Direction Approach Of The Situational Leadership Business Essay

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The Direction Approach (telling - High task and low relationship) of the Situational Leadership as published by Famous Model, Situational Leadership (Accessed: 31 August 2009) says "leader define the roles and tasks of the 'followers', and supervise them closely. Decisions are made by the leader and announced, so communication is largely one-way". The leader here takes a highly directive role which is to an extent very important in order to successfully lead teams. Subordinates through this approach would know what is expected of them, how to coordinate their work with others, and how their work relates with the goals of the organization which in due course influence their productivity. This approach can be likened to NDA's MBO where The Times 100 publication on The Business of Nuclear Decommissioning (Accessed: 29 September 2009) acknowledges that "The NDA has a clear sense of direction which is set out in a mission statement. The mission and the objectives associated with it are then communicated to everyone involved in the process of environmental restoration".

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But the problems with the Direction Approach is, leaders fail to take into consideration the development level of his employees in relation to the operation the leader is attempting to carry out. Moreover, it becomes a one-way traffic, since not all employees will be inexperienced, and need lot of help, direction, encouragement or training to get the job done.

Argos press in its publication Team Dynamics (Accessed: 10 October, 2009) states that "team or group dynamics concerns the fluid and on-going interaction between and among team members, their action and reaction. Team dynamics relate to the interpersonal and interdependent process of work, how things get done by and through people and how team members relate to their task and to each other".

Different scholars have described steps involved in team dynamics which are Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing (completion of the first step leads to the second, third and forth step respectively). What makes up the NDA team are the stakeholders which includes the government, energy consumers, local communities, energy companies, the regulators, the media and public opinion, they work independently of the NDA and are contacted about issues. With reference to my finding about NDA, it can be said that the NDA through its management by objective is at the Forming or Storming Stage.

The Forming Stage is the first stage in team building. At this stage the leaders provide the structure, orientates the employees about the objectives of the organization. The leader directs the employees on how, when and where tasks are to be completed. The Storming Stage is the next stage where the leader still has to direct the members due to conflicts that may arise due to variants in the stakeholder's and the regulators propositions in order to achieve the objectives. There is lack of progress here since the stakeholders debate on how to move the project forward.

From the above descriptions of forming and storming stages, NDA should endeavour to achieve the Performing Stage (task and people oriented) which is the pinnacle of team dynamics. It's at the performing stage production is seen, output can be measured and much more appreciated. Employees at this stage, achieve interdependence because they work well and achieve more together without improper conflict with little or no supervision. This is when synergy comes in because; improvement will come from within the employees.

Kreitner (1995) defines Motivation "as the psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction". Motivation is a force that drives employees to achieve individual and organizational objectives. NDA has so many objectives that will not be accomplished without its stakeholders.

Motivational theories can simply be seen as the process which describes why and how human behaviour is activated and directed. Various theories of motivation have emerged, amongst them are, the Maslow's hierarchy of need, Frederick Herzberg two factor theory, Vroom's expectancy theory, Adams' equity theory, McGregor's theory X and Y, etc. In line with my study, my focus mainly will be on Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs can be classified into two categories which are the psychological needs or lower order needs (physiological, safety, belongingness, and esteem) and growth need (self actualization). The higher level can influence employee's behaviour if and only if the lower level needs have been accomplished. NDA according to the Times 100 publication Developing a Motivated Workforce (Accessed: 29 September 2009) supports Maslow's hierarchy of need where he suggested that people are motivated by different things and that once a level of need is satisfied, it loses its power to motivate and then, the next level takes over. For example, the NDA pension scheme can be said to have met the safety needs, and also giving training opportunities to employees, could also meet self-actualization need.

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Though Maslow's theory has its relevance, but also its limitations cannot be over looked. The fact remains that; various employees will be motivated completely by different needs. It becomes very imperative for leader to recognize each employee's needs currently being pursued. There is a problem with his hierarchy because some cultures appear to place social needs before any other needs. Moreso, in reality, people don't work automatically one by one through levels.

Nevertheless, below are stated some other ways NDA can improve motivation through its MBO.

Provide proper training and development opportunity for employees to excel even more in their jobs,

Go to larger extent to know their employees in order to apply the most appropriate motivation strategy, since what motivates individuals differ due to human nature,

Learn how to give generous rewards for extra ordinary performance in order to boost the employee's moral like occasional holiday treats,

Accept suggestions from the employees, because employees have great and creative ideas in mind,

Promotion is also very important because it makes employees feel they are going somewhere within that organization,

Simply treating people fairly and with respect will go a long way to motivate employees,

Also employees are very well motivated working in a cohesive team and see as part of a success story,

Allocate task to employees according to their capabilities, skills and interest,

Let employees know that you trust and have confidence in them to perform a good job.

Conflict according to Jacquelyn Jeanty in her publication What is Conflict? (Assessed: 25 October 2009) says "Conflict is an unavoidable aspect of everyday life. Whether it be with others, yourself or an organization, conflict is an inevitable aspect of life experience". Conflict is an expected part of life resulting from differences in attitudes, believes, principles or needs in order to understand people and task. Conflict can arise due to Poor communication, structural disagreements, personal factors, and scarcity of resources, different attitudes, values, perceptions, irrational antagonism and lack of clarity in responsibilities.

Varney (1989) acknowledges that, "conflict remained the number-one problem for most of the teams operating within a large energy company, even after repeated training sessions on how to resolve conflict and how to minimize the negative impact on team member". This possibly will be as a result of leaders not giving the issue of conflict resolution enough attention. For NDA to be effective and efficient in achieving its objectives, there is not only need for employees and stakeholders to have a clear vision about its objectives, but also needs to have knowledge about the way to recognize and resolve conflicts amongst them before it becomes an obstruction to the task.

Kilmann in his publication- Conflict Mode Instrument (Accessed: 7 October, 2009), states "conflict situations are those in which the concerns of two people appear to be incompatible. In such situations, we can describe an individual's behavior along two basic dimensions, (1) assertiveness, the extent to which the person attempts to satisfy his own concerns, and (2) cooperativeness, the extent to which the person attempt to satisfy the other person's concerns". These proportions define 5 ways to respond to conflict situations, these are: Ignoring, Accommodating, Competing, Compromising and Collaborating.

Though in reality, there is no perfect method to resolve conflict, but in order for NDA to achieve its objective, I would rather suggest the collaborative approach since this approach is generally regarded as the best approach when the society's interest is at risk.

Collaborating or Problem-Solving Approach (both assertive and cooperative): This is an attempt to identify and analyze what bothers the two parties and working together to find a solution that meets the requirements of the two parties. Both parties recognize the interest of one another in order to solve problems in a maximizing way. Since the outcome here is win/ win, then it helps develop loyalty and reduces ill feelings. Though the disadvantage here is it takes time and energy, and sometimes, a party may take advantage of the other parties trust and openness, but the fact remains this is the best approach to manage conflict because its main objective is to reach consensus which in turn increases level of productivity. Moreover, this approach is most useful because it brings together various points in order to get the best solution.

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In conclusion, with reference to my observations with questions A-C, I would like to proffer the following to my organization.

When it comes to LEADERSHIP, I will suggest Blanchard and Hersey Situational leadership. Seth Godin in his write up Situational Leadership by Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey (Accessed: 20 October, 2009) states "The model allows you to analyze the needs of the situation you're in, and then use the most appropriate leadership style. Depending on employees' competences in their task areas and commitment to their tasks, your leadership style should vary from one person to another. You may even lead the same person one way sometimes and another way at other times". Situational Leadership help leaders to recognize the effectiveness and flaws of each leadership style and how it can be applied to situations. 

When leaders adopt the right style to suit the follower, work gets done on time, interaction becomes stronger and also, the follower understands capability will increase. As the level of the employees' maturity increases, the leader should increase relationship behaviour.

In Team Dynamics, there is need for a leader to have the ability to keep the employees together in order to achieve a common goal, which affects the productivity level positively. I acknowledge the fact that it takes a lot to attain the performance stage of team dynamic. But the leader should aspire for this stage since employees work well and achieve more together at this stage.

A Good teamwork according to perceptual learning (Assessed: 24 October 2009) "is about each team member understanding their role and contribution to the group and feeling valued for the part they play in helping the team succeed". A good leader should know the combination of teamwork and cooperation could synergize employees.

This is evident in BLESSINGWHITE publication Team Dynamics (Assessed: 21 October 2009) where it is stated "Members of high-performance teams:

Demonstrate a blend of professional expertise and personal credibility

Hold themselves and each other accountable for the broader impact of their actions, foregoing "turf wars"

Are skillful, candid communicators, balancing advocacy with openness to others' ideas".

If Motivation is a force that drives employees to achieve individual and organizational objectives, then it's left for a leader to understand what motivates each and every employee in order to satisfy needs accordingly. According to the times 100, Developing a Motivated Workforce, when workers are motivated, "it is not just the level of output that improves. Motivated staff work to higher standards of quality because they care about what they are doing. They learn faster and have more ideas. They are less likely to cause accidents, make mistakes or get involved in conflict".

I would additionally suggest the use of Herzberg theory of two factors who believes there are two factors to consider in order to motivate, They are motivators (factors that will directly inspire employees to work harder like achievement, recognition, responsibility and work interest) and hygiene (factors that would de-motivate an employee if absent but would not in themselves motivate employees to work harder like company policy, pay, supervision and working conditions). This implies different employees are motivated with different things. He believed employers should adopt a democratic approach to management by improving the content of job through certain methods such as empowerment, job enlargement and enrichment.

And finally, since conflict is inevitable, and no best way to resolve it, then the best approach to handle conflict is the leader recognizing how to apply the most appropriate style in different situations. According to a write up by Mind Tools Conflict Resolution (Accessed: 7 October 2009), "All conflict has a resolution. However, not all conflict resolution is successful. For conflict resolution to really take place, and be successful, both parties need to have a sense that the resolution was fair and in their best interest". These resolutions come in different forms but when appropriately used, a leader can achieve a balanced and productive office with improved morale because lesser time has been spent fighting and more time working.

Suzanna said "one powerful way to avoid confusion, frustration and conflict when working with others is to agree on what is mutually important to you and how you want to work together. Discussing motives, why people do what they do, and what each member expects of the others helps create positive relationship. Team members can then focus their attention on optimal performance: getting work done faster, with better quality and less cost".