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In the contemporary era, the business world becomes more global, more competitive and more volatile. Technology and social demands also have been changed all the time. As a consequence, the businesses and organizations require both effective business leaders and managers who are able to cope with those problems and can lead their businesses to the phase of prosperous future. Some companies try to seek for a top employee who can provide both leader and manager, in other word, leader-manager. Is it possible for one person to be effective business leader-manager? There are many differences between leader and manager; moreover, it may difficult for one person to be both effective leader and manager (Turk 2006). However, one can be both an outstanding business leader and an excellent business manager by developing his/her skills. This essay will illustrate about what I have to do in order to become an effective business leader-manager. Indeed, it will give the definition and characteristics of an effective business leader-manager and then find what I really need to do to become that person.
In order to know what I need to do to become effective business leader-manger, it is important to know the definition of manager and leader. Hunsaker (2001) indicates that a manager has authority to be in charge in his/her organization, while a leader has ability to influence others to follow. Generally speaking, the manager is a position which is provided by a formal authority to order organization members and they have to obey the manager's orders, even if they do not want to do; they have to do because of his/her managerial position. Without such position, members may not comply with his/her orders. On the other hand, the leader is the person who has an ability to persuade or influence others to follow his/her direction, although he/she does not have such managerial position. Therefore, the definition of leader-manager should be a person who has a managerial position and, at the same time; can influence workers to work willingly on the task that follows his/her direction. Therefore, if the word business is put in front of leader-manager, it means such business leader-manager should consider the objectives of the organization as well. In short, business leader-manager is a person who can lead the organization to achieve its goals. Besides, he/she is a person whom all people in the organization are willing to follow his/her direction.
Lots of people can be leader-managers, but not all of them can be "effective leader-manager". The following part of the essay will identify the essential characteristics and skills which an effective business leader-manager need to have. Then, it will analyze how I can adapt these characteristics and skills in order to be an effective business leader-manager.
The first and the most important characteristic of an effective business leader-manager is that he/she should have emotional intelligence. According to Goleman (2004), emotional intelligence at work includes five components which are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. To begin with self-awareness, it is an ability to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Hunsaker (2001 p 20) states that 'The more you know about yourself ,the better you will be able to understand how you are perceived by others and why they respond to you the way they do'. Secondly, self-regulation is an ability to manage mood and emotion in stress situation. Moreover, it is important to think over before doing anything. Thirdly, motivation is a passion to work and to pursue goal with energy and persistence. This means effective leader-manager should have strong drive to achieve and optimistic even in the face of failure. Next, empathy is an ability to understand the emotion of other people in order to treat people according to their different emotions. Darwish (2006) adds that empathy is the ability to understand the situation of another person; even you disagree with such person. The last component of emotional intelligence is social skill. It is an ability of a person to manage relationship, build network with others and be able to work in teams. In other word, the emotional intelligence is the ability of leader-manager to understand him/herself, to know their strengths and weaknesses, and to know how to improve him/herself. Moreover, leader-manager has to understand other people's different emotions or feelings; and then, create the relationship with people in the organization because leader cannot work alone. He/she needs to work in team; therefore, social skill is also important.
In addition to self awareness, leader-manager should concern about self-development. After he/she finds his/her strengths and weaknesses, he/she must focus on using his/her strengths to develop him/herself and also try to improve his/her weaknesses. According to Heller (1999), there are some of self-developments that leader-manager needs to develop. Firstly, self-confidence is a belief in your ability to complete tasks with achievement. Second, self- determination is a belief that your destiny and business depend on yourself, not subject to others or outside environments. Third, self- evaluation is an ability to understand and learn from your mistakes and your failures; and also analyze of the lesson of success. Finally, in order to win and take defeat as challenge, leader should have the 'competitive' way of thinking. Moreover, the mindset of leadership that he/she wants to be a leader is important. Indeed, he/she should prefer to be a leader and must be willing to lead other people and organization.
The second characteristic and skill of an effective business leader manager is an ability to communicate the vision with other people in organization and to motivate them to work for the organization. Hitt (1988) states that it is necessary for an effective business leader-manager to be a visionary people by creating clear picture of desired future for the organization. Therefore, it is essential for such leader-manager to have the ability to communicate and transfer his/her vision to others. Moreover, leader-manager should establish the effective goal for the firm which must be challenge, possible and accepted from all people in the organization. Dropper (2006) also states that leader has to communicate with the employees to make them understand the company's direction and goals; and inspire people in the organization to be willing to work effectively.
In detail, communication is a process of exchange of information, facts, ideas and meaning. It also can be used to inform, coordinate and motivate people in the organization (Quinn et al 2006). According to Hitt (1988), there are four types of communication in the organization which are interpersonal communication, written communication, oral presentation and meeting. The most important is interpersonal communication which is a face to face communication with others. Also, the important key of effective communication is the open communication that needs both listening and speaking at the same time. The effective leader-manager must open to listen to followers without any biases to avoid the barriers in communication. Hunsaker (2001) points out that there are some barriers in communication that may happen which are; value judgments which happen when the listener evaluates the value of messages before sender has finish communication; selective listening which happen when listener blocks some information that he/she does not believe or expect; filtering which happen when sender selects the message or information to send that sometime not all information; and distrust which happen when there is lack of trust between communicators.
Alden (2006) also claims that listening is actually more important for a leader than speaking because active listening helps to understand how others feel about topic. Effective communication requires more than listening skill, especially when leader want to encourage people. The effective communication needs to be the communication from heart and must be accepted by all people in the organization; as a result, everyone will be willing to do for the same objective (Levy 2004). In order to motivate people in the organization, leader should understand their needs because different people have different needs. For example, some followers need leader to tell what they should do and want to do it individually, but others followers may want to exchange their opinion with the leader and work together in team. Therefore, leader should have ability to manage people in different situations. After they do their job well, leader also have to give them reward such as money or promotion to motivate and encourage them to work further for the organization. In sum, the leader-manager's main function is to create vision and implement which cannot be done without communication (Hitt 1988).
The last characteristic and skill for an effective business leader-manager is an ability to manage the organization to achieve its objective. This includes an ability to make a decision, solve problems, manage changes, and have a personal knowledge in business. Indeed, the business leader-manager always has to make some important decision such as investment decision or solving the conflict in organization. Gilley(2005) states that leader should also be an analytical thinker and have ability to analyze information, identify and evaluate alternative scenarios, and recommend viable solution to complex problems. Moreover, the business today change more quickly than before, leader-manager should be able to manage the organization whenever it faces with unexpected situation.
In detail of business decision making, there are two types of decision making which are individual decision and consensus or group decision (O'Dell 1991). The first is that leader-manager can make some decisions by him/herself without consulting with others in the organization. Secondly, for important decisions, however, leader-manager may need to decide with other people in his/her firm because leader-manager may not have every skills in business area. For instance, he/she should discuss with marketing team to decide about new product development. Moreover, in order to make an effective business decision, it is better to make decision in group to find the consensus of the problem with staffs, and then, find alternative together. Also leader-manager should encourage staffs to speak their mind and share their opinions (Heller 1999).
According to O'Dell (1991), there are five steps in the decision making process. The first step is to find a situation in an environment that needs to be changed, in other word, to find problems that need to be solved. Secondly, developing the alternatives, in this step, leader-manager should be able to create as much as alternatives for the problem. Therefore, it is better to brainstorm and exchange an idea with others than thinking alone in order to get the creative and better solutions. The next step of decision making process is to establish the criteria for the problem. For example, the objectives of the company whether it wants to increase profit, market share or return on investment. By establishing the criteria to ensure that all people involved understand, it is easy to choose the best decision or solution. Then, evaluate the possible alternatives by concerning the criteria in the previous step with some additional data and information. If there is disagreement, decision maker should ask more opinion from expert and find more information. Finally, implement the selected alternatives and look for the results or feedbacks of the decision. If the result does not meet the expectation, it must return to the first step again. Indeed, the most important in the effective decision making is the creativity which can be created by brainstorming people in order to provide many alternative solutions. Then, effective leader-manager should have an ability to analyze which one is the possible and best solution for particular problem by considering its result and impact.
In today business everything changes rapidly. Therefore, the ability of leader-manager to manage organization in changing situation is necessary. According to Gilley (2005), the leader-manager who can change easily; may help his/her firm to get long term competitive advantages because he/she is able to understand the complexity of change and support it. To be such changing leader-manager, there are three important activities which one needs to deal with which are; envision, inspire and support change (Gilley 2005). In details, firstly, envision change is an understanding of need for the change in some situation and an imagination of the future with alternative ways to get to a firm's target. Secondly, inspiring change is a passionately need of leader to change by beginning and keeping the process of change going. Lastly, supporting change is to allocate resources for change, to communicate with staffs, to encourage and to reward their changing efforts. Moreover, Kotter (2001, p.87) states that 'management is about coping with complexity...Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change'. Therefore, the effective leader-manager should have ability to manage and lead organization in complexity and changing situation.
Furthermore, the effective business leader-manager also needs to have the basic knowledge in doing business which includes marketing, finance, human resource and so forth. It may difficult for people from different background, such as art or music, to be the business leader-manager. However, leader-manager does not have to know everything in business. Good leader-manager accepts that he/she has imperfection so he/she needs to find other people which have such knowledge to work for him/her (Johnson 2006). This means leader-manager should have an ability to find the good competent people to work in his/her unknown fields. Kotter (2005) states that the trait of great leader-manager should be his/her willing to learn and open to people's ideas. It also can be seen that effective business leader-manager must always learn and develop his/her skill in doing business all the time.
After describe the meaning of an effective business leader-manager and the characteristics and skills that he/she needs, I will analyze how I can adapt myself and what I need to do to be an effective business leader-manger by considering all characteristics and skills I mentioned above.
In order to consider how I can develop my emotional intelligence, firstly, I need to increase self-awareness and develop myself. My significant strength is that I really want to be the leader-manager; and I believe that I was born to be leader-manager, not follower. Therefore, I will put all my effort to be the effective leader-manager. Moreover, I think that I am a creative thinker and always try to find new opportunities which I believe that this will help me to manage the organization in rapid change situation. However, I still have plenty of weaknesses that I think I cannot know all at this time because I need to find and improve them in my work life. So far, I found that self-confidence is my biggest weakness that I need to improve immediately because without self-confidence, it is impossible to lead the organization. At this moment, even in the presentation in front of the classroom, I still do not have confident to do it. To improve this, I need to practice and try to speak in a public more frequently to be more confident.
Secondly, in term of understanding others and empathy, I need to improve my ability to understand others' feeling because I am a person who do not care much about others. I care only myself and people I love, so this can be one of my problems if I need to manage and lead people my organization. This is because social skill links with understanding others. As a consequence, it is important for me to increase the ability to understand and create the relationship with others to have more social skill when I have to work in the organization.
The next characteristic and skill to be considered is an ability to create and communicate vision of organization to others. In order to establish such ability, I need to learn a lot to develop my visionary skill to communicate and try to encourage others willing to work with me. To have vision, I believe that I have to learn by experience; and also I should look for some effective leader to be my idol. This is because, so far, I do not have any work experience, so it is difficult to set the vision and encourage other people willing to work for me. However, I believe that the best way to motivate people is to encourage people by heart, not to command them to do what I need. After understand people in organization, then, I should be able to adapt myself to match with other people, and to communicate and motivate them to work effectively.
The last characteristic and skill to be discussed is the ability to make an effective decision, to manage change and to develop the knowledge in business. Firstly, the decision making, my problem is that when I find the first solution for a particular problem, I just do it without finding more alternatives or asking for other opinions. Therefore, to make the effective decision, I need to find more alternatives for the problem and should discuss them with other people, not merely decide by myself. Secondly, managing change, I need to catch up trend immediately if something involved in my business has been changed. Moreover, I should update my knowledge about business that I am doing. Finally, business knowledge, even I have some business knowledge from my education background; it is not enough for the real business world. As a result, it is important for me to learn more, not only from university, but also from direct experience and from others until the end of my life, if I want to be the effective business leader-manager.
All in all, it is difficult to specify the skills of an effective business leader- manager. However, in this essay, I have pointed out some of the need of characteristic and skill of an effective business leader-manager which include emotional intelligence; visionary leader and communication skill; and decision making, manage change and business knowledge. The thing that I need to do in order to be an effective business leader-manager, is not only to practice the above mentioned skills, but also to learn all the time during my life both direct and indirect ways. As Levy (2004, p 4) claims that 'leadership is like an endurance sport, it requires constant practice and preparation, refinement and improvement, with learning being a continual process'.