Leadership is the manner or the process through which a person influences others in an organization to achieve pre-defined objectives in a cohesive and coherent manner, (Northouse's 2007). The aforementioned leaders got to have all the necessary knowledge and skills. It involves setting directions and visions for a group of people that should be followed as the spear headers. It sets a direction or a vision to be followed but it doesn't really consider how it is going to be achieved.
Leaders should express themselves fully, know what they want and communicate it to others for cooperation (Bennis 1983)
Management is the process of controlling or directing people and resources in laid down principles.
Traumatic changes in a business environment occur because a business doesn't function in a vacuum and it has to act and react to whatever happens outside and inside walls.
The leader's acts of management have got to have strength and tenacity to manage/ scale through hard times. Every manager has been put in a very disastrous end especially because of competition that is soaring each day. This leads to companies feeling skeptical since there are unseen threats, exaggerated innovation and inventions, increased customer expectations, great demand and need for social responsibility
Good leaders are made and not born through a series of self study, thorough training, education, and experience (Jago 1982).
Drivers of change in business environment
Change in business environment can be attributed to three major aspects:
Technology has really affected the business environment in that information can be relayed and disseminated quickly and with pin point precision. There is a cost of these technologies that are high speed digital and cable and video transmission, hardware that produce information in a quick and easy manner. Software are also developed that makes data preparation easy. With the advent of these, space, time and other temporal issues have been eliminated virtually or in totality.
Globalization has also seen so many changes come to be. These include faster and more reliable modes of transportation coupled with instantaneous information thus market the world a great market as well as making it a global village. It is easy buying things from foreign countries just like it is in a local store. There is availability of good but sometimes expensive information. If for example a company makes a mistake, other companies can learn about it and act squarely against it thus putting the company in jeopardy.
Thirdly there is increase in concentration of power in market investors' mainly large pension. If these players are really displeased they can put other companies in jeopardy.
All these factors bring something out that there is access to somewhat inexpensive information and increased competition that leads to the following marketing conditions:
A requirement of faster and proper and more decisive action by the management since if they delay the business position could be picked by another. A mobile service provider has to constantly make decisions otherwise the competitor will make that decision and be at a competitive edge.
Constant emergence of new companies and industries that are better and enthusiastic. This is because entrant costs are lower thus kind of flooding market
There is emergence of new professionals and services. This is because the rate of innovation and invention is very high meaning that an organization has to keep its ears open for such emergencies.
In the current business environment, there is increased uncertainty and explicit presence of risk. The risks of doing business nowadays are increasing since there is a lot of competition.
The government and legal institutions have not been left out in that they have increased regulations. This is because the environment has to be taken care of and with the great numbers of investor it can soon be dilapidated.
The customer has become the focus of attention. If a company doesn't satisfy ac customer they can easily divert to others goods or services form other companies that are appealing.
Typical leadership challenges.
Leaders in an organization are faced by numerous challenges that they have to overcome if they have to put the organization in a better position. Some Internal Factors: are as follows:
Retaining the right people in the organization, acquiring these people is not hard that really keeping them in the company. Keeping them is determined by facts like if the organization can enumerate them well, if the working environment is conducive and fact about the future like whether there are future benefits.
Dealing with personality conflicts among the workers. Some workers may not have streamlined behaviors as expected by the other team members. This would lead to conflicts especially if the other members can't cope well with them.
Challenge of making people step p to a greater personal responsibility and initiative. Workers should have the company's mission and vision in their hearts so that goals can be achieved. If they have to be constantly pushed then the leaders will always have challenging moments as they take the lead.
Creation and maintenance of team environment in the organization can be a difficult task if the members can't really do it. The leaders sometimes have to at the tail of the teams to create cohesiveness.
Development of others leaders is also a challenge in that to enhance perpetuity of the company future leaders have to done. Choosing the right candidates and properly coaching them can be a difficult course.
Enhancing communication across all people should be enhanced by the managers so that smooth flow of operations as well as value chain be recognized in all the departments and segments.
Turning around of falling projects would pose a major challenge since the leaders have t learn to employ the best resources to make the company achieve its objectives. These projects would mean the life or death of the company and it is upon the managers to make it happen.
External factors would social oriented about how customers and households behaves and behave. This would include a sudden change of attitude towards pension or health or a certain other product that the company is offering thus affecting the performance in the market.
Legal factors would be how the government expects the workers to be enumerated or on working hours.
Economic factors like how the current economy affect taxation issues , issues on government spending ,general demand of the offer, interest rates and other global elements of business.
Technological factors which influence the production processes, product innovations and inventions also affect the business since it has to keep to standards.
Ethically the company may be affected in that certain legal issues would make a company not engage in a certain activity mainly if it is wrong. These would include trading with company with wrong and poor trading records.
Dealing with demanding challenges
The quality of leadership is the central key to survival and success of groups and various organizations (Circa 400 BC). The outstanding elements of leadership are influence, there must be leaders and followers , leaders become visible when there is a response is needed and leaders have the capacity to act in a non routine manner in a creative manner.
Leadership qualities that enhance to success in challenging times
Difficult times in an organization and how to deal with them determine the short term as well as the long time outcomes. There are 5 major leadership techniques that will help make sure that the organization pulls trough successfully.
Integrity presence creates the professional in the manager as a leader and as a person. With this, the manager doesn't have to exaggerate the situation of the company. If the financial position of the company is not very stable, there is absolutely no need to make it appear like they are doing any good. The leaders should not make it appear like they have a high and consistent rate of growth or pose great high revenues and profits. On the contrary, they should face the reality and strive to sustain growth rather than cook results especially in the accounting fields.
Decisiveness is the ability of a leader to make decisions even if they are tough .if leaders have to lead their organizations through tough times, they must learn to make decisions because that's the only time the company can grow and adapt. Actually there is no perfect time to make a decision but leaders make decision based on past experiences. They stay and adapt the decisions as situations change. A decision helps set a course otherwise stagnation will lead the company nowhere.
Vision for the leaders and managers will also put a company further since it involves the future. Visionary leaders can see the picture for the team as well as tell them what they can do. They consistently coach their team and in constant communication. They should hold team building forums where outstanding results are the expected outcome. In that team building activities there should always be a team vision, mission and the predetermined goals. Personal visions should also be invested in that they can also be tied in the company's overall vision thus growing the members and the company as a whole.
Unselfishness for the leader ensures that the leader does give himself on behalf of the team. (Stephen Covey). This means being selfless in words and actions .Don't hesitate to praise the other wherever they have done well because this creates motivation and more power to go on. Pure listening to employees for the employees per year should be two hours and it should be adhered to. This involves eye contact with them, acknowledgement and being totally keen to whatever they have to say. Helping the team like removing stumbling blocks for them, getting personal especially when they have personal challenging moments. The employees will cherish those moments and it be in them to make it through no matter the situation.
Conflict resolution as a way of dealing with adverse changes in business environment
Demanding challenges can be as a result of conflicts in the organization either from inside or outside. It comes about when people with different goals and needs have to achieve their ends. If the conflict that was generated is resolved positively it leads to personal and professional growth. The theory of conflict resolution was developed by Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann in 1970. The styles invented show how to deal with conflicts in the organization and they vary in degree of cooperativeness and assertiveness.
If a situation occurs in the organization, one can choose to be competitive and take a firm stand and find out what the conflict is. The leader can act from a powers point of view exercised from position rank, expertise, persuasion ability and rank in the organization. This style is used when there is an emergency and a fast decision needs to be in place. Also if someone is trying to exploit a situation in a selfish manner or if a certain decision is unpopular. This style could leave people bruised, unsatisfied and hurt as well as resentful.
Compromising strategy is when the leader decides to put the all the people to bring to table their views. All their views are met. It is very important when one wants to bring together a variety of viewpoints and come up with the best solution that ahs all the views .board. It is used when there have been previous conflicts and when the situation is very important such that a simple tradeoff can't be applicable.
Compromising style is used when the decision being sought is meant to partially satisfy any one that is involved in the conflict. Everyone has to contribute while others have to relinquish something so that a middle balance can be struck. It is used when the cost of the conflict is higher than the price of actually loosing it. It is also used when there is a deadline looming and when the strength of the opponents is seemingly equal.
Accommodating style shows that the leader is willing to meet the need of the other party at the expense of his own person needs. It is used when the person is assertive and in good cooperation and the accommodator knows exactly when to g give in and can as well be persuaded to give in to the situation. It mainly occur when peace matters more than the mere act of winning an argument and the issues matters more to the party. Usable also when one wants to collect a favor that one gave .This approach is considered to have the best results even though there is no guarantee that the favor given is returned.
Avoiding allows one to evade the conflict entirely and used in highly controversial decisions and where default decisions are acceptable. If the parties do not want to hurt each other it can also be used and when victory is not possible. If the leader realizes that someone else is in a position to solve the problem he can use but it not strong and ineffective in many situations.
Guidelines to problem solving using the conflict resolution tool
In order to reach a good resolution there are basic items that can guide one to the same: Keeping good relationship should be a priority in that treating others calmly is given paramount importance as well as strive to keep mutual respect. It needs one to be constructive even under pressure and be courteous to one another.
Separate the people and the problem at hand and that the other party isn't just being hard and difficult. There is a great possibility of real and valid differences behind the conflicting positions. It makes sure that the working relationships aren't destroyed.
Pay a great deal of attention to the issues that are being raised. It is only after this that one can learn why the other person is putting or adopting a different stand different too the one in ones mind.
Listening first and talking second allows one to effectively understand where each one is coming from hence be in a position to understand all the positions. Setting out facts and objectives will have a good impact on the decisions and lastly explore the option together as having an open orientation on the probability of a third position.
Conflict resolution process
The most popular step to start with in problem resolution it to positively identify the overriding conflict employed by the parties involved. Different styles suit different situations and it. It's unto the leaders in the management position to look for the most applicable solution to the problem. The circumstances actually dictate what style to be used.
Setting the scene in that you can make the people understand that the conflict is a mutual problem that better be resolved though extensive discussion and negotiation unlike use of raw aggression.
Gathering the information helps one get the underlying interests, concerns and needs. Ask for the counterpart's viewpoint and register respect for their opinion and ask for the desired cooperation to reach a solution. Objectively understand the conflict and whether it is affecting work performance, delivery to client, team work disruption and hampering decision making. In order to understand the other person point of view one should listen with empathy as the issues are identified clearly and in a concise manner.
Agreement to the problem helps reach a mutually acceptable end. Reaching a common perception leads to possibility of solving the problem. Possible solutions brainstorming and be open to all ideas and lastly negotiate a solution that suits the situation best.
For leaders to deliver on the expected promise, they can employ several strategies to the same;
Autocratic leadership style is when the manager assumes to retain power and decision making position/ authority (Heifetz's (1994) This means he doesn't consult employees and they can't give anything as input rather they are expected to obey the orders as they come. The leaders in this style rely on punishments and threats to influence the employees. It also shows that the leaders don't trust the employees and don't regard their input. Scenarios where it can be used include when there are new untrained workers with less knowledge on tasks and procedures. It is also usable when there is need for supervision, high need for production, where there is no much time to make a decision, when an employee is challenging the authority and when there needs to be work coordination between departments. The style can't be used where the employees tend to become tense and resentful, when they actually expect their voices on decisions to be heard and when they aren't properly motivated.
Bureaucratic style is where the manager governs the organization by the book. There are laid out procedures and policies. It is effective when there are repetitive tasks, when there is a need to understand certain procedures, the procedures in use are dangerous and delicate and when security training is being conducted. The style is otherwise not usable when there is lose of interest and if the employees can do what is exactly needed.
Democratic style is when the manager allows the employees voice to be hears in the processes (Wright 1996: 36-7) .They can share decisions as well as responsibilities in problem solving. This style can produce high quantities and qualities of work for extended periods of time. The manager is a coach who first gathers information from employees. It can be used when the leader wants to keep people informed about issues surrounding them, when there is a need to share decision making process, when the problem is large and complex, when there are major changes to be made concerning the workers and when team building is a priority. It can't be used when there is not enough time for everybody's input, when there is no room for mistakes, threat of a manager from an employee, and when the manager would rather make the decision.
Laissez faire style allows the leader to act hands free and make employees make their own decisions with little or no direction. They must determine goals and achieve the expected solutions. It can be used when the employees are highly skilled, educated and experienced, there is pride of work form the employees, there is use of outside specialist and trustworthy employees. It cannot however be used where the employees are insecure due to absence of a manager ,managers cant thank/ commend good work and when the manager doesn't understand responsibilities and expect employees to do it.
Results of the enlightened problem solving
Once the managers employ the mentioned problem solving techniques they make the company gain the following advantages.
All the team members are put on the same track and focus more on the anticipated profits. Team cohesiveness increases chances of reaching a target and they can always be in a position to resolve occurring challenging problems.
The best goals can be set since the team members are motivated and incase they had succeed in some of those and got recommendation they can buy-in from them and even reach greater heights.
Incase the company want to start up new projects, it can be heavily inspired since the entire team is on-board and feel accommodated in the whole process. There will be no wastage of resources since there is no undivided attention.
Conflict resolution as seen earlier, leads to empowerment of the tea in a lasing way. This is because all the need s of the conflicting parties is actually considered. Conflict resolution actually to cohesion since it has neutral stand on the issues at hand thus no taking of sides which bring balance.
The plan allows the managers to align the member's energies and professionalism to the same action plan. All the power is channeled to a common course which enhances success of activities, projects as well as the company a whole.
The negotiation skills are bound to be improved leading to new levels of effectiveness in the company. Even if the environment is not very favorable the company can still have its share and actually grow.
Strategic planning can be done smoothly and easily since the companies resources are not divided and are channeled to common course. Members can hence push the company to full potential and push it to the limits in the respective industries.
Problem solving techniques are acquired which makes it happen in fast, easily and gaining total buy-in for any of the approach.
Rapid response teams can easily be launched incase there is critical problem to be solved. This is because if the proper personnel can be identified then it is easier to put them to task and launch the task.
Team membership cohesiveness will have a reviewed sense of clarification on what is actually expected of them hence the management won't spend much time guiding them.
The term leader and manager are interchangeable in this context because we can't separate leadership and management. Generally, the four models lets leader choose what action plan to take when dealing with any situation that faces the company. A good leader should try to use a combined form of the models since situations vary differently .However there are factors that determine what style can be used like how much time is available and whether relationships are based on trust respect or otherwise. If the information is held by both the management and the employees, participative style has to be employed so tat better decision are reached. The extent of training of the employees could determine how they are dealt with. A worker on training needs to be treated in an authoritative e manner so that they can learn. Incase of internal conflicts, it is good for the managers to put some authority so that there can be a clear line of actions.
External challenges can be counteracted through employment of marketing strategy that aims at putting the company at a competitive edge and enable growth even in times of strains. Positive leaders approach employees through rewards, such as education, trust as motivation but not penalties such as job loss, reprimand and days off.
Bosses work out of the negative while leaders work out of the positive.