Ict@innovation: Free your IT Business in Africa/4-3

Module 4.3 Leadership edit

Duration edit


Delivery method edit

For instructional purpose, it is advised that trainers/lectures use lectures and group and individual exercises as a major means of delivering this module.

Introduction edit


Leadership is the ability to lead a group of followers effectively, make them and the organization successful, and still maintain valid principles and ideals.

Leadership plays a vital role in business. The character and approach of people holding responsibility in any business can make an immense impact on the success of the business. A lot of discussions on effective leadership in business is the subject of may business analysists (Adair (1988), Kotte (1991), Authenticity Consulting). In this module we'll reflect on what leadership is all about and how good leadership is vital for the success of any FOSS business.

Leaders must have followers to be successful, and they must know how to treat the followers to ensure their success. They should have values that are consistent with high moral and ethical standards, and they should know how to motivate others effectively. In a leadership without management situation, the leader or manager sets the direction or vision that the company or other employees should follow, without considering too much how the new direction is going to be achieved. Other people then have to work hard in the trail that is left behind, picking up the pieces and making it work. In a management without leadership situation, on the other hand, the leader controls resources to maintain the status quo or ensure things happen according to already-established plans. For example, a referee manages a sports game, but does not usually provide "leadership" because there is no new change, no new direction - the referee is controlling resources to ensure that the laws of the game are followed and status quo is maintained. In an ideal company situation a good managing director or CEO will combine leadership with management. However, the company's organizational structures can be setup in such a way that the manager can dedicate duties and responsibilities to various individuals in the company.

Leadership and management edit

All businesses require professional leadership setting the vision and targets of the business. The personality style of the company management directly impacts the bottom line of all businesses. Key components include:

  • Setting and managing specific and measurable business and personal goals
  • Consultative process of creating the business and marketing plans
  • Employ time management systems
  • Prioritizing the needs of the company and measure the strategic goals to milestones and targets
  • Establishing effective leadership communication style
  • Motivating staff for business success
  • Setting sales targets and performance benchmarks
  • Building effective relationships
  • Establish work plan and task delegation
  • Create proactive conflict resolution styles and coping mechanisms to deal with difficult employees and customers
  • Fostering a productive and positive work environment

Types of leadership styles edit

One dimension of has to do with control and one's perception of how much control one should give to people. The laissez-faire style implies low control, the autocratic style high control and the participative lies somewhere in between.

The Laissez-faire Leadership Style

  • The style is largely a "hands off" view that tends to minimize the amount of direction and face time required. Works well if you have highly trained and highly motivated direct reports.
  • The Autocratic Leadership Style
  • The style has its advocates, but it is falling out of favor in many countries. Some people have argued that the style is popular with today's CEO's, who have much in common with feudal lords in Medieval Europe.
  • The Participative Leadership Style
  • It's hard to order and demand someone to be creative, perform as a team, solve complex problems, improve quality, and provide outstanding customer service. The style presents a happy medium between over controlling (micromanaging) and not being engaged and tends to be seen in organizations that must innovate to prosper.

Module 4.3: ASSESSMENT edit

  1. Assignment: Sketch the organizational structure of a known FOSS company in your country. Clearly state the roles (directors, managers, sales, developers, customer relations officer, etc.)
  2. Discussion 1: Does a FOSS-based company require a different leadership style than a traditional manufacturing company?
  3. Discussion 2: Using your knowledge of the Linux community structure in Module 1.3.1 is Linus Torvalds' role as a benevolent dictator of he Linux kernel community a suitable role to replicate in a FOSS company in Africa.

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