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Understanding Leadership styles Essay

1.1 Describe the factors that will influence the choice of leadership styles or behaviours in workplace situations (24 marks) There are several factors which influence the choice of leadership style in workplace situations.

A main factor which will influence the choice of leadership style is the sort of person you are dealing with, depending on the persons skills or how willing that person is at doing a job. According to Hersey and Blanchard knowing which style of leadership to use is largely dependent on the maturity of the person or group your leading.

An individual with low maturity lacking skills, knowledge and confidence is M1 on Hersey and Blanchards maturity scale this person will need guidance and directing allowing him/she to make mistakes and learn from them (as long as there is no money lost). A relaxed control over this person whilst they are learning is good to build their confidence, shadowing the individual is good to identify what they need coaching in.

An individual who is high skilled but low will (not willing to work) will need a different approach, exciting and supporting a low willed person is important. Identify issues for low will and try to rectify this or offer your help and assistance. Monitoring performance and giving feedback to these individuals is vital as they will be aware you are observing them. Giving these individuals an incentive to work is also a good idea as this may motivate them and give them some will to do more work. If there are certain factors of the job which de-motivate the individual try to reduce this or change how they can do it i.e. longer time scale, less pressure, take turns with someone else to do the job. Another important factor is your company policies, organisational culture and structure, this influences your choice of leadership style as your policy may have strict guidelines on how to deal with situations.

If your policy has strict guidelines you will need to delegate by providing clear instructions based on your policy and explain consequences. James Macgregor Burns describes Transactional leadership which would be appropriate to use in a strict policy work place i.e. civil servant. You must monitor work carefully and implement changes if need be then review progress so all guidelines are being stuck to. You must be prepared to punish team members if work doesn’t meet standards by giving appropriate sanctions, they must be made aware of this. If it is a private company and the company policy is slightly less strict you can have a more relaxed approach to your workers and encourage new ideas and methods of ways to work. The working environment in which you work in is another key factor which influences your leadership behaviour.

Once work teams have been established indivduals must adjust to each others personalities as well as getting used to working in a team to achieve a commong goal. Team members may come from different departments and various backgrounds therefore it is important for a manager to identify the needs of the team and adjusts their leadership style to create team consistency accordingly. The external macro environment is also another factor which influences the style of leadership. Legslation, competition, changes to regulations, supplier and customer activity are all factors that can affect the leadership style. Flexibility of leadership styles is important so you can apply the correct style where needed.

1.2 Explain why these leadership styles, or behaviours, are likely to have a positive or negative effect, on individual and group behaviour. Building skill through guiding and coaching a person can have a positive effect if you allow mistakes to happen as the individual gets to see the impact or consequence of their mistake i.e. they have to do it again, they have to do it out of work. Once they have experienced the impact of their mistake once or twice they will take more care to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The negative effect of this is it might hold a team up if an individual keeps making a mistake which may anger a group and cause problems and isolation for the low skilled worker. Building skill through shadowing an individual will also have a positive effect as you are continuously available to support the worker which is important in the early stages of employment and learning new skills.

Whilst shadowing a worker you may identify areas in which the individual is lacking knowledge or struggling, once you have identified these you can then take action to improve making your time efficient. Unfortunately this can have a negative effect as they wont gain confidence to work unaided, the individual could become dependent on you and may not use his initiative. When you are shadowing a low skilled individual your attention could possibly be taken away from the rest of the group so work may slip and problems may occur causing the company to lose money. The positive effect of building will through exciting individuals is to motivate them, they will share your excitement once you have given them a new way of working or an initiative to work.

Exciting new ideas and goal making with the individual will give them a new lease of life and something to work towards hopefully increasing their workload at the same time. Once an individual is motivated and working hard they may inspire others in the group to do so, increasing work load and making the work place more efficient. Exciting and goal making with workers can have a negative effect on the individual as sometimes they may expect a reward or an initiative for all work they do.

If the individual does not meet a certain goal they may be disheartened and have even less will to work. Other members in a group may become jealous and annoyed they have not been given rewards or motivation to work, they may refuse to work unless they are given an initiative. Building skill through supporting an individual may involve offering them assistance or help, this can make the worker feel they have care although sometimes you may not be able to accommodate their needs which could leave them feeling even worse.

Delegating an individual by providing clear instruction and giving freedom can be positive as it could make the worker’s job easier as they will know what they have to work towards, giving them freedom could make them feel more relaxed and under less pressure. Praising the individual will make them feel rewarded and involving them in decisions could possibly make your leadership role easier and make them feel higher up. The effect on a group would be positive as workers could decide between them selves who does what if freedom has been given.

On the other hand this could have a negative effect as an individual may become lazy and take things into his own hands if too much freedom has been given, the worker may become outspoken if they are involved in decision making too much and feel as though they are higher and have more control then they should. On a group scale delegating may be a negative thing as some people may not understand instructions, it is easier explaining to one person rather then a whole group. People in the group may feel left out or may feel they are less skilled then others if some people understand and some don’t. Monitoring an individuals work can be positive

2.1 Assess own leadership behaviours and potential in the context of a particular leadership model and own organisation’s working practice and culture using feedback from others . In my organisation I work as a floor and bar supervisor. I constantly use my leadership skills in order to manage members of my team on the floor and bar to ensure the restauraunt objectives and mission statement is achieved. From my bar and floor experience and by completing a questionair and interpreting the answers into a situational model I believe my main leadership style is the coaching style. However I may change this leadership style or behaviour on a daily basis depending on the situation given. For example if a highly skilled and experienced worker joins my team I will possibly delegate them by giving them clear instructions and freedom to get on with the job because they don’t need couching.

Since we are a free hold public house /restauraunt our management differs from a leasehold public house as they usually need to report and liase with a head office or brewery. As we are privatley owned we have a general manger onsite who uses a slightly more relaxed approach to managment then a head office or brewery. She uses a direct style of leadership which reflects how we all work. For example if the general manager frequently recites our mission statement to the team or an individual to help develop a clear vision or goal I must do the same within my group. I use the following skills when leading within my group on the bar and floor. Creating and sharing a clear vision involving all the group, setting objectives to create a goal using our mission statement and allocating roles and responsibilities judging on my experience within the group to do this.

Giving tasks, observation of individual & team performances by shadowing an individual to develop their skill and give support , monitoring performance to give support and constructive feedback, allowing mistakes to happen so individuals can learn from this. The feedback from my team has also suggested my dominating leadership style is to coach however there were certain elements of direct and supporting styles present. My group referred to the follwing leadership skills such as deveolping a vision with an indivdual, regular interaction, praising an indivdual and monitoring performance. These skills are not commonly categorised as coaching.

Taking into consideration all my feedback and questionaire results my main leadership style is coaching in most situations. The use of this particular leadership style is linked across the company which I believe to be created by our in house general manager. Although my manager uses mainly a direct style of leadership she like myself changes depending on the situation and enviroment which reflects on all of us. As a supervisor and sometimes acting as a manager I believe it is important to master every leadership style and know when to use them apporiately, I also think the more verstile you are the better.

2.2 Describe appropriate actions to enhance own leadership behaviours in the context or the particular leadership model.

Taking into consideration my dominating leadership style is coaching there are several ways which to enhance my leadership behaviour. My own way of improving would be to practic self-knowledge and ensure I am continousley doing so, also practising self awareness is key as these are important qualities in a manager. Developing these qualities is not easy so acting on all constructive feedback is vital. Feedback can be attained from team members,other colleagues and their leaders. Another way my leadership skills would greatly improve is if I found an appropriate role model to learn from, this model must be someone I respect and admire.

If the role model agrees to mentor me this could be very beneficial! Regardless of which leadership style I use a key way to enhance my leadership behavior is sticking to my principles and ‘praticing what I preach,’ By myself’ and maintain the same high standards I set myself. Always keep a high level of integrity and if this is always kept employees will be more likely to accpet you and the way you work. ‘ As a final point to make myself a better leader is to set myself a goal and stick to it, this long term goal is significant and not the small problems which occur along the way. Focusing on a goal can put things into prospective and motivate you.


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