Leading and managing change in business


In the world's current economic circumstances, every leader is facing an extremely difficult task, may it be of a nation or a business. It is often expected of him to come up with various innovative and resourceful ideas that would certainly help uplift the present situation he is in. As we all move forward, we are more likely to experience and undergo several changes in our daily lives, work and relationship with others.

As defined, Change is a transition, a transformation, a modification of something to become different. (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/change)

Change is not bad, often; it is introduced to make something even better. For example, the use of computer was introduced in many establishment and business operations to make their daily transactions easier, faster and less prone to common human errors. But then, not all types of change are easily acceptable to everyone, it is not something you introduce today and expect to be accepted by tomorrow and usually, it takes a really effective, efficient and focused leader to implement the change.

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Most companies and business establishment come up with the so called change management. But what do we really mean by this? 'Change management is a structured transitioning of individuals, team and organisation from a current state to achieve the desired future state'.


It does not end here, there is more to learn about change. How to lead and manage it, and how make people understand that like food, water and shelter, it is something we need and something we have to accept.

Theories on Leadership and Motivation

Since change is something inevitable, most scholars and professor from the past and present time has come up with several studies about it. It has been mentioned in many writings and journals that change is associated with leadership and motivation. I would say that change will never happen if there is no firm leadership and motivation behind it.

Social Psychologist, Douglas McGregor has come up with his X and Y Theory which talks about the two opposite attitudes of manager in the latter time (1960's).

Douglas McGregor's X and Y Theory explains that there are two types of workers, the X worker which is rather intrinsically lazy and would normally avoid work and responsibility. This theory shows that there is diminutive amount of ambition among employees. On the other hand, the Y workers are those who are ambitious, self-motivated and they are the type of workers who enjoy having responsibility and working in their own resources and exercising their mental and physical capabilities. ('The Human Side of Enterprise', Douglas McGregor 1960).



Management is very liberating; staffs are given a chance to develop and empower their own capabilities

Management is very authoritarian, everything is imposed on employees.



In 1943, as argued by Abraham Maslow in his article ('A Theory of Human Motivation') he mentioned that human has the so called framework of needs, which has been further on elaborated and became a theory of motivation. He stated here that humans need to satisfy their needs before they can act unselfishly ('Motivation and Personality' Abraham Maslow, 1954).

An organisation has to look for ways on how they can satisfy the needs of individual employees in order for them to be motivated. Like any other human being, we all tend to look on what we can benefit from a certain job, with this kind of attitude, we all feel motivated whenever we can see that the job or the organisation we are into can actually give us the security and development we are all looking for.

The Hierarchy of Needs

By Abraham Maslow ('Motivation & Personality, 1954)

As we can see, Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs clearly explains that we have to satisfy each individuals need, may it be psychological, self outright or a basic need. All of these play a very important role in motivating an employee.

When it comes to leadership, there is a very massive underlying factor on how leadership must be carried in an organisation. Being a leader per se is very difficult and often he has to bear everything on his back, which is why an exceptionally positive and focused attitude towards work is needed. There are several theories formulated decades ago to determine how a leader is chosen or whether a leader is made or born. Among the theories of leadership are as follows:

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Trait Theory which is mainly about:

Inherited traits


Intelligent, etc.

According to Stogdill, this kind of theory is consisted of several critical skills and traits which are vital in becoming an effective and efficient leader, without such skills and traits, it would be extremely difficult to stand up and dominate a particular organisation ('Handbook of Leadership' R.M. Stogdill, 1974).

Behavioural Theory

This implies that individuals can be trained to become effective leaders. They can be trained according to the organisations need. May it a structure based which is mainly task oriented or relationship based which is about the improvement of relationships among others and is more process oriented.

Contingency Theory

Is more flexible and is open in using various types of leadership depending on the organisations current situation. It welcomes ideas on how an organisation must run depending on the circumstances.

Transactional Theory

Is focused on management alone; its procedures, rules, contracts and on how to manage current issues.

On the other hand, several styles of leadership was introduced; among those, each can be very effective and efficient depending on the situation and what the organisation calls for, again, it is up to the leaders to decide and know what and when to execute such leadership style.

Styles of Leadership

1.1 Autocratic

This type of leadership is said to be one way. Instructions and decisions only come from the leader and is not open to suggestions and opinions of the employees. However this can be very effective at times especially if the authority of the leader is being challenged by its employees or if the management wants to push the employees or the organisation to its highest efficiency.


The Trump Organisation is one of the best examples of this type of leadership, owned and managed by Donald Trump; he was able to make a mark in the business industry in the entire of America. He exercises a typical autocratic leadership and he wields all the power over his company. He involves himself in the slightest detail of his enterprise and accepts ideas only from a few selected members of his team. Donald trump, although autocratic and domineering, still manages to maintain respect for his employees, which is why until the present era; his businesses are still at its peak. (http://www.biography.com/articles/Donald-Trump-9511238)

1.2 Bureaucratic

This type of leadership is base on the book. Leaders and/or managers practicing this type of leadership tend to do everything which is stated on the book. This is particularly effective if the work in a particular organisation has a routine and if employees need to understand several particular rules and procedures.

1.3 Democratic

The type of leadership where employees participate in decision-making and overall problem solving. They can always suggest ideas which are considerable. Leaders' practicing this kind of leadership has very high regard to trust and motivation, usually this type of leadership produces high quality of work because the employees are enjoying the level of trust given to them and at the same time they were able to work on their own space allowing them to improve their job and be promoted.

1.4 Laissez- Faire

Type of leadership that is used if the employees of a ceratin organisation is trustworthy and highly skilled, because with this type of leadership, managers allow their employees to be of authority, they allow them to work on their own, come up with their goals and resolve problem in their own grasp.

Influential Factors Affecting the Leadership Style of an Organisation

Type of employees in an organisation

Type of situation an organisation is into

Scope of risk involve

Type of business

Organisational culture

Nature of task

Choosing the right leadership style for an organisation is of great importance. Once a leader is able to know what, when and how he will execute and use a particular style of management he believes suites the organisation, everything is expected to fall in its right place. It is a must that we consider the type of people we have in an organisation, and how they need to be handled. Organisations current state is also one of the priorities.

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For example the situation calls for an urgent decision making, therefore, the organisation needs to implement a particular style wherein the leader or manager need not to consult anybody; rather, he can make the decision by himself. Another example is, if the organisation is consisted of employees who are highly skilled and intellectually capable, the organisation has to use a leadership style wherein these employees can utilize their knowledge and skills accordingly because, this type of individuals would not like the management to be doing the job such as decision making, etc alone, they like to be involve in every aspect of the operation.

Choice of leadership style affects teambuilding in the sense that it provides a framework of combined intelligence, shared vision among employees and the managers/leaders; especially if the right style is applied, everybody will be focusing in one direction and aiming only for the organisations goal.

Relevant Leadership Model and how it Improves An organisation

The leadership model that is implemented in a particular organisation has always something to do with the leadership style an organisation exercise. It has to blend somehow to secure those goals and future plans will be successful. There are several models of leadership which has various effects in organisations over all operation.

But still, some organisation will not stick to a particular model and style unless they are following a routine or if the work is just all about attaining the goals and are not very much inclined in the employees well being.

Action - Centred Leadership Model

As introduced by John Adair, he is very firm in stating that "it is what you do that makes you a leader". In this kind of model, leaders are more likely to practice a democratic style of leadership, for he is more focused on the action or productivity of the organisation without taking for granted the employees' individualism and their development so as the entire teams' importance and significance. ('Action Centred Leadership', John Adair 1973). Refer to diagram 1

Action - Centred Leadership Model

Leaders are focused on the overall performance of the organisation.




Diagram 1

With this model, work is clearly disseminated and explained by the leader to the entire team. Tasks are well discussed; clear and attainable objectives are set and individualism is being prioritised. Respect among the employees is visible and enough room for improvement and development is present in this model. Leaders usually performs the function and overseas that there is balance among this three.

This model helps improve the organisations working practices in the sense that every team or every employee looks forward to their everyday work or job because of the feeling of belongingness, acceptance, appreciation, respect and security they are getting from the management. Because of this, they are well motivated which cause them to perform at their highest efficiency and dedication, contributing to the organisations success and harmonious working environment.

Effective and Efficient Usage of Knowledge and Skills

Appropriate usage of knowledge and skills of employees is of great significance for an easier and faster work delegation within the organisation. For the same reason, it is crucial for leaders to be able to know and classify the kind of worker they have, this way they will be able to figure out which style of leadership and model will be most effective in handling employees. Just the same, recognition of employees' knowledge and level of competencies will definitely lead to a lasting and harmonised working relationship within the organisation.

Let us take the hotel industry as an example, during the latter time, hotels do practice the autocratic style of leadership for they believe that workers are more likely to be X workers (McGregor). And also, leaders or managers of hotel before believe that this is the best way employees can understand particular standards and procedures pertaining to the entire operation of the hotel. Since they say that workers are more likely to be X worker, they motivate them by:



Threatening (fear of losing their job)

Most X workers feel motivated with this gruesome ways but then, such act will only lead to hatred. It doesn't make the employees work to their full potential and capacity, hence it makes them take as much as they can and work only on what they can do. This is because hotel leaders and manager were not able to identify the right style to handle their people.

But nowadays, hotel industry seem to practice more the participative or democratic style of leadership and focuses on the action-centred model of leadership, managers has well identified the type of worker they have and made them involve in a task were they can utilize their knowledge and make use of it the best way possible, in such way, employees feel valued and needed. The bigger the amount of involvement of an employee in a particular task, the bigger the chance of attaining the objectives and goals set by the management. ('Supervision in the Hospitality Industry: Leading Human Resources', John R. Walker, et al., 2008)

Importance of Delegation, its Barriers, and Mechanisms

Making someone do your job is not easy at all, but somehow it is of great significance among organisations. As we all know, leaders and managers can only work at certain parameters but this is not acceptable in the society. As a leader of a particular organisation, it is expected of him to oversee everything that is happening around him so as to have full authority and responsibility over almost everything.

Delegation is the distribution of responsibility and authority to others while holding them accountable for their performance. (www.lawsoncg.com)

Why delegate:

To make use of the knowledge and skills present within the group.

To make the employees more committed and feel needed.

To promote independence among employees.

To push employees to work at their highest or full potentials.

Looking at these reasons makes us all think that delegation is quite an easy job, but it's not. Like any other task, before you can come up with the result to have to experience load of hardships and hindrances (known as barriers). The most common barrier to delegation is the lack of trust. As leaders and managers we all have the thinking that it is only us who is well fitted for the job; that no one can do a particular job the way we do it. This kind of rationale is normal and usual. But in delegating a job this is not meant to be present. When leaders and managers opt to delegate a particular task to a particular employee or team, he must willing to let go of some of the authority he has over such matter and allow the person he delegate it to, to function as the sole owner or leader of that task. If trust is not present during delegation, the job is more likely to fail, because employees will always feel that they haven't done their best or what they did is not enough.

Aside from lack of trust, there are some more barriers that could lead to delegations failure. Such barriers are lack of access to information, lack of accountability, lack of communication, stubbornness, lack of ownership and many others.

Mechanism that can support Delegation

When delegating a particular task to a particular employee or team, it is vital that leaders give them an "Access to Information". Employees must be able to know where they can get useful information about the task or job, who they need to approach and where they need to go to gather facts. "Communication" is also crucial, at the start of delegation, proper communication must be present, leaders must be able to explain very well the scope of the task, what is ask of them and what is the extent of their parameters in terms of their accountability. Proper communication within an organisation will lead to a harmonious working relationship so as increase in companies' profitability.

How to Measure the Outcome of Delegation

There are actually several ways on how to measure the performance of employees particularly with the job delegated to them. Most companies at the present time use feedback to collect information regarding a particular employee doing a particular job.

The most common type of feedback used is the 360 degree feedback. Here, every member of the organisation is asked on how they perceive a particular employee in terms of his attitude towards work, towards his colleagues, and towards the organisation. This feedback balances everything for an employee, at least he is not being judge by one manager or one department, and instead his performance appraisal is based on an overall criterion which justifies the outcome or decision of the management regarding his performance.


Having been able to study the scope of leading and managing change in an organisation, I would say that choice of leadership style and models has a very big impact in making change acceptable to the organisation. Leaders must be aware that change unlike food, is not easily accepted, taken and embraced in an organisation or in the society per se. He must be able to classify the attitude of his subordinates and from there; he will start re-structuring their minds on what good the change can do for them and for the organisation. Delegation is a major issue a leader must look upon, for this may bring him success and failure. Over empowerment of employees about a certain task delegated to them may also mean a breakdown for the organisation, resulting to task not being met and objectives being taken into account.