6c.Leadership

continuation of page 6b. Motivation 

6.1.      The base of the triangle of supervision is leadership which is vital to the survival of a business. As organizations have grown in size and complexity and the expectations of the organization’s many clients have increased, the requirements for a better leadership have multiplied. The technical, economic, social and political characteristics of the operation of a business organization evoke continuing need for innovation, creativity and imagination expected of the skilled leader.  

6.2.      Men capable of exercising effective leadership in business organizations are in short supply relative to the tremendous need for them. Leadership-ability is a valuable commodity, and those, who can demonstrate that they possess it, command high salaries in the private sector. Unfortunately, in the public sector, this quality has not been given its due importance.   

6.3.     In some organizations, weak leaders have been tolerated in the false belief that a strong organization structure could supplant their weaknesses. Some organizations accept weak leaders but attempt to surround them with strong men to support them. Marshall E. Dimok, an eminent scholar and author of many books on personnel management, writes “A serious and common mistake is to assume that a weak man in a pivotal position can be bolstered by surrounding him with one or more persons of capacity, making it necessary for several to do what the top man should be able to accomplish alone. Almost without exceptions this make-shift fails”.  

6.4.      A further explanation of the shortage of leaders is the fact that the leadership can be learned or developed best under favourable conditions in an organization which its present leaders too often fail to provide. The conditions under which leadership skills flourish must be created intentionally by already existing leaders. They must create the proper climate in which leadership thrives. The climate most conducive to leadership is one in which first line supervisors find frequent opportunity for practicing leadership skills under the encouragement and direction of a competent superior.  

6.5.      Authoritarian Leadership           The Employees at all levels in a business enterprise evaluate their jobs and their organizations, at least in part, according to the degree of authoritarian behaviour their Supervisors exhibit. An authoritarian leader is one who gets others to do as he directs with little or no scope on their part for influencing the decision. This system is prevalent in a large majority of organizations in our country. To get the results, an authoritarian leader may use fear, threats, either actual or implied, the authority and prestige inherent in his organizational position, or the vigor of his own forceful personality. He strongly insists on getting his own way, feeling little or no need to know the ideas or feelings of others. Often, the authoritarian leader takes credit for accomplishment but puts the blame for failure on his followers.  

6.6.      Democratic Leadership           Democratic leaders operate much differently. They seek to lead mainly by persuasion and example rather than by force, fear, status or power. They consider the opinions and feelings of their followers, make them feel important, and attempt to put group and individual goals above their own personal objectives. They encourage participation in decision making. Research evidence proves that the democratically-led group is likely to be superior in its accomplishments to an authoritarian-led group. Difficulties arise when a Supervisor uses participation of the Employees as a shield. Instead of making a difficult decision, he can delay it by keeping it before his group. He can also abdicate responsibility for it on the grounds that his group decided.  

6.7.      Organization Needs           Todays business enterprise is dynamic. It seeks to grow in size, scope and importance. The kind and extent of this growth depends on establishing and maintaining a competitive position among other companies in the industry. In the clash of marketing strategies, product development, and competition on costs and prices, creative and imaginative leadership makes the difference between destruction, survival, or healthy growth. Without effective leadership a business will be plodding and uncertain. Every business organization needs strong and able leaders at all levels, not just a strong president but strong foreman and middle managers as well. The basis for this need is that the members of any business organization cannot respond effectively to dull, lifeless and unimaginative leadership. Under such leadership their full powers will not be tapped. Abilities will lie idle, ideas will go untried, and the business suffers.  

6.8.      Leadership and Productivity           The role of the Supervisor, in motivating the Employees for increased productivity, is clearly one of operating partially through his own behaviour and partially through communications and incentives. How much the Supervisor can do by way of job design or developing team cooperativeness to reduce monotony depends, to some extent, on his influence with general management and on his imagination and initiative. Developing work-team not only increases satisfaction in the job but in some circumstances produces feelings of satisfaction from working harder. The Supervisor can assist his Employees as individuals and groups in establishing goals, following progress, and achieving goals in production. And by his relations with the Employees on the job, he can serve as a stimulating and motivating force.  

6.9.      Leadership and Administrative Ability           Leadership is not necessarily synonymous with administrative ability. A Supervisor may be capable administrator in the sense that he gets the job done at a reasonable cost. He may do a superb job of running things smoothly. Yet there may be something lacking in his leadership. Perhaps he does not have talent for trying out new ideas or the skill of unlocking the doors to the last ounce of cooperative effort from his Employees.  

6.10.   Supervisory Leadership 

6.10.1.Supervision is a function of every executive or manager at every level, but at the lower levels of organization, supervision is one of the predominant tasks. First line Supervisor has immediate responsibility for the largest group of Employees in the organization. He is the first level of management above the rank and file Employees and hence he performs a vital leadership role. Management training should be devoted extensively to improving the leadership and human relations skills of first line and middle level Supervisors. 

6.10.2.The first-line Supervisor occupies a strategic place in the hierarchy of our organization. As management’s representative at the point of immediate contact with employees, and as employee’s first point of contact with management, the first-line Supervisor is a vital link in the upward and down-ward flow of communications. The extent to which the work is done and the quality of that work, are primarily under his influence.  

6.10.3.The first-line Supervisor is often a key individual in the lives of men who work for him. To the extent that he earns their confidence as a leader they depend on him for ideas, information, suggestions, approval, guidance and even criticism. They look to him for decisions, for timely information, for friendly counsel and for answers to questions that arise. They expect him to be fair and to use common sense in working with them. In some organizations, there is considerable antagonism between the Employees and their first line Supervisors. Resentment and anger are expressed toward him which are conditioned by general organization conditions, policies and values, and by their own experiences with particular Supervisors. The first-line Supervisor is the distributor of rewards and punishments and hence may elicit positive or negative feelings on the part of the Employees.  

6.11.   TOP MANAGEMENT AND SUPERVISORY LEADERSHIP           One of the most important needs of the Supervisor’s job, that also comes within the general management purview, is for adequate time to perform it’s many functions. Top management has often been unaware of the amount of paper work required, and of the miscellaneous time-consuming duties that fill the job. The first-line Supervisor needs to have time to help his Employees in addition to a real interest in doing so. At the same time that the first-line Supervisor is dependent on top management for effective functioning, he is in a position to influence his superiors and thus aid in the productivity of his unit.  

6.12.   ROLE CONFLICT           The overall problem of the first-line Supervisor in management today centers on a basic conflict in the role which management expects him to play. Two kinds of pressure converge upon him, pressure from the Employees and pressure from higher management. These two pressures produce conflict because they confront the Supervisor with two sets of expectations which he often sees as conflicting. The management he represents puts priority on higher output, lower costs and meeting exacting production schedules. Management also tends to define a good Supervisor not merely as one who can get a high level of performance from his Employees, but also one who is completely loyal to top management. On the other hand, the Employees expect the Supervisor to put a high priority on sympathetic understanding of their problems and on considerate treatment of their personal needs. Most Supervisors find themselves ‘caught in the middle’ at one time or another. It is possible for a Supervisor to belong to his management group and to his own work-team without excessive conflict and dissatisfaction, provided that management recognizes the existence of the bid for dual loyalties and does not attempt to capture the exclusive loyalty of the first-line Supervisor.  

6.13.  THE SUPERVISOR AS A LEADER           Much of the work crowded into a first-line Supervisor’s day has nothing at all to do with leadership. He processes records, holds meetings, scans reports, monitors production and engages in many ohter activities having varying degree of relationship to leadership. To fulfill his leadership functions his total job requirement should be conducive to that end. A central element is top management’s understanding of the Supervisor’s problems. This understanding is pre-requisite for designing policies and programmes which will reduce areas of conflict between management and first-line Supervisors and will enable the Supervisors to pursue a course of leadership in which they can feel more confident in what they are doing. In a real sense, the first-line Supervisor is an Employee and is governed by the same motivating forces and influences as any other Employee. He regards his relationships with his superiors as important. He wants what he calls a good job, that is, adequate pay, fair treatment and good conditions of work. He wants recognition and status, and he likes to see evidence that he is a member of the group. Whereas his subordinates have a union to make sure that their complaints are heard, he has only his own resources in communicating with top management. It is unrealistic to expect the Supervisor to develop adequate relationship with his men unless relationship also prevail between himself and his superiors. 

7.         INFERENCE            Communication, motivation and leadership are thus very important members of the “Triangle of Supervision” and special attention to their design , constitution and application will definitely give rise to a stable “Triangle of Supervision”, a management relationship good for the both, the Supervisor and the Employees.

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