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Leadership is of a paramount importance in the context of globalisation where organisations and firms look to grow by leaps and bounds into the global markets. Organisations require different styles of leaderships depending on the functionalities, type of industry, economic climate in which the firm operates cultural orientations of the organisation etc.
Three leadership styles have been identified as
Democratic style of Leadership
Laissez- Faire style of leadership
Autocratic style of leadership
(Chapter 10 of Mullins, L.J. (2010), Management and Organisational Behaviour, 9th Edition, Pearson Higher Education, pg381)
The effectiveness of each of these styles is dependent on the context in which they are applied.
Democratic style of Leadership
Democratic style of leadership takes into consideration the opinions of employees in the process of decision making. This style of leadership is likely to strengthen the bond between employees and the organisation as employees feel more related to the organisation's internal decision making. This style of leadership is more likely to prosper in organisations which are innovative in their approach and informal in culture. Google uses this style of leadership where every employee gets to vote his/her opinion on the decisions and products of the organisation. This creates a motivated work force.
But democratic style of leadership is not feasible in all situations. During the situations of crisis, change etc this style of leadership fails to deliver as decisions made by the employees in these contexts of panic are more biased towards the interests of self rather than the interests of the organisation.
Laissez- Faire style of leadership
Laissez - Faire style of leadership gives employee more freedom to work and decide upon the style of his work while not compromising on productivity or quality of the work. This style of leadership relieves employees of being continuously monitored. This style of leadership is applicable to the creative industries where employees or artists need more freedom to work with to flaunt their creativity.
This type of leadership fails in situations where there is a need to restore order among the employees. It also fails to establish an orientation during the times of crisis or change.
Autocratic style of leadership
In an autocratic style of leadership Leaders make the decisions which are often followed by the employees. This kind of leadership style often hinders creativity and is useful in times of crisis and change. It is more suitable in the factory settings which involve unskilled labour who more often than not stay away from the process of decision making.
Fig 1: Continuum of leadership behaviour, Management study Guide.
Management Study Guide (n. d.) Leadership Theories [online] available from <http://www.managementstudyguide.com/continuum-leadership-behaviour.htm> [15 Dec 2010]
Chapter 10, Mullins, L.J. (2010), Management and Organisational Behaviour, 9th Edition, Pearson Higher Education , Pg 381
2nd BLOG ENTRY
Maritz Poll's research conducted in 2010 shows that the trust of the employees on the senior management, direct supervisors and co-workers was pretty low. (Maritz poll, 2010). Organisations need to look at this issue more seriously as this may lead organisations into issues like high staff turn-over which not only has implications on the recruitment and training costs of the new employees but also is quite detrimental in losing trained and experienced staff. Restoring the trusts of the employees in senior management, immediate supervisors and fellow staff is of a paramount of importance to organisations that aim at being competitive in the longer run.
Change is very important in this ever changing business environment to stay in contention with the competitive markets. Changes are mandatory as firms look at mergers and acquisitions or look to improve the quality of the goods and services with the strategies like six- sigma quality programs or firms going online to meet the changed customer requirements.
Change is often met with resistance to change which springs from the fear of employees regarding the process of change. So to negate this fear and resistance change has to be infused into the employees by the people they trust. So organisations need to groom leaders and change agents who are trusted by the employees.
A successful and effective process of change requires a meticulous understanding of the stages of a change cycle. This understanding helps plan the change and equips the organisations with a better approach to handling change.
Burnes model of change emphasises on the levels of self esteem of the employees during the change cycle. The change cycle consists of three stages
Unfreeze - remove the existing rules or culture
Move - induce the new set of rules or culture
Refreeze - strengthen the new rules or culture.
This model can be used to develop an empathetic approach towards employee's reaction to change and can be used in understanding change, but is inadequate in defining the role of a leader in handling this change. Kotter's 8-step approach defines the tasks of a leader during the process of handling effective change. It offers a step-by-step approach of implementing a change during the three stages of the change cycle.
Form a Powerful Coalition
Create a Vision for Change
Communicate the Vision
Create Short-term Wins
Build on the Change
Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture
(John P.Kotter, 1995)
Nicole LeBlanc (14 Apr 2010) Maritz Poll: Managing in an Era of Mistrust: Maritz Poll Reveals Employees Lack Trust in their Workplace [online] available from <http://www.maritz.com/Maritz-Poll/2010/Maritz-Poll-Reveals-Employees-Lack-Trust-in-their-Workplace.aspx> [15 dec 2010]
John P.Kotter (March 1995) Leading Change : Why Transformation Efforts Fail [online] available from <http://lighthouseconsultants.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Kotter-Leading-Change-Why-transformation-efforts-fail.pdf> [15 Dec 2010]
Bernard Burnes (2009) 5th edn. Managing Change. Essex: Pearson Education Limited
Chapter 3 and 10 of Burnes, B. (2009), Managing Change, 5th Edition, Financial Times Press.
Ford, J. D. and Ford, L. W. (2009), Decoding Resistance to Change, in Harvard Business Review, Apr2009, Vol. 87 Issue 4, p99-103
3rd BLOG ENTRY
The key leadership challenges as identified during the 25 years of research by Kouzes and Posner are the ability to
Model the way
Inspire a shared vision
Challenge the process
Enable others to act
Encourage the heart.
(Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. Z., 2008)
Modelling the way - This requires a leader to be exemplary to all the employees for them to follow him. Practices like 'walking the talk' and abiding the principles set by them are the aspects that lend the leaders exemplary to their followers. The exemplary behaviour is very important when it comes to crisis management and also during the process of organisational change.
Inspiring a shared vision- Vision is the most important aspect of a leader's personality. Vision brings about an articulate orientation towards a goal and to be successful requires one to have a SMART goal. Communicating this vision is of a paramount importance along with the ability to motivate and influence others to achieve it. Globalisation and strategic decision making are highly impacted by the ability of leaders to create an inspired vision.
Challenge the process - Leaders always need to look at improving the existing ways of work and the process of doing the work. The current process should be challenged by the leaders to develop better ways of dealing with the work on hands. For this leadership should be continuously look at more creative ways of improving the process and also have a deep understanding of the change and implications. Innovation and organisational change are the two important reasons that cause the leaders to challenge the existing process.
Enable others to act - Most important aspect of leadership is to create a vision that inspires others to act. So for a successful leadership act the work of employees and their reaction to the leadership is of a paramount importance. The employees reaction to organisational change often needs leaders who can enable followers to act positively to the change.
Encourage the heart - Employees often are motivated to do the jobs that they like doing. So encouraging the employees to pursue their passions creates a motivated work force in the organisation. Google has been successful in this approach where the organisation encourages employees to work on their passions for 20% of their time at work. (Mama Bee 27 mar 2009, Management Friday)
Considering the case of Anne Mulcahy of Xerox, she took over the company in 2000 when the company was facing a bankruptcy and here the situation demanded her to be equipped with ability to overcome it. She had to model the way for the others who were facing the crisis had to follow, she inspired a shared vision of driving the organisation out of debt, she challenged the current process that was going on at Xerox, she motivated and enabled others to act. She had a clear vision, commitment, ability to motivate others through those tough times which paid off in the long run. She cleared the debt of $ 18 billion of Xerox and was named in America's best leaders, 2008. (U.S.News Politics (19 Nov 2008) America's Best Leaders: Anne Mulcahy, Xerox CEO)
Mama Bee (27 mar 2009) Management Friday: Google's 80/20 Innovation Model [online] available from <http://themamabee.com/2009/03/27/management-friday-googles-8020-innovation-model/> [16 dec 2010]
U.S.News Politics (19 Nov 2008) America's Best Leaders : Anne Mulcahy, Xerox CEO [online] available from <http://politics.usnews.com/news/best-leaders/articles/2008/11/19/americas-best-leaders-anne-mulcahy-xerox-ceo.html?PageNr=1> [15 dec 2010]
Youtube (05 sep 2008) Between the Lines- Jim Kouzes [online] available from <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM5HeehxHQQ&feature=player_embedded>
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgTsLAAde2E&feature=related> [16 dec 2010]
Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. Z., (2008) The Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition, Jossey-Bass
4th BLOG ENTRY
In the era where individuals have turned extremely self-centred and employees turning cynical about management and colleagues it is of a paradigm importance for a leader to develop trustworthiness among his followers. Trust springs from being ethical and it also rubs off ethics on the followers.
Ethics are very important aspects of leadership that lend a leader respect among his followers and make the leaders exemplary to his employees. The ethical behaviour also impacts the way employees perceive their leaders. A leader with a strong ethical behaviour is trusted by his employees and this trust is very important especially in times when the change is required in the organisation.
Anita Roddick of Body shop who was very meticulous about her ethics infused this culture into the whole organisation and was believed to be a market leader in cosmetics production with natural products. (CNN world, 2000)
My Leadership goals:
As an individual I would like to develop a strong ethical behaviour that is of a paradigm of importance for Leading in a changing world as I strongly believe Leadership's base is an exemplary figure that the followers can look at without being cynical of the leader's self-centred motives. I also believe in leading a change rather than managing a change. This would also make me a leader by traits even if I am not a leader by my position in the organisation.