Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 19

I hate to echo the chorus of those who advocate the current need for leadership, for fear of beating the proverbial dead horse. However, I think I'm approaching it from a somewhat different perspective. Several scholars have suggested that management, at least on the micro level, primarily answers opportunities and concerns for which standard operating procedures already exist. Whether these challenges present in marketing, production, human resources, or some other line or staff function, the job of the manager really consists of accurately defining the existing and the desired situations and contexts confronting an organization, and then picking the correct answers to close those gaps. Stated differently, the role of someone exercising management consists of choosing the correct processes and supervising their implementation.

Further research has suggested that although equally contextual with management, leadership primarily deals with emergent opportunities and concerns for which no one (at least within the given organization) has established a clear cut set of answers. Therefore, it further appears that those assuming leadership mantles use critical thinking skills (along with other types of analyses -- Bayesean, stochastic modeling, et al.) to both develop and implement processes. This development and implementation can take place by those in functional positions of authority or by any stakeholders in the organization who posses the expertise and the wherewithal to accomplish the required tasks, objectives, or goals.

Others scholars have argued that leadership does not go on in perpetuity. Once the emergent need subsides and a standard operating procedure applies, the leader re-assumes his or her role for standard, day to day operations. Many would also probably argue that times like these have never existed before and that these times bring with them new contexts. Therefore, it only seems reasonable that these times also bring more and greater opportunities for leadership than what has existed in the memorable past. The real questions seem to include whether any successful future organizations will let: (a) old ways of thinking, (b) old hierarchies established by political in-fighting, and (c) old "we've always/never done it that way" answers continue as the ongoing mode of operation... Or will successful future organizations rise to the occasion and look for new answers from members who might not have contributed much in the past, but who possess the expertise to significantly move these organizations forward, oth now and in the future.

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