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The blog 1 brings out the fact that diverse work force generates better performance provided their leader inculcates inspiration to pursue common goal. In this regard, Walker (2001),quoted "People and their difference make up the foundation of an organisation ability to develop broad perspective and to approach business problem in new and creative way". Managing diversity among workforce is the one of the biggest challenge faced by recent corporate leaders.
Many researchers like Windnall (1995), Schien, (2000), Morrision, (1999), Moskos (1998) also believes that diverse work force produce better results. I believe that managing diverse workforce & valuing those touches people's values, emotions & beliefs. It is challenge on part of leader to ask people to change their behaviour and to ask organisation to reform their business practices, system, and policies for mutual benefits. This challenge can be fulfilled by applying path goal theory propounded by House (1971). This theory asserts that motivation level of employees is largely influenced by extent to which manager satisfies their expectation.
Source: http://www.lmcuk.com/management-tool/house-s-path-goal-theory accessed on 4th Sept 2011
The main characteristics of path goal theory is four types of leadership behaviour
Directive: It involves getting employees to know what is exactly expected from them and giving directions.
Supportive: It involves concern for the needs and welfare of employees.
Achievement oriented: It involves setting targets for employees and showing confidence in ability to perform well.
Participative: It involves approaching employees in decision making process.
Strength of path goal theory
The strength lies in the design of theory which vividly identifies four style of leadership, working environment and subordinates characteristics that eventually lead to outcome in terms of acceptance, satisfaction, motivation and performance.
Limitation of path goal theory
The theory no doubt provides four styles of leadership but ignores on generating vision for organisation and leader's ability to appeal to higher ideals values of followers creating feeling of justice.
The directive leadership style is suitable for unstructured tasks where as supportive leadership style is suitable for structured tasks. For instance, AdCraft Agency Ltd. is an advertisement agency preparing advertisement for its corporate clients. The company adapts directive style for new ad projects while its adapts supportive leadership style for routine ad projects (Munshi, 2005)
Comparing path goal theory with another contingency theory of leadership, propounded by Fielder (1967) which advocates that leadership behaviour is influenced by favourability of leadership situation. According to Fielder contingency model, there are three variables that influence favourability of situation - leader and member relation, task structure, and position power. On the other hand, path goal theory mainly advocates subordinate characteristics that determine how they will react to leader behaviour & nature of task that is routine, unstructured or structured.
Blog 2: Change and resistance to change
Leader as visionary
Gilley (2005) asserts that success of organisational change is in the hands of leader. While bringing change in organisation, leader act as visionary and share vision with members. Skilled leader have the ability to pass on their vision to their followers. It is the accountability of the leader to challenge 'status quo'. This refers to situation of decline, and poorness. As visionary, leader imagines the state of future. Leaders are also responsible to establish stewardship philosophy. Honest leaders put the interest of company & members at the cost of their own interest. Gilley (2005) advocates that leaders as visionary align organisational change with vision, mission, corporate strategy, & goals at individual level. Vision drives mission, mission drives strategy which in turn drives unit goals &individual goals. Therefore, right organisational reformation initiative supports business vision, mission, strategy and goals.
According to me, leader as visionary identifies new ways of doing things better by innovation and approaching people before implementing decision.
Leader as inspirer
Providing inspiration to followers is one of the basic characteristic of leader. Leader as source of inspiration motivates their followers by minimising losses and ascertaining benefits derived from change to employees. Leader's job is to sell change by involving people from all level of management. A true leader just not speaks about change but ratify it (Gilley, 2005)
According to me, leader role as inspirer is to modify employee's behaviour by advocating benefits of change.
Leader as supporter
Establishing change involves communication, training, rewarding, monitoring, and adjusting as and when necessary. As supporter, leader establish change culture creating feeling that overall business success relies upon implementation of change (Williams, 2005)
According to me, leader as supporter interacts with people from all level of management & satisfying their requirement in terms of feedback or information needs.
Leader as problem solver
Leader as problem solver ascertains the problem and brings out solution to it. It relies on his own investigation & network of members for data and feedback.
Leader as change manager
Leader also play role of manager while implementing change. He must strive for excellence; innovation and must merge strength of company into effective production.
Kotter (2002) provides series of step to implement change which indirectly defines role of leader as stated below
(Kotter, 2004 p.134)
Analyse need for change: The leader must know why change is necessary and must have knowledge of current situation. Financial audit, SWOT, skill audit, marketing analysis is recommended.
Create shared vision: Leader role is to involve every people to bring success to change.
Create sense of urgency:Leader job is to create sense of urgency by communicating that their future wellbeing is at pale.
Create implementation plan: Leader must embark upon implementation plan specifying what is to do, who is to do and how.
Converse and engage people: Leader must communicate change and engage them by motivating.
Reinforce change: By reinforcing new culture, they affirm its importance & hasten its acceptance.
Techniques to manage resistance to change
Usually people resist to change because of fear of new things, fear of failure, colleagues pressure, personality conflicts, lack of awareness are just few reasons for resistance to change. Leader must be able to manage change by applying following techniques(Kanter, 2004):
Involving people from all level of management
Consulting them and seeking inputs from them and framing decision accordingly
Conduct test program
Publicly appreciate employee whose idea is applied in change process
Establish mechanism that could give response from people about change efforts.
A CEO of Kotak Mahindra, financial organisation was concerned about losing market share due to competition, lack of organisational capacity to respond to changes in business environment, and inconsistency in management philosophies. CEO decided to diagnose the problem, CEO as problem solver analysed the problem and as visionary had clear vision what the company wants to achieve. CEO as inspirer had inspired employee by communicating benefits to employees.
Source: Indian Corporate History, (2009) Issue 4 Sept. 2009
Blog 3: Analysis of leaders in global business
Blog 3 pinpoints the application of concept of leadership in business. Majority of big corporate entities have their one of the corporate objective as to lead the market or lead industry where the company is operating. This necessitates the need for leadership. Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Richard Branson and Bill Gates are very powerful and successful business leaders for Apple, Google, Virgin, and Microsoft respectively. They all have one thing in common that is they are great visionaries.
Taking example of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc. have successfully launched many products like Macintosh, Mac book Air, Pixar, ipod, iphone, apple laptop etc. and majority of their product range were viewed as hits. Steve as business leader recognises the fact that Apple Inc. is shaped by technology that created the ideas, patents, innovation which eventually resulted in success. However, the past will not bring any sustainable competitive advantage to the company in future. To do this, he had built potential of people, their enthusiasm and commitment. Steve Jobs has always been passionate about dreaming future. He got ability to create enthusiasm & establish vision about future that involves people around him & allows them to understand their future role. He focus on building organisation that values people- treating employees with dignity, considering their ideas, creating communication channel, allowing them to feel that they can make difference.
He had great vision to develop ipad and he share his vision with people and communicated the benefits the company and people would derive from his new product. He acted as leader and provided direction, inspiration and support to people who created ipad like iphone first and subsequently ipad was launched in the market.
In my opinion, it is the pure creativity and innovation in his products that drive success. Moreover the personal traits of Steve Jobs like inspirational, optimistic, articulate, charm, passion, charismatic, willingness to lead, experience leads to better organisational performance.
Source: Marketing Week, (2011) Feb Issue
Considering example of Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin who is titled as transformational leader in the year 2007 applied the ideology of leadership to remain at the top of competitive edge. Little did he know that virgin will be the best brands worldwide.Richard as strategic leader, practices open leadership culture in his organisation that allows even junior position people to take charge of initiative, dissemination of ideas, to take personal responsibility and encourages taking risks. He had this vision when he commenced Virgin Records and decided to lead the global markets. His ability to transform his vision into reality and his leadership skill like willingness to lead, optimistic, experience brought success. His leadership competencies like power of appreciation, generating trust and commitment among employees, have improved group performance. For instance, group of 22 brand managers managing different brand under Virgin were given target to augment market share by 2% p.a. All managers were successful in achieving goal under the leadership of Sir Richard Branson (Nicholson, 2006).
Thus it can be seen that all leaders have few things in common like they are all great visionaries, have willingness to lead, optimistic, experienced and have significant relevant knowledge. To setter innovation, they create leadership culture within organisation by involving people, inviting ideas, gaining commitment and appreciating for their hard efforts.
No doubt, CEO serves as organisational leader, but yet it cannot be said that only CEO are the sole drivers of innovation leadership. In global corporate where many heads of department take the lead who come up with innovative idea and take responsibility and risk for their ideas, the credit for innovation leadership can be shared among many people.
The Institute of Management Research (2005) provides report on impact of leadership on innovation. It advocates the dual role of leader as architects- designing environment that empowers people to be innovative and as motivators- to transcend ordinary thought. This shows that a relationship exists between innovation capability and leadership.
Blog 4: Ethical relationships between leaders and their teams
The central theme of this blog suggests the significance of ethical relationship. It is concerned with treating employees with due dignity. It emphasize on how strategic leaders apply their social power in influencing people. Ethical leaders demonstrates high standard of integrity, people oriented, sacrifice their personal interest and serves people for betterment, creates emotional commitment between leader and their team. Ethical leader represent charismatic & transformational leadership.
Ethical plays vital role in leadership. Ethics compels the leader to consider about the people who will be directly affected by the organisational change and must not confine himself for his own business interests (Stanbury, 2009). A true leader let their values, ethics known to people.
According to me, practising ethics in leadership is perhaps best way to gain commitment, generate respect, trust, and satisfaction, admiration that ultimately results in positiveness in individual & organisational effectiveness.
To maintain the ethics among leaders, company publish ethical code that states what is right and what is wrong. For instance, SSP UK Ltd. food travel experts, publish ethical code under 'Do's' and 'Don't'.
The popular example adapted from Reilly (2006) demonstrates the failure to adapt ethical leadership. Enron Co., a gas line supplying company went bankrupt due to miscommunication of set of values that CEO demonstrated and that people agreed.
This indicates that ethics plays a significant role in leadership that can sustain morale within people & hedge stakeholder value.
Blog 5: The benefits of studying leadership
This blog represents a brief sort of personal development plan to become future leader. This blog would take an example of peer assessment which reveals my strengths and weakness as potential leader which are stated as below:
Strengths as Leader
Willingness to lead,
Performing right things at tight time
Areas that needs to be developed
Connecting emotionally with people
Appreciating & rewarding people
With the help of each blog mentioned above, I learned the role played by leader in bring change, ways to manage change and techniques adapted by leader to manage resistance to change. I have also learned how leaders apply the concept of leadership in business context with reference to brief case studies of Steve Jobs and Richard Branon. This assignment also have helped me in understanding the significance of ethics in leadership
In my opinion, self- awareness is raised through sound knowledge and practical experience. I lack practical experience but this assignment has raised self- awareness of my leadership capability by providing sound knowledge and practical real situation experiences from non- academic journals. This assignment compelled me to glance through many academic journals and non- academic journal, websites on leadership which has certainly raised my self- awareness as potential leader to great extent.
Sir Bryan Nicholad (no date) rightly said that "no one is born as leader but born with potential to become leader".