March 28, 2013

Leadership: Enabler or a Driver?

During the module week, Paul said something that has stayed in my mind ever since. He pointed out that GE was successful in spite of Jack Welch rather than because of him.

This suggests that leadership is only an "enabler" and not a "driver" of increasing performance at an organization. This is in contrast to the Malcolm Baldrige Award which assumes that leadership "causes" an increase in performance and quality of processes.

Personally, I would go along with the former. I think that while having an effective leader certainly helps the cause, it is by no mean a direct indicator for organizational performance. As we know, there are many different factors that have a say, e.g. characteristics of followers, environment and just pure simple luck.

People nowadays, are quick at pointing to the leader when an organization performs well. It is the easy option..and humans want to develop simple explanations for complex organizational performance. Hence, they all come to the conclusion that "the leader must be doing something right".

Hopefully, the critical analysis skills that we are learning at MBE will help us to steer away from such errors. We should always analyze all the possible variables before attributing the success or failure of a process/ organization to any one factor.


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