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In the contemporary world, the need to establish effective management and leadership within an organization is highly imperative. This is mostly associated with the fact that there is increased competition in the market and the ability of a company's management in coming up with effective strategies is strong determinant for its survival. Even in organizations which are not commercially oriented, the need for effective management and leadership cannot be underestimated; given that the survival of such organizations is determined the quality of management and leadership. A study of the critical perspectives of management and leadership would establish how managers and leaders are viewed as far as the success of an organization is concerned. The review of these perspectives will be conducted in two sections: what leaders are expected to do and critical modes of leadership adopted by managers and leaders.
Distinguishing management from leadership
While leadership and management are both used in defining group conduct in a professional or cultural setting, the two concepts differ greatly. It is however notable that leadership is a facade of management. Leadership is the art of influencing people's behavior, attitude and opinions; and creating an environment that makes them follow a chosen direction willingly. Leadership mostly involves setting of goals, visions and planning strategy. Management on the other refers to the effective coordination and utilization of resources in order to meet set goals and objectives. It encompasses controlling people (labor) and other resources such as capital, materials, plant and machinery to ensure maximum efficiency.
Critical perspectives on management and leadership
Common expectations on management and leadership
Managing and leading in emerging economies
As the world becomes continually globalized, the concepts of management and leadership have been highly affected and there is unrelenting need to vehemently improve their performance. This comes at a time when the market is highly competitive due to the emergence of new companies and when the needs of consumers have grown increasingly dynamic. At this rate, only organizations with strong leaders and manager are likely to survive in the modern economy. To begin with, it is highly desirable for leaders and managers to come up with effective business strategies in order to counter competition and to capture a considerable proportion of the market. Strategies such as using the balanced scorecard, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Metrics have emerged as important tools in modern management endeavors. This insinuates the need for managers and leaders to learn these strategies. Leaders are also required to be highly innovative in order to capture a sizeable fraction of the market. This can be done through the provision of unique products and solutions to their needs so as to build brand loyalty. It is also clear that the managers must strive to ensure that the set strategies are met through optimal utilization of resources within the organization.
Managers and leaders as the directors of strategy
There is no room for failure as far as management and leadership are concerned. This is because leaders are often considered to be the pillars of the organization and without them these institutions would definitely collapse. Followers have complete trust in their leaders and believe they are best placed in providing timely solutions to existing problems hence the reason why their leaders should not disappoint them. Existence of loopholes in the management should also be managed in order to avoid inefficiency.
Effective management and leadership encompass the setting of workable goals and objectives aimed at accomplishing the overall strategic goals of the organization. Such goals should be specific, measureable, realistic; achievable and time bound.
Specific: Managers and leaders need to set goal that aim at addressing a particular issue that has been identified within the organization.
Measurable: It should be possible for managers and leaders to assess the impact of their goals and to establish the associated costs. This is important in ensuring that resources are used efficiently.
Achievable: Organizational goals should not be beyond the scope of the organization. Managers must ensure that they are achievable' given the available resources.
Realistic: The goals set by managers and leaders need to be applicable in the context of the business. Unrealistic goals are likely to exhaust employee and sometimes end up being unaccomplished.
Time bound: The concept of time is very important in management and leadership such that all the set goals and objectives should have a time span within which they will be accomplished. This allows the leaders and managers to plan for other activities and to exert efforts in meeting the present objectives.
The need for increased intellectual flexibility
The conceptions on the nature of leadership and management are changing rapidly such that this has presented challenges in the use of traditional approaches to management and leadership development. As a result, formal training is being modified to assume more flexible development goals including personal development, 360 degree feedback, team facilitation and mentoring as major perspectives in management and leadership. Managers and leaders need to be equipped with exceptional interpersonal qualities and attributes; cognitive abilities; communication skills and task-specific skills in order help them achieve the objective of ensuring the success of the organization. Networking and social influence have been identified as distinctive extra skills that managers and leaders should possess.
In the development of intellectual flexibility, a distinction is made between management development and leadership development. Management development is aimed at equipping managers with the skills, knowledge and abilities to enhance the execution of known tasks through applying proven solutions. On the contrary, leadership development is concerned with developing people in leadership roles to build capacity in anticipation for unforeseen problems.
Timely adoption of technological changes
Communication in the contemporary world is increasingly becoming digital and leaders and managers must get used to incorporating technology into their everyday activities. Furthermore, most business procedures and transactions can be done over the internet such that face to face communication with business associates is highly minimized. This could require increased investment in technology and training so as to facilitate the development of the organization; hence adding an extra cost to the organization. Notably, technology is highly dynamic and newer technologies are bound to emerge. It is upon the managers to keep their organizations up-to-date with such technologies so as to mitigate competition.
Corporate social responsibility and the importance of working with the community
The community in which an organization operates in to a large extent influences its success. Communities are increasing making demands on companies to consider their welfare; and companies that have undertaken such responsibility are gaining continuous recognition in the global market. As a matter of fact, companies that are involved in community development are likely to succeed as opposed to their counterparts that are not involved. Modern organizations are expected to reduce pollution, participate in community projects such as promoting education and to constantly involve the community in its activities and thus create jobs within the vicinity of their operations. It is important to note that communities contribute to the growth of an organization significantly. This occurs both during the acquisition of resources and in growing the organization's market share. An organization for example could be getting its raw material from the neighborhood and therefore relies on members of the community to supply such material. The organization could also rely on the community to obtain labor and other resources hence the need for managers and leaders to be concerned with the welfare of people within that community.
Mode of leadership
The degree of individual power
Depending on the organizational structure, managers and leaders have varying degree of power which could in turn affect the performance of the organization. Examples of organizational power include legitimate power, coercive power, reward power, expert power, information power and charisma power.
Legitimate power: This is where managers have absolute power over their subordinates. Further, professional positions exist within such organizations detailing such power. The higher the position, the higher the power possessed. For example, the President of the company is more powerful than the Vice President. While this individual power is considered important for the growth of the company, absolute power should be discouraged as it tends to leave no room for improvements within the organization; given that only the powerful people make decisions.
Coercive power: This form of power gives the manager or leader the ability to punish an employee for failing to follow company policy or for causing a loss to the company. Such power is de-motivating and could to high turnover rates within the organization thus leading to the loss of valuable skills and experience.
Reward power: In this type of power, managers have the power to reward employees who have performed well through rewards such as promotions and pay rises. It is highly recommended since it encourages employees to work hard towards the attainment of organizational goals. It is a great motivator and makes staff members feel appreciated.
Expert power: It is highly inherent for managers and leaders to have expert power. This is because it is through their knowledge, skills and abilities that they are able to run the organization. Expert power should therefore be sought among managers and leaders.
Charisma power: Charisma is highly important in a management or leadership position. This is because a manager or a leader needs to have ability to influence employees in a way that can be admired. Interpersonal influences that such kinds of managers and leaders exude are likely to confer great power thus creating an effective team.
Information power: The power of information cannot be underestimated as it plays an important role in an organization's success. A person with access or possession of information is likely to be recognized as this information could come in handy to organizational functioning. Such recognition highly motivates employees.
The concept of leaderless work groups
The remarkable transformation of leadership has led to growing deliberations within the discipline over whether leadership should be considered an individual or a collective activity. This new perspective almost disregards the 'leader-follower' relationship where the leader makes all the key decisions and then influences the group's activities to meet goals and objectives. In suggesting that leadership is a collective activity, the proponents of this perspective maintain that leadership is a shared activity and that an individual may step forth to lead the others or step backwards to be the follower. This perspective is getting deeply rooted in the modern organization where people within a group are expected to work together without necessarily having to follow a leader. Each member is allowed to participate and their ideas are equally important in enhancing the overall success of the organization. Leaderless workgroups are motivators and they are likely to encourage efficiency; given that each person has an opportunity to participate in the decision making process. They not only generate flexibility within the organization but also add a considerable degree of job enrichment to employees.
Motivation of followers
Follower motivation is a concern that is overlooked in most circumstances; yet its importance in management and leadership is highly significant. It is notable that despite the quality of management or leadership in an organization, the followers must be willing to adhere to what their leaders and managers advocate. Further, they must feel like they are part of the organization and that their views are incorporated in decision making processes instead of a situation where all the actions are formulated by the managers.
In order to motivate followers, leaders must ensure that followers are satisfied with their work. As indicated in subsequent studies, followers such as employees are likely to be inefficient and in certain circumstances rebellious when their working conditions are unsatisfactory. Such conditions include unfair remunerations, overwork, exclusions from decision making processes and general job stressors. The managers and leaders must strive to ensure that followers are well motivated by providing them with fair pay, fringe benefits and participation in the decision making process. This way, employees are likely to feel more appreciated and are therefore bound to be more cooperative in implementing the organization's strategy.
In the context of contemporary leadership expectations, managers and leaders have to contend with the fact that increased interaction with followers is highly desirable in ensuring the success of their organizations. Bolden (2007) notes that at the interpersonal level, a modern-day effective leader is being equated to a human being who is fully integrated. He or she has a duty to enhance interpersonal competence with an objective of gaining the respect, trust and commitment of others. Cognitive and communications skills must therefore be improved significantly.
This paper undoubtedly radiates the importance of management and leadership in an organization. Notably, the critical perspectives in management and leadership can be related to the expectations that are placed on managers and on the leadership modes that managers and leaders adopt in running the organization. Apparently, the world economy is changing rapidly, such that managers and leaders must aim at improving their approaches so as to ensure that their organizations compete well in the market. The need to keep up with changes technology, customer demands, employee needs and community expectations influence the perspective of management and leadership significantly. The importance of making management and leadership more integrated such that employees can participate in decision making is also prominent in the discussion. In conclusion, the nature of management and leadership in an organization plays a significant role in its eventual success.
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