Current post-downturn business environment demands more production and service from the organizations at less cost, which in turn requires more production and service from the employees at less cost. However, the age- old dominance of extrinsic rewards makes it difficult for the organizations to get more production from the employees at less cost, which in turn sets the leadership task to achieve the same by employing appropriate leadership behavior.
This study explores the literature on leadership and motivation and reward systems to ascertain what could be the ideal role of the leaders under the context and circumstance and how they can fulfill the same, before coming to the conclusion that leaders can adopt servant leadership style to achieve the desired organizational outcome.
Introduction Rapid advancement in communication technology in the recent years has eliminated the continental boundaries and accelerated the globalization process, which in turn spread much faster than the anticipation of the business community and resulted into a far more dynamic and fiercely competitive global business environment. Where the organizations are now functioning much like complex, constantly changing and organic pinball machines, and the decisions, actors, plans, and issues are constantly rebounding through an elastic and dynamic labyrinth of cushions, barriers, and traps (Bellman and Deal (2003).
Therefore, under the changed context of business, the role of organizational leaders has become extremely important, as they are not only the captain of the ship, but also the rudder of it. This essay thus explores the role of leadership in optimizing organizational performance through appropriate literature review, fore coming into its own conclusion regarding what could be the ideal role of the leaders to optimize the organizational performance.
Background There can be no debate on the fact that the role of leaders in optimizing the organizational performance remains the same, i. E. , to bring out the best in the employees to achieve the desired organizational outcome. However, the strategy of achieving the same has to be aligned with the order of the time. For example, in the early period, when the leadership position belonged only to the people of the royal family, it was their charisma and the aura contributed greatly to their success.
Thereafter, the initiation of the democratic process prompted the researchers to search for leadership traits in common man, which culminated into the trait theory and reigned for some time, before situational leadership theory took over, as the trait theory could not match with the demand of the situation. However, situation theory too proved inadequate with time, since the evolution of the business environment brought in newer situations that required in-depth knowledge and aptitude to provide instant solution.
It was around this time the excellence theory started gaining ground all across the globe. Such changes in leadership theory only show that it is the changed context that creates the demand for newer strategies to optimize the organizational performance. Such proposition is consolidated by the fact that since the sass, the wave of “Resource-Based View” (Barney, 1991) backed by the findings of Greengage (1977), Covey (1992), Morehouse (1997), and many researchers, has even replaced the traditional financial and asset capital with human capital as the principal business capital.
Therefore, much like in the earlier times, the leaders’ Job still remains the same, i. E. , to develop the business capital of he organization. However, it now has to deal with a capital that is far more dynamic than asset or financial capital. It is here the significance of leaders’ own preparation comes to the front, as it takes a different kind of competency to effectively manage human capital, where the newer knowledge and skill set of the leaders includes human psychology, and application of such knowledge through relentless practice.
At the same time, the connotation of the phrase, “Leadership Role” too takes a new turn as one question automatically emerges from the situation – What steps should be ideal for the modern leaders to fulfill heir leadership role? To find an answer of the above, it becomes pertinent to review the expected set of leadership qualities and the qualities demanded by the current business environment. Expected Set of Leadership Qualities The basic elements of leadership are universal, such as vision, communication, and application. However it is the style of leadership, i. . , the way leaders direct the course of organizational proceedings to garner the desired outcome and which is projected through the leadership behavior, reflects the leadership qualities (Leadership 2008). Souses and Poster (2002) comes up tit five suggestions regarding the essential qualities of a leader: 1. Modeling the way: The leaders should rise to the rank of role models before their followers, and to achieve the same, they should acquire and cultivate some inspiring characteristics that would be reasonable to follow. 2.
Inspiring a shared vision: They should share their vision with the followers and convince them about the same, because that would enable the leaders to align the followers’ mission with their vision. 3. Challenging the process: They should always be eager to improve the systems and processes and should not always follow the beaten rack with the outlook to play it safe, and instead, should be relentless in improvising the process and aligning it with the goal. 4. Enabling others to act: They should believe in the fact that empowerment motivates the followers, and thus should enable the followers to act towards the benefit of the organization. . Encouraging the heart: They should try to form an emotional bond with the followers and the workplace, which are considered as important factors in enhancing productivity and interpersonal relationship. Houston and Swallow (2006) lists eight qualities that he considers leaders should try to master: 1. Intention: The leaders should be able to convey their real intention to their followers, since intention is key driver of any action. For that matter the leaders should act consciously through their body language and by depicting high moral values. 2.
Attention: They should give a patient hearing to followers to know about their needs and should be attentive to address such needs. 3. Unique Gifts and Talents: They should possess one or the other special skills and talents towards achieving goals and should always look forward to exploit the same. This practice of applying more physical and intellectual properties would revive extra edge for the organization towards realization of the organizational goals. 4. Gratitude: They should recognize and appreciate each employee’s contributions to infuse in them the idea that each member of the organization is valuable and important. . Unique life lessons: They should learn from the history and personal experience, and should exploit that knowledge to manage the present situation. 6. Holistic Perspective: It should be crystal clear that the leaders are not exploiting position for personal gain and instead, they utilizing it towards earning benefits for the organization and its members. 7. Openness: They should be open to the followers and should try to collect all information that can be utilized as ideas towards boosting the morale of the followers. 8.
Trust: They should utilize all possible ways to earn the trust of their followers and to utilize the same for the progress of the organization (Houston and Swallow, 2006). Alongside, there are many scholars and practitioners who suggest that effective leadership behaviors can improve the organizational performance, especially when organizations face new challenges like price versus performance crisis, decreasing state of returns, or the fall of existing set of competencies Buenaventura, 1997; Twice et al. , 1997; Cantors et al. 1999; McGrath and MacMillan, 2000). Accordingly, many of them view leadership as the key driver for improving organizational performance (e. G. Viola, 1999; Load et al. , 1992). Demand of the Current Business Environment From the beginning, the World Bank predicted a contraction of the world economy by 1. 7% and the richest countries by 3% by 2009 has been superseded by its latest calculation that predicts a 2. 9% overall contraction of world economy in the recent period. This definitely serves as a premonitory note to all industries.
Accordingly, the experts too are coming up with various suggestions to beat the recession, such as “customer oriented innovation,” “product, process and strategic innovation” etc. , to meet the challenge of recession, which clearly ask the organizations to control the costs, which would have long-term positive influence on operational efficiency and productivity (Woman, 2009; Miller, 2009). So it seems there is no way for the organizations except providing more at less cost to sustain and develop amid the fiercely competitive business environment.
And such proposition also makes it clear that the organizations need to get more fort from the employees at less cost. The Conflict with Traditional Systems In general, there are two types of rewards such as intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, where the elements of intrinsic rewards are mostly intangible, though they considerably influence the human behavior. The words of inspiration, public recognition, or faith or examples of others’ achievements belong to the category of intrinsic motivation.
According to Decide (1975), intrinsic rewards generate intrinsic motivation that makes people doing things with a free will where their actions do not get attached with any desire of gain. He observes that this type of motivation evokes a sense of personal causation, which is an inward mechanism that works on the plane of one’s perception and eventually acts like a guiding engine for action with free will. On the other hand, extrinsic rewards contain money, or other tangible elements that generate extrinsic motivation.
In this case there may be the situation like humans doing what they do not want to do from their heart, but they are doing for the sake of money (reward). However, it is a reality that not all humans are free from acute hardship and any possibility f earning more money can be their top priority. It is mostly because of this, right from the initiation of organizational business activity, extrinsic reward rules on and resultantly the employees too have developed a mindset of receiving incentives against any extra work.
This shows that unless such mindset is changed, it is impossible to achieve extra performance at less cost from them. What Leaders Can Do The state of affairs clearly shows that the leaders’ ideal role under the circumstance is to change the mindset of the employees regarding the reward system as well as their outlook towards performance. For that matter they need to explore at the root of the problem and find a solution that would enable them transform and align the employee mindset with the goals of the organizations.
Such proposition points at the need to review two areas, one, the mechanism of human mind, because that will reveal the clues to transform the human mind, and two, the existing style of leadership practice because the evaluation of them would show which leadership style is close to use the clues that can transform the human mind. Mechanism of Human Mind At the Core of Motivation lies three elements like consciousness, inverted and absent Quail, together they form the package of various mental states, where the consciousness has six major identifiable states like 1 .
State of awareness: Being aware of being in (Rosenthal, 1986). 2. Qualitative states: Sensing something out of something like enjoying a meal or experiencing a pain. These are referred to as ‘”quail”, which are regarded as “intrinsic, private, ineffable monadic features of experience, though modern theories of quail often reject some of those commitments” (Denned, 1990). 3. Phenomenal states: Going beyond sensory quail, and covering spatial, temporal and conceptual organization of experience regarding the world and the person’s standpoint in it. 4.
What-it-is-like states: Associating a sense of experience with another, like if there is something that it is like to be in that state. 5. Access consciousness: Dealing with intra-mental relations – like seeing a thing and eating something and then deciding on something, where there maybe or may not be any apparent relationship among the above-said three stages 6. Narrative consciousness: Being into the “stream of consciousness” that contains an ongoing, series of thoughts from the “perspective of an actual or merely virtual self” (Detente, 1991).
In short, quail can be described as a personal package of intrinsic and intricate experiences, with which humans deciphers various external signals and responds to them, where the nature of experience governs the nature of response. Likewise, someone might like cold tea and someone not for no apparent reason. Quail involve perceptual experience, physical sensations, reactions, various moods, etc. The difference in perception causes inverted quail, like one like’s pizza and the other detests it. Here the call is coming purely from within – where the person is unable to define excepting her liking or disliking.
Seemingly it has a strong connection with intrinsic motivation. On the other hand, absent quail refers to the creation of functional duplicates of the creatures that consciously perceive something. According to absent quail, if Mr.. X liked baked beans and dislikes pizza, then his absolute clone Mr.. Y would also like baked beans and dislike pizza, where Mr.. Y would not need an intricate and intrinsic package of experiences. From the organizational perspective, this can be interpreted as group behavior – where Mr.. X may be a member of Z Company and might feel motivated by cash reward and accordingly his colleague
Mr.. Y would follow the suit without having to think otherwise. Thus this denotes a hidden relation between absent quail and extrinsic rewards (money or tangible objects), and thus in the absence of one, other would not surface. However, humans’ apparently involuntary association with rewards too has its routes in their perception, the deck of which contains a master list of desire and accordingly push them to achieve that list, and both inverted quail and absent quail are colored with those desires. Thus the mechanism of human mind can be like below: [pick] Figure – 1: Mechanism of Motivation
Existing Style of Leadership Practice The above state of mechanism of human mind thus raises the question that how the leadership can influence intrinsic motivation among followers and make them consciously chasing the goal? At this point the style of leadership comes into reckoning, and anyone can take a leapfrog Burns’ observation that transformational leadership “occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and 1982 up 20-44).
Bass (1994), a disciple of Burns later came up with further realization that transformational leaders an transform and motivate their followers by making them more aware of the importance of task outcomes, inducing them to transcend their own self-interest for the sake of the organization or team, and activating their higher order needs (Bass, 1994).
On the other hand, Decide and Ryan (1985) applied attribution theory in one of their experiments, Decide and Ryan (1985) to find the outcome of extrinsic motivation, which can also be a lesson for the leaders: A group or an individual gets a reward of x amount of money for a period y, where x+y=m, m being the increased rate of production. Before that, the situation was y=z where reduction was z. Now in the absence of reinforcement and with the influence of attribution theory, the situation would stand like y-x = n, where n < z (Deci and Ryan, 1985).
Maybe the above situation prompted John (1998) to infer that extrinsic rewards cannot be a surefire way to enhance the desired level of motivation, and at the most it can produce short-term results. The meta-analysis done on the impact of reward (Cameron and Pierce, 1997) too corroborates John’s views, since it recorded negative effects of extrinsic rewards on performance under certain circumstances! Altogether, it appears that the leaders would adopt a style that would enable them the most to intrinsically motivate the followers.
Comparison between Two Current Leadership Styles In general there are two leadership styles that dominate the current business environment, e. G. , transactional and transformational style. In the case of transactional leadership style, the leader-follower relationship depends on mutual satisfaction through transaction, where both are guided by self-interest. Thus it is clear that both the parties aim to garner material satisfaction like money or rank. Thus it is also clear that the followers’ response would be based n compliance and the leader’s response would be based on self-achievement.
Further, it is also clear that the goals of the leaders and the followers fall apart (Brown & Mishaps, 2002). This obvious situation in this model was later softened a bit by introducing the Leader-Member Exchange (ELM) theory, where the leader is supposed to form a ring with competent followers, who would be empowered more than the rest of the followers and would enjoy more facility, which in turn would facilitate the process of role-making and developing different exchange relationships over time with other followers (Danseuses, Green, &
Hag, 1975). On the other hand, transformational leadership style is based on ethics and it sets long-term goals (Morehouse, 1997). According to Covey (1992), transformational leadership aims to transform people and organizations in a true literal sense, i. E. To change them in mind and heart; to enlarge their vision, insight, and understanding, besides clarifying their purposes and making their behavior congruent with beliefs, principles, or values (Covey, 1992).
The observations of Morehouse (1997) and Covey (1992) fairly indicate that transformational leadership is capable of maintaining a long streak of motivation mongo employees, since without this; long-term goals of any organization would remain a distant dream. Does that hint about transformational leadership’s extra ability garner motivation from the employees? To find the answer of the above, the challenge is to find the degree of association of transformation leadership with intrinsic motivation, since it has already been reviewed that intrinsic motivation is capable of optimizing the employee performance at less cost.
For that matter it would be pertinent to review the qualities set as the criteria of attaining the status of a servant leader (Greengage, 1977), which is the ewe God of transformational leadership. According to its mentor Greengage (1977), the servant leaders should be servant first and be committed to serve 24/7 towards achieving the desired outcome. Greengage presented 11 principles as the must-have elements in a servant leader that goes like below: Calling: Possessing an intrinsic desire to serve, and proving that through actions. 2. Listening: Possessing excellent listening skills and the ability to process the essence of others’ views. . Empathy: Possessing the ability to empathic. 4. Healing: Ability to facilitate others to give vent to their pent-up feelings. . Awareness: Knack of being aware of the events around to avoid getting misled by wrong information. 6. Persuasion: Ability to strongly persuade to get things done, instead of issuing orders. 7. Conceptualization: Ability to read situations. And wisdom. 8. Foresight: Ability to envision the future with the help of logic 9. Stewardship: Possessing the spirit to create servant leaders out of every follower by inspiring, guiding and grooming them with all possible virtues of servant leadership. 0. Growth: Possessing the attitude to getting driven by an innate desire to see the followers growing to the best of their attention. 11. Building Community: Ability to create a homely and friendly ambiance in the workplace. Figure 2: Elements of Servant Leadership The above review of the elements of the two existing leadership styles and subsequently the review of the servant leadership style clearly shows that it deals more with intrinsic elements in its leadership practice, which enables it to intrinsically motivate its followers more than transactional leadership.
Conclusion Three important facts emerge from the review and subsequent discussion. Firstly, the ideal role of the organizational leaders under the current/post- nature environment should be to intrinsically motivate them to align their individual goals with organizational goals and accordingly garnering maximum service from them with minimum financial investment.
Secondly, the review and discussion shows that intrinsic motivation influences humans a to adopt a conscious approach to any situation, and if the leaders can raise the consciousness of the employees regarding the state of current business environment, then the employees would themselves be ready to serve more at less cost. Thirdly, the review and discussion on leadership elements in the existing leadership styles clearly shows that servant leadership contains virtually all elements that are needed to raise the consciousness of the employees and to intrinsically motivate them to perform more at extra cost.
Therefore, the essence of this study can be summarized in one single sentence, that the ideal role of leaders now to fully mobile the potential of the employees. Also, they should adopt servant leadership style, which contains all elements required to intrinsically motivate the employees to produce more at less cost.