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Organization Behavior and Management

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“Knowledge is not the only prerequisite for successful leadership”. Dennison and Shenton explain “the ability to convert knowledge into skills appropriate to the situation is a necessary adjunct to any knowledge”.

(Dennison and Shenton 1987, p. 122)

At times, due to lack of knowledge team leaders actually lessen the efficiency of the people who report to them. This lack of knowledge lead to blocking initiatives, provoking ambitions, and in some cases by petrifying their subordinates into taking no risks whatever which results in team members quitting their jobs.

The knowledge that leaders should have–is almost always thought of as more significant as a determinant of leadership effectiveness than the progression of leading. Such things as knowing the state-of-the-art theories and practices in a profession; considerate human behavior, situations, environmental stress, and future trends; having a grasp of the technical information desired in an organization; knowing the critical data needed to introduce change; and even an instinctive understanding of what all these new ideas mean for the profession or organization one is leading–these are the real core of leadership, the stuff that separates the real people from the quiche makers.

The knowledge we lack is as significant as the knowledge we have. On a day-to-day basis the leaders has to hold back from employing what they know, and occasionally has to profess not knowing as a strategy for getting things to happen. Not knowing – is mainly troublesome both for the practitioner and the people they can be working with.

‘Knowing how’ is also necessary. Leaders are responsible for performance. Monitoring and estimate generate an ongoing, ever changing form of knowledge. It is the product of reflection and the linking of hard facts to theory and a collective vision that produces useful information for the leader. Such an approach is mainly relevant when a subject leader attempts to elucidate how assessment data relate to teaching methodologies employed; an essential part of realistic target-setting.

Bennet et al. (1994) conclude that successful organizational leaders need greater specialist knowledge and a broader range of interrelated interests than other team members if they are to gain the respect required to lead. The knowledge, in all its forms and types, is insufficient to form leaders, but is an fundamental part of leadership. The knowledge permits for a vision to be articulated and spread all through the team.

Leaders chart the path for the organization. It is their job to recognize relevant trends and organizational strengths and weaknesses, to investigate resources, and to determine organizational strategy. (It is not completely their responsibility, of course.) Employees look to their leaders to set the strategy and communicate it to them. They want to know that they are in good hands, and that the people running the ship know what they are doing.

The ability to precisely assess the situation and come up with suitable pathways is not a simple skill. It is often not an easy one to learn. It needs a broad range of experiences, wisdom, and finding, and an understanding of the relationship between cause and effect in enormously complex situations. It involves the capability to understand and use the concept of leverage, whereby leaders establish which actions will have the greatest positive effect. It involves an understanding of the significance of staying the course, and knowing while to stick to a strategy and when to abandon it.

Many CEOs are successful leaders without strong strategic leadership skills, mainly in situations in which a change in strategic direction is not necessary. This is often the case with second and third-generation family members running the family business, who do a fine job so long as the basic dynamics of the business don’t change. while the competitive landscape changes or when new environmental circumstances come into play, their capability to respond effectively is often limited. Do not presume that just because a leader was able to navigate through one set of circumstances successfully that he or she will be successful doing it under a diverse set of circumstances. The best leaders can do so.

Managing change is a detachment of leadership, and represents the internal side of strategy. It involves understanding how the organization wants to change, and developing and implementing the plan to do so. It needs long-range perspective, strong influence skills, and a commander in chief’s understanding of how to wage a war. Leaders require developing allies, creating communication strategies, developing campaigns, choosing their battles, and joining gains.

Effective change leaders know they can’t change everything at once. Change typically occurs through a series of incremental steps, few of which are by them revolutionary. From each step you take the next one leading you toward your eventual destination. You choose different issues at different times, develop allies for the occasion, and develop policies that convene the particular need at the particular time.

Basically, Leadership thinking has been conquered by three interconnected approaches: a focus on the personal qualities and characteristics of leaders (traits); a focus on the recognition of the features of effective leadership behavior (style); and contingency thinking about leadership that can be distinguished in the phrase ‘it all depends on the situation’ – in this type of situation, that approach is perhaps the best.

Contingency theories of leadership have sought to recognize the characteristics of situations in which diverse cognitive traits and leadership styles are found to be most effective. The situational variables which modest the effectiveness of different leadership approaches are therefore placed towards the centre of understanding leadership. Whether leadership is seen in terms of detailed characteristics, effective behavior, or the situations within which leadership is performed, these approaches are all concerned with the development of individual leadership skills and knowledge.

In the past the accountability for managing the organization’s investment in human capital has often been left to the human resources department. Given low unemployment levels, changing demographics, shorter employment cycles, less employee loyalty, and work that needs a more educated workforce, leaders are increasingly being held responsible to be more involved all through the entire employment cycle, from hiring to retiring.

A leader’s success today is dependent upon the ability to select, evaluate, place, empower, and keep a team of individuals who can execute strategy and plans to make certain growth, profitability, and competitiveness. It also needs knowing the right time to terminate employees when they are no longer serving themselves or the organization. More specially, this set of skills includes.

Selecting. Leaders need to hire the right people. They have to discern what they require, find qualified candidates, draw them, assess them precisely, make the best choice, negotiate terms, and productively close the deal.

Evaluating. They need to precisely assess the capabilities and potentials of their subordinates. This includes understanding subordinates’ ability on important competencies, skill strengths and deficits, personalities, emotional barriers, career aspirations, motivations, emotional needs, efficiency, and potential. Through this understanding leaders make the best use of their resources.

Developing. Leaders use their capability to accurately assess subordinates’ strengths and weaknesses to develop their competence and their performance. A leader not only evaluates subordinates’ performance; a leader helps them to identify the root cause of their performance difficulties and works with the employees to cause effective, cost-efficient solutions. A leader thinks about career opportunities that can help people develop their competencies and their skills, and provides continuing feedback to let people know how they are doing and how the leader wants them to develop.

Placing. Leaders put the right people in the right jobs. They also look for special projects or provisional assignments within the organization to leverage employees’ talents, exploit their contribution to the organization, and ensure they have development opportunities. Placement needs an understanding of the subordinate and the organization, as well as the capability to communicate and influence people in a way that benefits the organization, the leader, and the individual.

Empowering. Leaders give as much accountability to their subordinates as they can handle, and often reevaluate whether they can handle more. They expect their subordinates to make mistakes as they take risks to elongate themselves, and they use mistakes as learning opportunities to further their growth. They are considerate regarding the accountability they delegate, and manage the risk to make sure that mistakes do not result in excessive damage to the organization.

Retaining. Leaders make sure that esteemed subordinates stay in the organization. They serve their subordinates well and do their best to make sure that their personal and professional needs are met in the organization, together with those for recognition, challenge, compensation, career opportunity, and growth and development.

Terminating. Leaders frequently weigh a complex set of factors to determine whether or when it is suitable to terminate a subordinate.

Leadership skills and knowledge are applied through the capability of the individual to influence others by inducing them to behave in a sure way. Influence often takes place in a group context and the influence on the behavior of the group is towards the fulfillment of group tasks or goals (Bryman, 1996).

There is much to condemn in these approaches, whether this is the limited descriptive power and ‘artificial rigor’ inherent in the recognition of traits, or the detachment of style from the social and structural dimensions of leadership processes (Knights and Willmott, 1992).

In the last decade, the development of a ‘new’ approach to leadership stressed the individual leader in the company of others or followers, and in relation to the formation of corporate culture. The new leader is a charismatic individual, “someone who defines organizational realism through the articulation of a vision, which is a reflection of how he or she describes the organization’s mission, and the values that will support it. Leaders therefore have an integrative role: they can create and change organizational culture through the transmission of cultural values. Leaders do not directly influence, rather they are managers of meaning” (Bryman, 1996, 280), and the focus is on empowering the troops in order to command them.

The role of the leader therefore is to ‘discern what puts others into motion’ (Avery, 1999) rather than to attempt to influence. a variety of competencies that relate to the management of meaning and establish the success of the new leader have been outlined (Bennis, 1999:39).

First, the leader understands and practices the ‘power of appreciation’ or the overt acknowledgement of the efforts of others.

Second, she or he keeps reminding people of what’s important – because ‘a powerful enough vision can transform what would otherwise be routine and drudgery into collectively focused energy’.

Third, the leader generates and sustains trust. This involves distinctive behaviors – constancy, caring, fairness, candor and authenticity.

Finally, leader and followers are ‘intimate allies’, and this is made possible when the leader is ‘not the loudest voice but the most attentive ear’.

The leader has been seen as ‘a facilitator who develops the group and its members. As a result leadership is dispersed throughout the team’ (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993).

Leaders therefore ‘develop capacity in others … they turn their constituents into leaders’ (Kouzes and Posner, 1993).

This particular definition of ‘dispersed’ leadership underlines participation – employees share in decision-making and takes responsibility for their own work, thereby building the capacity for self-leadership all through the organization. This has led to the growth of ‘self-managed’ teams in organizations. Increased independence to influence projects, products and decisions within a self-managed workforce is seen to form greater internal entrepreneurship, productivity and job satisfaction. The extent to which teams are self-managed is debatable; however, the emphasis of new leadership is less on explicit command and control and more on the entrepreneurial, action-focused team leader. In theory, self-managed teams should have no leading leadership style, but will contain a range of styles matched to particular tasks and projects.

Bryman (1996:286) has noted that ‘there is a kind of sanguinity in the view that people are able to carve out spheres of interpretive autonomy which distance them from the mind-games of leaders who effort to control what others think and feel’.

A more critical perspective on the leader’s role in relation to organizational culture is not that the leader is a source of compromise and integration, but of differentiation. Leaders are dispersed through the organization and can engineer particular sub-cultures. Dispersed leadership can (also) be viewed as a political technique for attaining greater employee output (Palmer and Hardy, 2000).

Dispersed leadership does not essentially dissolve hierarchy, but permits it to evolve, becoming less overt, obscuring the boundaries of expectations and power relations, and promoting’re-centralization’ under a smaller group of influential individuals. Despite the notions of fairness that are explicit in the discourse of dispersed leadership, fundamental structures of power can restrain its implementation. The desire to collaborate cannot be uncoupled in organizations from the coercion to dominate.

Theories of leadership have not reflected very extremely on the relations of power through which leadership knowledge and action are constantly expressed, limited and developed. Critical perspectives on leadership therefore see normal views as ‘implicit in political bias’ and, as a consequence, they exercise a conservative influence on the field (Knights and Willmott, 1992). For instance, the consent of followers is fundamental to the enactment of a leadership role. However, the consent of followers can be precarious and is often proficient through the exercise of power.

As Knights and Willmott (1992) point out, consensus is frequently the product of force. They prefer to find out into leadership as a practical achievement, studied as a core phenomenon, with a focus on leadership action. The particular importance is to highlight aspects of social processes and relations and the actions of subjects, which can be interpreted as leadership. Such an approach acknowledges organizations as ground of confusion and ambiguity. One of the ways in which leadership might be understood, therefore, is as a source of vagueness: leaders send incongruous and confusing signals through the organization, undermining permanence as well as contributing to it.

Thus, key team processes that have to be managed for effective team performance comprise task and work flow, communications and influence, and interpersonal relations (McGrath, 1984). Hackman (1987) refers to the goals of process management as linking the modulation of team member effort around individual and team tasks, including the application of member knowledge. It also calls for the development or choice of performance strategies.

Teams in work organizations are entrenched social systems; they are part of and are inclined by the larger organizational context. This implies still another set of what are called boundary role processes that must be managed (Ancona & Caldwell, 1992; Klimoski & Zukin, 1998). Particularly, all teams must be concerned with their capacity to manage intrusions and disruptions (that is, buffering), with relating to others who are not part of the team (known as boundary spanning), and with maintaining a sense of reliability or social identity with the team among its members (bringing up the boundaries).

Boundary management would not be difficult if team members did all their work while in the presence of other team members. likewise, issues of commitment and loyalty would not be great if an individual belonged to only one team. But organizational realities are such that these conditions not often obtain. Most team members experience what is called partial inclusion, meaning that they often work individually and are rewarded for subtask performance.

Moreover, members naturally belong to more than one organizational social unit. Indeed, social identity and boundary issues are expected to become even more important to address as information technology makes geographical dispersion and asynchronous interaction and explicit participation in teams feasible (Townsend, De Marie, & Hendrickson, 1998). Such arrangements give very few opportunities for team members and leaders to use customary mechanisms for building and maintaining consistency or social unity.

Team management systems comprise established protocols for information acquisition and distribution, particularly with regard for operational feedback to team members concerning performance and accomplishments (Kozlowski, 1998). This details the kind of reports that are generated, by whom and for whom. It also entails programs for compensation or the allowance of sanctions. Here, any number of practices might be adopted as these would underline the attainment of short-or long-term goals and focus on individual or team-level accomplishments.

Hackman (1987) stresses as a management prerogative the design of systems set up for training or for otherwise enhancing the skill or knowledge base of team members.

The leader sets the stage for the size, compositional, and structural aspects of team life. However, he or she is far more potent as an organizer of social processes. More specifically, current thinking concerning leadership in team settings highlights both interpersonal (dyadic) and team-level dynamics. Indeed, much teamwork in organizations is done as individuals or in subgroups. In either event, the relationship that the leader develops and retains regarding each team member as an individual is significant for ensuring work effort and performance.

Thus, patterns of communication and the flow of work at this level become key processes to control. Ethical and principled leadership, that is, relationships based on mutual respect and the development of trust with each member is significant.

In this regard, the use and distribution of power and influence between the leader and amongst team members will be associated with the effective management of team processes. as the level of autonomy granted by the leader can be associated with team member maturity, there is sufficient evidence that the leader is in a key position to create conditions for subordinates’ feelings of empowerment (Avolio, 1998).

To a team leader, team process management entails activities as mundane as controlling the frequency of meetings, their agenda, the use of outsiders as sources of information, and, more reflective, the way that meetings are conducted. Meeting management skills and preferences will have a strong collision on the extent that team members come to share a common ground, contribute distributed information in an appropriate way, protract effort, stay focused on team task goals, coordinate their contributions, come to feel that the group is influential, and, after the conclusion of the meeting, stay committed to executing the team’s decisions (Klimoski & Mohammad, 1994; Littlepage, Robinson, & Reddington, 1997; Nutt, 1989).

But here too the leader modulates the degree to which he or she assumes total responsibility for team process management. In this regard, it is a design choice, as team members individually or jointly are usually capable of such activities. Indeed, the functional perspective of team leadership needs only that the leader ensures that such processes are in place and managed well and not that the leader performs them openly (Fleishman & Zaccaro, 1992). In fact, this is where team member participation can be encouraged, typically to mutual advantage (West & Anderson, 1996).

The team leader is also accountable for the development of individual team members. Depending on circumstances, the time presented, and the values and needs of the leader, attention to individual subordinates and their development needs can be considerable. There is ample evidence to propose that leaders do distinguish among their direct reports when it comes to relationship building and management (Liden, Wayne, & Stilwell, 1993).

In fact, it appears that power sharing and subordinate prudence are both tools that a manager uses and an appearance of mutual influence. But whether personalized attention is always a conscious phenomenon or in reaction to either the subordinate’s or the leader’s needs is not always apparent. The point here is that the quality of relationships is obviously under the potential control of the leader.

Whether relating to an individual team member or to the team as a complete, there is ample proof that the personal style and qualities of the leader make a difference in terms of how team processes are carried out. Differences comprise the leader’s own work habits and effectiveness and the kind of standing he or she enjoys (Yukl, 1994).

Some of the effect is due to social imitation and learning as the team members accept the leader as a model (Weiss, 1990). Much of it derives from the expectations that the leader communicates. The leader’s words and deeds entail rewards or sanctions for what is considered appropriate behavior in the workplace (Graen & Scandura, 1987).

A natural consequence of the intrinsic human desire to learn is the yearning to know and understand things. Uncertainty is uncomfortable; not knowing and not understanding are upsetting. Unfortunately, despite our best attempts to comprehend the present and be able to envisage the future, it seems to be intrinsically unpredictable. Physicists can approximate the average position of an electron, but cannot find its exact path. Chaos is an innate aspect of our universe.

It is the job of leaders to think, act, and manage in composite, ambiguous situations. In the complex world in which we live today, we cannot perhaps know enough to control everything to our satisfaction. In the world of climatology there is the phenomenon called the butterfly effect, which is the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan can alter the weather in New York City through the effect of the tiny breeze its wings generate.

The impact of a leader’s actions can at times seem inconsequential in an ever-changing, complex business environment. Yet, it is those small day to-day efforts that can have a far-reaching impact on the business. The capability to continue to assess a situation, make hypotheses, test assumptions, take a position and abandon it when it is no longer effective, along with the capability to maintain a sense of humor, are all skills to be called upon to manage uncertainty.

One other significant facet of managing ambiguity is serving others do the same. Because the desire is so strong in several people to live in a world of black and white where the rules are defined and causes are known, leaders should be able to help others function well in the fluid, continually changing reality in which we live.

Moreover, the construct of culture, usually used to describe societies, is helpful in typifying the nature of organizational life (Deal & Kennedy, 1982; Denison, 1996). It also can be applied to work teams. In this context, team culture refers to the nature of the values and assumptions that are shared amongst team members. These can relate to the meaning of work, ethics, and interpersonal justice.

Culture is typically affected by the personal qualities of team members—their needs, values, and beliefs. It can also be formed by leaders and affected by the work to be done. Culture is often reflected in the rules, standards, and protocol that team members follow. Moreover, it typically has a profound effect on the quality of team life, affecting such diverse matters as team processes and members’ work fulfillment and commitment to the team.


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