In choosing a leadership style, leaders cannot avoid facing another issue: what kind of organizations are we to have in our society? Organizations, after all, are made up of people whose leadership style will determine the psychological climate of the total organization. Repressive leaders make repressive organizations.
What kind of leadership style is required so all members of the organization feel their needs are respected? It is inconsistent with the philosophy of leadership advocated in this book that an organization exists solely for the realization of the needs and goals of its leaders. So leaders must find ways to enlist the participation of group members in making decisions that will result in mutual need satisfaction of management and employees, leaders and group members.
Do you want to be in an organization that is flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions? If organizations are going to survive and prosper they must have this flexibility. Problems should not be solved nor decisions made on the time-honored basis of who has the most authority, but rather on the basis of the creative resources of all members who have data relevant to the problem.
Organizations will have difficulty surviving if they rely exclusively on management methods based on workers’ fear of losing their jobs or being deprived of their basic needs. That is why in the last 60 years we have witnessed the start of a revolution—call it the human relations revolution.
Millions of dollars are being spent by organizations in the search for new patterns of supervision, new management practices, new styles of leadership. It may be that to survive in a democratic society, organizations must discover ways of operating democratically. James Worthy, a former industrial relations executive with Sears, Roebuck, expressed this same idea persuasively some years ago:
If we are concerned with the preservation of “free enterprise” in America and freedom in the world, we must strengthen its principles more effectively to the internal organization and administration of our own business…First of all, the system must continue to work effectively. It cannot do that for long unless it does a better job of tapping the creative resources, ability, and productivity of its individual members.
The leadership philosophy and methods described in this book seem singularly right for reaching Worthy’s objective.