When we talk of leaders and their leadership we see that it is the art of directing and influencing team members towards a common goal. Moreover a leader also makes each of those members responsible of their performance, which enhances the accountability of the team as a whole and makes an individual a liable of every step he or she takes. When we define leadership, we cannot rule out the findings by Marx Weber who came up with the idea that leader possess innate qualities whereas on the other side behaviorist are of the view that leadership is defined by your actions and personality. Leadership is of two types, transformational and transactional. Discussing the second one first, in transactional leadership it is the ability to direct people and manage resources so to get the work done but in transformational leadership you inspire and motivate and makes people achieve a pedestal point in life (Maxwell, 2007).
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A leader always sets the right example in front of his or her peers. A leader can inspire, encourage, enkindle and stimulate a member in a team to the core, which who can then prove to be really useful for the organization. Most changes are brought in the organization in this way. An excellent leader always foresees the problems for the company in advance and to counter them on time he starts the process of status-quo change in the organization. This is what I call developing of a vision. A good leader then sells his vision. For this he has to give in his energy and commitment. In this he has to suffer some quick gains and setbacks too because no body buys the idea very quickly and they join in late, some times very late. But still, the transformational leader over here does not sits back and rests, instead he continues to look for every opportunity and exploits everything out.
If we look on to the four management functions, which include planning controlling organizing and leading, a good leader can always perform them effectively. As I have discussed that a leader always sets a right example in front of his or her peers, by managing, controlling, organizing and leading a project he or she can prove it to his or her subordinates that their leader is second to none. If we delve deep into the four functions of management we see that planning is the beginning of any project or function whether it is designing a Boeing 787, constructing a bridge, a war or any other thing related to the product development or launch, planning has the upper hand as compared to other four functions of the management process (Goffee, 2005). So here at this crucial stage where the blue prints or the basic foundations are to be laid, a leader has to be well informed and has to be some one who have guts to take on the challenges head on and can arrange people to work towards a common goal. Also, in planning we have to know and understand the strategy of the business. Strategy is the long- term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. Strategy planning defines the tactical and operational planning of an organization. An informed and good leader with charismatic personality first of all over here will determine the course of action for achieving those objectives. He or she will make sure that every minute detail over the project is being gathered so that his or her subordinates can knew the tits and bits of the project and if they have any concerns over it they are welcome to bring it forward so later when the planning finalizes, the process goes in a smooth way. Here the leader would do environmental scanning which would include things like economic conditions, competitors and their customers. In planning, the leader and his team also set the objectives and as I have explained earlier, a good transformational leader always tries to encourage his or her subordinates to come up with their views. This is no doubt one of its traits, which makes his or her personality a charismatic one.
Then the leader also comes up with the alternative sources of action for achieving those objectives and lays down a plan to check whether the goals are being met or not. I would like to share an example of my relevant work experience in the bank. As I was working in the Home finance department we had a problem over sales as it kept on declining because of rising interest rates. Our branch target sales over financing home loans were far from being met and the time was passing by quickly. Our supervisor John Reid took notice of this issue and called a meeting to devise a strategy to increase sales. He had a charismatic personality; instead of spanking and taunting sales guys over lousy performance he gave us a chance to bring out our perspective in front of him. Every one had shared his or her views in full length with the supervisor who listed to every detail and then asked us to chalk down a strategy; hence planning started. By taking in view all the pros and cons of the environment and after talking to the sales people at length, he got sufficient material on how to plan out things. Finally a plan was devised that now the sales people will not confined themselves to the cubicles of the bank, they would personally seek clients outside the bank so to increase their sales and to knock off the competitors who are coming up with different strategies to increase their market share also. Apart from this John also told us that in view of current scenario a new policy will be rolled out quickly in few days which would give clients a relaxation over the installment payments (having an installment free initial year). This new policy by the bank would surely give us an edge and would increase our sales. Apart from this all, planning is so important that without it nothing could be achieved in a desired way. Let’s see the example of war on terror. When American forces attacked Iraq, they were of the view that they would get hold of the situation in some months but they were proved wrong as the situation lingered on. Why? Because planning was not realistic. Ground realities were ignored like what will be the reaction of locals? How would they perceive American army’s invasion and what would be the steps to curb the anti terrorist activities, which would come into existence after that (Blunt, 2007).
Now organizing comes into action, which comes second to the planning. From management point of view all the great planning by great planners never took off from their sheets of paper until they organize it well. A planning may be of excellent nature but one has to execute it also and for its effective execution you have to come up with a nice piece of work and a leader normally does this. He organizes and divides specific jobs and departments to different groups and individuals according to the skills they possess and then the authorities are delegated to them according to their abilities. Organization is a key role to the management process (Bennis, 2002). It identifies who has to do what and up to when. Coming to my work experience at the bank, our supervisor first figured out who is to given which task. Basically there were several tasks to be met. First there was a task of finding out potential customers in the market who are looking forward to make a home but they do not have sufficient finances. Secondly another task was to divide different teams who would cater different categories of customer. Customers ranked in the high low and medium categories and for each of the categories relevant sales men were assigned. As I have shown stellar performance in the past, John gave me a target to capture high ranked customers. New recruits were given the task of finding the potential customers through telephonic phone calls and other syndicated resources available on the net.
Leading comes after organizing. Once the things are organized, now it needs execution in real form and this is done by the sub-leaders who are at helm of their respective tasks assigned to them by their supervisor. One thing to note over here is that a good leader must take control and focus and maintain contact with their people on a daily basis to ensure all are on the same page and to maintain awareness of the achievements achieved or problems that may occur. Here again a leader, a charismatic one who is the main person behind the project pick his team leaders by setting up a criteria and who ever lands into that being made a leader. Here a leader has to tread carefully because if two steps are being carried out all right, but if problem arises in the leading stage then whole efforts would be spoiled. This would dismay even the supervisor because the sub leaders or sub ordinates have botched up all the work, which was designed and crafted in a careful way. Coming to my experience at the Bank, I was being made leader of the sales team who will be catering the high-end customers in the society. I was given this task because my past record was good and thus John, my supervisor, had thought that I could train and mentor my teammates in a better way. Other teammates were being made leaders to target the lower and medium categories of the customers. As proper management depends on proper leadership a sound leader is the one who presents its team with the motivation and encouragement of triumph. In leading for instance one of the properties of the charismatic leader is that he must take control and focus and maintain contact with their people on a daily basis to ensure all are on the same page and to maintain awareness of the achievements achieved or problems that may occur.
Lastly, in the controlling section, a check is maintained and a feedback analysis is being done. When all the first three steps are taken and executed now the manager or the team leader has to control the whole process. John our supervisor at the Bank kept a strict vigil over our all the activities. Every sub-team leader has to report to him over the daily activities and the achievement so to check whether the things are working properly or not. On the other hand welcomed the feedback even if it was negative related to the policies of the bank. Also in this way a check was maintained and performance was also judged. This was basically done so to ensure monitoring and employee performance tasks and making sure that the targets are being met. If the employees stray from the objective then corrections need to be made. Many writers and business gurus are of the opinion that good managers have eyes in the back of their head. In a sense, it is true many people have worked for managers that seem to know everything. By reporting to our supervisor daily, he knew what is been happening and how the new strategy is showing off its colors. If it had been a failure a corrective step would have been taken and new planning would have been done and then the process would have repeated on its own by a new way of organizing, leading and then controlling.
When I come to the conclusion, I see that that leadership has a lot to do in the four vital steps of management. Good managers know how to utilize all four functions of management at the time it is needed and are able to deal with any issues that may arise. Some managers may only be skilled in certain areas like planning and lack training in others areas like organization. The ability to be detersive will distinguish good managers from great ones (Goleman, 2000). Also, one thing to note over here is that being efficient in some of the functions is not enough to be able to enforce the effectiveness of a manger towards the rest of the organization of the people they are managing. Without understanding the need for all functions to be in place, some major aspects and important areas of a management position will become dysfunctional and have a negative impact on the goals of the organization. Managers must be able to take the time to understand and develop their skills of all four functions if they are deficient in any area; this will maximize the success and effectiveness of their management style. Coming to my experience at bank I figured out that without a sound and good leadership of John Reid, sales of home finance department would have remained depressed. Had he not analyzed the situation thoroughly, we could not have increased our sales. Coming out with a solid plan with the will to organize lead and then control was something, which exhibited his sound leadership qualities. No doubt he was a transformational leader because he believed in his self rather than believing on others.
Bennis, W (2002). Crucibles of Leadership. Harvard Business Review
Blunt, R (2007).The Failures of Leaders. GovLeaders.org.
Goffee, R (2005). Managing Authenticity: The Paradox of Great Leadership. Harvard Business Review.
Goleman, D (2000). Leadership that gets results. Harvard Business Review.
Maxwell, J (2007). The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow (Hardcover). Thomas Nelson.