Leaders Can Effectively Manage Change in an Organization
It has often been said that a manager is what one does and a leader is who one is. The differences between management and leadership transcend difference sin perception of how an organization and emanate from how a management professional chooses to gain support and cooperation in the attainment of objectives. Managers often are given the task of maintaining the status quo and minimizing variation in performance over time. Leaders are by definition the visionaries of an organization that set a compelling long-term goal or objective and then orchestrate an enterprise to their achievement. Implicit in this definition of a leader is also the ability to discern strategies issues, opportunities and risks, and also clearly communicate an organizations' strategy to the departmental or work unit level. Most of all, a leader can infuse any organization with a strong sense of purpose, energy and enthusiasm for the vision, so much so that they often show they are more than willing to sacrifice in its attainment.
All of the factors may sound exceptionally challenging to attain, yet the best leaders also have an exceptional level of humility and honesty with their subordinates and peers, which further adds to their credibility. The currency the best leaders trade in is trust (Douglas, Zivnuska, 2008). To get the most possible they must strive to be continually authentic, transparent and willing to be very clear about the progress towards objectives and the overarching vision they're committed to. Managers can often rely on their situational, referent or position power defined only by the structural aspects of the organization they are part of. Not so for a leader; they must continually earn trust and grow it if they are to succeed in defining and achieving the overarching vision of their organizations (Douglas, Zivnuska, 2008). The most effective leaders also have the ability to sacrifice continually for the pursuit of a challenging vision, not as martyrs for the cause but as a means to underscore their exceptional level of commitment to the plan or objective. In addition to addressing the visionary aspects of leadership in this analysis, defining transformational leadership and showing how critical it is for Emotional Intelligence (EI) to be engrained in its continual maturation is critical (Cheung, Wong, 2011). The ability of a leader to sustain and continually grow support for a challenging or even controversial vision is a direct result of how well they are managing the transformational aspects of leadership in conjunction with their innate and learned aspects of Emotional Intelligence (EI) (Cavazotte, Moreno, Hickmann, 2012). Empirical studies of leadership indicate that when a strong foundation of transformational leadership is built on using EI strategies and situational intelligence, entire teams are more likely to attain their most challenging goals (Cavazotte, Moreno, Hickmann, 2012). This is because the combining of transformational leadership skills and EI requires an intensive level of cross-functional team building and support. This is critically important for creating a highly effective change management strategy an organization can believe in, and invest their valuable time and resources to achieve. For the transformational leader the challenge then is to continually seek new approaches to growing their EI skill set in the context of cross-functional leadership (Cheung, Wong, 2011). Exceptional leaders are able to combine all of these factors and lead organizations to great results.
Why Leadership Is Critical For Organizational Progress
Of the myriad of factors that can determine the success or failure of an enterprise, leadership is by far the most critical as it acts as a galvanizing across every department, division and employee in an organization. Being able to successfully navigate the myriad of distractions, threats and economic turbulence requires a leader who can quickly interpret conditions and react accordingly. Excellent leaders are able to rely on a strong foundation of EI and create a shared sense of accountability and results, energizing their teams to attain more than a typical manager would be able to (Purvanova, Bono, 2009). It's because these leaders have the ability to not only equip their teams with the tactile, physical elements they need, they give them confidence and a strong sense of ownership when it comes to results as well.
Theorists Winston and Patterson (2006) have stated in their research that a leader "selects, equips, trains, and influences one or more follower(s) who have diverse gifts, abilities, and skills and focuses the follower(s) to the organization's mission and objectives causing the follower(s) to willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and physical energy in a concerted coordinated effort to achieve the organizational mission and objectives." The theorists have added that leaders also are capable of defining challenging visions and objectives for their organizations while also ensuring that they are designed to allow for everyone to have a sense of ownership and contribution to their attainment. This is a critically important of building a strong leadership foundation as it concentrates on creating a strong sense of purpose with every person on the team. The best leaders also have the ability to create a highly effective paradigm of mastery and autonomy in the context of their vision for an organization and the roadmap they produce to guide the organization to its fulfillment. What these leaders do is combine autonomy, mastery and purpose into a framework that leads to exceptional commitment on the part of employees who internalize the goals they need to achieve. This puts the vision's goals and their own in perfect alignment and leads to a passion fro performance that cannot be enforced from outside; it must emanate from who an employee is. Great leaders use EI skills to understand how best to use autonomy, mastery and purpose to fuel employees and entire teams to challenging goals and objectives, despite challenging odds and difficult economic conditions. Steve Jobs and the birth of Apple Computer is a case in point as is the turn-around of General Electric under Jack Welch. These leaders combined EI skills and the ability to drive autonomy, mastery and purpose deep into their organizations while defining a compelling vision that drives rapid change.
The four attributes of transformational leadership include individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealized influence. These four aspects of transformational leadership are unified together by a leader's EI skills and ability to also manage and lead cross-functional teams effectively. What EI skills also provide leaders in this regard is the ability to situationally assess which of these four aspects of transformational leadership skills are most appropriate for a given situation and subordinate. Excellent leaders balance each of these across their teams, ensuring the motivating aspects of a vision and most importantly, the individual contributions of team members deliver results. The orchestration of these factors is what separates a transformational leader from a manager, as the latter would be more focused purely on the aspects of managing to reduce variance in operations while ensuring the status quo (Purvanova, Bono, 2009).
Individualized consideration, the first of four factors integral to transformational leadership, are exemplified by empathy, continual support and the willingness to keep communication open with subordinates from across the entire organization. Excellent leaders have the ability to manage expectations and keep communication lines open while infusing a strong sense of vision ownership and purpose with very member of a team, regardless of their title or location on an organization chart. The need for creating a high level of intrinsic motivation is key for any challenging vision to be accomplished; transformational leaders are adept at infusing individualized consideration into every interaction to ensure continued belief in and support for their vision. This is the aspect of leadership that also concentrates on creating a very broad base of support for the initiative or vision they are attempting to lead their organizations to achieve. The founders of Hewlett-Packard were able to transform their start-up into a formidable engineering company by using this technique of individualized consideration to gain insight and recommendations from their best designers. Both founders chose to create a highly egalitarian corporate culture that gave each employee a highly individualized level of consideration of their new product ideas and recommendations for new products. More recently Google has also initiated this type approach to ensuring a high degree of individualized consideration with its Rule of 20% (Machlis, 2009). This has also allowed Google to generate a much higher level of task ownership and further fueled autonomy, mastery and purpose throughout its workforce. These three factors have consistently proven to be essential for leading to long-term motivation. Google's Rule of 20% is today responsible for 57% of revenues, a strong testament of the value of this type of program for initiating and continually strengthening individualized consideration (Machlis, 2009). The second factor essential to transformational leadership is intellectual stimulation. This refers to the ability of leaders to encourage and continually encourage creativity and continually support learning efforts on the part of employees. This is also a critical factor in ensuring long-term motivation to continually learn and…