The new framework might be described as New Age. The word paradigm came from the Greek for pattern, and the new paradigm was just that: a new pattern of behaviour that stemmed from a new way of looking at the world. The new paradigm takes ideas from quantum physics, cybernetics, chaos theory, cognitive science, and Eastern and Western spiritual traditions to form a worldview in which everything is interconnected, in which reality is not absolute but a by-product of human consciousness. This paradigm is not promising universal enlightenment in the near future.
However, it is an attempt to deal with a very difficult period of time in business. What has emerged as a result? So far is a host of management theories and practices befitting an age of global enterprise, instantaneous communication and ecological limitations? Some are familiar: hierarchical organisations being replaced by more flexible networks; workers being empowered to make decisions on their own; organisations developing a capacity for group learning instead of waiting for wisdom from above; and national horizons giving way to global thinking.
Others might still seem a little far out: creativity and intuition joining numerical analysis as aids to decision making; nurturing and caring being recognized as motivators in the workplace (Allport 1937, p. 11); even the importance of the profit motive being questioned by those who argue that the real goal of enterprise was the mental and spiritual enrichment of those who take part in it. To take this idea a step further, one must look to adequate leadership as a keystone factor to the success of introducing work life balance as an important element to performance success.
Generally, it is believed that any benefit that makes the employee feel a deeper job satisfaction will promote performance. It has been found that while leadership is important, how a leader utilises tools offered by the organisation also plays a key factor in employee performance. The paragraphs below elaborate on these findings. In today’s company, the role of management also involves leadership within a team structure. Managers have the responsibility to set goals, maintain morale, aid in training and communicating corporate objectives.
However, this does not mean a leader cannot be a subordinate. If a company is smart, it will encourage leadership by example across the board. This instils in the employee a sense of pride and motivates them to achieve goals. A good leader provides vision and clarity for the employee. Such a leader would be able to communicate and create a rapport with their team. This connection begins at a fundamental level of human sociology where the use of story is central.
Howard Gardner reflects, “The ultimate impact of the leader depends most significantly on the particular story that he or she relates or embodies, and the receptions to that story on the part of the audiences” (1995, p. 14). By telling stories, allows for a certain level of openness or vulnerability on the part of the leader and makes them human. By opening the line of communication, gives the employee knowledge of their environment and develops trust. The leader’s role is to sell the idea of commitment within a culture.
Odiorne suggests, “If employees know what is expected, and what help and resources are available, they can then be relied upon to govern their actions to achieve the commitments they have made” (1987, p. 138). This sets the stage for goals and achieving high performance. The culture in turn feeds off this energy and excitement. Bennis writes: There are three reasons why leaders are important. First they are responsible for the effectiveness of organizations. Second, the change and upheaval of past years has left us with no place to hide. We need anchors in our lives as a guiding purpose.
Third, there is a national concern about integrity of our institutions. Being mindful of own context is difficult for us. (1989, p. 15-16) Managers with a keen understanding of leading represent these three key attributes and creates a foundation from which to act. A leader must also display curiosity and have the guts to be daring. They must be a dominant force within the team. Bennis reflects there were two kinds of people “those who are paralyzed by fear, and those who are afraid but go ahead away. Life is not about limitation but options” (1989, p. 185).
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