Leaders have an important role in promoting the creation of the organization’s vision, and in its communication. To motivate, energize and inspire employees, leaders have to develop a captivating vision. Of course, vision is not a fantasy or a dream. Vision is an ambitious view of the future that everyone in the organization can believe in, one that can realistically be achieved, yet offers a future that is better in important ways than what now exists (Daft, Richard L., 1999). Vision leads every employee in a company to the same route and at the same tempo and rhythm. When vision is expressed, accepted, supported and followed, everyday decisions and actions throughout the organization respond to current problems and challenges in ways that move the organization toward the future rather than maintain the status quo (Daft, Richard L., 1999). A vision should connect organizations’ present to their future, because vision is about getting from one present point to another one in the future. The vision gives enthusiasm to people and accumulates commitment; it encourages employees to do their best. Vision is important for employees, because it gives value to work. For most of them work is not just a salary, and employees want to have wider objectives for the work they do and for them it is important to be proud of their work. A good vision brings out the best by speaking to the hearts of employees, letting them be a part of something bigger than themselves (Daft, Richard L., 1999)․ Effective vision has five common aspects: it has broad, widely shared appeal; it helps organizations deal with changes; it encourages faith and hope for the future; it reflects high ideals; and finally, it defines both the organization’s destination and the basic rules to get there (Daft, Richard L., 1999)․
In my reality, organizations either fail or communicate their vision insufficiently to their staff, thus preventing it from being always up-to-date and familiar to employees. Moreover, in organizations, where the vision is communicated, many consider it is the CEO’s role to communicate it. At the same time, every leader in successful organizations sees the responsibility to understand and communicate the vision. There are many effective methods to communicate the vision and it is vitally important to believe in it. Personal presentations or meetings are one of effective ways to communicate vision: it could be either presentations within executive committee, leadership workshops, departmental meetings or even presentations in trainings, such as orientation trainings, project management, or mandatory trainings about the company’s mission, vision, values, etc. The other way of communication leaders can use is nonverbal: it could be a company’s intranet, where employees can read and discuss, also the vision can be shared in printed materials, such as posters signed by the CEO and other directors, QR codes attached on every desk linked to a vision page on intranet or other source, even coffee mugs and t-shirts can be used for that purpose. The other effective way of communication is employee surveys that create gaps and results discussions that complement the gap. Every manager should explain the connection between individual KPI’s and the main strategic pillars and vision, communicate the vision during the employee evaluation process. Leaders should even communicate the vision to customers and partners through advertising campaigns and brochures. I think it is important that leaders do not communicate with words alone. Their actions speak volumes.
And how self-belief, commitment and personal energy contribute to reach goals and impact on leadership style? Let us reflect on the following example. An organization had bought a workforce management tool for its Commercial Department and for some reasons was not using it about a year. The tool was in an initial state and needed development and adaptation, therefore employees did not believe it would work. The goal of the commercial project manager was to reach the department’s target: develop and implement a Key Performance Indicator tool in a period of one month. He set a meeting with his team and discussed how that tool would improve and speed up their work; it would allow to escape correspondence, to generate multiple reports, to save time. After, he met their partners to understand the logic of the tool and to let the team members compare the real path with the tool possibilities and map all processes. He was sharing their results in the project file at the end of each day and it was great inspiration. Before the KPI tool launch, he conducted sessions for Executive Committee and middle management of the Commercial Department (120+ employees); introduced the tool, its advantages and user manual. He sent tool posters to all their shops and offices to promote it, so as every employee were able to submit or update his/her monthly KPI results. Twice-a-week meetings, clear goals and commitment helped his team reach their objective. In this example, leadership style is more transformational, as employees were inspired to execute the goal and feel invested in it. As a conclusion, we may add that “transformational leadership results in having more engaged and devoted employees, who go above and beyond the job requirements to achieve organizational goals” (Purvanova, Bono, & Dzieweczynski, 2006).
What about empowerment and trust through ethical leadership? What is their impact on organizational performance? Researches on ethical leadership mention characteristics, such as moral character and integrity, ethical awareness, people empowerment and encouragement, as well as moral accountability (Resick et al, 2006). Among the characteristics, the moral feature speaks about purpose, desires and righteousness, which are basics of ethical behavior. Moreover, ethical leaders focus on serving people better and care about how their actions affect others (Gini, 1997). Many researchers have stressed on empowerment, trust and their importance too. Empowerment and trust enable employees to set goals for their work, take responsibility and authority to make decisions and solve problems on their own (Literl, 2007). Empowerment is not just giving authority to employees, it also helps employees acquire knowledge, skills and motivation to improve their performance.
It is known that people are the most valuable organizational assets, and without them the objectives may not be achieved. A study by Toor & Ofori (2009) highlighted that ethical leadership could play an important role in the connection between organizational culture and employee results. The study points out that ethical leadership is likely to increase effectiveness, readiness of employees to put in extra efforts, employees’ job satisfaction and a climate for ethical leadership to expand, thus leading to employees’ increased job performance.
In my opinion, ethical issue is an important issue for organizations, and ethical leaders are considered as having wide ethical awareness, therefore, leaders have to build an ethically friendly work atmosphere, act as role models and develop responsible employees. CEOs must ensure strong ethical culture, values and norms. Organizations should hire people with ethical skills, should ensure that all employees participate in ethics training programs, and finally, leaders in organizations should recognize ethical behavior and discipline unethical one.