Leadership is one of the most important factors that always dictate success or failure of an organization in the world today. Leadership has been in existence for as long as the history of humankind can be traced. As Blanchard (2010, p. 57) puts it, a leadership goes beyond providing the direction for the followers. It entails going into details to discover the potential of the followers.
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It involves engaging the followers in a way that would make them discover themselves. It involves helping the followers develop the urge to achieve. It is the art of making people realize that they have a potential to achieve beyond their current capacity. Leadership requires the leader to challenge the followers positively in a way that would make them feel that they need to rediscover themselves.
An organization has to come up with means through which it can wade off these challenges and deliver quality products in the market in the best way possible. This way, a firm would be able to come out as a successful business unit that can withstand market pressures.
Organizations share external environmental factors. Emerging technologies, good government policies, a promising market are factors that an organization cannot consider as a competitive advantage. They are factors that are shared by all the firms in that particular industry. An organization must therefore, develop its policies that will give it a competitive edge in the market.
An organization should develop mechanisms through which it can challenge the existing market threats in the best way possible. It should be able to stand out among the rest, as a firm that understands the market and is able to provide it with what it needs. It must appear positively special.
This requires proper management of the workforce. It requires a strategy that will help it have the best workforce that can drive the changes required within an organization. This is what most firms have realized and are determined to achieve Blanchard (2010, p. 98). They need to go beyond simple management of the workforce. In the management, we need leaders.
There is need to have a sustainable environment where the future is protected, while the current needs are achieved. Gill (2011, p. 91) says that this may be a very challenging task. This is because in most of the cases, meeting currents needs involves compromising the future.
However, the current society requires a sustainability strategy that would assure an organization of a protected future. This research paper focuses on leadership and sustainability in the contemporary world with focus SKK Inc in Cambodia.
Transformational Leadership and Sustainability at SKK Inc
SKK is a Cambodia-based company specializing in land and real estate developments. The vision of the SKK Inc. is to become the leading architectural firm in the region. The mission for the company is to transform the construction patterns into environmentally sustainable structures within the jurisdiction of its market.
SKK’s core values are to create and provide livable, eco-friendly and contemporary communities for people living in Phnom Penh. Since 2011, SKK has just set base as being a leading driver in real estate development industry in Cambodia. Given this fact, transformational leadership is very important to the management in enhancing sustainability.
Transformational leadership is defined by Holiday (2002, p. 38) as a type of leadership that uses motivation to enhance the performance of employees. Holiday (2002, p. 24) defines leadership as a process where an individual (a leader) offers guidance to a group of individuals (followers) in an organizational structure. It is the process of leading others towards a better future.
Transformational leadership, as the name suggest, provides a completely new path to approaching various issues in an organization. It provides an insight the employees. One of the main aims of a transformational leader is to create a completely new approach in managing various issues within the organization. This is what the current world demands an organization.
Emerging technologies are changing various approaches of management. The emerging trends need new approaches that can be used to provide a way in which they can be managed differently. This is what leaders at SKK Inc have embraced.
Transformational leadership attempts to make employees discover themselves. According to Hacker and Grint (2005, p. 78), a transformational leader will always make followers realize that they have untapped capacity which they can exploit to get better results in every activity they are doing. It involves making the followers realize that they are part of the change. It makes employees own the whole process.
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They feel that some changes that are proposed are part of them and are meant to make their work easier. This way, they develop the responsibility to ensure that these changes are accomplished successfully and within the specified time. Such leadership will evoke desires on the followers to see to it that specific desires are achieved within the specified time. It is an art of tying the objectives of an organization to that of its employees.
This leadership approach makes emphasis on the first ‘P’ of the three elements of sustainability which is the people (Fullan 2005, p. 85). It involves making people within the organization appreciate the need to develop a sustainable policy within the organization that would enable the firm experience sustainable development.
This would entail developing means through which an organization can generate profits without putting a lot of strains on the planet earth.
Characteristics of Transformational Leadership that Makes it a Sustainable Leadership Strategy
SKK Inc should consider the need to have eco-friendly communities not only in Phnom region, but in all other regions where it operates. As the current Project Director of the SKK Inc. Cambodia, I am deeply concerned of how our sustainable infrastructural development can be spread to a larger geographical region beyond the current scope.
Given that SKK Inc cherishes sustainable leadership on all its leaders at various positions, understanding some of the characteristics of transformational leadership would be important. Having a sustainable business is very important in the current competitive world. Business units are subjected to a lot of pressures by the shareholders to increase their profitability.
However, the need to preserve the planet earth is also increasing as the negative impacts of environmental degradation are already evident in the world (Bruijn 2002, p. 29). The purpose of leadership is therefore, to find a common ground for these two contradicting elements of sustainability. Transformational leadership has some characteristics that make it unique from other forms of leadership.
Transformational leadership cherishes authenticity. It encourages followers to act as natural as possible. People who act naturally always tend to give their best. Passion is another major characteristic of transformational leadership. A transformational leader must be passionate about every action they take. This way, it becomes possible for the followers to take this characteristic from the leaders.
Followers will develop passion when they realize that their leader has passion in his or her actions. Transformational leadership should also embrace creativity. Creativity is very crucial in the contemporary world. A leader must be able to solve problems in a creative manner. They have to encourage the culture of creativity in their employees. This way, such an organization will be able to be creative in the market.
Transformational leaders should have self-awareness. He should understand what he or she stands for and is able to express this feeling to the followers (Parkin 2010, p. 49). This way, it would be easy to avoid cases where a leader issues instruction, which he or she can change abruptly without a clear explanation for the same. A transformational leader must have interpersonal intelligence.
This is important to help bring people of different social backgrounds together. Organization brings together individuals from different backgrounds. It would require interpersonal intelligence to make these people reason in the same line and work as a unit towards achieving specific objectives. This would help in creating sustainability.
A transformational leader must have integrity. As Blanchard (2010, p. 78), ethics is very important in the process of creating a secure future. It is important to note that transformational leadership aims to bring a completely new approach of doing various activities in s better way. Integrity will be one of the main ingredients in that leadership.
It will be possible to tell others to maintain integrity only if the leaders show the same in their actions. A transformational leader must also develop clarity of purpose. The leader must be sure of what he or she wants from the followers and from the leaders.
According to Billsberry (2009, p. 68), having a clear sense of purpose on what one does makes it possible to measure the level of success of an individual. This way, it becomes easy for such a leader to determine the rate at which objectives of the organization is being achieved. In order to achieve this sustainability, an organization should also consider the following models (theories) of leadership.
Theories of Leadership
In order to support sustainable leadership, it would be vital to consider some of the leadership theories in the contemporary world. These theories help in further clarification of the purpose of leadership within an organization.
Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid
This theory by Blake and Mouton has largely been considered as one of the most appropriate theories in managing sustainable business operations for individual firms. According to Kezar & Lester (2009, p. 720), Black and Mouton’s managerial grid is one of the most relevant models of leadership in the current world. The grid is as shown below.
As evidenced from the grid, the theory gives emphasis on concern for people and concern for production. As a leader, there is always a concern to ensure that the organization functions effectively. This can be measured by increased productivity of the firm. This theory says that productivity should not be overemphasized at the expense of employees (Gray & Bebbington 2001, p. 93).
Employees are very valuable to any organization, and their interest should be taken care of. The need for productivity should be balanced with the need to protect the employees. At (1, 1) is impoverished management where employees concern is not taken care of, and production is poor.
Concern For People
Concern for Production
At (9, 1), emphasis is laid on task, while taking middle ground (5, 5) would help the firm achieve its objectives moderately with moderately satisfied employees. At (1, 9), emphasis is given on concern for employees. The best grid is at (9, 9) always referred to as team management.
Employees concern is emphasized while ensuring that production is put at maximum levels possible. This model enhances sustainability because it emphasizes on the two Ps of sustainability which is people and profits.
It is important to understand the environmental factors that may have direct impact on the operations of SKK Inc. PESTEL analysis is one of the best models of analyzing the environmental factors. The political environment in this region has been marred with some challenges, especially due to some political strife experienced in some of the regions where this firm operates.
The economic and social structure of the market has been very attractive. The advanced technological environment has been unpredictable, while the legal structures have always defined the way this firm operates in the market (Holiday 2002, p. 118).
Charles Handy PEST Model
Charles Handy came up with a different approach to leadership that focused on environmental factors. This model focuses on what Charles describes as new realities that a leader must take into consideration within an organization. The first is the political factors. Political environment has direct influence on operational activities of a firm. It must be taken into consideration when a leader is formulating policies.
Economic status of the society will also influence the leadership style that a leader can apply. It will dictate what policies to apply, and which to suspend as the firm awaits a change in the economic environment (Davies 2006, p. 67). Social factors play an important role in defining leadership strategy. The social structure of a society will help define the organizational culture that a leader can instil on the followers.
In the current society, the role of technology in defining leadership has become significantly huge. Before formulating any policy, a leader must take into consideration the relevance of the policy and the prevailing technologies in the environment. This theory emphasizes on the third element of sustainability which is the environment.
The current business world has become very competitive. The need to have sustainable leadership in organizations is increasingly becoming important. As demonstrated in this discussion, inasmuch as there is need to develop strategies that would meet the current needs of organizations and people in the current society, there is also the need to ensure that the future is protected.
There is need to ensure that the current structures would benefit the current organization in a manner in which these organizations would have a secured future. Theorists have tried to explain the need to have sustainability in organization. Sustainability in organizations is the sure way of ensuring that there is continuity.
As this discussion demonstrates, there is need to have some of these theories have clearly demonstrated how the current competitive world can be sustained using sustainability in leadership. There is need to have a leadership strategy that is conscious of the future society.
List of References
Billsberry, J 2009, Discovering Leadership, Palgrave, Basingstoke.
Blanchard, K 2010, Leading at a higher level, Prentice Hall, London.
Bruijn, T 2002, Partnership and leadership: Building alliances for a sustainable future, Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht.
Davies, B 2006, Developing and sustaining leaders, Paul Chapman, London.
Fullan, M 2005, Leadership & sustainability: System thinkers in action, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks.
Gill, R 2011, Theory and Practice of Leadership, Sage, London.
Gray, R & Bebbington, J 2001, Accounting for the Environment, Sage, London.
Grint, K 2005, Leadership: limits and possibilities, Palgrave, Basingstoke.
Holiday, C 2002, Walking the talk: The business case for sustainable development, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield.
Parkin, S 2010, The positive deviant: Sustainability leadership in a perverse world, Earthscan, London.