Leadership means setting new vision or direction for a group and spearheading the new direction. Management directs or controls resources or people according to the already established values and principles. In differentiating between leadership and management, we consider what happens when one is used without the other. Leadership without management set the vision and direction to be followed by other people without putting into consideration the way new direction is supposed to be achieved. It is the duty of other people to work hard and fill the trail already left behind by picking up the pieces and ensuring that it works.
Management where there is no leadership is able to control the resources in order to maintain the status quo and make sure everything is happening according to the plans which have already been established. For example, a referee is able to manage a game but does not provide leadership due to lack of new change and new direction, he only control resources to make sure that the laws set for the game are properly followed and there is maintenance of the status quo.(Slater, 1996)
When leadership is combined with management, it is able to set both direction and manage resources properly in order to achieve it. If there is no leadership or management, it should not be confused with facilitative or participatory management because this leadership which is very effective. Absence of leadership does not mean there is a type of leadership that requires no action to be carried out. for example, Gandhis requested protests to stop and it demonstrated a great form of leadership because, if he took no action this would lead to a new direction for the people in India.
Leadership is involved in doing the right things and deciding the right course of action to be taken. It involves knowing the right things to be done so that we can get where we want to go and direction and course of action to take so that we can get to the end. Management acts follows act of leadership once the best course or direction has already been decided. (Senge, 1994)
Management involves doing things in the right manner. Leaders must use skills of management and managers must also apply leadership skills but if the difference is understood and work is done within this basic framework, workplace becomes more productive. For example, a corporate leader opened his eyes and was shown differences between leadership and management; he had been spending most of his time managing operations on daily basis. He started working with other managers to ensure there is optimal production. After knowing the definition of leadership, he stopped concentrating on day to day operation and begun to look at the direction his company was taking. He took time to examine data and trends and making discovery on what the company should do to remain competitive. After he got all the information, he set objectives which are strategic for growth. The company had many years of stagnant growth before but later profits went up by more than fifty percent every year.
When managing people, strengths and weaknesses of each person should be understood within the work team so that people can be assigned duties in areas where they are most talented so that they can be more productive and offer high quality work and be more efficient. In this case leadership is equated to effectiveness and management to efficiency. Effectiveness ensures there is high quality product and services in the right direction while efficiency involves good management of time in order to meet deadline and finish tasks at the right time.
There is a contention that, a person becomes a manager after he signs for the job either to be head of a firm, first line supervisor or head of department but for one to become a leader, other people have to say so. When one gets a managers title from the organization, the other people will automatically do things for him either in the right way or not according to how they are managed. It is only team managers or stakeholders who can give one manager the title of a leader. This means that, the organization allows corporate managers be recognized as leaders when people have faith in the manager and is given leadership badge because he is being honored.(Schein, 1997)
The meaning of leadership, instead laying its focus on inputs like competencies, personal skills, traits and characteristics, it focuses on outputs. Managers are judged according to their status as leaders to their follower’s eyes and stakeholder according to whatever they do and are able to achieve. The essence of having leadership is to create conditions that encourage others to follow. When a group has good leadership, they share the same environmental understanding and know what they are facing. They share the vision of where they are heading to and organization values and with all this together they share a feeling of power.
The function of leadership does not reside with only one person. The manager will have the responsibility of to lead and ensure that other people work as a team. When leadership is applied, it is equally distributed throughout the team or group with different people taking leadership role and distributes their leadership when required to do so. It is mandatory to have management because when there is no effectiveness and efficiency in management in order for the assigned responsibilities to be met, the organization might be dead.
Leadership is optional and as managers, trainers and consultants, our focus should be on helping all the managers to improve managerial performance. For the people who want to take the extra step of leadership, they should be helped to have leadership function in their team or group by providing coaching, tools and guidance. Leadership does not form part of management. This however requires leaders and managers to have variation in management and leadership having respect to different situations. (Gordon, 1977)
In strategic thinking, For example, thinking about future products or how to defeat competitors, one can apply strategy by acting as a leader but if the strategies require action to be carried out, the leader will have to act as a manager and less of a leader in order ensure the strategy is implemented. Leadership forms subset of management where management involves stewardship, responsibility for resources and accountability. Leadership is influence which is purposeful and people as human resources are always managed. An effective leader is determined by the way he executes the right things and there are managers who are not capable of leading and leaders who are not able to manage. (Bennis, 1985)
When a leader is the figurehead but does not set direction, this leadership is not technical although the figure head may be taken to be a leader. For example, in United Kingdom, people view monarch as a leader but in real sense, there is little leadership provided by him because most United Kingdom leadership is from political figures. If direction is set by a new group according to its own accord, it expresses new direction that is like a leader. for example, Nelson Mandela is viewed as great leader though he was imprisoned and cut from communicating with his followers and was classified historically as a terrorist but still his own symbolic power grew all over the world. Leadership sets new direction to be followed by a group and management directs and controls following the principles that have been established. However, some managers are symbolic leaders if they spearhead the direction a group of people sets for itself. (Max, 1997)
Role of an Inspirational Leader in Board Relations and Development
An inspirational leader must focus on the future and believe that he can make a difference in the organization and encourage people to aim at achieving higher than what they believe is possible. He sees an organization changing and going beyond horizons of time by creating an image that is unique and ideal of what the organization would become. Leaders open the eyes of their followers and ensure their spirits are lifted high. They believe that one time their dreams will turn out to be reality through having positive attitude towards all what is done and allowing people to see opportunities which are exiting and future possibilities so that they can change and unlock the power inside them when they get emotionally committed and engaged.
Leadership helps people to achieve better life. A leader should measure his success by the success of their followers. Employees who are empowered and talented are very resourceful to the organization and require having ability of leading themselves. A leader should give strategic alignment and coaching to people in order to help his followers in becoming effective self leaders. Leader should help organization and people in achieving stretch goals by having relentless growth attitude. (Covey, 1992)
The leader is supposed to lead in innovation and lay more emphasis on the opportunities available but not the problems and encourage his followers to develop innovative behavior. In establishing innovative culture, sustained and broad effort is required. This begins by creating a culture of questioning, exploring possibilities, making discoveries and progress starts by having challenging assumptions.
Entrepreneurial staff should be develop corporate climate in order to encourage rule-breakers and people who think outside the box. Experimentation which is a key to discovery should be carried out because, if there is no action, it is not possible to know how innovative ideas are working. The organization should have empowered and talented human capital as a prime ingredient for organization to be successful. A successful team in knowledge-driven enterprise is where there is empowerment and authority for making decisions in order to provide resources.
The leader must ensure that people are trained to enhance their ability to learn and perform well. Coaching helps in unlocking the potential of people and organization. It helps the leader to increase his effectiveness. A coach must help people grow and inspire them to achieve more by allowing them to ask effective questions and provide them with feedback. In order to achieve success, the right instructor should be used to lead training and make follow-up of coaching. (Terrence, 1991)
The leadership must build teamwork which is essential to be competitive in the global arena today. A star team should be built with perception, diversity of thought, experiences and background that ensure there is innovation and creativity. The team should not be diverse, it has to be useful and involve everyone so that ideas can be shared by everyone in order to empower and build cross-functional teams. People from different cultures and disciplines should be challenged to come together and get something better and have breakthrough in their creativity.
Financial rewards must be used to motivate people and encourage them to produce the best results. The ownership that generates energy most of the time is emotional but not financial. When stretch goals are set, they energize employees. Leaders should be positive when encouraging a person. People should be given sense of responsibility so that they can feel that their own actions can make a difference. People should be communicated with frequently and be praised whenever they do something good.
The leader should be ready to take risks and not play it safe all the time. In innovation, it is essential to make mistakes so that the organization can grow if the available systems are developed in a manner that people can be able to learn from their failure and avoiding to repeat similar mistake again. Even if people fail, it means they will be more successful later. Failures should be treated as good opportunities for learning and always tolerate the mistakes and give people freedom to learn from their failure and start again in a more intelligent manner.
The business must be made fun because it is all about creating new things and having passion. Fun is very important in any business strategy and businesses that have been successful. Making fun should be very important in any corporate culture because it helps to have relentless innovation and inspiring culture that drives the new economy. People should be happy in the workplace and encourage problems that are just for fun so that people can have humor at areas where they failed and allow everyone to loosen up. (Belasco, 1994)
Organizational hard skill
Information technology is changing the skill of always maintaining the desire of keeping on leaning. The skill that keeps someone in information technology for a long time is the desire to learn and once that desire is lost, one become outdated and eventually replaced. The transition from being a technologist to a position of technical leadership presents greatest challenges to members of the team. It is recommended that a person should gain critical training in a number of methodologies of leadership because there is high demand of combining technical skills with abilities of good leadership for any organization to be successful. The good way of ensuring technologists are always relevant is learning how to be a leader who is exceptional because managers may be laid off and new ones are employed but it is very difficult to find a leader who is exceptional.
Information technology is a dynamic field and if anything is new today, tomorrow it becomes ancient. A professional in information technology should always urge to learn new things all the time and have ability of experimenting with the new technologies, learn from them and apply the learning to be productive in the organization. Information technology professional has solid knowledge in solving problems because he is well informed about the new improved technology and is able to be confident in all the new technologies and applies them well in most of the jobs assigned to him. (Lee, 1995)
when a person learn new technologies, he should listen to the need of internal and external clients and what their pain and challenges are because even if you are good at programming or technician, you should always get innovative solutions to the problems of clients and be good at solving problems. It seems that hard skills are not really there because; listening and leadership skills are the important skills that are used in most organizations. Desiring to learn without assuming you are smart are very important qualities and understanding how to handle information concepts.
The most important skill is to know how information technology is working and how its different parts are linked even if it is changing all the time because some of its basic functionalities do not change. Information technology may appear to be at the bottom but we need understanding that one day we will study it along with our children and sit for exams so that we can know the formula and apply it in solving different problems.
The main changes in technology do not occur very fast or frequently so understanding fundamentals can help for along period of time. For example, if you understand the networking principles very well, we may have a new command or a different feature but having knowledge of the things that are essential, there would be no much trouble. Our main idea would be to put our concentration on best practices and understanding the principles and everything else will follow.
The best hard skill to be gained is having the ability to write code. The language is not of much importance because languages for programming keep on changing and original languages were LISP, Pascal, FORTRAN and later VB and C. when a person moves from being a Developer, he is able to break problems down logically and tear it into its constituent parts where each piece is solved while still focusing on the overall goal that helps in accomplishing any assigned role. (Block, 1987)
Information technology helps to meet business needs and it is very easy to work with because everything is seen as a technical challenge to be solved because problems of information technology arise if there are business need that are not met at the right time or the solutions available are not in line with the business needs. Finding solution to technical challenge of the day is analogous to the writing of subroutine program. Understanding the business overall drivers help to align someone with goals of making sure the final solutions to information technology meets the business needs. The person who gets the longest career in information technology is able to bridge the gap that exists between business and information technology.
Information technology is a career that is useful everywhere in the world and help in becoming smart very fast in the technologies that are needed in all organizations. Many hours should be spent in reading manuals and online so that all the available current update can be known. In technological management, the key learning is that, any one who is good in any hard skill will be on high demand. For average people, they will not be able to stand the chance and somebody in another place will take your position.
Hard skills demands to have change because even the ones that have been having high demand for many years, they are outsourced. It has turned out to be a game involving depth and breadth of knowledge. Information technology skills should be coupled with business knowledge and business processes so that connection can be made between areas with chasms for many years and remove the gap between business units an information technology. People with hard skills should provide solution to businesses because they are technologists and this will increase their value exponentially. (Max, 1997)
People create an organization, shape its culture and mission and later many people join the organization. The people who are new in the organization must adjust themselves in order to fit in the already existing organization culture. These people also bring new skills which are unique to the organization. As they stay in the organization, they learn more from one another and they sometimes come across external forces such as competitions, cultural and political changes that require them to learn new communication, technical and interpersonal skills. An organization is helped by the internal and external factors to be able to cope with the world that is ever-changing.
Recently, managers are paying attention to training soft skill because industrial revolutions require more hard skills to be learned. Before, people worked in line of production and did not require interacting with each other or thinking. Today there is change in things because they do not sit behind production lines but instead, they use a computer to control a robot working in the line of production. This means that, more technical skills are needed and also the skills for people to communicate within the group.
Samuel Butler who is an English poet says that a picture can be painted by any fool but for it to sell, it requires a wise man. Taking a fool as metaphor to mean hard skill, then the soft skill is the wise man but wise man soft skill is not useful without having the hard skill of the fool and when both skills are harmonized, the picture is sold. In old organizations, machines were the primary asset for maximizing productivity and they were supposed to be put into maximum use all the time. Later on, people became important assets and the organization is looking at how it can be able to use the whole person.
The new organization holds everyone responsible to carry out the whole process but according to old organization, people were assigned their specific areas to be responsible for and tried to work hard in their assigned areas so that they can look better. In the new organization, it is involved in powering up where the power of every individual is increased in every unit and organization as a whole. (Senge, 1994)
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