Human relations is the management process that involves bringing the activities of workers to match those of the organization. It also involves ensuring the individual employee objectives, goals, and those of the organization are achieved. While the organization is concerned with goals such as profit-making, growth, and survival, the objectives of the employee will be to receive good pay, work in a clean and safe environment and be able to interact with other employees freely. Human relations in the professional world are involved with the individual worker, workgroups, the organizational environment, and the person in authority charged with ensuring work is performed properly. In the personal world, human relations are concerned with an individual and the surrounding environment (Hodgetts & Hegar, 2008).
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The values of a person are the prejudices, viewpoints, opinions, rational, irrational judgments, and the association patterns that help to determine and shape the views of a person towards other people or the world in general. Value systems are important because they can be used as criteria for guiding a person’s actions and behavior. Values shape the purposes of individuals, which in turn shapes how they behave towards other people. Personal conduct is developed by values in the form of integrity, authenticity, honesty, dignity, personal growth, and trustworthiness. The individual value base of a person provides a guideline that will direct them towards achieving success and wealth in whatever activity they undertake.
In professional development, values are embedded in activities such as collaborating with other works, empowerment programs by managers, and general duties and responsibilities. Values require that the person or employee within the organization strive towards being authentic and open about their real self instead of being someone else. Fundamental values that are generally known are the pursuit of happiness, freedom, responsibility, and self-control, and justice. Personal values involve individual empowerment, respect, integrity, authenticity, honesty, acceptance, and openness, while system values involve development, growth, learning, effectiveness, efficiency, collaboration, interaction, diversity, and trust (Decenzo & Silhanek, 2002).
Values are important because they act as basic criteria and guidelines that will shape the behavior of an individual. Sometimes values might become conflicting values to the individual, which leads to a personal or professional dilemma. In some cases, the value base is so strong that choosing a conflicting value that is expected to achieve negative results is seen to be the best option. For example, an employee who has not been chosen for work projects because he or she does not have the required background to do the work. The employee has, however, developed proposals for similar projects, so they have a general idea of performing the project work. In the event a project comes up, the employee presents himself to be included in the project leaving out the fact that he does not have the required background to do the work. The employee ends up weighing the importance of authenticity and honesty when presenting himself to get the job.
The human relations aspect in values is important for an organization’s development because values determine the degree to which employee values are aligned with the values of clients to the organization. Values are viewed to be important to human relations activities because authenticity, integrity, openness, and trustworthiness just to name a few basic values are important aspects when dealing with other people on a personal and professional level. Relationships are seen to be a very important component in our lives be they personal or professional relationships. Therefore having proper human relations at any level will involve the involved parties possessing values that will ensure the relations are maintained.
Leadership is defined as the art of influencing followers to perform certain activities that will ensure organizational objectives and goals are achieved. Leadership requires that there should be a clear vision and people who are ready to perform activities that will realize the vision. Since it requires collaborating and working together with other people, the leader has to have good communication skills, good interpersonal skills, and knowledge about the nature of human beings. The key elements that are used to define leadership are influence, personal or organizational objectives, change processes, and followers (Decenzo & Silhanek, 2002).
Leaders are the people that influence followers to take part in activities that will influence change in either their personal or professional lives. Influencing is the process where a leader communicates ideas to followers while at the same time gaining acceptance from the followers. Influencing people is seen to be an essential part of leadership because without any influence followers would not feel compelled to undertake or to any work. Objectives are important because they outline what the organization needs to do to move from the current position to a better position in the future. Influence and objectives are important components for bringing about change. (Decenzo & Silhanek, 2002).
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Leadership is viewed to be important because the success of an individual or an organization will be determined by the type of leadership behavior demonstrated by the leader. Managers who have failed to perform well in the past have been forced to vacate their positions to pave way for individuals who exhibit leadership skills. People generally are of the view that leaders are born and not made. To be a leader, you have to be born with leadership skills that cannot be learned anywhere. Such a general perception places a limit on who can be a leader and who cannot.
Most organizations today require that their managers should possess leadership skills on top of their managerial skills. For those managers that lack leadership qualities, this places a requirement on them to hone their leadership skills by practicing and exercising leadership skills. For a person, at some point in their life, they are going to be required to take up a leadership position or an activity that will require them to be a leader. This means that they will have to acquire leadership skills and knowledge on how to be an effective leader. The fact that leadership skills can now be acquired dispels the notion that leaders are born instead of being made.
Leadership is important in affecting human relations in an organization. Leaders require communication to carry out effective human relations activities in an organization. Human relations communication will involve forming channels that will be used by leaders or managers in leadership roles to transmit policies that will be used in maintaining human relations. The communication will also ensure that there is some establishment of cooperation procedures that will ensure employees are involved in the activities of the organization. Leadership is a vital aspect of ensuring that an organization’s human relations systems are well maintained and functioning properly. Leaders, while communicating their visions, objectives, and goals to their followers, also have to engage in human relations activities to ensure that the goals and objectives of their followers are in line with the organizational or individual goals that have been established.
Power is the degree of authority that a person has in an organization, community, or society. People in authoritative positions are said to have power because they can influence how work is done in the organization, and they can also influence people to perform tasks because of their authority. Power is of five types, which are legitimate power, expert power, referent power, coercive power, and reward power. Legitimate power is the kind of power that comes about after an agreement with other employees in an organization or individuals to perform authoritative roles. It is the authority given to an individual to make decisions that will be accepted by people under the individual’s authority. This power is perceived to be right because it comes about from job descriptions, duties, and responsibilities.
Reward power is derived from an individual’s authority to control the allocation of rewards to people under authority. For example, managers have the authority to give out rewards based on employee performance and achievements in their tasks or duties. Such rewards are promotions, pay hikes, or time off. Coercive power is the kind of authority that allows a manager or individual to punish people under authority in the event they go against the set-out rules and guidelines. Examples of coercive power are disciplining errant employees, demoting or firing, withholding salaries, or withdrawal of leave times. Team members rely on the leader or manager to exercise coercive power to control the behavior of other employees. Expert power is the power that is seen to originate from within the person charged with authority. It is viewed to be an individual’s personal capability to influence other people to perform work. Referent power also comes from within the person in authority and it mostly relies on an individual’s interpersonal skills (Decenzo & Silhanek, 2002).
Power is necessary to influence change and to ensure that activities are carried out. Workers and individuals faced with leadership positions will be faced with the aspect of having authority to influence change process activities in whatever work they undertake. Power ensures that work is carried out properly according to the orders given by the person in authority. While some employees view people in power negatively, they appreciate its importance, especially when their coworkers decide to abdicate their duties or do not contribute in any way to the development group.
There is a general tendency to view the use of power in human relations as a negative thing. Power is seen to infringe on the freedom of the person in whom the authority is exercised. This creates a view that the use of power, especially in human relations connotes some form of violence. Human relations cannot be properly sustained without some aspect of power. For example, managers assign tasks to employees because they have the power to do so, parents teach their children how to behave because they have the authority to do so, and politicians make political decisions because they have the authority to do so. Human relations are therefore significant in power because organizations and individuals need to assign duties and responsibilities for people to feel respected.
Decenzo, D.A. & Silhanek, B. (2002). Human relations: personal and professional Development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Hodgetts, R.M. & Hegar, K.W. (2008). Modern human relations at work. Ohio, US: Thomson South Western.