Best Practices: Leadership and Management
In this essay, the contemporary “Best Practices” that are continuing nowadays in the areas of Leadership and Management and consequently making a difference for organizations and managers in today’s world have been discussed. Suggestions have also been made on how managers and leaders today can practice the best options and achieve better results for both the organization and themselves.
A best practice can be defined as “a management idea which asserts that there is a technique, method, process, or activity that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, or activity” (“Definitions of Terms and Explanations of Best Practices, Guidelines, Standards, and Norms that Pertain to Repositories”).
In the contemporary era, the success of an organization is mainly determined by the skillful management, particularly the management of the workforce of the organization. And this is true for all types of organizations and industrial sectors (local or international). According to the research in this field, if the organizations today wish to be successful then it is indispensable for them to have proficient, skilled and competent managers (Whetten, 2011). If truth be told, the most important asset that an organization can possess is a top management talent. It has been acknowledged by a majority of the organizations that it is their workforce that has enabled them to be successful in achieving the pursued goals (James & Burgoyne). It is rather obvious that “financial investment, technical knowledge, access to markets, political impetus, professional expertise, quality equipment, convenient locations” (James & Burgoyne) are needed but these cannot help an organization to be successful without the creative and effective utilization of these resources by the staff members. However, the employees including those in senior management require constant encouragement and support for the effective usage of the mentioned resources. In today’s modern world, no organization can produce top-notch results if its top team is mediocre. This simply means that the skills and aptitude of the top executives is the main ingredient for supporting and developing the whole workforce. It won’t be incorrect to conclude that the future of an organization is mostly dependent on the kind of leadership (director(s), executive(s), manager(s) etc.) it has (James & Burgoyne).
Leadership: Challenges and Dilemmas
From globalization to innovative technological advancements in the 21st century, leaders are faced with a number of challenges. Such multifaceted challenges have placed new demands on businesses and companies indicating that there is no place now for old and conventional practices as they are inadequate to meet the contemporary demands. New and fresh capabilities are created as leadership is developed. However, the organizational leadership is developed for driving strategic change. The existing leaders then engage themselves in selecting the potential managers/leaders on the basis of their personally-defined best skills. Although it is a good practice for leadership development, it leaves the organization at the risk of unintended recreation of kind of leaders that are already in the organization. The good thing is that this problem of cloning can be solved with diversity management as diversity at workplace is the most important issue as far as leadership development is concerned (James & Burgoyne).
The contemporary world today has driven every organization, big or small, to find out methods for guaranteeing that their workforce is prepared and stable according to the modern requirements. They explore such ways due to the existing “dizzying economic conditions, changing demographics, an impending “brain drain,” and a need to enhance employee retention levels” (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”). This is the reason why a number of organizations are doing their best to employ best practices that can enhance their chances to achieve their goals successfully. Though every organization face different challenges, the following best practices are facilitating more or less every organization on its way to success. These best practices are employed in leadership and management trainings and programs to achieve world-class outcomes.
1. Identification of People Who Can Participate in the Program
The organizations today are not follwing the programs that are based on the notion of come-one, come-all. Instead, the authorities are taking a more definite approach for matching highly skilled and competent staff members with “development initiatives that tackle very specific strategic business issues” (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”). In simple words, programs are designed for the selection of only those highly-proficient employees who possess the maximum potential for influencing business initiatives.
2. Basing the Program on a Model of Competency
It is exceedingly important before the occurrence of any training or development programs or activities that the skills and comentifpetencies resulting afterwards be identified. The managers and leaders are trying their best now a days that they devise such programs that instigate and develop basic and important leadership skills in the trainees such as “communication, critical thinking, negotiation, decision making and business ethics” (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”). Thus, the best approach is to base the training and development efforts on these grounds.
The organizations that seriously seek success are establishing such competency models and are spending a major amount of the time to elaborate the skills that are expected to be developed in the participants at the end.
3. Senior Management Involvement
The involvement of senior management is also one of the practices that have unique and fruitful results. This is because no program for development of leadership cab be successful or successful enough if there no encouragement or and involvement from those who enjoy executive positions. For this reason, organizations today are involving the top management for curriculum development, participants’ selection and program/activity presentation. Therefore, it is advisable too that executive support must be taken if the program/activity is to seek success for long-term (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”).
4. Blended Learning
For efficient and effective outcomes, organizations today also devise such curriculum that can help them in making an audience-specific leadership development program. For doing so, participants are provided with relevant and interesting learning content that is also suitable for their knowledge and levels of experience levels of the participants. A good practice is that new managers are not given the learning content that is meant for experienced managers. Most of the organizations are also making use of “e-learning content with interactive group exercises, work samples, expert feedback and performance support” (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”). These mentioned activities produce exceptional results in the end for both the individual and organization. Thus, learning programs and practices that are structured well and engage the participants in blended learning are beneficial in a number of ways and consequently produce the required skills and efficiency in the potential managers (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”).
5. The Significance of Financial Acumen is Not Understimated
The research and findings in the conventional forms of leadership and management revealed an astonishing fact that a good number of managers and leaders did not have any knowledge or understanding of the money-making and expenditure ways of their organizations. This was because individuals were frequently given better positions even if they had no primary knowledge of terminologies used in finance or its importance for their work. However, the leaders and managers today have now recognized the importance of models that are related to their relevant businesses and economy and metrics used for managing finances. This acknowledgment is a result of the realization that such knowledge is really important for the persistent success of the organization. Thus, every decision made by the executives is directly influenced by this knowledge. This is the reason why businesses and organizations today have made it a practice to make financial acumen an indispensable competence (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”).
6. Integration of Feedback, Planning for Growth and Mentoring
One of the major practices going on in the field of leadership and management is the use of 360-degree survey tools that help in the provision of feedback. This makes it possible for the leaders to be aware of their strong characteristics and areas where improvement is needed. When the concerned supervisors of the participants give response, it becomes easier for them to make changes in the respective areas. Moreover, the deliverance of feedback is matched with prospects for one-on-one teaching. As a result, it has become an expectation that the participants would develop plans individually to improve their skills and required aptitude. Such individual development plans help participants to catalyze the ongoing endeavors of management (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”).
7. Action Learning
This practice of learning is employed for making the participants learn by contemplating on the issues they face in their lives which also have an effect on their organizations. This practice enables the fellow workers to work on a problem mutually for the attainment of an initiative related with the work. As a consequence, this approach of action learning is making it possible for the participants to exercise and employ new skills, carry out tasks with cooperation and give and receive feedback from the colleagues (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”).
8. Gradual Adjustment, Adaptation and Improvement
It is not an untold secret that no leadership or management training program is a success in the start. This is the reason why companies today tend to work towards the persistent modification of the leadership programs after receiving the feedback. This is exceedingly important to base new programs on the feedback that is not only provided by the participants but also from their supervising managers. Continuous transformation of the program helps in meeting the organizational needs (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”).
9. Outcomes’ Measurement and Following
The organizations today that are employing the mentioned practices for developing leadership and management also use a number of tools for the measurement of the impact of the pursued training/program/activity. The assessments that are recorded before and after the program are used for measuring the improvements in the skills’ area. Feedback tools help in the determination of alterations in perceived skills. The success of a program can easily be observed by having a look at the number of participants (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”).
When leaders and managers of the modern era make the decision to assess the results of ongoing endeavors for development, they establish measurements before the beginning of the program or activity. This practice facilitates them in making correct adjustments for the programs that are to be conducted later. Not only this, it also aids them in the demonstration of the effects their efforts may have on future goals and policies (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”).
This application of the best practices to the unique situations has brought significant positive changes for leaders and managers today. The development programs aimed to boost leadership and management have been really helpful in feeding, encouraging and energizing the power of people at organizational level. Although it takes a lot of time, energy, efforts and financial aid for structuring and maintenance, it is worth it. The employees having high positions are also involved and their visibility makes the programs and practices crystal clear. Thus, having knowledge of best practices has been fruitful for the people and organizations who have practically done their best to achieve success (“Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices”).
To cut a long story short, there are a number of best practices that leaders and managers today are employing to get the best results. In the globalized world of today, the change is inevitable and accelerating at a high pace. This has compelled managers and leaders to help their followers in the interpretation on the meaning of multifaceted events. Not only this, the employees are also told about the relevancy of events and future risks and prospects. Another practice of effective leaders is that they make an alignment and connection between the goals, preferences and policies. Having a positive and optimistic attitude is really essential in the contemporary world of business as organizations continuously face hurdles and negative results. Only those companies are achieving success where the leaders are increasing employees’ enthusiasm towards work and developing a positive attitude in the followers (Yukl, 2010).
The leaders and managers are meant to develop cooperation and trust among the employees under them. Thus, nurturing of the mentioned characteristics have developed in people an understanding of each other that has promoted diversity acknowledgment and appreciation. Thus, best practices of management have helped employees to face and find solutions to disagreements constructively (Yukl, 2010).
Most leaders and managers today understand that in order for a group or organization to be effective, collective identity is to be strengthened. For doing so, they facilitate employees in the creation of a unique identity. Moreover, only those leaders and managers are proving to be effective that are helping people getting organized for the accomplishment of collective tasks in an efficient manner. One of the best practices that are also being employed by a number of managers and leaders today is the encouragement and facilitation of collective learning. The stability, success and survival of an organization are largely dependent on learning on a continuous basis as there is high competition out there in the world. This is why leaders and managers need to stress on the importance of collective learning and must initiate ways for the mutual cooperation and coordination of employees so that common goals may be achieved in a successful manner (Yukl, 2010).
Other best practices that are going on right now include the attainment of important resources and support from external parties. Managers and leaders now understand that the sustenance and prosperity of their organization is dependent on appropriate and strong relationship with outside parties. The outsiders and those at supreme positions are needed for obtaining means, authorizations, support, and political maintenance. Thus, for the effectiveness of leadership, supervisors are promoting and looking after the concerns of unit and facilitating the followers in obtaining essential resources and help. Moreover, the people working in majority of the organizations today are being developed and empowered by the leaders (Yukl, 2010).
A good leader very well knows that he should empower his employees in order to achieve better results. This is the reason why organizations today are encouraging all their proficient employees to take active part in seeking out solutions to the contemporary problems and make appropriate decisions according to the situations. The leaders and managers are also encouraging their employees to develop the required skills so that they can also get themselves prepared for undertaking influential roles and cope with revolutions (Yukl, 2010).
To cut a long story short, it is the responsibility of the leaders today to show their best intentions by “encouraging people to import best practices from external sources, encouraging and funding internal efforts to develop innovative ideas, encouraging and facilitating the use of systematic procedures to determine which ideas are worth developing and implementing, providing appropriate recognition and rewards for creative ideas, encouraging diffusion of good ideas and new knowledge throughout the organization, planning and guiding the implementation of innovations, and promoting flexibility and innovation as key values in the corporate culture” (Yukl, 2010).
Building a Management Development Program: 8 Best Practices. (n.d.).eCornell. Retrieved March 7, 2013, from http://sha.ecornell.com/assets/PDFs/Enterprise/Building-a-Management-Development-Program-8-Best-Practices.pdf
Definitions of Terms and Explanations of Best Practices, Guidelines, Standards, and Norms that Pertain to Repositories . (2009, January 16). ISBER. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://www.isber.org/bp/Standards.pdf
James, K., & Burgoyne, J. (n.d.). Leadership Development: Best Practice Guide for Organisations. Q3. Retrieved March 7, 2013, from http://www.q3.ca/articles/archives/articles/02-01-2006/Ldsp_Dev_Best_Practice.pdf
Whetten, D.A., & Cameron, K.S. (2011).Developing Management Skills. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Yukl, G.A. (2010). Leadership in Organizations. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
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