Introduction Leadership is the ability to lead a group of people within an organization with certain values and code of conducts in an effective way. The current situation in the global market, where there is plenty of competition between various Enterprises, there is a huge demand for a useful and a successful leader. The high complexity of the technology, economic, social and political factors make all the more complicated for the leader to take favourable decisions.
Consequently, the margin for error is so minimal that any wrong decision taken by the leader will put the whole group of people into precarious situation. Leadership Definition ? Leadership is a method of directing a cluster of people to meet a set of pre-defined objectives. ? “Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. ” – Peter B Northouse ,Leadership: Theory and Practice , Pg 3 Imminent changes across the environment “Do we have corporate cultures that are anchors on change? r cultures that enable us to adapt to the changing environment” – Warren Bennis , Rowan Gibson, Rethinking the Future, Pg 164 From the Time immemorial, it’s been witnessed throughout the History that Leadership Skills have always played a vital part in accomplishing a Mission. History has also shown that a leadership strategy can vary depending upon the individual’s character, the time period and circumstances. The strategy for ruling a government has been more monarchic during the Age of Kings and Age of Empires and then changed into forms of Dictatorship, Marxism and now socialism, communism, and democracy being prevalent.
It is quite plausible to compare the running of a government to running an organization in terms of managing a large group of people towards achieving a set of objectives and it particularly applies well to large scale organizations which have Employees above a Million in numbers. Thus, Organizational leadership also changes over a period of time. Today’s leaders must trade with incessant, prompt amendments. Managers encountering a central decision are unable to rely on an existing plan with set of fixed rules for guidance.
There is a vast difference now in tips and techniques used for managing the organization and it keeps changing all the time. To cope up with the fast changing business requirements, Tischler ,L. ,2007. IBM’s Management Takeover. Fast Company, 19 Dec ,pg 88 http://www. fastcompany. com/magazine/88/ibm. html? page=0%2C1 states in the Magazine that corporations like IBM after performing extensive research on Leadership Strategy through many tests, employs new leadership style assessment within and grade a leader based on trait values such as : • “Dedication to every client’s success” “Innovation that matters — for our company and for the world” • “Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships” All these traits are meant for satisfying the organizational goals and increasing productivity there by making profit. Apart from Innovation and Trust building, the values here lay emphasis on building long-term Business relationship with the clients which means they’d need to do much more than market their products. Precisely, the leader should be focused on meeting and recommending solutions to the needs of the client pertaining to the Business so as to create a win-win situation.
If a Sales leader sells a product successfully to a prospective client, it’d fall under the responsibility of him/her to oversee the usefulness of the product for the client and also take charge to look upon the issues in relationship with the product and look for the deals to obtain a contractual support for product maintenance. Additionally, if there be an opportunity for the Leader to look for selling more products to the same client, he’d have to take advantage of that using his marketing skills.
However, care should be taken to ensure that the product being sold has usefulness in it for the client’s Business and does not hamper growth. In other words, The Leader should be flexible enough to make smart decisions so that the relationship with the client is not hampered under any circumstances without overcompensating the targets set forth by the Organization. All managers throughout IBM play an important position in nurturing valuable industry reliability in the workplace. They fulfil this by mounting, encouraging, and leading a culture of Oneness in heir organizations which serves as a gateway to earn organizational trust. ‘IBM has recently reported a 14% increase in quarterly profit’ , By Finfacts Team, Oct 16, 2009, http://www. finfacts. ie/irishfinancenews/article_1018233. shtml The study gives an insight about what IBM as a corporate world organization does to incorporate leadership in the current trends. A forceful visualization and a set of traits, which are commonly followed by all of the employees within the company.
In this latest trend of Business culture, the leadership method revolves around the ability to incorporate a climate in which employees would have a sense of belonging as a collective group. Upon examining further, we see that the corporation has empowered every employee to act as a Leader by setting up a group trait “Trust and responsibility in all Relationships”, which directly or indirect demands every individual in the organization to take ownership of key actions to establish good relationships with the co-workers. Chaotic and complex environment:
Since PEST (Political, Economic ,Social and Technological) factors affect the prospects of an Organization so much that it is indispensable to look into it in detail so that the company would be in coordination with the market trends, political law enforcements and technological changes. Immigration laws, fuel prices, foreign exchange rates, banking loans and interest rates have all become more significant for a global organization to keep track of so they make appropriate choices suitable for the circumstances at right time.
The global recession that occurred recently is a good example of economic factor. Let’s study some organizations which lost and those that thrived during global recession in 2008 Circuit City is a major electronics company that started in the middle of nineteenth century headed to great loss due to poor financial management and less demand in the market. It became pauper in the end of the year 2008. Similarly, Sharpar Image, known for selling innovative gifts using myriad of latest technologies succumbed to deteriorating sales and was shut down by September.
Steve & Barry’s unable to meet its debt liabilities and closed its business operations by the end of the year 2008. DHL, the international express-mail company, stopped shipping within the U. S. in January 2000. While most of the companies posted losses during the hard times of global recession, there were a few companies that survived and some made profit during this period. It’d be quite interesting to see what strategy was equipped to oversee the chaotic conditions and book profits. The companies which thrived the chaotic and complex environment are Source: from MSN Money, 3rd Mar 2009,http://articles. moneycentral. msn. com/Investing/Extra/6-companies-dodging-the-recession. aspx) Verizon The telecommunications sector had a nose-dive in final quarter 2008. While all other telecommunication companies posted losses, Verizon Communications fourth quarter profit went up by fifteen percent. What Verizon did was it had a long term objective to capture many subscribers for the company. It was long designing and investing time and money in the fiber optic network meant for high speed internet connections.
Verizon added huge number of subscribers in the fourth quarter. Not only does better broadband help Verizon draw more customers, it also means those customers are at higher-end, and therefore less likely to cut their service because they can no longer afford it. Companies like Colgate-Palmolive, Heinz established the old strategy of increasing the unit prices to cope up with the recession market. The inflation of prices did not affect the sales much largely due to the fact the people did not hesitate to buy cheap products with slightly increased prices.
Moreover, their products remain cheaper in comparison to luxury items, so when people cut their cost of expenditure food stuffs and personal items would be the last option in the buy-list. Success Story of Christian Arno, who failed twice in his endeavours only to learn for the Better Flavelle C, The Big Money ,http://www. leadership-expert. co. uk/stories-from-leaders-online-marketing-and-cost-effective-business-growth/ says: Christian Arno, the MD of Lingo24, established a translation company from home in the early 2000.
Currently, Lingo24 is running business in many countries possessing a large head count with four thousand online free translators equipped. The turnover of Lingo24 comes around four million. In the beginning of his Business, Arno did not do well as expected. When Arno started Business, he thought that companies would approach him for making advertisements which was one of the most common ways to grow in business at that time but to his dismay, he wasn’t contacted. Later on after booking losses, he found that Return On investment wasn’t quite there for him.
He advised to new Business Men and Entrepreneurs that new entrepreneurs should not invest a large sum of money initially at the start of the business without knowing the consequences and outcome of the Business. After learning significant lessons, Arno played a sheet anchor role in the success of his enterprise by using ‘Online Marketing’ to his advantage. His strategy was to ‘play it safe’ i. e. take calculated risks and expand the businesses gradually rather than invest large sum all at once. Search Engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising have been key areas of expansion.
Arno took advantage of the new medium namely the internet for online marketing which enabled a new way of connecting to the customers effectively and efficiently. Online Marketing is the cheap and most effective method to venture during economic recession. Lingo24 enjoys global expansion with websites opened in different European languages and many other languages. It enables access to new opportunities in the market. He found key search terms used by local customers and implemented it into the translated websites.
Because the saturation is nowhere near what it is in the English-speaking market, he found that Limo grew very rapidly in foreign search engine rating. Arno advice to new Entrepreneur is not to aim too high within a short-period as enterprise and emphasizes that growth is still possible even during this period of down markets if and only if one understands the conditions in the current market and takes corrective & prompt actions. Skills and Competencies required becoming a leader under difficult circumstances Based on the case studies we can infer that there is need for a new skills and competencies in many areas of a Leader’s Life.
Some of the key aspects of emerging Leadership are: Innovation It is indispensible for the new leader to be creative in terms of recommending proper feasible solutions for the problems being faced by the organization. We have seentime and again that organizations using their innovation derive new products and market efficiently to make profits. There are other applications of innovation as well, for instance innovation in improving the quality of service in Service oriented Businesses which enables the clients to stick to a long term solutions.
Managing people on Global Scale Another basic qualification for effective Leadership/Management practice is that the leader should be able to work and get along with people from various cultures and divisions. The latest leadership style empowers people within the organization to be participative when making major decisions. Establishing Good Relationship with Stake holders is very important for a successful leader. Employing Strategies for business to thrive under current and future market
Keeping an eye on the financial markets, how competitors are performing, assessing people’s requirements and demands are key areas of focus to collect information for creation and implementation of appropriate strategy. Strategy is a very generic term that can be applied under many areas. A strategist is dependent on Financial, sales , technological, human resources , and other material resources for making appropriate decisions. Using Technology to Advantage The Leader should be aware of and keep pace with the information blood line using technology.
Organizations which have used technology to fuller extent were able to automate many of the business processes which otherwise would make operations much complicated. We see the importance and influence of Information Technology in particular, across each and every field. Why technology is important in current trend of Leadership? According to Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft, A customer, or a stake holder can be benefitted by taking advantage of technology to obtain better information in business so that it positively affects all sectors including government, educational schools and provides much more jobs for the workers
Planning Ahead It falls under responsibility of a leader to have multiple targets and plans to ensure that objectives are met. Every great journey starts with a single step. Therefore Leader has to have a clear cut plan well-prepared in advance and split into time lines, as when to execute the plan. Ability to handle Stress during unstable situation and taking smart decisions Most successful leaders tend to take control of the situation and handle stress in an effective and efficient way. Time magazine gives some technique to mange Stress at work.
It says the more we breathe oxygen, the better relaxation it gives to us however, there is no way to prevent stress from getting into our lives because we always get it some way or the other. The ill-effects of Stress ate it can age us much faster than our actual age and it changes our body chemistry due to release of hormones and alters our behavioural characteristics Moral and Ethical A leader’s conduct and ethical behaviour is very important for the organizational growth. We have witnessed great companies falling down drastically simply due to unethical behaviour of chairman.
For instance, The chairman and CEO of Sathyam, Mr Rama Linga Raju inflated the profits in the Balance sheet of the company and thought making an escape only to get caught within the jaws of the Legal system. Heather Timmons in New York Times talks about the financial scandal of this company. Empowering Subordinates When a leader manager empowers the right subordinates, it becomes a participative leadership. This can motivate the workers down the line as they were given chance to become leaders as well.
This is a form of servant leadership where the leader serves the right team member to improve the conditions of the chaotic environment. Decision-Making Ability A leader must be sound at making good judgement based on factors such as risk assessment, profit, resource requirements, legal etc… With good-decision making ability a leader can get rid of major obstacles and odds and can prove to subordinates how to overcome a difficult situation through example. This is a way of leading by example. However, if a leader makes bad judgement resulting in major loss for the group then the reputation of the leader is put into test.
Work-Life Balance It is essential for the leader to manage his personal life so it does not affect the work. Personal management involves taking care of the responsibilities related to his personal life and having control over it. Recommendation to acquire skills Though a leader should possess some basic skill set that would make him successful, it is possible that the Skills of the leader can be groomed by following some practices as described below: GTP (Good Technology practice) GTP lays emphasis on learning current and up-coming technology through training.
There are many training centres and Internet online courses available to learn new technologies. The future leaders will make good use of technology to their advantage. Financial Awareness Financial awareness is the ability to gather information about current market and be able to assess how that would affect his running of corporate business . The awareness itself will give lot of insight into making practical business decisions. If we look at the current corporations, they have financial objectives achieving which gives motivation to them. Interpersonal Skills Training
These skills can be trained by participating in training sessions for Public Speech, reading good books like ‘The one Minute Manager’, practically applying them within the organization through driving meetings, brainstorming sessions, through engaging in participative leadership. Critical and Rational Thinking Skills This is one skill which must be developed through the initiative of the leader himself. The critical Thinking skills enable a Leader to discriminate reality from illusion. This can be learnt through dealing with various problems and experiences.
Abraham Lincoln failed numerous times before he became a president of United States. Each time he failed he must have had a learning experience to motivate himself for the better. Ofcourse, it’s important to ‘look before you leap’ but rational thinking enables leaders to ‘make hay while the sun shines’. Physical Exercise and Spiritual Practice for Emotional control In order to cope up with the chaotic environment, a considerable amount of spiritual practice is necessary to develop emotional control of oneself and possess stress tolerance.
In eastern philosophy and practices and some of the western teachings, it is considered that having control of one’s own self and mastery over the senses is the gateway to an effective leadership. Once in a week, a spiritual practice can recharge a leader. For those who are non-spiritual, they could spend time with the near and dear ones or d shopping once in a while to recoup spirits. Motivation is the key to the success of a leader. Similarly, ‘persistence’ is an ability to stick to the goal no matter how much obstacles a Leader meets.
Persistence, determination, dedication are key areas of emotions that play a vital role in the ability of the leader. Mahatma Gandhi followed spiritual and moral practices such as non-violence, celibacy to control his emotions thereby he obtained a will-power to stick to his goal of gaining independence for his country. Conclusion In short, every organization is hunting for an effective leader to lead them into making a profitable company in the difficult times and resolve highly complex problems in the current chaotic market conditions.
The recommendation to such organization is that there is always someone out there within who can turn into a successful leader if given an opportunity. In fact, the employees within and the future leaders, are the ones who can turn things around quickly than a new leader specifically equipped for the purpose. In other words, the management must make good decisions to motivate, train and upgrade an employee into a leader . That saves time and quite a lot of resources as well.
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