Management and leadership are considered synonymous, but actually they are two different words. Management is defined as, “The art, manner or practice of managing, handling supervision or control whereas leadership is defined as, “The ability to: “express a vision, influence others to achieve results, encourage team cooperation, and be an example.” Leadership is “getting others to want to do things.” Leadership is intimately tied up with motivating and influencing others.
Managers are administrators who write business plans, set budgets, monitor progress, solve problems and facilitate meetings. A manager achieves authority and position through experience, understanding, time and loyalty. Managers have subordinates but a leader has followers. A leader can be a manager, but a manager is not necessarily a leader. The leader of the work group may emerge informally as the choice of the group. If a manager is able to influence people to achieve the goals of the organization, without using his or her formal authority to do so, then the manager is demonstrating leadership.
As put by Faye Wattle ton, “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.”Organizational CultureAccording to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary — “culture is the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thought, speech, action, and artifacts and depends on man’s capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.”Organization culture is a system of shared beliefs and values that develops within an organization and guides the behavior of its memebers .It includes routine, behaviors, norms, dominant values and a feeling or climate conveyed..The pupose and function of this culture is to help foster internal integration, bring staff members from all levels of the organization much closer together and enhance their performance.
A company’s culture determines a lot of the organization’s behavior. A culture may be strong (having a dramatic influence over an individual’s behavior) or weak (having a relatively low impact on behavior).A strong culture is a coherent set of beliefs, values, assumptions, and practices embraced by most members of the organization. It fosters motivation, commitment, identity, solidarity, and sameness, which, in turn, facilitates internal integration and coordination.
An understanding of organizational culture and how to transform it is crucially important for managers and leaders to achieve strategic outcomes. The position of strategic leaders in an organization assists them to see the dynamics of their organizational culture and attain the essence of strategic success through positive transformation.
“Effective managers recognize that replacing a long term culture of traditional values with one that embodies the competitive values needed in the future can take years. But the rewards of that effort will be an organization much more effective and responsive to its environmental challenges and opportunities.”(Bateman & Snell, 2007)Organizational Culture at Southwest AirlinesSouthwest Airlines was founded in 1971 as a low-cost regional air carrier. The company’s mission stated on its website truly reflects its positive and healthy organizational culture.
“We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.”Southwest Airlines has consistently been successful in terms of profitability, good employee and union relations, and customer satisfaction – at a time when most airline carriers are struggling in all these areas.
Central to the company’s success is a culture of flexibility, family-orientation, and fun. They believe in, “The way you treat and reward employees is one part of your company’s culture”. Culture is the company’s way of life. It is how the business functions, operates, handles stress and reinforces its staff. It is the company’s general attitude toward the world. Southwest has built a reputation as a fun, light-hearted and irreverent airline with a happy staff. It is said that Southwest’s biggest hiring criterion is whether an applicant smiles during his or her interview. Southwest feels it can train anyone to do the job, but it cannot teach a person to have a positive attitude. Southwest Airlines has recognized that smiling staff members can handle negative issues skillfully and still satisfy their customers.
Southwest is also identified as the early leader of worker responsibility. The company limits emphasis on the formal organizational structure. At Southwest, decision making is the process which is done by management/worker committees. Leadership meetings are taped and shared with employees. The researchers learned that productivity could be maximized when employees felt as though their needs were being considered by receiving attention for their work. This phenomenon became known as the Hawthorne Effect.
It is as true today as it was during the last century that paying attention to our human assets produces tremendous results. Southwest Airlines has learned to capitalize on the principles of the Hawthorne Effect. Southwest Airlines has consistently remained at the top of its industry, while placing a rigorous focus on employees’ feedback and needs. Southwest seeks to share the company’s success with its employees. The airline achieved high levels of employee satisfaction and was included in the Fortune magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” for three years in a row.
“Southwest’s no-layoff response to September 11 was a reminder to its employees of the organization’s tradition of caring for its people. When asked to comment on this, an official explained, “Its part of our culture. We’ve always said we’ll do whatever we can to take care of our people. So that’s what we’ve tried to do.” Many analysts feel that the remarkable performance of Southwest is because of its ability to build and sustain relationships characterized by shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect between employees. Southwest’s organizational culture was shaped by Kelleher’s leadership. Kelleher’s personality had a strong influence on the culture of Southwest, which symbolizes his spontaneity, energy and competitiveness. Southwest’s culture had three themes: love, fun and efficiency. Kelleher treated all the employees as a “lovely and loving family”.
Southwest attempts to promote a close-knit, supportive and enduring family-like culture. The Company initiated various measures to foster intimacy and informality among employees. Southwest encouraged its people to conduct business in a loving manner. Employees are expected to care about people and act in ways that affirm their dignity and worth. Instead of decorating the wall of its headquarters with paintings, the company hung photographs of its employees taking part at company events, news clippings, letters, articles and advertisements.
Southwest’s organizational culture encourages employees to be innovative, to communicate, understand and care, be devoted to customer service and most importantly to be an Individual. It maintains its success due to employee education, much of which takes place in Southwest Airlines’ festive learning center: the University for People. Southwest sees learning as a never-ending process. University for People trainers, known as facilitators, build a foundation for an ongoing learning environment through a supervisory leadership class called “Leadership Southwest Style,” which utilizes the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment for self discovery.
At Southwest Airlines, management wants employees to feel comfortable, reflecting its philosophy that an employee who is comfortable can think more freely and creatively. Regular celebrations bring employees together. These include “Spirit Parties,” Culture parties, and weekly Deck Parties at headquarters. Activities at these events include talent shows, dance contests, limbo contests, karaoke, and famous person look-alike themes. The Culture Committee welcomes new employees with a New Hire Welcome Kit, which includes a bag, tee-shirt, badge holder, pen, and welcome letter. Southwest Airlines is an excellent example of social invention that helps people discover their true capabilities.
The social environment combines humor with responsibility. Employees work in teams without outside supervision. At job interviews, along with other self-development attitude, the prospective employee must show a sense of humor. The company recognizes the key to its culture is “The Spirit of LUV.” Their commitment to hire people with the capacity to love and serve others has yielded a bountiful harvest of loyalty and money. Hence it shows a very well combination of management and leadership.
Key concepts of organizational culture at Southwest Airlines
•Encourage to assume ownership
•Hire for life
•Trust their decisions•Give employees immediate access to critical information.
•They have the power to make adjustments and to fix significant problems quickly.
Results achieved through these concepts•On-time arrivals, proper baggage handling, and customer complaints are communicated on a weekly basis.
•Everyone is focused on customer service and making Southwest a success which allows them to expand outside of “assigned” responsibilitiesStrategies that organizational managers and leaders can use to create and maintain healthy organizational cultureMotivation Management – Leaders must have coaching skills, not control skills. Motivated people have goals and seek ways to achieve them. Efficiency is the result of motivated employees. The self motivated employees assume responsibility for their tasks. It creates an environment where workers trust management and management trust workers.
Continuous Learning Opportunity – Motivation is associated with the desire to learn. Without it, motivation dies. Most businesses operate with a wide knowledge gap between worker and management. All through history this has been the policy, it is job security for leadership. Today, efficiency requires workers to assume responsibility and this requires the narrowing of the knowledge gap. This is achieved by empowering workers.
A strong organizational culture and an approach to learning that encompasses more than just training classes can create an organization that learns and improves upon its past successes. When change occurs, organizations with a learning culture and a focus on organizational development can surpass even their own expectations.
ConclusionTo sum up, leadership is essentially related to a person’s skills, abilities and scope of influence and management is a theory and a way of doing business. The managers who truly exercise the four functions of management; planning, organizing, leading and controlling, to accomplish their organizational goals are also true leadersAs time and requirements of an organization change, there is always a need to change managerial functions. Managers at all levels must anticipate and adapt to changes.
In any ordinary but expanding organization the next future change might be to restructure the organization. Technology is bringing a change in leadership styles. The command-and-control leadership methods of the last century are extremely inefficient in the fast changing technology world. Motivating environments are needed on the front-line with people who assume responsibility and exercise leadership. To attract and keep this type of person, the work environment must inspire and exploit employee capabilities.
Bateman, Thomas S. & Snell Scott A. (2007). Management: Leading and collaborating in acompetitive world. (Seventh edition), Ch-2 & 12 pgs 66- 69 & 393-383Southwest Airline webpage. Retrieved on April 20, 2007 from www.southwestairlines.comSouthwest Airlines. Retrieved on April 19, 2007 from www.caseplace.orgFrazee, Bonnie (Nov, 2006).Organizational Behavior and the Learning Process. Retrieved onApril19, 2007 from www.innovativelearning.com
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