What does it mean to be a leader?
When you think of Leadership, describe in your own words what you think a leader is or should be.
Your text discusses the success of MTV and its CEO Tom Freston.
Interestingly, when asked about the success of the network, Freston gives credit to his senior leadership tem and his
employees rather than accepting all the applause for himself.
He has build a programming powerhouse partly by hiring talented, creative people and giving them the
freedom to explore, imagine, make decisions and become the best they can be. Its
Freston, though, who provides the right environment, the vision, and the direction for what MTV Network can be.
“He’s tough as nails”, said one
executive. “If you don’t perform, he’s all over you”.
What does it mean to be a leader? For Tom Freston, it
means loving what you do and infusing others with energy and enthusiasm. It means creating an inspiring vision and building
an environment where people have the ability, the freedom, and the will to accomplish amazing results.
The Nature of Leadership
Leadership is a people activity and is distinct from
administrative paperwork or planning activities. Leadership occurs among people; it is not something done to people.
An important aspect of leadership is influencing others to come together around a common vision. Thus, leadership involves the influence of people to bring about change toward a desirable
Good are sometimes followers. It has often been said “a
good is leader is one who is not afraid to go where he expect others to follow”.
Each person takes personal responsibility to achieve the desired future.
Good followers are not simply “yes people” who blindly follow a leader. Effective leaders and effective followers may sometimes be the same people, playing
different roles at different times. (Example: President and
The New Reality for Today’s Organization
The world of organizations is changing rapidly. Globalization,
Deregulation, E-business, Telecommuting, Virtual teams, Outsourcing; Business leaders need to understand this tenet more than
ever in the world of the twenty-first century.
People in organizations around the world are feeling the impact of these and other trends, and are
forced to adapt to new ways of working. It takes particularly strong leaders
to guide people through the uncertainty and confusion that accompanies periods of rapid change.
The New Reality for Leadership
Change and crisis management
Leaders in powerful positions once thought workers should be told what to do, how to do it,
when to do it, and who to do it with. They believed that strict control was
needed for the organization to function efficiently and effectively.
Today’s successful leaders share power rather than hoard it and find ways to increase an organizations
brain power by getting everyone in the organization involved and committed to a common goal.
Why has this change occurred?
50 years ago a
company’s tangible assets represented 73% of the business worth (land, buildings, machines)
- Today a company’s tangible assets represent
about 53% of the business’ worth. Rather than Land, buildings, machines,
they invest in people (information / human knowledge prevail. You can’t control information or human knowledge)
Years ago, when all the organization needed was workers to run machines eight hours a day, traditional
command and control systems generally worked quite well, but the organization received no benefit from employees’ minds.
THE NEW PARADIGM
From Competition to Collaboration
This new way of thinking moved organization from Competition toward emphasizing collaboration
From Uniformity to Diversity
Additionally, there is a trend by organizations to move from Uniformity (people who think alike, act
alike, and have similar job skills) to Diversity (people of different age, ethnic background, and work experience).
From Hero to Humble
A related shift is the move from the celebrity “leader as hero” to the hard-working behind
the scene leader who quietly builds a strong enduring company by supporting and developing others rather than touting his
own abilities and successes.
COMPARING MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
HOW WOULD YOU DISTINGUISH MANAGERS FROM LEADERS?
Both leaders and managers are concerned with providing direction for the organization, but there is
a difference. Management focuses on establishing detailed plans and schedules
for achieving specific results, then allocating resources to accomplish the plan.
Leadership calls for creating a compelling vision
of the future and developing farsighted strategies for producing the changes needed to achieve that vision.
The text compares a shift from an old to a new paradigm. The
comparison reflects a shift from a traditional, rational management approach that emphasizes stability and control to a leadership
approach that values change, empowerment, and relationships.
While the old paradigm worked well, the new paradigm requires that management also be come effective
leaders. Managers keep an eye on the bottom line and short-term results; Leaders
tend to keep an eye on the horizon and the long-term future.
SUMMARY ON LEADERSHIP
The biggest challenge facing leaders today is the changing world that wants a new
paradigm of leadership. The new reality involves the shift from stability
to change and crisis management, from control to empowerment, from competition to collaboration,
from uniformity to diversity and from a self centered focus to a higher purpose. In addition, the concept of leader as hero is giving way to that of the humble leader who develops
others and shares credit for accomplishments.
These dramatic changes suggest that a philosophy based on control and personal ambition will probably
fail in the new era. The challenge for leaders is to evolve to a new mindset
that relies on human skills, integrity, and teamwork.