Defining The Challenges Faced In Leadership Business Essay Example
Defining The Challenges Faced In Leadership Business Essay Example

Defining The Challenges Faced In Leadership Business Essay Example

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  • Pages: 10 (2696 words)
  • Published: September 14, 2017
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Over the years, leadership has been the main focus for many faculty members and has been extensively discussed in numerous books, resulting in various definitions. Some perceive it as a combination of characteristics or qualities, while others view it as specific skill sets. There are also those who consider it as a process that emphasizes social interaction and relationships with others. However, research shows that solely relying on traits is not enough for effective business leadership; they are merely an initial requirement.

Leadership involves possessing the necessary traits and taking certain actions to achieve success. However, leadership is evolving from controlling and commanding employees towards a more process-oriented approach. According to Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991, p48), leadership defines the desired future, aligns people with that vision, and motivates them to overcome obstacles. As the pace of change intensifies in the 21st cent


ury, organizations face increased pressure to respond quickly to change and require leadership as the driving force. The essence of leadership has been a subject of discussion since Peter Drucker's work in 1954, but it is evidently a complex process. Thus, leadership holds extreme importance.

Indeed there is no substitute for it '' . '' (Drucker, 1954, p158)

Leadership V Management

A differentiation must be made between the footings leading and direction - footings which are frequently interchangeable, but administrations need to recognize that they are two distinguishable and complimentary actions, both of which are necessary for successful administrations. One cardinal differentiation is that we manage 'things'; assets, procedures, systems, and we lead people; clients spouses, squads or administrations. "Leadership is different from direction, and the primary force behind successful alteration of any significance is the former, no

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the latter.

According to Kotter (1999, p6), successful leaders create a vision and strategy. They establish strong connections with individuals both inside and outside the organization, and utilize these relationships to communicate and implement their vision. As a result, they inspire others to achieve a shared objective. Effective leaders are able to bring out the best in others, regardless of their position within the organization, by influencing them to prioritize the organizational goal over personal interests.

According to Mintzberg (1998), the director's role can be defined as a set of behaviors associated with a position. While a director may allocate resources, plan, and set deadlines, a leader establishes direction and vision. A director may coordinate staff and develop procedures, while a leader creates innovative teams aligned with the organization's vision. A director solves problems and tracks plans at a local level, whereas a leader motivates people and offers support to overcome obstacles through long-term relationships. A director keeps the team on track through consistency and predictability, while a leader brings about positive organizational change when necessary.

Case Study 1- Xerox

Xerox, a global brand, faced near bankruptcy in 2000 due to its inability to accomplish tasks. However, it was revived through the inspiring and honest leadership of Anne Mulcahy. Upon her appointment, it became evident that the company had lost its focus and was no longer attentive to its loyal customers.

Xerox was going through a crisis. The turnaround initiated by Mulcahy resulted in the company transforming itself to become more agile and adaptable in response to its clients' demands. As a long-time employee of Xerox, Mulcahy utilized her familiarity with the company and its managers to personally select a

new leadership team. This team implemented changes that refocused the company on its customers. Mulcahy and her team created an inspiring identity for Xerox, and their drive and optimism convinced others at all levels of the organization that the turnaround was possible. Mulcahy demonstrated her care for the company and its employees by personally meeting with and apologizing to the additional employees affected by the closure of a part of the Xerox business, while also explaining her decision.

Despite having to make a difficult decision, she executed it with dignity and respect for those affected. She improved communication within the organization and actively listened to employees, motivating others to fully commit to the company's turnaround. Ultimately, the vision of success and hard work saved the company, while also valuing the employees who had lost their jobs. This brought stability and set the company on a path for long-term growth.


The primary way in which the administration is run can have a significant impact on its success. The leadership style encompasses the mix of qualities, attributes, accomplishments, and behaviors that leaders employ as they interact with individuals, with behavior being the most crucial component. Whether authoritative or democratic, the ultimate goal should be to create equilibrium between the task, the team, and the individual - as defined in John Adair's team leadership model. Effective leaders will adjust their style to a specific situation or to the audience they are addressing in order to achieve this balance.

The text discusses the importance of achieving a common undertaking and how it can create a sense of integrity and accomplishment. It suggests that having a good squad

increases the likelihood of achieving the task and meeting societal demands at a deeper level. Success reinforces the willingness of followers or squad members to fulfill their roles and be led. (Adair, 2006, p27)

Effective Leaderships

In the past 30 years, there has been an increased focus on studying effective leaders due to their importance in modern organizations. Various theories have been developed to explain how leaders operate. One such theory is the concept of 'situational leading' proposed by Hersey and Blanchard. This theory suggests that leaders adapt their leadership style based on the situation they are in, providing different levels of direction and support to their team.

It suggests that there is no one better way of leading and that leaders must be more effective when they recognize the appropriate style for the group they want to influence. A leader's behavior is a reflection of their values and core nature. By behaving positively and constructively, leaders can gain respect and form strong connections with their team, regardless of their position in the organization. Leaders should focus on their behavior because it determines their reputation and good name, regardless of their personal qualities. Academic research in this area indicates that leaders should learn to speak and act in ways that reflect qualities such as bravery, caring, self-control, and optimism.

"In a ethical society, the environment plays multiple roles:

  • It supports the growth of organizational, human, and information capital.
  • It ensures that all relationships are conducted with honesty.
  • It fosters a sense of pride, intention, and continuity in the organization's goals." (Bellingham, 2003,


Effective leaders need to lead by example rather than just telling others what to do. Most people can recognize when certain behaviors need to change and will take action accordingly. Leaders in organizations should approach change by modifying behaviors over time instead of expecting immediate change. Consistency is crucial as the reputation of both the leader and the organization is built on their behavior over time. When leaders consistently exhibit strong character traits, it leads to greater respect, trust, and stronger emotional connections with employees.

"Leader character and unity are crucial components of ethical leadership because they are personal traits that impact the decisions and actions made by leaders and how they utilize their social influence." (Mobey, 2009, p116)

Case Study 2 - Chrysler

The American economy of the 1980s faced the threat of recession as US companies grappled with maintaining competitiveness in the global market. A new style of leadership was required, one that would establish a new vision and gradually transform the organization. Chrysler Corporation exemplified this transformational leadership under the guidance of CEO Lee Iococca. During the late 1970s, he successfully steered the company away from the brink of bankruptcy to profitability through substantial changes in processes, policies, and management structure. These changes were necessary for the company's survival but faced some resistance from employees within the organization.

Resistance in footings of a fright of alteration, a political opposition in footings of an admittance that the demand for alteration was an indictment on the old leading. Transformational leading was the key to get the better ofing that opposition. Iococca embraced the ideals of quality, excellence and authorization and therefore successfully guided the

company through the troublesome early 80 's, a clip of economic and societal alteration. He created a vision for the company, instilled that vision in his employees and transformed that vision into world.

Contemporary Approach

Contemporary attacks to leading in the twenty-first century have moved on from Druckers 's first attack and every bit good as concentrating on the ethical they look at the transformational versus transactional attack ; reliable leading and strategic leading.

Transformational v Transactional Leadership

Transformational leaders accomplish invention, creativeness and alteration by recognizing the employees demands and by assisting them to look at old jobs in new ways and by back uping them and promoting them to dispute the current norms.

Transformational leaders have the ability to inspire their teams to make significant changes within the organization. On the other hand, transactional leaders excel at managing tasks and prioritize the objective aspects of the team's performance, such as schedules and budgets. While they are committed to achieving organizational goals, they are not as effective in leading change. However, transformational leadership skills can be acquired and are not solely dependent on inherent personality traits. By focusing on intangible qualities like shared values and vision, leaders can find common ground to engage employees during the change process. Transformational leaders are typically emotionally stable and actively engaged with their surroundings, displaying a strong ability to recognize and understand others' emotions. These leaders achieve change by building networks of positive relationships (Daft & Lane, 2009, p. 424).

Authentic leadership is a form of transformational leadership that acknowledges the success of leaders in mastering their external environment and delivering improved results for the organization.

Successful leaders go beyond simply being effective.

Leadership is not just a task, but a reflection of one's true self. It is an honest expression that adds value. We require genuine leaders who embody the utmost integrity and are dedicated to building enduring organizations. We need leaders with a profound sense of purpose and unwavering commitment to their core values.

According to George (2003, p5), effective leaders should expand their competencies beyond achieving results to adding value to the organization through cooperation. Authentic leaders are aware of their strengths and strive to enhance their skill set. They allow their core values to shape their decision making, act with integrity, build trust with others, and remain composed in emotional situations. The authentic leadership model focuses on the unique identity of each leader, unlike other trait and strengths-based leadership models that only define what an effective leader looks like and does. In times of change where everyone is expected to step up and lead, this becomes increasingly important as traditional leader-follower models become less relevant.

Strategic Leadership

The importance of strategy in organizations is often emphasized, but for long-term success during difficult times, it is necessary to move away from setting long-term goals and adopt an ongoing process of change.

The role of a strategic leader is to move the organization forward so that it can thrive in the long run. "Strategic Leadership includes activities such as establishing a clear vision, maintaining a culture that aligns a set of values with that vision, and declaring 'must-do' activities or strategic imperatives that the organization needs to accomplish." (Blanchard, 2009, p267). Effective strategic leadership requires different skills and perspectives from those required by day-to-day operational leadership.

Strategic determinations have a wide

impact beyond a leader's own functional area, making it important for effective leaders to see the administration as interdependent. This means considering the potential impact on other countries within the organization. Operational leaders, on the other hand, do not have to consider this level of influence. According to Adair (2007, p74), a strategic leader should have experience in multiple functional areas of the business. They must also have a future-focused mindset and operate on a long-term timeline. Strategic leaders need to be open to change, as they often drive organizational transformation that affects the entire administration.

It is important to recognize that strategic leadership can come from any function or level within the organization. It is not just the responsibility of senior executives. Frontline staff are uniquely positioned to observe trends and detect concerns in the environment and make sense of the information. This type of leadership is most effective when combined with information from the top of the organization. Good strategic leaders also encourage strategic leadership in others, focusing on others as much, if not more, than themselves. The process of creating and maintaining competitive advantage is too complex for one person to handle.

"A key point to remember about strategic leadership is that in most organizations, the role is too large for one person to handle alone. Effective delegation is necessary." (Adair, 2007, p66)

Case Study 3 - Marks & Spencer

The resurgence of Marks & Spencer on the high street has been one of the greatest success stories in British retail over the past decade. The brand and company were experiencing stagnation and declining sales, requiring action to be taken. Stuart Rose was appointed as CEO

with the task of revitalizing the once prestigious British institution.

The attempt to make changes started with recognizing the urgent need for alteration. The person in charge acknowledged that the company was in a critical state during his assignment. Rise realized that decision making was happening without proper authorization, basic tasks like inventory management were not being done effectively, and most importantly, customers were being drawn to competitors. To address these issues, Rise brought in his own team of trusted individuals whom he had previously worked with. With his core team by his side, the process of change began. Everything Rise did was based on the theories of John Kotter. Instead of relying on advisors, Rise developed a mantra, which he refused to label as a strategy because it sounded complicated. This mantra was an appealing vision for the company, expressed as a simple and memorable statement that outlined what needed to be done. It could easily be communicated to all staff members and was specific enough to guide their efforts in the right areas.

Jarret (2009, p59) stated that the founder of the company provided his employees with a straightforward and precise vision: "Improve the merchandise, better the shops and better the service". Rose, the founder, implemented cost-cutting measures and strategies to increase revenues. He simplified the supply chain and reduced the number of products, while also lowering prices to enhance competitiveness. The founder effectively communicated his mantra not only to the employees but also by reemphasizing the company's core values, thereby successfully reaching out to customers.

All shops were designed to create an environment where people felt satisfied with the higher prices they were being asked

to pay for the quality of the products. The change was implemented throughout the company - each staff member received training on teamwork and customer service and also had the opportunity to participate in operational meetings. Performance-based incentive structures were put in place and career paths were redefined. These examples align with Kotter's model of change management, but the key was providing a clear and unified message that committed M ; A ; S to a new direction - Rose made sure that success was celebrated, gains were consolidated, and new goals and targets were set to propel the company forward with the now institutionalized changes into the new culture.


It is abundantly clear that exceptional leaders inspire their employees to excel, and their success relies on how they ignite passion in their staff.

Implementing a program to identify and nurture leaders within organizations, as demonstrated in the case studies presented in this assignment, allows them to navigate difficult times and embark on the necessary change journey for growth and success. Leaders possess a hidden skill that administrations need to acknowledge: the ability to emotionally influence everything discussed above. The way leaders conduct themselves and handle their relationships significantly impacts the administration's success.

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