Leadership Role Business | Leadership Definition | Leadership Skills

Leadership Role Business | Leadership Definition | Leadership Skills

Today, most organizations do not function the same way as they did ten or maybe twenty years back. Today, most organizations feel the need to be responsive and flexible to the changing marketplace as well as the global economic environment. To be responsive to the marketplace, an organization needs to undergo timely changes or transformations. For the smooth transformation or change within any organization, it is important to hand over the responsibility to a reliable leader as leaders play a critical role in the success of any transformational program. If the leader does not have the ability to display result-oriented behavior or action during the crucial phase when the organization is witnessing a change, then he/she may cause a great deal of wastage of energy, money and time and will also create an additional burden on the company’s employees.(Jacobs, 1996)

About the Book

Leadership Role Business | Leadership Definition | Leadership Skills

Chapter I: Introduction Leadership Role Business

Leadership Role Business | Leadership Definition | Leadership SkillsLeadership Role Business, most organizations do not function the same way as they did ten or maybe twenty years back. Today, most organizations feel the need to be cTo be responsive to the marketplace, an organization needs to undergo timely changes or transformations. For the smooth transformation or change within any organization, it is important to hand over the responsibility to a reliable leader as leaders play a critical role in the success of any transformational program. If the leader does not have the ability to display result-oriented behavior or action during the crucial phase when the organization is witnessing a change, then he/she may cause a great deal of wastage of energy, money and time and will also create an additional burden on the company’s employees.(Jacobs, 1996)

One can easily come across countless theories of effective leadership and no single theory can be said to be completely true or effective. However, contemporary literature and research mutually state that there are some specific attributes of a leader that drive him towards bringing success to the organization when it undergoes a change or a transformation. For the organization, it is very important the leader adopts a competitive, team-based and interactive format that enables knowledge sharing as well as sharing of concepts and ideas among team members. Small-scale as well as large-scale organizations are impacted by different leadership-based aspects that play a role during the transformation.

 1.1 Purpose of Study

Before discussing what changes or transformation should an organization incorporate in its style of functioning, it is essential to understand the importance of change. First and foremost, the organization has to keep step with the ever evolving and intensely competitive environment as well as transforming business trends. Organizations feel the pressing need to alter their business strategies as per the current trends and also future predictions and upcoming technologies. For such a transformation in the core business activities to be carried out effectively, the organization would require a proficient leadership or a leader who is fully able to understand and examine the present needs of the organization and based on this analysis, provide a effective solution which is the most suitable transformation or change that the organization can adopt.(Bass, 1985)

The leader should use his vision in devising the change plan. Implementing the change effectively as conceived by the leader is also equally important. To implement the transformation, the leader should adopt an innovative, pioneering approach so that he can see his vision as successfully executed. The leader should come forward an accept a key role in the entire change process. Needless to say, he should be well aware of how important organizational change in today’s time of a volatile economy. Successful organization transformation or change can be brought out when the leader has an innovative approach and a vision.

Before a leader proceeds to bring about change or start working on the change process, it is essential that he and his team members are well aware of what kind of company or organization are they a part of.  Also, some employees have vague definitions when asked to define a leader.  Skewed perceptions of the responsibility of the leader may often lead to distress in the organization. There are several factors that can bring success or failure to an organization. However, leadership plays a major role when it comes to effectively handling change in an organization.

1.2Research Question

Internal changes affect employees the most, at the same time, employees are at the forefront on implementing change. Companywide surveys are sent out to employees each year in order to gauge employees’ perception on various factors because companies know that employees can affect how changes are implemented significantly. Different companies monitor different aspects of the organization. At Company B, the research includes

1)         The role of leadership in the times of change

2)         Employees’ perception of control over their daily tasks and their career

3)         Changes in work environment

Leadership Role Business | Leadership Definition | Leadership Skills

1.3 Objective or aim of study

In this dissertation, the aim is to analyze previous research done at Company B from 2011 to 2012. Restructuring event had occurred between 2011 and 2012 company wide survey. The changes in the results from these surveys were a direct effect and indication of how change was managed at Company B. The knowledge gained from this dissertation may potentially help Company B highly the short comings during this past restructuring even and also manage future corporate changes more smoothly.

2.1 Why vision is important for leadership?

A leader is simply defined as a person who acts a manager handling all organizational matters for the company. Though leaders, being different persons, can possess varying personality traits, characteristics or qualities, the two critical qualities in a leader are vision and innovative approach, as mentioned earlier. However, this is not to deny that other characteristics do not impact the leader’s decision making and team handling capabilities.

 It is difficult to define vision in one single sentence since it is a complex term there are multidimensional views to it. Many researchersand scholarsKouzes and Posner (2008) define vision according to their understanding. According to Kouzes and Posner (2008), vision is “an ideal and unique image of future for the common good”.

To explain in layman’s terms, vision can be described from a lesson from the cult novel Alice in Wonderland. Alice learns a life lesson when she is looking to find a way of the Wonderland but lands at a fork on the road. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” she asked the Cheshire Cat. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” the cat responded. Alice replied that she really did not much care. The smiling cat told her in no uncertain terms: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go”.

There is no one single term to describe organization. It was traditionally defined as a social unit that consisted of a group or a team of people working together to benefit the organization for a long term to ensure the organization meets the goals or the targets. For instances, service and manufacturing firms are profit-making organizations. Hospitals, schools, police departments, federal, state and local government agencies, volunteer organizations, military  unites and even retail stores are also organizations even though few of these are not profit making.(Gibson, 2008)

2.2 Critical Review of ‘Leadership’

For any organization or a business, leadership and the role played by the leaders are most significant issues in the present times. The leader is a competent individual who establishes a path or a direction for a team of individuals working towards a common goal. For the leader, the commitment comes from all the individuals of the group. The leader will them encourage all the group members to work towards achieving the chosen direction’s results. Leadership is a broad term and is judged through different concepts and angles. Traditionally, it was described as a bundle of features found in a leader. It was also known as a socially occurring phenomenon that is formed as a result of the relationship created with the different groups.

Each of the concepts used to define leadership give varying opinions about the exact definition of leadership. Defining leadership happens to be an on-going debate. The crux of this debate is whether the leader is born with the leadership qualities or he gains followers through his acts or his beliefs. Position problems will also arise within a leadership. For instance, a leader may be a person who is in charge of a particular project and will have complete authority to implement or decide. A leader may also be a person who is the face of the group who will take his directions on behalf of someone else. Contemporary literature defines leadership as a process where the person will influence a group of members towards achieving a shared goal. Another take on leadership is that it is like the Abominable Snowman. The snowman’s footprints can be seen everywhere but he is not to be seen anywhere.

When it comes to infusing a transformation or change in an organization, organizational leadership plays a pivotal role. Common people do not understand the meaning of organizational leadership. Some think it is some kind of magic possessed by one person in the organization and which is lacked by others. Organizational leadership is also not something which the boss orders and then he observes how much of it was followed or obeyed. Instead, an organizational leadership is the management’s ability to coordinate and mutually work together for protecting the benefits of the company. The management ought to start by understanding the needs of its employees and also known the targets for the company. The management should work towards maintaining a healthy balance between the two and make them work together in a cohesive environment for achieving shared goals. For an organization to evolve and cultivate new changes, organizational leadership will essay a major role. Right organizational leadership helps the organization’s members as well as different teams to combat challenges and to work to achieve the organization’s goals.(Dattaet al., 2010)

Stace and Dunphy (1993) define organization leadership as a responsible person who is capable of promoting change in the organization by his strategy and vision. The present era witnesses rapid changes in the business environment and trends. Customer’s demands are also evolving day by day. This has accentuated the importance of leadership in an organization. An organization now is eager for a strategic leadership. Such a leadership is fully capable of predicting the required changes and alterations. Such a leadership should predict the changes in advance and then work for creating the essential commitment and an appropriate atmosphere for teams and workers who understand and successfully accept the changes in the organization. Action taken by the leaders is crucial not just for effective functioning of the organization but also for the leader to survive long term in the company.

Leadership is essentially about motivating the teams and the organization to move ahead in a defined direction. If the leader is clueless about in which direction to proceed, then such a leader is of no use to the company. Hence, a leader is known by the vision he has for the organization. Vision itself, as discussed above, is judged by different angles and pictures. The organization consists of different teams and members and all these require a comprehensible view for the future that will inspire and motivate them to perform and make significant contribution in the team’s effort to accomplish the future the leader has dreamt of. Nothing but the leader’s vision will assure the teams and the members that they are making efforts  and taking the right decisions and actions that resonate with the true picture of the predicted future. Without a good vision from the leader, the organization’s members may suffer from low motivation levels.

2.3 What is the need for Innovative approach or changed leadership?

Humans and dreams share a relationship which is as old as the civilization. People have ideas and dreams. Many people dream of different things with aim to better their situation or for the benefit of their institution. However, most people fail to accomplish their dreams and are unable to pursue them in life. A leader is someone who not just has ideas and sees the dreams, but he also has the ability and vision to take these dreams forward and turn them into reality. This is what separates a leader from a dreamer. Schumann and Prestwood (2002) add “Leadership is a state of mind not a position”. Organizations are thriving in an era of uncertainty and thus at some point or the other, they will come across some unwanted or unexpected situations which they had not foreseen. This is where a capable organizational leadership will be required. A capable and competent leader can predict such unwanted circumstances and also devise strategies using his innovative approach on how to tackle such situations.

2.4 Role of Leadership in Organizational Change

Today, no organization would beg to differ that effective organizational leadership is one of the strong pillars of the overall performance of the company and transformation. An intelligent leader is defined as one who as plentiful of productive skills and has gained immense knowledge from past experiences. Thus, such a leader can effectively manage as well as efficiently execute the various tasks in the day to day functioning of the organization. If the organization is looking for effective, long-term changes, then it certainly requires effective leadership. Some motivational speakers like (Katzenbach 1995) also speak about how culture is important while approaching a sensitive issue like change or transformation in an organization. Culture can impact the efforts that the management is making to bring the change. Various kinds of culture like individualism culture, secrecy culture and even silence culture can affect the management’s efforts in different ways.(Fedor, Caldwell & Herold, 2006)

A competent leader is one who is able to manage such types of culture effortlessly. The competence of the leader is described as his ability to manage capabilities and skills of team members and their knowledge.

Leadership theories can be found in abundance and each theory states the same core definition in different words. The organizational theorist, (Northouse 2012) who have penned leadership theories will not argue to agree to the fact that an effective leadership is undoubtedly one of the most significant contributing factors to the overall success of any organization. Theories written by (Northouse 2012) mostly speak about what leadership is for any organization and what is done by leaders to make sure organizational as well as team-wise success is achieved.

It will not be wrong to say that leadership acts as a social influence in more ways than one. A very popular definition of leadership by Martin M. (1997) states “Leadership is a process of social influence by which an individual enlists the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a task or mission.”. If one were to keenly observe some of the strong points found in this definition, then it is not hard to notice that  on mission or task can be accomplished by one person who acts alone to achieve the goal. The other key point that comes out in this definition is that leadership is a interpersonal and a social process. Also, the definition points out that leadership will be implemented to achieve some defined goals of a mission or a task which are outside the group. The definition is quite a simple one and simply states that leadership revolves around leading a team of members or individual.

2.5Leadership and its relation with organizational intelligence

To understand the effectiveness of leadership in handling organizational intelligence, one can consider how the organizational intelligence is constructed for the benefit of the organizations. According to psychologist (Freedman 2001), intelligence is the capability of the human being to effectively function in a fiercely competitive world. Freedman comments that intelligent human beings are those who have immense skills and knowledge which they have acquired from their past experience. This knowledge and skills combined allows these individuals to efficiently manage all the activities of their daily life.

One aspect critical to the intelligence is the fact the world is changing every day and is dynamic in nature. Thus, the knowledge acquired as well as the skills gained by an individual may not be of much use for him to accomplish present- day challenges or overcome the hurdles. Effective intelligence is what is required to meet the modern-day challenges. Effective intelligence is simply relying on the present learning systems as well as developing sensitivity to the surrounding environment. By using the learning systems, the individual can elaborate, expand and even improve his existing skills and knowledge which can further help to study new circumstances and invent innovative solutions that will help him in stabilizing the environment.

Just like effective intelligence is practiced by a wise person, organizations should also practice same ideologies if they want to bring an effective change within. It is essential that organizations develop reliable systems internally and base these systems on the data collected from past experiences. While developing the systems internally, the organizations should also take care that they are completely sensitive to an evolving environment. The organization needs to adopt a flexible approach while developing new business systems and also acquire latest knowledge to face changes inside the organization.

The organizational intelligence can be realized only when there is effective leadership. It is the duty of every leader to create norms, rules and roles and encourage them so that they are efficiently applied to all the tasks. At the same the leader should be responsive and sensitive to change by applying different methods for problem solving, sensitivity as well as decision making that facilitate the process of change and its adaptation within the organization.

Empirical research that has been carried for more than 100 years has demonstrated some of the foundation pillars of an effective leadership mechanism.  Chemers (1997) developed the Integrative Leadership Theory in the year 1997 according to which there are 3 major elements for any leadership to be crowned as effective.

First of the elements is image management which involves creating credibility. There can be no denial about the fact the process of leadership is an outcome of social influence. When a leader wants to exert his influence, his team members or followers should readily oblige and even positively respond to their leader’s persuasion. It is the leader’s followers who will decide whether that person is credible to hold the leadership position. These followers will first compare the individual’s personal characteristics or even in public image against his beliefs and assumptions about what makes for a good leader. When making a decision on awarding a leadership status to the individual, the followers will mostly base their decision on two key elements. These are trustworthiness and competence achieved in regard to the tasks assigned. During the initial stages of a leader-protégé relationship, the followers will make their decisions on the impression and the image of the leader. However, as time progresses, the decisions are based on evaluation and experience. A leader cannot attain a leader’s status if he does not come across as a credible individual to his followers.

Another aspect while deciding a leadership position is relationship development and relationship building capacity. A leader who feels truly responsible for the work assigned will be involved in establishing a capable and motivated team of performers through right guidance and coaching. It is crucial for the leader to understand his follower’s goals as well as their needs. Each individual in the team will be require different kind of effective coaching. The leader should create a informal atmosphere with all his subordinates. A leader can truly understand his team members if he is able to think beyond his ego-defensiveness. He should base his decisions on distorted perceptions and judgments that will only help in guarding his own ego and self-esteem. Effective leadership can only thrive in a fair atmosphere which is full of justice. Once a leader starts listening to his followers and explaining why he took a certain decision and what was the base for the decision, and then it automatically lays a foundation for respect and mutual trust.

Once a leader is successful in building a team of skilled and highly motivated individuals, he should then make an effort to well coordinate the capacity and apply it efficiently to achieve the desired goals and be successful. During the deployment of resources, two process are central. Firstly, collective efficacy and credible leadership will help in maintaining attention and energy through challenging phases of goal accomplishment. Secondly, the deployment strategy chosen by the leader must completely complement the environment of the organization. The leader may choose deployment strategy like authority structure, status or a decision making procedure. The organizational environment could be a going through a change in the technological, information abundance or increased competition.

2.6 Factors that affect modern-day leadership

There are various factors that have a bearing on the current styles of leadership adopted among different organizations. First and foremost, the availability of technologically advanced communication devices proves to be a game changer. With the increased dependence on electronic forms of communication like tele-conferencing and email as well as a distributed workforce, leadership is greatly affected, especially relationships formed between leaders and their followers. It becomes even more difficult for leaders to built the credibility at the initial stages as well as to respond and judge the followers expectations and needs.

Interpersonal communication is largely affected by considering the view points, opinions as well the needs and expectations of others. Global companies are often subject to cultural and ethnic differences which can create a hindrance to effective judgment or understanding. The increased speed at which not just technological, but even economic and political changes are happening also affects understanding and judgment. As equivocality in information increases at a rapid pace, organizations feel a lot of pressure to conceive and implement suitable organizational strategies and designs that will help them achieving success in their mission.

Most leadership experts(Jue and Amato et al. 2007) are of the opinion that the biggest hurdle that leaders of today’s times face is how to effectively respond to radical changes. There is a need of in-depth research on defining how various leadership styles can adopt to radical changes in the organization. Any leadership style that adopts to a  certain school of radical change should first analyze whether the change model is well suited for effective implementation at each phase in the organization’s change process. Leaders can use the Leadership Style Inventory to better understand which phases of radical change are they well equipped or skilled to handle.

For some, change is best described as an emotional and even an illogical process. However, a leader who looks to bring change in an organization should be focusing on the human elements of the change as individuals play a critical role in the domain of intellectual resources and capital. Organizational change is a long-term and multi-faceted task. For the organization, it is essential to design a change management plan. With such a plan, the organization determines how it wishes to progress from its current state to a future one which it desires for its growth and progress. Thus, when an organization is intending to bring change in its functioning structure, it can always be a planned change as it will serve a link between the various aspects of the process of change, allocating responsibilities, setting up timelines and priorities and creating new mechanisms for revision and review whenever required. For an organization’s change management process to be effective, it requires in-depth planning.

The planning procedure to implement the change should start much in advance before the changes are brought into effect. Consultation should be carried out before any changes are implemented.

To successfully complement any change action or change management strategy, proper planning is necessary and should be defined within a set budget. Apart from tackling these key constraints, the leaders instrumental to bring the change should also serve as a guiding force to the employees to keep them motivated for the work and thus, ensuring maximum benefits are produced out of the change adapted. Thus, it is clear that leaders play a critical role as compared to the organization’s managers when the change process needs to successfully implemented.

2.7 Change process

According to (Kritsonis 2005) Lewinfirst presented the concept of change as a process in 1940’s. He divided the process of change in three parts- 1) Unfreezing- This stage speaks about one’s willingness to change which means the leader will work in establishing a common view or point of understanding among the team members. This shared view will be that change is inevitable and that the members are ready to give up on the present state of convenience or comfort to gain better benefits in the future. Second is the Moving stage. When members are at this stage, they should progress ahead for adapting a different set up. Lewin states that it is at this stage when people become the most fearful since they have to abandon their present zone of comfort. The third is the Refreezing stage. At this stage, the members will accept the change as the organization’s norm and now, the change is incorporated in the routine process for the team members.

Lewin has also stated that common sense of all the leaders might work to increase the pressure to bring about the necessary change, there are also equally powerful efforts directed to oppose the change and which serve as a resisting force. This is dangerous as it not just halts the process of change but also gives rise to unnecessary tension among different parties.

For the change process to be completely successful, all team members should be sensitized to the fact that the organization or the project is in a need for change. The leaders should first entirely assess the present situation before beginning the process to implement any sort of change in the organization. Most of the times, such an assessment done by the leaders takes a longer time as what the management must have expected.

The great leadership theorist Galpin (1996) devised a strategic point-wise plan which leaders should adopt to bring about an effective change process. First step is to precisely define why change is needed. During the initial stage, the leader should make every effort to make his team members understand why change is required after he as assessed the present situation in the organization. The second step is to develop a clear vision about the result of the change. If the leader wants to bring a successful change process, he should have a long term vision about the consequences or the outcomes of the desired change in the organization.

The third step will be to influence the working teams to invent experiment and implement the planned changes in the organization. If the leader wishes to get maximum results from the change, he should keep on motivating teams which are capable of designing, testing and then implementing appropriate strategies which can assure him that the change will be effective in bringing the desired outcome.

The next step is to clearly address the cultural and moral aspects of the organization which can help and also sustain the organizational change. Any process of effective change should be based on integrating with the organization’s culture as this can help to enable the change which will eventually prepare it to face challenges in the future. The step ahead is to develop the  key skills and attributes that will lead the effort for change from the front. If the leader wants to successfully complete the process of change, he should incorporate certain skills and attributes.

Is Leader an agent of change?

A leader is simply known as someone who possesses the power or the authority to control or handle a group of members of people and get them organized to accomplish a pre-defined goal or an objective. The leader will nurture a clear, long-term vision for the growth of the organization. Leadership is essentially the quality possessed by the leader through which he feels confident of leading the group or the team. There are six main personality traits found in a competent leader. These are dedication, fairness, creativity, hunger for learning, psychologically open-minded, realism, tenacity and drive, ambition and self-confidence. Leadership also involves taking the opinion of other team members during the decision making process.

Another leadership theoris,t Gibbons (1992) states that for any person to assume a leadership role in a present day organization, he should be a teacher, an architect and a steward. These three qualities found in the person will help to create a clear picture of the vision, mission and values, help to identify various strategies, business structure, policies, to generate a reliable process of learning, to facilitate team members in enhancing their mental power and encouraging them to think and perceive in a systematic manner.

We all have heard about Apple founder Steve Jobs’ success story. His style of leadership was based on two main elements-  1)Perseverance is the key 2) Innovation gives birth to leadership. He always believed that persistence should always be followed if the leader wishes to be truly successful. The style of leadership adopted by Jobs was a task oriented leadership. Another key element seen in his leadership style was that it was a people oriented leadership. By stating that innovation drives leadership, it implies that leaders takes each every team member into confidence during the crucial decision making process.

With such a mature attitude exhibited by the leader, it inevitably leads to a sense of security and belongingness among the team members. It will also encourage the team members to successfully accomplish the tasks that have assigned to them. These leads to increased efficiency and thus, more productive results. For the change process to be completely effective, trust and charismatic leadership in the organization’s top management is essential. These two factors are closely related to behavior that favors change in the organization, as well monitoring the management level, anticipators and the department wise connection.

The leader is undoubtedly the most significant tool for effective change. It is the wisdom, insight, spirit, values, compassion and the learning skills of the leader that play an important role in the capability to lead a group of people to accept redesign and change in the organization. The kind of behavior exhibited by the leader will play a pivotal role in bringing an effective change in the company.

While responding to the modern socio-economic atmosphere for the successful development of the organization, the leader’s attitudes, feelings and thoughts are proportionate to the feelings and thoughts communicated both outside as well as inside of the organization. It is also essential that the leader completely understands the reasons behind the failure to implement change in the organization. A leader should first make himself completely capable to facilitate long-lasting change.

  1. Change management

Change management is one of the key areas which require focus if the business needs to grow in a healthy manner. In a highly competitive business world, managing change effectively is essential if the organization wants to survive in the long-term. Change management principally revolves around focusing on identity, people and the different patterns for human interactions. Effectiveness in handling change management will greatly define how competent a leader is in the twenty-first century. Thus, the modern leaders should not just possess a strong vision, but they should also be motivational and skillful. Any change which is abruptly discontinued will severely affect the leadership capabilities.

The leader’s duties and responsibilities are not over even after the change has been implemented successfully. It is one of the constants which everyone anticipates at some point or the other. However, in the field of business, it is crucial that the organization establishes a sound change management approach with the help of which they can work to reduce the unexpected as well as some expected changes. By following this, the organization is well prepared to face any challenges and not get out of track if any unexpected change comes their way. Change management can be defined in different ways. Firstly, the definition would speak about making appropriate changes in a well-managed and well-planned manner. Once the changes are implemented, the next step would involve managing the responses to various changes which are somewhat controlled by the organization. The task of change management also involves managing the effects of change seen on different people within the organization.

Another definition cites task of handling change as a field of professional practice.  Under this, the organization handles the general change process that is executed in a professional manner by the change agents. Another definition states the task of change management as an institution of knowledge. According to Higgs and Rowland (2000), it is well of knowledge that comprises of methods, models, techniques, skills and all other kinds of knowledge that are involved in establishing any change process or practice.  Some also define change management task as a control mechanism. According to this definition, managing change involves monitoring and controlling processes, requirements, standards as well as procedures which help in bringing effective change in the day to day systems of the organization.

As stated above, the most critical element for a successful organizational change is right leadership.  In any organizational community seeking, leaders serve as the role models. Each of the styles defined has a different impact on the task of change management. Prolific leadership theorists,(Bolden and Gosling et al. 2003) stated that Transformational leadership will center on organizational growth and development while servant leadership is focused around its followers’ development. The present day business environment is a dynamic one and to develop strong followership and to effectively deal with change management, the best leadership is the Transformational Leadership, according to (Bolden and Gosling et al. 2003).

There are different skills required for effective change management. Some of the skills are marketing, development of leadership, sales ability as well as excellent communication skills. When we speak of leadership development, it involves the top management’s ability to win the trust of the company’s employees. The sales ability and marketing skills are required to make the followers aware of the results of the change while communication skills are essential to increase support when intending to bring a change. When the individual lacks any of these skills, it can have a negative impact on the efficacy of the process of change management in an organization.

If the organization wants to fully explore its competency to obtain the intended outcome, then the fundamental management and leadership practices play an integral role to achieve the desired results. The change management process is governed by competent leadership. A critical part of change management involves creating a new system and then adapting the innovative designs and approaches.  The transformational leadership style as the most reliable one since it is known to have the capability to fully promote change in the organization.

If the organization desires to bring a long-term, strategic change, then it requires visionary leaders or visionary transformers. The present era witnesses rapid strides in technological development. Every organization struggles hard to race ahead of its competitors. To gain an edge over the competition, it is required that organizations adapt to change easily. The challenges posed by the current century require that organizations first position themselves as a learning institution which will lead them to becoming a world-class one.

If an organization wishes to transform from a traditional to a learning-based one, one key element required is reliable and competent leadership. The leadership should be such that it clearly states with is the vision and the mission for the company. The leadership also motivates all its employees to meet their targets and helps them to feel comfortable in learning and an innovative environment.

What role does the team leader play in implementing change?

The role played by the team leader in implementing change will vary to a great extent on the impact as well as the source of the change in the organization. If the initiation for the change has been from the internal team and will only affect that particular team, then the team leader has a pivotal role to play. However, if the change has been commenced by someone from the senior management and is likely to affect the entire organization, then the leader’s role will primarily consist of communicating, participating as well as supporting the change initiated by the seniors.

It is the role of the team leader to successfully contribute to the change initiation by adapting different methods. The team leader should actively participate in surveys seeking employee opinion. The team leader should also submit innovative ideas on a continuous basis to the manager. The team leader should portray himself as a proactive member of the team and should take lead during the team briefings by floating suggestions, leading brainstorming sessions and participating in debates and discussions.

It is also the responsibility of the team leader to effectively communicate the extent as well as the purpose of the desired change to the team. The team leader also supports his team during the complete change process since there will be some members in the team who may resist or fear the change during different stages of change process. Before the team leader decides what to communicate to his team members, he should take into consideration different elements of the team that will be impacted. The most important element is the people who will be impacted by the desired change and how does the team leader expect that these people will respond to the change.

The other element is the tasks. This will include the individual tasks performed by the staff, including their responsibilities and roles. The team leader has to determine whether the current decision making process needs to be changed and whether the team members should acquire new skills.

Another element to be considered is the how the organization is structured. This includes the specialized tasks, departments, decision making as well as procedures and rules. Structural changes can impact the departmental divisions as well as promotions and demotions. The last element to be considered is technology. This includes the methods, techniques as well as the systems used to carry out the tasks.

To ensure that the team leader is giving the right message in an effective manner to the team members, he should be involved actively in briefing sessions that specifically target the change issue. Such briefing sessions will provide the team leader with all information he requires and also gives him and his peers a platform to ask questions and raise doubts and examine reactions from the team.

Art of Leadership

When we speak about leadership, it is necessary to understand that leadership does not just revolve around leaders.  No leader can exist when there are no followers. Leadership is more than a term and it is best defined as a social phenomenon. Thus, it becomes the duty of every leader to create an imagined community through which followers can connect with him and also feel a part of the imaginary constitution. When considering this, it is critical that the followers imagine themselves as a part of the community. This is because only a few followers personally know their peers in the community which prevents them from knowing whether they share anything in common with their fellow members or whether they have anything commonly shared by their leader.

It may even be ironic to state but the fact remains that sometimes, these imaginary communities have a stronger appeal than the real communities. By citing an example of an imaginary community, it implies that fellow members may feel that they have a lot in common with an imagined community since they are not in an intimate relationship with the community as compared to the real one. One can consider the example of shifting house. If the person is intended to move somewhere locally, where his ‘real’ community resides, then he may well make a decision to not move to a particular area in the town, or find a house on a specific street and move as neighbors to ‘them’, since he already knows what type of people are living there.(B.M Bass 1985)

On the other hand, if the person is willing to move house into a new state which may be thousand or a more miles away, then he will be more happy since he has no idea what kind of people are living there. Thus, the person will create a random destination in his imagination which is finds pleasant as compared to moving to an already known area or a destination. At the same time, when the user wants to support is national community against ‘intruders’ or foreigners who apparently intruded the country of which the person was not aware before the invasion, he will start imagining many common aspects with his fellow citizens, as compared to the ‘enemy’. This happens even if the culture and the lifestyle of the person correlate strong with the ‘enemy’ than with his fellow nationals.

Based on this ‘objective’ relatively seen across different social segments, that made Karl Marx to deem that the unity found in the identical social classes across different countries is strong as compared to the unity found in varying social classes of the same nation. Marx was not completely right in his statement. This is because the unity among the social classes is created in the imagination and is not automatically reflected through the possession.

Book Club Resources
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