Leadership in Action.Capability to manage a team effectively is one of the main qualities which any employee seeking success needs to possess. However, the position of a leader requires many outstanding skills, and it may be very challenging at times. According to Sun Tzu, Chinese General who lived in the 5th century B.C., when a person has five virtues combined in his personality: intelligence, trustworthiness, humanness, courage, sternness, then he is capable of being a leader.
The combination of these qualities can very rarely be seen in people’s characters; therefore not everybody can be a good leader. Leadership means the ability to influence other people and guide them to the success. During many centuries it has been believed that the key to success in a team lies in the skills of the manager. No company can remain on top unless it has an outstanding manager who guides it into the right direction.S & F Company is a tele-shopping and mail-order network. Due to the requirements of changing environment, the company has decided to form a separate unit called S&F Online. For maximum efficiency, the management has formed the following divisions in the S&F Online unit:o web-developing team (6 members);o logistics team (3 members).The marketing manager of S&F Company is responsible for coordination of marketing and logistics operations of S&F Online with the parent company.
It is a very challenging task. It is not easy for the marketing manager to provide all the necessary monitoring.The new COO has been employed for maximum coordination of operations within the company. Before that, operations were monitored by the project manager. The organizational structure of S&F Company is represented by the matrix structure. It gives maximum flexibility to the company. It is also an organic type of structure which is very adaptive for changes. Communication on all levels is very important for the company.
Interactions among employees are constantly provided. In such a mixed structure, there is a manager who provides all the coordination on the top level. There are also managers of senior level who are responsible for coordination of employees in different teams.
The structure chosen by S&F Company answers all of its needs and objectives. This type of structure is very efficient regarding complicated interactions which occur among its members.Most scientists determine 2 types of organizational structure: bureaucratic and organic.
Bureaucratic types of organization include linear, functional, and divisional. In the linear structure, all the major decisions are made by the top management. Every employee has just one manager coordinating his activities.
At the same time, every manager has a couple of employees to coordinate. This type of structure is very simple. However, it is not efficient at all. It does not welcome any changes into the organization. It is not welcoming any development.Functional structure is based on the distribution of functions within the structure. For example, a derivatives department in the brokerage firm would consist of departments dealing with hedging and trading. Hedging and trading are different functions which the company gets involved in.
This type of structure has some disadvantages. It does not welcome changes. It makes communication between different divisions very complicated.In the organizations with a divisional structure, divisions in the organization specialize in the production of some products or are based on the territorial principle. For example, a company can have divisions in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It will choose such a structure because there are differences between customers in those countries. Divisional structures also have disadvantages.
For example, they are unable to adapt to changes fast.The bureaucratic structures are all based on the following principles:o “strict division of labor based on the position and skills of the employees;o hierarchic structure of management in which the lower level is fulfilling the responsibilities of the higher level;o formal rules guarantee the quality of work provided by the management;o no care for creativity among employees;o no care about the psychological features of every employee and treatment of all employees in the same way;o employment due to professional skills and never due to psychological qualities” (Talcott, Weber, Henderson, 1947, p.42).The bureaucratic structures do not welcome any creativity and they don’t regard a worker as an important member of the team whose needs are the first priority of consideration by the management. Employees in such a structure don’t have a right to make any decisions because they all come from the top level of management. Thus, the employees get unmotivated, and their performance gets lower (Meskon, 1992, p.
244).Most companies prefer to apply matrix (organic) structures because they are more adaptive. The matrix structure is a modern type of organizational structure. It is very efficient because it welcomes changes into organizations. The matrix structure combines two types of organizational structures: linear and functional. Responsibilities in the matrix structure are delegated both of the vertical and horizontal levels. Matrix structure motivates employees very much because they are involved in the process of decision-making in such an organization.
They can share their ideas with the management and get feedback for their ideas. In such organizations, productivity is usually on a relatively high level. It motivates employees to work hard because they get relevant compensation for that and can get promoted. This type of structure also decreases the cost of production.The main advantages of the matrix structure include:o “close interaction of managers and employees due to the creation of program and functional divisions which depend on one another;o division of functions between managers who provide coordination of general level (COO, CEO) and lower-level managers (project manager, marketing manager etc.), their mutual coordination of employees’ work;o involvement of managers of all levels in the sphere of active creative work on technical development of production” (Meskon, 1992, p.52).
A matrix structure is very flexible and welcomes change. Bureaucratic type of organization doesn’t serve the interests of introduction of new technological processes, doesn’t lead to the frequent changes in organization.The informal structure of the organization has a very important impact on its formal structure. Psychological features of employees in many ways determine the nature of their interactions.
In S&F Online, the informal structure influences the formal structure in many ways. Especially this can be identified through the interactions within the social network of organization. Employees are very connected with one another. For instance, the Project Manager interacts very frequently with Web Development Team, Logistics Manager, Marketing Manager, and Logistics team. They have very close communication during the working days and also spend pastime together.The role of power and politics in the organization is very important for its efficient functioning. If the leadership style which the manager chooses is efficient, it is possible to conclude that the company is going to be successful. However, if the manager chooses an inefficient leadership style, the company might fail to achieve its goals.
Leaders are supposed to determine the centers of power in the organization. Those centers have to be used wisely for the efficient management of the organization.As Doug Bond mentions, the things to keep in mind for managers are:v “Top managers must accept the importance of flexibility and innovation as a major part of their company’s culture.v Major beliefs should be put in writing, if managers are aware of the beliefs they share, they might be less likely to be blinded by them.” (Bond, 2001, p.5)Nowadays, most scientists define leadership as a function of management: “The managerial function of leading is defined as the process of influencing people so that they will contribute to organization and group goals” (Koontz and Weihrich, 1988, p. 392).
However, there are points of view that “leadership as a higher order or capability than management: leader is an individual within an organization who is able to influence the attitudes and opinions of others within the organization; a manager is merely able to influence their actions and decisions” (Byars, 1987, p. 159). According to Peter Drucker, “managers are people who do things right (efficiency); leaders are people who do the right things (effectiveness).” (Bjerke, 1999, p.57).
Therefore, leaders do not take power as the primary goal; they put the outcome of their teams as their major objective.In the S&F Company, the role of power and politics is very important. It influences the company greatly. The Project Manager is an important center of power in the company because most of communication in the company is channeled through him. Other employees can be influenced through him. For example, if he supports some decision of the new COO, there is almost a 100% possibility that it will be supported by the rest of employees. The Project Manager has the most power in the company.
The Logistics and Marketing Managers communicate with employees a lot as well, but they are not able to influence their decisions as much. Therefore, it is very important to make sure some responsibilities are delegated to the Project Manager.Different theories were created in order to analyze the issue of leadership and come up with different types of leaders. Barnes and Kriger have developed the theory according to which “three different approaches to understanding leadership exist: the leader as a hero-person; leadership as a set of personal attributes; contingency theories of leadership (Barnes and Kriger, 1986, p. 15).The choice of the leadership style is very important for managing a team.
Such styles include “considerate, structuring, autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire and the like” (Bjerke, 1999, p.57). Some authors determine supporting, directive, coercive, transformational leadership styles. The most efficient styles in the majority of companies are democratic and supportive styles, but for some types of situations autocratic and directive styles might be appropriate.
For example, when the manager wants to set direct goals for the employees and make them increase their performance, it can be appropriate to use directive style. The choice of the style mainly depends on the environment in the organization and the goals which it needs to achieve. Autocratic and directive styles can sometimes represent some danger of managers becoming power-oriented. When managers care only about their own power, they tend to choose those 2 styles of leadership.In S&F Company, supporting, and “transformational leadership” styles should be applied for maximum efficiency. They are particularly efficient in situations when a new leader comes into the organization. In the situation described in the company, a new COO is employed.
Therefore, it is very necessary for the new manager to establish warm relations with all the members of the team.After the manager works in the company for a while and learns everything about the performance, some new styles of leadership can be applied, for example, directive and coercive styles. They usually work in teams which are ready to fulfill all the management’s assignments. However, in the team which S&F has, this style might never be appropriate.
Employees in it are all very active; they like to carry out decisions on their own. If the manager tries to impose his or her policy on them, the employees might lose all the inspiration for work. They need to feel involved in decision-making in the company as much as possible. It also may be useful for the manager to combine the styles. For example, in some situations “transformation leadership” style will be useful while in other situations, a directive style might be appropriate for a while.The simulation has given us an opportunity to learn very many facts about organization structure and its efficiency.
We also obtained some knowledge about leadership style and learned to determine their efficiency for a particular company. We have learned how to establish warm relations with employees and how to identify centers of power in the company. The experience we got in the simulation can be very helpful if we get involved in a similar work in some company. Bibliography.
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