I feel much honored to read the article “Deny the Consent to Be Governed: Risk Leadership Theory” which write by our school scholars Curtis Brungardt and C.B. Crawford. Different from other articles about leadership, I think their perspective is very special. They introduced the risk leadership from the perspective of the leadership development. Such a development vision I first think of the history of China, from the several thousand years of feudalism society to the socialist society, China has experienced the change of leadership, and people gained democratic right. Then, Chinese economy develops rapidly. Come back to this article, leadership science also experienced a process of development at different times.
Classical leadership The classical leadership is a top-down empowerment model. It is better adapted to the needs of high-volume production of industrial society organizations. However, with the rapid development of the economy, the market competition is becoming increasingly fierce, the organization in a rapidly changing and unpredictable market environment. This trend requires organizations to make changes in order to improve the organization’s ability to respond and adaptability. In addition, this article did not mentioned is that this top-down model makes employees pursue the promotion to get power, status, money and welfare.
Therefore, some leaders are only focusing on how to form performance in the short term and do not consider enterprise long-term development. Enron moral scandal is the mentality results. In my opinion, companies need the real leader who can guide employees through the company’s vision and common values to create synergy, give the managers fully authorized, and coordinating organization to help the company achieve excellent performance. In a company, all layers and all levels need a leader, especially in the first line. Manager needs to make effective decision according to the market situation. Therefore, not everything should to ask for instructions report.
As the authors note, classical leadership is really more about leaders, not leadership or followers. The classicist uses methods that are focused on their personal gain or organizational objectives rather than the greater collective. The authors also concluded that classical leadership is not responsive enough for success in the current fast-paced environment. With its bloated bureaucracy and drive for stability, dooms the modern organization to mediocrity.
Progressive leadership After mid-1970’s, the corporate environment was experiencing tremendous changes. As combination of increased market and global competition, regulatory demands, new microeconomic trends, technological changes, and demographic shifts in the workplace led to a new business climate. In this context, “change” is the key word. The quality movement, re-engineering methods, strategic thinking and planning change management, organizational improvement, and transformational leadership were all attempts to implement major “change” in the company.
Therefore, the leader’s role has been transformed from an agent of stability to an agent of change. Their responsibility is now to provide the foresight and energy to carry the change forward. This is a good idea, however, expectation does not match reality. The most important issue is that most leaders were unwilling to relinquish control and power. Top-down control still dominates the organizational landscape. In addition, many companies nurture leadership style and culture that reinforce the traditional hierarchical organization. Many managers at all levels that were threatened by the entire concept of sharing power. Contact with reality, Kodak and MOTOROLA are failure in this hierarchical management mode. They have a splendid history, and they want to change, but they have not yet fully prepared.
Risk leadership Risk leadership is a bottom- up empowerment model. The model envisions a coalition of energetic and committed members of the rank-and-file, not the organization’s designated leaders, serving as the organization’s change agents. Risk leadership appeals to these “risk agents” to assume responsibility, without waiting for designated organizational leaders to act. At the bottom line, risk leadership advocates believe that the ordinary people must make transformational change come about in organizations, and that bottom-up empowerment or self-empowerment holds the key. As I mentioned above, authorization is still an important subject. The real business leaders know the company at all levels of the layers need those agents, especially in the first-line managers, because they need to make effective decision-making based the market conditions, and cannot be everything to consult reporting.
According to the theory, expect confrontation is part of the risk leadership model. But it cannot stay in the conflict stage forever. I think the most fundamental still is the cooperation. The objective of risk leadership is to find common grounds, seek jointly supported outcomes and commitment to genuine change. Today, enterprises are facing with a variety of complex challenges that an individual or a single organization has been very difficult to solve. In order to get a long-term and effective solution, leaders must create a collaborative spirit through eliminate the internal struggles and parochialism.
Only realize internal collaboration, can form the external competitive advantage. I majored in Leadership, as a good leader in a corporation, the ability to create superior performance is very important. In today’s business society, as long as the staff unites as one, authorized fully, cooperation, and its performance can go beyond those hierarchy organization. Accustomed to command the leader may be able to achieve short-term performance goals, however, only good leaders to incentive the entire organization long-term development. Therefore, I am more praise highly the risk leadership. In the end, the article concluded risk leadership proposes a new model for leadership, change and organizational improvement. It encourages lower level employees to confront and challenge authority for the purpose of leading transformational change.
There are many successful cases. Toyota is a good example. Employees are ultimately responsible for their own posts. In the process of the implementation of self-management, employees fully responsible for inventory planning, materials planning, personnel arrangements, production targets, and product quality. In this way, the organization will be more dynamic.
I do not know what the result is like to use the theory in a Chinese organization and companies. That is because resistance against China’s powerful bureaucracy is futile, however, many new companies are trying to change. And I hope more Chinese organization and companies can use this theory.