IN ORDER TO LEAD a successful organization in today's business arena, one must be more than a traditional manager by expanding their title to include organizer and/or problem solver. The role of a leader necessitates the ability to effectively guide and direct others, as well as handle the challenges brought on by new trends and technologies. It has been found that having leaders in charge, as opposed to the traditional managerial approach, has been extremely beneficial to a broad spectrum of organizations, including the small business. At the same time, it has been established that infinite factors within an organization, such as corporate culture, personal values, globalization, and outcome performance, have a significant impact on leadership abilities as well as the results achieved.
There are countless leadership theories and models currently used in today's business environment that have proven to be extremely effective. Three of the most intriguing theories or models of significance include: McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y, Action-Centered Leadership, and the Strategic Leadership Theory. McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y were developed in the 1960's but are still commonly used today. Both components of the theory focus on motivation in terms of leadership and how it has a profound effect on employee productivity and attitude. Theory X takes the approach that the average worker inherently dislikes work and tries to avoid it. He or she wants security, but lacks ambition. As a result, these types of workers must be controlled, directed and possibly threatened in order to do their job in an effective manner. In a business situation, this theory can be used to describe a manager that has control issues and is pessimistic about his staff, which results in the manager taking an authoritative or "iron-fist" managerial approach.
Theory Y takes the approach that the average worker is naturally motivated to take part in physical and mental work, is very self-directed / self-controlled, seeks and accepts responsibility without reservation, and applies ambition and creativity. The true prospect of this type of worker is only moderately utilized in the workplace. Because of these factors within this theory, it is the leader's responsibility to organize their team in a manner that allows them to work freely and adopt a coaching approach rather than an authoritative approach. In a business, this theory is used to describe a manager that has a more positive view of their workers and sees them as equal contributors to the organization and its goals. Theory X and Y have been a topic of spirited debate amongst researchers and professionals alike for years.
Created by John Adair in 1973, the primary focus of the Action-Centered Leadership model focuses on what a leader has to actually do in order to make his or her team effective. The model consists of three main activities which include achieving the task, building and maintaining the team, and developing each individual within the team.
The Strategic Leadership theory is a relatively new concept that focuses on strategy development and change within an organization. According to Professor Roger Gill, an independent consultant in leadership and leadership development, the main individuals that utilize the Strategic Leadership theory are top-level leaders and upper level management. It has been found, however, that every individual within organizations uses some elements of strategic leadership within their individual job. The six components of strategic leadership include determining one's strategic direction, developing human capital, exploiting and maintaining competencies, sustaining an effective corporate culture, emphasizing ethical practices and establishing strategic control. In a business environment, strategic leadership is effective in creating a shared organization vision for the future, linking everyone's efforts and contributions to the organization's goals, and making improvements to the organization.
When implemented correctly, contemporary leadership models can be vital in providing a road map for any size business to train and select the appropriate individual for a leadership/management position. However, contemporary leadership models can lack a vision for the future. These factors can include recognizing new trends in business, understanding cultural diversity, embracing the latest technologies, networking, and even sharing leadership roles.
"A great leader in some organizations can be more effective than the CEO"
said Dawn Price, Regional Director for ZRS Management (http://www.zrsmanagement.com
) in Orlando, Florida. An effective leader is extremely significant to the process of initiating and managing change, as they are responsible for developing a plan to implement the changes, involving people within the organization that will be affected by the change in the planning and execution process, identifying opportunities for change, and to be open to listening to people's reactions to the proposed change.
Much of the same can be said when defining and/or creating a corporate culture as well. Gill noted that a people-oriented corporate culture of empowerment, mutual trust and respect is more beneficial to the leadership process than one that is not. Personal values are another factor that influences a leader's performance and abilities. Research has found that the one thing that makes a leader better than another is the possession of values such as integrity, ambition, concern for others, loyalty and self-awareness. Of course, one fundamental value that cannot be excluded is proper business ethics.
New technologies, increased market competition, and an ever-changing business climate are only a few reasons a manager in today's business arena might be motivated to become tomorrow's leader; although, this path may not ensure the success of the individual or even the organization. In addition to the countless leadership models and theories, and their strengths and weaknesses, it has been found that leaders play a critical role in the success of an organization and many factors have a significant impact on leadership abilities and results.