Cornerstone College of International Studies (CCIS)
LINK BETWEEN STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
The link between strategic management and leadership
Management and leadership must be intertwined to achieve the goals of the organization. Strategic management is the organized development of resources in all the functional areas of a company. The functional areas are financial and management manufacturing among others. Strategic management is a set of policies that the management of a firm or organization adopts and guides the direction of the entity. It takes into account the environment which the entity is operating in. In other words, strategic management aligns with the organizations mission and goals through effective utilization of the resources. Leadership, on the other hand, is the guiding of an organization towards the desired result. It also takes into account the desired mission and vision of the organization. It works on the precedence of strategic planning and management in order to achieve long-term success.
Strategic management and leadership are linked in that leadership is the bridge between strategic management and the desired results. Through leadership, a firm or an organization is able to achieve its set mission and goals. Strategic management is how the top managers formulate and implement the objectives of the company. Leadership, on the other hand, involves leaders influencing the subordinates to make their own decisions for the improvement of the organization. It is worth noting that neither of these two aspects is self-sufficient when it comes to the attainment of organizational goals. Apart from that, management and leadership should be effective for the success to be realized at the end. Ineffectiveness in the core components of the organization may result in failure of the business. The organization is productive when both management and leadership coordination are effective. While the managers come up with innovative ideas for the future prosperity of the organization, it is the duty of the leadership personnel to implement the ideas by influencing their minors positively and coaching them in order to actualize the ideas.
Leadership style refers to the way in which the leaders motivate employees, implement plans and also give guidelines on how duties and responsibilities should be carried out. There are various types of the leadership styles that can be adopted in different scenarios depending on the strategic decisions put in place by the top management. These leadership styles include transformational leadership, charismatic leadership, transactional leadership, situational leadership and laissez-faire leadership style. Leaders lead people while managers manage people. Leaders are the people that bring changes in an organization while managers sustain the changes in the organization.
Transformative leader constantly shares the vision of the organization with the employees. This kind of a leader usually delegates some of the responsibilities to the subordinates and gives them the authority to execute their decisions deemed necessary for the success. Another type of the leadership style is charismatic leadership. In this case, the leader influences the subordinates by use of enthusiasm. The presence of this leader symbolizes motivation to the workers and he/she is always in a position to encourage the employees to work toward the set goals. Unfortunately, a leader who is charismatic tends to believe more in himself/herself than he/she believes in others. This can be a major drawback to the strategic decisions. The subordinates may feel reluctant to go on with their duties when their leader is in absentia. It is, therefore, logical to say that decisions cannot be effectively made without the leader's direct oversight. To avoid this, there is a need for a great deal of responsibility and commitment on the part of the leader in question for the success of the organization.
The other type of leadership style is transactional leadership. It is a two-way traffic where the leader expects obedience from the subordinates and in return the employees may have either rewards or punishments based on their obedience or disobedience respectively. This type of leadership is mainly applied in short term tasks as it can be very disastrous for strategic goals. Employees may develop unrests and demonstrations due to strict measures brought about by the transactional leader.
Nowadays, situational leadership style has become the most adopted one among the leadership styles. It stresses that there is no particular way of dealing with a situation. For a strategic decision to be made there must be consideration of some aspects such as the personality of the leader, the skills of the employees and the kind of work involved. The leader in most cases uses intuition to make decision, hence, resulting in high personal judgment in decision making.
Finally, strategic decisions can be affected by laissez-faire leadership style. The leader delegates all the authority to the subordinates. Consequently, employees have freedom to execute their own decisions without having to consult their leaders first. This can affect the strategic decisions in two ways. First, the employees may misuse the authority delegated and fail to implement the decisions. Second, highly self-motivated employees may appreciate the honor of being delegated the authority and put more efforts in accomplishments of the goals of the organization.
Adaption of leadership styles to different situations
Adoption of the leadership styles depends on the situation at hand. This means that a leader is supposed to apply different leadership styles depending on the situation at hand. Both transformational and transactional leadership can be applied in the organization that is involved in routine activities. Transformational leadership requires employees to be motivated in order to add value to the company. Charismatic leadership can be applied where the subordinates are less skilled or in a situation where there is a need for motivation to improve their performance. Also, for this kind of leadership to work, the leader himself/herself must be very skilled and committed to serving. Where subordinates are skilled and highly motivated, laissez-faire type of leadership can successfully fit the situation. The employees need little or no supervision in order to carry out their duties. Situational leadership is applicable in almost every situation. It is the best kind of leadership to adopt as the corporate world is now ever changing.
Application of management and leadership theory to support organization direction
The impact of selected theories of management and leadership on organizational strategy
Many behavioral scientists have come up with various theories of management and leadership. These theories include Hersey and Blanchards situational leadership theory, Vroom and Yetton leader participation model, and Tannenbaum and Schmidt theory of continuum of leader behavior. Situational leadership theory argues that the leader makes decisions depending on the readiness and acceptability of the workers. Organizational goals can take long before they are achieved. Complex strategies will put employees under pressure and they are likely to refuse the responsibility to execute them. In addition, the dynamics of the environment may disrupt the implementation of the strategies. This is because the expected progress of the strategies may not match with the actual progress while implementing this strategy. The theory of Leader participation suggests that the leader behavior should reflect the task structure. There must also be guidelines to indicate the degree in which his/her followers will be involved in decision making. These determinants of participation may include group expertise or leader expertise. If the leader is highly skilled, there is more need for him to participate in the implementation of the strategies. On the other hand, if the group has the necessary expertise to implement an organizational strategy, the leader will definitely have little participation. Other contingencies that may determine the leaders participation may include group support, decision significance or likelihood of commitment from the followers.
Vroom, a social scientist, came up with another version of leader participation in the achievement of the organizational goals. He argued that the leader formulates an idea with the assistance of his/her followers and then leaves it to his/her subordinates to actualize it. In other words, the leader presents the problem to the subordinates and acquires some suggestions before making a decision. This might be highly useful in the implementation of organization goals because everybody is involved in the decision-making process despite that they cannot make decisions themselves. Several ways can be used to get suggestions from the employees. The leader may consult the people individually or in a group where he/she can even be a facilitator. The continuum of leader behavior theory suggests that the authority of the leader decreases as the subordinates participation increases. Eventually, every member of the organization is involved in the strategy implementation. Success is realized quickly as much effort is put together for a common goal.
Leadership strategy that supports organizational direction
The leader spends a substantial amount of time on strategizing. The leader must come up with a strategy that will streamline with the goals of the organization. For instance, the leader may create an emotional intelligence management strategy. This is a forum where employees may recognize their feelings toward work, their own feelings and also understand what motivates them. This is crucial because it has a direct impact on the job performance, mental health and working relationship in the organization. Management of employees emotions facilitates their concentration on their duties, hence, results in high productivity and good performance. The relationship between the senior and the subordinate improves as the leader constantly motivates his/her followers through this strategy.
Assessing leadership strategies
Current leadership requirements
Organizations heavily rely on capable leadership to guide them and help achieve the set goals. It is important that leadership guides an organization towards achieving the very best results. A leader needs to be able to step up in every situation that the organization faces in order to guide for the appropriate action. This has to be done in order to avoid organizational failure. Without proper leadership, the potential of the business will never be realized. A leader, therefore, has some set skills that are required to achieve this set goal. These skills include the ability to integrate new technology, integrity, problem-solving skills, team building, and integrity among others.
Technology is a dynamic concept that keeps changing. A leader, therefore, has to effectively use technology to the companys advantage. This will make the work more efficient and the leader more competent. A global company that has many regions needs to effectively use technology in the management of its workers and staff. Team building is the ability of the leader to motivate the team to work in one direction. Team building is important since the success of a company heavily relies on the workers ability to work together in a coherent way in order to achieve the set goals. It is the role of the manager to ensure that all employees do the work and focus on one direction and all their efforts are driven towards the set direction. Problem-solving skills include the ability of a leader to cognitively come up with solutions that may affect the organization. It is important that the leader is banned innovative head and can solve any stumbling block that the company faces. Integrity, on the other hand, refers to a leader being honest and having sound moral principles. The integrity of a leader can be assessed on the leaders stand on unethical business practices such as corruption. A leader who firmly stands against such practices is regarded to have high integrity. Leaders who seek to benefit from unethical practices are regarded to have low integrity and, hence, are less desirable to any organization.
The development of future situations that require leadership
Different situations require different leadership skills. Some leadership skills may be superior since they are called in actions severally. Unlike traditional leadership skills that were hard to impact, a leader in todays world has a volume of resources from which he/she can learn different leadership skills. The internet and forums from all over the world have become a good source of leadership skills. This has led to the bringing up of vibrant leaders who can cope with any scenario they face. The future situations that may require leadership require active and effective planning today. They require consistent use of leadership skills and practicing day in and day out to achieve success. The styles used to combat this situation include use of democracy, being visionary, being a coach and being an autocrat.
Being democratic means that all the employees participate in the running of the business. This means that all goals and targets that the organization lays out are clearly set and understood by the employees. Therefore, all employees know what needs to be done and how it should be done. The leader, however, makes the final decisions of the organization or the department. As a regional head, different problems may come up in the future; being democratic means that all employees will face the future challenges solidly and cohesively. It will ensure that every employee is impacted with problem-solving skills while at the same time encouraging teamwork. Any challenge that faces the society will be aggressively confronted.
Being visionary means that the leader focuses ahead. It means that the leader has a clearly set plan and gets every single employee on board. A visionary leader is set apart by his/her charisma, communication and organizational skills and strategic planning. A good leader knows how to communicate the goals and dreams he/she has regarding the organization. The visionary leader is an active listener and may rely on advice outsourced from his/her subordinates. Visionary leaders involve all the stakeholders in achieving the vision they have about the organization. A visionary leader ensures that the company meets the set goals while the employees are achieving their personal goals. A visionary leader is charismatic in most cases. Charisma is defined as the personal magic of a leader that arouses special popular loyalty. Not every leader is born with charisma but one can learn how to cultivate it.
Charisma enables a leader to be able to inspire employees to do things without necessarily forcing them. Charisma will enable the leader to solve future problems since the employees will be inspired to do things for the organization. No sabotage can be experienced from employees since they are inspired to work under little supervision. A leader should also be a chief planner. This means that the leader can lay down strategies to combat future problems. Future moves are planned today; consequently, an action plan is synthesized with a particular idea in mind. Having a clear laid plan ensures that any problem that rises is dealt with effectively by strictly following the action plan. The designed strategies help the leader achieve the ultimate vision he/she has for the company. A visionary leader is also a risk taker. These leaders are willing to gamble on untested actions. They, however, gamble on a course they believe in and on a measured risk. A visionary leader is a relative person. Being a creative being enables the leader to innovatively face future challenges and deal with them according to plan. A visionary leader is also a chief organizer. The leader does so by ensuring that each employee has his/her clearly assigned duties and responsibilities. This ensures that no confusion may arise in the future and this makes the leader combat any future problems. One of the causes of organizational failure is a lack of clearly defined responsibilities.
A good leader is also a coach. This means that a leader is a role model and that the employees can follow a track record set by him/her. Being a good role model ensures that employees are inspired and mentored to bring out the best results. It also implies that the person to person connections are enhanced. In the case of any problems that may be faced in the future will be combated since employees will have a track record to follow.
Being an autocrat is employed in dynamic situations. It ensures that there are no delays due to huge procedures in decision making. It is employed mostly when the organization is facing any sort of crisis. However, this should not be employed all the time since it lures down employees morale and motivation. When the company is facing any problems it is important that the leader quickly swings into action. It will be coupled with quick decision making and will enable the company to move forward. In a crisis, a leader may not be able to delegate duties since the situation is changing fast and any delay may mean that the company is severely affected. Future situations may require the effective use of autocratic leadership.
The development of leadership skills
The development of leadership skills for a specific requirement
Some leadership skills are set for a specific requirement. Therefore, some skills are set out for certain situations and scenarios. They can be stratified at different organizational levels. Such skills may include cognitive skills, interpersonal skills and business skills.
Cognitive skills are skills that are connected to certain cognitive capacity. Cognitive capacity includes collecting, processing and finally disseminating information. Cognitive skills include the ability to communicate, active listening and reading skills. Ability to communicate enables the leader to communicate with the employees effectively. Listening skills, on the other hand, enable the leader to comprehend the questions that may arise and in order to listen to other people's opinions. Reading skills enable the leader to research and understand any voluminous and complex written information. Another important cognitive skill is the ability to learn and adapt. This is driven by the need to actively learn from situations. These skills enable the leader to face any new challenge effectively.
Interpersonal skills are skills that relate from one person to another; they involve interactions between people. Interpersonal skills are also required to coordinate activities within the organization. Persuasion skills are skills that help the leader to influence the workers to work hard and achieve goals. A good leader builds individual capabilities.
Business skills are skills related to specific functional areas these relate to how the business is conducted. It is important for a leader to have these skills and enable him or her to close in on business deals. Strategic skills are conceptual skills needed to understand complexity deal with ambiguity and to effect influence in the organization. These skills include the ability to plan forward.
The usefulness of methods used to plan for the development of leadership skills
In order to develop leadership skills, several methods are used. These include training, induction through role models, critical thinking among others. Training involves having a person impact the leadership skills to another person. Leadership is mainly obtained through learning from other people. In the dynamic world a leader has to constantly learn from individuals or even the environment. Training is effective for some leadership skills, especially where the learner is prompted to use the set skills. It is particularly useful for theoretical skills that can be learned easily from a trainee. Such training is, however, ineffective for some skills e.g. cognitive skills. It is because such skills require the learner to use them.
Such skills can therefore not be learned from one another and are mostly inbuilt in a leader. Induction is the most useful in such cases. Critical thinking involves a leader being able to reason out and come up with creative solutions. It is the most effective since as the leader faces problems the leadership skills in him/her are activated and developed more. Induction, on the other hand, refers to learning practically the new roles from an expert. In the new leadership roles, a leader learns from people who previously occupied the said position. This method is very effective especially since it is more practical than theoretical.