Question 1: How would you define successful leadership? What standard do you apply when evaluating leadership success? Is it possible to predict success based on organizational cultures or other factors? Provide examples to support your answer.
Successful leadership is the ability to channel and coordinate the energy of the group to attain the desired goals of the business. It is the capacity to motivate and inspire followers to go beyond the distance of their perceived limitations, to rise to the challenges of the task at hand, and to seek out innovative and novel solutions. In a word, success leadership is empowering. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” A successful leadership can be evaluated by the following standards: a) Example – A successful leader leads by example, which is the key to authentic leadership. This is demonstrated by working hard, making difficult decisions, taking risks, and personal sacrifices. b) Integrity – There are no shortcuts to success. A successful leader is honest, dependable and uncompromising on his or her work and business ethics.
c) Solid goals – A successful leader has solid goals and direction, which are communicated to the team. The leader makes the team identify and take ownership of the business’s goals in order to motivate them to achieve these goals. d) Knowledge – A leader is equipped with knowledge and skills necessary for the enterprise. The leader leverages the team’s best chance of success by knowing and understanding the obstacles, competition and risks present in an endeavor. e) Autonomous – A successful leader provides for autonomy by empowering the members to think, innovate and own the solution to a problem. f) High Expectations – A successful leader expects a high level of excellence from the team. Expectations create results; people want to proud of their work. However, high expectation does not mean perfection. Rather, it is learning through experience and errors, and being accountable for one’s mistakes.
g) Humility – A successful leader knows the value of teamwork and gives credit where it is due. Leadership is not about personalities; it is about directing the group’s efforts toward the completion of an endeavor. h) Execution – A successful leader has the discipline to get things done. He or she can bridge the gap between theory and actual execution of a plan. Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy is an Indian businessman and co-founder of Infosys, which was founded in 1981. Mr. Murthy served as CEO of Infosys from 1982 to 2002, and as chairman from 2002 to 2011.
He stepped down from the board in 2011, and became Chairman Emeritus. Mr. Murthy embodies the ideals of a successful leadership. He is a top leader, an institution builder, and an IT legend. He empowered his executives, management team and workers. He encouraged and nurtured leadership qualities in the organization through mentoring and training. He institutionalized ethical values of honesty and integrity throughout the organization. Question 2: What methods exist to develop leaders in an organization? What methods does your organization use? Why? Have any methods been counterproductive? In what ways? Solution:
There are various approaches to leadership development in an organization that will be briefly describes as follows: 1) Formal Development Programs – In its basic format, a formal program consists of a classroom seminar covering basic theories and principles of leadership. It can be in the form of a tailored development program fitted to serve the needs of the specific organization. It can also be open-enrollment programs offered by private and academic institutions. 2) 3600 Feedback – This is also known as a multi-source feedback, and a multi-rater feedback. This method involves systematically collecting assessments of a person’s performance from different sources, which typically consists of supervisors, peers, subordinates, customers, and other stakeholders. 3) Executive Coaching – This method is defined as a practical, goal-oriented form of personal and one-on-one learning. Coaching is usually used to improve individual performance, enhance a career, or work through organizational issues.
4) Job Assignments – This method works under the assumption that experience is the best teacher. This method trains would-be leaders in an organization by giving them a variety of job assignments that will expose them to different work environments; hence, it allows them to adapt, and become better strategic thinkers. 5) Mentoring – Mentoring programs typically pair a senior and a junior manager, but pairing can also occur between peers. Mentoring involves advising and passing on lessons learned from the senior to the junior partner. 6) Networking – Some organizations include development activities designed to foster broader individual networks for better connection with partners in a global community. Leaders are expected to know not only the in and out of the organization, but also know who in terms of problem-solving resources. 7) Reflection – Introspection and reflection can foster self-understanding and understanding from lessons learned from experience. In leadership development, reflection can be used to uncover a person’s hidden goals, talents, and values, as well as their impact on a person’s work.
8) Action Learning – This is a project-based learning method characterized by a continuous process of learning and reflection, aided by colleagues, and with an emphasis on getting things done. This method connects individual development to the process of helping organizations respond to major business problems. 9) Outdoor Challenges – This is a team-building experience in an outdoor or wilderness setting, designed to overcome risk-taking fears, and to promote teamwork and leadership skills. Our organization uses formal programs to develop leaders. Recognizing that a classroom-based learning, while easy and flexible, is limited in the actual transfer of competencies, the formal program serves as a shell under which various development methods are incorporated.
Hence, the formal program is structured by combining theoretical learning and problem-based learning. Then, a 360-degree feedback is given to each participant, which serves as a basis for an in-depth reflection. For most people, the 360-degree feedback is difficult to handle for several reasons. The primary reason is an inherent resistance to change. Another reason is the overwhelming amount of data, which can be complex, inconsistent, and difficult to interpret and translate into an action or behavior that can correct a given problem. Mere knowledge and acceptance of one’s developmental needs are not enough to bring about change. There is a need for follow-up guidance and support. That is why participants are also given short-term coaching to identify specific areas of concern and how to resolve these concerns.
Question 3: In The Art and Science of Leadership, Nahavandi writes about the dark side of power. Provide an example. What organizational factors contributed to the leader’s behavior? What were consequences of the behavior? Solution:
Nahavandi cites corruption as the dark side of power. An example of a scandal that shocked the corporate world was the case of the German engineering giant Siemens in 2006. A regulatory investigation revealed that hundreds of employees, spearheaded by Siemens’ top executives, had been siphoning millions of Euros into bogus deals to pay massive bribes to government officials and business contacts to win contracts in Russia and Nigeria. A trial judge described the scandal as a blatant disregard of business ethics and a systematic practice of organized irresponsibility that was implicitly condoned by management.
The scandal resulted to the departure of Siemens top executives, including then CEO Klaus Kleinfield, who was later convicted of corruption, placed on probation for 2 years, and fined 160,000 Euro for his complicity. Hans-Werner Hartmann, who was the accounting head in the company’s telecommunications arm, was also placed on probation for 18 months and fined 40,000 Euro. The scandal cost Siemens around 2.5 billion Euro to pay for fines, reparations and damages. The firm was also barred from dealings with certain clients. The cost to Siemens’ employees, who had to endure intense public scrutiny and shame, is difficult to quantify.
Organizational factors that contributed to a culture of bribery within Siemens were identified as follows: an aggressive growth strategy that compelled managers to resort to bribes in order to meet performance targets; a complex and matrix-like organizational structure that allowed divisions to operate independently, with no established checks and balances; poor accounting processes;
a corporate culture openly tolerant of bribes.
It should be noted that bribes were tax-deductible, and were the norms, not the exceptions, in German business practice at that time.
Question 4: What obstacles exist for leaders involved in participatory management? What methods may a leader employ to overcome these obstacles?
Participative management, also known as employee involvement and empowerment, encourages the participation of all the organization’s stakeholders in the analysis of problems, development of strategies, and implementation of solutions. While participative management seems like a utopian ideal, leaders face many obstacles in its effective implementation.
One obstacle is encouraging the participation of employees in the managerial process of planning and making decisions. Employees may not fully participate due to lack of competencies, lack of confidence, and fear of rejection. Another reason is the employee’s lack of trust that his or her contributions will be valued. The presence of tension and rivalry among employees are also barriers to effective communication, and ability to work together. Leaders can address these issues by being sincere in their desire to implement participative management. Leaders should strengthen communication within the workplace, and initiate team-building activities to strengthen bonds between peers, and between employees and management. Training programs should also be initiated to develop employees’ competencies, leadership skills and self-confidence.
Once employees are fully committed to engage in participative management, other obstacles arise, which includes the amplification of the complexity of the organization’s activities and the growing volume of information that managerial decisions are based on. These can lead to difficulty in getting things done, and slow response time to issues that need fast reactions and actions. Leaders cannot solve these obstacles alone; these require the concerted effort of the entire organization.
However, leaders can take the lead in delegating responsibilities to reduce the hierarchic levels in the organization, and to decentralized authority so that the organization can respond to issues quickly and efficiently. Leaders can also establish quality circles, which are composed of around 8 to 10 employees along with the supervisor who share areas of responsibility among themselves. These circles can meet regularly to discuss problems in their respective areas and brainstorm for solutions, which they can later present to the entire organization as a fully developed action plan. In this way, the complexity of participative management is simplified.
Another obstacle to participative management concerns security issues. It is harder to ensure confidential information stays within the organization when more people are involved in managerial decisions. This confidential information can include patents, and product research and development. Leaders can address this obstacle by motivating employees to be accountable for their actions and to stay committed to the company by valuing their contributions. Question 5: What are some reasons employees and managers resist change? As a leader, what methods would you use to help employees and managers adapt to change? Solution:
Adaptability to change is a prerequisite to become successful in the modern world characterized by increasing global awareness and fast turnover of technology. Organizations must respond to change and be willing to change to retain their competitive edge and relevance. However, implementing organizational changes are daunting for leaders, not least because most employees and managers resist change. The common reasons why employees resist change are the following: change promotes fear, insecurity and uncertainty,
difference in perception and lack of understanding,
reaction against the way change is presented,
cynicism and lack of trust,
and threats to vested interest.
In order to overcome resistance to change, leaders can involve workers in the change process by openly communicating about the need for change, providing consultation to alleviate employees’ fears, and being sensitive to employees’ concerns. In order to implement change, leaders must decide on the method they will use to overcome resistance to change, and modify behavior. The three-step approach is an example of such a method; it is characterized by three basic stages: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. 1) Unfreezing: Most people prefer to maintain the status quo, which is associated with stability, rather than confronting the need for change. The starting stage, therefore, of a change process must involve unfreezing old behaviors, processes, and structures.
This stage develops an awareness of the need for change, and the forces that supports and resists change. Awareness is facilitated with one-on-one discussions, presentations to groups, memos, reports, company newsletter, seminars, and demonstrations. These activities are designed to educate employees about the deficiencies of the current set-up and the benefits of the replacement. 2) Changing: This stage focuses on learning new behaviors, and implementing the change. Change is facilitated when employees become uncomfortable with the identified deficiencies of the old system, and are presented with new behaviors, role models, and support structures. 3) Refreezing: This stage focuses on reinforcing new behaviors, usually done by positive results, public recognition, and rewards.