Unit 14 Assignment on Working with and Leading People
Leadership is simply put as a person’s ability to make others follow him/her. Every organization’s success is dependent upon the quality of leaders they breed and the team looks up to the leader for all kind of support. Without a strong leadership the most common symptoms visible in any organization are lack of motivation, low productivity, lack of proper training etc. It is through efficient and effective leadership that a company strives through the testing times and rises as a giant. This unit 14 assignment on working with and leading people helps in understanding the attributes of a leader, compares leaders with managers and then presents various styles of leadership that are to be used in different situations. Followed by this, the report also focuses on how to motivate staff for better performance and assesses the benefits of teamwork. In the end it also presents various techniques of conflict management with an example and also elucidates the steps of reviewing team performance.
Attributes of Leadership
The most commonly acknowledged attributes and skills of leadership are as follows (compare business products, 2009; coach defroster, 2010):
- Integrity: Practise what you preach is the right means to be honoured with the title of leadership. Irrespective of the situation a leader follows through practise what he/she believes from the inside.
- Perseverance: Ensuring that every bit of effort and energy is spent on the task at hand is a true mark of leadership. Success comes through dedicated efforts towards team and work assigned.
- Openness: Encouraging people to come up with new ideas and suggestions allows team to be more flexible and feel important.
- Capability Development: Leader invests a lot of time in developing the skills and capabilities of self as well as every team member through trainings etc. This ensures continuous learning and improvement for everyone.
- Communication Skills: Leader must possess excellent communication skills to ensure that all ideas are clearly and easily communicated and understood. Possessing the skills to praise and reprimand when required is also an important requirement.
- Accountability: Taking responsibility of decisions taken is an important requirement for becoming a leader. The credit of success should be attributed to the team and failures are attributed to the leader.
- Risk Taking: Taking measured risks enables a leader to find out ways of working that have not been tried before and hence come up with better and newer processes and products.
- Justice and Modesty: A true leader is just in all his dealings and ensures that all members of the team and self are treated as equal as far as professional relations are concerned.
Leadership v/s Management
It has been a point of debate for long that manager and leader are two different entities and that the expectations and performance of both are different. In the simplest of terms a manager is required to plan, organize and control resources according to preset rules whereas a leader creates a new direction of work for the entire group (team technology, 2012). The two concepts are very closely woven together and an organization needs to maintain a balance between the two to ensure success. Many organizations have tried to separate the two concepts and deal with them in isolation and as a result have faced a number of problems. It is to be clearly understood that the same person needs to play both the roles in different situations viz. continuously devising new ways of enhancing team performance (leadership) and controlling all team members and guiding them to the right path for success (management).
When treated in isolation the two concepts do not produce desired result as leadership without management would mean that the team members do not receive any guidance on how to achieve the targets and that new processes are introduced whereas management without leadership would mean that the team members are made to follow a preset plan of action without any scope of changes whatsoever. A leader is wilfully followed by others due to personality traits and charisma whereas a manager is followed due to the formal authority and hierarchy (Diffen, 2012). In one of the ideal conditions a single person possessing skills of both leadership and management becomes the single source of strength and motivation for the organizational performance. Some of the differences could be highlighted as (Wall Street Journal, 2012; Diffen, 2012):
Systems and Structure
Doing Things Right
Doing Right Things
Uses for Development
Table 1 - Manager v/s Leader
Different people, different situations demand changing styles of leadership (Judge, 2002). What works with one person might not be effective with others and similarly what works in one situation might not work in others. A leader thus needs to adapt various styles of leadership to be able to handle the team and situations in an effective manner. Some of the most commonly followed styles are (mind tools, 2012; fast company, 2012):
- Transactional: Team members obey the directives of the leader and hence is controlling in nature. With clear definition of roles and responsibilities, this style is short-term oriented and works well in situations where team members are ambitious and are motivated by external rewards. However, this style does not enhance the job satisfaction of employees and could lead to high turnover.
- Autocratic: Complete control over the team and there is no room for suggestions from the team members. Works best in crisis situations with quick decisions made and forced on the team for efficient results. Disadvantage of this style is that it leads to de-motivation of employees.
- Bureaucratic: Procedure oriented leadership wherein rules and regulations are strictly followed. This style is beneficial in situations of safety risks or high value deals or routine-oriented tasks as it ensures efficiency. However, this style stifles innovation and flexibility.
- Participative: Involvement of team members in decision making process is the main focus with a lot of stress on creativity and flexibility. In order to ensure high quality work this style is the best and it leads to job satisfaction and high productivity. However, it is a time consuming style of leadership resulting in delays.
- Pacesetting: The leader desires that team members closely follow his/her actions and works well in situation where team is highly skilled and motivated and quick results are required.
- Coaching: Leader focuses more on the development of the team and encourages innovation and capability development. This style works best when continuous capability building is required and is generally a slow but steady style.
- Transformational: Considered the best style of leadership as it expects best performance from the leader and all members of team, resulting in high productivity and engagement. This style works best in a competitive environment and doesn’t work well in mundane operations based work profile.
The success or failure of a manager in achieving the targets is highly dependent upon the performance of the team which in turn is dependent upon the motivation levels. Motivation of an employee to strive under pressure and to produce the best possible results comes from the way manager treats him/her. Managers could use various techniques of motivation like (Econsultancy, 2012; Inc, 2010):
- Job Enrichment: Ensure that the amount of work for an employee is always challenging and that the profile doesn’t become mundane. This creates excitement and hence motivates to work better.
- Flexibility: Flexible working hours, independence working style are some pointers that have been proven very motivating for employees.
- Profit Sharing: When employees have a direct stake in the company and hence share its profits, the level of motivation to work rises as individual efforts are directly affecting the company’s and hence self revenue.
- Vacations: Allowing employees to go on paid vacation forms a minimal work condition to ensure refreshment and ability to spend time with family, bringing about balance in life.
- Career Options: Apart from money and work profile, an employee should see clear path for growth in profession career in terms of promotions within and outside the company. A profile that stifles growth is always distanced by employees.
- Parties and Celebrations: Celebrating festivals, birthdays and other special occasions in office ensures team unity, promotes healthy culture and motivates employees.
- Innovation: Allowing employees to make suggestions, take decisions and to innovate are some of the important motivators.
- Recognition: Appreciating the work of employees in front of all acts a major boost to confidence and promotes healthy competition.
- Mentorship: Analysing the needs of an employee in terms of capability development and guiding through the work also motivates for better performance.
Team Work - Benefits
Teamwork involves union of different people and groups for achievement of common goals and objectives through higher efficiency. The direct benefits of teamwork are (Chron, 2012):
- Efficiency: It leads to increased efficiency of work as best minds work together to get a job done and there is also less redundancy of work through easy communication. It also emanates from the fact that team work leads to less wastage of time and resources in coordination and hence better results.
- Innovation: It provides a platform for creativity and innovation as employees from various departments could bring in their experience to ideate something new.
- Flexibility: With unified efforts it becomes easy to address bottlenecks and hence leads to increased flexibility due to team effort.
- Morale Boost: Teams are generally known to boost employee morale through the feeling of oneness and importance. This also enhances unity among employees and hence creates a better working environment.
- Usability: The chances of a project becoming a success increases when a team is working on it and hence enhances the workability of such projects. The amount of rework required to achieve the end results is curtailed through team work.
Conflicts are a part of any professional relationship and are of great importance. It typically occurs when two employees have different interests, needs, views etc and involves people, departments, customers etc. Conflicts are perceived to be negative but could also be beneficial for a company if handled properly (Arvey, 2006). Healthy conflict management involves maintaining calm and composure, willingness to forgive, compromising to avoid punishments and most important of all capability to accept mistakes whereas unhealthy conflict management involves anger or fret, not accepting mistakes and avoiding addressing of conflict for fear of hatred or bad outcomes (Help guide, 2012). The various techniques that could be used for conflict management are (Personality explorer, 2012):
- Competing: Forcing the views on other person with complete ignorance to the arguments presented is forcing or competing and is generally not considered as a positive means of handling conflict. At times it leads to increased self-esteem and results in quick resolution of conflict.
- Collaborating: It is considered as the problem-solving approach wherein both the parties amicably discuss the conflict and come out with a solution that satisfies both parties. One of the healthiest ways of handling conflict leads to maintaining relationships and foster mutual trust and respect. Problems are time consuming process and at times it could be infeasible solution.
- Compromising: In this style the parties look for a quick solution that partly satisfies them and hence lowers stress levels and provides temporary solution. It requires constant attention to ensure agreement is honoured and doesn’t foster trust and respect.
- Avoiding: When one of the parties doesn’t pursue the conflict or concerns it leads to avoidance. It helps in addressing aggressive opponents and focusing on important issues at hand, however, it also results in severing of relationships.
- Accommodating:When one of the parties gives more importance to the concerns of the other party than self. It results in amicable closure of conflict, however, involves risk of abusive use of power and results in loss of face at times.
A board room discussion upon the strategy for the coming financial year, wherein the board is split in two parts, each proposing a different strategy, is a potential source of conflict. One of the sects wants the company to be aggressive and hence take greater risks of diversification or market expansion, whereas, the other sect is proposing a safer option of simple growth strategy. Such a situation requires the manager to step in as a mediator as the result of this conflict would affect the future of the organization. Taking into perspective the various conflict resolution techniques discussed above, it is important that the manager allows both parties to present their case and then try to come out with a balanced strategy that incorporates suggestions from both parties. Thus, a collaborative approach would be appropriate to ensure that the team spirit is maintained and that the entire board remains responsible for the outcome of the strategy. Any other technique would result in a situation where not all members of the board would take responsibility of the results and hence create an unhealthy atmosphere that negatively affects company performance.
One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to ensure that the team is achieving its assigned objectives. In order to do the same leaders need to review the performance of the team to evaluate its effectiveness in achieving goals (Chemers, 1997). Evaluating the current progress is important to ensure that the team is working towards goal achievement and it does not digress from the right path. Team Personality and leadership could take various forms such as weekly reports on target achievement, group reviews at various milestones, external evaluations etc (open, 2012). Support from the team is important for this activity to ensure that there is ownership and some pointers are taken for next action steps. Performance evaluation also helps in identifying the problem areas and thus paves the way for transforming a low performance team into a high performance team. Various steps of evaluation are (Emerald strategies, 2008):
- Internal Assessment to identify the various stakeholders in the objectives and to assess the current state of performance. This could be done through various ways like client satisfaction surveys, employee satisfaction, availability of desired resources, and management reviews etc.
- Identifying the desired future state based on the current achievement levels. It involves reviewing the strategy and the original targets to assure better results.
- Setting Priorities based on the current levels of achievement and the desired state to ensure that the team is focused on the right path and all efforts are streamlined.
- Setting individual and smaller targets which would then compound to the desired target levels.
- Implementation of the new plan of action, continuous monitoring and due recognition of efforts are then required to improve team performance.
Some important points that could be analysed through performance evaluation are team composition, communication within team, learning from past experience, support from other departments, resource availability etc. Thus, it is important that the team effectiveness be regularly reviewed to ensure that the basic purpose of creating the team is satisfied and all stakeholders benefit from it.
Compare business products (2009). The Top 10 Leadership Qualities. Extracted from http://www.comparebusinessproducts.com/briefs/top-10-leadership-qualities. [Accessed 2nd Nov 2012]
Coach defroster (2010). 10 Attributes of a Great Leader. Extracted from http://www.coachdanfoster.com/2010/09/10-attributes-of-a-great-leader/. [Accessed 5th Nov 2012]
Chemers M. (1997) An integrative theory of leadership. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers
Arvey, R.D., Rotundo, M., Johnson, W., Zhang, Z., & McGue, M. (2006). The determinants of leadership role occupancy: Genetic and personality factors. The Leadership Quarterly
Judge, T.A., Bono, J.E., Ilies, R., & Gerhardt, M.W. (2002). Personality and leadership: A qualitative and quantitative review. Journal of Applied Psychology