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Having an effective leadership quality isn’t a quality that is only inherent as most might believe, but a quality that is capable of being learned over time and experience. Peter Drucker, who was branded the greatest management thinker and writer of all time by Fortune, BusinessWeek, and The Wall Street Journal, paved a pathway for other people to be effective leaders within their community, business, and overall personal lives. Drucker believed that successful effective leadership had strong human relations at its foundation, and provided a book called The Practice of Management that gives advice and guidelines to follow in order to be an effective leader. This paper will explore and analyze real life examples of effective leadership to be able to define the concept of effective leadership and human relations, explaining its different possibilities while also giving an explanation of the qualities of a bad leader, and giving opinions in the areas that I would have done differently as a leader.
Peter Drucker believed that to begin a path for effective leadership, one must work on nine particular qualities and master them, for they are the heart of effective leadership. Drucker believes that people first need to determine what needs to be done and decide the right way to do it for their company and/or organization. Through these rules, Drucker believed leaders will be hunting and obtaining the information that is necessary to be a good leader. However, information is useless if it isn’t analyzed and used properly; in other terms, information is useless if the knowledge isn’t transformed into effective action. The leader needs to “develop action plans that specify desired results, probably restraints, future revisions, check-in points, and implications for how one should spend his or her time” (pg. 200). A leader shouldn’t wander aimlessly within a business, but should generate and follow a plan where they can see the big picture and the ultimate reason to their plan. Additionally, a leader should always take responsibility for their decisions. Whether they succeed or fail in business, a leader needs to be able to either have confidence in their successes and be able to celebrate them or own up into their mistakes within their decisions, and learn from them so they can prevent it being repeated again. Also, decisions and plans are ineffective unless communicate to everyone within the business appropriately and in a timely manner because a certain plan wouldn’t go through if the particular people required aren’t aware of what needs to be done. The leader needs to be in charge of this communication process of ensuring everyone knows the details of the action plan. In this communication, it’s critical to send the message of working on a new opportunity within the business rather than branding it as working on problems, so change can be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat that one needs to be wary of. A great example of an effective leadership can constantly be in sports. For instance, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Knute Rockne, Eddie Robinson, and Paul “Bear” Bryant all have different personalities, different styles, and different overall qualities. However, they all display great leadership within their respective games despite their differences, because they are all able to incorporate successful leadership qualities while they are playing.
Even if all of the above qualities are mastered, and a communicative action plan is known by everyone in a business, it isn’t effective unless there’s a supporting positive work morale as well. Thus, many companies, such as Kimpton (hotel industry) or Shake Shack (fast food industry) focus on an employee-based workplace where the happiness and comfort of the employees are the foundation of the company’s success. Such companies have leaders who revere and understand the importance of high work morale within a business, and they implement the appropriate goals and visions for their company to ensure a high work morale is instilled within the employees’ first impression of the company. In order to be a good leader, one’s followers must be in harmony with the leader. Thus, a leader should be able to either pinpoint the right people for the appropriate jobs who have a hunger for self-discipline and tolerance for tedious labor.
Unfortunately, not every single employee is self-disciplined, and doesn’t always have a good employee morale. But thankfully there are ways to raise employee morale. According to the review of “550 studies published since 1959… [there are] nine areas in which management can take action that will have positive effects on employee satisfaction and job performance” (pg. 201). These nine areas focus on how the management can provide a reward system, allow the workers to choose their own work methods, provide support services that ensures immediate service from any technical support groups, provide effective integrity and innovation training for all personnel, ensure an appropriate organizational structure within the business by reducing the number of hierarchical levels, breaking long assembly lines and production into smaller units in order not to overwhelm the employees, assigning tasks and projects to employees, being constantly communicative by providing information and feedback, and last, but not least, by increasing the amount and types of group interactions. If a leader is able to follow these steps, he or she should be able to easily raise work morale within their business, and harmoniously work together on an effective plan for the business.
Leadership, however, doesn’t only consist of following the footsteps of Drucker and ensuring one has the practical qualities of an effective leader. One must also work on their overall human relations because even if one has mastered all the qualities needed within an effective leader, it is ineffective and useless unless it is genuine, and that won’t be so without proper human relations. Marx’s infamous theory of alienation describes how people are not only extremely unhappy, but they also to alienate themselves for their work and society because they fail to find meaning in their work, and see themselves as an unimportant addition to the mechanistic state of society. Alienation within the workplace, and alienation of self must be avoided at all costs to ensure work satisfaction, and as aforementioned, a good work morale. Through job design, an effective leader can ensure the exclusion of alienation within a workplace. The six intrinsic factors one must focus on when generating a job design are variety and challenge, opportunity for decision making, feedback and learning, mutual respect and support, wholeness and meaning, and room to grow. These intrinsic factors will ensure employees feel involved within their work and ensure that they know their input has a place within the business. “A meta-analysis of 259 studies show job design is positively associated with employee performance, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and employee retention” (Bangwal, Tiwari & Chamola, 2017) Another way that leaders can pull their workers out of alienation is by simply listening to them responsively. A common mistake made by employers is that they believe they are the only ones that need to be heard. Instead, leaders should be doing less talking and more listening so they can truly pinpoint the problems and concerns within their business.
Economy generally consists of two parties that trade the product or service they’re the best at manufacturing or generating. The United States is currently a country that is excellent at providing spectacular customer service, as it is revered and looked up to within United States more than some other countries where they revere successful products more instead. In a country where service is so critical, factors such as human relations and successful customer service play a significant role. In order for employees to have positive human relations within the work place, besides appropriate training and policies within the business, the leader must ensure that they themselves are constantly aware of the significance of good human relations. Employees look up to and follow the footsteps of their leader within a workplace. Therefore, if a leader displays qualities of bad human relations and a lack of understanding or respect for customer service, employees will not revere the significance of human relations as much as they should.
For an effective leader to have successful human relations, the leader should first attempt to see humanity within a positive nature, and assume that people are basically good. A leader who assumes people are inherently bad are going to think their employees’ mistakes are done on purpose because of personal reasons, and believe someone quitting their job or asking for a day off is to take advantage of the company, among other examples of directly assuming the worst in a situation. According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “If man is left… to his own notions and conduct, he would certainly turn out the most preposterous of human beings. The influence of prejudice, authority… would stifle nature in him and substitute nothing. We are born weak, we have need of help, we are born destitute… we have need of assistance; we are born stupid, we have need of understanding”. Rousseau was a man who believed that the humankind is naturally good, and that error and corruption are learned. Furthermore, he believed that even when a bad thing is done by a person, it’s done unwillingly, in influence of something else, and that nevertheless, humans mean to do well. With this in mind, an effective leader can pave the path of a successful work morale within the business while ensuring he or she has positive human relations with all personnel and customers, so the employees can follow in his or her footsteps.
As can be seen, although there are natural-born leaders, most effective leaders need to incorporate certain skills within their personality and work ethic prior to calling themselves a successful effective leader. The one thing that reveals how effective a leader is ultimately through real results that display high work morale within the business, employees working in harmony, and most importantly, as the foundation of all effective leadership, successful human relations.
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