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LEADERSHIP and TECHNOLOGY

By FluxIt ·
Many experts are coming out today and attacking the notion of leadership and arguing for more decentralized organizations facilitated by technology. Their points follow:

1. Stewardship is more appropriate than leadership.
2. Leadership is inhibits an organization
3. Command and control slows progress
4. Technology replaces management

You should note that management and leadership are not the same thing. Management is sort of a surf process of enforcing rules and policies. Leadership is visionary and creates opportunity.

I think the key to this is not that leadership is wrong but management is what is not right. If the leadership is on track the organization can accel. However, if the management is poor then the organization falters.

If technology is facilitated correctly then there is a reduced need for management. In fact, an organization could become entirely self-directed through technology with marginal management staffing.

Do you have ideas how this could occur? How can technology facilitate the need for little or no management? How can decentralized organization operation through technology?

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References

by FluxIt In reply to LEADERSHIP and TECHNOLOGY

1. The Right Use of Power by Peter Block
2. Greatness by Dale Carnegie
3. Survival is Not Enough by Seth Godin

There are many others and I'll post them later.

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Minimal managment and Visionaries

by generalist In reply to LEADERSHIP and TECHNOLOGY

The 'flattening' of an organization's structure is one of the things that newer MIS books talk about when dealing with technology. With the proper systems in place, you can get along with a minimal management structure because a lot of the grunt work is automated.

What's left after automating the grunt work is handling exceptions, improving processes and creating new opportunities.

Stewardship would be what you would want as the driving force when handling exceptions and improving processes. It assumes that you want to promote the long term survival of the organization while keeping in mind that conditions change. Of course, stewardship does need a certain amount of leadership to overcome the inertia of the status quo.

Leadership, on the other hand, is essential for creating new opportunities. But leadership also has to have a firm grounding in stewardship. Creating new opportunities at the cost of destroying the organization that would benefit from the opportunities is counterproductive.

I'd say that many forms of management lack stewardship and leadership, making them unhealthy for the organization.

Unfortunately, some forms of leadership lack stewardship. They tend to be the 'Chainsaw Al' type of 'leadership' aimed at short term results that ignore long term impacts.

Visionary leadership, on the other hand, is stewardship combined with creativity and sometimes spiced with charisma.

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You point out...

by FluxIt In reply to Minimal managment and Vis ...

Leadership has to have a firm grounding in stewardship...

Peter Block, a 25 yr leadership expert, is against leadership in many ways. His view is to promote stewardship uniquely. However, I agree with you that some kind of leadership needs to provide guidance to establish the framework for stewardship to evolve and flourish.

Another issue here is staff or knowledge workers who are willing and self-directed. This is most difficult to find. Most people's mentality is get my paycheck and gohome. socially there are 2 approaches. One either lives to work or works to live. They are 180 degrees apart.

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I think you hit this right on..

by admin In reply to Minimal managment and Vis ...

when you said: "leadership also has to have a firm grounding in stewardship. Creating new opportunities at the cost of destroying the organization that would benefit from the opportunities is counterproductive."

The problem in my view is today that stockholders have demanded short term gains recently and supported the destruction of corporations for the benefit of their personal financial opportunity.

Oddly in this case, personal stewardship of resources has been at direct odds with groupstewardship. I wish the current markets would raise awareness of this and get people working together towards common good, but I fear that everyone is just gearing up hoping for a chance to build in order to short term raid again for their personal benefit.

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Leadership vs. management

by John Tieso In reply to LEADERSHIP and TECHNOLOGY

An interesting set of questions that have needed to be asked for some time.

over the last several years, there has been an ever-inreasing view in the industry that technology can substitute for either or both leadership and management. The reality, in my opinion, is far from that point.

As you pointed out, management is the traditionla approach that says employees need the supervision and guidance of someone who has 'been there.' The more layers of it the better since employees can't manage themselves and do a good job.

Leadership theory changes that view to one of an empowered group of very capable employees who are well able to succeed without onerous management, but still need leadership to remain focused, and receive strategic 'big picture' advice and encouragement.

Technology, in my view, is NEVER a solution to either management or leadership problems. it can only be a facilitator to further success in an organization whose business processes are well-dcumented and defined, and whose leadership is well-versed in customer needs and requirements. Then technology can be applied to further facilitate meeting those requirements. The depth of leadership rovided is in proportion to the complexity of the requirementin relation to the higher level enterprise.

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Who should be leaders?

by FluxIt In reply to Leadership vs. management

Who should be the leaders in an organization if technology is never a solution to leadership and managment problems?

Operations guys usually are stressed out and focused on making the business run. They often resolve to work arounds and stop gapmeasures.

Finance people are closed loop feedback and often severely lack an understanding of technology or the operations. Yet they will never admit it as they place themselves in power positions and cause the company to lose money that they cover up by 'timing' expenses and declaring profits and loss at their convenience.

Technology people tend to be of 3 genere's.
1. Hard core techies with tunnel vision. These guys are tech school or college grads who can really tear into the systems. They understand the business but no one ever listens to them because they are techies.
2. Seat of the pants high school grads. These guys got a computer and learned enough to get hired. They undercut the wage and thier solutions are to re-install everything. Anything other than a PC and dialup is spooky to them.
3. Crossover from other communities hacks. Most commonly these people cut over from Accounting because the IT department is under the controller who could not deal with those hard core guys. So he fired them or they walked so cost accountants were placed in the IT department.

so where should the leadership come from?

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leaders are leaders

by John Tieso In reply to Who should be leaders?

My comments related to technology not being a solution referred to the dependence on systems and applications as solutions, not the IT staff which has a very important leadership role.

Leaders are those that can successfully execute and maintain change in the organization. This change is positive, organized and forward-looking, not haphazard and irrational. leaders provide the focus and champion that type of change.

Functional leaders--the operational folks that execute programs provide one type of leadership. The IT community, working with the functional leadership provides another type through its understanding of how technology (The systems and applications) can facilitate and enhance change. Together, the leadership team--functional and technology move an organization forward.

There are times when either of the two groups will lead efforts, and there are times when they both have to work together to fashion solutions. The problem has been that the two groups do not often work well together. Then there is no real leadership--only a competing vacuum.

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Complexity you say...

by FluxIt In reply to Leadership vs. management

What if the complexity an organization is evolutionary facilitated by technology?

What if fundamental information processes were external or internal business units that knowledge workers staff?

What if complexity was enabled by technology?How could you use databases, web pages, learning systems, wans to evolve complexity?

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Ok... here's the deal

by admin In reply to Complexity you say...

You ask:"What if the complexity an organization is evolutionary facilitated by technology?" and I would say that you are asking the wrong thing. You should ask this of technology itself, but then of course, if it had evolved beyond you to the point of being capable of this, you would likely not even comprehend it's reply.

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You assume free will...

by FluxIt In reply to Ok... here's the deal

Consider the human body as evolutionary over billions of years.

We began as Electrons, Protons, and Neutrons floating in space that eventually came together in various ways to form Atoms. Over time these atoms assembled into various molecules. Eventually, molecules aggregated and in some cases cells formed or the first form of life, a primordial protoplasmal globule.

As time moved on, the cell began developing tissues then organs began forming. Eventually, Today we arrived at a much larger scale complex being known as you!

Likewise, organizations today can begin by aggregating common processes in building blocks just as those early parts of the atom did in space. Over time, we can arrive at a complex organization just as the human body formed.

I find it difficult to believe that the technology alone will advance beyond our comprehension.

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