoring should be done and training given to senior managers and supervisors in tackling difficult employees, in having strong delegation skills, and in coaching such employees. A better option is to make this process a part of the management development programs. Employees should be encouraged to enroll in programs of conflict resolution, self-development, and communication proficiency (House et al, 1997, pp. 409-65).
Continually troubled workers should be encouraged to take professional assistance. The company’s employee assistance programs can prove to be of great help in dealing with such employees. If employees can become more interpersonal savvy they will have a larger number of resources at their disposal and the management will not have to spend too much time resolving their problems. This way the management can earn the reputation of steering workers in the right directions and away from a large number of hurdles in their paths. However, when all such measures fail, it is a clear indication that the employee genuinely needs help and the management should make all attempts in providing the required resources and manpower to resolve the issue.
How to Deal With Unacceptable Employee Behaviour
Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart was very true when he said that the customer is the biggest boss in being able to fire anybody by simply spending his money in another place. The customer can be put off by ill-mannered and rude employees or by any matter that causes him or her to desire to go elsewhere. If such a pattern persists, it can eventually make any establishment go out of business. Competition is increasing consistently and with increasing pressures of growth and profitability, it becomes imperative for business leaders to concentrate on enhancing their core competencies. Unfortunately, a large number of managers are engaged in spending their maximum time in resolving internal disturbances. They appear to be more engaged in sorting out issues about some major distractions that disturb the smooth functioning of the departments. Internal disturbances in the business also occur due to employees who become dissenters, manipulators, or those who work against the interest of the company. By adopting equalizing and tackling skills, leaders can greatly diminish and eliminate undesirable behaviors that adversely impact the confidence levels, productivity, and convergence in any organization.
Difficult employees need to be identified and the reasons for their problematic behaviors ascertained. Leaders must be able to spot the main symptoms that give an indication of employees getting into troublesome activities. There is also a strong need to differentiate amongst issues that are related to people and functioning at the place of work. An examination should be done of the differences between compliance and commitment by employees to determine the policy measures to bring improvement amongst problematic employees. The consistent pattern amongst some employees of making unjustified and irrelevant complaints to account for poor performance must be handled strictly by the management. Regular feedback must be obtained to formulate strategies for marketing and production. This way the inherent weaknesses can be removed, thus doing away with any basis that employees may have in justifying lack of interest in work and reduced productivity.
How to Reduce Employee Turnover
According to Sydney Ellis, “Employee turnover is a term used to describe the rate at which employees are hired and terminated. Turnover is a concern or should be for all business owners and managers. Every time an employee leaves and has to be replaced, businesses suffer. When calculating the cost of turning over an employee, one must consider several things: time used to interview replacements, lower productivity of inexperienced employees, training time and materials, etc”, (Ellis, 2007, pp.1-2).
To have an effective hiring system, an organization has to do the recruitment exercise on a long-term basis. Employees must be hired with the objective of benefiting the company for the long haul. There are several methods by which the organization can ensure that the required employees will stay with the organization. Quick employee turnover can be prevented by not hiring out of desperation, by performing the required skill test on job aspirants, by placing people with the right temperament for specific jobs, and by offering competitive compensation so that employees do not think of leaving. It is also true that not all employees consider money as the prime reason for joining or leaving a company, hence they can be motivated by a corporate culture that is in keeping with their aspirations.
Employees will feel happy if they can be offered genuine appreciation and will happily accept any suggestions regarding improving upon their work performance. Often employees leave because they feel overburdened and under such conditions, it is a wise option to hire an additional hand on a part-time basis or as an apprentice instead of allowing an experienced employee to feel frustrated and to reluctantly think of leaving the job.
The management must conduct regular review sessions by associating employees with the management teams. This makes employees more involved in the affairs of the company and they perform better and tend to continue in the job for longer periods. Employees should be spoken to and kept informed of corporate policies and objectives. Informed employees prove to be more effective; hence secrets should not be kept from them. Employees should always be in high spirits. They should be given awards and incentives for their good achievements and trained in new skills so that they have a varied scope of work. Ultimately the organization benefits from having workers who know more than what is expected from them. Research has proved that money is not the most important reason for employee turnover. Employees that desire to switch jobs must be spoken to and counseled to resolve the differences they may be having with people in the organization.
How to do Employee Surveys
Employee surveys are an effective means to benchmark the attitudes of employees on matters that influence the working of the entire organization. The prevailing attitude of employees influences their productivity and performance levels to a great extent, often impacting the profitability of the company. Employee surveys enable the organization to measure levels of employee satisfaction and commitment as also employee concern regarding salaries, promotion avenues, job contentment, and supervision. The employee surveys comprise of customized and standard questionnaires that proficiently enable answers to pertinent questions about employee welfare, expectations, and aspirations regarding different parameters. The surveys enable the collection and reporting of information that directly impacts the entire business. It is essential to know what the staff in an organization thinks about the way it functions so that an overall strategy can be built to develop a stronger organization.
It is important to know whether employees feel engaged and satisfied with their work as also whether the company’s policies are impacting them positively. Employee surveys are an effective means to take the pulse of employees. Such surveys can be done on an annual basis or after major changes such as mergers and restructuring have been implemented in the organization. To get a reliable conclusion from surveys they must be framed in a manner that they become catalysts for improvements. Strengths and weaknesses of the organization can be quantified and the opinion of workers obtained on unexpected issues. Companies adopt the practice of getting surveys done online in enabling responses that can be differentiated based on business units, type of jobs, and the length of service. However, the identity of the employees has to be guarded with online surveys since the relationship with employees may be frayed sometimes.
Surveys should be modified every year by adding queries that address newly created employee issues that have a direct bearing on their welfare. Current trends indicate that surveys pay more attention to productivity and on questions whether the company is perceived as being bureaucratic and whether employees are given the desired authority. However, the survey should not be altered significantly every year since that would not permit the results to be compared with those of previous years’ data. Normally employee surveys should not be very lengthy and should be completed within twenty minutes.
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