Leadership is that aspect of showing the way or inducing action or direction among people in an organization towards achieving a certain goal. The leader instills a sense of purpose or direction and passion towards achieving the desired results or goals. Without leadership an organization will underperform or underutilize the employees and this will lead to missing opportunities, falling short of the desired goals, reduced profitability if it is a profit making organization, reduced quality of service or products among others.
Developing sustainable leadership is crucial for an organizations long term success. Investing in leadership today is a sure way to sustain success in the organization for a long while. Leadership represents the future of an organization. Organizations must therefore understand the fundamentals of leadership before making decisions about their leadership. Developing leadership in an organization is not a one day activity; for effective leadership, honing the necessary skills and abilities is required in the leaders concerned. This requires considerable time and effort (Cummings, & Worley, 2005).
An organization requires a vision ingrained in all its employees. The vision in an organization is developed by the leadership and then it is communicated to all its employees. The employees need to get a glimpse or understand the big picture before they understand their part or role in the whole thing. Success is achieved when each of these people play their roles with effectiveness. Therefore, it is the work of the leadership to instill all this in the organization.
When employees understand their position in the whole vision, it helps them make more informed decisions by keeping their eyes on the big picture, their participation creates a sense of ownership and belonging to that vision the management makes in the organization.
Leadership is a cultural manifestation; the integration of culture and structure is therefore inevitable in an organization. While in some quarters the structure of an organization is considered to influence the culture, research has shown that the change is often slow or of minimal effect in an organization. The structure of an organization may change but this does not necessarily lead to change in the culture and behavior of people in the organization in bringing about excellence. Unlike a structural model of leadership to effect real transformation a cultural model of leadership is considered more effective.
In the cultural model of leadership, the culture in the organization in recognized as the central component from which structure and performance flow. Culture shapes the structure and behavior of the organization. Therefore, by changing the culture of an organization it is possible to improve performance and attain excellence. Approaching organizations culturally therefore guarantees sustainable and long-lasting improvement.
Culture shapes the energy of the workforce to reach organizational goals and objectives. Focusing on the structure more to shape an organization results into lack of consideration of underlying issues resident in the depths of culture of the organization. The culture contains the beliefs, myths, customs and practices, symbols and rituals which hold an organization and determine its day to day operation. Thus, what really advances an organization is the culture not the structure (Phegan, 1996-2000).