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Last updated: 27 Sep, 2014  

Leadership.9.Thmb.jpg The arrival of leadership

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Pascal Nyasha | 19 Feb, 2013
It is interesting studying the evolution of management from the classical theorists until this time. The emergence of people like Fredrick Taylor in the nineteenth century brought in the concept of scientific management. During Taylor's time, industry was starting to develop and the need for standardisation was key. This also was the time of what I would call the hero leader. The leaders described by Taylor believed in the one right way, that is their way. Emphasis was on production and little regard was given to the people who work the factories. The workers of the time were not as educated as the workers of today hence there was no consultation, the leader was considered to know it all. This enabled them to achieve their standard need but the people's working conditions were bad. This is the reason what the industrial revolution happen this time due to the bad working conditions. With that was a realisation for the need to change.

The need to change brought in a new way of thinking mainly influenced by people like Mark Weber. Max Weber embellished the scientific management theory with his bureaucratic theory. Weber focused on dividing organizations into hierarchies, establishing strong lines of authority and control. He suggested organizations develop comprehensive and detailed standard operating procedures for all routinized tasks. Little did Weber do than to organise the scientific management and try putting a system to it. This was good for the management of the huge organisations that were emerging as industry grew but it did little to improve the conditions of the workers. In fact the bureaucracy made it even impossible to get a complaint addressed in time. Access to management became so minimal with workers having to scale many heights to get to where decisions are made. Eventually worker unions emerged and the governments took an interest in the working conditions of the workers that had not changed. This put pressure for change in the companies now big as they try to manage this new challenge from organised worker unions sprouting everywhere. The response was to try and be sensitive and that brought in a new perspective to management and human relations approached became to emerge mainly influenced by the humanist theories.

The human relations perspective and practice of management emphasised the condition of the worker and believed for the organisation to be productive, its people have to be productive also. This resulted in the set up of human resources departments and the introduction of various worker incentives. Specific thoughts became to emerge on how to get the most out of the workers. The thinking of people like Abraham Maslow became critical in the new thinking. His hierarch of needs became like a guide to management. The managers became aware of what people need to perform and various schemes to meet the human needs were put in place. Salaries became reasonable, contracts became important to ensure the security needs are met and the work place was drifting from the serious controlled environment where there was no interaction among workers to one that is social and like a family. Perspectives like theory X and theory Y became of much influence to managers. For the first time the managers' view of workers was challenged from one of suspicion of their workers to one of trust and confidence. The expressed view of managers became a determinant of performance.

This human relations period marked the advert of corporate leadership. Before it was only management and the progression has not stopped. The thinking of leaders like Peter Drucker became even of more importance in the seventies and eighties as they shaped the manager into a leader. Drucker once said, 'managers see that things are done right, while leaders see that the right things are done', quite a distinction. The new manager is required to be sensitive to the workers. He had to become conscious of how his own behaviour towards him can negatively affect their performance. The new manager had to be skilled in managing the now educated workers.

The millennium brought even greater challenges. The worker became so educated and informed. They became even more conscious of how they should be managed and led. The worker became a specialist in his own area and the manager cannot challenge them since he may not be a specialist. The worker became aware of his right and so ready to fight any threat to such. This is the time we are in now, the emancipated worker age, the knowledge worker age where workers require so much space to do what they trained with little interference. This places new requirements on the manager, which is to become a leader. The issue now is no longer on standard, the machines help achieve it. The challenge of today's leader is to keep people energetic, enthusiastic, committed and honest. A leader of today needs more people skills than have ever been demanded. The leader must be able to bring the best out of people; he must be a good motivator. With the command and control gone with the scientific management period, the leader of today depends on collaboration and cooperation of those he leaders. He had to be able to be a team builder and to foster helpful networks across the organisation. He should be a merchant of hope and keep people expecting and willing to work on that which they expect.

In your practice of leadership today, take note of these and be the model twenty first century leader who knows leadership is about people. Be the best leader you know, just be the best.

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Management with system & people
Shyamal Ghosh | Wed Feb 20 05:31:43 2013
The management theory as developed by the philosophers were well accepted by the people to run the system but, with change in the business environment, the business scenario has been becoming more volatile with competition increasing exponentially, lesser business ethics, high financial risk, change in the environmental requirement, the management theory needs deep scrutiny and review. The management system is required to be developed by involving all section of the people in the organization and this system will able to drive the business organization to achieve the objective. There is also need to continue the improvement of the system to achieve uniform growth for the organization . It is also important to integrate all the business systems under one banner and it is suggested to have Quality Management System as mother system and bring all the other functional systems ( like Strategic / Portfolio / marketing / production/ Finance / project / purchase management system ) under the umbrella of Quality management system for unidirectional focus of growth and improvement .

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