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Saturday, July 6, 2013

CORPORATE CULTURE & LEADERSHIP


CORPORATE CULTURE AND LEADERSHIP
 

Each organization has its own way of dealing with corporate problems and do have their own organizational structure. The culture of the organization very much depends on the behaviour of the employees. If the employees have a strong commitment towards their organizations, the organization is said to have a strong culture and vice versa. For example, Infosys—one of top companies in the area of IT in India - can be said to have a strong organizational culture. This is reflected in its annual results.
 

It is not easy to have a strong culture in the organization. Lot of it depends on how the leaders of the organization handle their employees. Looking at this discussion, we can infer that ‘corporate culture’ is the values and beliefs accepted and practiced by all the employees of the company. To have an appropriate corporate culture, the strategy of the organization should match with it. In this section we would stress more on the role of leaders in shaping the culture of the organization and will discuss the role of leaders in handling the employees.
 

When it comes to handling people, the total personality of a leader comes into play. Managerial effectiveness is the management terminology for leadership. It is well to remember that this truth is applicable at all the levels of management—Junior, Middle and Senior. The ‘Katz Model’, shown in Figure-1 shows the relevant value of management skills at various levels. Although there have been some minor changes in the original design, it clearly shows that Human Relation Skill is consistently the biggest component at all the levels of management.
 

Figure-1 : Katz Model—Skills of an Effective Manager
 
 
 

A leader in any organization has to handle people in the following three directions: 

a) The first—is downwards—his/her own team which he has to build as an effective and cohesive group motivated to achieve the coals of the organization.

b) The second—is lateral, which involves winning the support and cooperation of colleagues over whom the leader has no control, but who have an important functional relationship with the group/organization headed by the leader.

c) The third-is a purposeful, constructive and harmonious relation with the higher authority under whom a leader functions-the boss.
 

Human nature: In order to handle people effectively it is useful for a leader to understand human nature. There are a large number of theories about it. For developing leadership potential it is useful to focus our attention on two concepts which have a lasting and practical value for learners. 


Once people are convinced that s/he is a person who knows them well and s/he truly cares about them then they would do anything for the leader. However, it requires a very major effort to know people and know them better than even their own mother, effort in terms of time, attention and genuine interest in people.
 

The difference between ‘indulgence’ and ‘caring’ should be clearly understood. Indulgence means excessive gratification-giving material things-money, conveniences and so on. Indulgence, by and large, spoils the recipients. Caring, on the other hand, is a matter of attitude—it is a quality based on unselfish love. Consequently, caring is a matter of heart and not related to material resources. A skill that often helps a leader to know and care for his/her people is the skill of communication.
 

Communication : To know people: The ability to know people is the starting point to handle them and communication skill plays an important role in this ability. These help a leader TO TELL what s/he wants done. However, some essential features of this skill relevant to knowing and handling people need discussion.

 

Most of the strained and fractured relations can be traced to the mutual breakdown of communications between individuals in a family, group, community, countries and even among the community of nations. One starts seeing only the uglier side of others and it leads to alienation. The ability to communicate, on the other hand, puts human relations on an even keel by removing misperceptions and misunderstandings. The ability has two sides:
 

The skill of expression; and

The skill of listening.
 

The Skill of Expression 

The skill of expression does not merely mean gift of the gab or cleverness with words. For a leader the skill of expression is a vehicle to generate trust. Verbal expression counts for only 30 per cent in this skill, the balance 70 per cent is the body language—expression in the eyes, conviction in the tone, the sincerity in the posture, and generally, the vibrations that a person conveys. Body language communicates the total personality of a leader, and its effectiveness depends, entirely on the strength and balance of the “Universal Inner Structure of Effective Leaders”. In genuine expression there can be no pretension. Spontaneity, straightforwardness and sincerity are far more effective than sheer command over the language.
 

The Skill of Listening 

The skill of listening means understanding and knowing the other person. It has been found that this part of communication skill is even more important, but, unfortunately less prevalent. Listen with ears and observe body language with eyes. Even nature has a design in the listen talk ratio. It gives two ears to a person, but only one mouth.
 

Listening has three ingredients. The first, of course, is the physical process of hearing what the other person is saying; this involves attention. Comprehending what the person is saying is the second ingredient, and demands undivided attention. Looking out of the window, or attending to routine papers while listening are signs of inattentiveness. Remembering what you listen is the third ingredient of this skill and, naturally, comes about only if a leader hears and comprehends what is said. The ability to listen attentively and with sympathy in which a leader shows signs of warmth, makes the other person feel that s/he is an individual and not merely a faceless part of the machine. It helps generate trust in the team. Above all, ‘listening to the body language with eyes’ gives a leader an opportunity to really know his people and their characteristics. 

Experience shows that effective communication means: 

50 per cent listening;
25 per cent speaking;
15 per cent reading;
10 per cent writing.
 

The operative part of Leadership capability lies in the ability to handle people in a manner that they give their best for a cause, organization and the task in hand. This capability depends on the strength and balance of TO BE in a leader—his/her Universal Inner Structure of Effective Leadership. Reinforcing this structure is within the reach of anyone who applies himself to this exciting endeavour with SINCERITY and WILL POWER till transformation takes place. Even while one is making an effort to improve the source of leadership a few practical hints to handle people will be of value to anyone who desires to be more effective. 


Handling people working for a leader 

Self-control : No team captain can hope to control and inspire his/her team unless s/he learns to control and discipline himself. This is a difficult task, but without it there is little chance for a man to become a successful leader. It requires a certain amount of philosophical outlook and frugality which is often associated with aristocrats and saints. Self-control does not only add to the leadership potential, it also is a source of great happiness. 

Success and Failure : It is a basic trait of human nature that an individual ascribes successes of an organization to the part played by him/her, and blames failures on the system. On the other hand, a good leader gives credit to his/her men for successes and takes responsibility for failures. This approach binds men together in a collective effort to work for the organization. 

Setting Targets : It is useful to let individuals themselves set targets for work. In this event not only are they likely to meet these targets, but even surpass them. 

Correcting Mistakes : A leader has often to correct the people who falter, show traces of weakness or fail. It is better to say “This is not what is expected of a person of your calibre and ability” rather than words to the effect “what else one could expect from a clot like you”. The first approach enhances a man’s self-respect even in failure. The second approach makes him your enemy. 

We and not you : A good leader always projects himself/herself as a part of the team and invariably talks in terms of “We” and not “You”. 

Accessibility : It is a leader’s responsibility to ensure that s/he is accessible. S/he should institutionalise the time and place for meeting the members of his team. Tragedies and illnesses are a frequent occurrence in human life. A good leader makes it a point to find time for seeing men who are afflicted to who have difficult problems to tackle. Visiting them, in case they are hospitalised, should also be a matter of priority time allocation. You win lasting commitment from people thus handled. 

Anger : A good leader does not lose his/her temper. However, righteous anger is very different from uncontrolled rage and should not be suppressed. However, special care should be taken to uphold the honour and dignity of an individual in the presence of his colleagues and family members. 

Recognition : Good and effective leaders have used the human urge for recognition with telling effect to foster interpersonal bonds with their people and to motivate them. They have scrupulously used the principle of ‘praise in public and reprimand in private’ to create an organizational culture in which people work ‘much beyond call of duty’ to maintain excellence in their organization. The real basis of making individuals feel like heroes is, of course, genuine care and unselfish love by the leader for his people. 

In the ultimate analysis, handling people is a matter of attitude. It is expecting the utmost from them while caring for them completely. It is possible only if a leader can create an atmosphere in which there is free communication. Tolerating shirkers and parasites in the name of “being human” does a great deal of damage. Fortunately, such people are few and far between, and must be dealt with strictly.
 

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