Leadership in Human Resource Management
Given the definition of leadership, one could argue that the definition of a leader should in fact be the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country, or has the ability to do this. In terms of Human Resource Management (HARM), it’s important, and even necessary, to consider the latter as the true deflation of a leader. (Zacchary, Kemp, ; Bade, 2003) It’s clear that a leader is not necessarily someone who leads but also someone who has the ability to lead – Someone who possesses the necessary skills, character traits, and personality traits required to be a high quality leader.
Allow me to create a scenario to illustrate the ideas that will be explored in this paper. Middle of the night. There’s a lot of turbulence and you look out your window to see that you’re flying through an electrical storm. You feel the airplane sharply turning around. At this point the turbulence picks up and carry-on luggage is flying out of the overhead compartments. A solid metal suitcase flies out of the compartment above you and hits you over the head. You blackout. The next thing you know, you wake up on a beach at the crack
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Some people are helping each other out of the water and on to the beach and others are collecting luggage and other items that have floated from the severely damaged airplane that’s floating a few miles off the coast. It’s chaos. You Join the chaos and start helping people on to the beach your self. Suddenly, everyone stops, pointing to the aircraft and staring as they watch it sink into the ocean. After a couple more hours of collecting and salvaging whatever items happened to float ashore, you sit on the beach and sigh in disbelief of what has Just happened.
At this point you notice hat someone has made a fire on the beach and that people are gathering around the fire so naturally, you Join the group. Now you find yourself surrounding a fire with 50 other frightened survivors. The pilot didn’t survive the crash but the copilot, a young apprentice, is around the fire. He gets everyone’s attention and announces that while in flight, the pilot decided to make an emergency landing in Fiji because of the intensity of the electrical storm they were flying through, putting the airplane about 75 miles off course.
There are thousands of small islands in the south pacific ND he doesn’t know where they are. He adds that because they were so far off course, it will likely take search and rescue teams about two to three weeks to find the group of survivors. After the announcement, the group of 51 frightened survivors is now a group of 51 frightened and frantic survivors. This is where the fun starts. There is a group of 51 people with the common goal of surviving. It’s quite clear who the leaders are in modern society. When we hear the term leader, we immediately think of the highly educated, the presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens, Coos,
Managers, supervisors, etc. But in this scenario, none of that exists. There are no pre- determined positions, no set leaders or laborers; only 51 strangers who will either need to work together or die alone. Because there are no pre-determined ranks or positions, the group is forced to self-organize. Given that survival is on the line, it won’t take long before someone in the group speaks up and motivates everyone, telling them that they can survive if they work together, overcome this challenge, and go home to their families in some sort of a speech.
Et voila! The first step in self- organized team dynamics – a leader has emerged. Once that is done it won’t take long before someone with strong organizational skills puts together a plan and covers all aspects that need to be covered. This person will see the needs of the group. In this case, they will need fire, shelter, water, and food. Once the tasks are set, other members of the group will begin offering to do certain tasks that they believe they can achieve or at least contribute to.
These people might have knowledge of construction or fishing or perhaps hunting or hiking. We’ll call these people managers. Finally, the people left will certainly want to contribute and will ask the managers of each “department”(fire, shelter, water, or food) what they can do to emerged into their role, or position if you will, through their character and personality. The beauty in this is that because every team member has naturally fallen into their position, they will naturally execute their role far more effectively than someone who was appointed to that same role.
This paper will further explore the role of Human Resource Management in leadership identification and development techniques by exploring the character and resonantly traits of leader type individuals and the challenges of doing so in modern business organizations. Modern Business Structure Modern business organizations are no longer structured in a hierarchal way with a leader at the top, executives beneath, and employees at the bottom. Modern business organizations are made up of networks of small self-organizing teams, each with their own leaders.
Leadership is more important than ever in the modern business world. If a company of 3000 people is made up of 300 teams of 10 people you need to have 300 leaders. HER managers cannot possibly appoint 300 team adders and imagine the teams to work in an efficient and fluid way. In self- organizing teams, leaders emerge naturally and HER managers need to pay attention to team dynamics and watch for emerging leaders to ensure that these leaders are placed in the right position. (Dry. Knowles, 2006) Common traits found in leaders True leadership is not something you can learn; it’s something you are born with.
Of course one can learn to lead through methods like internship, experience, and educational leadership classes, but it’s the leaders who are natural born leaders that are the ones who make history. Empathy When the members of your team feel that you genuinely care about their concerns, they will likely feel more apt to work with you rather than for you. Consistency People enjoy routine, normalcy, and consistency and are generally drawn to it. Consistency sets the stage for fairness, and trust. Consistency in your methods will gain you respect as a leader.
Honesty Honesty is the foundation of trust and trust is gained by the inch and lost by the mile. Someone who is not honest is likely to lose their peoples’ trust and will surely not stay a leader for very long. Direction in this sense means a number of things. It means having the ability to see a new goal, ways of getting there, choosing the right ways of getting there, adapting as you move forward, and managing how to show your team your plan. Communication A leader most certain needs high quality communication skills.
It’s hard to imagine if Winston Churchill was not as eloquent as he was or if Doll Hitler was not able to win over a crowd with speeches that portrayed such strong emotion, that either one of them would have managed to become leaders who will forever be remembered. Identifying ; Developing Leaders Identifying and developing leaders based on personality and character traits rather than on experience is no simple task. Human Resource managers need to think of creative and complex ways of encouraging a person’s true personality to show itself.
There are a number of different tests that are designed to find out what type of personality you have and what position might suit a person best. Normally these tests are made up of a series of questions with no wrong answer where what you answer determines what type of person you are. These tests are often split up into a number of sections such as cognitive ability tests, personality tests, integrity tests, physical ability tests, and knowledge or IQ tests (SHOP, 2013).
Although these tests do in fact provide a certain amount of knowledge about a person’s intelligence and general ability, it doesn’t truly test a person in all aspects of character and personality. I believe that the best way for HER managers to make a candidate’s personality shine is through simulation. In the spring of 2009, at the Canadian Forces Base Borden, Ontario, I found myself in situation where I was being testing by the Training ; Development Unit (the Canadian Armed Forces version of an HER department) through live simulation.
This exercise took place during the tenth week of a ten-week leadership course. Myself and six other Corporals were put in a situation where there was no right or wrong decision. There was a group of seven officers with note pads who watched our every move and Jotted down notes as we progressed through our task but we were not allowed to communicate with them or even acknowledge their presence. The scenario was as follows; we were in charge of an armored convoy consisting of three light armored vehicles, two Grizzly model battle tanks, and a transport truck with a platoon of 12 light infantry inside.
We were heading north on a dirt road. There was about 3 square kilometers of marshland to the west and thick forest to the east. The convoy was headed up the road that eventually curves west to go around the marshland where we were meant to Join friendly I-J troops but it was halted due to scout information that a small group of enemy troops were Just beyond the westward end in the road. We found ourselves with two options. 1 . To send the infantry unit into the dense forest to make a surprise attack on the enemy troops ahead, risking the loss of lives or 2.
To avoid the enemy troops by sending the entire convoy directly westward through the marshland, taking the risk that we might get a vehicle stuck our destination so decisions had to be made quickly. After quite a bit of discussion, we decided to push through the marsh since there was a smaller chance of losing lives than sending in the infantry to eliminate the enemy and because we were not ere exactly how many troops the enemy had set up on the bend. We made it to our destination and everything went rather smoothly.
The interesting thing about this story is that all six of us who were being tested thought we were being tested on our leadership skills but it turns out that the seven officers with notepads had a hidden agenda. The exercise, or simulation if you prefer, had the purpose of seeing what types of personality traits would truly come out in each one of us when put into a stressful situation. It was their belief that only stress can bring out a persons true personality.
The result of this simulation was that the officers now had a much better idea of what positions to post us to once we completed our leadership course than if they had run traditional tests. HER departments have been using work-simulations during group interviews as a way of choosing candidates for quite some time now but forward-looking, modern companies like to put a group of candidates in a room together with the task of solving a problem that has nothing to do with work with the goal of seeing who has the right personality and group dynamics to fill the position they are looking to fill. (Doyle, 2012)
This is how modern HER managers identify and develop their leaders – through the personality and not necessarily the person. Conclusion In modern business organizations, having the ability to lead is Just as important as leading. Long gone are the days when a single man would lead a thousand men. It has been tested and proven that a company that is made up of multiple small self- organizing teams is far more productive than companies who follow a traditional hierarchal structure. It’s my belief that companies who try to maintain the traditional business structure will die out to competitors who are adapting to modern times.