The 20th century revolutionised the idea of leadership and management. As little as ten years ago, leadership and management were clearly separated by rank, position and chain of command. Leadership was seen as something natural, which could maybe not be skilled. It was the stuff of Bill Gates and Richard Branson, the giants of technology and commerce who belonged to a very exclusive club of like-minded individuals.
These people manifested the kind of leadership that was connected to charisma, power and the ability to inspire others to buy into their vision. In the past, you needed the right connections or at least an MBA to become a leader of anywhere near that caliber. The ethos was driven by political visionaries such as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan who promoted the ideas of free enterprise and a move away from socialist economies.
It is not simple to understand what are the differences in the role of team leadership and organization leadership? As for me the roles for leaders do change, as will be explained in more detail which include: adjusting organisational structures and supports for collaborative work processes and monitoring and mediating environmental factors that effect internal operations.
After long comparison I concluded that team leaders coordinate while leaders of organization control work and work processes. As general organization leaders are its managers. The team leader’s job is to develop the business and the business strategy – e.g. formally or informally researching and identifying new business opportunities. Organization leader are more involved in setting objectives, drafting plans and implementing the work. Moving people is very much part of its role while, at the same time, organization leader must know how to motivate staff on a daily basis.
Team leaders coach and develop e.g. by setting up mentorship relationships between new entrant graduates and experienced, successful senior managers. Organization leader s on the other hand is engaged in training and managing/monitoring staff performance. The leader’s role is to renew, reinvent and replenish, while organization leader measure, evaluate and monitor. 21st century leadership is also about growing and developing self-managing teams. Organization leader are more concerned with building and managing conventional teams.
The role of leadership is required to communicate a vision of how products need to be developed and to define the desired development process objectives under this new paradigm. Is the focus on time-to market, on product performance and technology, or on product or life cycle costs? Each of these objectives will result in a different orientation for the development process. Specific goals should be established and communicated – “we will cut our development cycle by 40% over the next three years”.
Priorities need to be established – “we will focus on establishing an effective team-based approach to development before we invest in upgrading our CAD systems”. Resources and funding mechanisms for this effort need to be committed including time for personnel working on the IPD initiative, training, process improvement, and tools implementation. Will these efforts be funded by a separate budget, by departmental budgets or by development program budgets? Explicit guidance is required on objectives, goals, priorities, resources and funding mechanisms. Once the key people in the organization develop a plan of action, it must be reviewed, approved and actively supported by executive management.
Leaders must have a wide range of skills, techniques and strategies, which are the same to both organization and team leaders. These include:
Awareness of the wider environment in which the team operates
Jack Welch, respected business leader and writer is quoted as proposing these fundamental leadership principles:
There is only one way – the straight way. It sets the tone of the organisation.
Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere, has to offer. transfer learning across your organisation.
Get the right people in the right jobs – it is more important than developing a strategy.
An informal atmosphere is a competitive advantage.
Make sure everybody counts and everybody knows they count.
Legitimate self-confidence is a winner – the true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open.
Business has to be fun – celebrations energies and organisation.
Never underestimate the other guy.
Understand where real value is added and put your best people there.
Know when to meddle and when to let go – this is pure instinct.
1. Daniel. F. Predpall, ‘Developing Quality Improvement Processes In Consulting Engineering Firms’, Journal of Management in Engineering, pp 30-31, May-June 1994
2. Richard Pascale, ‘ Managing on the Edge’, Penguin Book, pp 65, 1990
3. John Fenton, ‘ 101 Ways to Boost Your Business Performance’, Mandarin Business, pp 113, 1990
4. Welch, J. (2001). Jack: Straight from the gut. New York: Warner Business Books. Samsung in bloom. (2002, July 15). Newsweek, 35.
5. Patrick M Lencioni, Jossey-Bass The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, , San Francisco, CA, 2002