All over the world, organizations are increasingly becoming more aware of the big connection that exists between organizational success and style of leadership and management. Maccoby (2000: 57) made an effort to give a distinction between managers and leaders. Maccoby argues that whilst managers are generally regarded as administrators and would take care of responsibilities that include developing plans, working out budgets and monitoring progress in the organization, leaders seek to ensure that the organization and its people transform for the benefit of the organization (Maccoby, 2000: 57).
To a greater extent, one may envision management as a function that must be carried out in the process of doing business unlike leadership that will pay more attention to relationships that may be either within or outside the organization (Maccoby, 2000: 57). Kotter (1990: 4) argued that with good management an organization will be able to produce products that are of high quality and profitable too but leadership on the other hand is a means to drive the organization forward. Nordstrom (2010: 8) presents a similar kind of reasoning and shows that leadership has a lot to do with stimulating people to freely take a particular course. Through interaction with followers, a leader is able to persuade individuals to take desirable actions for the good of the organization. Leadership may also be seen as a catalyst of change that involves motivating a group of people to perform in an extraordinary way (Nordstrom, 2010: 9).Kotter further explained that management processes are typically narrow and of a short term nature with very specific functions (1990: 4).
Despite leadership and management being looked at as being two separate concepts, it may be possible in some circumstances for a person to execute both leadership and management duties (Fairholm, 2001: 2). Looking at the responsibilities associated with each, others have referred to management as transactional leadership and leadership as transformational leadership (Fairholm, 2001: 2). Transformational leaders are regarded as people with a vision, and besides being innovative; they are able to work efficiently with others as they figure out how to restructure the organization. A transformational leader is also able to get followers to put their own interests aside to achieve a common goal for the organization (Nordstrom, 2010: 9). Fairholm also attempted to provide a difference between being and a leader and providing leadership (2001: 1). While the title leader may be given to an individual to show that he or she is in charge, leadership leans more towards being action oriented and it has nothing to do with the position that is held by the individual (Fairholm, 2001: 1).
Based on this argument, it is very possible to have an individual at any level in the organization providing leadership in a certain specific area that he or she may an expert. Fairholm also argues that unlike what is done by management, what is done by leadership can not be easily measured (Fairholm, 2001: 5). Using the British United Provident Association (BUPA) International as an example, this paper provides a discussion on organizational factors and the role they play to shape up the work environment. BUPA is a leading international organization in the health care sector with its headquarters in the United Kingdom (BUPA, 2011: 1). Although employees at BUPA are generally required to follow certain principles, the organization has created a healthy working environment that encourages employees to think and act freely. The organization also has a very strong culture that upholds dedication and strong work ethics. Even though at BUPA all employees work closely as members of one big team to achieve common organizational goals, every staff member is also allowed to pursue personal ambitions.
Aware of the importance of staff development, BUPA International offers support for any initiatives coming from the employees. The growth witnessed at BUPA International is the result of a strong focused leadership. This helps to nurture creativity within the organization.
Leadership Sub Processes
Any organization will require a very strong leadership structure to aid its growth. Without good leadership, the organization may keep oscillating around the same spot without any progression.
Kotter (1990: 35) identified three components of leadership; creating direction, alignment and motivating and inspiring. These are explained in the following sub sections.
Providing direction to a team in the organization is seen to be one of the major functions of both leadership and management although the approaches taken will be different (Kotter, 1990: 35). Under management, a direction will be set and then supported by elaborate plans, some code of conduct, execution strategies and effective policies that will help strengthen the organization. On the other hand, leadership will provide direction by means of a vision (Kotter, 1990: 35). In the case of BUPA International, the organization is united by a common vision that inspires honesty and hard work among the employee as they work towards delighting customers. Besides being guided by the vision management structures are also in place to provide direction to different departments in the organization.
Most modern organizations have a culture of interdependence that permits no single person to operate in isolation (Kotter, 1990: 49).
Employees often depend on each other through the Internet and any other appropriate means that may be available. Though this enhances the team spirit within the organization, it also introduces challenges to the leadership (Kotter, 1990: 49). The main concern here is to make sure that everyone in the organization is heading towards the same direction and that is where alignment comes in to give direction.
The managerial responsibility will require the creation of human operated systems to carry out the job tasks and management must ensure that there are employees present at different levels of the organizational structure to execute tasks that contribute to a bigger goal (Kotter, 1990: 49). Where employees are found to lack in certain skills required to do a job, training may be organized to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to for the job. BUPA International is one organization with so many employees spread out globally and the company knows quite well that its strength and success depend so much on how equipped and knowledgeable employees are to carry out job tasks.
Kotter also pointed out that the organization must have all employees well marched to their jobs (1990: 49). Management may also concern itself with issues of providing incentives to employees who perform exceedingly well in the course of executing their duties (Kotter, 1990: 49). From this discussion, it is turns out that the managerial approach to the alignment issue has to do with controlling people to make sure that they get to follow the direction that the organization wants them to go.
The management will have to ensure that structures are in place to provide the necessary direction, control how activities are carried out in the organization and point every single employee towards some common objective. The leadership approach to alignment will concentrate more on having a vision that is shared by all and a culture that characterizes the organization. To accomplish this, organizations may be forced to put in place rigid structures. With so many employees stationed at different geographical locations world wide, proper alignment is a must to give the direction that every single employee at BUPA International so as to ensure that standards are not compromised in any way.
Motivating and Inspiring
This is another very important leadership sub process and it focuses more on guiding people and ensuring that everyone moves in the same but more importantly, right direction. This is meant to happen despite the existence of various barriers that may be either of a political nature, bureaucratic or resulting from resource constraints (Kotter, 1990: 61). A good manager or leader understands perfectly the role that staff motivation plays in spurring the general growth of the organization and consequently, he or she will go an extra mile to ensure that all the employees are motivated. A team that is less motivated or not inspired may become a real nuisance to the organization and it certainly pays heavily when an organization dedicates some of its time to work out modalities of ensuring that all employees are motivated enough to perform their duties as expected and without being pushed around (Kotter, 1990: 61). BUPA International offers various incentives to its employees that include; an annual bonus of about 6% of ones salary, free medical examination after an employee has worked for six years continuously, recognizing employees performance and coming up with different initiatives to develop employees, greatly subsidized rates for car parking and free membership to a gymnasium (2011: 1).
BUPA International employees are also entitled to twenty five days of leave days and a pension reward scheme awaits them at the end of their service to the organization (BUPA, 2011: 1). Besides the above three sub processes, other sub processes that touch on both leadership and management are; Relationships whereby the manager’s central concern is the organization’s products and services while on the leadership end, the leader will think more about people than whatever output is being generated by the processes in the organization. The leader’s main worry here is how best to lead his followers to greater success both for their own sake and for the sake of the organization. The qualities of an individual are equally vital and on the management side of business, a manager will deal with issues affecting people by looking at the kind of information flying around the organization.
There is no link that exists between employee issues and their emotions. Unlike managers, however, leaders are more in touch with the emotions of the employees and more often than not, they will have an emotional attachment to staff. Leaders are people who understand themselves and know their strengths and weaknesses quite well. They are also responsible for creating an environment that will foster innovation and creativity among the employees.
The other sub process has to do with the type of outcomes that are expected from managers as well as from leaders. The outcomes of a management system within the organization will be directly linked to the key objectives set by the senior management in the organization. As pointed out elsewhere in this paper, managers will formulate the track that the organization needs to follow as it pursues various objectives while moving forward. Usually, the objectives that are stipulated by the managers are often clear and properly designed. Under leadership, the outcomes will usually come as surprises and often, not well defined. BUPA International has in place several mechanisms to help employees work without holding back. Employees are well respected and the senior management tries as much as can be possible to understand the needs of these employees and provide a healthy working environment. Being an international organization, employees at BUPA also get to enjoy working away from home and this is real fun for those who love traveling and adventure.
Principles that Ensure Effective Leadership and Management
According to Fairholm (2001: 3), it does not really matter what structure of leadership or management an organization follows. Four concepts have been identified that apparently, should provide a guide to how effectively leadership and management should be applied so as to benefit the organization (Fairholm, 2001: 3). These four beliefs are stated as values, vision, vector and voice. Vision and value are meant to influence how individuals in the organization will see things and how they will behave in different situations.
To be able to inspire followers, it is very important for the leadership to understand their beliefs and values (Fairholm, 2001: 4).
A vision expresses so much about an organization in very few words. It shows what the organization really stands for cares about and why it strives to do what it does. It has away of helping the organization to tap into what actually encourages individuals in the organization to want to take action (Fairholm, 2001: 4). BUPA International has a great vision that is meant to provide inspiration to its employees at all levels across the globe.
The vision clearly states that BUPA cares so much about the health of people and the does all it can to ensure that all employees work towards this common goal. BUPA’s vision is applicable to both customers and employees with equally consideration.
The values that are held by individuals are known to greatly influence their opinions as well as behaviour. Based on this statement, one can conclude that both vision and values will have the same impact on employees (Fairholm, 2001: 4).
A good understanding of what individuals place value on will be very helpful for a leader seeking to spur them towards greater performance. Just as the leader takes time to learn values and beliefs of his or her followers, the followers also get to do the same as they try to understand who their leader really is. Employees will listen to the leader and take time to observe his actions (Fairholm, 2001: 4).
Vector, also commonly known as mission gives the direction that the organization is meant to be moving in. As the organization strategizes to grow, the mission gives direction for day to day operations while ensuring that the organization does not lose a sense of where it is going. The mission also stipulates what an organization does that differentiates it from all the rest (Fairholm, 2001: 5). BUPA International has a clear focus that provides a good basis to formulate its success path.
Voice is concerned with making leadership relationships work for the organization.
It creates an environment where everyone feels empowered and free to take part in shaping the future of the organization (Fairholm, 2001: 6). Fairholm pointed out three ways through which the activities of leadership get shaped by voice (2001: 6). Through the voice component a leader is able to clearly communicate important issues about the organization such as its purpose and the direction it intends to take. The main responsibility of the leader is to mobilize followers to accept, adopt and be willing to participate in different activities (Fairholm, 2001: 6). The voice factor creates a way for the leader to be aware of the contributions of followers as they are presented with an opportunity to make their ideas known to the leadership.
Voice also clarifies the fact that leading and following are two activities that are done voluntarily. It is important for both leaders and followers to have the freedom to make a choice to either lead or follow (Fairholm, 2001: 6). Even though people may get a chance to choose who will lead them, they rarely are presented with opportunities to choose who will manage them.
Fairholm also pointed out that for any organization to succeed, the place of voice in leadership must be well understood and its strength must be respected (2001: 6). As state earlier, BUPA International knows that its strength is found in its employees and as such the organization has a very strong culture that places so much value on the employees. Great benefits are in place to reward them and the organization also provides enough support to staff to ensure that everyone is happy and able to work as expected.
Factors that Influence Organizational Performance
Organizational factors are those factors that are associated with an organization and to a very large extent determine the success or failure of the organization.
According to Mazin (2011: 1), these factors may be personal, related to the company or they may be external. If the factors are well understood, the recruitment exercise will be greatly enhanced, employee retention level will go up and the general performance of the organization will get better (Mazin, 2011: 1). Mazin identifies several issues that will greatly influence the performance of an organization (2011: 1). The following are some factors that may be linked to different organizations:
In the process of recruiting, it is important for the staffing team to ensure that a job is given to the person with the right skills.
This will make it possible for the employees to discharge their duties with little or no stress at all. Consequently, staff morale will increase and this will be of great benefit to the entire organization. Matching an employee to the wrong job is a big mistake that will certainly lead to poor performance (Mazin, 2011: 1). BUPA International has a graduate recruitment plan that enables the organization to absorb graduates from different disciplines and these are placed in appropriate departments based on their qualifications. With time, they grow to form part of the most valuable resource to BUPA International.
Training and Development
Even though an organization will employ an individual based on the skills and sometimes experience possessed, most organizations will usually expose employees to some form of training to ensure that they fit in properly. This is usually done to enable the new employees to learn certain functionalities that are specific to the organization. Requiring that new employees figure out things on their own will only serve to slow down operations in the organization (Mazin, 2011: 1). The training system at BUPA International makes it possible for the organization to get young, energetic and very ambitious graduates to join its team of professionals and through the training system they rise to become useful in different fields. BUPA continuously provides opportunities for employees to acquire new skills and grow in their career to serve the organization at much higher levels.
Having Unambiguous Goals and Expectations
More often than not, employees get so stressed when they are not clear on what the organization expects from them.
When goals and expectations are not clearly stipulated, it is very easy to come by numerous conflicts within the organization. With clearly stated targets and results, it becomes quite easy check progress at different stages and adjustments can then be made to correct any anomalies that are detected. Without clarity on these two, an organization may end up spending too much time pursuing things that are not important at all (Mazin, 2011: 1). This may probably be dealt with by providing clear vision and mission statements. In the case of BUPA International, the vision statement gives helps the employees to understand what is expected from them but this is further reinforced by departmental goals. As employees go about their business, they are motivated by the vision and mission statements to make sure that they do not deviate from what is expected.
Having the Right Tools and Equipment
Making employees to use substandard equipment to carry out their job tasks can really dampen their efforts. Every employee must therefore be provided with the correct tools and equipment to enable them to perform in their jobs effectively (Mazin, 2011: 1).
BUPA International understands that employees need to be made happy to perform well in their jobs and part of this is accomplished by ensuring that all employees are supplied with whatever they need to do their jobs. Obviously, the motivation here is to make sure that customers receive quality services and in the end, the company gets to benefit as well.
Culture and Morale Boosting
The culture factor in the organization also has a great effect on the performance of the employees. While some organizations will have rigid structures, others prefer to be more flexible and accommodating. Many times, employees will tend to favor organizations offering flexible work environment (Mazin, 2011: 1). Many modern organizations recognize that employees have a social life and go on to provide an enabling environment that lets employees function with no guilt. Organizations will also strive to boost the morale of staff through incentives (Mazin, 2011: 1).
With an international presence, BUPA International is able to meet the needs of its employees by creating a flexible work environment. Although all the employees are entitled to incentives from time to time, outstanding employees are given greater support to undergo specialized trainings that eventually allow them to get promoted o higher ranks.
There are certainly numerous factors that determine how far an organization can go. Although there are common ones that may appear in every organization, variations may be seen from one organization to another. Nevertheless, it is important for every organization to pay careful attentions to these factors as neglecting them may lead to poor performance.
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