The role of leadership in organization is really great. Success of company mostly depends on qualities of leader. A good leader is more than half of success. Much of literature on organizational change and leadership emphasizes the notion of selling an inspirational and aspirational vision to those at every level in the organization. Let’s try to examine the difficulties, which can face the leader when trying to sell an inspirational and aspirational vision for the future, taking into account that a vision needs to appeal to and be understood by people at every level of the organization.
Leadership as a concept of classical management is ability to influence activity of individuals and groups of people in order to motivate them working for achievement of aims. Organization, which is successful, is different from other organizations mainly because it has more dynamic and effective management. Successful organization is, first of all, a strategic vision for future, whereas leadership supposes vision of future and ability to propagate it as well as motivate people. So, we can see that an effective leadership and effective inspirational and aspirational vision for the future depends on skillful motivation of workers.
Without any doubt, motivation should be different for different levels of workers. Vision – is the fourth component of “diamond leadership”. Leader combines both words of vision – external and internal (Heifitz, R., p.112). Components of vision are creativity and strategy.
There is no magic in this process: it is quite difficult, sometimes wearisome process of collecting and analyzing of information. A person, who forms vision of company, is not a magician – he is a thoughtful strategist, who is able to risk. Vision is one of zones of leader’s intelligence, which demands constant development and perfection. To tell with other words, vision is a “description of the future that is attractive because it expresses the possibility of realizing values that are important to people” (Charles Pfeffer, p.2)
Let’s see, what are the main problems and difficulties, leaders face during implementing of vision for the future in the companies.
Model of future is not attractive (or it is difficult to understand).
First of all, a leader should create an attractive vision of future. He has to work out a strategic plan, which will indicate the main stages of development. What is also very important, the vision should not be different of strategic aims of company. The vision should show, which values will be achieved during implementation process. All workers should realize importance of working together and should understand the aims of company. Moreover, they have to understand and to share your vision.
Don’t forget that people are different and you have to work with them depending on their skills, abilities and status. A good model is like a house made of cards – each card should occupy its position; when one card will fall down, it ruins the whole building. The same problem is in the company: all the workers should understand the aims of organization and its vision for the future. When a worker doesn’t understand the aim, he will not work effectively.
Insufficient communication with workers.
A good leader develops vision for the future by speaking. A good base for effective work is trust and good relations. When a leader explained to all workers, what he expects from them, he has to be opened for everybody to check results of fulfillment.
You should be more open to the workers. The effective communication favors solving different kinds of problems before they become more serious. Paola Gamonal notes that you should “raise the comfort level, make sure they know questions are always OK, your door is always (or at predictable intervals) open, and be willing to look at drafts and give feedback” (Paola Gamonal, p.3)
Actually, I suppose that this is the most important problem when trying to sell an inspirational and aspirational vision for the future. I think that motivation, ability to develop your qualities, ability to be responsible, readiness to make all efforts to achieve aims of company – all these qualities already are present in people; management cannot give those qualities to people. So, a good manager/leader is obliged to help people to realize and develop all those human qualities. A leader should be able to create such conditions in organization and to use such methods of work to help people to achieve their own aims only in case they make efforts in achievement of aims of organization.
Even from economical point of view, people are considered as extremely expensive working resource, so they should be used with maximum effectiveness. For example, when a person gets a new job, he tries to make all efforts to develop himself from the best side. When he doesn’t receive possibility to feel himself necessary, an independent worker, he becomes disappointed in his work. As a consequence, he doesn’t focus attention on quality of work, and doesn’t work effectively for achievement of main aims of his company. This is also one of mistakes, which should be avoided. So, a good leader should estimate potential possibilities of a worker, giving him a chance to realize himself.
In such a way, a leader should understand importance of ideal work for each definite worker. Such ‘ideal work’ should have: a) integrity (it means, it should bring to some definite result); b) should be considered as important and which has to be fulfilled (John P Kottler, p.115); c) should give possibility to worker to take decisions, necessary for its fulfillment (i.e. there should be a kind of autonomy, but within definite limits), – or group autonomy; d) should provide double-side connection with worker, should be estimated depending of effectiveness of his work and should bring to him fair remuneration.
When you plan work in accordance with these principles, it provides a worker with internal satisfaction. It is very effective motivating factor, because it stimulates qualitative fulfillment of work and stimulates a worker to fulfill more difficult work, which leads to increase of effectiveness in particular and increase of effectiveness of work in the whole company as well.
So, summarizing my position, a good leader should be able to provide his organization with effective model of vision for the future. The future of company depends on effective vision. There are some difficulties leader should take into account during selling an inspirational and aspirational vision for the future, which depend on external and internal factors.
Those factors include communication with workers, bad or insufficient motivation; inability to explain the vision for the future, to determine main factors and ideas of success, presenting attractive vision, to explain that important aims can be realized, to declare new possibilities. Leaders also face difficulties in speaking in ways that engage workers, to understand what is your audience and react accordingly (people are different and you should be aware that methods, which work for top managerial, doesn’t work for executives, etc). Focusing attention on those difficulties will allow you avoiding a number of problems and will help you company to be more effective.
1.Leadership, Vision and Shared-mental Modeling by Ch. Pfeffer
2. Vision – Or, Who’s Looking Out The Windshield? by P. Gamonal (c) Ravenwerks Website 2003
3.Leadership Without Easy Answers, by Heifitz, R., Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1994
4.Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail in Harvard Business Review by John P Kottler, Business Classics: Fifteen Key Concepts for Managerial Success. Harvard Business School Publishing Crop 1998