This assessment is to demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the topics taught in leading and motivating a team effectively module of the ILM Level 3 Course in Leadership and Management. The document will be split into two main sections, the first section will focus on how to communicate an organisations vision and strategy to the team as well as provide an analysis on its importance. The second section will look at the role motivation in the development of a team.
Section 1: How to communicate an organisations vision and strategy to the team
One of the definitions of the word team (in its verb form) is, come together to achieve a common goal (Oxford University Press, 2014). It is this common goal or purpose that turns a group of individuals into a team without a common purpose or goal to strive toward a team cannot function effectively. For example in a football team each player needs to know their place and role in the team, but also the strategy and vision for wider team, is the team an attacking team, a defensive team, do they attack via the wings etc. without knowing the common goal of the team the players will look to their own role and not know how to support the wider team and therefore are less likely to achieve their common goal.
The same holds true within an organisation not just at an individual person level but at a departmental level, if teams do not know the wider vision or strategy of the organisation they can become siloed and retreat upon themselves and just focus on delivering the “day job” rather than support the organisation in a more holistic role. With the above in mind, it’s clear to see that for a team to perform it needs clarity in its purpose, and from a business point of view this should be given by the vision and strategy of the organisation.
The vision tells us what the organisation wants to be, it doesn’t focus on the how that is the role of the strategy, the vision is a simple statement of what it wants to achieve. Below is an example vision statement from Amazon. “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online… at the lowest possible prices.” It’s a fairly short statement but allows staff and managers to know that the focus of Amazon is on three things
•Being Customer Focused
•Providing Online Services
•Cost effectiveness (for Amazon and the customer)
With the vision clearly stated it helps teams understand the direction in which the organisation wants to go, the next step is to explain how team fits in this vision and will help deliver it.
Once the vision of an organisation is understood, it’s important about going about explaining how it will achieve this and this is referred to as the strategy. The strategy should be a series of plans that detail how elements of the vision will be achieved; for example Amazon’s vision could be split into two strategies; being customer centric and providing online services with cost effectiveness being a theme that runs across both strategies. These plans would then be broken down into more tactical detail such as action plans and SMART objectives to be carried out an operational level. For example a call centre team will have several objectives/KPI such as Calls answered in less than 5 seconds in a given month or First Time Call Resolution 95% (Year to Date), which without much explanation simply look like tools to ensure staff are doing their jobs when in fact they are SMART objectives that relate to the customer focused strategy of Amazon’s vision and how effectively that strategy is working.
It is the performance of these objectives that dictate future strategy, poor performance may result in a change of strategy (i.e. outsourcing) where as good performance could result in the current strategy being maintained or even expanded (i.e. expansion to provide alternative services) and as such it is vital that staff are informed not only of their objectives and targets but how and why they exist, and what their overall effect on the business is. As we can see the role the vision and strategy plays in the performance of a team or individual is huge but it can be a two edged sword if the vision and strategy are either poorly communicated, misunderstood or simply unknown. As such communication is key, to ensure that the common sense and purpose that the vision and strategy provides is embedded and understood.
There are many methods of communication available within an organisation in aid of establishing a common purpose, but the first method is that the vision statement should be one that staff and customers can relate too and understand, if the vision doesn’t make sense the job to communicate it to staff will be twice as hard. A good basis for ensuring good communication is using the seven principles of communication; to ensure the message is clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete and naturally courteous. Once the message has been developed, it’s a matter of choosing the medium in which it is delivered; there are various methods such as email, telephone, meetings, seminars, presentation, 1-2-1s, newsletters all of which to be effective must be used at the right time and place.
As the vision is a supposed to provide a common purpose and understanding of what the company wants to be, it suggests that the best way to communicate this message is via more group/communal methods such as Team meetings, Away days or newsletters where the same message can be relayed to multiple staff at a time and avoids confusion or contamination of the key messages trying to be delivered, that can occur in mores personal communications such as 1-2-1 meetings. For example a team meeting where a contact centre manager for Amazon relays the vision of the company and how the team’s work fits in and helps deliver it to their 10 staff, is likely to be more effective than having 10 1-2-1 sessions in which they deliver they try to deliver the same message which is likely to alter between sessions due to personal relationships coming into play, more two way conversation disrupting the flow of the message, the recipient choosing to understand the message how they see it rather than how it was said and then finally the confusion that can occur when team members compare conversations.
This is not to say that group communication is always the best method to use as it does also have its downsides such as; it’s less likely people will ask questions in team/group meetings and could result in misunderstandings/confusion, if the person delivering the message is not clear and does not understand the message being delivered it will have a negative impact on the recipients, they can become side tracked by issues that arise during the meeting and people forget the message being delivered. My own skills actually lend themselves to small groups or 1-2-1 sessions as I struggle to manage wider groups at times, especially when the meeting goes off topic or several conversations start within the meeting.
However as I only manage two staff at the moment this hasn’t hampered my ability to communicate a common sense of purpose to my staff as I have my own concepts on what our role is in the business, however as highlighted in our learner session in July we did struggle as a group to find the group’s vision and strategy, which in itself is a failing in that without knowing the true vision and strategy of the business how can I communicate that to my staff and could potentially be providing them with a purpose that is counter to the organisations own goals. In reflection this had led me to book in some time to read the new business plan, and in readiness I’ve booked a team meeting together with my staff to go over it and highlight were we as a team fit in it. I’ve also took some time recently to review our action plans and KPI’s on Covalent, which is a software we use to link action plans and KPI’s together to strategies to see how our objectives are linked to the wider organisation and through that hopefully provide better clarity and coherent information to my staff.
Hopefully my management of meetings will improve through this course, as one of the modules in on managing meetings effectively. In conclusion I use to think my communication skills were quite good, however through this exercise I’ve noted that while my method of delivery and communication style may be good it doesn’t mean much if you don’t truly know the message you are trying to convey which until I’m up to speed on the business plan and our place in it I can’t say I know what that message should be without retreating into the “day job” which as mentioned at the beginning is a symptom of a team who doesn’t know the organisations vision or strategy.
Section 2: Know how to motivate and develop the team
Section 2.1: Describe the main motivational factors in a work context and how these may apply to different situations, teams and individuals. There are multiple models and theories for motivation such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Alderfer’s ERG theory, Acquired Needs Theory by McClellan and Two Factor Theory by Hezberg to name a few and while most can be used to explain motivational factors in a work context some such as Maslow’s and Alderfer’s theory require more adaption or to make it fit as such I’ll be using Hezberg’s Two factor theory to describe the main motivational factors in the work context. According to Herzberg, two kinds of factors affect motivation, and they do it in different ways: Hygiene factors: These are factors that are taken for granted and can be seen as having no positive satisfaction by themselves, however if they were taken away would cause a dramatic down turn in morale and motivation.
An example is a policy of free tea and coffee for staff by itself unlikely to motivate staff but if it was removed would have a negative impact. Motivator factors: These are factors whose presence motivates. Their absence does not cause any particular dissatisfaction, it just fails to motivate. An example would be recognition at work for a job well done, achieving a promotion. Looking at the above it would seem that simply applying the motivator factors would cause an increase in motivation and simply ensuring the hygiene factors stayed in place is the sure fire way to succeed in motivating your staff, however the below example shows how by applying one rule to an individual can affect the team as a whole.
Person A is doing a good job and as such you wish to increase motivation by recognising their work, which you do by offering a promotion/raise or bonus, this however can impact on the rest of the team as Pay and Benefits also come under Hygiene factors and as such by rewarding one and not everyone in the team this can cause a demotivation or job dissatisfaction.
Section 2.2: Explain the importance of a leader being able to motivate teams and individuals and gain their commitment to objectives.
Section 2.3: Explain the role that the leader plays in supporting and developing the team and its members and give practical examples of when this will be necessary