Strategic Leadership Essay
Address the issue of leadership and corporate culture and whether the phrase ‘the fish stinks from the head down’ is an unfair indictment of senior managers.
Corporate culture is the prevalent and shared values and beliefs within an organization. It becomes operational when leadership articulates it in written form. Culture in an organization takes years to take root. Once it permeates deeply, it would take years to change or undo it. This is particularly true for conventional or traditional corporations that started small and family owned.
Organizational leaders in a company with an already established and strong culture are often of the same behavioral characteristics and mindsets as every one else. Where there is a need to revamp, structuralize, or professionalize the workforce, there’s going to be a need to bring in people from the outside who would provide fresh and objective inputs. Sometimes, a change in leadership would be necessary to steer a company towards a new direction.
Looking at it in a different perspective, the type of culture in a corporation can be started by its leaders. If the leaders, for instance, would like to promote the values of unerring loyalty and commitment, their subordinates would likely follow them too. Now, if the corporate leadership is new and just beginning to establish itself, then, it wouldn’t follow that their value system could be the same as those that is already in existence in the company. For instance, a chain of department store started with one store and a few employees who have little education but very hardworking and loyal.
Because of the owners and the staff’s industry, the department store grew into a chain of six malls. Due to its expansion, the owners would want to improve its personnel make up. They’d want more people with college degrees to work for them. They hired a new HR manager and a handful of top caliber graduates from prestigious universities. These new hirees became the new company leaders. But being new and very few, they could only do so much. The process of professionalizing moves in a snail-like pace.
Applying the adage that a fish will smell from its head to it tail on the scenario described above, it would become apparent that sometimes managers and employees are not necessarily of the same value system. What one group represents could be vastly different from the other. In terms of bad practices, how the senior managers behave could not be reflective of how everyone else in the company behaves. In the same manner, a few bad employees in the organization do not necessarily say something about the senior managers.
Examine the distinction between management and leadership and discuss the influence of each on the organizational balance between strategic vs. operational focus.
Management in its simplest term is about getting a group of people to work together to perform specific tasks in order to achieve a common goal. Management could also mean the people who own and run the business. On the other hand, leadership refers to a person or a group of persons who have the influence and the authority to steer people in a particular direction. Leaders may not be part of management but could be individual with strong personalities who could motivate people to act or think in a particular manner.
Management formulates, implements and evaluate policies and standards that would help the organization achieve its goal. Management would decide whether the company’s focus will be on strategic issues or operational. These are the people who set the objective for the company. The see the bigger picture and how to go about achieving the organization’s desired goal.
Leadership in a company influences the balance between strategic and operational focus by pulling or pushing the employees in the direction they want. The leaders normally act in accordance to what management would set as goals and objectives. Sometimes, the leaders are given the autonomy to decide which would be more profitable for the company to follow. When this happens, the leaders can modify or change goals and the ways to achieve them.