Current Leadership and Organization Behavior Practices in the Contemporary Business Context
Change is a gradual process that goes through various steps to create the desired result. The contemporary business environment is very liquid to the extent that decisions undertaken today can become ineffective the following day. The most important aspect that has created the need for numerous organization changes is ever-changing external and internal business environment. Notably, the technological advancement is leading, followed by the stiff market competition, cultural changes and more. To add some gist on the stiff competition, the changing consumers’ needs, and preferences in favor of quality products and services is one of the imperatives that are determining operation management strategies (Bridges, 2009).
Apparently, leadership has received a significant consideration as the only factor that coordinate the other factors of production to enhance success. It is a broad topic that encompasses the administrative measures and management practices. Under these subjects, one can narrow down to the administration of the people after the establishment of the need for change (Chozick, 2005). As earlier noted, change is not an activity that one can dream of and proceed with the implementation process. I vividly remember my organization that I currently work as an as assistant OD practitioner. One day, the director called the senior OD into the office and informed him of the need to change some operational processes. I remember the senior OD practitioner showing me the list of the changes the director had proposed. These changes included; adoption of a new accounting software that was supposed to take off the next week. Secondly, the company had to shift the operational hours where opening time used to be from 9.00 am to 7.00 am, the closing hours were to change from 4.00 pm to 6.00pm. Also, he suggested that workers were to be given more responsibilities. Among other things the directors suggested included the change of the company’s mission, culture just to incline to the new goals and operational processes (Rowitz, 2010).
To me, this seemed unusual. Although the director had suggested many changes that to an extent, I felt they were appropriate for our institution that dealt with the sale of supply of foodstuff, household goods, groceries, credit cards and construction. I pondered loudly until my close friend and colleague had to press me hard until I had to take him to my office to share with him about the information.
In the entire discussion, my friend shared his contentment with the suggestion and asserted to work hard so that the newly communicated objectives could be realized and benefit from the bonus schemes that the management had promised to give those who hit targets. The worrying aspect was the time allocated to perform the changes. Because he was also a change expert but was working with the institution as a human resource manager, he just noted some key aspects that were being not followed to enhance effectiveness in the process. Just to mention, he said the preparation was not adequate. The employees were supposed to undergo some training before the time for change could be established. Secondly, he suggested that it could be communicated to the employees and be informed about the needs and benefits as to why the management was undertaking the initiative. The OD practitioner was supposed to be given the recommendations and be allocated sufficient time to ink an appropriate procedure through which the change could be effected. I, therefore, had to conclude that the suggestion for a change to align the organization to its objectives was a perfect idea but questioned the process the director suggested should be utilized to lead and manage the change (Lipsky et al., 2003).
After the discussion, I was challenged. Despite being fully satisfied with the suggesting I was given by my colleague concerning leading and managing change, I developed a feeling of doing more research on the subject. I now decided to go and seek clarification from an expert who had recently opened an OD consultant firm next to our premises. I was prepared to pay any cost just to ensure I have received a full explanation about the entire leadership and change management. He was very categorical and approached the subject in various ways. He defined change as the process of incorporating new changes in the organization. The change involves both culture, ways of doing things, and the structure of administration. Change is the process that leads to quality enhancement and hence growth.
Notably, change has to involve the entire organization. First and foremost, planning is the first activity that takes place. It is a process of setting out the complete change objectives, strategies and ways of executing the process. At this level, it is the management, most particular the OD practitioner who usually have the full information about the process. Communication should be done in a certain way. For instance, the management should timely communicate to the employees about the upcoming changes. In the message, the employees should be informed about the importance of the change, due processes established to ensure everyone plays the roles expected accordingly. He further explained that some employees develop a fear that the new skills required could render them jobless (Manning, 2003). To overcome such challenges, training and mentorship programs are the only initiatives that should be established to impart the current expertise and knowledge to the individuals. In fact, the change should be treated as the avenue through which workers can further develop their current skills. As a result, the level of resistance will decrease.
He defined leadership as the process of heading others in fulfilling organization objectives. He noted the importance of efficient administration through leadership. As a change manager, one has to employ leadership skills as well as adopting a management system that sometimes rhymes with employees need as well as compromise some characters that are not constructive. For a planned change, various leadership styles should be used to bring balance. Among the leadership styles should include transformational, democratic and sometimes dictatorship. However, dictatorship should only be used in occasions when coercion has failed to work. In some cases, the employees should be given the option to choose from and make suggestions about how they feel things should be conducted (Lee & Nathan, 2010).
In a discussed, he talked about motivation. He stressed on this factor because it is critical in altering the attitudes of the employees during the change. Apart from the salaries and other bonuses, employees work well if most of the factors under Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and Herzberg's two-factor theory are considered an organization. The realization of the provisions in these motivation’s methods can considerably foster support from the staff. The elements of resistance are reduced because the individuals will like the work environment and entirely support the management (Luecke, 2003).
After, this discussion, I never saw any new information regarding what I understand about change. Alas! I could be right if offered the opportunity to advise the change manager on the key steps to establish before officially launching the change. In fact, I could offer and to approach the director and suggest appropriate measures in coming up with a solid plan based on my experience as well as lessons learned from the practitioner.
I thought my experience was not enough for managing and leading change. And because of lack of confidence in my capabilities, I thought the consultant would give a different and better approach to leading and managing strategic change. However, from the reflections, I have noticed the following elements regarding the topic. First, change should be effected using specific models. For instance, the Lawin’s positive model of change can work well in the contemporary society (Lewin, 2011). This model advocates for the action research model instead of focusing on methods that are not working. Besides the education provided to the staff, they should also be allowed to make decisions regarding what they consider relevant for the change. And further, motivation should not be assumed to be optional. Employees require adequate motivation that should be additional on the usual salary and benefits accorded to employees.
The OD practitioner has to design a change program that aligns organization mission and objective. The design should be appropriate to the management style and structure used by the organization. Some of the styles one should adopt in leading the change should involve collaborative, consultative, directive and coercive (Keegan and Den, 2004). For instance, some employees may just disagree with the suggestions and instead, they may choose to withdraw support and just antagonize the efforts exerted to ensure success. Such conflicts can, however, be suppressed by coercion. In the change, the OD practitioner should clearly; set the mission of the team, set the goal, define role, design operational procedure, among other implementation strategies (Mind Tools, 2011). However, as change expert, I have understood that conflicts are inevitable. But one should remain firm, consult and further involve others in the planning and implementation of the modification. Moreover, I have realized the fundamentality of applying various approaches in the administration of change. Among these essential methods that should be jointly used includes; behavioral approach, cognitive approach, psychodynamic approach and humanistic psychology. Also, the autocratic system of governance should be accompanied by a flexible structure, open culture that can create a questioning attitude among employees (Jokinen, 2005).
I, have therefore, realized the essentiality of all the stated aspects. And becuse a human is social beings who are not satisfied with salary alone, will thus require adequate consideration, involvement in various issues, clear communication and different forms of motivation to catalyze their commitment to organizational activities (Kotter, 2011). Change is successful when all resources are put in place, and adequate time accorded to the process to win workers support.
However, currently, organization change is a common process I have realized most institutions undergo to survive the harsh business environment. The speed of change is very high, and strategies are revised now and then to fit the current organization needs. The position I held before I was promoted to a senior position has taught me many lessons about change and the discussion with the change expert. More so, this discipline has further sharpened my knowledge and imparted in me more and current leading a change in the institution. I remember before attending this class; I was not that perfect, and I suspect the directors could have realized that. Perhaps not! I could not be promoted, I guess. It was an average but not perfect score.
My rigidness on the established plans cannot appropriately work today. After my friend talked about the elements of flexibility is when I realized, ooh! I sometimes went wrong, but unfortunately, I was not corrected. The contemporary business environment requires someone more knowledgeable about leadership matters starting all the way from the management style, administrative structure, organization culture, conflicts, organization groups and politics (Lorenzi & Riley, 2000). . These are cultures that may develop, and if poorly handled, they might endanger smooth operation of business. Any change that the management can suggest could be received with resistance just for individuals to fulfill their personal interests (Allio, 2005).
As a leader, resistance and conflicts should not be aspects to fear. I have learned that a leader is somebody who should develop others and inculcate into them good qualities that can make them feel the happiness of being associated with the organization. For instance, the communication skills, professionalism, conceptual skills are essential elements that I should possess to enhance dealings with the employees (Thompson, 2010). As much as some changes and projects may be successful, I should also consider employees comments and feelings about the management of the project. Negative feedback is a clear indication of a problem somewhere. Leading and managing change is, therefore, a process that needs more sacrifice and preparation to keep everyone set with the requisites to minimize the instances of resistances (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000).
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