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Consultation for Leaders in Management

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Organizations all over the world are encouraging a shift from a management perspective to a leadership perspective instilled through team building so as to solve inflexibility and quicken decision-making. In this essay therefore, empowerment, whereby people are encouraged to make autonomous decisions and feel in control to the resultant outcomes, has been proposed as a means of allowing dissent, encouraging teamwork and innovation.

Leaders should distribute authority rather than a hands-on control approach. This is implemented by changing the manager’s perspective by: influencing through context, creating a culture whereby all employees feel included, distributing authority without reclaiming, provision of logistical and moral support to employees, setting out a clear mandate and equipping the team for anticipated success. In order to influence through context, whereby trust is laid in a higher principle, belief and guiding force, the leader must aptly define the context and desired standards by giving team members the freedom to act and innovate thereby enhancing leadership, creating a competitive edge and nurturing proactive employees. Secondly, the leader should also nurture and empower a culture of inclusion whereby the leader should ensure that every team member’s voice is heard despite their position. This atmosphere should encourage dissent as a foundation of objectivity and innovation which enables new ideas to be generated superior to those developed by the exercise of positional power. Thirdly, the leader should surrender positional authority and responsibilities without attempting to reclaim it so as to create pro-active employees. There is a transitory phase where the managers feel out of control and that things have gone awry and they are tempted to tighten control. This should be highly resisted. Leaders should further support the employee empowerment strategies put into place since empowerment involves giving responsibility and the freedom of choice so as to move from position of boss to coach. Also, the leaders should clearly articulate the common goal which the team is aiming at. Clarity of vision and roles played by various members should be enhanced so as to ensure accountability for specific goals and stay inbounds. Finally, equip the team members for success through training, resource allocation and information provision at all levels. This highly boosts the chances of success. (Lencioni)

Management is distinct from leadership. Management employs a hands-on control whereas leadership allows responsibility allocation and freedom of choice. Management is characterized by managers having subordinates who are structured according to levels of formal authority. Management encompasses an authoritarian, transactional style whereby subordinates act on orders. It is transactional in the sense that employees are delegated duties in exchange for a salary or monetary reward. Further, management’s focus is on work and is distinct in that managers are paid to work under time and money constraints. The work focus is naturally passed to their subordinates.  Finally, a recent study shows that managers seek comfort and prefer to avoid conflict through engaging in relatively risk-averse activities since they have been observed to come from upper-middle incomes and rich families. On the other hand, leaders do not have subordinates but rather have followers. When managers are leading, they have to give up formal authority to encourage a following since this is usually voluntary. This style encompasses a charismatic and transformational style in that leaders have to appeal to team members in order to attract a following in risky and dangerous situations. They promise transformational awards not only through extrinsic rewards but also through value addition. Leadership focuses on people’s personalities rather than their work. Leaders do not necessarily have a loud personality or friendly attitude but rather maintain an aloof attitude and a degree of separation. They are achievement driven, but, instead of solely focusing on work, they enthuse others to work towards their goals. Finally, leaders seek risk and are risk takers rather than risk averse. They envision hurdles and problems and their respective solutions. They view risks as potential opportunities which have been attributed to the fact that most of them come from handicapped families in challenging backgrounds. (Marcus Buckingham, 2008). The managers, by resisting empowerment through encouraging responsibility and allowing a freedom of choice, signify an attempt to manage rather than lead. The CEO is in essence, trying to break from a tradition of pure management and encompass skills in leadership by employing a consultant to chart on appropriate techniques to be employed.

 There are several arguments in favor of leadership rather than management. First, managers should provide an inspiring vision and a strategic alignment in a team rather just control. The leader should envision the future and passionately believe on the aspired goals. Secondly, leadership is an influence relationship whereas management is an authority relationship which deters the team spirit. Leadership further defines direction through establishing a vision. This vision can easily be communicated and aligned into the team member’s spirit and energy. In a team, there is a need to energize and inspire team members in order to overcome any obstacles rather than delegating duties and authority as is the case for management. Effective leadership brings about positive, much needed change and opens up channels for innovation. (Avolio, 2003)

As a consultant, there are various steps that I propose that a manager should take to change from a management style to a leadership style. Managers should first clarify and codify their convictions. The manager should evaluate his values, beliefs and ethics, how they can be demonstrated, their link to the overall organization’s goals and how the manager can change to fit within the team. Any additional assistance needed to enhance personal and organizational success should be obtained. The managers should constantly re-evaluate these steps to serve as a reality check. People cannot be forced into a following; hence, the manager should then accord the organization time to change towards their convictions. The next step is for the manager to align his or her behavior according to the convictions so as to build a collaborative culture based on the direction desired. Identify individual team player’s needs and their dreams in the workplace. Further, the manager should interview suppliers and customers on their specific needs in order to promote chance of success. Consultants further encourage managers to engage in conversation and communication. Listening is highly insisted upon so as to detect trends, themes and various possibilities. (Nahavandi, 2006)

Empowerment has various outcomes. Key among them is decentralization whereby decision-making is as close to the action as possible hence quickening decision-making. This shall also lead to sharing of information n the organization’s goals and mission. The need to hoard and withhold information and knowledge in order to maintain control is surpassed by an openly shared information system that encourages operation on the basis of facts. Contingent rewards are also used so as to motivate team members who significantly contribute to the organization. Failure should not be automatically punished for this inhibits empowerment. Teams created ensure employees are not only responsible for their individual success but also their team members. This therefore serves to unify the employees. Alignment in an organization is compulsory so as to maintain coherence and direction by sharing common goals and vision.

There are various recommendations on what the CEO should strive to attain. The CEO should ensure that: all team member participate in the formulation of a strategic plan and line of action; ensure effective communication through meetings, trainings, electronic bulletin boards, e-mails and oral channels such as the phones so as to ensure healthy team dynamics; ensure a team charter is put in place in which the project’s goals are clearly stated; ensure regular meetings are held between team members in order to brainstorm on topical issues through forms such as retreats; organize training and simulation exercises in the team by subdividing the team into subgroups that simulate healthy rivalry such as tug-of-war and ice breaking; delegate tasks so as to encourage trust in the team; promote collective responsibility in the team for mistakes committed by individual team members rather than apportioning blame for failure or inefficiency; establish appropriate conflict resolution techniques; carry out continuous appraisal and review on  individuals so as to curb inefficiency; introduce awards for significant achievements; keep the team focused so as to overcome any obstacles and finally, recognize the performing stage the team is currently in such as the peak period so as o maintain a consistent focus.(Argyris, 1976) 

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