Today’s organizations do not enjoy the liberty of being stable as it faces an ever increasing change in markets, customers and technology. Organizations need to accept, adopt and implement changes in the business model in accordance with the changing trends, technologies, customer preferences and future concerns. As a consequence, these days the core business of the organization is constantly under threat from the new entrants who possess a business paradigm shift. Therefore, the organization cannot afford to depend only upon the management of individual/ a small group of executives to meet this challenge rather the organization needs to harness the ideas, skills, energy, and enthusiasm of the entire organization’s team for success through effective leadership.
Prior to move ahead, understanding the term management, top management and leadership would be vital here. “Management” is the act of getting things done by working with and through others in order to achieve desired goals and objectives. Basically, those people who manage an organization is referred as management. ‘Management consists of six functions: forecasting, planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling.’ (Henry Fayol: 1841-1925, was an influential contributor to modern concepts of management). Larger organizations have three levels of management: top level management, middle level management and lower level management. Top level management are involved in setting strategies and making decisions on organizational operations and in providing direction to the middle level; middle level management communicate the strategic goals to the lower level and; lower level management oversee the direction and work of employees. However, in smaller organization, an individual would perform all of the roles that are found in larger organizations.
The term “Top Management” refers to a relatively small group of executives within the organization that generally include managing director, chief executive officer, chief operating officer and other senior executives. Typically, top management rule an organization. In-fact they decide on the direction of an organization and set major milestones, which departments and teams need to achieve. They discuss matters such as long range planning, policy formulation and organization strategies. These specialists primarily deal with the stability, growth and survival of an organization.
Similarly, leadership is referred to the process of influencing people to perform the given tasks willingly, efficiently and effectively. As the term management and its level along with the major roles are learnt, it is very important to know that leadership is an important factor for making an organization successful as without leadership, management simply could not be effective.
‘Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and discipline…Reliance on intelligence alone results in rebelliousness. Exercise of humaneness alone results in weakness. Fixation on trust results in folly. Dependence on the strength of courage results in violence. Excessive discipline and sternness in command result in cruelty. When one has all five virtues together, each appropriate to its function, then one can be a leader.’ (Sun Tzu: The 100 Greatest Leadership Principles of AII Time, edited by Leslie pockell with Adrience Avila, 2007, Warner Books)
Leadership of a manager could convert potential into reality or prospects into clients. People usually think of organizations competing by means of their products/services, though they probably compete more by means of their leaders. Better leaders develop better employees and the two together develop better products/services. Therefore, the role of leadership in management could not be overlooked. In order to get things performed by people, management must supply leadership in the organization which influence the team for work fulfilment. Since leadership aids authority, there are limits to the use of authority in achieving high performance amongst team members. Authority alone cannot generate a favourable attitude for improved performance. Hence, leadership is essential for obtaining successful work accomplishment. If management fails to provide able leadership, informal leadership would develop which will eventually regulate the behaviour of the employees and after the certain period of time, it would definitely come into conflict with managerial leadership. When good leadership exists within the organization, it could be felt throughout the entire organization. With good leadership, organizational culture would not be forced but developed. Communication would be transparent and effective. Everyone in the organization would understand the vision and goals of the organization, and each member in a team provide inputs into how they could be improved. People would also feel that they are an important part of the organization and they would give their best of efforts for the success of the organization.
Again, the top management team of the organization controls decision making that affects every member within the organization and ultimately, those decisions affect the success of the organization. However, if the top management carefully analyze those effects, it would help the organization make changes as essential to enhance the achievement of the organization.
As the major roles of the top management includes strategy formulation, implementation of any successful strategy within the organization is totally dependent upon how much the top management is committed towards the success of the organization and this role would be evident during the implementation process. Creative problem solving, motivating employees and ensuring the organization accomplishes its objectives and goals are another areas where the top management are responsible for.
By using organizational policies, the top management establish work procedure and expectations within the organization that would ultimately generate the organizational culture. Each organization in the world runs in its own culture. The organizational culture that encourages creativity is likely to become successful rather than the one which has stifling culture resultant in difficulty for the organization to advance as such culture limits the efforts of the employees.
The organization’s vision and goals guide the employees to complete the work but in order to reach higher achievement, the top management is required to establish goals that push employees to grow. While making such goals, the top management needs to focus on the organization’s current status. Not only this, it is important to decide what achievements it wants to reach and how the organization will grow going forward as creating concrete and specific goals for the organization helps direct the workload of the employees.
Coming to the organization’s financial decisions such as departmental budget, purchase of assets office equipment, etc. are typically approved by the top management. If the employees do not have access to the resources which are essential for their job completion, then the organization’s achievement suffers. Therefore, the top management must support the employees and have a sense of what they need is better equipped to lead the organization to success.
The role of the top management is to get connected with the employees which would eventually inspire them to achieve. In fact, transparency from the top management about the organization’s future will be a motivating factor because it gives the employees a better idea of the reasons for their respective duties and responsibilities.
The success of the organization is also dependent upon capacity of managing risk factors by the top management. No organization in the world can control the economic and competitive environment around them but unforeseen events must be quickly dealt before negative financial consequences from these events become severe. Therefore, development of WHAT-IF scenario will support the top management envision possible risk and develop mitigating plans by rapidly making adjustment to their strategies to such conditions.
In conclusion, the feat of the organization depends upon proper planning, formulation and execution of the vision, mission and goals of the organization. The top management plays a vital role in achieving the success of the organization by, showing strong commitment towards the success of the organization, establishing a strong organization culture, creating a support structure and sense of achievement to the employees, transparency about the organization’s future direction, managing risk factors and handling unforeseen circumstances. The leadership aspect also cannot be ignored as, it has been observed that, better leaders develop better employees which leads to better development of the products and services.