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 Leadership: Impact on Organizational Behavior

Leadership is the quality of an individual’s behavior whereby he is able to guide the people or their activities towards certain goals. (Yvonne, 2003, p. 186) Leadership is the ability to get work done with and through others, while at the same time winning their confidence, respect, loyalty and willingness to cooperate. The first part of this definition is also true for management; it is the second half which highlights the difference between a leader and a non-leader. Business managers who possess the quality of guiding and directing subordinates to perform their jobs effectively can be called business leaders. A leader interprets the group’s objectives and acts as a guide in achieving them. Leaders set the agenda. In its turn essay service sets new standards for custom essay. According to recent research conducted by professional writers though the work of  mba application essay was reviled: leadership means different things to different people, and sometimes the most effective leaders can appear not to be leading at all. Good leadership is essential to all aspects of management: motivating, communicating, and setting direction. Good leadership ensures success in an organization, and unsatisfactory performance in any organization can be attributed primarily to poor leadership. Total performance is the result of a host of factors, rather than  leadership alone; hence it can be evaluated in the light of these factors. ________________________

Qualities of an Effective Leader

Leaders influence others through their qualities, including confidence, communication skills, and awareness of influence on others, as well as perceptions about the situation and subordinates (Prasad, 2006, p.287). All these factors interact together to determine the leader’s ability to influence others. The interaction of these factors is illustrated in Figure 1.    

Figure1. Qualities of Leader

    Source: Prasad, 2006, p. 287.  

The Importance of Leadership in an Organization

  Almost every aspect of work is influenced by, if not dependent on, leadership. The leader is the chief communicator to people outside the group as well as within the group. The leader’s attitude and behavior affects the motivation of the group. The leader is responsible for seeing that the group’s objectives are clearly understood and accomplished. Planning and control mechanisms are designed and modified by the leader. The leader’s behavior influences employees’ satisfaction and affects the quality and quantity of the output. All leaders must contend with three limiting factors. First, they are limited by their own ability—their knowledge, skills, attitudes, weaknesses, and inadequacies. Second, they are limited by the experience, skills, proficiencies, and attitudes of their subordinates. Finally, they are limited by their environments, which includes the resources and conditions available to them in achieving their objectives. These factors are constantly changing (Yvonne, 2003, p-192). Good organizational leadership includes the following characteristics. (i) Motivating employees Motivation is necessary for work performance; the greater the motivation, the stronger  the performance. A good leader motivates the employees for high performance. Indicators of a leader’s ability to motivate include (a) Consistent behavior toward group members and (b) ability to disclose thought and feelings to group members. (ii) Creating confidence A good leader creates confidence in his or her followers by directing them, giving them advice, and through them facilitating good outcomes for the organization. After achieving a high level of efficiency with the help of a leader, an individual tries to maintain it as he builds confidence in his competencies. In the absence of good direction, individuals may fail to recognize their capabilities and potential. Indicators of a leader’s ability to create confidence include (a) Acting friendly with members of the group and (b) Helping others feel comfortable about the group (iii) Building morale Morale is expressed as employees’ attitudes toward the organization and its management, and employees’ willingness to contribute their talents to the organization. High morale leads to high productivity and organizational stability. Through effective leadership, employees’ morale can be leveraged toward high productivity and stability in the organization. Indicators of a leader’s ability to build morale include (a) providing a plan for how the work is to be done, (b) showing flexibility in making decisions, (c) developing a plan of action for the group, (d) treating others fairly, and (e) making suggestions about how to solve problem. (iv) Secures cooperation of members of the organization Managers are successful only when they secure subordinates’ cooperation. As leaders, managers persuade employees to work enthusiastically and with confidence. The leader initiates action, brings about changes when necessary, convinces subordinates about specified goals, and persuades employees to work diligently to achieving them. Indicators of a leader’s ability to secure cooperation from others include (a) clarifying his or her own role within the group, (b) making his or her perspective clear to others, (c) helping group members get along, (d) responding favorably to the suggestions made by others, and (e), encouraging group members to do quality work (v) Develops and maintains an environment conducive to maximum work effort Performance effectiveness depends on the work environment. Leaders aims to create and maintain a satisfactory environment in which employees to contribute their maximum effort. The leader encourages subordinates to take initiative and guides their professional advancement. Indicators of a leader’s ability in this area include (a) showing concern for others’ personal well being, (b) making suggestions about how to solve problems, and (c) providing criteria for what is expected (vi) Acting a friend, philosopher and guide Another role of leadership is to uphold the interest of followers and make help to fulfill their hopes and aspirations. Effective leadership implies the role of a friend, philosopher and guide—always willing to help employees solve problems both within and outside the organization. (Sharma, 2004). Indicators of a leader’s ability to provide this type of support  include (a) telling group members what they are supposed to do and (b) helping others feel comfortable about the group. Thus, good leadership is essential to all managerial functions and ensures success in the organization. Similarly, unsatisfactory human performance in any organization can be attributed primarily to poor leadership.

Leading a Team in an Organization

The ability to lead is vital to organizational success. Yet team leadership is hard to define.  Military leaders are often compared with business managers and other commercial leaders.  Indeed, both types have clear objectives, roles and responsibilities and may share similar qualities, such as vision and the ability to handle a crisis.  Like their military counterparts, organizational leaders motivate team members by encouraging ambition, the desire to achieve and a wish to contribute to the collective good of the business (Prasad, 2006, p.411). But there are also important differences. War is an extraordinary situation, requiring authoritarian leaders to command subordinates to take required action and achieve objectives. Modern business leaders, on the other hand, need to be democratic, creating consensus in their teams regarding objectives and required actions.   Some managers may seem like born leaders. Most have the potential to develop the skills needed to succeed as leaders: organizing, planning, scheduling, setting goals, making decisions, solving problems, communicating, negotiating and supervising. However, there is no way to teach some certain traits that are essential to effective leadership: integrity, honest, enthusiasm and the ability to express themselves clearly. All of these must be demonstrated consistently in order to earn subordinates’ respect. Organizational leadership requires pointing the way ahead and leading from the front is far better than pushing from behind. While many managers are often solitary, go-it-alone visionaries who impose their worldview on others, leaders must take their people with them.  They must collaborate with others, reflecting and using the team’s collective strength as well as their own personal vision (Prasad, 2006, p.412). The list of qualities a leader requires in an organization is presented below. Figure 2 illustrates how they interact to influence successful leadership. (I)     Look for tomorrow’s problems and issues today in order to anticipate changes and pitfalls. (II)    Learn to adapt to change, to embrace it and turn it to your advantage. (III)   Set high standards as well as clear objectives. (IV)   Think clearly, but allow intuition to influence rationality. (V)    Create a sense of value and purpose in work, so individuals believe in what they do and want to do it successfully. (VI)   Provide a positive sense of direction in order to give meaning to the lives of team members. (VII)   Act decisively but ensure your decisions are soundly based and not just impulsive. (VIII)  Set the right tone through actions and beliefs, thus acting as a clear, consistent and honest role model. (IX)   Maintain composure; learn to wait for the right time to make decisions and take action. (X)    Provide an enthusiastic atmosphere in which individuals are stimulated to perform well, find fulfillment, gain self-respect and play an integral role in meeting the organization’s overall goals. (XI)   Be sensitive to team members’ needs and expectations. (XII) Define clear responsibilities and structures, so collective effort is enhanced rather than hindered. (XIII)Recognize what best motivates each team member and work with their motivations to achieve standards and objectives. (XIV) Rather than constrain the team, determine the boundaries within which it can work freely. (Prasad, 2006, p. 412).

Manager as a Leader in an Organization

(i)  Leading by influence (XV)  The manager as leader will have to influence the performance of the network over which he or she has oversight, without exercising line authority over every part of the network. The manager will no longer be responsible for allocating the most crucial resource (knowledge) between people, as was the case with capital. Without this primary instrument of control, a leader’s authority over actual functioning will necessarily have to be replaced by influence. The components of this indirect mode of inducing the right action from employees are: fostering trust, generating a sense of pride in the organization, and tapping individual synergies to enable a collective push towards common goals (Ahuja, 2005, p.678).   Figure 2. The Effective Skills   Source: Prasad, 2006, p. 416   (ii)  Leading by empowerment As employees become increasingly self-directed, giving a complete set of instructions becomes far less necessary. For, that world neutralizes the power that can be unleashed by empowered configurations, and defeat the very purpose of these groupings. The manager-a-leader must be prepared, instead, to preach the importance of mutual and shared effort in order to bring forth involvement and commitment (Ahuja, 2005, p.679).  (iii)  The new corporate world  Leaders strive to foster Total Quality Management (TQM) through a culture where individuals are free to take any initiative necessary to meet quality goals and passionately pursue open, barrier-free communications, in order to establish a suitable working environment for employees. When the manager inspires through values, concentrating directly on achieving business results (i.e., a high task orientation) will not work.  Instead, the manager must spread the message of people-orientation which involves showing concern for followers’ well-being, status, and satisfaction. This enables employees to pursue self-appointed tasks and meet the organizational goals (Ahuja, 2005, p.688).

Survey and Results

To explore the range of leadership essential to foster positive change, a survey was completed by a pilot sample of ten individuals. The survey consisted of 19 statements related to leadership, including three subscales: Capacity to Lead Positive Change (12 items), Capacity to Mobilize Others Toward Positive Change (3 items), and Capacity to Create Positive Deviance in an Organization (4 items). The survey is shown in Appendix 1.  Survey responses are summarized in Table 1 and Table 2, including summary scores for the entire survey, as well as the three subscales, and are also broken out by ethnicity and gender.   Table 1. Averages by Ethnicity  
  Overall Score Mobilize Others Toward Positive Change Create Positive Deviance in Organization Lead Positive Change
Asian (n=1) 107.0 17.0 21.0 78.0
African American (n=5) 93.8 15.6 18.4 69.0
Bi-Racial (n=1) 95.0 16.0 18.0 70.0
Caucasian (n=3) 82.7 14.0 15.0 60.3
  Table 2. Averages by Gender  
  Overall Score Mobilize Others Toward Positive Change Create Positive Deviance in Organization Lead Positive Change
Male (n=5) 455.0 74.0 85.0 336.0
Female (n=5) 464.0 79.0 91.0 338.0


No one is a born leader. However, people develop into leaders if they do the necessary work. A successful leader is keenly aware of the forces that are most relevant to his or her behavior at any given time. He or she possesses self-awareness, and understands individuals, groups, and stakeholders, as well as the organization and the broader social environment. However, merely understanding these factors is insufficient; a successful leader is also able to behave appropriately in the light of these perceptions and realities. The successful manager can be primarily characterized as neither a rigid leader nor a permissive one. Rather he or she continually assessing the forces that determine what his most appropriate degree of control at any given time, and then behaves accordingly. With this insight and flexibility, he or she is less likely to see the problem of leadership as a dilemma. (Tannenbaum & Schmidt, 1973, p. 180) Leadership is a vital and dynamic function in organizations. Leadership in business is never bossism because “leader” is not synonymous with “boss” (Prasad, 2005, p.487). The quality of leadership is a key factor in the accomplishment of the organization’s objectives. Certain types of leaders suit certain situations better than others. For example, some leaders perform better in a prosperous (or growth) period, others in an austere or contracting period. Leadership is an important factor in an organization’s success. In the absence of a good leader, organizations cannot function efficiently and effectively (Yvonne, 2003, p-212). The leader drives the direction of activities in an organization. A boss depends upon his authority, whereas a leader relies upon his confidence and goodwill, and leads by coaching and advising subordinates. Successful leadership calls for: (1) the ability to comprehend that human being has different motivating forces in different situations, (2) the ability to inspire, and (3) the ability to act in a manner that will develop a climate for responding to and arousing motivations. (Tannenbaum & Schmidt, 1973, p. 181)     References Ahuja, K. (2005).  Personnel Management. Calcutta: Kalyani Publishers.   Blake R.R. & Mouton, J.S. (1964). The Managerial Grid, Houston: Gulf Publishing. Fiedler, F.E. (1967). A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness.  New York: McGraw-Hill. McLaughlin,Y. (1994). Australian Management: A Practical Guide for Managers, Supervisors & Administrators. Kuala Lumpur: Synergy Books International. Prasad, L.M. (1994).Organizational Behavior. New Delhi: Sultan Chand Publishing. Prasad, L.M. (2006).Organizational Behavior. Educational publishers. Daryaganj Sharma, P. (2004). How to Choose a Leadership Pattern. Business Studies, Sage Publications. Tannenbaum, R. & Schmidt, W.H. (1973). How to choose a leadership pattern. Harvard Business Review, 51, 175-180. Appendix 1   Leading Positive Change Survey   Instructions   This survey is designed to assess individual change competency ability. Your responses should reflect your attitudes and behaviors as they are now, not as you would like them to be. Please use the following rating scale to indicate your agreement (or disagreement) with each of the statement below.   Response Scale 1=Strongly disagree 2=Disagree 3=Slightly disagree 4=Slightly agree 5=Agree 6=Strongly agree   ____ 1. I create positive energy in others when I interact with them. ____ 2. I know how to unlock the positive energy in other people. ____ 3. I express compassion toward people who are facing pain or difficulty. ____ 4. I help promote compassionate responses in others when it is appropriate. ____ 5. I usually emphasize a higher purpose or meaning associated with the work I do. ____ 6. I forgive others for harm they may have produced or mistakes they may have made. ____ 7. I maintain high standards of performance, even though I am quick to forgive. ____ 8. I express gratitude frequently and conspicuously, even for small acts. ____ 9. I keep track of things that go right, not just things that go wrong. ___ 10. I frequently give other people positive feedback. ____11. I emphasize building on strengths, not just overcoming weaknesses. ____12. I use a lot more positive comments than negative comments. ____13. I compare my own group’s performance against the highest standards. ____14. When I communicate a vision, I capture people’s hearts as well as their heads. ____15. I work to close the gap between good performance and great performance. ____16. I exemplify absolute integrity. ____17. I know how to get people to commit to my vision of change. ____18. I take advantage of a small-wins strategy in all my change initiatives. ____19. I have developed a teachable point of view for subjects I care about.   Subscales for Change Leadership                                    Items Capacity to lead positive change                                    2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12,  13, 16, 17, 20                         Capacity to mobilize others toward positive change         1, 4, 11 Capacity to create positive deviance in an organization    14, 15, 18, 19


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