Importance of Leadership for Today's Organization Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1601 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

Leadership

Importance of leadership for today's organization

The purpose of this report is to identify the functions of leadership in modern organizations in a comprehensive fashion in order to determine how leadership is important for today's organization.

To accomplish this, the paper will first analyze the meaning of leadership, compare leadership with management, address strategy development, employee perceptions of leaders and finally discuss the characteristics of leadership. This information will enable a logical conclusion with regard to the methods and skills a leader must be possessed of in order to succeed in today's rapidly changing environment.

Leadership Defined/Leadership vs. Management

Leadership can be defined in a number of ways. Many theorists have suggested that leadership is "a process of social influence in which one person is able to enlist the aid and support of others" with the intent of accomplishing a single strategic or common task (Chemers, 1997:1). The role of the leader in an organization is actually very complex.

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A manager differs from a leader in a variety of ways. Much like a leader a manager is responsible for helping coordinate the efforts of individuals and groups of people working within the organization. However, while the manager is more concerned with rules, regulations and standard processes, the manager is also following the guidelines developed by the leader of the organization. A leader doesn't simply 'manage' people, but rather is responsible for inspiring people to accomplish a common cause (Chemers, 1997). A leader is someone with charisma that other members of the organization look to for motivational support and encouragement (Sosik, 2000).

Managers are also more concerned with the day-to-day functioning within an organization, concentrating on continual resolution of problems and management of people; a leader however is concerned more with the strategic vision and the accomplishments or happenings of an organization over time (Covrig, 2000). Critical decisions that affect institutional development also fall under the responsibility of the leader, whereas routine decisions may fall under the scope of a manager (Covrig, 2000).

Term Paper on Importance of Leadership for Today's Organization Assignment

Characteristics of Good Leaders

Good leaders are possessed of many skills including intrapersonal factors such as thoughts and emotions and interpersonal factors and processes, such as their ability to communicate and influence others (Chemers, 1997).

Good leaders have a solid ethical and moral decision making framework from which to govern the daily happenings within an organization (Covrig, 2000). A good leader is also sensitive, and acts with intent and sound judgment, in an attempt to provide the best possible outcome for all people involved in an organizational context.

Good leaders have also been described as those that are charismatic, that infuse personal meaning into their leadership style and construct meaning that is tangible for their followers (Sosik, 2000; Yukl, 1998).

Role of Leader

The role of the leader is to bring people together within the confines of the organization to accomplish a single task, or several tasks over time that revolve around common goals (Chemers, 1997). A good leader will help an organization become more efficient by coordinating the efforts of groups to contribute to the realization of organization goals as well. A leader in this capacity can also be described as an organizational coordinator, responsible for internal maintenance and "regularization" of activities within the organization to provide "a stable base for productive operation" (Chemers, 1997:2).

The leader is also responsible for defining the vision of an organization with regard to the goals and the direction the leader wants the organization to go in for the future (Conger & Kanungo, 1998).

Importance Leader Strategy Development

Leaders are responsible among other things for strategic development. Strategic development ties into an organizations purpose and goals. Leaders help guide an organization on the path that will result in the best productivity for an organization, and in doing so work with other members of the organization to develop leadership strategy (Conger & Kanungo, 1998).

Strategy development is perhaps one of the most vital elements or tasks a leader must undertake, as the leader in an organizational setting has the ability to view things from a much bigger or broader perspective than individual employees (Sosik, 2000). Without strategic development an organization has no horizon or future, but rather plods along as the manager does, on a daily basis handling routine tasks. Strategic development is the vision necessary to take an organization to the next level, and it is the responsibility of the leader to create and preserve that vision.

Employee Perceptions of Leadership

Employee perceptions of a leader tie into a leader's ability to balance personal meaning and organizational strategies in a manner that not only facilitates organizational success but also addresses the needs of individual employees. It is important that a leader act as a role model to employees (Sosik, 2000). When a leader accomplishes this successfully employee perceptions are often more favorable than not.

Employee perceptions of leadership are often favorable particularly when the leader demonstrates charismatic qualities (Sosik, 2000). Employee perceptions are less likely to be favorable when the leader fails to uphold a certain ethical standard and maintain the well being of both internal and external customers (Conger & Kanungo, 1998).

Summaries

Sanchez (2003) sums up leadership best in her article, stating that as society changes so too do people and the organizations in which people work. In an increasingly complex society Sanchez affirms that leadership training must begin in the classroom when students are young if leaders are to be able to keep up with the demands of modern society. Sanchez goes on to acknowledge that leadership training in today's rapidly changing marketplace also requires that leaders become knowledge based and apprised of information technology advances if they are to be effective and successful in the organizational environment.

Covrig's article on leadership focuses more on the obligation of leaders to uphold the highest moral standards. This falls back on Sanchez's notion however that leadership skills start in the classroom, morality is one of many skills that can at the very minimum introduced and taught. Covrig suggests that leadership is a function of one's morality and sense of duty and honor to those that they serve. Thus a leader can be successful if an only if he/she is true to himself and the people under him/her. Covrig also points out that it is difficult for leader's in today' rapidly changing society to make decisions that are always popular, but it is important that the decisions made are grounded or founded in some ethical principle.

Sosik's (2000) article on the role of personal meaning and charismatic leadership suggests that there is something innate in leaders, and that leaders regardless of their training will take with them into the workforce personal meaning, that can be tied into their background, personality and belief systems. The article focuses on the inherent quality of leadership and the various roles an individual takes on when they become a leader.

All of these ideas and concepts are in fact intertwined. Ultimately a good leader in today's rapidly changing society is one that is capable of adapting to change without compromising his/her moral standards and organizational ethics.

Conclusions

Leaders have been defined in different ways by different people over time; ultimately however most theorists agree that leaders are individuals with a certain amount of social influence responsible for ensuring that strategic planning, organizational development and people are managed in a fashion that results in achievement of certain goals.

Leaders can also operate outside of the constraints of the organization, and represent moral and ethically strong characters responsible for directing the actions of people, providing support, advice and recommending a course of action when times call for decision making capability.

A leader is not the same as a manager, who is more of a figurehead responsible for carrying out day-to-day functions. Rather a leader is a charismatic… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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