Organizational challenges are one of the most prevalent issues facing almost if not all, business enterprises. When carefully evaluated, certain methodologies may be applied to counter the effects of these challenges. This essay seeks to discuss the evaluation of challenges facing organizational leadership, an assessment of methodologies implemented, an evaluation of what worked and what did, and finally the conclusion.
What is Organizational Leadership?
Organizational leadership is the dual management technique that aims at focusing on what is best for each individual or the community in the business environment. It is not only a practical point of view but an approach of moral standards which accredit individuals at all levels of an organization regardless of whether they are at the bottom or top of a chain. There are five essential components of organizational leadership as discussed below:
Organizational leadership requires one to understand his perception of things but at the same time consider other people’s views on the same subject. Worldview may be defined as a compound image that is created through different lenses which different individuals use to view various aspects of life (Heskett and Kotter 63). It assimilates the convictions one has regarding his environment, whether distinct or not. This individual’s worldview may be influenced by his opinions, attitudes, and outside forces that the individual will allow to affect his perception. Worldview comprises of operative instructions on how a person bonds with his environment. He who does not put into consideration the mode through which individuals interface with the environment is likely to have a weakened position when it comes to leading other individuals. Furthermore, organizational leadership requires an in-depth comprehension of the composite worldview of that specific organization, which often consists of varying waves of the persons working within the organization.
Successful leadership entails the capitalization of strengths and management of weaknesses. Strength in relation to organizational leadership refers to an impeccable work conduct that is steady over an infinite duration. For instance, a person who conducts an activity regularly with a 95% accomplishment rate may claim that that particular activity is one of his strengths. (Heskett 87). However, strength is not necessarily to be regarded as ability. An ability only becomes a strength if the person can fathom himself doing it consistently and happily while yielding positive results (Huber, 942).
There are three major building blocks for strength. These are skills, talent, and knowledge. A talent is a naturally occurring pattern of behavior or thought and is consistent. Knowledge comprises of lessons or facts learnt, while skills incorporate the steps taken by an individual in carrying out the activity (Beijerse 78). Development of one’s strength requires him to have certain talents that relate to the activity in question. While it may be possible to improve one’s strength without necessarily gaining skills or knowledge in that field, it is utterly impossible to possess any strength without a natural talent related to the activity to be conducted (Dragomirescu 3). The guide to building strength is through the identification of the individual’s predominant talents, after which he can refine them using knowledge and skills acquired over time.
It is not a prerequisite to have strengths in every aspect of a task in order to succeed in that specific task. Being all rounded is a pervasive myth brought about with the aim of discouraging individuals from taking up a variety of activities at their organizations (Drucker 45). It is quite rare to find exceptional performers who are all rounded. On the contrary, they are smart in that they will perform successful tasks by maximizing on their strengths and managing their weakness such that these weaknesses have a minute effect on the overall project.
Like in all business environments, organizational leadership requires the application of the highest standards of ethics. Such ethics enable the leaders to balance out allegiance and truthfulness, society and individuality, leniency and authority, and transitory versus everlasting effects of an individual’s actions. Practicing ethics is neither a concession nor prevention. It is a mechanism and somewhat a lens through which leaders look into a problem and try to come up with possible solutions that are not biased. Ethics allow the leader to be committed yet free from bias. Any responsible leader would apply various concepts of ethics to settle on relevant aspects of solving a dispute. Ethics may be summed up as the circumference within the work environment that guides both the leaders and employees on how to relate to others for the betterment of the organization.
One can describe communication as means that individuals use to understand other individuals or groups. Communication is neither a text nor a phone call. It does not comprise of personal visits or emails. (These are only the mediums through which communication is achieved). For communication to be effective, the concept of VABEs has to be implemented. This refers to V-Values, A- Assumptions, B-Beliefs and E-Expectations of the receiver of the information conveyed (Chirimbu and Vârgolici 3). Comprehending someone else’s worldview together with the application of VABEs aids leaders in not only acknowledgement of information but also to look past differences and direct their attention to the area of interest. VABEs also challenge leaders to listen attentively and act on other people’s messages. Drawbacks to communication such as stuttering and improper pronunciation are done away with and the clarity of the message is enhanced. Getting rid of these barriers enables the leader to solely focus on the speaker.
In most instances, individual fear being in a position of leadership as they may face rejection. If an individual is able to prove that he can effectively add value to the organization, he will be able to rise above the fear of rejection by his mates. Leaders and managers are different categories of people. The former naturally possess strategies to incorporate into their thinking such that the organization is at its highest productivity levels. They have the ability to envision an activity and carry it out to the latter. Anyone can take up the leadership role regardless of whether they are at the top, bottom, or middle of the work chain. However, certain cornerstones to leadership must be adhered to in order for the leadership to be regarded as valid. These are: truth telling, respect to all individuals, fairness, and promise keeping. The four cornerstones put together are the determinants for how an individual shall be viewed by others should he decide to take up a leadership role. This is especially in the case of organizational leadership where perception forms the basis of how all individuals will relate to one another and to their superiors.
There are plenty of theories in leadership and Psychologist Douglas McGregor identifies two prominent approaches or theories on management. He coined these theories as Theory A and Theory B, and they are illustrated as follows:
Theory A- ‘We must get it done no matter what!’. This theory assumes that the worker will be motivated by his fear of disappointing his leader. It is under the belief that the stricter the management is, the better the employees are likely to perform.
Theory B- ‘Let us come together and brainstorm and see if we can find a possible solution to the issue at hand’. This theory assumes that workers are more likely to yield results if they are instilled a belief that they add some value to an organization.
Great leaders are tasked with identifying what leadership theory to apply to their organization. In most instances, a leader will combines theories A and B to achieve maximum results. This determination is rather sensitive considering James Clawson’s approach on leadership which can be summarised as follows:
Leadership is associated with three main tactics:
- The leader’s behavior. This is evident through the commands or threats he uses. Other aspects of behavior include giving bonuses, incentives or intimidating workers.
- Conscious thought. This comprises of arguments, data, evidence, rationale, manipulation and citation. This level is basically the combination of Theory A and Theory B
- Applies objective principles, narratives, visionary and delicate emotions, receptivity, storytelling and virtue. It channels Theory B.
Evaluation of Organizational Challenges
While it is not in denial that the role of an effective leader is to coach and support his team, there is a thin line between supervising the people and not giving them ample space to go about their activities. This issue is further complicated by a common misconception that when one is assigned a leadership role he has to oversee every single step of people’s activities as a measure of quality control. This may have disastrous effects as team members are likely to feel like they cannot be trusted hence the need to oversee their every move. Such curtailed freedom will demotivate workers and once their attitude is affected, it will be reflected in the overall results of different projects.
Adjusting to One’s Role
First-time leaders often find it rather difficult to ‘own’ their roles (Farr, 1990). A common factor which leads to such a scenario is whereby the elected leader used to have personal relationships with those he is to lead. The challenge further arises from the team’s side as they will have to separate personal relationships from office relationships and learn to view their new leader in a different light.
Lack of Demonstrative Leadership
Not being able to demonstrate leadership is the polar opposite of micro-managing. It is whereby the leader does not provide enough guidance as to what is expected from each employee. As much as most people are already aware of the tasks that they are supposed to tackle, it is the team leader’s responsibility to ensure all members have been fully aligned with the organization’s objectives (West, Sacramento and Fay 157). The presence of the leader must be felt; otherwise the rest of the team is likely to develop a sense of a lack of direction. This challenge may be curbed by ensuring company objectives are precisely communicated at all levels within the organization.
Lack of Proper Communication
Newly elected leaders often find it difficult to freely communicate with team members concerning the expectations to be met, or any other issues that may have been encountered in the course of conducting activities. It is essential to keep up frequent communication to ensure all members are at par with the objectives of that organization. Strategizing on feedback culture will go a long way in improving the communication process within the organization.
Lack of an Upward Feedback
While it is essential for employees to send feedback to the leaders and vice versa, there is no higher tier to which the leader can report to. This makes it difficult to evaluate leaders’ behavior and performance at work. It also sets a bad example on the company when managers rarely have to report to superior bodies.
Lack of a Clear Direction
Lack of direction in any organization emanates from two root causes. First, the leaders rarely deliberate on strategies regarding the future. Even if they do so, they fail to keep up consistent communication. The second reason is that there are too many activities awaiting execution yet the organization is deficient in the alignments necessary to gain traction so that the organization may not only shape the future but also adapt to it. In essence, too many people lack a clear understanding of how they fit in or how their input is of significance to the attainment of the organization’s objectives (Gaf- Deac 126). Consequently, people become content with the idea of just ‘showing up’ so that they can maintain their positions and not necessarily because they want to help grow the company.
Difficulty in Working with Multiple Personalities Uniformly
Blending different personalities to come up with a meaningful result is one of the most difficult challenges facing organizational leadership. This enormous challenge is highly likely to arise whether the employees are from are a corporate organization, assembly facility or a service industry where physical meetings with clients are the order of the day. Everyone’s personality varies thanks to diverse backgrounds, experiences, views, and opinions. This leads to the creation of a rare set of issues, and perhaps opportunities. If a leader can manage to bring different people into alignment such that they can support the common object of the organization, amazing results will be produced. For instance, the company will be able to meet their clients’ demands and avoid their competitors’ threats. However, if the leader chooses to refrain from incorporating everyone’s different personality, a fair share of problems will likely arise. The team members will lack the oneness to collaborate and this will paralyse their entrepreneurial mind-set and under-production will follow.
Failing to Develop Key Behaviors
In every organization, it is common to encounter plenty of industrious people with the intention of doing good for their company. However, despite the fact that they may have loads of experience in the relevant industry. It may still be an almost impossible task to create a high-performance environment. Sometimes the leaders may be aware of such shortcomings while in other instances they may fail to notice their own leadership deficits. Employees, on the other hand, often hold back in speaking their minds as they are afraid of being reprimanded or misunderstood. This behavior from both the leader and the team member cripples the organization’s achievements. Leaders must utilize their team members’ natural strengths and incorporate their assessment of performance gaps to see how they can improve the situation by avoiding underperformance.
Lack of Awareness
Building a firm organization not only takes hard work but also awareness of the environment in which the business exists. Market conditions are subject to change within the minute and it is for this reason that the leader’s utmost time and attention is needed to be focused on the organization at all ties (Bondrea, 53). Unfortunately, most leaders tend to relax from their duties once that have delegated various provisions to the team members. The end result is that communication is interfered with as the leaders are preoccupied with other issues. People start to lose aim of their targets, feel deprecate and eventually become detached from the rest of the team.
Often, leaders and team members come to a point where they choose the path with the least resistance. The leader adopts the mentality of ‘If it is not broken do not fix it’. This attitude leads to stagnant productivity since there is reluctance to compete for new tasks, resources and customers.
Lack of Negotiation Skills
Negotiation skills are crucial skills which anyone should master regardless of the size of his organization. It entails the back and forth communication between parties regarding a conflict with the aim of finding common ground that will benefit either party. In organizational leadership, the concept of negotiation skills will come in handy when the leader and team member or employee are discussing issues such as deadlines or even bonuses. A leader who lacks negotiation skills will most likely end up losing the most competent employees to other organizations which are willing to come to a compromise with that employee.
Creation of Innovation
Some leaders end up creating some sort of innovation just for the sake of having one while the goal of having any innovations should be solely for the purposes of deviation (Hoffman 277). For starters, when a leader pushes for the innovation, he automatically encourages his members to develop a ‘Assess Later’ mentality (Martín‐de Castro et al. 928). This results in frustration due to the fact that innovations are often coupled with ineffective collaborations and minimal negotiation skills hence easily run out of control.
Confidence during Setbacks
All organizations suffer from setbacks on a daily basis. This could range from minor setbacks caused by various technicalities to major setbacks that affect the financial position of the organization. How the team members choose to react to such a setback is influenced by the leader’s ability to cope with a difficult situation as such (Holsapple and Whinston 77). If the leader is able to remain calm and quickly allocate duties to counteract the setback, the team will take after him. On the other hand, a leader who shows obvious panic will rub off on the employees and only disastrous results can be produced from then.
Setting Realistic Goals
The typical team looks up to its leader for the project’s goals. The leaders must therefore establish forecasts regarding results and the rate at which such results should be attained (Bennis 17). Leaders ought to set up both team and individual goals. It is also necessary to consult team members prior to starting an activity so as to clarify on potential expectations. If the team is addressed as a whole, the role of each individual needs to be spelled out and it must be evident on how that task shall mesh with the rest of the team’s activities (Nonaka 14).
The Recruitment Process
Leaders may be tempted to quickly recruit new member to the team especially if the task at hand is time-sensitive. The rationale behind this is that more manpower will lead to a faster achievement of the results. However, this is not always the case. Any new member recruited to a team must go through additional training so that he may be on the same level as other teammates. This training incurs unnecessary costs on the leader. Furthermore, a quick recruitment process denies the leader the chance to grasp that individual’s skills or personality so that he may place the individual in the relevant field of that organization.
The Value of Customer Selection
Ideally, if the right customers are selected for a product, the organization is less likely to suffer from losses. While it may be impossible to have a perfect selection of optimal customers, conducting research on potential customers’ needs will aid the organization to produce quality goods or services that are deemed to be wholly accepted by their target clients (Teece, 474). The challenge that arises in this concept is the valid selection of potential customers. A leader must regularly keep in touch with changing customers’ preferences so that in the event that the customers begin to shift to another service, he may formulate plans to bring the clients back to the bandwagon. Keeping up with clients ensures that the entire team has a smooth process with regard to the day to day tasks.
Building Trust between the Leader and the Team
Whenever the team places full trust in their leader a significant amount of time is saved. Building trust emanates from transparency by the leader. Lack of transparency may bring about the notion that the team and the leader are working independently whereas it should be regarded as combined effort from both sides (Armour and Teece 470). New leaders often have a hard time building trust especially if they have been transferred from a different organization. It may take a while before the team warms up to its leader.
Assessment of Methodologies Implemented to Facilitate Organizational Change
This section of the essay shall look into methodologies which may be implemented in a bid to facilitate organizational change.
Encouraging Participation from Team Members
Participation compels employees to communicate, discuss and make suggestions in relation to an upcoming task. It encourages them to be committed rather than to simply comply on the basis of their position in the organization (Clement 12). Emergence of commitment implies that teams are motivated to bring about a change in the work environment for the greater good. It is crucial that employees participate in a matter before it takes place and not after. Being involved from the beginning gives them a sense of belonging and they are committed to see that the implementation of a project yields positive results.
Stimulating Readiness of Employees
There is need to aid employers in becoming aware of the gap for change in the organization. Change will be more readily accepted if the people that are affected realise that the system needs to be shifted. Managers must also take a system-oriented outlook on various factors that influence the complexity of relationships at the work environment.
Any individual who will be affected by a change in the organization should first be educated on the effects of a potential change so as to make him feel secure once change is implemented. It also ensures that steam cooperation will be maintained once the new system of organization comes about.
Assurance of Security
Other than shared rewards, other employee benefits must be upheld and protected. Security is essential during any changes in the organizational ladder. This may be in the form of prevention of lowering salaries even after new technology has been introduced to aid the company in meeting its objectives. Seniority rights must also be put into consideration, meaning that employees should still be availed with an opportunity for advancement, for instance, being subject to promotions among other benefits.
Sharing of Rewards
A reward gives an employee a sense of validation and progress. It may be either economic or psychic. In most instances, the employee would prefer cash rewards.
Development of Communication Strategies
Settling on a means of communication is dependent on various factors. Such include the number of employees to which the message must be conveyed, and the urgency of the message. Whatever strategy is decided upon, it must include the timeline for which the change is meant to take place. Feedback can be managed through one-on-one meetings with the manager or through group discussions for compilation purposes
Provision of Effective Training
Once the message about a potential change has been passed to relevant faculties, the next step would be to promote training, both structured and informal, to equip the team members with knowledge and skills required to run tasks effectively. Training may be online through the provision of short notes, or face to face to facilitate practical skills.
Leadership challenges will be more efficiently tackled if the team leader delegates specific tasks to the employees. The colleagues empowerment and will be compelled to perform their best as there is the sense of competition amongst themselves. Effective delegation involves four crucial steps:
- Understanding the employees’ strengths. The task designated to an employee should be at par with his expertise and have some relevance to the department in which the employee is based. Delegation can be used as a means to further sharpen these skills as each person will be focusing on that which he is good at.
- Knowing your preference. An effective delegator prioritizes his workload by deciding on which tasks to retain and which ones to hand over to the rest of the workers. The delegator also gets to hand over tasks based on the amount of feedback they would expect from the employer.
- Gauging and rewarding. A team leader should rely on direct reports to assess a situation and settling on the most appropriate reward for a job well done. Such reports must be consistent over a certain duration although different organizations can apply varying timeframes. The timeframe agreed upon is dependent on the type of company, its objectives, customer-client relationship, profits accrued, the rate of consistency, among others.
- Emphasizing on the task purpose. The task purpose refers to the reason behind the carrying out of an activity.
Evaluation of What Worked and What Did Not
Different methodologies will produce different results in different organizations. It is up to the administration of that specific organization to attempt as many methodologies in order to find out which one works best for them. However, the more the methodologies applied, the better chances of producing positive results.
Summary and Conclusion: Recommendation and Strategies to Apply when It Comes to Organizational Leadership
All strategies are applicable in any organization. What will determine whether or not the organization chooses to apply a specific strategy will depend on the organization’s objectives, its target for the financial year, the number of employees, and the location of its premises.
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