There is a sea of difference in being a leader and manager of an organization. Each one of the two persona can fit in a type of organization. But in the case of the Red Cross in the US,public interest, administrative responsibility and some of the recent ethical obligations confronting public administrators in their day to day decision making. Also examine the recent trend in privatizing government functions and appeared to have not fit at all occupying the presidency.
She was a victim of the position not for becoming a tough, passionate, too-driven leader, but for not coming a manager of the international Red Cross that is largely resistant to change. It has been said that managers “do things right” while leaders, on the other hand, “do the right things”. Managers are concerned primarily with managing things. Leaders, on the other hand, are show concern for leading people.
Dr. Healy’s short stint in the Red Cross showed that she was more than a leader than a manager of the gargantuan relief service organization, whose organizational grandeur, financial resources and manpower are greater than the Philippine military establishment. In fact, she was described as “a tough professional who ruffled feathers but made things happen” and “a change agent for a culture resistant to change”.
But amidst controversies generated from her tough program thrusts, changes and innovations and her strong leadership in the international Red Cross, she had to cave in to pressures even as the powerful board of governors had decided to fire her out. It came to pass that the Red Cross Red is after all a conservative, non transparent organizations with heavy decentralization down in its hierarchy, with people and chapters enmeshed in turf wars and to some extent rocked with financial anomalies and a blood business that has to be rectified. It was described to have a militaristic management and a politburo-like board of governors.
Dr. Healy, who came in too passionate like a savior knight in shining armor, failed these to understand. Moreover, empathy as a vital organizational trait of a leader – as espoused by US Army logistics officer William Pagonis- was evidently lacking in the upmanship and leadership of Dr. Healy. In her rush to institute dramatic changes in the international Red Cross in the wake of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing she failed to factor in the use of empathy in drawing out support of Red Cross organizations under her leadership. As she was already hounded by criticisms right even in Red Cross board of governors, unlike Pagonis, Dr.
Healy failed to build up team work and design a communication structure that could complement the Red Cross chain of command, the reason why her good intents and passions were misunderstood. She failed to approach Red Cross by managing than by leading, and to pursue a long-haul of transformation process. It worth to ponder that change requires time and processes. In John Kotter’s Transformation Process in his book “Change or Die”, it takes many processes to transform men and in effect the organization, and many things have to be recognized and to make and unmake. On various areas where Dr.
Healy was brought down particularly in her evident over zeal to make Red Cross perform and take novel pursuits with least shoring up of empathy to the men and women across and down the line of the organization, Kotter’s organizational processes are given much rationale*. Changing the behavior of people is the most important challenge for organizations trying to compete in a turbulent world, says John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor who has studied dozens of organizations in the midst of upheaval: “The central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, or systems.
The core of the matter is always about changing the behavior of people. Those people may be called upon to respond to profound upheavals in marketplace dynamics — the rise of a new global competitor, say, or a shift from a regulated to a deregulated environment — or to a corporate reorganization, merger, or entry into a new business. And as individuals, we may want to change our own styles of work — how we mentor subordinates, for example, or how we react to criticism. Yet more often than not, we can’t. ” In relevance to ours, the Philippine Army has to “Change or Die” if wanted to survive in the high-technological, constantly changing times.
There have been more critiques leveled to the Philippine military in its organizational mission, efficacy and those relating organizational stresses and dysfunctions. The current thrusts and posturing of the country’s military for transformation have still a long way to go in so far as hurdling and taking tasks along the generalist processes spelled out. And let it be said now that changing the behavior of men and officers towards a mission an ever-changing times is a daunting task of the Philippine Army.
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