The Need For Direction In Business Commerce Essay


For organisations to develop they require a direction. The people who manage the business provide the direction. Taking responsibility for making decisions and running a business well is a skill. Businesses place considerable emphasis on getting the right people with the right skills into key posts. They need to ensure that these people have the opportunities to develop decision-making skills, leadership skills and team work. I work for an enterprise rent a car who employs more than 75,000 employees and operates a fleet of cars exceeding one million vehicles worldwide. Jack Taylor founded the company in St Louis in 1957. The owner had a simple belief: Take care of your customers and employees first and profits will follow. This belief forms the foundation of Enterprise s four key business objectives. Enterprise has become one of the foremost car-hire companies and is the largest purchaser of cars in the world. ( Bass 1989)

customer satisfaction

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fleet growth

employee development


Enterprise does not sell a product. It provides a service the use of a car. To deliver great service Enterprise needs well-trained and motivated staff. As the company grows, it opens new local offices and creates new opportunities for employees.

Customers expect to be treated in a particular way by a service-orientated business. Enterprise uses its Enterprise Service Quality Index (ESQi) to measure the quality of service it provides. Satisfied customers will come back and give repeat business. They may also recommend the service to others.

This leads to growth of the business and greater profitability.

This report focuses on leadership within Enterprise. It shows how its managers use a range of management and leadership styles to support Enterprise s focus on customers.

Literature Review:

Management involves control and organisation to get something done. In the course of business, managers use many different skills. They:

plan and organise people and resources

set and monitor budgets

control operations or services in order to meet customers needs. The ability to manage is essential at all levels in the organisation

However, for a business to excel, leadership is vital. A leader is able to influence others in meetings or when making decisions. This helps to achieve the goals of the organisation. Enterprise has leaders at all levels of its business, not just senior management. Some people are natural leaders. For example, the captain of a school football team will probably have the ability to influence others. Leaders can also develop through training and education. Leaders are also managers. For example, an Enterprise General Manager leads a regional group of City Managers. City Managers are leaders of their front-line management employees. Andy Taylor, the current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Enterprise, was a manager for his father Jack Taylor. He carried out the processes and systems his father set up. Today, Andy leads and manages the business. ( Dessler 2000)


There are many different management styles. These styles influence how leaders communicate with employees. For example, Enterprise operates an open door policy. This enables everybody within the organisation to have direct contact with senior managers. This might be through meetings or having lunch in the same dining area. The CEO Andy Taylor is following the values set by his father by making opportunities for employees to meet and talk to senior managers. This shows an informal style and a lack of hierarchy. Enterprise puts a high value on teamwork and open communication between employees at all levels.

Managers have their own preferred management style. Some prefer an autocratic style where they tell employees what to do and how to do it. Others prefer a democratic style where they help their team to discover solutions to problems for themselves. However, the management style must change to fit the circumstances. Some decisions must be made at the highest level. For example, a manager would need to give immediate instructions on a health and safety issue or in a fire. However, if changing an office layout, the manager could leave the team to investigate and decide on the solution for themselves. ( Dignam 1992)

Leadership as a competence

When recruiting, Enterprise looks for leadership qualities in candidates. It considers leadership to be a core competence. It recognises that the skills and capabilities to lead others are essential for business growth. Recruits learn how to run parts of the business. The focus is on making decisions that improve customer service. General managers are empowered to make decisions covering a region. Branch managers have the authority to deliver good customer service locally. Each local branch operates like a small business. Managers make decisions that support the needs of their customers. Front-line management trainees are encouraged to use the best management style to suit different customers.

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An autocratic style of leadership is when a leader makes a decision alone. The leader conveys the decision to staff and they have to work within the scope of that decision. For example, in order to deliver good customer service, managers instruct all staff to follow Enterprise s guidelines for dealing with customers. ( Dessler 2000)

Douglas McGregor in 1960 used the terms Theory X and Theory Y to identify two very different forms of management style:

A Theory X manager tells employees what to do and supervises their work. This involves using strict controls within the business. This reflects an autocratic style.

In contrast, a Theory Y manager believes employees want to do well. The manager provides individuals with the opportunity to take control of their work. They can contribute towards solving a problem or issue. This helps motivate them to do better.

A branch manager sets the standards for the team but encourages team members to be flexible and responsive to each customer. This ensures that customers get the service they expect.

However, there are many examples of autocratic style in use at Enterprise. These relate to issues which affect the whole organisation or which are central to the business. For example:

Andy Taylor insisted all branches use ESQi, the customer satisfaction measure, because it met the business objective. In order to gain commitment to using the process, employees had the prospect of promotion when they achieved high scores. This was a big motivator for staff.

When the Senior Vice President of European Operations at Enterprise decided on the company s diversity programme, employees were clear that this decision was compulsory and not an option.

The Vice President of Corporate Communications for Enterprise established an environmental committee. Its aim was to influence the behaviour of the whole organisation by reducing waste and improving its carbon footprint. As the industry leader, Enterprise attempts to set high standards when it comes to the impact of rental cars on the environment.

In contrast to the autocratic style, Enterprise uses democratic decision-taking in many parts of the business. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute ideas to the decision. There are two types of democratic decision-making:

1. persuasive democratic management here the leader makes the decision first and then persuades employees that he or she has made the right decision

2. consultative democratic management this involves the group contributing to the decision-making process, with the leader making the final decision

Ownership and motivation

When employees are empowered to make decisions, this improves their sense of worth and self-esteem. It also helps them to use creative skills within their role and motivates them to perform better. Making decisions at a local level helps to meet customers needs and enables individuals to take a pride in their job. This recognises that employees are motivated by factors other than financial ones. These include praise, recognition or having more responsibility.( Dubrin 2006)

To increase motivation, employees who achieve high levels of customer satisfaction have the opportunity of promotion. In addition, staff who perform well or who make the biggest improvement are recognised through the Enterprise newsletter or by membership of the Enterprise Elite Club . This reinforces self-esteem.

Leadership skills, approaches and strategies:

Principle of leadership: These are the leadershipskills I have learned while working with the ren a car enterprise.

1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement - In order to know yourself, you have to understand your be, know, and do, attributes. Seeking self-improvement means continually strengthening your attributes. This can be accomplished through self-study, formal classes, reflection, and interacting with others.

2. Be technically proficient - As a leader, you must know your job and have a solid familiarity with your employees' tasks.

3. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions - Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. And when things go wrong, they always do sooner or later -- do not blame others. Analyze the situation, take corrective action, and move on to the next challenge.

4. Make sound and timely decisions - Use good problem solving, decision making, and planning tools.

5. Set the example - Be a good role model for your employees. They must not only hear what they are expected to do, but also see. We must become the change we want to see - Mahatma Gandhi ( Dubrin 2006)

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6. Know your people and look out for their well-being - Know human nature and the importance of sincerely caring for your workers.

7. Keep your workers informed - Know how to communicate with not only them, but also seniors and other key people.

8. Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers - Help to develop good character traits that will help them carry out their professional responsibilities.

9. Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished - Communication is the key to this responsibility.

10. Train as a team - Although many so called leaders call their organization, department, section, etc. a team; they are not really teams...they are just a group of people doing their jobs.

11. Use the full capabilities of your organization - By developing a team spirit, you will be able to employ your organization, department, section, etc. to its fullest capabilities.

Leadership Models

Leadership models help us to understand what makes leaders act the way they do. The ideal is not to lock yourself in to a type of behavior discussed in the model, but to realize that every situation calls for a different approach or behavior to be taken. Two models will be discussed, the Four Framework Approach and the Managerial Grid.

Four Framework Approach

In the Four Framework Approach, Bolman and Deal (1991) suggest that leaders display leadership behaviors in one of four types of frameworks: Structural, Human Resource, Political, or Symbolic. The style can either be effective or ineffective, depending upon the chosen behavior in certain situations. ( Ryner 2005)

Structural Framework

In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a social architect whose leadership style is analysis and design. While in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a petty tyrant whose leadership style is details. Structural Leaders focus on structure, strategy, environment, implementation, experimentation, and adaptation.

Human Resource Framework

In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a catalyst and servant whose leadership style is support, advocation, and empowerment. while in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a pushover, whose leadership style is abdication and fraud. Human Resource Leaders believe in people and communicate that belief; they are visible and accessible; they empower, increase participation, support, share information, and move decision making down into the organization.

Political Framework

In an effective leadership situation, the leader is an advocate, whose leadership style is coalition and building. While in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a hustler, whose leadership style is manipulation. Political leaders clarify what they want and what they can get; they assess the distribution of power and interests; they build linkages to other stakeholders, use persuasion first, then use negotiation and coercion only if necessary.

Symbolic Framework

In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a prophet, whose leadership style is inspiration. While in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a fanatic or fool, whose leadership style is smoke and mirrors. Symbolic leaders view organizations as a stage or theater to play certain roles and give impressions; these leaders use symbols to capture attention; they try to frame experience by providing plausible interpretations of experiences; they discover and communicate a vision. ( Ryner 2005)

Roles within teams

Following many years research on teams, Dr Meredith Belbin identified a set of eight roles, which, if all present in a team, give it the best chance of success. These roles are:






Resource Investigator

Team Worker


Role of communication in Leadership:

Leadership has as its corner stone, the ability to communicate. When we use the word communicate, we are referring not only to the words one uses to transfer factual information to others, but also to other "messages" that are sent and received.

What might these other messages be? Related to change the leader sends a good number of messages. These are listed below. ( Northhouse 2006)

The leader communicates:

A) a sense of confidence and control (or lack thereof) to employees.

B)his or her own feelings about the change.

C) the degree to which he/she trusts the abilities of the employees to get through the change.

D) a sense of purpose and commitment (or lack thereof).

E) the degree to which he/she accepts the reactions and feelings of employees.

F) expectations regarding behaviour that is seen as appropriate or inappropriate (ie. rumour-mongering, back-room meetings).

G) the degree to which he/she is "connected to" employees situations and feelings or is "in-touch" with them.

It is clear that if the leader communicates effectively, he or she will be sending messages that decrease resistance, and encourage moving through the change more effectively and positively. The bottom line with all of this is if you screw up communicating with employees, even the smallest changes can result in ugly problems.

1. Have a Vision and Communicate It. Make sure you clearly communicate your vision for the company. No one follows a leader who cannot communicate the way in which the company will succeed.

2. Show Respect. Treat people, including your customers, suppliers, partners, and employees, with respect at all times.

3. Share Your Success. Make sure your employees share in the success of your company.

4. Don t Be Too Serious. Make the business environment fun at times.

5. Work With Your Employees. Make sure the employees see you there and working with them. No one likes to work hard for someone who doesn t work hard themselves. Especially early on, be the first to arrive and the last to leave whenever possible.

6. Have Your Door Open. Whether or not you have your own office yet, have your door open. Make sure your employees and managers know that you are approachable at any time about any problem they are having.

7. Listen. You have built a great team and are paying top dollar for it.

8. Build Relationships. Without understanding at least the basics of what is occurring in an employee s out-of-office life it can be hard to connect with him or her on a professional level. ( Gill 2006)

9. Commend More Than You Criticize. Too many business owners (and I have been guilty of this as well) will only say something to an employee when he or she has done something wrong or something that has negatively affected the company.