Human Resources South Africa



January 25
10:08 2011

Introduction to Leadership
Today’s leaders in organizations face two tasks: first, to develop and communicate exactly what the organization is trying to accomplish and secondly to create an environment in which the employees of the organization can figure out for themselves what needs to be done, followed by the process of doing the job well. The discovery and action that organizational learning requires is important to leadership because it is they that must successfully facilitate and set the direction for this to happen.

Leadership involves accomplishing goals with and though people. Therefore if a leader is to be effective they must emphasize focus on tasks and human relations. But what makes a leader effective; how do leaders develop; how does organizational culture and structure affect leadership and even more importantly the employees; what are the challenges faced by leaders in today’s organizations and how do they dead with these issues?

Background of the Leadership Process

In the early part of the 20th century the popular belief was that money was the only motivator in business and industry. This theory was formalized by Frederick W. Taylor in 1911 and is now known as “Scientific Management” or “Taylorism”. Taylor believed that you must identify the most efficient method in order to physically carry out a piece of work (like laying a brick or carrying an object) then pick someone that will follow orders without question that is capable of doing the work and pay that individual in proportion to their production rate.

Later an Australian psychologist Elton Mayo working out of the management school of Harvard University made some discoveries that undermined “Taylorism” by conducting some influential experiments on leadership. The team discovered that the attitudes that employees had towards their supervisors and their organization had enormous effects on the effectiveness of productivity.

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