Effective Administrative Leadership Requires Commerce Essay

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One critical component of transformative leadership to empower the organizations, staff, volunteers, and clients is that the executive director can create an organizational culture in which staff members and volunteers are client oriented and committed to a set of values that supports power sharing. Therefore the executive director must have the ability to inspire and motivate paid as well as unpaid workers. In addition, they must be able to facilitate group-oriented decision-making processes.

As organizations strive for quality improvement there is one key element that separates a world class organization from "the equality of mediocrity" - Culture. Culture is as important to Quality as is the effort it takes to solve problems, improve productivity, downsize, merge,  acquire businesses, or drive organizational change. But when the Culture of the organization does not embrace quality and shared ideals, many organizations never fully utilize their resources, thereby diminishing productivity and improvement within the organization.

Providing a steady vision, and engaging and empowering people at all levels of the organization in quality, creates a culture that improves and enriches what people do, the process-knowledge they utilize, and the products and/or services they produce. By promoting and facilitating a Culture of Quality that inherently embraces continuous improvement, organizations will achieve higher (albeit never perfect) levels of employee and customer satisfaction.

Organizations that have engaged in Continuous Improvement, Quality Assurance, TQM, and other programs, have realized some success. However, all too often employees and processes fall back to the status quo. While various departments can sometimes claim a short term win, the overall organization generally cannot. The level of quality that is being demanded by the public today is robust systems that result in zero errors or defects, i.e., Perfection. But they unwittingly demand something that can only be perceived-never realized. To change how an organization's culture drives quality, the organizations must require Future Quality to be the fundamental and preeminent focus. This can only be done by creating a Culture of Quality "of, by, and for" - THE PEOPLE.

This will requires all levels of an organization to be completely engaged and dedicated to the principle of continuous quality improvement. This is nothing less than asking everyone to commit to perfection, knowing full well that the perfection we perceive is in name only. But the very fact that they do perceive something "more perfect" than what they are currently producing is proof enough (for most people) that perfection at the point of service or product realization does exist. In this quest, management must be guided not only by accurate and reliable data collection systems but also by a new wave of prevention thinking, by utilizing tools such as Lean, Six Sigma, or quality and systems thinking. But without "the people," who is left to lead these initiatives and utilize these tools? Simply put: without all levels of the organization embracing the Culture of Quality, all that remains are the tools.

People are a company's greatest asset to facilitate quality improvement. Everyone wants to be valued, to have a voice and the opportunity to share what they know and see. The knowledge people possess is an untapped resource that provides answers to the seemingly unsolvable challenges organizations face. Given the chance, however, employees will openly and willingly share solutions to process improvements, ideas for new innovative services and/or products, and fresh views on performance metrics. But people tend to feel most protected in their "comfort zone" and must be made to feel "safe" enough to break out!

Why are people hesitant to share their knowledge and opinions when they "see" quality improvement opportunities?  Many companies pride themselves on an "open door policy" and how they encourage "out-of-the-box thinking." But what becomes of the shared information?  Joseph Juran (1904-2008), the architect of Quality, observed that employeeempowerment is an advanced form of employee involvement. Organizations must recognize that this simple fact is the key to a future yet to unfold, and they must be willing to give more responsibility to the employees who are "in the trenches" and closest to the action. The customary norm is that employees are held accountable and responsible to fix any problems or improve any processes that need attention. Moreover, employees will take on these responsibilities and accept any consequences, but only if they are given the insight to "see" why they are doing what they are doing. True (real) employee engagement comes through proper training and cultivating an environment for continuous improvement. Working in teams helps to engage administrators, managers, and staff in meeting goals and objectives. Organizations that intuitively know how to utilize the experiences and capabilities of their people also know how to maximize employee potential. Ultimately, the companies "see" improvement in performance metrics as well as improved employee and customer satisfaction surveys.

Financial success, or failure, is directly related to an organization's approach to internal Culture. The major difference between managing short-term versus long-term, and ensuring organizational success, is identified by making the conscious choice to invest in people and their ideas. This creates an environment that encourages both ownership and pride among employees to strive for sustainable quality improvement. For it is "the people" who possess the knowledge to solve some of the most pressing problems within the organization, and "the people" who have the wherewithal to improve processes, provide better services, and to create superior products.

Tying Quality & Culture together requires an inordinate amount of people's energy, but when passion is involved, suddenly energy becomes synergy (which requires much less time) because it is positive, emotional energy. Organizations are accustomed to using workflow energy regarding such things as: Policies-what people are required to do; Structure-what functions they perform; Information Technology-what systems will be used to gather data. But when we talk about the emotional side of the business, we are talking about what matters most to people, i.e., the "things"-beliefs, values, knowledge, for example-that people are passionate about but find difficult to discuss with managers or coworkers. Therefore, organizations must be willing to support "real talk" among management and staff and make it "save" for people to leave their "comfort zone" and share their passion for what they do.

Organizations who genuinely want to embrace a Culture of Quality must allow people to share their innermost needs, wants, desires, hopes, and fears about the company in an environment where they feel safe, secure, warm, and protected. Conversely, employees must feel obliged to understand what it means (and why it is important) to care about errors that are occurring, or safety records that are declining, or why suppliers are sending a faulty product, or why turnover is high, or why return on investment is not met. All of this drives straight into the heart of the Culture of Quality and what it really means to care about continuous improvement and what the consequences are for falling short of the goal.

The challenge for any organization, both now and in the future, will be the pace of change and the degree of the effortrequired to make the change. While the length of the journey is indeterminate, the commitment to the Culture of Quality is essential. Leadership must commit and realize that the power and knowledge that rests with the people will create the long term value all businesses strive to achieve. When leaders encourage people to challenge the status quo, the desired future state starts to become a reality and not just a goal written down on a piece of paper. Culture built on the foundation of quality has purpose. The purpose driven behaviors of self-management, self-direction, teamwork, and trust must be woven into the fabric of the new Culture of Quality, and all employees must feel "safe" enough to step out of their "comfort zone" and provide the contributions that they are capable of making.

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership

Studies had found that when leaders are at their personal best, they:

Model the Way 

Leaders establish principles concerning the way people (constituents, peers, colleagues, and customers alike) should be treated and the way goals should be pursued. They create standards of excellence and then set an example for others to follow. Because the prospect of complex change can overwhelm people and stifle action, they set interim goals so that people can achieve small wins as they work toward larger objectives. They unravel bureaucracy when it impedes action; they put up signposts when people are unsure of where to go or how to get there; and they create opportunities for victory.

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Inspire a Shared Vision 

Leaders passionately believe that they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become. Through their magnetism and quiet persuasion, leaders enlist others in their dreams. They breathe life into their visions and get people to see exciting possibilities for the future.

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Challenge the Process 

Leaders search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative ways to improve the organization. In doing so, they experiment and take risks. And because leaders know that risk taking involves mistakes and failures, they accept the inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities.

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Enable Others to Act 

Leaders foster collaboration and build spirited teams. They actively involve others. Leaders understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and human dignity. They strengthen others, making each person feel capable and powerful.

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Encourage the Heart 

Accomplishing extraordinary things in organizations is hard work. To keep hope and determination alive, leaders recognize contributions that individuals make. In every winning team, the members need to share in the rewards of their efforts, so leaders celebrate accomplishments. They make people feel like heroes.

S u g g e s t e d Q u a l i t i e s o f

Leadership

Studies of leadership have suggested

qualities that people often associate

w i t h l e a d e r s h i p . T h e y i n c l u d e t h e

following qualities.

Guiding others through providing a

role model and through willingness

to serve others first

Talent and technical/specific skill at

some task at hand

Initiative and entrepreneurial drive

C h a r i s m a t i c i n s p i r a t i o n -

at t ract ivenes s to other s and the

ability to leverage this esteem to

motivate others

Pre oc c u p a t i o n w i t h a r o l e - a

dedication that consumes much of

leaders' life - service to a cause

A clear sense of purpose (or mission)

- clear goals - focus - commitment

Results-orientation - directing every

action towards a mission - prioritizing

activities to spend time where results

most accrue

Optimism - v e r y f ew p e s s imi s t s

become leaders

Rejection of determinism - belief in

one's ability to "make a difference"

PURPOSE OF LEADERSHIP

Purpose of leadership - Vision

Articulate Vision

A leader must establish purpose, the direction or the strategy he stands for, the reason

why others should follow him. The leadership's inherent strength is in defining a "vision" for

the organization, it is the leader's ability to imagine a different and better future for the

organization along with plans to achieve it. Envisioning the path to a better future is a very

creative process and often cannot be taught or learned, except for how leaders generally

formulate it. Leaders often collect dissimilar problems from various units of organizations;

synthesize them into a vision that articulate a compelling picture of the future.

Visionary leaders often express discontentment with the current situations, propose their vision

and plans for the future, which is something to be sought after, they motivate their followers by

clear description of what can be achieved.

Vision - for employees or for stock-holders?

The management has certain well defined objectives (MBOs) but the dilemma remains as to

what benefit it has for the employees. If the purpose of leadership cannot be related to

development of employees, very few will buy it. A leader must establish that his purpose is to

serve the organization and its employees; this is known as servant leadership. What he

receives in returns as perks is mere validation of the job done right. When the leaders indulge

themselves with the lavish perks and intoxicating powers, they are indeed paving way to be

ousted.

" The leader's first job is to define reality. The last to say thank you. In between the

leader must become a servant and a debtor" - Robert Greenleaf

In an organization, it is important that employees follow the leadership not because " they have

to", but because " they want to". One must understand that "to lead" doesn't imply giving

orders on how to do things, but to earn the confidence of others such that they are willing to

follow your directives.

The important question that comes to the mind of a aspiring leader is, "How do I make other

follow me readily?" Most organizational leaders fail to acknowledge or even appreciate this,

they feel the authority and position gives them the right to drive others. Or in simply they rely on

creating the culture of "follow the boss" .

"A good leader needs creative ideas to depict the purpose of organization in a way that

employees see it as a means of their own prosperity".

The essential part of defining purpose of leadership is to establish forward-looking plans and

forecast growth. Employees look up to their leadership to essentially lead them to growth &

prosperity. Developing strategic plans, forecasting business is the key to defining purpose. For

the lower or middle management, it's important to have these skills in their professional

development plans, if they want to grow into more leadership roles. Indeed, strategic planning

has been found to be the most desirable quality of senior leadership, more than 95%.

Vision and the organization's state

The challenge of formulating vision is dependent upon the maturity level or state of the

organization. There are three common categories of organization's state

1. Start-Up: The organization is directed towards building an emerging technology or

significantly differentiated product or service. The size of organization is small with lot of

key experts, there is high expectation from employees and success of organization is tied

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to individual aspirations. The vision is implicit in the idea of formulation of the organization

itself.

Successful: The organization has attained its business and management objectives, it is

well established both in terms of organizational structure and business demands. Both the

leadership and employees have a satisfactory sense of achievement and believe that the

only task left is to make the success sustainable, which is inherently perceived as relatively

easy task. Formulating vision for a successful organization that continues to motivate

employees is pretty challenging job, it is easier to find followers when things are bad but

not when it's good. Nevertheless, significance of vision cannot be ignored, external

environment is always highly competitive and turnarounds happen frequently.

Struggling: An organization is in crisis when its business is falling or failing, and its very

existence is in jeopardy. Formulation of vision under crisis is easy but not the plans to

achieve them, it's important for the leadership to be very convincing that their strategies

would be successful. The evolution has programmed humans to deal with crisis, hence

there is always a sudden surge of solutions or ideas and leadership has to convince why

only certain ideas are chosen or rather why the unorthodox idea of the leader would work.

Considerations in articulating vision

Vision must be differentiating, compelling and believable.

Vision must project a brighter future.

Vision must be inspirational and motivational.

Vision should bring a meaning to the work of employees

Role of an Organizational Leader

What is leadership?

"What makes a leader?" has been a key question asked throughout the organizations of this

century. Although there is a tremendous research in the subject, however no clear blueprint of

effective leadership has emerged that strongly relates to the success in variety of organizations.

General Electric Corporation defined, "a leader is considered to be someone with vision

and ability to articulate that vision to the team, so vividly and powerfully that it becomes

their vision".

Another text defined, "a leader is someone who brings to the situation a clear and

compelling sense of the future as well as an understanding of the actions needed to get

there successfully."

There are as many definitions of leadership as there are people who have attempted to define

it. Thus defining leadership is perhaps a futile exercise since it remains open to multiple

interpretations by different individuals.

However, a more rational way to comprehend leadership is to focus on a particular framework,

like an organization and try to define the expected role of a leader.

What is the role of a leader in an organization?

The most fundamental role of a leader is to define the organizational goal, formulate plans

and organize people to achieve the goals through the execution of plans.

The figure illustrates the 3-Dimensions of leadership tasks

1. Vision - It defines the purpose, or simply " What to do?" A vision includes determining the

next product or feature, finding new markets for the product, adoption of new technology

etc.

2. Strategy - It articulates the plans, "How to achieve the vision?" Plans or strategies

demonstrate the job knowledge or the skills of a leader. It includes restructuring

organization, product management, strategic management etc.

3. People - "Who should carry out the Strategy?" How to make people accomplish the

strategy and hence the goal, The people skills include providing inspiration & motivation,

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establishing relationship, intelligently using power and position of leadership etc.

The most important skill that bridges the three job functions is "making decisions" . Any

leader has to deal with array of options in his every day chore; a good leadership depends on

how effectively he chooses those alternatives. Hence effective decision making is an essential

skill for any leader, fortunately a lot of research and academics have focused on this area and

there are substantial materials and tools for it.

Transient state of leadership roles

Any organization goes through a series of evolutionary changes depending on various

external and internal factors. Take the example of auto industry, when the gas is cheap, the

industry focuses on trendy, spacious automobiles. But as gas becomes expensive, the industry

shifts it's vision towards more fuel efficient vehicles.

Similarly a technology start-up company requires task-oriented leaders and essentially hires

employees with high experience who can be delegated with various tasks. However, once the

company grows in size many folds, the same leaders become ineffective since the organization

has now a lot of fresh young graduates who require substantial coaching, need for people skills

in the leaders become more prominent.

Hence it is pretty clear that leaders have to adapt to the changes in the organization and their

roles keep on changing. A solutions that may apply at a particular given time and situation may

not be applicable at a later time. In fact, every leadership style or solution has certain

period of effectiveness, after which it changes the problem itself to a new state requiring a

different approach. This also explains why some leaders who were very effective in an

organization in one era become obsolete later.

The following table illustrates the transition of leadership roles due to different transformational

factors over a course of time.

The purpose of leadership

It's time to question the traditional assumption of leadership's fundamental purpose. The textbook account focuses on the leader's role in maximizing employee performance. All the decades of writing about leadership style beginning over 50 years ago focuses on how different styles affect the motivation and productivity of employees. When we question the conventional purpose of leadership and offer a different foundation, we get a very different conception of leadership. Until we recognize the need for a radical shift in perspective, our vision of leadership will remain stuck in the past.

Having an internal focus on employee performance was acceptable for leadership prior to the 1970's. But since the success of the Japanese commercial invasion, business has increasingly operated in an era of hypercompetition where rapid innovation changes whole markets overnight. In the old days of leadership theory, business was not so competitive. Then, business's only task was to execute as cost effectively and profitably as possible. Today, there is also the need for businesses to be constantly re-inventing themselves, to be continuously creating new futures. For leaders to be successful now, they must have an external focus.

The new purpose of leaders is to ensure that new futures are created as rapidly as their external markets evolve. All organizations now have two equally important tasks: to deliver today's results and to create the future. The principle of division of labor suggests that we need two separate functions for these very different tasks. Management needs to be upgraded from a narrowly controlling, mechanistic function to take care of today's business, leaving leadership to champion changes to enhance competitive advantage.

Implications of the new purpose of leadership

If your sole reason for being is to maximize employee productivity, you need to be in charge of the people whose performance you want to improve. You need a formal position of authority over them. You need the authority to promote, move, develop, train and pay in accordance with merit. People can be motivated by informal leaders but none of the other productivity enhancing decisions can be made without formal authority.

Not so with the new leadership. Promoting new products, services or better processes can be done by anyone, regardless of their formal roles. Even a consumer group criticizing an existing product line could show leadership from the outside to the organization. This new conception of leadership is the only way to make sense of bottom-up leadership. If leadership is merely the successful promotion of new products, then front-line employees can do it. The Sony employee who invented Playstation is a good example. He showed bottom-up leadership to the senior executives at Sony whose initial reaction to the idea of Playstation was to protest that Sony doesn't do toys.

The role of senior executives is now more multifaceted. They need to both lead and manage. But leadership, as conceived here, has nothing to do with motivating employees to perform better, contrary to the textbook account. So-called transformational leadership became popular because it was felt that employees needed to be really inspired to give of their best. But now, we need to shift everything to do with motivating employees to management, leaving leadership free to promote enhancements to competitive advantage. Why? Because we need a definition of leadership that makes sense of how leadership can be shown bottom-up which has nothing to do with motivating employees to work harder. The sole purpose of leadership, therefore, is to promote new directions. It is management's job to execute them.

Leaders must have an external focus to be effective; managers can focus internally. Both leadership and management are equally essential organizational functions, but only management is a formal role. Leadership is an informal, occasional act, like creativity, not a role. Senior executives are managers by virtue of their roles, not leaders. If their businesses are operating successfully and don't need innovation or process improvements to succeed, then these organizations don't need any leadership. This is a second radical implication of the new vision of leadership, the first one being that leadership has nothing to do with managing people or getting things done through them.

Keep in mind that, if leadership equates to the successful promotion of new products, services or process improvements, and if anyone can do it regardless of position, then employees with no one reporting to them can show leadership. This is a liberating conclusion, but one that has revolutionary implications for our understanding of leadership.

It's time to question the traditional assumption of leadership's fundamental purpose. The textbook account focuses on the leader's role in maximizing employee performance. All the decades of writing about leadership style beginning over 50 years ago focuses on how different styles affect the motivation and productivity of employees. When we question the conventional purpose of leadership and offer a different foundation, we get a very different conception of leadership. Until we recognize the need for a radical shift in perspective, our vision of leadership will remain stuck in the past.

Having an internal focus on employee performance was acceptable for leadership prior to the 1970's. But since the success of the Japanese commercial invasion, business has increasingly operated in an era of hypercompetition where rapid innovation changes whole markets overnight. In the old days of leadership theory, business was not so competitive. Then, business's only task was to execute as cost effectively and profitably as possible. Today, there is also the need for businesses to be constantly re-inventing themselves, to be continuously creating new futures. For leaders to be successful now, they must have an external focus.

The new purpose of leaders is to ensure that new futures are created as rapidly as their external markets evolve. All organizations now have two equally important tasks: to deliver today's results and to create the future. The principle of division of labor suggests that we need two separate functions for these very different tasks. Management needs to be upgraded from a narrowly controlling, mechanistic function to take care of today's business, leaving leadership to champion changes to enhance competitive advantage.

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