Importance of leadership for Organizational Excellence


Importance of leadership for Organizational Excellence

 The classic model of the good organizational leader is the top executive in the organizational management who directs and who is in control of all aspects of the operations of the organization. This top executive leader operates through a hierarchy of management and the organization had a fairly well defined structure. This type of leadership has some good points and  it survived throughout most of the 20th century.

The organization of today does not have the luxury of stability since it faces an ever increasing change in markets, customers and technology. It needs to accept, adopt and implement changes in the business model according to changing trends, technologies, customer preferences and future concerns. Further, the core business of the organization is constantly under threat today from the newcomers to the marketplace who are having a different business paradigm. Hence the organization cannot afford to depend upon the leadership of individual or/and a small team of senior executives to meet this challenge. The organization needs to harness the ideas, skills, energy, and enthusiasm of the entire team for success. For meeting of new challenges, this new concept and practice of leadership has evolved, where line managers have taken over the leadership role along with the top executive and his small team of senior executives.

Leadership is an important factor for making an organization successful. It is the art or process of influencing people to perform assigned tasks willingly, efficiently and competently. Without leadership a line manager simply cannot be effective. Leadership of the line managers transforms potential into reality. When good leadership is in place in the organization, it can be felt throughout the entire organization. With good leadership, organizational culture is not forced but developed. Communication is effective and open. Everyone understands the vision and goals of the organization, and everyone has input into how they can be improved. People feel that they are an important part of the organization and they give their best for the success of the organization.

The leadership in the organization is to meet the three challenges. The first challenge is to provide a shared vision of where the organisation is heading and what its purpose is (the mission). The second challenge is to set objectives, that is, to convert the strategic vision and directional course into specific performance outcomes for each key area which leaders deem important for success. The third challenge in providing strategic direction is to generate and develop a strategy that will determine how to achieve the objectives. Strategic direction is imperative in identifying a systematic intervention that will provide the most leverage to the organisation, as an organisation cannot focus on everything all of the time.

Line manager leaders are a key human resource in the organization. These leaders develop better people under them and the two together develop better products which can compete effectively with the products offered by the competitors. We generally think of organizations competing by means of their products, but today organizations probably compete more by means of the quality of their line manager leaders than their products.

High performance of people in the organization is the focal point for achieving success. This high performance can be secured only if there is effective leadership qualities available with the lines managers.

As group efforts and teamwork are essential for realizing the organizational goals, leadership becomes vital for the execution of work. Through leadership, line managers can influence people under them to adopt a cooperative and wholesome attitude for successful work accomplishment. Their leadership motivates the people to a higher level of performance through their strong human relations.

Leadership is an important function of management which helps to maximize efficiency and to achieve organizational goals. In fact leadership is an essential part and a crucial component of effective management. A remarkable leadership behaviour stresses upon building an environment in which each and every employee develops and excels. It has the potential to influence and drive the group efforts towards the accomplishment of goals.  Line managers must have traits of a leader. They must possess leadership qualities. With leadership qualities line managers can develop and begin strategies that build and sustain competitive advantage.

The following are some of the ways which demonstrate the importance of leadership for the achievement of the organizational excellence.

  • One of the first steps that the leaders in the organization need to undertake is to establish why the organization exists and what it wants to achieve. Leaders are to clarify and communicate the vision and mission of the organization to the people. This vision and mission effectively provides employees with an understanding of the organizational direction and allows them to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities.
  • Leaders communicate the policies and plans to the people of the organization. They are to imbibe the values and the culture of the organization since these play an important role in ensuring the achievement of the organizational goals.
  • Leaders provide a structured approach. The structured approach is able to generate a plan of action that most effectively meets the organizational goals. An inclusive planning process also provides the opportunity for people to identify, contribute to, understand and achieve well defined objectives.
  • The commitment and enthusiasm of leaders shape the common goals of the organization and provides inspiration and motivation for people to perform at a high level.
  • Leaders provide encouragement to people for openly contributing and discussing new ideas in a positive environment and make use of their diverse experience and ideas to improve the organization.
  • Leaders have an open and engaging relationship with the people. This relationship demonstrates that the people are valued as an integral part of the organization, creates a sense of ownership among people, and develops a closer alignment between individual and organizational objectives.
  • Good leadership can help the organization remain focused during a time of crisis, reminding the people of their achievements and encourage them to set short term, achievable goals.

There are differences between leadership and management functions. Leadership provides direction, encouragement and inspiration to motivate a team to achieve organizational success. Management is primarily an organizational role, coordinating the efforts of the people and the allocation of resources to maximize efficiency in achieving identified goals.

Leadership and management are closely linked functions. Both the functions are complimentary to each  other. Without efficient management, the direction set by a leader risks being unsustainable. Similarly, management exercised without effective leadership perpetuates current activities and directions, without adaptation to meet strategic goals and without optimizing the performance of the organization.

Leadership and management operate hand in hand. To be a good manager, line managers require leadership skills, and an effective leader depends on the management skills for achieving the goals and objectives.

Effective leadership of the line managers requires leadership qualities in them. These qualities are to be visible by their actions in the context and circumstances of different situations. Line managers with effective leadership qualities exhibit (Fig 1) a combination of some of the following qualities.

Leadership qualities of line managers

Fig 1 Leadership qualities of line managers

.These qualities are described below.

  • Future vision- Successful leadership involves creating a well founded vision of what can be achieved in the future and the best way to approach it.
  • Integrity – Effective leaders often place great importance on ethical values. They always do the right things even if these things are difficult. In general, leaders with integrity are honest, truthful, fair, reliable and do not let their emotions affect their ability to do their job.
  • Self confidence – Good and strong leaders have a firm belief in their abilities. They generally remain confident at all the times and demonstrate the ability to handle challenges and pressures.
  • Commitment – Successful leadership is impossible without firm commitment. Good leaders remain focused and dedicated towards their objectives and goals.
  • Creativity – Effective line managers with the leadership qualities are creative in their approach. They develop new ideas to resolve current issues and implement them effectively to prevent future recurrences.
  • Communication skill – Communication skill is vital for effective leadership. Lines managers with leadership qualities are usually very clear, effective and influential in communication and knows its importance for achieving success. They continuously improve their communication skills and learn new ways to remain effective in a constantly changing organizational environment.
  • Enthusiasm – Effective leadership normally requires a proactive approach towards people, problems and possibilities. It is able to stimulate and evoke excitement amongst people so that the organizational goals can be achieved in an energetic manner.
  • Self awareness and adaptability – Line managers who are skilful leaders exhibit an understanding of their own values, skills, strengths and weaknesses. They are often flexible and willing to continually improve their knowledge and skills to meet new challenges.
  • Decision making capabilities – This is the capability to exploit opportunities and to make sound decisions which benefits the organization. Line managers with leadership qualities have the capabilities for making sound decisions.
  • Openness – Line managers with effective leadership qualities listen openly to the ideas, suggestions and opinions of their people. They are willing to adopt new ways of doing things if they believe it will be beneficial for the organisation. They focus on creating a positive environment of mutual respect and trust that enables the organization to be well prepared for new challenges.
  • Ability to understand people – Good leadership amongst line managers requires a clear understanding of human behaviour and the ability to develop open and honest relationships with the people to understand their abilities, concerns, interests and motivations.
  • Ability to inspire and motivate – Leadership requires line managers to be charismatic, highly organized, and very motivational in their interaction with the people. They develop a culture of hard work and commitment, inspiring and motivating the people to give their best to the organization.
  • Business understanding – Line managers with leadership qualities strive to have a clear understanding of their business, the environment in which they operate and their competitors. They develop an awareness of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for their business and focus on maximizing resources to their full potential.
  • Managing organizational change – The role of a leader is crucial for managing organizational change, The process of organizational change is very complex and challenging and a competent and effective leadership is required to manage the situation.

Leadership determines excellent organizational performance. Leadership success in the implementation of the strategy is manifested in a conducive organizational climate, a reward strategy that is linked to strategic objectives, flexible structures that support business demands, and an effective organizational culture that influence behaviour in the right direction. The ultimate desired end results manifest itself in aligned individual and organizational performance.