The organizational setting is undoubtedly becoming more complex, especially as it navigates the turbulence associated with the changes in the ever-expanding daily operations. With so many activities happening at the same time, especially for the multinational companies, leaders must recognize the fact that the employees are bound to become overwhelmed and thus require decision-making power at their local levels. Empowering the employees to make decisions allows them to ease the burden and stress from the workload and the rigidity of the bureaucratic and hierarchical structures that limit growth and productivity. However, in some cases, empowering the employees can brew overconfidence, which can end up crossing the line into arrogance.
This approach is practical as I witnessed while working for a multinational pharmaceutical company which served culturally different markets. The company required various branches to coordinate the advertisement campaigns suitable for the specific market in which it served. However, most of the directives and approvals were from the head office, making it nearly impossible to implement an idea. When the top management recognized the bureaucracy as the hindrance to the marketing campaigns, they allowed the branch managers to coordinate these advertisement efforts.
The management was empowering the employees in the local levels to make decisions, which were in line with their unique work environments. An organization that is rigid and unwilling to change is likely to face enormous challenges in its productivity and progress. Empowering the employees not only motivates them but also encourages them to accept changes made in the organization with little or no resistance. Dolan, Garcia, and Auerbach contend that for organizations to successfully deal with the turbulence, they should embroil themselves in constant change processes (6). By agreeing to let the branch managers autonomously run their advertisement campaigns, the top management in the organization helped prevent imminent chaos and further turbulence.
Focusing on Employees to Break Down Complexity at the Workplace
The organization management needs to understand its purpose as this knowledge enables it to emphasize the organizational principles to the employees. The employees in the company will work better and in a productive fashion once they understand and share the mission and vision of the company (Certo and Certo 383). To break down the chaos and turbulence in the organization, the workers must know why they are there in the first place. Before achieving this objective, it is crucial that the management first understands the company’s mission and vision, and then share it with the workers. Having realized their purpose in the corporation, the employees will conform to the desired values required to achieve the organization’s mission and vision. Dolan, Garcia, and Auerbach agree with this assertion by contending that values guide the employees’ work into achieving the desired results (9). Therefore, it is essential for organizational leaders to understand that employees are crucial drivers of the company’s mission and vision.
While I was working for a company that provided loans for clientele, the managers made us understand that the mission of the corporation was not only to lend money to those who needed it but also make profits from the interests gathered. Having realized our role, the managers communicated that the most critical value was honesty, especially to the customers. Being authentic with the customers entailed giving them reasons why they could not access other loans before paying their existing ones. Most customers appreciated these explanations and ensured to pay on time, hence growing the business. When other products were introduced, customers were glad to use them, and there was little chaos within the company’s operations.
Using Transformational Leaders to Achieve Change in Complex Organizations
A transformational leader works closely with the teams within the organization, creates a vision to guide them through the administrative processes, and executes these changes in tandem with the team members. The leader becomes more of a team member, as opposed to the team leader in most leadership scenarios. Daft contends that the transformational leader can navigate the chaos in a complex organization by making the team members aware of the mission and vision, and influencing them to share in the dream (361). This leadership approach is highly motivational to the workers. The high morale energizes and encourages the employees to perceive the change in a positive light; which breaks down the complexity of the firm.
To fully understand the impact of transformational leadership on breaking down complexity and handling the chaos in a company, consider a situation where a construction team is responsible for constructing an orphanage. The construction company faces financial challenges, which lead to salary delays for the workers. An effective transformational leader encourages the workers to continue with their daily tasks, by sharing with them the vision for the construction, which is to house orphans. The ethicality related to their job roles becomes sufficient motivation for the masons to continue with their tasks as they await their salaries. By sharing the vision with the workers, the team leader reduces the level of chaos in the organization because the workers complete their assignments without boycotts.
Empowering the employees to make decisions allows them to ease the burden and stress from the workload and the rigidity of the bureaucratic and hierarchical structures that limit growth and productivity. Therefore, organizations seeking to reduce the chaos and complexity within should consider implementing the transformational leadership style. This approach will not only motivate employees bust also ensure that the entity attains its objectives in the long run.
Daft, Richard L. Leadership Experience. Cengage Learning, 2014.
Dolan, S. L., S. Garcia, and A. Auerbach. “Understanding and Managing Chaos in Organizations.” International Journal of Management 20.1 (2003): 23-35.
Certo, Samuel C, and S. Trevis Certo. Modern Management. Pearson Education UK, 2015.
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