Leadership development is a matter for top management
It is famously said, “If you want to lead others; first, learn to lead yourself!!” Development of today’s young generation into tomorrow’s leaders is the major goal at hand of top management. Management is a very important lesson for everyone as it emphasizes on minimum effort to achieve maximum result. And to achieve maximum result one must be independent enough first to lead himself/herself so as to be role models for others to follow. After all, a leader is the one who is followed by millions with full faith.
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Development of such management, leadership skills in today’s managers requires a bird’s eye view of scenario where role of top management is the most vital. Top management can act as guiding force for budding managers through various ways. Few of them to mention are the informal teaching of skills; these skills are imbibed through personal interaction with managers where problems, challenges faced by them are sorted out through giving them directive principles to follow. Another way involves formal teaching; where people receive training on various aspects of job. This is done by training junior managers through team managers; either in classrooms or in work field. Leaders are expected to possess emotionally stable mind so that in stressful, demanding situations they do not loose temper on innocent and cause irreparable damage to their organization as well give invitation to criticism. For this; top management officials need to train manager’s art of anger management, emotional control and direct their negative energies to creative areas of work. The best way is to talk freely with young managers about their fears, inhibitions and give them suggestions. Infact, management can improve performance through regular newsletters in company, scheduled meditative classes etc. This can help one of the most stressed species of humans on Earth to get relieved.
Talking about pressure of performance and expectations; its magnitude is soaring high in the competitive environment. Markets are changing overnight; managers need to sharpen their tools each moment. Managers need to know the process of operations in the organization along with keeping himself/herself up to date with news from around the world. (Barnabas, 2003, pp, 89)
The aim of managers in organizations is to achieve high profits; for this they need possess a deep understanding of benefits of new techniques over old. As it is famously said, “It is important to work smarter, than harder!” This should be passed from leaders to the workers in the organization, thus giving sense of purpose to each one who stands counted. Other skills which should be integral part of managers armory is crisis management, in short problem solving through good decision making skills. Business is second name of risk taking which frequently invites crisis. A good leader in a manager should prepare beforehand by planning actions, meetings with delegates and communicate its ideas clearly to everyone. Management leaders should follow modules to ensure achieving above results like practicing knowledge all along the organization.
An order of modules in which one should start the management-training program should be followed so that skills necessary for good business practices can be attained.
One of the most important facts about management leaders who initiate a business model or idea are strong vision; the belief that their idea will turn into a fruitful business not only for him but for all the members of his/her organization. Strong vision requires self belief/confidence and shutting ears against undue criticism, thus we can say that a strong mind can turn any idea into money. (Bernard, 2006, pp, 45)
Business apart from meeting clients has other counterparts like producing quality products, completing order in time with right quantity etc. to leave a satisfied customer who is next time itself pulled towards the same organization. A manager has to learn the art of supervising the work in his/her organization. Supervising includes a lot of things which a takes a toll of pressure on managing leaders like keeping track of quality raw material, proper process chart of manufacturing being followed, proper quality check of finished products, reaching the customer in time and many more. Along with these; managers need to supervise workers who give maximum efficiency for the benefit of organization. These workers need to be kept motivated to attain best quality which is the sole responsibility of manager. A good manager can achieve this through regular meetings with workers to make them aware of knowledge for better performance, awarding bonuses when required so that bar of standard is raised every time.
As stated earlier about good problem solving skill set of managers, there is a part of this which needs to be addressed. The challenge before a manager is to identify problems, there are situations where sometimes problem don’t seem to be problems. They may become major issues later but at present they don’t even look like a matter to consider. At such points a manager needs to have an eye of an eagle to identify such issues from far. Anticipation of problems helps a manager to take corrective measures much before the problem may appear. Such a skill set is rare and can only be cultivated through practice, but a conscious effort on the part of manager is required. In addition to finding solutions on its own, a manager can even consult other co-workers for opinions and suggestions which are guided by wisdom attained through experience of years. This can therefore help a constraint free work of organization which is great asset for a great future. (Ben, 2005, pp, 23)
After deciding the solution for the problem, an action plan must be decided for implementation. The final result, which is desired for the benefit of organization, must be anticipated before the actual action plan is brought into practice. After which, one should monitor the action plan closely, which can be assisted by keeping indicator levels of success in process of achieving the final goal. These indicators act as steps of success ladder. This helps to cross check actual result with the anticipated one. At the end of action plan being executed successfully, one can observe a substantial change in the organization with a stronger customer base, stronger and skilled worker base, high profits, happier partners, share holders and managers. Thus a manager performs as a sculptor of success for his/her organization.
In short if we state, in the leadership model one has to know the basics that are required for the success to be reached, which are: Mobilization of the individuals to show commitment towards changes, mobilization of the workers so that they can perform well in their activities with high efficiency so that the organization performance is maintained. (Betty, 2005, pp, 34)
A leader should a dynamic personality of strong character which acts as a role model for his/her organization. An organization sees through the eyes of a leader. It is thus a leader who carries his assets and gives them direction to an imaginary but well thought path towards success in global market. But apart from a leader, it is also a duty of organization as a unit to show that the belief of their leader in them is true and their capability as a team is immeasurable. When a team in organization works together, there a small leader emerges who can take care of smaller units of a larger team. These small leaders should be groomed by the senior manager leaders as mentors so that the future of company should be in safe and responsible hands. Becoming a leader is not a stage but it is a process which carries on till the end of career of a successful management leader. Thus a person becomes a leader when he or she has the attributes which are stated in the model as stated above. The person with right competencies will lead an organization towards success and thus his or her name will become synonymous with a reservoir of success. This leader will become the reflection of business in the strategic direction that the organization has to follow.
The initiatives required on the behalf of person ambitious of attaining leadership qualities include Strong executive engagement where one is required to be highly committed towards needs of organization. The leaders and managers should ensure that the organization operated with the corporate strategy and should be able to focus on the right business issues. There are tailored leadership competencies where by the organization ensures that the leaders and managers agree on the competencies which are required in the organization so that the working of the business is not interrupted. There should be planning, career development and other talent related processes so that the leader can perform the work without fears of failure and face the challenged with conviction.
The leader should be a strategic master of situation in any case where the leaders must have skills to manage projects in business, manage operations in organization, on how to deal with people. Such leaders help organization to have high performance. Thus, such leaders needs to be targeted at all levels of hierarchy in an organization because they the pillars in the organization along with managers. There is the application of a comprehensive and ongoing approach in which the leaders require trainings on the field of management so that they can know how to manage the organization effectively without failures. (Alice, 2005, pp, 45)
Talent in management needs to be integrated with the leadership qualities because a combined management leader knows exactly what is supposed to be done and how their weak areas can be converted into their strengths. When there is lack of leadership development then the organization is liable to problems because the so called leaders will be unmindful of the benefits of organization and work in a layman format with a limited scope of view. Thus as a consequence the organization ends up facing problems in response of poor management by leaders. The managers ignore the micro management activities with others and fail to have a focus on the issues which are important, which as a result makes them unaware of the changes taking place in the organization and remain cut off with organization. Thus, in order to solve this issue organization should cultivate training grounds for managers to educate them with the latest technology in the market because lack of knowledge on the part of manager raises serious issues of better organization performance. (Allison, 1998, pp, 76)
One of the most important aspects about leading and managing an organization is dealing with co-workers or employees. Each person working in the organization is born and brought up in different environment. Each one is a special entity in itself with different perspective and point of views towards same situation. Each one will have different capabilities and method of working may differ with different people. Some of them may not like to work in a team and some of them may not be able to work without a team. Such different personalities need to handle effectively by leaders and managers who have to make them work for the benefit of organization. They have to find the difference between a trained and an unskilled worker and assign the befitting job to each one of them. Also team building required mutual respect among employees which is again the duty of leaders and managers to maintain. For all this to be achieved, management leaders again require training on managing human resource as a workforce. Identifying the hidden talent of the workers is an unmatched skill which has to be cultivated among leaders. Making such people to work in their own areas of expertise will automatically make them motivated towards a particular task; in return the company is on the benefit side.
Such strategy will also help the leaders to identify the non – performers in the organization who are redundant asset of company. Such employees need a replacement which again adds a task to the long list for leading managers. Leaders know the required skill for a particular job to be completed. Thus they constantly keep looking for this skill along with right attitude during recruiting new employees. This skill needs to be taught to leaders through training and teaching, but most importantly it is duty of managers to practice it effectively. Thus, a leader should know the dynamics of interdependent teams in an organization. (Alfred, 2005, pp, 56)
Talking about training, it needs to be understood that training ensures old culture of organization to be preserved and also new culture being practiced and cultivated.
Training makes sure that leaders stand accountable for their work and constantly keep the performance level high with good management of human resource in the organization.
It may not be forgotten that one day such leaders will require a replacement which is ensured through training. New leaders are groomed under these managers, thus a ladder of succession is made. In the succession plan of the organization, one can easily look into the future of manpower the company might be requiring. This means that the organization will require its senior managers, officers and leaders to carry out research in areas of better talent pool for the future growth plans of the company. Carrying out such a research requires a background of experience of long years. These experienced leaders will make sure that new employees are having required skill set before hand itself and only grooming them into future leaders is required.
Thus leaders should be exposed to the theories and practices; as well as the development of the professional ethics which is most important for any employee because work is always by ethics and wisdom attained through such leading managers. (Alfred, 2006, pp90)
Till now I have discussed about facts, qualities which managers should possess; now I would like to analyze some of the critical statements like ‘Using the classroom to help develop people already practising management is a fine idea, but pretending to create managers out of people who have never managed is a shame’ (Mumford 2005). There is no doubt that management is an art which cannot be taught but can only be told. Each enthusiast endeavouring to be a successful manager has some day or the other try his or her hand at managing certain event/organization etc for first time. It is not at all necessary that unless one has some prior experience in management, he is not eligible to be a manager or it is similar to be pretending to make managers. Each individual in itself has separate capabilities, which defines his/her existence and it is this existence which matters for someone to be a good manager. Infact, classroom is extremely necessary for management training and it can never be compared to the fact of being hypocritical.
One of the biggest benefits a manager has over others is his/her capability of self management. There is always a zing of life which has to be enjoyed along with work and this is best known with managers. Managers; along with handling organization, employees, clients etc also helps in his/her self development as an individual. As I had said earlier that if one has to lead others, he must first learn to lead himself; this is a well established and practiced fact with managers all around the globe. A good manager knows his/her strengths closely, thus management gives an inner sense of trust, truth, a sense of purpose and also self realization which is most important factor among all other things in life.
One more fact, which is more often discussed and is one the biggest debatable topic, is “do men and women manage differently and do they have different development needs?”
Well to discuss that let me talk about basic nature of men and women. Men are generally strong physically, they take immense pride in solving problems themselves, men are impatient with decisions and sometimes in hurry of taking quick decisions they loose temper as well as the deal. On the contrary, women are emotional but mentally strong. Women a very patient with taking decisions as they take a swot analysis of each situation and then move ahead with things which is added feature of them along with good looks.
No doubt, these are not the only qualities of each section, but these qualities may also be present in opposite sex also. I mean to say that men can also be very patient and analytical with solving problems.
Having being pointed out the differences in basic nature of the two sex groups, I wanted to point out the basic difference in the wiring of brains of the two. This difference is more than enough to point that both of them solve problems in different way i.e. they manage differently. But management is not a male/female issue, but it is an individual issue. Each individual may be male or female solves a particular problem in ‘n’ number of ways. Thus it would be wrong in generalising the fact that male and female manage differently because one male and a female may manage a problem in a similar way.
Infact I would like to point out that, ‘In a globalising world, management development has become international management development and sensible organisations are concerned to create a cadre of ‘cross-cultural’ managers’. In today’s fast paced world, people travel far away from there home countries in search of quality work with good remuneration. As I had indicated above that each individual is born and brought up in a different environment, culture, sensibilities, understanding; thus when such people cross borders to reach others mainland there is a complex cultural mix curry formed in a single pool. This cultural puree not only creates an environment of exchange of culture, ideas, foreign currency but it also helps one to understand the needs of others. A good manager is one who knows how to solve others problem and this cross culture communication is best method to understand the main problem. After understanding the problem, may some new idea of venture capitalism may spring up which is the added flavour in the spicy mixture of cultures.
All this requires good understanding of the subject of management along with good practices. As Henry Mintzberg said that ‘training the wrong people in the wrong ways leads to wrong consequences’. Now Henry is not a lightweight, he is the management guru who has recently written a major work attacking MBA as a way of developing managers. I completely agree with the legend. Consider an example of a ignorant young man who is learning swimming in a pool, if he is only taught to swim in a small pool he may have to struggle to swim in a running stream of water. The ponds frog has to come out someday to the river or sea. Thus wrong training on wrong grounds without understanding the capabilities or needs of a enthusiast manager is a mistake right at the first step whose results will be disastrous.
Leadership development and management is a matter of top management because the plethora of job skills required to achieve success in any organization is rare to be found in junior leaders and managers. Though, junior leader are taught to be future masters but the present situation of problem solving demands senior officials to come the terms of problems and solve them. One of the most important works of senior staff is to inculcate values through training and teaching. Training is very important, as it make people in the organization accountable of their position. If each person stands accountable then the organization will always move up the ladder of success in the torment of situations also.
Proper planning on the part of senior managers is required who, with a strong vision should look into future for growth areas like launching of new products, services or upgrading the present system into a more efficient and user friendly system.
Top management also needs to keep a track record of the performance of their organization which acts a measuring scale for their input and the corresponding output. Also, a better record of success calls for celebration which is well deserved. Here, without any efforts of senior manager’s, these celebration acts as gluing agent between employees and senior officials. Thus a team is created by itself.
A team working and celebrating together makes a perfect working environment where success becomes a habit and inevitable. Thus operations will run with maximum efficiency, workers will by themselves be motivated, mutual respect will remain and future of new leading manager will be bright.
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