Lets Become Outstanding Leaders


By

Dr. DS Raghav
Reader
NMSN Das PG College
Badaun (Uttar Pradesh)

Deepa Gupta
Mukul Gupta
Senior Lecturers
Institute of Integrated Learning and Management
Academy of Higher Learning
Plot No. 17-18, Knowledge Park–II, Greater Noida
E-mail:
deepamukul@gmail.com / deepa_mukul@hotmail.com
 


"Your life shouldn't end up with being a leader; It should begin with it."

Emphasis on management has created an impression that leadership has perhaps no role to play in industry. Traditional mind associates leadership with the military and political models and finds it's irrelevant to the industrial or business world. Nothing can be far from reality than this notion. Management, with all its refinements still remains only a tool and never can be a substitute for leadership. People, the most valuable resource of any organization, can only be "led" in to giving of their best. They cannot be managed into such performances.

Several definitions have been put forward for leadership. In essence however these all agree that leadership is the activity of influencing people to strive willingly for group objectives. There is one more general agreement; Leaders are not necessarily born. They can be trained.

Several studies have contributed to the contemporary knowledge on the dynamics of leadership. More noteworthy among these have been:

(a) Hawthorn studies which concluded that productivity was more a function of attitude of workers towards each other and the attention they received from the management rather than any facilities that the management may provide to improve their working conditions per se.

(b) Theory X and Theory Y that categorise leadership styles into two broad categories having different beliefs and assumptions about subordinates. Theory X treats people as avoiding responsibilities, being indolent and needing supervision. Theory Y sees people as basically hard working and willing to accept responsibility. Leaders proceed to deal with their subordinates on the basis of their beliefs in this broad categorisation of human behaviour.

(c) Michigan Studies which identified leadership styles on the basis of leader orientation i.e. Employee Oriented and Production Oriented emphasising the need for balancing the two to obtain optimum results.

Each of these studies has made useful contribution to the understanding of the phenomenon of Leadership. It is however no exaggeration to suggest that the phenomenon remains less than fully understood even till date.

The authority base of a Leader varies both on account of personal and organizational factors. Basically there are three different sources of authority:

(a) Traditional Authority i.e. the authority born out of one's position in the organization. It is also known as legitimate power.

(b) Authority born out of functional or technical expertise such as that of a specialist or an authority on the subject. It is also called expert power.

(c) Authority derived out of skill in managing people including those professionally more qualified than oneself.

This is the true Leadership Authority.

Having accepted that leadership qualities and abilities can be developed through diligence, it is necessary to provide a practical guide to leadership development processes. Before this, it is necessary for the potential leader to identify his source of authority and then deliberately proceed to acquire the skills and develop the attributes, which will fit him for the leadership role, which he or she aspires. Those who draw their authority from professional expertise in their sphere of activity, if they persist with the preoccupation of technical excellence and are not prepared to delegate can at best and up as highly proficient managers. Leadership skills come out of his functional mobility and the ability to hire and utilize man more able than oneself in order to create and channelise energy, which after all is the purpose of all leadership.

It is necessary for potential leaders to develop characteristics of behaviour which are valued most by subordinates. These include ability to listen, show consideration, display trustworthiness and constancy as well as predictability of behaviour, tolerance and inter-personal skills including ability to communicate effectively.

Leadership bestows authority and brings in its wake responsibility. A good leader ensures success by fulfilling his responsibility fully. "Captains Innings" is not unfamiliar to the cricket loving Indian people. In the business and Industrial environment, a leader must ensure that:

  • Objectives exist and are clear
  • Organizational structure is sound and well understood
  • Executive responsibility is backed by authority
  • Conformity is discouraged
  • Innovation is promoted
  • Information flows freely in the organization
  • Happiness is promoted
  • Restrictions minimized
  • Praise dispensed where deserved

An aide-memoir for the aspirants for higher levels of leadership is contained in the interesting acronym "LETS BECOME OUTSTANDING LEADERS". It gives the following guide lines:

L isten to your associates
E xplain your thoughts and requests
T ake time to reach true understanding
S hare your goals and aspirations
B uild individual strengths
E mphasise cooperation and team work
C oach your associates for growth
O perate with others as if you lacked authority
M ake the involvement of others a habit
E ncourage associates to help and assist each other
O bserve the good qualities in others
U nderplay your own abilities and accomplishments
T ake others needs and desires into consideration
S ympathise with others when appropriate
T ell the reasons for your decisions
A cknowledge the importance of others
N ourish acceptance of authority and responsibility
D elegate, delegate and delegate some more
I nvolve others in decision making
N ominate others for recognition
G ive credit when credit is due
L et the implementers share in the planning
E mphatically concern yourself with process
A llocate your time wisely
D efine expected results and checkpoints clearly
E xpect commitments to be kept
R eview progress fairly
S earch for improvements constantly

Managers in business both big and small spend between 60 to 90% of their time dealing with people. Management of people must therefore be their primary concern if they wish to use this most valuable and productive resource placed at their disposal, to its full potential. Leaders must identify their own behaviour patterns, value judgments and utilize their identified strengths to weld their work force into winning teams. They must create energy through motivation and then direct it through leadership to produce excellence in all their endeavours.

Reference:

How to lead so others follow willingly; James L Lundy
Leadership is not a Bowler Hat; Peter J Prior
Leadership: The Philosopher's Stone of management; Murray, Steels and Brown
Message of the Upanishadas by Swami Ranganathananda
The Bhagvadgita by Swami Chidbhavanand
Leadership practice in relation to productivity and morale; R. Kahn & D. Katz
A theory of leadership effectiveness; F.E. Fiedler
Management of organizational behaviour; Hersey and Blanchard
 


Dr. DS Raghav
Reader
NMSN Das PG College
Badaun (Uttar Pradesh)

Deepa Gupta
Mukul Gupta
Senior Lecturers
Institute of Integrated Learning and Management
Academy of Higher Learning
Plot No. 17-18, Knowledge Park–II, Greater Noida
E-mail:
deepamukul@gmail.com / deepa_mukul@hotmail.com
 

Source: E-mail February 24, 2006

   

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