Leadership is needed in all aspects of life. Sadly, a lack of quality leadership seems to be a common problem these days in government, education, religion, communities, and private industry. Without effective management, however, businesses eventually fail due to a lack of quality leadership. Because managers are assigned the role of leader and subordinates must accept their leadership, they must lead, which means their leadership offers insights into what qualifies as effective leadership. As such, there are lessons to be derived from the world of business that can be better applied throughout the private sector and utilized in other aspects of life.
Although the responsibilities and authorities of managers may vary widely, the role of management in all businesses is to bridge cultures. Managers must take what policies and objectives their superiors give them then ensure they become reality. Consequently, managers must deal with several levels of management, subordinate employees, and outside interests. It is, therefore, the role of management to both transmit information between all relevant parties and translate information so it can be understood by every party.
Executives and upper management are responsible for making decisions that affect the operations of a firm's entire infrastructure. Including probable differences in lifestyles, upper management views business activities differently than subordinate workers. Where an executive sees excess payroll, workers feel a cut in their standard of living. It is the role of upper management to improve aspects like profitability and efficiency, thus all managers are responsible for providing their superiors with information on what needs trimmed and how that can be accomplished by taking into account the interests of workers.
At the same time, managers must convey the need and rationale of changes to subordinates. This is necessary to help ensure workers do their best to support, versus hinder, reforms in the workplace. Meanwhile, managers are also tasked with aiding workers in accomplishing their jobs. As a consequence, managers must be knowledgeable on all fronts. As workers can be a key source of information when considering ways of improving operations, wise and talented management will be certain to transmit employee ideas to executives.
Furthermore, outside interests like clients, suppliers, and regulators need to be handled properly. Certainly, workers can be delegated many of these responsibilities, but their decision-making authority is limited while they may not be fully knowledgeable on the company's views. Although this certainly implies a role for managers to train employees, it also means management is responsible for the standard practices of the company. It is, therefore, the role of management to step in as senior representatives of the company to ensure the firm's interests are accurately represented and communicated.
Management is supposed to be the most professional element of a business. As such, managers are directly responsible for the conduct and success of a firm as well as their subordinates. It is the vital role of management to guarantee all components of a business can run effectively and efficiently by communicating across all cultures within the firm. In all, management truly serves as a bridge between all members of a business community, thus the role of management is pivotal for all companies.
Probably the single most important skill for a manager is, therefore, his or her ability to effectively communicate. Between executives, upper management, and workers, managers must bridge the cultural gaps that exist in the workplace. Communicating what the top brass wants to his or her subordinates represents a challenge that comes with a lot of pressure. After all, failing to effectively communicate with employees can create inefficiencies or breed resentment against management. This means managers must always do more to improve communication between management and subordinates.
Better communication starts with understanding the perspectives of the intended audience. Workers tend to focus on different aspects of their employment than executives and managers. Workers have to accomplish certain tasks or objectives, thus their concern is their work. Executives and managers are tasked with improving elements like profitability and efficiency. When executives need to improve profitability, they ask managers to increase efficiency while workers are ordered to decrease waste and work harder.
The most important factor in improving communication between managers and subordinate employees is connecting the impact of a company's policy on the employees to the reasons why it must be done. Shorter work hours can translate into a lower standard of living for workers; whereas, well-paid executives generally see their pay cuts as less excess. It is, therefore, necessary for managers to discuss the impact of new policies with their subordinates while sharing that feedback with executives. Too often, executives simply dictate what they want, yet those needs may seem far too impractical for the lower levels of employment to accommodate.
Meanwhile, communication is a two way street. By honestly respecting and valuing the input of those doing the work of the company, managers can potentially unearth new and better ways of improving workplace efficiency. Good ideas can come from anywhere at any time, but those who work in an environment are probably more inclined to find solutions to a problem, i.e. the workers. Granted, some managers can actually be paralyzed due to their fear of being replaced by talented subordinates, but the company can benefit from employee feedback and so can they as leaders. This is the type of culture all firms need to embrace to ensure competitiveness.
Meanwhile, the single most essential element in improving communication between managers and subordinates is learning how to listen. If employees feel their opinions are respected and their ideas are being honestly considered, they can prove to be invaluable resources for innovation and new opportunity. It is, therefore, a manager's responsibility to understand the perspectives and interests of his, or her, underlings while passing that information onto upper management. Better communication happens when managers actually listen to subordinate employees.
Furthermore, quality leadership is needed, yet strong leadership does not necessarily mean acting like an authoritarian. When the boss is king, no one questions his, or her, final decision. For strong leaders, the autocratic management style can be both very effective and successful in terms of high productivity. If a superior can consolidate power under his or her office, the workplace will benefit in terms of increased productivity as well as superior discipline. An effective autocratic leader actually fits perfectly in the hierarchical structure of most commercial organizations, thus it can offer many benefits for a great number businesses.
Allowing subordinates little choice in what and how tasks must be completed gives the boss an opportunity to streamline operations. When employees are required to follow a single pattern, it becomes far easier to identify systematic failures. Structure enables companies to set, analyze, and adapt policy for greater efficiency rather than polling employees. For manufacturing and other production-like business operations, autocratic rule is more beneficial as it forces workers to follow standards.
Meanwhile, a strict chain of command can translate into a strong sense of accountability. Anyone, who steps out of line or makes an error, must answer directly to his or her immediate supervisor. In turn, the misbehavior and errors of a supervisor's charges leave him, or her, directly responsible. The result is a need to ensure everyone fulfills their responsibilities up to the executive management level. Where a systematic failure does occur, management has the opportunity to immediately identify and pressure the responsible parties for improved performance.
To the outside world, a united front is essential when deflecting competitors away from internal weaknesses. Although employees can disagree with the boss or offer suggestions, an autocratic executive can likely command the ranks so tightly that competitors will not be able to find cracks in the team as they fish for information. On the flip side, the ability of employees to approach a single authority enables them to voice their concerns while autocratic leaders can then move to fix these issues if need be.
When the boss is an unpopular or incompetent king, however, trouble is sure to follow. For weak leaders, the autocratic management style can be both extremely ineffective and devastating. If there is a power vacuum created by an ineffective leader blocking quality decision-making from whipping the organization into shape, both productivity and discipline will suffer greatly while it will force quality leaders out of a firm. The poor autocratic management team can easily undermine a business as it fails to recognize its own weaknesses.
A poor, or weak, manager can succeed only when his or her team is able to compensate for that individual's shortcomings. Meanwhile, some of the most innovative ideas come from the workforce as workers are the ones with the necessity to improve operations, i.e. make their work less strenuous and tedious. Autocratic styles of management can very easily streamline operations in ways that undermine the creative thinking and problem solving capacity of team members. For engineers and salesmen especially, strict rule can force these employees into line when they need to think freely.
Taking a more individualized approach, it is important to remember employees are people. With the world embracing a trend toward democratization, individuals are socially programmed to reject a culture of autocratic rule. As most employers are adults, they also tend to resent being subjugated like children. This is especially true in an age where information flows like water and, despite lagging school performance, even high school graduates are well educated in terms of skill to the point they feel their labor is a valuable commodity. Poor autocratic leaders will fail to compensate for this reality.
From the outside, hurting a firm may be easier when it has a single, rigid hierarchy of weak leadership. Undermining an autocratic leadership may well result in a collapse of the team dynamic. When employees do not trust or cannot rally around their leaders, management has no hope of succeeding. In an autocratic style environment, a narrow focus of power makes the leadership of a business more susceptible to such shortcomings and efforts to undermine their rule, especially when manage is untrustworthy and incompetent.
An autocratic management style can be beneficial to some businesses while some individual leaders may be more suited to this leadership style than others. Clearly, there are benefits, as well as shortcomings, yet a strong, narrow seat of power can benefit a business. Then again, it can also devastate a corporation or small business. Depending upon what type of operations a business undertakes and the culture of employees, an autocratic leader can be successful or fall short of expectations. Of course, it is important to remember quality autocratic management style does not necessary translate into a lack of understanding, flexibility, and openness to alternatives. Above all, what matters most is the overall quality of leaders as individuals.
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