In the pursuit of their objectives, all organizations rely on the efficiency and effectiveness of several kinds of resources.
Some organizations emphasis their uncial resources, others rely on the sophistication and might of their hardware and technology, while others depend heavily on the quality of their workforce and employees-2 The RAFF relies on a balance of all of its resources in order to meet its mission, but arguably, the most important resource of the RAFF is its people. People design, operate and repair technology, control and manage the financial resources, and manage other people in the organization. 3 2.
Many texts have been published over the years dealing with the theory and application of human resource management, organizational behavior and leadership. Texts deal with such topics as motivation and morale, and a common area of debate concerns the relative importance of management and leadership in optimizing the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization’s human resources. In his article Dieback to Basics’, and in a subsequent Chief of Air Force’s Message to Commanders, Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Errol McCormick outlined some of the important things he intended to achieve for the members of the Air Force.
In Kickback to Basics’, he wrote: To conduct effective air operations we need well trained and motivated people with skills in all areas that support operations. 3. In the message to commanders, AM McCormick wrote: view morale as the cornerstone of success for the achievement of our missions and Our vision to be a combat-focused force, structured for war and trained to win will only be achieved if all members strive for the highest standards of esprit De corps, professionalism, flexibility, dedication, courage, excellence and ethical conduct. 6, 7, 8 4.
The responsibility for improving morale, fostering esprit De corps, and promoting excellence in an organization is that of management, but this can only be achieved through effective leadership. This essay will argue that effective leadership is essential to managing the ever-changing Air Force into the future. It will argue that without effective leadership, management cannot successfully enable the RAFF to develop and maintain the qualitative edge as a combat ready force. 9 5. The aim of this essay is to argue that management is not more important than leadership in today’s RAFF.
Definitions of management and leadership will be provided. Arguments will be presented supporting the proposition, and counter-arguments and a rebuttal of each will be provided. DEFINITION OF TERMS 6. Most definitions of leadership contain certain common elements, and Norman Dioxins definition is synonymous with most general definitions. Leadership is no more than exercising such an influence upon others that they tend to act in concert towards achieving a goal which they might not have achieved so readily had they been left to their own devices. 10 7. Leaders may be appointed, or they may emerge from a group.
However, leadership is more than supervisory authority or formal authority. It consists of influence that extends beyond the usual influence that accompanies an appointment. Leaders can influence others o perform beyond the actions dictated by formal authority. 1 1 Competent leaders do many things. They develop trust in their subordinates, peers and superiors; they focus effort on tasks and objectives; inspire confidence; set the example; and motivate others. 12 8. Management is the process of getting activities completed efficiently with and through other people.
The process represents functions such as planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Managers are appointed. They have legitimate powers, and their ability to influence is founded on the formal authority inherent in their positions. 13 9. Writers, speakers and consultants alike have thoroughly analyses the difference between leadership and management. Some think of leadership as being associated with the role of a manager, noting that the leading aspect of management involves possessing and exercising those traits and behaviors that are associated with leadership towards the achievement of organizational goals.
However, some suggest that leading and managing involve separate and distinct behaviors and activities. Dry James N. Afar teaches his clients to manage things, but lead people. He teaches to manage financial ratios, inventory, processes and information; and lead people, their perceptions, mindset and motivation. 14 Fear’s teachings however, support the view that management and leadership go hand in hand. Through effectively leading and motivating people, a manager will be able to more effectively manage processes and information which relies on human factors. 15 10.
It should be noted that a manager might not necessarily be a group’s leader. While a group’s manager performs planning, organizing and controlling activities, the real leader may actually be one of the subordinates. Similarly, a group’s head may be a great leader, but others in the group may reform the management functions of planning, organizing and controlling processes. 16 Thus, leadership can exist on a formal or informal basis and is not always associated with management and command. MANAGING CHANGE 11. Change in an organization can occur in three broad areas; the organization’s structure, technology or people. 7 The RAFF has been subject to massive reorganization for about the last 10 years. 18 From the Force Structure Review (FSP), through the Review of Air Base Support (ARABS), to the Defense Efficiency Review (DEER) and Defense Reform Program (DRP), the Air Force has continually hanged in structure and reduced in manpower without lessening operational capability. 12. The forces that created the need for change have come from various sources, some internal, such as ARABS, and some external, such as Government pressure to initiate the DRP.
But regardless of the origin, magnitude, or final outcome of changes to the RAFF over the past decade, there has been one common factor in all the changes. They have all affected the Raffs people in some way or another. 13. Niccole Machiavelli wrote in his work II Principle (The Prince): It should be borne in mind that there is nothing more official to handle, more doubtful of success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating changed Men are generally incredulous, never really trusting new things unless they have tested them by experience. 19 14.
Machiavellian thoughts still endure after nearly 500 years, and will continue to do so for many more because change, no matter what it is, always relies on human factors. Humans implement, manage, and most importantly, have to accept change for change to be successful. 15. One could argue that the RAFF has managed change over the last decade with full regard to the latest management practices. As new and proven management systems were publicized and popularized, the RAFF embraced and taught Total Quality Management, implemented ISO 9000 Quality Systems, and restructured the Force so that non core tasks could be outsourced.
The downsizing, restructuring, and reorganizing was all required to maintain levels of capability within a constant resource base, and the RAFF now has a sound management framework in place from which it can launch into the 21st century. 16. Yet, discontent remains. The RAFF is experiencing personnel shortfalls in critical areas resulting from increased separation rates. Many members are required to work long hours, and do not receive recognition for a job well done. Members don’t understand where they belong in the organization and some don’t even know who their boss is.
As AM McCormick identified in јBack to Basics’, morale is low. 20 17. The Commander’s and Manager’s Guide to Leadership and Management provides some wise words that are reflective of Machiavellian thoughts. Leadership is essential for organizations undergoing change – without it people become confused, afraid or resistant to the changes. 21 18. The guide acknowledges the difficulty in initiating hanged due to the human factors of fear and resistance, and it is these human factors that must be addressed in a changing organization. Management practices that can lead to a more motivated workforce can include material reward.
Fame, fortune and glory can be effective motivators, but motivators of this type are not in abundance in the RAFF. Robbins, Bergman and Stag document techniques for managing change and improving motivation throughout change that include reducing employee stress, stimulating innovation and creativity, making people feel important in the organization, and enacting cultural change which alters people’s attitudes, expectations, perceptions and behavior. 22 19. However, no amount of restructuring, new technology or new management systems will cause these things to happen.
It is only effective leadership that can motivate the hearts and minds of men and women. The RAFF needs a motivated, professional and competent workforce to operate within the new management framework. It is the people of the RAFF that will operate and maintain the technology, manage processes and systems, and lead others in the pursuit of the RAFF Goals, and it is effective leadership from all angers in the Air Force that will cause this to happen. DOES LEADERSHIP MATTER? 20. There are situations when leadership in an organization can be rendered somewhat irrelevant.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that in many situations, certain individual, job and organizational variables can act as a substitute for leadership, thus negating the influence of the leader. Characteristics in personnel such as experience, training, professional orientation, or personality traits can neutralize the effects of leadership-23 It is difficult to imagine a brand new junior officer arriving at a unit being able to effect such influence upon his or her subordinates that those subordinates, with years of experience and professional competence will work harder, happier and more effectively. 1 . Some jobs do not require effective leadership to be achieved. Jobs that are unambiguous, routine, or are simply enjoyable can be achieved without the influence of a leader. 24 Certainly, there are jobs in the Air Force that are intrinsically enjoyable and fit this category. One such is that of a fighter pilot. In five years at RAFF Base Williamson I have never met a fighter pilot who did not love his job. Leadership may also be negated by organizational characteristics such as explicit goals, rigid rules and procedures or cohesive work groups. 5 22. But the argument that certain personal traits, job traits, and organizational structures can negate the influence of leaders does not always apply. Regardless of how much fighter pilots enjoy their work, the RAFF is critically short of fast jet pilots. Pilots are leaving in droves to join SANTA, fly in the Middle East, or are leaving aviation altogether for a totally new life. Other highly skilled and experienced personnel are becoming discontent with change, ND are uncertain of their future in the RAFF. 23.
One way to learn whether leaders have an impact is to study the effects of leader succession. Research on the consequences of leader succession suggests that group performance can either be enhanced or impaired by succession. 26 have witnessed the effects of leader succession at No. 77 Squadron over the past few years. The squadron was transformed from Malfunction Junction’ (as it was known) into the winner of the Kitty’s Trophy for most proficient fighter squadron in just one year. This was primarily due to the excellent leadership of the new Commanding Officer and
Senior Engineering Officer. Unfortunately, I also witnessed the subsequent slide back to the days of Demodulation Junction’ as a result of further leader succession in Maintenance Flight D the result of poor leadership displayed by the next Senior engineering Officer. THE PROFESSIONAL WARRIOR 24. Before the onset of high technology and specialization, the standard for those in the profession of arms was to be a warrior. 27 Professional mastery, leadership and the warrior spirit were what was required to win wars, but times have changed.
The role of many in the today’s Air Force is to manage projects, privies maintenance and production, administer programs, and develop new management initiatives. 28, 29 Specific technical skills along with management abilities such as financial management, interpersonal skills and the ability to manage human resources are important to ensure the best results can be achieved with the Raffs limited resources. 30 Unfortunately, far too often these modern roles are seen as all that is required in a modern military professional.
This leads to an organizational culture where the peculiarities of the military are forgotten in the pursuit of best commercial practice. 25. The RAFF has not been involved in a serious conflict for decades, and a peacetime culture has grown in the organization. If the RAFF did not have to worry about being prepared to conduct war, it may well be able to operate without effective leadership as a peacetime-only organization. But to operate effectively in wartime is a totally different matter. Under combat conditions, leadership is still required to affect the necessary outcome in battle C] victory. 31 CONCLUSION 26.
The aim of this essay was to argue that management is not more important than leadership in today’s RAFF. The essay argued that effective leadership is essential to managing change, and that without effective leadership, no amount of management change or new initiatives can enable the RAFF to develop and maintain a combat ready force. 27. Human resources were identified as the most important resource in the Air Force and were identified as central to all that makes up and shapes the RAFF. People design, operate and repair technology, control and manage processes and resources, and manage other people.
People initiate, implement, and most importantly, have to accept change for change to be successful; and to change the mindset of people requires leadership. 28. This say has demonstrated that while leadership may be rendered irrelevant in some organizations due to certain individual, job and organizational variables, this does not necessarily apply to the RAFF. The example of the effects of success IANAL leadership at ASSN are no doubt not unique, and show that leadership can affect an organization rapidly and dramatically, be it in a benign or active change environment. 9. Finally, this essay argued that although the RAFF has conducted business in a peaceful environment for many years, the RAFF must still rely on effective leadership in times of real hardship, stress and pressure associated with conflict. To ignore leadership in favor of best practice corporate management systems, removes all chance of effectively operating as a combat force. 30. Leadership will motivate the men and women of the RAFF to achieve their objectives in peace and conflict.