The Function of Leaders in a Corporate Hierarchy
At the top of the corporate hierarchy of today, decisions are constantly being made. In turn, these decisions affect all employees further down the pecking order. To be successful, these high-ranking members must know how to accomplish tasks by leading the people with lower accountability. These elite individuals share the distinct quality known as leadership. In the following paragraphs, a deeper understanding of the way leaders function will be assessed, specifically, the tactics and techniques they use to
accomplish their goals.
Fundamental Leadership Qualities
Before business leaders can successfully communicate and direct others, they must have their own set of ideas, values, and other key characteristics. Leaders know what needs to happen in order to win in their area of the marketplace. They are able to adapt and update their ideas when circumstances change, and also help others develop their own ideas. More importantly however, leaders carry and transmit values that provide a foundation for business ideas and, they have the ability to modify these values under changing circumstances (Tichy, 1997). For example, a leader may abandon old bureaucratic values in order to keep up with a fast paced industry requiring new, updated ideas. According to Noel Tichy, "Establishing or revitalizing values is one of the most crucial and toughest jobs of leaders" (1997, p. 20). Energy and risk-taking are two other critical qualities that leaders use to confidently direct and push their ideas and values. To motivate others, leaders must be highly energetic and motivated themselves. By radiating positive emotional energy, they are able to influence other employees to follow the example. Leadership also involves risk-taking. Leaders make hard decisions with conviction and urge others to do the same (Tichy, 1997, p. 21). These fundamental attributes provide a basis for many techniques and mind-sets that today’s leaders use.
Leaders must always have a clear vision of the business’s direction, and purpose. But, Robert Rosen points out that, " a vision is only as good as its execution." That is why leaders must always be thinking about outcomes, results, and about what it will take to translate the vision to reality (1996, p. 30). One technique, labeled "beginning with the end in mind" coined by Steven Covey, is useful to leaders who have a vision. Covey observed that peak performers and business leaders see, feel, and experience their visions before they actually begin to realize them. They begin with the end in mind. Before a sales confrontation, speech, or any daily challenge, leaders repeatedly visualize it clearly. They create an internal "comfort zone" to carryout any task with ease (Covey, 1989, p. 134).
In most situations, leaders must share their visions before they can actualize them. Rosen proposes a four-step process to create a shared vision. First, he must know...