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Management Essay Example: Effective Leadership in Managing Organizational Change and Innovation Process

7 pages
1740 words
Harvey Mudd College
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Presently, business trends across the world are changing fast, and the business organizations that will not embrace the change will not survive in the market. Creating a change-conducive environment within an organization is the sole responsibility of the leaders. It is not only the managers that need to be ready for the this process of change, but also the employees. The enthusiasm and ability of the employees to accept and embrace change are paramount to the success of the process. As much as the leaders lead the organizations change, the transformational energy comes from the firm's community and they will only strive to trigger and support the process. The employees resolve to support the change or resist it. Therefore, if the leaders need their organizations to succeed, then they need to prepare their staff for the change (Bartkus, 1997). So far, practitioners and theorists have designed several strategies, models, procedures, and methods appropriate for different situations but personalization is essential for each instance.

Change denotes to modify the existent shape to become a better version, while change management is the synchronization of a designed time of alteration from one position to another to attain long-term change in a business. A leader is an agent of change and he has to modify the leadership approaches according to the character and behavior of their followers. A leadership style is determined by several dynamics and may be evaluated from the manager's point of view. The success of the change process relies on the manner in which the leader collaborates with employees as well as other collaborates, on the way he inspires them to get involved in the change process (Beerel, 2009). The current paper will provide a review on how effective leadership assists in managing change and innovation process in an organization. The paper will also review how the leadership ensures that the organization continues to grow after the changes have occurred.

The Role and Importance of Organizational Change and Innovation

Organizational change denotes a collection of activities that come to modify preceding organizational behaviors, procedures, and approaches through giving some directives. Organizational change involves a set of different actions that shift the processes and or directions that influence the manner in which the organization operated before. Beerel (2009) discuss that prosperous organizational change designates the improved growth abilities of an organization that may direct it towards innovation. Discussions on this change bring out varying perceptions like whether the change is environmentally or internally provoked. In this context, Beerel (2005) reasons that organizational change has to be environmentally triggered, meaning that the reasons creating change are external to the structure to be changed. Other viewpoints worthy to contemplate is whether the change is an incremental or a radical occurrence. According to Higgs and Rownald (2005), the two types of change happen concurrently in a less identifiable and organized manner than we like to fancy.

Role of Effective Leadership in Organizational Change and Innovation

In today's trend, the emphasis is on the impacts leadership creates for an organization. Also, managers perceive leadership as a tool with boundless potential for modeling the organization, obviously through employees. The focus of the manager shifts towards the determination of leadership style or model that should lead to the desired outcomes in the organizational change (Graetz et al., 2011).

Bejinaru and Baesu defines leadership as the process of creating change, and not maintaining the existing state of affairs. This change is not enforced by the managers, but is an involvement process of the same tenacity and principles. Within the association, managers must be the ones to promote change since they have the supremacy to impact employees and inspire them to attain specific objectives. A leader of change is a person with the capability to impact and eventually alter the performances of organizations, teams, and employees; a person who impacts the dedication of any crowd in an organization (Bejinaru and Baesu, 2013).

Practically, leadership plays an integral part in executing organizational change and innovation. The opinions of favouring this point are numerous, as it follows. Hage (1999) states that "leadership is the process of inducement or example" whereby a leader induces an individual or a team to pursue objectives he holds (Hage, 1999). As per this description, the leadership approach is the manner in which the organizational change is executed. Change is en route for a result that the leader and his followers desire. The shared purpose, as well as the desired future, motivate them towards the most desirable result. A significant function of leadership is swaying the employees to come together to a mutual dream. By analyzing the opinions of specialists, it is evident that stimulation and management of the change process often need well-established leadership abilities. Guiding people through change is a demanding procedure, mostly filled with different levels of resistance. Humans have an inbuilt disposition to resisting change. And they mostly resist the radical changes, and so the leaders can overcome this (Hage, 1999).

The instantaneous opposition to change is as a result of a person's disposition, while the rejection aggressiveness results from individual taking things personally. Therefore, the first step to lowering the employees' resistance force to change is to depersonalize the issue. According to Higgs and Rownald (2005), depersonalizing the issue reduces the emotional reaction to the same, which permits, and boosts change. After the emotional reaction has cleared, the leaders and the followers can now proceed with change. The ability of the leaders to respond suitably needs five vital skills. These skills are the ability to create and maintain positive relations, the ability to show empathy, self-motivation, emotional maturity, and self-awareness. Presently, the effectiveness of a leader lies in the ability to manage employee opposition and modify their conduct towards implementing fruitful changes. While the change process has been thoroughly described, it is still a real hard task in practice. Certain changes such as incremental changes are easy to accept and implement as they are progressively and casually adopted. With time, the employees get used to these changes and become a norm, as opposed to radical changes which are harder to be accepted. The resistance to radical changes is also stronger, and that is the reason it requires true leadership skills. This type of change needs a certain level of acceptance to create enthusiasm to give up old techniques in favor of new practices (Higgs & Rownald, 2005).

In latest studies, researchers have widened the scope and arguments about the part played by the leaders in the organization to much deeper issues such as the impact of various leadership styles on the organizational change process. Varying leaders will host varying opinions about the change and innovation, therefore, will differently handle their function in smoothing implementation. The opinions, behaviors, and approaches of specific leaders should be identified, and organization support plans should consider these variances. For instance, Higgs and Rownald (2001) have studied the connection between various leadership techniques and organizational change. According to their outcomes, they present five general leadership proficiency fields related to the fruitful execution of organizational change. These areas are creating the case for change, creating operational change, involving others, executing and supporting change, as well as facilitating and developing the capability (Higgs & Rownald, 2001). The revolutionary theorists reason that championing change is the central role of a leader while all other things are secondary. A leader is considered operative if he or she flourishes to acclimatize the organization to a transforming atmosphere through endless regeneration. Identifying the causes of opposition to change, successive periods in the change process, as well as various approaches to change will significantly increase the possibility of fruitful change implementation.

Relations between Leadership Styles and Implementation of Organizational Change

Leadership techniques are like personalities or personal character traits that socially shape various behaviors. Therefore, in order to see the effects on one another, we shall evaluate how various leadership techniques relate to organizational change. In this context, there are two primary leadership approaches identified as transformational leadership and transactional leadership. The transformational type is where the leader authorizes the employees to undertake the vision of the organization, which replicates into productivity growth, work satisfaction, motivation, and personal performance. The transactional leadership approach is where the manager acts as a mediator of change and encourages the workers through processes of important modifications that enhance productivity (Judge & Piccolo, 2004).

According to research by Judge and Piccolo (2004), a primary concern about the transformational approach is whether it really impacts all levels of an organization. Here, Judge and Piccolo, (2004) suggest that it is essential to constantly oversee and back the development of human resources and improving on crucial abilities that will contribute to the success of the organization. The three change leadership skills identified are shaping behavior, framing change, and building capacity. Evaluating knowledge about leaders' weaknesses and strengths, change behaviors, as well as leadership proficiencies leads to isolating practical strategies to be employed in the change process. This observation creates a conclusion that an effective leader depends on the individual as well as behavioral characteristics to manage employees. Therefore, managers have to be impeccably conscious of the fields they are good at and those that need improvement.

The ideal arrangement of a change procedure is outlined through three primary phases, popularly identified as Lewin's model: "unfreeze-change-refreeze" (Bass, 1990). This process of change commences with "unfreezing," which is to dissolve the present structures. The organization is then modeled, and if the environment is more relaxed, the change will be implemented more easily. The last phase of "refreeze" should be known as the culmination of the change process, but not a go-back to the compact initial state. The model is Lewin's technique to restructuring a person's attitudes, feelings, perception, and thoughts. This model may be linked to a spring flow as the three phases succeed each other within the life of the organization. Reardon and Rowe (1998) examined more intensely the stages of change, and recognized what impacts each stage procedure and aligned each procedure with a specific leadership approach. It is important and helpful for agents of change to discern how to handle each phase of the process. Leaders should be aware of what they should do to complete the process of change (Reardon and Rowe, 1998). The figure 1 below shows the relations between stages of change and leadership style.

Source: (Reardon and Rowe, 1998).

Fig 1: Relationship between phases of change and leadership style

Examining figure 1, above, it is noticeable that the change process has been divided to five stages. Each stage has its main activities and impacts to be atta...

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