Leadership and Management

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Part 1

Leadership and Management

Research studies have suggested that the rapidly changing business environment has led to the need of attaining growth opportunities that can enable organization to successfully achieve a competitive edge (Luis, 2010). Many organizations today are operating at the global level and therefore require management strategies that are unique and inimitable. According to Tewari and Sharma (2012), the globalization of the business industry experiences a number of challenges which the organizations have to successfully tackle through their innovative management strategies. They further suggested that organizations can effectively do so through their skilful managers as they can support the company in attaining a sustainable and inimitable competitive advantage through their skills and expertise. The literature suggests that individuals seeking to secure a career in the international management sector must possess outstanding management skills. These interpersonal characteristics includes the capability of managing a team, working as an effective part of a team, ability to manage tasks in timely fashion, change management skills and the ability to provide effectual solution to the day to day problems (Tewari and Sharma, 2012).  According to Griffith and Hoppner (2013), a manager must have strong communication skills, must be inventive, must be able to take rational decisions, extrovert and must possess competent leadership skills. It can be understood that efficient managers must own hard as well as soft skills to fulfill the required responsibilities with his/her position. Researchers have identified that possessing soft skills is of more importance due to the litheness that they provide to successfully perform (Griffith and Hoppner, 2013). 

According to Phills (2005), organizations today are in desperate need of effective leaders to gain a competitive edge through them on the national and international stages. Yulk (2006) suggested that leadership can be effectively defined as a personality trait; it is a particular type of behaviour which has a tendency to influence others.  According to Phills (2005), leadership is a goal- oriented phenomenon, while Thomas et al. (2013) suggested that it is a group experience.  Another definition by Western (2008) suggests that leadership can be an individual and also a collective trait. According to Nahavadi (2006), there is no exact definition of leadership; researchers in the past have defined it as per their own perspectives and experiences. However, despite the differences in the definitions, there are a few common elements:

  • Effective leadership requires excellent interpersonal skills and a persuasive attitude.
  • Leadership is always seen as a group experience; each leader has followers, and there is no leadership without followers. Therefore, leaders and followers share an important relationship.
  • As already identified, leadership is goal-oriented; followers can be persuaded through leadership to work for a particular goal.
  • Leadership introduces the sense of hierarchy in a team, group or organisation. In some cases, the hierarchy is informal and flexible, and in other cases it is not.

Pathak et al. (2009) suggested that leaders have significant qualities which make them different from others, and global leaders must possess extra skills such as cultural diversity management skills, and an ability to respond to cultural needs, and must possess the ability to adapt working practices in accordance with their surroundings. Leaders are confident, active listeners, good communicators, intelligent, and possess extensive knowledge about the field they work in. All these qualities guide them and support them in managing their emotions in the workplace and also, in making the right decisions for the growth of the organization. Trait theories of leadership suggest that leaders are born and cannot be made (Derue et al., 2011). The skill approach suggests that leaders must possess excellent capabilities to take on leadership.  The Style approach suggests that leaders possess a particular behavior pattern, and that there are six leadership styles (Jones and Pound, 2008):

  • Visionary leaders who motivate people to work for mutual goals.
  • Coaching leaders who make people understand that their betterment is connected with the betterment of the organisation.
  • Affiliative leaders who try to maintain harmony in the followers under all circumstances.
  • Democratic leaders who value people or team’s efforts and get them stay committed with the organisation by improving their participation in different decisions.
  • Pace-setting leaders who are interested in accepting challenging tasks and accomplishing the associated goals
  • Commanding leaders who are the one who rule through orders

Contingency theories suggest that there is no particular prescribed style of leadership, and that good leaders must have a flexible leadership style which can be modified in accordance to the demands of the environment they are working in.  According to McLean (2005), leadership and management are same, as both the roles require a flexible approach. I agree with this statement, as I have remained successful in practicing similar skills during my profession as a coach and later as a marketing manager. According to Fidler’s Contingency Theory (cited in Nahavadi, 2006), the most effective leadership style is that which facilitates the generation of excellent results through the performance of the team or group.  The two factors which can potentially affect the results include the behavior of the leader, and the surroundings in which the leader and the followers are working.

Northouse (2010) criticized the view put forward by Fidler with regards to leadership and suggested that Fidler’s Contingency Theory has remained unsuccessful in clearly defining an appropriate leadership style. According to Western (2008), leadership style can be transformational or transactional. Transformational leaders have a flexible leadership style; they motivate their employees through example to work for mutual goals, and they introduce new working perspectives. They are charismatic, and have the potential to enhance the skills of their group members. On the other hand, a transactional leader makes use of supremacy and control to lead his/her followers; this kind of leadership style is highly inflexible. In accordance to the explanations given about the leadership styles, I consider myself to be a transformational leader with the capability of working together with my team.  From the above given definitions it is clear that a leader must be a confident individual, should lead by example, must be able to manage diversity, must have a charismatic personality, be trustworthy, enthusiastic, must be able to  be persuasive, tolerant, organized, make rational decisions and be committed. According to Thomas et al. (2013), all the above mentioned personality traits must be possessed by an international marketing manager to capably outperforms others in the current challenging business environment. They further suggested that leadership in the international marketing environment can lead to poor performance if the leader is ineffective and devoid of such personality traits.

Part 2

Leadership, Management and Performance

The complimentary approach in management and leadership practice has been researched towards improving organizational performance. Despite how sparse the understanding of leadership and management practice is in a developing country like Nigeria as compared to the western world, findings demonstrate that most managers and leaders have a clear understanding of these two factors and how vital they are in enhancing the organizational growth. According to McLean (2005), if an organization desires effective success in performance there is need for them to synthesize a model of the management and leadership combination. Similarly, Griffith and Hoppner (2013) attest that the conjunction of management and leadership can aid firms in achieving a planned and organized change which is properly aligned with its business environment. Deducing from the companies understudied, successful companies realize the need to be effective in both factors if they desire sustainable performance, but not all companies can afford to employ personnel’s for each factor, rather they employ a person who can excel in both factors.

The poor growth of an economy can also affect performance in organizations, No doubt a growing debate exists (between leadership and other factors that) as to what determines the success of an organization. Organizations believe on effective leadership as the sustenance of organizational success despite external forces that may come to play. Nonetheless, for leadership to have a major effect and dominance in the performance of companies, it should be spread across all levels within the organization from the top to the least level. Few organizations still have the notion that leadership does not exist in all levels of an organization especially the level of line managements. Line managers are being tagged as individuals who efficiently obey and implement the HR policies and do not possess the leadership ability to affect change in the organization. According to Griffith and Hoppner (2013), line managers have gone beyond just delivering HR policies, into building powerful relationship with employees and their responsiveness to employees needs shows the quality of leadership they possess. Regardless of the criticisms, successful firms subject their success to the leadership role played by line managers. Line managers are the lifeline of an organization who continuously determine, what strategy works and that which won’t work given that they are constantly faced between the real world and organizational situation.

Furthermore, line managers have a high impact on firms. The role they perform in executing the activities of the organization and also in cooperation, communication, motivation and development has a major influence on the growth and performance of the organisation. On the downside, a lot of line managers in organisation still lack the skills and competence in order to perform their duties effectively. There is a need for proper development and training of line managers if organisations seek excellent performance.

It was evident that the transformational and transactional, situational, and task-oriented leadership styles (autocratic) were the types of styles practiced by the companies studied and also, individual managers vary in the type of leadership styles which they choose to lead which is most often different from the style adopted by the organisation. However, line manager’s styles have an influence on employees’ performance. This was mainly subjected to the relationship; they build with employees, and employee engagements. On the contrary, it was also noted that training and development activities were not found to be a constant activity conducted by line managers to employees as employees complained about training not being effective. The disagreement between managers and employees implies that no strong policy has been made to implement the necessity of training and development of employees. The more developed employees are, the higher their performance which also implies how effective managers have been in their duties.

The effectiveness of line managers is crucial to every organizational success. It is encouraging to know that line managers in organizations are effective, considering the high rate of underperformance, tribalism, corruption, hardship that surround the environment of every organization. Line managers have been able to show commitment and work collectively with HR, staff and clients in order to have an impact on the organization’s growth. Their effectiveness varies from one firm to another, which highly depends on the type of resources put in place by the organization so as to aid line managers to work efficiently. Although the challenges facing line managers in firms are enormous, there is still hope that a lot of organization will realize the importance of these personnel and make more effort on continuous development and training. The key to the future of organizational success is working cooperatively with line managers and investing more on them.

Conclusively, employees are very important personnel in the organization, and their role is highly needed in performing the daily activities of the organization. These individuals aspire to achieve high career either in their field of work or elsewhere. Their ability to perform well in their job depends on their leader and the method in which they are led. From the analysis of responses, all five participants stated that their style of leadership has a fundamental influence on their employees’ performance. It has enabled them build trusting relationship, where they can work easily without much pressure. However, they expressed different views regarding if their leadership involve staff engagement.

 

 

References

Derue, D.S., Nahrgang, J. D., Wellman, N. and Humphrey, S. E. (2011) ‘Trait and Behavioral Theories of Leadership’,  Personnel Psychology, 64, pp. 7-52.

Griffith, D. A. And Hoppner,  J. J. (2013) ‘Global marketing managers: Improving global marketing strategy through soft skill development’, International Marketing Review, 30  (1), pp.21 – 41.

Jones, C. and Pound, L. (2008) Leadership and Management in Early Years. England: Open University Press.

Luis, R. V. (2010) Management Skills and Leadership Techniques. Spain: Ideaspropias.

McLean, J. (2005) ‘Management and Leadership dispelling the myths’, The British Journal of Administrative Management, 16.

Nahavadi, A. (2006) The Art and Science of Leadership. NJ: Pearson.

Northouse, P.G. (2010) Leadership: Theory and Practice. 5th ed. London: Sage.

Pathak, A., Bhagat, R.S.  and Kashlak, R. J. (2009)  International management: Managing in a diverse and dynamic global environment. London: McGraw Hill.

Phills, J. A. (2005) ‘Leadership matters or does it’, Leader to Leader, 36, p. 46.

Tewari, R. and Sharma, R. (2012) ‘Managerial skills for managers in the 21st century’, Social Sciences Research,  1(3).

Thomas, G., Martin, R. and Riggio, R. E. (2013) ‘Leading groups: Leadership as a group process’, Group Processes Intergroup Relations, 16 (3), pp. 3-16.

Western,  S. (2008) Leadership: A Critical Text.  London: Sage.

Yulk, G. (2006) Leadership in Organization. 6th ed. NJ: Pearson.

 

 

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