The paper 'Leadership Programs Used in Contemporary Organizations' is a perfect example of a Management Assignment. Leadership as a concept is difficult to define, and literature abounds with definitions of leadership. Chemers describes leadership as the ‘ process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task’ (Chemers, 2002) Leadership is known to be one of the most critical aspects from an organizational context because an organization will never make progress without the direction offered by skilled leadership. Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Laksmi Mittal, etc have made headlines not for the high profile lives that they lead but because of the leadership abilities that have helped them take their individual business organizations to new heights.
(Bolden, 2005) So what is it that defines a true leader? Are leaders born or can they be tailor-made? Do leadership theories help organizations to develop effective leadership? Some of the giants of leadership development such as CEOs Bill Weiss (Ameritech), Phil Carroll (Shell Oil), and Jack Welch (General Electric) established innovative leadership practices.
(Bolden, 2005) Leadership, according to me is a combination of several skills. Some of these are innate and some can be acquired. It is not possible for all people who are in leadership roles to enter the job role with all the necessary skills. Hence, it is the responsibility of organizations to provide their leadership with the appropriate training and feedback to become good leaders. This essay will address some of the questions raised above by discussing several important aspects of leadership including a description of several popular theories and styles of leadership.
Leadership programs used in two contemporary organizations will be analyzed and compared to support your argument. We first look at the leadership development efforts at GE and Motorola. Next, we discuss the leadership theories that form the basis of leadership programs at these organizations. Post that we will present our arguments regarding why we think leadership theories help organizations. Leadership programs at GE (Bolden, 2005) GE is often considered a finishing school for managers who wish to learn how to lead major organizations. GE has an impressive list of former executives who have assumed top positions at other organizations, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. , General Signal Corp, Owens Corning, McDonnell Douglas Corp. , and USF& G Corp.
It is not just the top leaders who focus on leadership development, rather this is system-wide at GE. (Bolden, 2005) It is compulsory for all managers to take part in leadership training at every career stage. Emphasis is given to different skills and competencies at different levels; as a result, there is the level-specific course content. Development programs are specifically targeted at career transition points in order to help managers to better learn from their present level experiences while preparing them for leadership demands that will be expected of them at the new level.
(Bolden, 2005) Leadership development programs train managers to ‘ think small and act small’ to enable company growth. The maxim is that managing change is the best way to lead. In keeping with this maxim, GE is doing away with most of its centralized planning. (Bolden, 2005) In today’ s business environment, change is rapid and discontinuous and there is no way to effectively plan for it.
GE believes that a GE leader should be agile both in thought and action instead of making plans for the unknown and unpredictable future. A quick leadership response is key to competitive advantage. Welch made it mandatory for every business president, company officer, and senior executive – approximately 1,000 employees – to participate in seven days of change-related training over a period of ten weeks. This was the beginning of the Change Acceleration Process (CAP) at GE. (Bolden, 2005)