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Leadership can be viewed as a process of influencing activities and actions of an organized group or team in its efforts towards setting goals and achieving goals. (Stogdill, 1990). “A leader is an individual who considerably affects the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of a considerable number of individuals. (Gardner, 1995). Leadership is a process; it is comprised of more than the leader and the situation (Church, 1998). When viewed in the terms of organizations leadership is considered to be a special contribution because it makes a significant difference to the success of the organization. (Tjosvold and Wong, 2000). When leadership is effective in an organization ordinary can be transformed into extraordinary and this leads to satisfaction of customers, employees and top management, i.e. all are content and satisfied. (Tjosvold and Wong, 2000). The four Vs of Leadership have been considered as critical when defining it; they are vision, values, value-Added, and vitality. (Shaw, 2006). There are various viewpoints from which leadership has been defined previously, including individual traits, behaviours, contextual perspectives, and combinations of these viewpoints. (Taormina, Robert. J, 2008).
Need for Effective Leadership- Consequences of Ineffective Leadership
Leadership in an organization must focus on the essential actions and behaviours of the leaders if view of the following ill consequences and hence it is extremely important to develop the quality of leaders and continuously improvise on manager's abilities to lead the organizational teams. (Georgenson, 2009)
Leaders not providing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time) targets to their employees:
- Low synchronisation of personal and organizational objectives
- Workforce may become unproductive
- Lack of clarity regarding what is to be achieved
- Frustration may build among the workforce
If leaders are not providing clear, positive and instant opinion about the employees' work standard and results achieved.
- Reluctance among the employees regarding manager's interest in the work.
- Unproductive behaviours may persist leading to long term loss in productivity of workforce.
If leaders do not provide continuous improvement avenues.
- Employees waste time looking for ways to become better
- Employees employ irrelevant activity for improvement
- Development of employees is restricted leading to less productive workforce
If leaders are unable to provide for effective performance appraisal
- Continuation of poor performance
- Employees consider their current performance as acceptable
- Problems in meeting targets set for future
Beyond achieving performance related organizational goals effective leadership makes an organization capable of meeting contemporary challenges in today's business environment such as need for competitive advantage, ensuring ethical behaviour and achieving productivity through a diverse workforce in global companies in a fair and equitable manner. (Jones & George, 2004)
Teamwork - The Spirit of Successful Organizations
A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. (Katzenbach and Smith).Teamwork not only promotes a sense of comradeship within an organization, it is also transmitted to all clients or customers who do business with the organization. (Twomey & Kleiner, 1996). Teamwork may have two kinds of objectives: co-ordinating and innovating. Teamwork can be a measure to open the horizontal communication among the hierarchies, and it adds to the flexibility of the whole organization. (Nurmi, 1996).
Combining Teamwork and Leadership
Teamwork facilitates management and leadership, and it helps improve communication and saves the time of both the employees and management. Teamwork in companies is structured. A team has a team leader who coordinates with the team members in defining and achieving other roles, objectives, accountability, schedules and deadlines. (Nurmi, 1996). In present day companies and in modern management teamwork is a necessity. There is a necessity of teamwork in a functional organization where they are needed for the co-ordination of different departments because all the departments in the organization are partly responsible for the collective performance of the whole organization as a unit. (Nurmi, 1996).
Challenges for leadership
A research conducted by C.D. McCauley, Ohlott & Ruderman, 1999 helped in identifying five basic categories of challenges for leadership. (C.D. McCauley, Ohlott & Ruderman, 1999, cited in: Antonakis, John, Ciancolo, Anna. T., Sternberg, Robert, 2004). These are:
- Creation of a change by taking the organization in new directions; addressing problems of previous leadership and decide in the face of uncertainty.
- Management at higher levels of responsibility and commitment as the leader's decisions guide the organization's moves.
- Management of issues related to leader's authority on other people.
- Effective management of diversity within an organizational culture.
- Being unflappable during job transitions, change of responsibilities and building relationships.
I as a Consultant- Advices and Suggestions
My advices in relation to the improvement of leadership and enhancing teamwork skills and performance levels and productivity. I will be predominantly citing examples from the global outsourcing and consulting giant; Infosys Technologies Ltd. My suggestions for improvement of leadership levels would be the following. They have been categorized into several strategic intentions and actions towards developing the leadership skills. They are:
Leaders need to build self esteem among the employees who follow them. They must seek their advice on the issues and make them feel important. In this way the employees will feel that they are needed and will be more than willing to work for the leaders. It's also important for the leaders to understand the employees' needs for appraisal and motivation in several forms. Being a good leader means that they understand the people they work with and respect them for their contribution.
Infosys points out that moral intelligence is new to the analytical playing field, and highlights four key principles that can sustain moral intelligence: Integrity; Responsibility; Compassion; Forgiveness. (Ethics, success and leadership the Infosys way, 2006)
Integrity is creating harmony between what we believe and how we act, doing what we know is right (and this definitely includes telling the truth at all times).
Responsibility is a person who is willing to take responsibility for their own actions, and the consequences' only by taking this responsibility do you stay true to core values.
Compassion is broadened to include caring about others, which then shows our respect for others. It also has a boomerang effect, because generally when a compassionate person is in trouble, we return compassion to them.
Forgiveness is a key principle because without a tolerance for mistakes and acknowledgement of human imperfection, we are likely to be rigid and inflexible, thereby reducing the common good.