January 11, 2010

Understanding Leadership

Leadership can be direct or indirect. Direct leadership is when you are an autocratic leader, where you tend to ask people to do just as they are told to do. You do not entertain any opinions or suggestions from them. Here people are being treated just as the means to get the required work done. Hence, it doesn’t come with any motivation or inspiration driving them to work out of their comfort zone. People do work, but not with enthusiasm. They don’t have a vision of where the company might want to be in a longer term. They just work for their own survival. Another is Indirect Leadership. Here the leader is more democratic, takes into the account the viewpoint of individuals. This can be a great inspiration for the workers because they are the part of the solution. From the session today I learnt that when they are inspired, they tend to have a broader vision of the company, and then the work doesn’t remain just salary package they are working for. But they work to learn, to improve and get the company to the next level which of course will lead to their development as well. Working just to attain compliance is not the only aim of the workers. The most important characteristic that I see in a leader is, when it can get the most out of the people. It is very important to have the right approach to keep them motivated and getting the work done at the same time. The second most important characteristic of a leader is to keep up the team work. It can be influenced in different ways, as how the people are being recognised, rewarded, praised, empowered and punished in an organisation. Leadership by definition involves change whereas management’s work is getting the current system going by minimising the risk. It is important that both work well to get the organisation where it wants it to be.

Well, if I will be working in an organisation later this year, my expectation of a leader would be to create a working environment where there is team work, and all striving to achieve a common aim, that is the aim of the company. No individual interest involved and guides in a way that creates learning and development at all the stages and keep us motivated. Suggestions and opinions are taken and everyone is treated fairly.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. I totally agree with you Meenal, in the sense that people work better when they are inspired, and this will also enhance their expectations and performance in the company, and that is not difficult to get out of an employee when he/she holds a qualified position, let’s say in a highly recognised firm? like the big four, then it is easier for a leader and for the company to show a progressive career to the “qualified” employees and these will feel motivated and recognised as the path is pretty clear. But, what about the manufacturing sector?, what about the work force?, what about the people with non specific skills but basic technical knowledge?...what kind of inspiration can these people get if their work is very monotonous and does not need of great effort, pretty replaceable employees….Paul mentioned that these people would also produce more if they are inspired and motivated..but, do leaders would really be concerned about the bottom level when the system is alredy working well? do you really need them to work at their maximum potential?, what about the concepts of Six Sigma where a certain range of variability is acceptable by the company, and maybe you don’t need to exceed capability….then why would you persuade these people in the manufacturing sector to work more…I personally believe that in these cases an autocratic leader would suit better to control processes as it should be. Otherwise, with a democratic leader, it would probably be a big challenge for them and the company to inspire the workforce, and maybe the company could invest in training for these people to get the most out of them….but, what for?...mmm. Anyways, this is just a personal opinion.

    18 Jan 2010, 01:49

  2. Hey Ronald! Thanks for sharing your views, it is true that when the people are qualified you can direct them more easily and inspire them by giving them material benefits and encouraging them to work towards shared goal. While in context of manufacturing sector, the bottom level people are the ones who are working on the machines for years, so these are the people who are more experienced and have the most appropriate knowledge of running the particular machine. When any process is designed, it is either the engineer or the management level people who have a say on how to run and what is best suited to gain the maximum capital employed. So bottom levels are the people who are just asked to use their physical power and produce the required amount. I agree that still the system is working well, but how about if these bottom level people who are more experienced give their suggestions of improving the processes. Any system or processes cannot retain itself unless it is continually improved. It is very important that these people are not just treated as the source to run machines but them should be asked to use their brains, only then much of the waste can be reduced which comes from the complexity of the processes, over-production, under-production etc. Why do you think many Six Sigma projects fail? Implementation of Six Sigma doesn’t take into account the workforces who are actually going to run the machines. It is the way the Six Sigma is implemented that leads to its failure. Well, I think these bottom level people are the people who should be inspired constantly which can lead to continuous improvement and reduction of waste in the processes and ultimately has an effect on the quality of the product. If these people are inspired to give their best, you would not need any extra supervision or inspection on the quality.

    24 Jan 2010, 20:23

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  • Hey Ronald! Thanks for sharing your views, it is true that when the people are qualified you can dir… by on this entry
  • I totally agree with you Meenal, in the sense that people work better when they are inspired, and th… by on this entry
  • You got a good discussion going there. We do live in a world with a largely win–lose mentality which… by Paul Roberts on this entry
  • yeah..you are right, a company establishes a vision which should be "shared" by all employees, as ho… by on this entry
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