February 6, 2011
Leadership In The Business World
Leadership plays a vital role in Corporate America today due to the vast diversity of an organization whether local or global. Overall, leadership is very different than management and some of the outcomes we reviewed help define what leadership truly is and helps drive the business. Power and influence play a major role, along with initiating and managing change and the leadership theory of participative leadership brings together a certain leadership view. Together these attributes help define and frame the character of individuals as well as the organization and together you can use these theories to set the framework for your leadership style and approach.
As I reflect back on the outcomes of this class and a previous one the outcome I have is a better understanding of leadership and management as well as how it is used as well as the theory of each. When I think of leadership and management they are separate theories but each is critical to an organization and using this foundation will help frame the approach. As outlined “there is a profound difference between the two and both are important” (Shockley-Zalabk, 2009). “To manage” means “to bring about, to accomplish or to have charge of or responsibility.” “Leadership or leading” is influencing, guiding direction, action or opinion” (Shockley-Zalabk, 2009).
In my learnings this term one of the areas that I gravitated to was the theory around participative leadership, delegation, and empowerment. This is a somewhat straight forward concept although it can be difficult to implement. From participative standpoint it is about “consultation, joint decision making, power sharing, empowerment, and a democratic management style” (Yukl,2010). This is one that I can relate as I find that involving others on key decisions you have a much better chance of succeeding versus if you did this alone. In my case I have been on both sides and the individual approach on a big decision caused me to work twice as hard, was more stressful, and overall much more difficult than it probably should have been. On the other side involving others in decision making is often necessary for getting approval. An example of one where I was ultimately the decision maker but was looking for some by in to support my effort I took some extra steps. Although I was making the recommendation for approval what I did was before my presentation was to socialize my recommendation and have a conversations with key stakeholders before the big meeting. By doing this I was able to obtain feedback, set people at ease so they were not taken off guard, moreover to ask questions that we could in turn dialogue on prior so that we could have some consensus or potentially make some changes. By involving others the process went much smoother and by taking this approach my success rate of approval has been much higher and I have gained even more respect from my peers as they were part of the discussions which they valued tremendously.
As part of this idea delegation is also an important piece since it is a “distinct type of power-sharing process that occurs when subordinates are given responsibility and authority for making some types of decisions formerly made by the manager” (Yukl, 2010). This piece I can say I struggled with in 2010 as my team was scaled back and we reorganized twice during this period as we went to a matrixes environment. When I look at delegation I truly appreciate the reasons why and for me the top reasons to delegate are to develop subordinate skills and confidence, raise awareness, create commitment, reduce my workload to mange time better and move repetitive tasks that I do not need to focus my time on. Diving into why I didn’t want to always delegate was I didn’t want to stretch my team as much so they could still balance home and work,...