A leader is a person who can protect the organisation even during a crisis. It is the foremost duty of a leader to motivate and direct the employees. They need to empower people and assign appropriate tasks to them, encourage them for self-development, and appraise their performance regularly. Leaders can be within as well as outside the organization.
For example: Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin, Doland Trump are world leaders and Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Ratan Tata, Steve Jobs are well known and famous leaders of the corporate world.
An effective leader displays the following main qualities:
• Physical strength and fitness: A leader must exhibit physical strength and stamina. He should have the capacity to work for longer hours than others.
• Intelligence: The leader should also demonstrate intelligence and zeal.
• Self-confidence: A leader should demonstrate a great deal of self confidence in the actions and decisions they have taken in order to achieve goals and objectives.
• Courage: This is a quality which enables a person to overcome danger or difficulty. It also includes the ability to take the onus for decisions and actions.
• Ability to inspire: An effective leader is one who has the ability to inspire. Hence, a successful leader must be capable of influencing people through their own ideas, actions and behaviour.
• Vision and foresight: A leader must possess the qualities of sharp vision and foresight. They should be able to foresee the trends of events to follow in future.
• Tact and humour: A leader should be tactful when dealing with people and situations and must possess a sense of humour.
• Self control: According to Lao Tzu, ‘he that controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.'
• Good sense of judgment: Leaders exhibit this quality when they find themselves in a predicament. When faced with problems, leaders take decisions trusting their instincts and sense of judgment.
• Firmness of decision: Decision-making ability is a significant trait of a leader and firmness of decisions is the essence. The decision maker has to own the responsibility of the consequences which may be unfavourable at times, but better than vacillating decisions that would yield poor results.
Types of Leaders
• Corporate-level leaders: They are top-level leaders such as Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), presidents, directors, and senior executives. Corporate-level leaders direct business-level leaders for taking and implementing strategic decisions.
• Business-level leaders: They include divisional or regional leaders, such as vice presidents, general managers, and portfolio managers, who carry out the direction given by corporate-level leaders. Business-level leaders direct functional-level leaders.
• Functional-level leaders: They include departmental heads, such as finance manager, marketing manager, and production manager. These leaders carry out the direction of business-level leaders and support employees performing specific project functions.
• Operational-level leaders: It includes leaders who undertake the responsibility of executing plans and strategies within functional areas. Such leaders guide employees working at lower levels of an organisation. Assistant managers and deputy managers are the examples of operational-level leaders.
As a consultant I would choose functional level leader for our organisation. The strategies for the functional unit relate to the business processes for that function. Functional level strategies may differ from one function to the other depending upon whether the function relates to marketing, finance, HR or production. These strategies devise the way forward for that function by realigning the business processes of the function and increasing the savings or profits. The functional units also serve to input the necessary details for the business unit level or corporate level strategies. Once these strategies are decided by the top brass, the functional units prepare action plans to implement these strategies at their level.
For functional strategies to be more effective, it is important to ensure that the organization has a sound functional structure. A good functional structure is based on the elements of clarity, specialisation, co-ordination, skill development and suitability. If the functional structure is cohesive, it contributes to better implementation of the functional strategy. On the other hand, if the employees are unclear about the function's structure, they are likely to be less productive as they are unsure about their standing in the organization. An organization can classify its functions on the basis of product departments, geographical departments, strategic business units, projects or matrix structures. In recent times, organizations are also classified as virtual corporations, team organizations and boundary less organizations.
It is important for the function to implement the functional level strategies successfully. For a successful implementation, the functional level plans should be communicated to the employees, so that their support can be gained for proper implementation. The top management should also be willing to provide guidance and support. There must be an appropriate functional structure and clear allocation of tasks for achieving the common functional objectives. The management team has to choose the relevant strategies which are suitable to the organization's structure and culture. With the support of the employees, the functional strategies become achievable. Thus, the functional level strategies provide an insight into the goals set for the different functions of the organization. They provide the outline as to how the function should act so that it gels with the overall strategies of the organization. It also enables the co-ordination among the various functions, thereby enabling the organization to achieve its corporate goals.
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