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MANAGING LEADERSHIP IN IT SECTORS

 

Dr. R. Karuppasamy M.Com., MBA. M.Phil., Ph.D

Director, SNS College of Technology, Coimbatore, India.

 

and

 

C. Arul VenkadeshMBA, PGDPM, (Ph.D)

Assistant Professor, Coimbatore Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore, India.

 

Abstract

 

ďInformation technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven.I don't think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.Ē

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††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††~ Bill Gates

 

Leadership is something that can easily be explained, but it is very difficult to put into practice.Itís important to understand what it is and the various things that make up leadership. Know Yourself and Your Capabilities, In order to put the areas of leadership into practice once you do have an understanding of it, you need to look at yourself and your own capabilities so that you know what areas to develop, use and avoid in your leadership style.The characteristics of your own personality will also great impact your leadership and you should know how.

 

Skill Development, Any leader is going to realize that they cannot be everything they want to be without a lot of development of their skills. No matter where you are in your leadership abilities, there are always skills to learn, new ones to develop and refining to do on the ones you have, Remember, Itís About People, Human nature is important to know, understand and handle as a leader.Every step you take as a leader will need to be done with one important fact in mind, itís all about people. Willingness to Take Risks, Leaders drive change and they inspire others to follow them by challenging new things and persisting through it to a point of success.That willingness to take risks is a critical aspect of leadership to explore, Accepting Mistakes Leaders are not better at things than others, they are not smarter, they are not lucky and They are not born that way either.They are however able to learn and accept their mistakes without mistakes holding them back from continued leadership. Give Direction, Leaders can only lead if they give some direction or example for others to follow, otherwise itís not leading. Humility, Finally, my final area to cover of leadership is doing all this while staying humble.Great leaders are humble in their work, lives and leadership and it enables them to be lasting leaders well beyond their time and direct role of influence.

Each of the articles titles above link into the series.

 

Introduction

 

Some significant changes will take place in the leadership arena over the next few decades. We'll move from a group leadership concept to one that places responsibility and accountability much more in the hands of individuals. The work mode of the future will be much more individual-centered than group-centered, with considerable self-determination and high levels of shared-goal collaboration. Leadership teachings of most of the twentieth century focused on directive, autocratic (or at least top-down) management. The boss was expected to know the answers, or at least what to do. He, and it was usually a man for most of the period, would tell people what to do . . . and they did what they were told. Strict rules were in force and there were serious consequences for violating the social system. In the spirit of McGregor's Theory X , it was assumed that most workers could not think for themselves and, therefore, needed a superior to direct their efforts. Sometimes the "leader" actually was superior in intellect, experience, skill, understanding, or longevity, but often the power came from the position itself.

 

"I'm boss, so you must do what I tell you." As the nature of work evolved, expanding from manual labor and crafts into white collar occupations, the directive system was decreasingly effective. Some workers had the audacity to believe they could think for themselves, that they could manage at least some of their own work. Suspecting that an opposite style of management would be more appropriate, the concepts associated with McGregor's Theory Y came into play. While old-liners warned that the tail would be wagging the dog, new leaders adopted what became known as a democratic leadership style. The movement went so far that whole companies tried to operate practically by committee.

 

Participative Management

 

Discovering that neither extreme was really satisfactory, managers moved to center ground. Enter: Participative Management. Now managers made decisions again, but only after some consultation with workers who would be affected by those decisions. People felt more included, more listened-to, but the system still was not working optimally. In those days, most managers had been trained to be directive managers, so it was difficult for them to change their stripes.

 

The term "leadership" had been used in most of the 20th century, in ways that were synonymous with "management". Now great thinkers began to suggest that leadership and management were different concepts. People followed managers because they were supposed to, it was argued, but they followed leaders because they wanted to.

 

Why would someone want to follow someone else? Someone that perhaps didn't have power over them? Rich discussions explored all the wonderful characteristics of leaders and managers began to think of themselves as exercising leadership as well as using the power of their position.

 

The Rise of Teams

 

As people worked together to get things done, "teams" entered our lexicon of work relationships.The concepts of "team" and "leader" merged and team leadership became the next stage in the progression from "just a manager" to something on a higher plane. Indeed, terminology labeling in-charge people on the front lines as "supervisors," their bosses as "managers," and those at the top as "leaders" reinforced the higher nature of this thing we called leadership. One had to move higher up the organizational ladder to be considered a leader. Labeling work groups as teams changed the balance. Teams had to have leaders, so leadership words, concepts, and performance trickled down to the lower levels of hierarchical organizations. Now anyone could be a leader. New vistas were opened as we shifted from management to leadership . . . at least in the way we talked. Even today, many workers are managed much more than they're led.

 

The light bulb of innovation flashed as we realized that maybe teams could operate without a separate leader guiding their work. Welcome to the world of self-directed work teams. This concept, alive and well in many organizations, is a huge threat to the directive manager, still in place in many companies. The two concepts are in conflict, causing some serious concern about what to do with all those autocratic managers who resist change to more effective modes of human interaction.

 

For a number of years, there was heavy emphasis on team leadership being the top of the evolutionary cycle. It's a nice concept, if teams are intact, focused, and honored above individuals. And therein lies the problem.

 

Focus on the Individual

 

The workforce has changed, and with those changes come new problems and opportunities. We're moving away from team-ness into a new environment focused on the individual performer. Much work will still be accomplished in team relationships, but those teams will be comprised more of unique individuals deliberately collaborating to get things done. The energy will come from the individuals and their connections with each other, rather from an external leader.

 

Worker attitudes are shifting. People in their twenties and early thirties, a cohort often called Generation X, are much more independent and self-motivated than their predecessors. They have a tendency to want more control, more autonomy, more power, centered in self-leadership. Their highest productivity comes when they understand the desired results, have the resources to get the job done, and are left alone to get results. Heavy supervision irritates them, motivating them to leave companies that limit their freedom to perform.

 

Today's hot economy has created so many jobs--far more than can be filled with available workers, that there are abundant opportunities for people to easily move from job to job. Society has accepted, almost blessed, this movement; job-hopping is now practically encouraged. Many people will change jobs every two to four years, making long-life cohesive teams unusual or impossible. There's too much churning for the teams to be intact with the same membership for very long.

 

Facilitative Leadership

 

In response to these changing circumstances, leadership will evolve to be focused on the individual instead of the team. Leaders will not direct or guide, they will facilitate. The next phase in the cycle is the "facilitative leader."

 

Facilitative leaders will concentrate on making possible the high performance of each of their direct reports. Roles will include assuring an understanding of objectives, providing resources, coaching, teaching, encouraging, measuring, and giving objective feedback. (While this description may sound like that of a good supervisor, this style of leadership is not currently in wide practice.)

 

While receiving this coaching, the individuals will choose to form their own teams, internally motivated, to collaborate for results. The job of the leader will be to prepare people to perform independently, then help them to grow and achieve capitalizing on their individual strengths.

 

Over the next ten years, the facilitative leadership model will become much more prevalent--in all occupations. Some workers in some environments will require closer support, but will still want to be more responsible for their own performance. Initial impetus for this model will be a rise in telecommuting, forcing managers to become less enamored with management principles and more engaged with the principles and techniques of results-oriented leadership.

 

By 2010, directive leadership will be practically obsolete. Participative leadership, with leaders making decisions after increasingly strong involvement from workers, will continue until about 2020, responding to the needs of older workers who still want, and hence need, some direction. Note that the design will be participative leadership, rather than the earlier style of participative management.

 

The term "management" will apply to managing processes, product lines, and other inanimate aspects of economic life. Anything relating to people will be described as leadership, support, or facilitation, more accurately reflecting the actual work associated with the role. To describe someone as a "manager of people" will be tantamount to an insult or a reference to the leader not doing the job that is desired.

 

Leaders will become more invested in training during the first two decades of the 21st century, helping workers adapt to using new technologies to accomplish work and build productivity. Older workers, in their late sixties, seventies, and eighties will have more need for close support and training.

 

Self-Leadership

 

Generation X workers will become gradually more independent and self-driven as later-borns of this cohort enter the world of work. Right behind them are the workers from the Millennium Generation , who will be even more fiercely independent. They will respond to--demand--a much different style of leadership.

 

Even with the efforts of the educational system to teach them to work in groups, the Millennials will be more comfortable driving their own lives. They're more connected through the Internet than they are through personal face-to-face interactions. These workers will be considerably more self-confident, self-reliant, and self- motivated than any predecessor back to the pioneering days.

 

Millennials will manifest significant similarities to the pioneers who built new lives for themselves in the 18th and early 19th centuries. They, too, will build for themselves and their neighbors--using intellect, imagination, innovation, technology, and creativity to create things we can't even envision today. They'll use computers instead of axes and plowshares, coupled with the same dogged spirit that characterized the early pioneers.

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When we think of the early pioneers, the terms of leadership and management don't immediately flash to mind. Those trailblazers didn't need managers; they were independent and self-driven. If they needed help from others, they asked for it--and got it--in a spirit of cooperation and synergy. A similar attitude prevailed in the world of business. Expect the same spirit to prevail in the first half of the 21st century. The environment is much the same.

The cottage industries, which served as a foundation for our developing economy as America was settled, will be reflected in the strength of home-based businesses. A variety of arrangements of living and working will emerge, but they will be dispersed physically and geographically. The leaders who own or run these businesses may rarely see their employees, and may not even meet some of them personally. By the year 2005, we expect at least 20% of the working population to be home-based. . . and perhaps even 40% by the year 2020.

 

The absence of leadership should not be confused with the type of leadership that calls for 'no action' to be taken. For example, when Gandhi went on hunger strike and called for protests to stop, during the negotiations for India's independence, he demonstrated great leadership - because taking no action was a new direction for the Indian people at that time.

 

Also, what is often referred to as "participative management" can be a very effective form of leadership. In this approach, a new direction may seem to emerge from the group rather than the leader. However, the leader has facilitated that new direction whilst also engendering ownership within the group - i.e., it is an advanced form of leadership.

 

Sometimes, an individual may act as a figure head for change and be viewed as a leader even though he/she hasn't set any new direction. This can arise when a group sets a new direction of its own accord, and needs to express that new direction in the form of a symbolic leader. An example is Nelson Mandela whilst in prison:

 

During the period when Nelson Mandela was imprisoned (when his ability to provide personal, direct leadership was limited) he continued to grow in power and influence as the symbolic leader for the anti-apartheid movement.

 

Following his release from prison, he demonstrated actual leadership by leading South Africa into a process of reconciliation rather than retribution. Leaders do not have subordinates - at least not when they are leading. Many organizational leaders do have subordinates, but only because they are also managers. But when they want to lead, they have to give up formal authoritarian control, because to lead is to have followers, and following is always a voluntary activity.

 

Charismatic, transformational style

 

Telling people what to do does not inspire them to follow you. You have to appeal to them, showing how following them will lead to their hearts' desire. They must want to follow you enough to stop what they are doing and perhaps walk into danger and situations that they would not normally consider risking.

 

Leaders with a stronger charisma find it easier to attract people to their cause. As a part of their persuasion they typically promise transformational benefits, such that their followers will not just receive extrinsic rewards but will somehow become better people.

 

People focus

Although many leaders have a charismatic style to some extent, this does not require a loud personality. They are always good with people, and quiet styles that give credit to others (and takes blame on themselves) are very effective at creating the loyalty that great leaders engender.

 

Although leaders are good with people, this does not mean they are friendly with them. In order to keep the mystique of leadership, they often retain a degree of separation and aloofness.

 

This does not mean that leaders do not pay attention to tasks - in fact they are often very achievement-focused. What they do realize, however, is the importance of enthusing others to work towards their vision.

 

Seek risk

 

In the same study that showed managers as risk-averse, leaders appeared as risk-seeking, although they are not blind thrill-seekers. When pursuing their vision, they consider it natural to encounter problems and hurdles that must be overcome along the way. They are thus comfortable with risk and will see routes that others avoid as potential opportunities for advantage and will happily break rules in order to get things done. A surprising number of these leaders had some form of handicap in their lives which they had to overcome. Some had traumatic childhoods, some had problems such as dyslexia, others were shorter than average. This perhaps taught them the independence of mind that is needed to go out on a limb and not worry about what others are thinking about you.

 

Conclusion

 

Leadership development is a journey Leadership and the Leadership Development Model to support leaders through this journey. to get more collaborative approach to leadership, including team-based decisions.Leadership needs to continue to evolve this approach to manage and to engage the hearts and minds of every individual in working together to achieve exemplary care, innovation and academic excellence.The Shared Responsibility Leadership Model is an approach to leadership intended as a consistent standard of practice throughout the organization.In contrast to individual leadership, some organizations have adopted group leadership. In this situation, more than one person provides direction to the group as a whole. Some organizations have taken this approach in hopes of increasing creativity, reducing costs, or downsizing. Others may see the traditional leadership of a boss as costing too much in team performance. Leaders who demonstrate persistence, tenacity, determination and synergistic communication skills will bring out the same qualities in their groups. Good leaders use their own inner mentors to energize their team and organizations and lead a team to achieve success.

 

References

 

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