Effective management is the ability to influence others to work together in the search for organizational success. Effective management and leadership are envisioning what the company must do in order to prosper. Training programs are often used by companies to improve the skills and knowledge of employees and improve their productivity. Personal development plans and programs need effective leadership and support to lead and motivate employees. Leadership style enables a person to be accepted by others. To deal with this problem, many different approaches have been employed in the search for ways that encompass effective leadership. Giving up on the trait method, critics turned their attention to observing what effective leaders do.
The proposed plan is based on leadership strategies and management tools which help to motivate, inspire and direct employees during training sessions. During the first stage of training, it is important to inspire and motivate trainees. Several decades ago, it was a common belief that team formation was the root of many problems, therefore it was an accepted practice to do whatever was necessary to break up these teams. Today leaders realize that team formation is a very natural phenomenon, and that effective leadership techniques dictate that we actually encourage subordinates to work in teams. Effective motivation is the core of team formation and effective training. The main tactics used at this stage are a friendly working environment, helping employees to set goals, open-door policy (Robbins, 2002).
The training initiatives often manifest themselves in very cohesive teams affording greater productivity. The leader is often referred to as the manager that holds the productive work team together. The tighter the team is held together, the more productive the team should be. To improve the cohesiveness of the work team there are many things the effective leader should do. Just like team formation, team conflict, earlier on, was also believed to be of no benefit whatsoever to an organization and was to be prevented at any cost. However, we now realize that team conflict is also inevitable and on some occasions can actually be beneficial to the greater well-being of the organization. While it is still a good course of action to prevent misunderstanding when it does arise the effective leader needs to understand the nature and the causes of the conflict and then choose an appropriate action to deal with it (Robbins, 2002).
Effective motivation will help managers and leaders to improve productivity and ensure effective training. Another facet of transmitting messages, which is as equally important to effective communication as is the selection of the medium, is the direction of the medium. An effective communicator will focus on the desired outcomes of the message and then envision possible consequences to the direction of the message. For example, to accomplish a particular goal, a trainee might be well-advised to communicate the message upwardly into the organization in order to enlist the support of top management (Schuler, 1998). In other situations, it may be more prudent to communicate the message down to one’s employees in order to obtain the feasibility of accomplishing a particular task before approaching top managements being unprepared for their questions (Robbins, 2002). After the medium and direction of the message have been selected, the sender then transmits the message. Upon receipt of the transmission, the receiver will then begin the image reproduction process. The effective communicator will not allow the communication process to terminate here. He or she will elicit feedback in order to ascertain to what extent the original image transmitted is the image that the receiver reproduced. This processing and reprocessing of feedback is an activity that requires some very well-tuned behaviour, sensitive skills, and a little more processing time than some managers are willing to give (Storey, 1989).
The next step is to set goals and strategies for employees. To be an effective manager, a person must have an idea of where one wants to go and where one wants to be. To do this, an effective manager must anticipate the future in order that his or her organization may play a role in that future, rather than being totally subject to it. When envisioning the future, one should attempt to see what new opportunities will be there that will allow their organization to prosper and to grow (Price, 2004).
Though, the extra time spent will pay benefits in time saved later on in not having to correct the problems that arise from ineffective communication. In this script, feedback has been asked for in an indirect way that did not belittle the receiver. In addition, the opportunity to make suggestions enhanced the receiver’s sense of self-worth and provided some valuable new ideas. It obviously took more time on the part of the manager to envision the communication process in his mind, but the probability of success for the project has been dramatically improved. This training program accomplishes at least two main functions. First, it makes people more aware of the communication process that, in and of itself, should have some impact on improving communication effectiveness. Second, it allows employees of different functions and levels to appreciate the variation that occurs in the communication process as one move across and up the organization (Fulton and Maddock 1998).
What evolved from the difficulties experienced with these two-dimensional models was an “it depends” clarification for effective leadership. There are times when the situation calls for a lot of concern for the subordinates, for example, in developing methods to implement major change. It is a currently held belief that the key to effective leadership exists not within the leader or in what the leader does per se, but within the situation. The situation dictates what an effective leader should do. Therefore, the effective leader is an individual who can accurately assess the demands contingent in the situation and act accordingly by creating images of potential actions and results that fit the demands of a critical situation (Schuler 1998). As the human resource professional responsible for the training and development at your organization, it is important that you consider different situations when you design leadership workshops. You should develop many different scenarios that will allow trainees to experience a multitude of varied leadership behaviours. Consider the following scripts which will illustrate two diametrically opposed leadership styles (Fulton and Maddock 1998).
During the training program itself, it will be crucial t sustain the interest and show the expertise and professionalism of the leader/manager. The main leadership strategies required for effective training program implementation are competency, willingness, collaboration, Let assume that a leader has to help update the organization’s master information system. In particular, the organization wants to ensure adequate attention to the HR aspects of the intended changes. The leaders are aware that many technological advances have been made since the system is installed (Price, 2004). The main competitors are already in the process of upgrading their in-house information processing capability. Enhancing the system at this time would also allow the leaders to serve clientele better. Since the leaders realize that making the decision to update the system and actually doing it are two different things, he/she begins to predict how he might go about the process. In this situation, a leader sees himself helping to prepare a memorandum detailing the decision and the need for it. The leader will need to help advise managers of the need and benefits to be derived from the new system and the possible impacts on the use of human resources (Price, 2004). The leader sees himself answering the many objections to making the main change, especially from those subordinates most directly affected. The willingness and competency of a leader play a crucial role in training and change implementation programs. The task of the leader is to ensure that everyone is involved in a chance and their voices are heard by the project managers. Painstakingly the leader and the manager are obliged to review many details, exploring all available scenarios, trying to prepare a plan that should ensure a successful implementation of the new system (Armstrong, 2003).
A leader can make a mental list of all the training elements that are currently available and are an accepted part of our current lifestyles. However, the future also contains some threats that could harm the future prosperity of organizations. The task of the leader is to envision these threats in advance, so he will be able to avoid them, or at least minimize their negative impact upon well-being. There are many experts today why attribute the major loss of United States automobile market share to the industry’s failure to see it coming. Although leaders do not find it a comfortable activity to dwell on unpleasant events, the future survival of our organizations and society, itself, mandates that we try to anticipate worst-case scenarios and develop creative methods to manage them (Armstrong, 2003).
At the last stage of training, the main leadership methods applied to the training program will be the result-based leadership method and the Deming leadership method. The first method will help leaders to concentrate on the results and outcomes of the training program and analyze its effectiveness. The focal point of the model is the role clarification and creative talents of the leader. The effective leader utilizes these talents to envision many different scenarios that may exist in an environment that contains both opportunities and threats for the organization. Next, it is important for the leader to see what the organization is, and based upon his or her perceptions of the future environment, what the organization is to be (Robbins, 2002). With these images focused in mind, the leader then looks to his or her subordinates and reflects upon their needs, expertise, abilities, and expectations. Then the leader mentally examines the complexity and desirability durability of the tasks to be accomplished in order to move the organization forward, ever mindful of time constraints existing in the situation. Lastly, the leader looks deep within his- or herself, perceiving his or her strengths and weaknesses and finally selects a leadership style that would be appropriate, given all of the above key variables (Fulton and Maddock 1998).
The Deming leadership method concentrates on the quality of training and management. Once the effective leader has visions of what could happen in the future, then it becomes imperative that he or she envision what their organization is and what it is to become. The once almost invincible Pennsylvania Railroad Company saw itself only as a railroad, and not as a transportation service. This lack of understanding of what the organization really was, a transportation service, eventually led to the deterioration of one of the greatest companies in history. An effective leader thoroughly perceives who his or her subordinates are and can accurately envision their needs, expertise, abilities, and expectations (Schuler, 1998). The important word here is accurate. All too often ineffective leaders think they know who their subordinates are and how they will behave, when, in fact, they really don’t know. A good communication network with one’s subordinates will allow a leader to know his or her subordinates (Robbins, (2002). An effective manager/trainer will expend large amounts of energy trying to picture in his or her mind what the needs and expectations of his or her subordinates are. These mental images will provide an understanding of how to motivate them better. Time spent reflecting on their expertise and abilities will allow for more success in assigning tasks to be accomplished (Robbins, 2002).
Effective training and development need medium and task clarification. The effective manager and trainers will perceive the complexity of the training material to be performed as well as the quantity of the training material needed to satisfy the given situation. In addition, the effective trainers will predict the level of quality needed as well as how familiar the subordinates are with the task that is to be completed. With all of these images in mind, the effective leader will then imagine what leadership style will be the most successful in influencing his subordinates to complete the task in the time allowed. In reflecting upon the scripts we presented above involving the implementation of a new MIS system and dealing with a toxic waste spill, different leadership styles were required depending upon the task and the situation. In the script involving the implementation of the new MIS system, time was a factor but was not the major factor. Subordinate inputs were solicited and considered in order to overcome resistance to change. A very participative leadership style was employed in completing a rather novel task. In dealing with the toxic waste spill, the leadership was quite autocratic. Actions had been rehearsed just in case this crisis did arise. One-way communications and directions were essential in order to save lives (Fulton and Maddock 1998).
In order to reduce possible redundancy, the leader should fully utilize his or her imaginative and creative talents to envision differing scenarios, it is important that as much information as possible is accessible. One cannot be creative in a vacuum. Thus, it is imperative for a leader to develop a network of sensors that detect information from every pertinent source existing in the environment that impacts the leader’s organization. As a human resource professional, you are in the ideal position to provide information to your organization’s managers to help them become more effective leaders. This network of information gathering sensors is referred to as a linking system (Robbins, (2002). The linking system provides information from the environment to the organization. It is the communication channel between the environment sensors and the decision-authority centre, which is, in this case, the leader. This system of linkages serves as the organization’s lifelines with its environment. Without this lifeline to valuable information, the leader cannot effectively utilize his or her imagination and creativity and, therefore, will have a difficult time surviving. The sources are by no means all-inclusive but do provide a good working example of the type of information linking network to which a leader must subscribe (Robbins, 2002).
The effective leader will have access to major environmental indicators, such as projected interest rates, employment figures, and capital expenditures to give him or her an idea of future economic conditions. There are many services today that provide a more than an adequate menu of these various economic indicators. Political developments inform the leader of how government directives could possibly affect the leader’s organization. Here again, there are services that provide current status reports on major political developments. Some firms have gone so far as to establish their own Political Action Committees (PACs), to try to shape political developments to their benefit. As a human resource professional, one of the most effective workshops you can utilize to enable your organization’s managers to be more sensitive to the needs and wants of their employee’s centres around role reversal. In these workshops, have them envision themselves in the roles of their employees. Here is a sample script you can use for this purpose (Mayo 1998).
Productivity begins to suffer as the individual becomes lackadaisical about his or her duties. The individual then becomes habitually tardy and incurs a much higher than normal level of absenteeism. Eventually, the stress can push a person into a situation of alcohol or drug abuse (Robbins, 2002). Obviously, the effective leader must do everything possible in his or her power to eliminate the sources of stress that prevail in the work environment. All of the efforts mentioned above that encourage team cohesiveness and minimize team conflict will have a positive effect in reducing stress. In addition, seeing that people are properly trained and that they understand their job responsibilities is also a very important stress reduction technique. Probably the most effective means of encouraging a healthful work environment is to maintain an open communication channel that people are invited to utilize knowing that they can find a sensitive ear to their problems (Mayo 1998).
Companies that ignore these environmental realities, impact on their operations and strategies are suffering from a form of corporate myopia. Organizations that actively scan their environments, anticipate emergent problems and take advantage of opportunities that may arise over time. These are the organizations that will survive and prosper in the information age of the future. To survive, organizational members must be taught to appreciate and alter their mental models of the future so that surprises are prepared for before their impact on the organization. One of the key functions of the HRM unit is to serve as a scanning unit that watches the environment for patterns of change that affect the organization. The HRM unit is in contact with many sources of current data about the future and the marketplace.
The training program will need effective leadership and management policies to ensure its success and positive outcomes. The main methods used by leaders will be the result-based leadership method and the Deming leadership. If too much stress is placed on getting the work done, human motivation will suffer. The main strategies applied to the program will be motivation and inspiring employees, cooperation and support initiatives. If all of the emphasis is placed on workers satisfaction, then productivity will suffer. Further, a leader can share this expertise with other managers and employees, so that the total organization expands and articulates its images of the future in preparation for that future. The effective leader will reduce the occurrence of these types of unpleasant situations by using strategies and leadership tools to open up the communication channels and airing these differences.
Armstrong, M. 2003, Human Resource Management. Kogan Page.
Robbins, S. 2002, Organizational Behavior. Pearson Higher.
Fulton, R. L., Maddock, R. C. 1998, Motivation, Emotions, and Leadership: The Silent Side of Management. Quorum Books.
Mayo A. 1998, Creating a Training and Development Strategy. London: Institute of Personnel and Development.
Price, A. 2004, Human Resource Management in a Business Context, 2nd edition. Thomson Learning.
Robbins, S. 2002, Organizational Behavior. Pearson Higher.
Schuler, R. 1998, Managing Human Resources. Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western College Publishing.
Storey, J. 1989, New perspectives on Human Management, Routledge, London.