BUMGT5970 Leadership, Federation University, Australia
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Introduction: Leadership is defined as the act of leading people within an organization towards achieving the personal and professional goal. Leaders are able to accomplish this goal by influencing the behaviour of employees through several factors. Characteristics such as effective communication skills, interpersonal skills, responsibility sharing, delegation, and strategic vision are the factors that depicts traits of a leadership. Leaders in this context are the one who sets clear vision and mission for the organization in order to motivate, encourage, and guide the employees in their work process. A successful organisation is attributed through a successful leader, which is reflective in major companies, for example Google, Ford Motors, and Nestle (but not limited to these). The reason behind this is that the leader focuses on mission, vision, strategy planning required for the control and execution of the available resources effectively. A leader possesses the art and science to build a team that can consistently deliver exceptional performance (Jian, &Fairhurst, 2017). In accordance to the report of Van Langenhove, Zwartjes&Papanagnou (2016), it is evident that the overall personality of a leader gets embedded in the organizational culture, after a course of time. A leader always holds the talent of resilience, which provides them the ability to adapt to change easily. They are always open to change and risk which make them more resourceful and agile. A great leader always believes in clear and transparent communication. They try to restrict the spread of rumours by embracing solutions rather than discussing problems. Further, they make thrive to improve emotional intelligence in order to recognise the reason behind the employee's behaviour (Najmaei, &Sadeghinejad, 2019). According to a recent survey statistic by McKinsey, more than 89% of the executives reported the top priority as development of organisational leadership (Jian et al. 2017).
Question 1: What are the challenges of leading an org. in today's world?
Answer: In every organization, leaders face a fair share of challenges, while leading the organisation. Due to these anticipated challenges at organisational level, it has been estimated by 84% of organisation to experience a shortfall of leaders in the next five years (Johnson, 2017). Some of the common problems faced by leaders include the following traits, as discussed in this section.
Challenging environment - Leaders are known to be responsible to face the most criticism in all phases of the organizational progress. There are certain internal as well as the external chain of command which lays blame everywhere and every time. This includes criticism from the public, upper management, colleagues and employees (Boyd, Henning, Reyna, Wang, and Welch, 2017). However, it is the strong vision and dedication that determines the overall success of the organization.
Crisis - In a business environment, the leaders face a different form of disasters such as lack of funding, financial support, interpersonal issues, public relations including the scandals as well as conflict, spiritual issues such as low morale or enthusiasm, politics, legal concerns such as lawsuits as well as other regulatory issues. These form of crisis often restricts a leader to move forward and achieve success.
Lack of appropriate response - Employees often provide false feedback to their leaders regarding the ongoing work process, which in turn diverts from the actual pathway. People are not always dishonest, however, according to the situational context, they are often afraid or are not serious about giving accurate feedback. In contrary, the leaders have the responsibility to provide correct guidance and adopt the constructive approach to achieve the organizational objectives.
Handling of Conflict and internal politics - According to Rosenbach (2018), in order to handle conflict situations effectively, a leader must possess dispute resolution skill. Ineffective judgement n poor managerial skills for conflict handling can adversely affect organizational culture and productivity. In most of the cases, the leader faces this challenge and finally end up by complicating the situation and making it more uncomfortable (Boyd et al., 2017). However, the key challenge lies when the leader has to implement a formal process for resolving gauntlet and then adhering to it.
Working with generation Z - Generation Z are those newest generations those who are born between 1995 and 2015 (Johnson, 2017). These workforces are of age group of maximum 24 years and a completely different from millennials and baby-boomers in terms of their digital and theoretical knowledge. Thus, the biggest challenge arrives for the leaders to make them understand about the organizational expectation and make them consider as a part of the team. Additionally, in this context, it is also important that leaders should avoid stereotype behaviour. The use of improved and effective communication strategy is also relevant to be practiced at the workplace.
Complacency - Often it is realized that leaders encounter a point where it becomes easier to work in the bath which is least resistant then moving towards Innovation and growth. This feeling lyrics to stagnant productivity, lacklustre performance, and unsuccessful competition for new customer, contracts and resources (Barak, 2016). Correspondingly, they prefer to rest comfortably on the plateau then driving upwards. Most of the leaders fail to overcome such situations during their leadership career which ultimately leads to the failure of the organization.
Control of the situation - Most of the leaders lack the ability to delegate efficiently. This insufficiency among them leads the culture of micromanagement that extinguishes independent thinking, demolishes creativity, and focus on short-term goals (Shanker, Bhanugopan, Van der Heijden, & Farrell, 2017). This eventually makes the organization focus on the small picture rather than opting the bigger opportunity. Thus, delegation and negotiation are two important terms that must be taken care in order to effectively manage the workplace environment, to keep the motivation appropriate, as well as to maintain the continuity of workflow.
Speed kills - This is a fascinating term as discussed in the report by Jian &Fairhurst(2017), which signifies that in most of the organizational process, the work progress at a speed which is fast enough and seems to be impossible to cope up for the next steps. Moreover, a rapid and sudden growth creates a vortex that sucks both the energy and time of each employee. The get limited time to do anything else in their life but has involved from one activity to the other. Speed has become the stimulant in most of the cases, where people strive to move faster beyond their own natural limit to execute the work.
Hypothetical collaboration - Some leaders are not capable to carry out true collaboration during the business process. For effective collaboration, leaders must possess negotiation skill and communication skills which can ultimately support a collaborative business environment. However, unfortunately, many leaders hold the presumption that a successful project collaboration can occur while working together, which is referred to as ‘collaboration through osmosis' (Huffington, James, & Armstrong, 2018). In their report, the authors have also discussed that the importance of collaboration and partnership is vital in the present competitive scenario, for effectively designing the strategic framework to achieve the organizational objectives. In contrary, the hidden truth is that collaboration requires hard effort from each one involved in the project as well as specific skills related to project management, negotiation, change management, and communication. Thus, these traits are indeed required by any leader to effectively manage self-responsibility.
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Question 2: What need to change with our understanding of leadership to meet these challenges?
Answer: Changes required in understanding of leadership to mitigate challenges
According to the report by Shankeret al (2017), only 5% organisations have implemented programs to develop leaders at the entire level. In this context, the effective leaders are able to understand and mitigate the potential risks and challenges associated with the business by working diligently. However, leaders must prefer to become proactive regardless of the existing situation. They should take control of the entire group and direct them towards the requisite direction. In order to overcome the complacency issue, they must engage themselves in learning new concepts and skills. This can be achieved through a continuous learning process thereby the issues related to complacency can be replaced my motivation, excitement, and creativity. Further, Branson in business competition a leader is required to be creative and think "out of the box" concept (Shanafelt, &Noseworthy, 2017). This kind of unexpected strategy is useful during a crisis situation such as the loss of funding.
The leader needs to find out an alternative way to make the thing work effectively, despite an unexpected crisis. For instance, in case of conflict situation leader need to face it "squarely" rather than "coming out of fighting". Thus, leaders in such situational context are required to identify,remain attentive to understand, and acknowledge the conflict for mining out possible solution. The recommendation holds true for conflict within the group, between other groups, as well as outside of the group, as suggested in the report of Huffington, James, & Armstrong (2018). Such efforts are effective because theyfurther have the potential minimize the risk spread of conflict, despite it is not resolved fully. It is the function and responsibilities of leadership to identify and resolve conflict for a safe workplace. When a leader faces opposition, it is required to find common ground. For instance, when the public criticizes or opposes a leader for their work, it may be due to misunderstanding or lack of interest. Thus, the leader must be able to find these reasons, then a basis for problem-solving and working together can be designed.
In accordance to the report by Le Fevre, & Robinson (2015), a leader should always have to look towards new opportunities for collaboration, which may be within or outside the group. Within the organization, the leader how to maintain a good relationship with the director, CEO, manager of the organisation, so as to get support in each decision. Similarly, outside of the organization, he has to identify a common cause to work with other organizations and groups that have a similar interest. This approach helps in extending the range of external support and making stronger as an alliance of groups rather than standing individually.
Similarly, in order to cope-up with the internal challenges faced within the organization there is a requirement to modify the understanding of leadership. Managers or leaders in this context are ought not to ask for 360-degree feedback from the employees and other people around (such as board members, volunteers, and participants working together) (Gotsis, &Grimani, 2016). Getting reviews and feedback from different sources, the probability of getting appropriate information increases. The feedback can be either positive or negative, which has to be dealt with accordingly. Moreover, a leader should be always aware and keep a constant eye on the surrounding. In this way the leader can become aware of chaos and controversies. These controversies can be resolved through open communication in a calm way. Finally, the situation becomes out of control, then the leader needs to talk to a perceptive colleague, senior manager, supervisor, good friend or a trusted clergyman.
Consulting with others sometimes helps in finding a perspective that is often hard to find by their own. Alternatively, leaders can also prefer meditation or yoga for relaxation and self-discovery that can further help in getting through the change (Van Langenhove, Zwartjes, &Papanagnou, 2016).
Apart from internal and external issues, leaders have to deal with challenges that are stemming out the nature of leadership roles. A leader position is viewed as having unique demands. Sometimes they are regarded as an authority figure who has to guide and direct the followers, while others view them as saviours, spiritual guides, models, inspires, fixers, and teachers. Thus, a leader needs to maintain both the sanity and competency simultaneously. In such situational context, leaders can fix occasional meetings as well as yearly retreats for discussing new commitments and existing organizational vision. In this way, the existing vision can be reviewed to check if it still resonates and gets an opportunity to work with groups' solidarity. In this way, employees and leaders feel motivated and refreshed to continue their work. Furthermore, surrounded by good people those who share the common vision drives to be motivated. Leaders can also share and delegate some responsibilities to competent and committed individuals who can help to minimize the pressure of work burden (Shanker et al. 2017). Leaders often get threatened by other capabilities. Instead of this, they should focus on responsibility sharing with skilled personnel to make the leadership quality more effective and strengthened. Lastly, a leader has to take time from the leadership role for self-refreshment. It is important to remain engaged in activities that drive away from routine concerns. For this purpose, meditation or music or fitness activities will be also beneficial for refreshment and relaxation.
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Question 3: Recommendation for improving the quality of leadership?
Answer: The above section clearly outlines the characteristics, responsibility, attitude, and traits required to be transformed into effective leader. However, the mentioned ideologies must also be analysed with reference to the situational context as well as the workplace environment. In the present section, a set of recommendation is presented that is believed to be helpful for a successful evolution of individual into the role of an effective leader.
With leadership roles there comes a huge amount of responsibility. It is hard to guide a team effectively by acting too hard or too lenient. A successful leader sets the pathway for the rest of the team. Gotsiset al. (2016) states that all organisational level most of the funding is spent on leadership development instead of any corporate training, still 71% of organisations lack confidence on their leaders. Report depicts that 45% people believe lack of leadership trust can negatively impact the work performance (Le Fevre et al. 2015). The goal of the leaders is to understand the needs of each team member that can further serve them to direct the entire team in the appropriate path towards excellence. In conjunction with this, leaders should identify their self-abilities and shortcomings. Getting inspired by other work is the best way to get improve self-quality. True motivation comes from the inside of oneself. It is important to recognise the thing that inspires the most and visualize the goal. In the present generation, people listen and obey those leaders who are self-motivated. Organizing development programs and celebrating small achievements can also add to the leadership quality (Glatthorn, Boschee, Whitehead, &Boschee, 2018). A small triumph can also encourage the entire team and makes them motivated throughout their work process. Further, congratulating and rewarding the team for good performance helps in building a strong and positive interpersonal relationship. Positive feedback always acts as fundamental to keep the team motivated and strengthened leadership. Learning from a self-mistake is remembered throughout life. The best leaders are considered as those who are the best learners. Developing the ability to practice and learn, avoids committing mistakes. Next, another important criterion to develop leadership quality is to become a good listener. In this context, the leader should remain alert and the posture and facial expressions and avoid external distractions. Further, leaders are required to look for the keywords which the opposite person is trying to deliver in the conversation. This process would help in recalling the conversation in a later stage in the present busy schedule (Fortier, &Viens, 2018).
Overall, the development program needs to (i) frame team of employees that have potential of evolving themselves as leaders; (ii) identifying strong leaders who can translate their knowledge; (iii) initiating orientation program to learn and acquire skills; (iv) implementingregulatory measures to address the concern of leaders; and (v) acknowledging and rewarding employees or managers for displaying strong leadership skills.
Conclusion: In summary, the present report discusses the important traits and requirements which can portray a clear picture of effective leader. Of note, it is learned that based on the situational demand, the managerial style and attitude of handling the problem is of high significance. Furthermore, leaders are also required to avoid stereotypes, implement strong communication strategy, and must follow ethical approaches. The overall importance of these values lies in effectively managing the workplace environment, maintaining positive workplace emotions, and achieving the organizational objectives. Based on the overall learning, recommendation measures were presented in this program, which emphasizes on the fact that leadership can be translated to existing employee. Furthermore, they can orient their skills for the benefit of organization by achieving requisite objectives.
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