The question to what extent do leaders influence organizational effectiveness is best answered in analyzing the salient traits desired of a leader towards achievement of organizational goals. This is to say that absent such traits, the leader would be less efficient towards the influence of organizational influence. Chief executive officers often find themselves locked in the dual yet conflicting role of playing a manager as well as a leader. Whether a manager can double up as a leader is now water under the bridge. Contemporary managerial studies prefer that managers restrain from exercising their managerial powers and in place use their leadership skills to steer the unit to success. In addition, success has become a multidimensional concept with the consideration of a platitude of factors to prove success or otherwise of a unit. This paper shall canvass the extent to which a leader can influence organizational effectiveness.
Organizational effectiveness can be defined as the performance of an organization in terms of achievement of its objectives. While most organizations often exist for purposes of profit making, other measures of effectiveness include organizational growth and expansion, employee development and empowerment, community development, overall sustainability among other performance indicators. In order to achieve the aforementioned, the leader is required to employ a fine blend of tact and skill.
One of the most useful skills is the listening skill. A leader who listens captures the attention and wins the support of organizational employees. Employees often want to be heard. Being human beings, employees want to enjoy a sense of belonging and recognition. The best and simplest way to achieve this is to listen. In listening, a leader must never be prejudicial and prematurely conclusive. One may need to listen to either sides in a contest and at times it is never too late to withdraw a prematurely made statement or decision. A leader who recognizes his or her employees and affords them an opportunity would more likely than not influence his employees to a higher extent. Listening thus influences the employees into activity hence the achievement of organizational goals.
Secondly, a leader must draw inspiration and motivation among employees. Inspiration is the subconscious influence one imparts by virtue of his or her position and standing in the workplace. Motivation includes the overt and covert actions and incentives leaders give in order to spur employees into action. A leader who inspires would create a culture of proactivity to his or her employees such that those employees would need no supervision at work. In addition, employees being human, naturally require motivation. They need to be convinced directly or indirectly to act in a certain way or avoid certain mannerisms. A motivating leader would be influential in the sense that his or her employees need no further push for the performance of assigned duties.
Charisma refers to the ability to woe others either through speech or action. Charisma has proved an invaluable ingredient in today’s work environment especially given the informed and enlightened nature of the current working generation. A leader needs just some sufficient level of charisma. A leader must desist from commanding even though by virtue of his or her post, they may command. Charisma contrasts with authoritarianism. A charismatic leader, rather than employ authority to get work done, would employ persuasion and dialogue for the performance of work. This has a directly proportional bearing on the effectiveness of employees. Employees feel part and parcel of the organization and work wholesomely with charismatic leaders rather than with authoritative leaders.
On the other hand, it has been proven that leadership requires transformation and foresight. Transformative leadership is the ability to change situations usually from the negative to the positive. One way of transformation is through constructive conflicts. A leader should allow a reasonable level of differences in opinion and conflicts. He or she must entertain their opponent’s view despite the latter’s position in the hierarchy. It has been observed that constructive use of conflicts and diversity in opinion leads to more informed and effective organizational performance. Another limb of transformative leadership relates to the ability to turn around situations. Such leaders are often said to have a Midas touch. Such leaders change anything and everything they interact with and leave it in a better position. On the other hand, foresight relates to the ability to foresee the future. This can be the distant future or the near future. This is closely related to sustainable leadership. One character of sustainable leadership is the succession programs a leader implements. In a succession program, at any given time, a number of potential leaders are often being molded for succession of the current leader. Foresight equally involves the ability to predict and foresee likely events despite uncertain terrains of business environments. This is often coupled with the ability to set up backup measures to cushion the organization in the event setbacks occur. A leader would influence organizational effectiveness substantially if he or she is armed with the correct quantities of risk analysis and prediction. Such aforementioned skills are useful towards overall influence on the employees with a direct bearing on the organizational performance hence effectiveness.
However, it is equally essential to appreciate the dicey character of some employees. It is not always the case that all employees would cooperate and follow the spirit and letter of the rules of engagement. Some employees are often out to break and flout the laws. In addition, such employees employ all tricks and mannerisms that seek to conceal their mischief. This often calls for authoritative and firm leadership. It is essential to exercise disciplinary powers on such rogue employees for purposes of remedying their shortfalls and facilitating the spirit of good teamwork. For that reason, a leader ought to know when and to what extent he or she is allowed to use his or her powers and authority and especially in respect to discipline of employees. From an informed perspective, a leader needs to make firm and final decisions that show their decisiveness and their ability to act under pressure and strain. This approach is sure to warn employees who scuttle the efforts of others by failing to discharge their mandates as agreed.
Finally, it is noteworthy that leadership is two way. Leadership can only be exercised through mutual respect. In that vein, a leader must be ready to work and cooperate with their juniors despite their positions in the hierarchy. It must be based on mutual respect and appreciation of diversity in humanity. Some of the indicators of respect for humanity include being gender sensitivity, allowing unique cases reasonable privileges and a flexible approach to different situations depending on the circumstances. At the end of the day, the extent to which a leader may influence organizational effectiveness depends on his relations with the employees. With a good rapport and a friendly approach, the leader is almost certain of one hundred percent organizational effectiveness, or at least full cooperation on the part of the employees. This is what would determine the organizational effectiveness and hence need to be considered. In the long run, it is the ability to listen, build consensus, discipline, persuade and contain the employees that really counts.
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