The leadership and strategic management are two terms that are the critical in the success of an organisation. The leadership is what is observed in a person and is natural. It is achieved by virtue of activities performed by a person. A good leader can be a good manager but not vice-versa. On the other hand the strategic management is related with making the most critical decisions. Theoretically strategic management is simple enough than to implement, it is plan -> implement -> review -> correct -> win. On the other hand a strategic manager has to play different leadership roles.
The Virgin Group executive team recognised need to recruit a team to lessen the burden on the top management. This team will be able to conduct the tests and data collection in the market and suggest an optimum strategy to lead the group on the growth path with fast pace. The team will be formed from within the organisation and comprises of the most successful performers. This team of leaders will guide others in decision making and strategy implementation.
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The above facts show the link between the leadership and strategic management activities based on the organisation under study. The conclusion is that only the most performers can be selected as the leaders because these employees have displayed potential to retain the organisation on the top of others. Drawing from your knowledge of the investigation of the case study organisation, analyse the impact that different management and leadership styles could have on Virgin Atlantic strategic decisions.
1.2 There are a number of leadership styles that can vary from person to person, time to time, place to place. There is a common in these that all these are with respect to the type of organisation under consideration.
The organisation under discussion adopts the consensus method of leadership. In this method opinions are invited from talented and well versed personalities from the organisation and a collective decision is made. It is one of the best methods of leadership where everyone has right to participate and a feeling of equality. The final decision still vests with the top managers.
The second method of leadership is based on the activity. It is directive in the organisation under discussion. In this method the project manager directs other about the plan and its implementation. He ensures that the procedures are well followed and within the tight control. Even if there are some factors that are going out of control, the project manager adopt a diplomatic strategy and make the things round so that the project may be completed within time.
The next method of style observed is facilitating. In this method the project manager facilitates the team members to participate and use the tools they have. He ensures full co ordination and cooperation among the team members. In this way they all move in a common direction and ensure proper execution of the plans.
1.3 There are a number of leadership styles that can be adopted in the organisation. Each have it merits and demerits theoretically but on the practical grounds there are a lot of differences. Below we give critical evaluation of these leadership styles.
The consensus method of management is also known to be democratic in nature where in all the members of the board participate in making decision. Some of the members might want to vote for some particular option that may not be the optimum from the point of view of the organisation in the long run but may show a consistent behaviour in the short run. It leads to a lope sided development. The virgin group has formed a 200 companies performing different activities. The origin of the company is from a small enterprise of magazine and mailing system. It is all due to the participation, dedication and innovation that the company could reach that far.
The vesting of recruiting executive from within the organisation to lessen the burden of the directors seems to be a good idea that is given to executives but the point here is that there is no reference regarding the field expertise of these executive. There are a few who control a vast majority of employees, whether the proposed plan will be able to unleash the power and potential of other employees under these executives is a doubt raising question.
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In a recent study related to the leadership and management skills it has been observed that there is negative correlation between leaders opinions and the employees opinions due to job satisfaction
2.1 There are a number of theories of good leaders that are applied to managers. Some the notable theories are as follows:
The Great Men theory: this theory states that the great leaders are born and posses virtues to lead others. They have capabilities to influence others and others follow them. They have high thinking than that of others. Some of the researches show that this theory imposes partiality on the general masses because the personalities these theories discuss have distinct family status and other less opportune failed to get a chance to show their capabilities.
Critical Evaluation: This theory is related to the virtues of a person but on the other hand all men are born equal without any discrimination by nature. The fact is the opportunities available to an individual here.
The Contingency Theories: these theories focus on variable factors that determine the style of leadership. The style can vary from person to person, time to time and place to place. A person who can act without missing has right to be a leader and can direct others. He is fore-thinker and can forecast events as these are going to occur and affect the organization. He can give right direction to the energies of others to achieve the set goal.
Critical Evaluation: The theory assumed variable factors that influence the strategy. It is observed from the practice that the objective and factors influencing of the firm remains constant over the time till the strategy under study. There are certain assumptions and these are dropped as the facts are met with reality or new conclusions are drawn.
The Adair's Action - Centered Leadership Model: this model is one of the most popular models of leadership management in which the manager leads a team or itself to get the task done. The model discusses the three interrelated fields viz. task, Team, Individual and assigns the task to the most suitable person who can do the same.
From the beginning of the case study, it can be assumed that Sir Richard Branson has applied all the three or more theories discussed above to reach this level high. He has the qualities of a good leader and thinker. He was capable to plan and execute the tasks in such a way that he never missed a single opportunity. While in the business life, many companies might have been overtaken, merged or newly established. Sir Richard Branson began with a little amount of capital to start the business and had been successful in defeating the rivals.
2.2 There are a number of strategies that can be applied in the aviation industry. Some of them are as follows:
Porter's Generic Four Competitive Strategy: This study conducted in 1980 states that we can focus on the cost of leadership and differentiation desired to create a strategy to generate more profit with less cost.
Cronshaw, Davis and Kay (1994) observed that this theory is rarely observed and hence "struck in the middle".  condition occurs.
The best strategy is to combine the both the theories and hence get a mixed result. In brief, we present the following recommendations:
Focus on the cost of factors that need to be reduced.
Find the disguisedly employed resources and remove them so the production may be optimum. Removal of these employees will not affect the output. Alternatively these employees can be assigned some other task.
Lowering of the profit margin bounces the overall profit because less price more demand.
More investment should be made in exploring new areas and tie ups. A continuous dose of investment keep the money multiplier in action and hence expansion in the business.
Conclusion: From the above studies we can evaluate the position of the business from the third figure as to how we can reap the benefit by applying the above suggested measures.
3.1 Keeping in view the requirements of the organisation and after studying the case scenario, we have following recommendations from the point of view of an excutive
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We should maintain good relation with our boss. It will reflect the capability and recommendations from the boss to keep in pace with the entire world. It also reflects the capabilities to satisfy the employees and employers as well.
We should show interpersonal and desired qualities in every organisation so that there is a congenial atmosphere of employment maintained. These qualities pay us in the future of our career.
Never over expect or under expect with regard to your remuneration. There is always a clause of negotiation. We should tell exactly what is required. Even if we are lacking a resource that may be required, it must made clear to the concerned authorities so that provision may be made well in time.
We should always keep in touch with the employees. Meetings keep us closely tied to each other. Participation in meetings should be encouraged. The meetings must be with some pre defined purpose so that every one may have data and some analysis of facts before entering into the meeting room.
Always expect and give reward for hard work. Employees get enthusiastic when they are paid for their hard and dedicated tasks. We should not take good performance for granted.
Every employee has some strengths and weaknesses. We should adopt a discriminating policy and assign the tasks to them as per their capabilities. The word discrimination here is used in the positive sense that make the atmosphere cooperative and not competitive.
We should always evaluate the workers and in time give them feedback so that they may improve themselves.
We should always listen to the employees. There are some times conflicts and these can be judged before something disastrous may happen well before time. We can have an advantage of solving the conflict in a more lucid way than in haste. All employees say something important and we should not take them above the ears.
Always learn about time management. When all the things are planned we can know the slacking and surplus time elements in the tasks and make our schedule accordingly.
We should not make any promise to the clients about the delivery of the tasks when it is asked. We should give them exact picture of the project under consideration and try to deliver it well in time rather than to promise about its delivery. The reason is that only one of the objectives Delivery or Promise can be met and not both at the same time.
We should not indulge into the blame game, rather commit our mistakes if there is any.
Always try to make a congenial atmosphere at the working place and share the ideas that spread happiness and laughter in the organisation. It will help reducing the stress and also good for health.
3.2 Since the organisation is spreading its wings to include more and more companies worldwide. There is dire need of making strategies that will reduce the burden from top managers and directors. For this we have following plans:
During the innovation period the top managers have to travel from place to place soon often, in this case the existing routine tasks must not be affected. For this we should select a few more capable executives to perform on behalf of the top managers. These executive will be able to understand the instructions from their respective managers and carry out the tasks independently unless there is doubt. The top managers should be contacted only on critical times once the task has been under execution. The critical times can be
Successful completion of the job.
Requirement of a resource.
Making an urgent decision on behalf of the organisation that may need attention of the manager.
Reporting silently through mail and by telephonic means in case of urgency.
Keeping the top manager happy as far as the task is concerned by meeting the deadlines and optimising the work under process.
These and some other less important criteria should be adopted to create a team of junior executive to replace the top managers when needed.
The strategy will help us in many directions. The top manager will be free to carry out some high level task. He will be contacted occasionally to tell the current module of the task and its related activities that are to be carried out. The top manager will be watching the tasks only from a length.
4.1 Based on your understanding of the module, how can the organisation effectively plan for the development of leadership skills for the succession of its future leaders?
The organisation can create and effective plan for the development of leadership for future endeavours. Here are some suggestions for the new executives:
The executives should be trained in a real life environment on the past projects and test their opinions and output whether it is effective or not.
Based on the training mock interviews, strategy development programmes should be implemented. The managers should be encouraged to participate in the tests, plans, execution of policies etc.
The managers should be sent to other more developed countries for necessary training and learning new skills. They should be encouraged to participate in conferences world-wide that will help them know the experts and keep them in touch with latest trends in the management disciplines.
Besides real life live projects they should be encouraged to study the journals, books and other material available on the internet to enhance their skill level.
The management should give due weight to the opinions and ideas as developed by the trainees and other employees so that these may be evaluated and necessary action be taken so that the productivity may be increased.
4.2 We have discussed a number of methods that can be adopted for the upliftment of the working status and skill level of the employees. The following is the outcome that has been observed after the hypothetical training.
Effect of Training: Training of managers was found to be very useful. It enhanced their thinking, planning and executing the tasks in right way. They have shown to be very efficient and quick in their action.
Effect of Conferences: The conferences helped them in research areas and they are found to be efficient in the improving the previously designed solutions. They have come with new ideas and at the same time able to remove the limitations of the previous products. The quality of the work has improved around 40-60%.
Effect of Study Material: the study material provided was found to be useful in developing ideas and way of thinking of the executives. They are now in a better position to evaluate the work done by others, adopting new strategies to improve the functionality of the organisation.
Effect of Policy Implementation: Some of the policies suggested by executives after all the work out have been implemented and these proved to be upto the mark as these helped in minimizing the disparities that had been in earlier projects.
Effect of Group Discussion: The group discussion and meetings brought them closer to each other and now they share their ideas more often. The selected executives have come to know more about their potential capabilities and weaknesses. They are now open to accept challenges and determined to remove the limitations that had been pointed out.
Conclusions: From the observations made above in the task 4, it can be concluded that the training programmes have a positive effect on the productivity of the employees. They learn to work as a team and not as an individual. Further they are more aware of their strengths and weaknesses and working in competitive cooperative environment where the competition is to improve the skill level and cooperation also.