Leadership Two of the Most Pressing Issues Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Leadership

Two of the most pressing issues in corporate leadership today include gender equality and labor rights. In "Women See Slow Progress in Leadership," Gay (2013) cites numerous empirical studies showing that the glass ceiling remains nearly impenetrable at the highest levels of management. The report cites the work-life balance ideal as the most common reason offered for why many women are either opting out of the CEO lifestyle, or are not considered ready or willing to handle the challenges and pressures of senior leadership.

In "The Best Retail Companies to Work for Right Now," Smith (2013) describes Costco's approach toward human resources management. The company has recently been named one of the best companies to work for in the United States because of their relatively high salaries, supportive work environment, opportunity for growth, and job security. Its ethical labor rights practices are helping gain positive publicity for Costco, showing that ethical leadership practices can be profitable.

A servant-leadership model can be applied to both of these situations. In both these situations, the need for work-life balance is highlighted. Costco is a good company to work for in part because of the fact that employees are encouraged to develop a balance between the time spent at work and the time spent with family. A balanced life ostensibly creates healthier and happier employees, which are in turn more productive, more loyal to the company, and more likely to show up for work on time. On the other hand, too many pressures to sacrifice personal time for work leads to a low morale among employees and may be the main reason why women who could become senior executives remain in subordinate roles. These are women who are unwilling to sacrifice their families for their careers. As a result, the workforce has become unbalanced, and many lives are becoming unbalanced as well. Servant-leaders recognize the need to empower employees by encouraging them to work on their own schedule to fulfill the mutual goals they share with the company.

According to the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership (2013), "A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong." Companies cultivating a servant leadership approach would focus on the growth and well-being of all employees, as Costco seems to be doing. However, companies that do not value servant leadership are more concerned with "the accumulation and exercise of power" at the top (Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, 2013). Greenleaf (2013) outlines the ten main components of servant leadership including listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community.

Visionary leadership principles also apply to the issues of gender equity and labor rights. Focused primarily on long-term goals, a visionary leader "calls for discipline and creativity" (Lavinsky, 2013). The vision for the company is framed in terms of how the organization can contribute to the community, how it can better the lives of people, and how it can improve the ethics of the global business community by setting a positive example. Applying visionary leadership to the impediments women are facing while climbing the corporate ladder, a company might create a new strategic vision that permits work-life balance within the overall framework of market strategies. Encouraging a work-life balance…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Gay, M. (2013). Women see slow progress in leadership. The Wall Street Journal. 14 Nov, 2013. Retrieved online: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303289904579196123043065800

Greenleaf, R. (2013). Ten principles of servant leadership. Butler University. Retrieved online: http://www.butler.edu/volunteer/resources/principles-of-servant-leadership/

Lavinsky, D. (2013). Are you a visionary business leader? Forbes. Retrieved online: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davelavinsky/2013/04/26/are-you-a-visionary-business-leader/

Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership (2013). What is servant leadership? Retrieved online: http://greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership/

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