Developing Strategic Management and Leadership Skills in an Education

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The organisation chosen as a case study for task 1 of this assignment is my workplace where I am currently working as a part time lecturer in the Employability Skills department. The college is a Further Education (FE) college comprising of 500 staff members and more than 2000 students ranging from age group 14 - 18 and 19 +. It is located in the area of North East London, consisting of two sites: one in Tottenham and the other in Enfield. On the 1st August 2009, the main college located in Tottenham merged with a medium sized college located in Enfield. The new college has been created as a result of a response to the needs and changes in the major developments and cuts in FE funding. The merged college consists of various curriculum areas namely: 1. Directorate of 14 - 19, 2. Science and Creative Studies, 3. Skills for Life and Work and 4. Vocational Skills and Employer Engagement. Each curriculum area is divided into several departments.

In addition to, the curriculum area I am working for is Skills for Life and Work. Most learners in this department are originally from different countries such as Iraq, Iran, Bangladesh, Somalia, Turkey, Spain, Brazil, Vietnam, China, Nigeria, Bulgaria, Poland and many more. Their first language is not English and they are on Job Seekers Allowance, hence most of them live on benefits provided by the government. According to the changes made by the government, these learners are sent by their respective job centres to study and improve their communication skills including reading, writing, speaking and listening in English language. The aim is to prepare the learners' employability skills and help them to find appropriate work suitable for their existing and acquired skills.

Similarly, the mission and objectives of my organisation are to meet the training and education needs of the local area. The organisation's increased focus upon vocational training and responsiveness to employees implies a delivery of significant skills and a contribution to the economic regeneration. The mission of the college is to help individuals, employees and the community concerned to succeed by providing outstanding education and training.

Introduction

The purpose of the following assignment is to look at strategic management and leadership. But it will also help in linking strategic management and leadership, analyse how leadership assists in meeting organisational direction and improve the ability in understanding leadership's applications to different situations. It also stretches one's thinking by the contribution of one's opinions, strategic management and leadership skills. On the other hand, this work has been divided into three tasks to meet the required criteria, hence simplifying and make it easy to handle.

In task 1, strategic management and leadership will be explored. Then a clear description of the link between them will be given. After a detailed examination on the effect of management and leadership styles on strategic decisions of an organisation will be carried out. The organisation chosen for this task is my workplace (please refer to company's profile: Page 2). The final part of task 1 is to determine how leadership styles are adapted to different situations in the organisation referred.

Next is task 2 which is a literature review of two chosen management and leadership theories or models in the current situation of another selected organisation. The impact of these theories on the strategy of that particular organisation will be reviewed. Then a leadership strategy that supports the organisational direction will be created. In this task there will be an illustration of the understanding of the context.

Finally, task 3 is about a formal presentation focussing on two main aspects.

Task 1

Link between strategic management and leadership

Literature review

Dess, Lumpkin and Eisner (2010: Pg. 3) defined strategic management 'as consisting of the analyses, decisions and actions an organisation undertakes in order to create and sustain competitive advantages'. Similarly Pearce II and Robinson Jr. (2011: Pg. 3) defined strategic management 'as the set of decisions and actions that result in the formulation and implementation of plans designed to achieve a company's objectives'. Whereas Armstrong M. (2009: Pg. 3) defined management 'as the process of deciding what to do and then getting it done through the effective use of resources'.

As per my understanding, strategic management is the combination of certain key actions being continuously implemented and modified to ensure that the organisational goal is being met and at the same time to keep the organisational standard high in today's competitive world. This process can be carried out only if the people in charge analyse different strategies well, examine the effects of these strategies on the organisation, make appropriate decisions for the welfare of the organisation and finally use all resources available efficiently to implement the actions or methods which will benefit the organisation only.

Strategic management consists of four major characteristics (Dess, Lumpkin and Eisner: 2010, Pg. 10). The first characteristic is mainly looking at the strategic goals and objectives of the organisation. The strategies used must result in the benefits of the whole firm and not only one department or functional area. Although the marketing department will be affected the most as they have to meet the target by selling the products effectively to stay in the market, it must be ensured that the main aim is to work towards the overall objectives of the organisation. Next is the second characteristic which ensures that the group of people who has invested or has a share in the organisation is included in the process of decision making. It is a good strategy to have all the stakeholders to participate and give their views when things need to be changed in an organisation. The third characteristic is the necessity for managers to look at the future of the organisation as well as to cater for the needs of the organisation in the present situation. And finally, the fourth characteristic involves the exchange of values between effectiveness and efficiency. Managers are responsible to set resources available to be used for specific purposes in the right way while aiming to reach the overall objectives of the organisation. Hence, managers' focus must be on both "doing the right thing" and "doing things right" (Dess, Lumpkin and Eisner: 2010, Pg. 11).

In addition, the use of strategic management approach has many beneficial results in an organisation such as helping the managers at different levels to interact with each other in the planning and implementing the strategies of the company (Pearce II and Robinson Jr.: 2011, Pg. 9). Strategic management also increases the organisation's capacity and competence to deal with prevention of problems. Nowadays most firms are adapting the idea of the proverb: "Prevention is better than cure". Full support is given to managers who encourage their subordinates to work bearing in mind the strategic planning of their workplace. Another benefit is through strategic decision making in a group based environment. As goes the proverb: "Unity is strength", strategic management results in better process of decision making due to group interaction. A variety of strategies is being generated out of forecasts made, based on relevance and meaningfulness by the group members, hence refining the desired options obtained.

Furthermore, strategic management is an aid to motivate employees as it involves them in the process of formulation of strategies which thus improves their understanding in relation to productivity and reward for every strategic plan of that particular organisation. The differences in the roles of each individual or group participating in the process of strategy formulation are explained and clarified in such a way that, gaps in activities or overlapping of activities among the individuals or groups are minimised. When decisions are made, most of the time employees have a tendency to resist them. But if they participate in strategy formulation, they are more likely to accept the decisions made which will be less authoritarian. In other words, strategic management aims to allow employees' participation so that they are aware of the restrictions, limited resources and options available for the organisation to meet its goal. Hence the resistance to change is minimised.

Example of FE

Impact of management and leadership styles on strategic decisions

Think about a company and talk about it

Leadership styles

How management and leadership styles make strategic decisions in the chosen company?

Evaluation of leadership styles adapted to different situations

How the styles are being adapted in different situations?

E.g. credit crunch crisis - redundancy increased in companies

Different situations - different problems, different styles used, how they were adapted in these situations

(About 1000 words)

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