Business Leadership Essay, Research Paper
Parallel to the evolution that has occured in the business world in decades past, is the evolution of views on participative leadership among managers. Participative leadership refers to the manner in which employers have come to treat their employees. This treatment has evolved from days of traditional, autocratic relationships in which employees were told exactly what tasks to do, without regard to their feelings or what intelligent input could be made to today s spectrum of treatment defined by two terms, human relations and human resources. Managers approaches today, now consider, not only the employees feelings, but the potential added benefits they might be able to bring to the firm. The difference between human relations and human resources lies in the goals and expectations of the manager. With human relations, the manager s primary concern is reducing employee resistance to authority with the satisfaction of the employee s basic needs to feel accomplishment and belonging in the company; secondary is the performance and added benefits the employee may be able to contribute once morale is increased. On the other hand, managers who practices human resources look to empower their employees by encouraging them to take initiative and reach goals by their own capabilities and resources. With the sense of self-accomplishment gained by doing this, it is then that employee morale will be raised. Not only will the employee s presence truly matter, but the company s productivity and success will also be greater. Managers stances today are headed in the direction of the human resources model, a beneficial move for the welfare of company relations and success, but there are those who still practice human relations. Many companies demonstrate both models, proving employer/employee relationships in today s companies continue to range the spectrum.
Two guiding companies of the human resource model are Lucent Technologies and Miller Brewing Company. The employees of these firms have been empowered with the ability to work in teams and achieve goals on their own. This flexibility has resulted in creativity and productivity unseen before. The effect: greater employee morale, respect, and overall company success. With the human relations model, such success is uncomparable. Understandably, there are those who still advocate it though. Those people might look at such successful companies as Mary Kay Cosmetics. The consultants of this firm enjoy the encouragement and widespread support, making job loyalty and morale very high. However, in reality, employees of Mary Kay don t have the opportunity or flexibility to explore their ideas in terms of corporate and influential decisions. Individual insecurities to belong may be fulfilled, but Mary Kay s consultants lack the satisfaction of having personal impact on the company.
Ultimately, the human resources model will prevail. This method leads to continuous improvement with innovation and efficiency, as individual employees are challenged to solve problems the best way they can. This challenge is not one that one employee might face on his own, as one manager might face on his own, but is shared among a team in which ideas can be explored and unlimited to the capabilities of just one person. Evidence of one s efforts becomes more tangible if it is not just the result of an order or direction, but that of one s own ideas. And as a result, greater feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction arise, bringing greater loyalty to the company and respect for all of those in it.