Thursday, November 15, 2012

Recognizing Success in Organizational Leadership

This week’s reading explores the importance of leadership to an organization’s pursuit an attainment of various goals and overall success. While we typically focus on business leaders to illustrate this idea, we can find influential leaders and their organizational impact in all sorts of environments.

One such example is that of professional sports team managers. While sports may seem like an informal example to be applied to such formal business strategy, the management style of professional teams can have substantial effects on the season’s outcome and reputation of a given team. This week Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League (AL) and National League (NL) chose their managers of the year, Bob Melvin and Davey Johnson, respectively. The results for both divisions reinforced the idea that strong, involved leadership can lead to greater team success.

The AL winner, Bob Melvin, led his Oakland Athletics to an unexpected record of 72 wins and 38 losses. The team went to playoffs, although Oakland was taken out by Detroit (the World Series runner-ups) in the first round. Those who nominated Melvin for the honor cited his patience and “cool demeanor”, two qualities that led the A’s to such an outstanding season.

The NL winner, Davey Johnson, is the manager of the Washington Nationals. Under Johnson, the Nats earned the MLB’s best season record and a spot in the playoffs, an honor that Washington has not seen since 1933. Like Melvin, those who nominated Johnson highlighted his calm sensibilities under pressure and his ability to recognize and employ the diverse range of assets within the team.

Both team managers are the leaders of team that many would place in the “underdog” category. This goes to show, however, that the right leadership can make all of the difference and have a substantial impact on a franchise’s overall success. The qualities attributed to the successful managers relate easily to those valued by the leaders in the business world. As the sports industry is currently seeing many coaching and managerial shuffles at all levels, it becomes obvious that the importance of finding the “right fit” is not something that is exclusively tied to business leaders. Ultimately, the right balance of chemistry, leadership, patience and ambition is key to any and all organizational settings.

Source: “Melvin, Johnson Top Managers”. via the Associated Press. 14 November 2012. Web.  Accessed 14 November 2012.

Herrmann, Katharina et al. “Do You Have the Right Leaders for Your Growth Strategies?” McKinsey Quarterly. July 2011. Web. Accessed 14 November 2012.

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