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Lead to win

by Dr. Sumanta Dutta and Jaymol Mary
Indian Management June 2022

In high performance organisations, leadership does not involve supervising subordinates; it entails influencing others to achieve their goals.

When you walk into a highperformance organisation, you can feel the difference instantly. The people are more knowledgeable and confident about the expectations policy than being unsure of what is expected of them. “Highperformance work systems are increasingly being used to label the transformed highcommitment organisation associated with the abandonment of Taylorism.” - Steven Wood (1999). The organisational systems of these companies are flexible, customer-oriented, and team-oriented. The observation can be checked by the performance indicators such as market share growth, social impact, etc.

Now the question is, how does an organisation become a high-performance organisation? The answer is simple- people and the organisational culture are the primary driving force behind the performance of an organisation. People in such an organisation need to follow different functions effectively.

Such type of organisation requires the following:

1) A clear sense of the motive, commitment, and the organisation’s goals to be conveyed to everyone.
2) Comparatively more performance goals than an average organisation.
3) Interdependence (among employees) and clear understanding of ones responsibilities.
4) A diverse range of skills.
5) Coherence and cohesiveness amongst employees.

High-performing leaders usually accompany high-performing work teams. The essential leader qualities include the ability to a) keep the aim purpose relevant and significant; b) ensure that employees are constantly motivated to enhance their skills; c) be a democratic leader and provide opportunities to others; d) manage teams efficiently.

It is believed that influential leaders emphasise the purpose, aim, interpersonal relationships, and steadfast commitment to the outcome that benefits each member of the organisation. The management’s authoritativeness rather than positively influencing the employees is a prime ingredient for failure.

Leaders may have different perspectives on leadership based on their external influences, life purpose, and core values, but all of them possess passion and integrity. Leadership at the highest level does not simply involve supervising subordinates; it consists in influencing others to achieve their goals, serving others to help them reach their goals, and improving the processes and lives of employees.

A high-performing organisation must have the following characteristics, and its leaders must fulfil the following roles:

Defined vision

When an organisation focuses on its desired future through a specific mission, results are met. Without leadership that reinforces the vision and employees lack a sense of purpose.

An inspiring leader tries to convey the vision and engages the entire team in committing to their goals and responsibilities, regardless of their role, skill level, or rank. A strong vision motivates everyone to perform better regardless of their position.

Empowerment through continuous learning

Growth is measured more by the constant development of its employees rather than its sales and profits. Leaders recognise that their employees must grow and improve through exchanging ideas and continuous training.

For a manager to be effective, they must make sure their people gain the skills, guidance, and support they require. The success of the people measures a leader’s success. Direction, coaching, support, and delegation are crucial aspects of good leadership that ensure subordinates’ progress. Employees who lack growth and improvement are demonstrating a lack of leadership.

Consumer-centric practices

High performance organisations measure customer satisfaction based on customers’ experience. Service and quality standards are not decided by the organisation but by the customer. The company’s collective ability to meet its customers’ expectations is what makes its employees’ jobs secure. Effective leadership is about leading by example and showing its people how to serve customers at the highest level.

Alignment with structured systems

Vision, processes, and goals must align with the company’s culture. Cohesion between employees is impossible if a company’s words and its performance are inconsistent.

Organisations fail when there is a lack of structured systems that align with the mission and vision of the business. It is imperative to have an effective performance management system in place, which can be achieved through planning, coaching and reviewing.

Shared responsibility and self-leadership

As a result of everyone having a common goal of ensuring the company’s success, responsibility is shared throughout the company. Delegating is essential for leaders at higher levels because it allows them to pass on accountability for a project without compromising personal and professional growth. When an employee is assigned a task and is taught to self-lead, he/she is in a better position to make progress and diagnose his/ her levels of mistakes and development.

A high-performing organisation is characterised by quick adapation to changes in its operating environment by having structures in place. To understand the context of their business, identify trends, and explore competitors, high-performing organisations constantly study and monitor the environment. Leaders traditionally used to supervise or closely monitor their teams in organisational models. Leaders in highperforming organisations are also tasked with understanding and making quick decisions about the ever-changing market environment in which they operate.

Dr. Sumanta Dutta is Assistant Professor, Post Graduate and Research Department of Commerce, St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Kolkata.

Murray Sabrin Jaymol Mary Joseph is Research Associate, Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad

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