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The key role of strategic leaders is to retain and create the appropriate organisational culture that reward and encourage collective effort. What is actually meant by organisational culture? What effect does it have on the organisation? What is the role of the leader to build, influence or change the organisation's culture and finally to achieve the desired corporate goals?
Organisational culture is a group of values, beliefs and behavior patterns that distinguish an organisation from another. It also helps to determine its member's behavior. This is described by Deal and Kennedy (1982) "as a set of values that underlie how we do our things around here"
Culture is very important in an organization, why? Edgar Schein (1985), suggests that an organisation's culture develops to help it cope with its environment. Nowadays, organisational leaders are faced with complex issues during their challenge to reach the organisational goals. For a leader to be successful this depends, upon his or her understanding to the organisational culture.
Schein argues that leaders are facing problems which can be traced to their inability to evaluate organisational cultures. If leaders are inconsistent with the organisation's culture, their strategies will fail when trying to apply new strategic plan to achieve the corporate goals.
The creation of the appropriate culture occurs if leaders correctly study the organisation's present culture and assess it against the cultural quality needed to achieve strategic goals. Therefore, leaders must first identify and take the necessary measures to reach the organisation objectives. These two objectives alone are difficult, especially for the financial services sector that are experiencing changes rapidly.
The leader's role is to conduct a study of the organisation's, ideologies, values and norms. Leaders should ask two important questions:
(1) Are the present relationships, beliefs and behaviors applicable to the organisation's achievement of corporate objectives?
(2) Are organisational members facing doubt about the present work processes and the external environment that can only be explained clearly by the organisation leaders?
Bass (1985) explains the relationship between leadership and culture by studying the effect of different styles of leadership on culture. He observes that "transactional leaders tend to operate within the confines and limits of the existing culture, while transformational leaders frequently work towards changing the organisation's culture in line with their vision". Likewise, Brown (1992) comments that, "good leaders need to develop the skills that enable them to alter aspects of their culture in order to improve their organisational performance".
4.1 The commitment of a leader in the Organisation
Muthuveloo and Rose (2005) stats that, "an organisational commitment is the motivation of employees to accept the goals and values of the organisation, and to work towards the achievement of these corporate goals. A committed leader of an organisation is the one who has consolidated the values and goals of the organisation and is willing to participate fully in all that the organisation does towards the achievement of its stated goals".
Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) also see it as a degree to which a leader identifies the corporate goals of the organisation, and is prepared to help the organization to achieve these goals by putting all his efforts.
Meyer and Allen (1991) recognised three different types of commitments; affective, normative, and continuance. In today's business word the most significant commitment for the right leader is the affective commitment. Affective commitment is:
the trust and the recognition of the organisation's values and goals.
a motivation to focus effort on helping the organisation to achieve its goals, and
a need to maintain membership in the organisation.
An appropriate way for the leader to be directly in touch with his or her subordinates is "Management by walking around". A leader must practice what he preaches: to use Total Quality Management (TQM) in his own processes, example by organising meetings with middle managers reviewing their personal efforts. An affective leader is the one that studies the nature of the work and develop some excitement in the employees' minds about new methods of working. All involved work groups requires TQM training. Both, horizontal and vertical communication training may be essential for the groups to communicate together. Team building is an important element of the process as to make sure that staff members are involved to have an effective problem solving.
A leader is committed to insist on objective measures and to look for observable improvement, but not optimization; affective leader is capable to produce immediate results in terms of monetary and time savings.
Leaders who are affectively committed are employees loyal to the organisation and to its corporate goals.
4.2 The role of leadership to achieve corporate goals
A leader is to create and maintain the organisational characteristics that encourage reward joint effort. The most fundamental is organisational culture. "The grand total of all the objects, ideas, knowledge, ways of doing things, habits, values and attitudes which each generation in a society passes on the next is what the anthropologist refers to as the culture of a group" (Nord, 1972)
Leaders in the financial services industry must identify that they hold the following leading roles; this observation will improve their motivation to give their full efforts and commitments to reach the organisation's corporate goals.
Social skills are the diplomacy that leaders monitor and thereby warn non performing employees. Awareness must be made so discreetly not to harm the pride of those in question.
Shared leadership, every leader in all departments must have the initiative to offer the right leadership that will help towards the achievement of the corporate goals set by the organisation. Therefore, even though leadership is reposed in the Vice-Chancellor or President, in actual practice, leadership must be perceived to be diffuse and contextual (Opare, 2007).
Accountability, every leader has to accept the fact that every employee in the organisation is accountable to the team for tasks assigned to them. Leaders are individually and severally accountable to the organisation for their role they are responsible to lead in the quality direction. By keeping sub-ordinates accountable and by monitoring one another, from the other side nonperformers' can be recognized and made aware of their non performance.
Group processing, leaders of the organisation must meet very often and reveal the methods and ways for achieving their goals and monitor the performance of the organisation's employees. On a regular basis, example quarterly or semi-annually a self-appraisal exercise is carried out to establish the success of the business both as a corporate entity and as individually.
Interdependence, or positive interdependence, is the acknowledgment that no leader can succeed in their tasks unless everyone within the organisation is successful. Leaders must accept the fact that as they do their best to achieve effective management of their organisation, they are able to swim together or sink together, depending on the total result of their individual efforts.
Interaction is the shared help that colleagues put forward to each another as they cooperate as members with the same objective. Colleagues should ask questions, share experiences, offer or receive explanations and seek clarifications. Leaders within the organisation must talk and meet about their experiences, problems, and successes with their colleagues so that they can learn from each other.
Equal participation, leaders must recognize that all colleagues give the same input to the organisation. Everyone is perceived to be involved.