This paper is based on the topic of leadership in organisations. It seeks to explore the responsibilities of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in organisations. It is argued that the key role of CEOs is to provide leadership in organisations to enable them achieve their goals and objectives. As leaders, CEOs are supposed to inspire, motivate, and create a cohesive organisational culture which is essential for moving organisations forward. As leaders of organisations, CEOs should ensure that organisational resources are utilised in a prudent manner.
They must also be in the front line in developing both long-term and short-term strategies for organisational success. The CEOs should also ensure that organisations have in place a pool of talented, dedicated, and hardworking employees who are always preoccupied with the interest of organisations. Good CEOs must also embrace organisational change and come up with strategies of implementing the change with little or no resistance from employees.
According to Sims, organisational structure refers to how various units of organisations relate to each other (Sims 2007). Its purpose is to ensure that organisations get their work done which is made possible by division of labour. In the structure, each job position relates with others in a horizontal or vertical manner. All the jobs taken together form the structure of organisations. The shape and form of the structure have a strong influence on the culture of organisations. Similarly, the nature and structure of organisations can affect employees’ ability, effectiveness or willingness to work without supervision. When the structure is highly bureaucratic, it may frustrate workers due to lack of effectiveness (Fox 2009).
How Employee Engagement and Rallying Organisational Culture Help Organisations
Employee engagement has to do with treating employees as organisational assets not as liabilities. During the era of scientific management, organisations viewed employees as liabilities and as a result, they did not bother to invest in employee development because they believed that the compensation offered to employees was enough to keep them motivated. Organisations also treated employees with contempt. Managers and supervisors harassed employees frequently and they did not give them an opportunity to micromanage their work but rather, they were required to follow strict guidelines without questioning (Dowling & Welch 2008).
However, in the contemporary organisations, employee engagement is seen as a major strategy of organisational development. Organisations which do not embrace employee engagement initiatives usually face many challenges such as increased turnover, reduced employee motivation, and lack of organisational efficiency and effectiveness (Aquinas 2006).
Employee engagement initiatives
Communication is the transfer of information from one person or source to another. In organisational context, effective communication involves using the correct language in communication between employees and their seniors. The language used should be neutral and inoffensive. For effective communication to be realised, managers should avoid discrimination of employees based on employees’ positions, age, gender, level of education, race, and religion.
It involves the training of employees on a continuous basis. Employees may be trained on various aspects of their job and other processes of organisations. Training of employees enables them to improve their performance and efficiency, which consequently impacts positively on the productivity of organisations. Employee training also ensures that organisations make maximum use of their human resources because well-trained employees are capable of multitasking (Shuck 2011).
Strong organisational culture
Some organisations are managed using the human relations approach which is characterised by a radical shift from mechanistic to humanistic approach in the management of organisations. The humanistic approach to management is usually associated with strong organisational culture where more emphasis is placed on improving the work environment and making employees feel appreciated.
In organisations with a strong culture, employees are perceived as crucial assets and are treated with respect, dignity, and understanding. Such organisations also acknowledge that employees have the potential of being creative in their work. Consequently, supervision plays a minimal role because employees are capable of forming group norms and rules which govern their work. Organisations with a strong culture also recognise the importance of employees interacting with their managers in a friendly way without fear of victimisation. When employees fear their managers, they tend to work with their bodies but their minds and hearts are usually far away.
Strong organisational culture also boosts organisational efficiency because of the internalisation of what is required of each and every employee. The sharing of values and beliefs creates a good work environment free from confusion, ambiguity or lack of understanding among the employees.
If CEOs of organisations are not friendly to employees, then the organisations are characterised by fear and unending tension among the employees. Such relationship may lead to confusion and inefficiency because employes are not allowed or they are unwilling to consult their colleagues for fear of victimisation. The overall result is creation of organisations which the employees are not proud to be associated with, a situation which has serious negative effects such as increased turnover, reduced productivity, and general organisational inefficiency.
Responsibilities of CEOs in Organisations
As mentioned in the introduction, the role of CEOs is to provide leadership in organisations and help them achieve their goals and objectives. As such, CEOs are not concerned with the day-to-day running of organisations but they are preoccupied with policy issues, networking, and resource mobilisation. However, the key roles of CEOs in organisations include effective leadership, effective decision making, and development of self-managing teams (Wart & Suino 2012).
It has to do with consolidation of resources by leaders of organisations. The idea behind consolidation of resources is to enable the leaders to attain organisational objectives efficiently using minimum resources. It also has to do with realisation of extra ordinary results by organisational leaders through processes which involve all the stakeholders (Bolden, Hawkins & Gosling 2011).
Effective decision making
The decision making process is crucial because the success or failure of organisations greatly depends on the type of decisions made by organisational leaders and how the decisions are made. An effective decision making process is usually consultative, that is, the leaders consult their followers and other stakeholders. The consultations not only make the decisions effective but they also reduce resistance to organisational change or restructuring.
When stakeholders are consulted before a decision is made, they are able to own the changes which come as a result of that decision. Effective decisions are therefore acceptable to all the stakeholders of organisations. The decisions also have lasting impacts as opposed to decisions which are made without consultation and involvement of organisational stakeholders (Gill 2011).
These are semi-autonomous teams of employees which are formed to perform some specific tasks. CEOs encourage employees to work in teams instead of working independently. Working in teams enables organisations to benefit from the synergy found in teamwork. Teamwork gives employees an opportunity to exercise their creativity, innovativeness, skills, and talents. It also enables the team members to learn from the strengths and the diverse experiences of each other. When employees work in teams, they learn how to welcome positive criticism (Ojo 2008).
Why CEOs Need to Take Responsibility in Organisations
If CEOs of organisations are open and friendly to employees, then the organisations create what is referred to as cohesive organisational culture. Many organisational researchers agree that a cohesive organisational culture is one in which all members of organisations have similar beliefs and values which hold them together as organisations. These beliefs and values are implicit or explicit to the organisations. In this kind of a culture, the organisational structure does not matter but what matters most is the commitment of each member of the organisations to these beliefs and values (Keshavarzi 2007).
One benefit of a cohesive organisational culture is that it leads to high motivation among the employees because they share common beliefs and values. When employees are highly motivated, there is minimal use of resources in their supervision which in turn increases their productivity because to them, what matters most is the welfare of the organisations but not their welfare (Schermerhorn 2010).
Cohesive organisational culture also boosts organisational efficiency because of the internalisation of what is expected of each employee. This kind of environment not only increases organisational efficiency but also prevents time wastage because the employees are able and free to consult each other without the fear of victimisation or intimidation especially by their managers.
Furthermore, cohesive organisational culture leads to cohesion among various departments of organisations which leads to harmonisation of all organisational rules, policies, and practices in each department. This cohesion leads to proper utilisation of organisational resources without sabotage as well as sound, logical, and relevant policies on how to coordinate organisational activities in a manner that maximises the organisations’ chances of realising their mission and vision (Holden 2002).
Cohesion among various organisational departments also enhances the sharing of information which increases employees’ levels of understanding of how various departments work. The understanding of how various departments work by employees is very important because it enables them to multitask especially when organisations are faced with shortage of staff (Northouse 2010).
Cohesive organisational culture enhances control, good coordination, and consistency within organisations. The reason is that employees and managers are always in good terms and are thus able to agree informally on various procedures and practices without compromising the quality of products and services offered by the organisations (Deresky 2002).
My Opinion on Leading in Organisations
My opinion on leading in organisations is that it has to do with the leaders consolidating the efforts and resources of the organisations and focusing on the future by setting up a vision for the organisations which they intend to achieve in a given period using the consolidated efforts and resources. Leading entails building and sustaining teamwork, strategic thinking, managing conflicts, coaching, inspiring a shared vision, problem solving, performance management, decision making, delegation, systems thinking, leading change, dealing with ambiguities, developing trust, employee development, customer service, innovation, emotional intelligence, and servant leadership (Daft 2008).
The example of Wal-Mart stores
Wal-Mart is a giant retail enterprise based in the United States. Its overall strategy is to sell goods and services at relatively low prices and in large quantities (Dyck & Neubert 2010). In an article titled ‘Wal-Mart’s new CEO stresses technology to improve customer service’, the organisation seems focused on how to use technology to make customers more satisfied (Harris 2014).
This focus on customer service is an aspect of implementing organisational change to enable the organisation to meet its objectives in an efficient and effective manner. The new CEO Mr. McMillon seems convinced that there is need to embrace technology in the delivery of services to customers. By embracing technology, he intends to increase the competitiveness of the organisation in the retail industry. The change is necessitated by the failure of previous customer service initiatives to improve customer satisfaction.
CEOs play crucial roles in organisations. They are the overall leaders and as such, their key responsibility is to provide effective leadership, effective decision making, and help in the development of self-managing teams. CEOs are therefore supposed to be people with excellent interpersonal, networking, and mobilisation skills. They should also be people of high integrity with a wealth of knowledge and experience in leadership and management. Good CEOs are able to consolidate organisations’ resources, inspire a shared vision, and unite organisations for a common purpose. They are also supposed to ensure efficiency in organisations through proper utilisation of resources. Above all, they are the representatives of their organisations and therefore, they must be people with good reputation, character, and ability to appeal to various stakeholders.
Aquinas 2006, Organisational behaviour : concepts realities applications and challenges, Excel Books, New Delhi.
Bolden, R, Hawkins, R & Gosling, J 2011. Exploring leadership: individual, organisational, and societal perspectives, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Daft, R.L 2008, The leadership experience, Thomson/South-Western, Mason, OH.
Deresky, H 2002, International management. managing across borders and cultures, Prentice Hall, London.
Dowling, P & Welch, D 2008, International human resources management: managing people in a multinational context, Thomas Learning, London.
Dyck, B & Neubert, M.J 2010, Management: current practices and new directions, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Fox, W 2009, The management process : an integrated functional approach, Information Age Publishing, Charlotte.
Gill, R 2011, Leadership theory: A critical review, synthesis and redefinition, SAGE Publications Ltd, London.
Harris, E. 2014. Walmart’s New C.E.O. Stresses Technology to Improve Customer Service. Web.
Holden, N.J 2002, Cross-cultural management. A knowledge management perspective, Prentice Hall, London.
Keshavarzi, H. A 2007, The effect of organisational culture on knowledge sharing behavior in the auto industry in Iran, Aston university press, London.
Northouse, P 2010, Leadership: theory and practice, Sage, S.l.
Ojo, A 2008, Leadership style and leadership power, ProQuest publishers, Farmington Hills, MI.
Schermerhorn, J 2010, Management, Wiley, Hoboken, N.J.
Shuck, B 2011, ‘Integrative literature review: four emerging perspectives of employee engagement: an integrative literature review’, Human Resource Development Review, vol. 10 no.3, pp. 304-328.
Sims, R 2007, Human resource management : contemporary issues, challenges and opportunities, Information Age Publishers, Greenwich, Conn.
Wart, M.V & Suino, P 2012, Leadership in public organisations: an introduction, Sharpe, Armonk, N.Y.