As part of Issue 4 of PERSPECTIVES, our annual management journal, and STRATEGY DAY 2012, we would like to address the topic of leadership from a number of different perspectives while also exploring the various elements of the question:
Power, Leadership & Purpose - Does leadership make sense?
It is a well-known fact that leadership is not the same as "management". Management creates structure, security and perfection. Leadership provides a platform for creativity, innovation, change and purpose. Companies need leaders as well as managers. That is also an acknowledged fact. Having said that, it seems like too many "managers" in recent years still work to maintain structures and processes that are of questionable meaning and purpose. There is a clear lack of "real" leaders who are able to focus and implement their managerial positions to enable change and significance. The question is therefore: Does leadership make sense? There are three elements to this question: power, leadership and purpose. Our understanding of these elements forms the basis for answering the question regarding sensible leadership. For IMP, the most important things for motivated employees, and the resulting success of their efforts, are the interpretation and use of power combined with the recognition of purpose in one’s own work, i.e., in terms of the role and direction of the company as a whole.
The first IMP COMM-PETITION, "Walk the Talk in Leadership", will therefore focus on EMPLOYEES in an operation. It’s all about looking at the individual people. How do you perceive leadership? What motivates you and what discourages you? How important is recognizing purpose in your own work?
We want to get personal insights into the world of employees.
Why is the project called "Walk the Talk in Leadership"?
"Walk the Talk" means doing what you say you are going to do. It is about turning words (Talk) into action (Walk). Sounds simple, but apparently it isn’t. Too many things that sound great in a conversation or on paper are simply not sensible or even doable. In management, even some of the best theoretical approaches are difficult or impossible to implement in practice.
From a scientific perspective there are over 220 definitions of leadership, all of which have one common core element: "All of them talk about leadership as some kind of process, act or influence that in some way gets people to do something." The central and most relevant question is therefore: To what degree can a company actually get its employees to join in on the journey? Today’s management work runs the inherent risk of being structured on mechanisms and methodologies (guiding principles) that prevent employees from understanding the purpose, direction and overall context of the company. This inevitably affects employee motivation – and ultimately management and company success.
So, to what degree does the vision of top management (the ideal vision) match the reality that employees experience? Do all employees always know about these visions, guiding principles, strategies and objectives? Do these visions, principles, strategies and objectives from "above" make it "all the way down"? Do the employees know what the company stands for? Can they identify with that? How motivating is it really for the individuals to work in the company in question? For people who carry out a task that appears totally out of step with the "bigger vision", how do they manage to continually motivate themselves? How, for example, does an assembly line work who does the same task day in and day out for years actually recognize the bigger picture while remaining motivated? Does management behavior play a role here? What other things or circumstances give employees a feeling of connection with the company? What things or circumstances have the opposite effect? How important is recognizing purpose in your own work? What role does wage play? And many more questions…
Questions like these are what interest us in this context. You will certainly come up with a few yourselves.
For more information on the project, click HERE >