Understanding Leadership Issues and Challenges in Indian Organizations.

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Organizational Behavior- Group Project Report        


Understanding Leadership Issues and Challenges in Indian Organizations

Submitted to

Dr. N.M.Agrawal

Submitted by : Group 2

Thomas Joseph

Prakash R

Sumit Mittal

Gagandeep Singh

Rumthao Soreichan

Indushri Sulanki


5.        References        


  1. Introduction

In the past few decades, the Indian Industry has undergone a sea change in the way it functions. With the advent of new technology, the industry dynamics are becoming more and more complex. Jobs have become specialized and multi-faceted. In such a scenario, human resource management has become the key to success for an organization. Effective and efficient leadership is required for this purpose. What is leadership, then?

“Leadership is the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants. The man who successfully marshals his human collaborators to achieve particular ends is a leader. A great leader is one who can do so day after day, and year after year, in a wide variety of circumstances.”

                                                                                                W.C.H. Prentice

                                                                                  (Harvard Business Review)

In a world where everything changes so fast, a leader’s job is not easy. He has to keep track of everything that is going around, analyze and act accordingly.

Leaders and Managers

 “The significant distinction between leaders and managers is not a matter of technique but of the leader’s ability to induce clarity about the organization’s vision and values. The critical distinction is that leaders lead through values while managers manage through overt or subtle coercion and rewards.  “

  • Bennis, W.

Kotter2 asserts that leadership and management each has its own function and characteristic activities.  Management is about coping with complexity while leadership is about coping with change.  Good management brings a degree of order and consistency. The more rapidly the environment changes, the more an organization relies on leadership to survive and compete effectively. 

Leadership and management are two distinctive, yet complementary, systems for action. Leadership and management are similar since both involve deciding what needs to be done, creating networks of individuals to do what needs to be done, and ensuring that individuals actually do what needs to be done.  

The challenge of management is maintaining internal organizational homeostasis while the challenge of leadership is driving the organizational change necessary to align the organization with its external environment.    

The objective of managerial structures, systems, and process is to control; to eliminate surprises. The objective of leadership is to energize people to overcome obstacles to align the organization with its external environment.  

Leaders and managers can be delineated on a number of parameters. Some of the critical differences between the two are:

  1. Leaders are empowered from within themselves. Managers are empowered externally. A corollary is that followers follow leaders because of something that comes from within the leader him/herself. Followers follow managers because of a power relationship that resides above both of them.
  2. Leaders are motivated from within. They frequently exhibit a consuming desire to do, to achieve, and to create. Managers are motivated by external rewards. Leaders develop the inner strengths to do what they perceive as right. Managers are driven by externalities to do the will of others.
  3. Leaders lead 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The power of the leader is always present since it resides with the person. Managers function when on the job. The power of the manager is associated with the job itself.
  4. Leaders lead through example. The leader says, “Follow me.” Managers achieve through commands. The manager says, “Do as I say.”
  5. Leaders develop a way of life. Managers develop skills. This is why there are schools of management and not schools of leadership. Management skills are easier to define, measure, and teach than leadership
  6. Leaders do not necessarily desire to be viewed as managers. Managers desire to be viewed as leaders. There is a perceived order of importance between the two concepts.
  7. Leaders create a vision. Managers develop a plan.
  8. Leaders communicate with individuals. Managers “organize” people.
  9. Leaders motivate people. Managers control people.

The ability of the organization to anticipate, initiate, and implement change necessary to be effective relative to its vision and mission in a turbulent environment requires the combined talents of the manager and the leader.

"Leadership has been characterized as doing the right things; management as doing things right. Both are important."

Daniel Stowell; 1997 Jossey-Bass

Purpose of Leadership

Leadership is a way of focusing and motivating a group to enable them to achieve their aims. It also involves being accountable and responsible for the group as a whole.

A leader should:

  • Provide continuity and momentum
  • Be flexible in allowing changes of direction

Ideally, a leader should be a few steps ahead of his team, but not too far, for the team to be able to understand and follow.

Leadership skills

Leaders must have a wide range of skills, techniques and strategies. These include:

  • Planning
  • Communication skills
  • Organization
  • Awareness of the wider environment in which the team operates3

Leadership Styles:

The role of leadership in management is largely determined by the organizational culture of the company. It has been argued that managers' beliefs, values and assumptions are of critical importance to the overall style of leadership that they adopt.

The Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid suggest that leadership styles or approaches are based on two central dimensions: concern for relationships with people and concern for task production.

Leadership style is an important attribute in the sense that the way leader influences workgroup members can make a difference in his own and his people’s performance.

  1. Objectives and Scope of study

The objective of the study was to understand the leadership issues and challenges facing Indian organizations. The study helped us find the critical leadership issues confronting different levels of management. The study at different levels helped in looking into the challenges facing Indian organizations from different perspectives and the steps being taken to handle these.

  1. Methodology and Sample Size

The study involved a one-to-one interaction with managers of an organization to study the dynamics of its working atmosphere. Analog Devices Inc. India, the Indian subsidiary of Analog Devices Inc, USA - a world leader in semiconductor technology, was chosen for this purpose. The company profile has been provided in the annexure. The choice of the company was governed by the following factors:

  • The company, with its large workforce & group-oriented working, gave us a chance to study and analyze group dynamics.
  • VLSI Chip design technology, though so much in demand, is yet to take off completely in India. This offered us an opportunity to study the dynamics of an upcoming industry.
  • Since the company already has a good reputation in the market, the study helped us in analyzing the strategy it employs to live up to its name.

Three managers at different hierarchical levels were interviewed to compare and contrast their job profiles. This proved helpful in studying the difference in their styles of operation and in the issues they face. The profiles of chosen interviewees and the interview transcripts have been given in the annexure attached.

  1. Learning’s

During the nineties dramatic market changes pushed successful organizations into crises of survival, forcing most of the leaders to take a hard look at themselves and their organizations - at what was going on in the internal and external environment and work towards renewal strategies. They realized that significant changes were necessary in order to survive.

In this backdrop we went on to interview leaders at one of he most advanced technology companies in our country. There we could see some leaders manage these changes and transitions smoothly. We had long conversations with them where we actually lived through certain situations and problems.

Without having a formal management education, Mr.Kartik, the Managing Director of Analog Devices India, was leading a big team of engineers without having any attrition so characteristic of technology companies. This really surprised us. As we progressed with our interview, we could see the commitment in his eyes. The satisfied and enthused employees were the proof of his success.

From the three interviews, we learned about the issues and challenges a leader faces in the Indian Industry.

We learned that compared to the west, in India, employees tend to take things personally. It could be a performance appraisal or a salary hike or a lay off. In the west, employees realize that these things are a normal part of business.

This poses a serious challenge for leaders in India. The way to deal with it is to keep the employees informed about the circumstances & being very frank with them. This helps in building the leader’s credibility.

We learned that there are some prominent issues that are faced by leaders irrespective of geographies & cultures. These are:

  • Providing a collective vision
  • Building a committed team
  • Creating a High-Achieving, Learning & Innovative Environment
  • Leading and Manage Change

Each of these issues is dealt with separately.

  • Providing a collective vision

We learned that a clear and compelling vision is very useful to guide the company in the present context. For getting the support of the people, the leaders need to have a vision of a better future that is attractive enough to justify the sacrifices and hardship the organization requires. The vision should provide a hope for a better future and the faith that it will be attained someday.

The characteristics of a good vision are:

  1. Should be simple and idealistic
  2. It should appeal to the values, hopes and ideals of the organization members and stakeholders
  3. It should be focused enough to guide decisions and actions
  4. It should be easily communicable

All employees have a vision of what they want to do & where they want to be. We learned that the leader has to keep these individual visions in mind & try to align them to the organizations vision. This may not always be possible, but sustained efforts should be made to do it. Having their personal goals realized makes the employees self motivated. This results in high levels of performance.

In Analog devices, Mr. Kartik, MD has been able to provide a shared vision among all the employees and they work collectively to achieve the dream. This has resulted in highly motivated employees having high levels of satisfaction. Because of this, attrition is practically nil in the organization.

  • Building a Committed Team

Teams are a special kind of group, and organizations are relying increasingly on them to improve quality, efficiency and adaptive change. In our study we learned important insights about group processes. We could understand certain determinants of group performance from Mr. Kartik. They are member skills, role clarity, commitment to task objectives, performance strategies, cooperation, resources and leadership.

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We learned that for a leader to build a committed team, he has to

  1. Have a clear, elevating goal
  2. Emphasize common interest and values
  3. Encourage and facilitate social interaction
  4. Keep people informed about group activities and achievements
  5. Increase incentives for mutual cooperation
  6. Have a results driven structure
  7. Maintain standards of excellence
  8. Provide external support and recognition
  9. Preach & practice Principled leadership                

  • Creating High-Achieving Learning & Innovative Environments

The environment of most organizations is becoming increasingly dynamic and competitive. Competition is becoming more intense, customer ...

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