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Indeed, without these legitimacy criteria, a leader would not be able to influence followers to either change or progress towards organizational goals: "The acceptance of leadership from another person involves an implicit contract in which followers sacrifice some level of personal autonomy and pledge loyalty and effort to the leader.... The followers must be sure that the leader has the competency to lead effectively and the trustworthiness and loyalty to the group and its goals to lead in the direction promised." (Chemers, 1997, p. 153) Since the focus of management is to build power, the nature of the image that ensues will perforce differ from that of leadership.
It is evident, by the discussion so far, that relationship building, image management, and inspiring confidence are essential parts of the leadership phenomenon. However, it must be noted that ultimately performance and productivity are the goals of effective leadership. Therefore, it is critical for leaders to be able to take hard decisions at times with regards to the strategic harnessing of group resources, especially in situations of extreme environmental pressures. Indeed, it is this aspect of leadership that forms the basis of contingency leadership theory, which emphasizes on the degree of follower participation that is allowed in a leader's strategies for processing information, making decisions, and executing plans (Chemers, 1997, p. 160-161). The difference here, however, between leaders and managers restricting follower participation is one of motivation. Leadership may be compelled to restrict follower participation owing to exigencies of a given situation whereas, management is often motivated to do so as a form of power play.
Thus, there are several important distinctions between leadership and management, stemming from a difference in perspective. These distinctions can be summed up as a leader innovates, a manager administers; a leader develops, a manager maintains; a leader relies on people; a manager relies on systems; a leader counts on trust, a manager counts on control (Harris, cited Bennis, 1993, p. 374). In the final analysis, however, perhaps it is important to note that because a leader controls the resources, the communication opportunities, and the goal-setting mechanisms, their behaviors have a critical impact on organizational behavior and performance. In effect, this means that a vital, and perhaps most important, aspect of leadership role responsibility lies in the creation and maintenance of a healthy organizational culture.
If leadership is to succeed in building a healthy organizational culture, it needs to pay careful attention to the development and implementation of a company's vision, philosophy and goals because these key factors serve as the foundation for organizational behavior. An organization's philosophy and values, for instance, determines behavior such as adherence to ethical standards and the upholding of performance excellence. Similarly, goals in the area of employee development and empowerment influence the efficacy of communication, group dynamics, and employee motivation. In effect, an organization's vision, philosophy and goals will determine not just strategic direction but also, as Martin Bower pointed out, the way things are done (Harris, 1993, p. 64). Indeed, the important role that corporate vision and philosophy plays is evident in the Southwest success story. Southwest's vision and philosophy is reflected in every aspect of the airline's business, be it recruitment, group dynamics, or customer service. As a result, Southwest is truly able to deliver on its promise of the lowest fares and a fun flying experience.
Operational policies and procedures are another important element in building a healthy organizational culture since these can create and sustain a system of beliefs for knowing and managing organizational experience (Harris, 1993, p. 64). Very rigid operational policies and procedures can, for instance, stifle employee initiative. Therefore, these should be developed bearing in mind the principles of employee empowerment. Marriott Hotels, for example, empowers its employees to spend $10 at their discretion to satisfy guests. In one such case, a guest complained about not finding a particular book in the hotel gift shop and the cashier, at the end of her shift, walked to a local bookstore and purchased the book with the $10 she was allowed. Naturally, the guest became a confirmed Marriott customer for life. Such an incident demonstrates empowerment and also shows how leadership becomes a matter of doing the right thing at the right time (Harris, 1993, p. 373-374).
Chemers, M.M. (1997). An…[continue]
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