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The two most important things I learned in this class focus on the flip side of leadership and management – followership. Most people think that being a leader or manager is the place they want to be. Most of us end up being followers of one type or another regardless of where we sit in the organization’s food chain or hierarchy. There are very few seats for people at the top of most organizational structures. The organizational view looks different when you are a follower looking up at those more senior to you and around at your peer group. Often people are a hybrid worker, for example, a mid-level manager with their own followers as well as occupying a follower role relative to their own boss.
First important learning point: Followers often get the short end of the stick in the leader-follower model and are viewed as the less important part of the equation. As I discovered in my research paper investigations, followers in organizations also get the short end of the stick when it comes to the number of research studies looking at followership rather than leadership. In contrast, Bufalino (2018a) views leaders and followers as co-producers of leadership in an organization. Two recent follower roles I have occupied are as a project manager with my project team and as a part-time nonprofit volunteer worker in my local women’s club.
Second important learning point: Organizational leadership, organizational followership, and organizational success are linked and interdependent variables in all organizations. I believe that organizational success requires active participation from both the leaders and the followers in order to happen. My favorite quote from my research paper work came from Alwazzan (2017) who stated “leadership does not occur if followership does not follow” (p. 560). Followers should not be viewed as the less important part of the leadership equation. They are an essential component and we need to recognize that, adjusting our leadership and followership styles accordingly in our own workplace.
As an independent consultant, being able to fit in and thrive in an organization is essential. My projects require a project manager who can “go with the flow” when it comes to organizational structure and politics in order to get things done. The leader-follower view with equal emphasis on the followers strengthens my ability to get things done by making me look at and learn the organization more spherically versus just looking higher in the food chain. I am looking forward to seeing how this new perspective changes my approach on my next client engagement. My guess is there are many stakeholders in the follower category I do not value enough or even recognize. I plan to change the equation a bit the next time around.
The most important or relevant things learned about management theory in this class include but are not limited to: The role of leaders in ensuring organizational effectiveness, learning organizations, and manager’s challenges in the organization. The leader who exercises power with honor will work from the inside out, starting with himself — the biggest mistakes a leader can make in the organization and the crucial skill for tomorrow’s leaders.
In the past, the assumption was effective leadership centered on developing skills such as business analysis, financial literacy, planning, process improvement, systems thinking, workflow management, and later learned how to improve leadership effectiveness. These skills are crucial for leaders to get results but are not adequate to involve followership. But today, leaders’ emotional traits such as creativity, empathy, humility, and intuition bring about the shift in the understanding of what makes leaders effective ((Robins, & Judge, 2017).
An organization to have the maximum achievement, new skills must replace old skills as information age will not be enough to survive and thrive in the current conceptual age. The leader’s strength should be able to demonstrate creativity, intuition, humility, and emotional intelligence to be an effective leader. The leader brings about change, which has to do with stability and getting things done in the organization and knowing that difference is central to everything effective leaders do in an organization (Freifeld, & Desmidt, 2013).
The four-step change model constructive how change comes to aware of the situation that needs to be addressed. Adopts new thinking, mindsets, beliefs, and adapt behavior to achieve the desired outcomes of the organization. The leadership is principle-centered that assist others in following enable organizational strength to achieve desired goals and objectives. I learned through the leadership model that learning about leadership starts with learning about oneself, and as being said, the instrument of leadership is self and the mastery of the person ( Sharma, 2017).
To develop a level of awareness involves one to values self, add strength. Emotional intelligence, learning new knowledge and skills, and thinking using the entire brain. However, to that effect, failure to live values is not a setback; it is a real failure.
The learning organization: Leadership as a reciprocal process in which individuals’ motives and values in the context of competition and conflict encourage the individual to realize desired goals held by leaders and followers independently and mutually in the organization (Burkett, 2017). These concepts are relevant in daily activities reference to increase the complexity and uncertainty of the organizational environment in which organizations leaning may be the only sustainable source of competitive advantage. The concept of learning organization recognizes roles for leaders in the traditional organization. The leaders are responsible for building an organization that expands strength to understand complexity, vision, and improve shared mental models for learning in the organization (Freifeld, & Desmidt, 2013).
The learning organization includes system thinking (collaborative learning culture), personal mastery, mental models, building shared vision and team learning ( Satyendra, 2014). Team learning or knowledge sharing for the entire organization come together as a team to achieve common goals by collaboration and build a shared vision of the organization. Learning organization promotes and rewards collective learning that benefits to maintain innovation and competitive better place to respond to pressures. Knowledge to link resources to individual needs, improve the quality of outputs and corporate image, and increase the pace of change in the organization (Burkett, 2017).
Leader as designer creates a common vision with shared values and purpose, determine the policies, strategies, and structures to transform new ideas into a business decision, create active learning to allow continuous improvement of the policies, procedures, and structures of the organization ( Hester, 2013). Leader as a teacher coaches’ tasks with mental models to understand the concepts of reality and restructure views that see beyond the superficial conditions and events of underlying causes of the issues. Leader as steward stress the attitudes of the leader as a vital part of a more significant thing who believe not to lead. But build a more exceptional organization and reshape the business operation of the organization (Sharma, 2017).
Inspire a shared vision that would sustain growth and competitive advantage over others and encourage individual employees to share the view of the organization. Motivate and influence the team members and individuals or group to promote the image of the organization through a commitment to achieve the desired goals.
The leader set examples for the team, group, and individual to see and follow to bring the desired goals to fulfillment. And communicate verbally and non-verbally to the side and individual, express thought and feeling as well as be a good listener. They forecast the future and attempt to take the bold step to ensure the stability and consistency to move the organization and the subordinate forward to achieve the desired goals in the organization (Sharma, 2017).
The manager engages in thinking and managing of the organization-as-person where head thinks, and the hands and an employee being hired hands. And build a collaborative organizational culture and team environment that makes the line between management and employees for close interaction. They develop organization objectives and strategies to achieve desired objectives such as strategic planning meetings, short- and long-term framework for the different section of the organization. Motivate employees to work towards the organization goals and objectives and coaching and training to increase the performance objectives of employees at all arms of the organization (Gragnon, 2012).
They inspire and motivate employees toward organization vision, develop communication with employees. And in return, employees assist the manager with a tangible concept of earning a profit to create high-quality products and services. Managers keep employees to commit to working through formal meetings, email newsletters, and official conversions that create unity in the pursuit of the organization vision (Robins, & Judge, 2017).
The managers are responsible for developing and reviewing organizational structure, improving efficiency and production, create an organization chart, reports vertical and horizontal relationships within the organization. Motivate employees through performance management, positive management thinking, and develop employees as assets. Managers are responsible for hiring and staffing, training new employees, deals with performance problems and terminations, support problem resolution, and decision-making. They are responsible for translating corporate goals into functional and individual objectives, monitor and control expenses and budgets (Robins, & Judge, 2017).
There were many topics that were compelling and relevant to me this term in our class. Looking at organizations, managers and leaders from multiple points of view got the class off to a great start. Topics that resonated with me included the multigenerational workplace, impacts of technology on leading and managing, formal versus informal leadership, and the giving and receiving of orders at work. This is just a small subset of everything we covered during the term! Looking at essential leadership skills from multiple points of view really captured my interest.
Today’s multigenerational workplace is way more interesting and diverse than where I started working during my college internship way back when. Multiple generations and emerging technologies bring many challenges to organizations, their people and the work needing to be done. According to Kruse (2015), each generational group in an organization possesses different workplace traits when it comes to work style preferences, use of technology and communication methods. Maximizing the value of the generations and managing all generations well is where some of the classical organizational theories we looked at during the term require revisions and changes.
Spending time with the directive side of managing people offered much to think about. Effective leaders and managers need to fine tune their interpersonal skills and learn to be professional when dealing with their followers. There is an art and a science to giving orders at work and to receiving orders at work. Many times, the nature of the order depends upon the nature of the business, the task and the people involved. Looking at the manager’s role relative to their group really makes you think about how you interact with other people and if you are being effective in those interactions. Leadership traits versus leadership behavior feed into all the contemporary leadership theories we learned about across the term.
The class discussions provided an excellent venue for learning from the experiences of my fellow classmates relative to leading and managing in their career. I also enjoyed reading about different points of view relative to the weekly class readings. The give-and-take of class discussions adds a personal dimension and additional value to the class. Many times, I found that the points that stood out to me during a particular week for a particular topic were not the ones that another student focused on. This made me go back and look again to see what I had missed or skimmed over and enhanced my learning as a result.
I really enjoyed this class and I wish I had more time to spend on my research paper that has nothing to do with my dissertation trio. One thing that would have added an new dimension to the course would have been participating in a leadership or organization-focused simulation that would provide everyone in the class with the same simulated work experience to discuss and compare notes and approaches about.
Thank you, Dr. Heppard, for a wonderful class! It was fun and a bit unnerving to present my slides in this morning’s chat session. Your encouragement and feedback about my efforts was a great way to finish out the term. I hope to see you again in another class or participating in my dissertation review and approval process downstream!
you make an excellent point about learning things in theory versus trying them out in practice. The good news s that we have acquired many more arrows to add to our quivers when it comes to managing and leading other people back at work. This will be way more effective for you than It will be for me given my consulting role in organizations. Reading about your work experiences and how you do “care and feeding” of your people made me remember and miss working in a larger and more formal organizational structure. I don’t think I will go back and do that at this point in my career, but you never know! It has been wonderful sharing this class epxerience with you and I wish you luck in your dissertation journey! Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with along the way.