Becoming an Effective Leader
Becoming an Effective Leader
Section 1: Understand own ability to fulfil key responsibilities of the leadership role. An evaluation of my own ability to use a range of leadership styles, in different situations and with different types of people, to fulfil the leadership role.
There are in essence, four core leadership theory groups , which are:
Contingency theories and
Power and influence theories.
I strongly believe that a leader must be adaptable to the situation and therefore prefer the Contingency theories. I shall therefore use two contingency theories to illustrate my ability to fulfil key responsibilities of my leadership role. I will use two contingency theories in my illustration.
Hersey and Blanchard model
The Hersey and Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory was created by Dr Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard in the mid-70’s. The fundamental basis of this theory is that there is no single ‘best’ leadership style and effective leaders have to adapt their styles depending upon the maturity level of delegates. So essentially the model rests on two fundamental concepts; leadership styles and the groups or individuals maturity level  . Hersey and Blanchard defines four Leadership Styles :
Telling (S1) – where the leader directs people what to do and how to do it. Selling (S2) – where the leader provides information and direction, selling the message to get people on board, and providing support. Participating (S3) – where the leader works with the team, sharing the decision making and responsibilities. Focus is more on relationship and less on direction. Delegating (S4) – where the leader passes most of the responsibility for a task onto the individual or group, only monitoring progress. S1 requires the most effort on the part of the leader which reduces through S2 and S3 to S4, which requires the least effort. Style S4 therefore would enable the leader to deliver more for the same effort. However effectiveness of the individual or team will depend on their Maturity Level.
Hersey and Blanchard also define four Maturity Levels:
M1 – where people lack knowledge, skill or confidence to work independently, and require direction and prompts to progress the task. M2 – where people are willing to deliver but still lack the requisite skills for effective delivery of the task. M3 – where people are willing to deliver and have reasonable skill level but still require confidence to deliver effectively. M4 – where people have high skill and confidence levels and are able to work independently and are committed for successful delivery. The model maps each style to the appropriate maturity level. So a leader should identify the maturity level of his reports and use the most appropriate style to ensure most effective delivery of the task.
The leader needs to provide a detailed level of direction and regular intervention to less mature team to compensate for the lower skill, motivation and confidence levels. In time the team will improve and will become a less burdensome leadership style. Accordingly, this model is suitable for developing a static team in the longer term. New members into the team will have to be assimilated in a planned way and there needs to be careful succession planning to ensure the maturity level of the team does not deteriorate.
Adair’s Action Centred Leadership Model
Adair’s theories encompass motivation theories by Maslow, Herzberg and Fayol and he was probably the first to demonstrate that leadership is a trainable, transferable skill, rather than it being an exclusively inborn ability. The model developed by John Adair in the 60’s and 70’s suggests  that a leader must:
Achieve the task
Develop the team, and
Develop the individual
The three elements are mutually dependant but are separately essential for an effective leadership role. He also defines certain key functions of a leader: Planning- information gathering, scope definition, objective setting
Initiation- briefing, allocation, quality management
Controlling – quality control, monitor progress, decision-making Supporting – individuals, team, encouragement
Informing – communication, feedback
Evaluating – assessment
In many ways the Adair model is very similar to the Hersey and Blanchard model, particularly the emphasis on developing individuals and team. However the key focus is on the task, rather than developing the team per se. For this reason this model is particularly suited to a non-static team where teams are constructed for specific projects, rather than assigning the project to an existing team. Own ability to use the styles – Hersey-Blanchard model
In 2004, I was requested by my then Head of Service to take on a severely broken team due to some significant issues. The team of six was responsible for managing and delivering the work of nearly 100 part time front line staff. It was headed by a senior team leader who had been in post for around 30 years and had moulded the team to her personal style. Anyone challenging the authority of the team leader was bullied mercilessly until they became compliant or simply left. The bullying even extended to life outside work. As a result of the approach, there was high turnover of staff and there was very little initiative amongst the remaining staff. Individuals were initially reported as being highly competent but later were blamed for things going wrong, shortly before they left. The team was very tightly knit and generally appeared supportive of the team leader.
However the lack of initiative resulted in a team that would be classed as having maturity level M1 in the Hersey-Blanchard model and therefore resulted in the team leader having to deliver every task with a significant level of personal effort. Things came to a head when five staff left in quick succession, reporting similar issues in the newly introduced exit interviews. I was therefore asked to lead the team and make necessary improvements. Very quickly, I made an assessment of the maturity level of the team and came to the conclusion that the team required a great deal of direction to ensure tasks are delivered. I therefore took the decision to move my desk to be amongst the failing team to enable me to direct the team more effectively. I would also be able to prevent any bullying and be able to penetrate the ‘closed shop’ of the team. The impact of this action was almost immediate as the team leader refused to cooperate and then went on sick leave when I insisted that she worked with me.
With support from the other teams, I was able to support and reassure the dysfunctional team to improve their skill, competence and confidence levels. The task was made difficult by the fact that I had little technical expertise in the area. However, as I gained confidence of the existing staff, I was able to improve service delivery and the absent team leader realised that she was becoming less necessary. She returned and agreed to support me but I discovered attempts to undermine me and observed continued evidence of bullying. I therefore suspended her and commenced investigations by an independent solicitor. During the period of the investigations, I assessed that the team had moved from Hersey-Blanchards M1 maturity level to M2 maturity level. As a result, my life became easier and I was able to start implementing the structural changes that were necessary to improve performance. The investigations took about a year and resulted in dismissal of the original team leader as evidence of her actions became clear. The team slowly improved as each team member was empowered to carry out the tasks.
The biggest impact was on recruitment and retention in that team, and also in the front line staff managed by them. Previously, we carried a vacancy rate of 35%, which all but disappeared and recruitment drives became oversubscribed. We were able to extend the scope of project delivery and increase targets, partly as a result of the reduced vacancy rate but also due to increased efficiency. By year 4, we were delivering almost four times the projects we used to with virtually the same establishment (albeit without a significant vacancy rate). We were by then identified as national leaders in that particular field and won several prestigious awards. I achieved the above by utilising Hersey-Blanchard model and investing a lot of personal effort and energy into the plan that I developed.
To be clear, I did have a great deal of support from my superiors and other teams, but there was a lot of hard work. However, it was also a good development opportunity for me and very rewarding due to the reaction from my staff. Given the outcome described above I consider that I have successfully used the Hersey and Blanchard model to fulfil the leadership role in managing and developing the team and therefore conclude that I have the ability to use this model in a constructive and appropriate way. Own ability to use the styles – Adair’s Action Centred model In 2010, I was asked to work on a £133million project to build a new bridge over the River Wear. I worked with the Project Director to design the delivery team. There was three distinct phases to the project:
1. Developing the Business case/Funding
2. Detailed design
The project was to be delivered by consultants embedded into the team, constituency of which would vary for the three phases. By necessity, we used the Adair’s model i.e. using a task-centric approach. As the Contracts Manager, my responsibility was to deliver the contract documents, manage the design phase and create a team for the construction phase. I planned how the work would be delivered, defining the scope and setting objectives for each workstream. The Consultants, based internationally delivered the scope to my specification and ensured all parties were aware if exactly what was required. I implemented a quality management system to ensure work was of adequate quality and held weekly meetings through teleconference to check on progress. Critical path analysis of the programme was of significant importance in ensuring delivery was on track.
To ensure good communications, I chaired a monthly face-to-face meeting with key staff from all four Consultants when we were able to review and assess the work delivery. I also reassigned members of the team to other tasks for the construction phase to fully exploit the developed team and planned the expansion very carefully so as not to compromise the team dynamics. Unfortunately funding for the project was discontinued and I left for other roles before completion. The contract documents were produced aznd the detailed design was almost 85% complete however.
I consider that the above demonstrates that I have successfully used Adairs Action Centred Model given that I have actively planned, initiated, controlled, supported, informed and to a great extent, evaluated tasks produced by the team. Although the project was not delivered due to a funding gap, the output nevertheless demonstrates my ability to use this model to fulfil the leadership role. As a result of the foregoing, I am able to conclude that I have a developed ability to use a range of leadership styles to fulfil the leadership role.
Use theories of emotional intelligence to review the effect of emotions on own and others’ performance. The theories of emotional intelligence that I will use for this task are Goleman  and Mayer and Salovey .
Mayer and Salovey
Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer developed what is widely recognised as the first formal theory of emotional intelligence and carried out a detailed a review of then-existing literature on the subject in a paper published in 1990. They define Emotional Intelligence (EI) as “The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth.” They view emotions as sources of information to help one to understand and navigate the social environment to achieve performance improvement and conclude that individuals vary in their ability to process emotional information and how they relate emotional information to intelligence. They see certain adaptive behaviours amongst some people as evidence for the existence of this ability. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities: The ability to perceive emotions – in faces, pictures and voices, including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Salovey and Mayer see this as a basic aspect of EI as it enables one to process all other EI information.
The ability to use emotions – to facilitate other cognitive abilities, such as problem solving and thinking. The best EI person would be able to use this ability to enhance their performance in other cognitive tasks. The ability to understand emotions – this includes the ability to be sensitive to slight variations in emotions of self and others and also the ability to understand how emotions evolve over time. The ability to manage emotions – to regulate own emotion and that of others. Harnessing both positive and negative emotions and managing them to achieve the goals. Salovey and Mayer later collaborated with Caruso to develop  the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) based on a series of emotion-based problem-solving items. The model claims that EI is a type of intelligence, and is similar to the ability-based IQ tests. By testing a person’s abilities on each of the four branches of emotional intelligence, it generates scores for each of the branches as well as a total score. Because EI requires individuals to be in tune with social norms, the MSCEIT is scored in a consensus fashion, with higher scores indicating higher overlap between one’s answers and those provided by the control sample.
The MSCEIT can also be expert-scored, so that the amount of overlap is calculated between one’s answers and those provided by a group of emotion researchers. Although promoted as an ability test, the MSCEIT is unlike standard IQ tests in that its items do not have objectively correct responses. Among other challenges, the consensus scoring criterion means that it is impossible to create questions that only a minority of respondents can solve, because, by definition, responses are deemed emotionally “intelligent” only if the majority of the sample has endorsed them. Also this is likely to then lead to stereotyping and cultural bias.
Organisations using them could therefore be at risk of being in breach of equalities legislation, albeit unintentionally or indirectly. The model has therefore been criticised for lacking predictability and there has been questions whether EI is really a genuine intelligence factor. In a study by Føllesdal  , the MSCEIT test results of 111 business leaders were compared with how their employees described their leader. It was found that there were no correlation between the test results and how the leader was rated by the employees, with regard to empathy, ability to motivate, and leader effectiveness.
Goleman discusses Emotional Quotient (EQ) and sets out two key aspects of intelligence as having the ability to understand self (goals, intentions, responses, behaviour) and the ability to understand others and their feelings. He identifies five ‘domains’ of EQ, which are:
Knowing own emotions.
Managing own emotions.
Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions.
Managing relationships, i.e., managing the emotions of others. By developing our own Emotional Intelligence in these five EQ domains, we can become more effective at what we do, and achieve the best from our reports. This would also reduce stress, by decreasing conflict, improving relationships and understanding, and help in succession planning. Goleman sets out the framework within which to EI competence could be improved and identifies two areas where this is to be achieved; personal and social competencies. Goleman and Cherniss have jointly produced a paper  for The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations identifying 22 guidelines which represent the best current knowledge relating to the promotion of EQ in the workplace, summarised as:
Paving the way
assess the organization’s needs
assessing the individual
delivering assessments with care
maximising learning choice
linking goals and personal values
adjusting individual expectations
assessing readiness and motivation for EQ development
Doing the work of change
foster relationships between EQ trainers and learners
self-directed change and learning
breaking goals down into achievable steps
providing opportunities for practice
using experiential methods
build in support
use models and examples
encourage insight and self-awareness
Encourage transfer and maintenance of change (sustainable change) encourage application of new learning in jobs
develop organizational culture that supports learning
Evaluating the change – did it work?
evaluate individual and organizational effect
Cary Cherniss expands on this  and sets out the research demonstrating that someone’s ability to perceive, identify, and manage emotion provides
the basis for the kinds of social and emotional competencies that are important for success in almost any job. Furthermore, as the pace of change increases and pressures on existing resources makes ever greater demands from us, this particular set of abilities will become increasingly important. Leaders therefore need to use emotional intelligence to improve both productivity and well-being of our staff.
The criticism and research indicating EI not to be a ‘proper’ intelligence mainly relate to objectivity of the premise, inability to use it as a predictive tool and its use as selection criteria. EI nevertheless remains a very useful tool in the armoury of a leader in order to motivate and achieve better outcomes for tasks. Care however needs to be taken to ensure cultural differences are considered when using techniques identified in the EI models.
Effect of Emotion on Performance
I have had experience of an individual; Richard, who was unable to manage his own emotions, as described by Mayer and Salovey. He would perform quite adequately under most circumstances; however if some of the technical work he was carrying out was contrary to his view, he would slowly build up resentment. For example I used to assign him tasks to investigate and implement accident reduction measures. He would suggest some solution, and if I decided not to take his advice and required him to implement a different solution, his output would reduce and he would take almost twice as long to deliver the desired outcome. Over time, this resentment would build up until he reacted with a disproportionate level of anger to some instruction, manifesting as shouting in an open office and walking off in a huff. I have had discussions with him about this approach during his ‘calm’ periods and he described a ‘red mist’ descending that he was unable to control.
Mayer and Salovey’s theory helped me understand that Richard did not have the ability to use, understand or manage his own emotions and this had a devastating impact on his performance, not only for the instances when he disagreed with any decision that did not accord with his own, but also because others around him felt he was somewhat ‘unstable’ and were wary of working with him. Which also had significant adverse impact on Richards performance, acting like a vicious cycle where the more he failed to deliver adequately, the more he received criticism and pressure which in turn affected him emotionally and reduced his output. Improving his performance was a very difficult preposition and I sought help of HR and arranged counselling and support. However I never did feel that Richard was performing to his full potential for the period I managed him, although there was some improvement. This was a clear example of how performance can be adversely affected by a failure to manage ones emotions as described by Meyer and Salovey.
I understand that my own performance is also significantly affected by my own emotions. I have on occasion felt annoyed or even angry due to some action or inaction by colleagues. Conversely, I have often felt compelled to go the extra mile to deliver excellence for a colleague or Manager who gives me praise in the correct manner. Golemans framework has helped me to appreciate that emotions can have both a positive and negative impact on performance and that EI can be used to improve performance. Upon reflection on occasions that I have become annoyed, I have come to realise that there has inevitable been a negative impact on my performance, either due to lack of enthusiasm to perform or as a result of lack of cooperation from others who might had noticed my annoyance. For example within the last few months, I was severely criticised for failing to grasp the nettle with respect to managing my revenue budget by a superior officer. His approach was pre-planned and was clearly bullying behaviour.
He did not assess the situation adequately, jumping to inappropriate conclusion about my ability, based on a preconceived view about what the cause of the problem was, when the problem was really a systemic problem with the way we allocate incurred costs to projects. The problem had been ongoing since 2004 when a new financial system was implemented with inadequate verification, resulting in greater and greater errors. His solution, which had been implemented in previous years had the effect of masking the issue period on period and still caused chaos at financial year end with apparent losses having to be covered by other parts of the business The superior officer seemed to think I should have been able to resolve the issue within one month, as he had done previously and sprung a surprise verbal mauling of me in the presence of one of our more senior finance officers, for effect and to demonstrate his superiority over me.
Whilst I had an action plan to identify the error before I even considered a solution, I needed several periods of financial data to work on. My guiding principle had been that if we continue the same way, we should expect the same outcome. This clearly rankled with the superior officer as the ‘way’ that I was abandoning was actually devised by him. The verbal mauling however had a profound effect on me, due to my emotional reaction. I felt unable to trust my superior and reduced my output down to almost nil for a short period. I also chose to avoid contact with my superior as I did not like being abused. I lost all enthusiasm and motivation. It was a discussion with the senior finance officer and au understanding of Golemans theory that helped me pull myself out of this stupor and refocus my emotions to achieve balance. I therefore try to actively use Goleman’s framework to manage my own emotions to minimise the negative impact of inappropriate emotions.
I am also starting to manage my own emotions to tap into the performance enhancing effect that positive emotions can have. Using the framework of planning, changing, maintaining and evaluating my emotional reaction to various external factors and turning it into a positive force will continue to take conscious effort on my part but I am certain over time this will become second nature to me and help improve my performance significantly. In summary, my experience has demonstrated clearly that emotions generally has significant effect on performance, either for the better or for worse, and the theories detailed above can help in understanding and managing this. With practice, these theories can help me tap into the beneficial potential of EI for myself and my reports.
Review own ability to set direction and communicate this to others In order to set direction and communicate this effectively, I follow a four step process, to clarify exactly what is desired, to understand the needs and motivation of my staff, to select the appropriate method of communication and finally to monitor and evaluate my effectiveness in order to improve. To clarify my objectives, I would need to understand exactly what we are seeking to achieve. For example, in a recent situation, we were concerned that we could be exposed to litigation due to the way we manage our trade waste. Essentially, we were failing to manage hazardous waste in the manner prescribed by Environment Agency (EA) regulations. Some staff were very concerned as there is a personal liability and wanted to seek external contractors at inflated prices to discharge the duties on our behalf.
Instead, I requested an officer to look into the technical process involved and then armed with the report, I sought the help of EA. It transpires that we are not directly in breach but one of our contractors may have moved our waste to an unlicensed location, without our knowledge. I established that we are unable to transfer risk simply by engaging contractors and needed to develop a management plan to deal with the waste in the short, medium and long term. In discussion with EA, I established that they would support us and allow us a period to ‘set our house in order’. We are now in the process of writing the plan, after having clarified exactly what our objectives had to be. Any form of communication will most unlikely to be effective if it doesn’t ring chord with the audience. The audience will not care of the success or otherwise of any task if they don’t have a stake in the outcome. An effective leader must be able to engage the audience in such a way that each person has a vested personal interest in the success of any venture which will spur them to go that extra mile to ensure success.
This could be something as simple a personal pride in a job well done or a competitive streak to do a better job than someone else. In one of my depots, there is exactly such a situation involving two of my best Construction Managers. They are very good friends who take delight in outperforming each other and achieve far better output than any similar team in the Council or externally. This did not happen by chance but was the culmination of slow work with both officers over a period, using humour and camaraderie to instil a friendly sense of competition. In the example above, I also actively sought the appropriate means of communication, i.e. using interpersonal skills and utilising humour, to set the parameters of the objectives I was seeking to achieve. The method I decided to use would not have been at all effective if I wrote an email or memorandum as my aim was far too subtle to communicate via a written medium. However, in cases where compliance with health and safety regulations are concerned for example, I consider it necessary to send out formal instructions to ensure staff complied.
Such action would make it clear exactly what was required without any ambiguity. Apart from communicating the requirement, this would also provide me with an auditable trail if any staff member was found not to comply; which would also be one of my key objectives. Using a more formal means of communication when I generally prefer informal means, also has the effect of underlining the legal obligation we have to my staff, who then take it more seriously. The ability to set direction and communication is closely linked to motivation theory and persuasive skills. The model I find most aligns with my style is Monroe’s Motivated sequence . Alan Monroe developed this technique in the 30’s and identifies that in order to persuade or sell any concept, idea or product, one’s approach should include five separate steps: Attention – relate something that will make the audience take notice. This could be anything shocking or enticing to the target, such as a statistic, an image or a thought. So in the case with managing our hazardous waste for example, I highlighted that failure to properly manage the waste could result in criminal prosecution, which had the desired effect of bringing this issue to fore in the mind of my staff.
Need – link the topic under discussion to the needs to the audience, the premise being that the need will motivate the desired action. This aspect is particularly important because it is unlikely that most people will take action unless they are directly affected by the impact. For the example of the two construction Managers in competition with each other, I used techniques I observed in the mobile telephone sales and replicated the principles. I created a view in the mind of both staff that they needed to outperform each other for the sake of personal pride. I knew they were good friends and by various means encouraged the friendly rivalry, taking care to ensure that this remains friendly and does not become counter-productive. They both feel that they have to outdo each other and their performance continues to exceed expectations. Satisfaction – set out how the audience will be able to satisfy that need that has been established. It is important that the effort to achieve the need is presented as the easiest or least painful option.
Once I created the need for both my Construction Mangers to outperform each other, I have continued to provide them with the means and resources to achieve this, both by providing support, finding the funding and also creating temporary positions and approving ‘acting up’ honorariums for their reports. So they both have the means to easily deliver their ‘need’ and not delivering when they are able to is now much the more difficult option from a personal pride perspective, as they will have to explain in my regular joint performance monitoring. Visualisation – set out how life would be like if the target were to commit to action. Using the example of the Hazardous waste issue, I painted a picture of what the situation would be like if we were able to turn the usable material. There is a process whereby the hazardous waste can be encapsulated in asphalt using a cold process (a hot process would release volatile compounds which would not be acceptable). Encapsulation would render the material inert and this could then be used to construct new roads.
The marginal cost of converting this hazardous material into useful product is less than 35% of the cost of purchasing new product but there is a large capital investment (c £500k) required for the plant. Nevertheless, I outlined a business case supported by the demand that will be generated by a new road due to be constructed in 2015. I therefore helped my staff visualise the savings we could make and the asset we would have after the new road is constructed, giving us even more savings in the long term. I have therefore got their active cooperation to achieve my vision and have managed to turn what was initially a burden and cost, to an opportunity by using the most effective communication and set direction. Action – finally, once the stage is set, the audience need to be shown how they could act to achieve all the positive benefits of doing the thing that is being promoted. In the case of the hazardous waste, business case is now being detailed with the aim of a capital investment in the next few months. I am managing the project and my staff are in detailed negotiations with various suppliers and industry experts to enable the vision to turn into reality.
Currently we are negotiating land purchase to site the plant and storage requirements. As with every other process, it is important then to review and evaluate previous actions to enable the leader to ensure improvement in the future. For both the issues detailed above, I have my own evaluation processes established. For the competition between the Construction Managers, I am aware thing could get too far and friendly rivalry could quickly degenerate. I have therefore got regular meetings with both staff, jointly and individually for me to monitor, evaluate and review my actions. I am aware no one likes to be manipulated and things could backfire on me if they felt I was in any way underhand or devious.
So, I informed both staff of my actions in a jovial and convivial way and the communication style I have used has been effective in both accepting and even embracing my manipulation. For the management of Hazardous waste issue, I have also put in a small review group who monitor and evaluate the progress and we discuss the need to change our approach as we become aware of new developments in the field. Given the above, it is my view that I have a well-established and positive ability to set direction and communicate this effectively to others. Review own ability to motivate, delegate and empower others
A leader must be able to delegate tasks effectively in order to achieve more than what he could on his own. Along with that, he must be able to motivate and empower others in order to ensure his management burden is optimised to enable him to manage more resources. That is the essence of leadership. Without this ability, he is merely a depository for tasks and does not add value to his organisation. In brief, motivation is the process of finding out what makes your staff ‘tick’ and demonstrate they can meet that need by delivering for you. In this respect there is much in common with style of communication described above and this is due to the fact that effective communication must take make is desirous for the recipient to deliver the task communicated. Monore’s Motivated Sequence, as the name suggests, is a motivational theory but there are a number of other theories, detailing much the same process, albeit in a different way.
The two I will focus on are Maslow’s Need Hierarchy and Equity theory. Maslow describes a hierarchy of needs of each individual, which forms a pyramid, also known as Maslow’s Pyramid of needs. At the base of the pyramid is the basic Physiological needs we all have (i.e. access to air, food water etc.). Then comes the need for Safety (shelter, security), above that comes Social needs or Love/Belonging needs (company, acceptance, friendship etc.). Above that comes the Esteem needs (Recognition from others) and on top of the pyramid is Self-Actualisation (self-fulfilment, morality, creativity). Diagram below shows this pyramid:
Fig 1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
In essence, what Maslow suggests is that people will need to satisfy their more basic needs before they can begin to satisfy a higher level need. In order to motivate them, it would be necessary to demonstrate how they could satisfy their needs at the appropriate level on the pyramid by achieving the goal. In a work situation, appropriate compensation will help satisfy the lower order needs on the pyramid and little motivational benefit could be derived from focussing of satisfying the Physiological and Safety needs of staff. In order to motivate staff, it will be necessary to demonstrate how achieving the organisational goal or the task at hand will help meet one of the higher level needs on the pyramid (i.e. the need for social acceptance, of increased esteem or of self-actualisation). To do this effectively, it will be necessary for a leader to identify where on the pyramid the reports needs are. Generally the personal circumstances and ambition of the individual will determine which of his needs have already been satisfied and which need should the leader demonstrate as being achievable. The equity theory postulates that if people perceive inequity, they will try to equalise the situation and eliminate that inequity.
It is a social comparison of an individual’s perception that drives an individual. They compare themselves against others and make an assessment whether the reward they are achieving for the effort they are expending is similar to the reward others get for the effort they expend. So individuals make a broad assessment of their own perceived reward/effort ratio and compare it to the perceived reward/effort ratio of others. Individual are generally satisfied when the two ratios are generally equal. However, this leads to two different scenarios when it is not: Underpayment inequity – when an individual feels they are underpaid for the effort they put in compared to another. The impact of this would be either the individual reduce their effort, productivity or quality of their work to match their perception of what the comparator produces. Overpayment inequity – when an individual feels they are actually overpaid for he work they produce, in which case they expend more effort in an attempt to increase outputs or improve the quality of their work.
The situation most often manifests itself when staff compare their pay grades, but other rewards, such as praise, mentoring, training etc. could also be used in their comparison. Leaders need to be acutely aware of the situation as a perceived Underpayment inequity can have a devastating impact on productivity and also on the ability to retain staff, unless managed adequately. On the other hand, a perception of Overpayment inequity, although can seem to have benefits, can lead to an overly stressful situation for the individual concerned as they may feel their post will be made redundant or reduced in grade. Own ability to motivate – Monroe’s Sequence and Maslow’s Hierarchy I have had cause to use both the theories above in motivating my staff.
In the example given previously where I set two Construction Managers in friendly competition with each other I used Monroe’s Sequence to develop the strategy. In determining the need, I used Maslow’s Hierarchy to understand the most effective way to approach this. I understood the two individuals were already highly effective and motivated individuals and general discussions with them led me to believe that both would be seeking to satisfy their need to greater esteem. I therefore developed a strategy where I would enable both of them to achieve greater self-esteem whilst improving their outputs and performance. The most gratifying thing is that even though both now are aware of my manipulation, the rivalry continues and is still paying dividends.
Own ability to motivate – Equity Theory
I am currently dealing with a situation where my Construction Managers are rewarded at Band 9, which is the same as my Quantity Surveyors (QS’s). However, I would assess that the Construction Managers (CM’s) achieve several times more value from their work. They also carry greater responsibility and much greater workload. This has come about as a result of implementing “equal pay” legislation using a very ineffective evaluation model. The model tries to find equity between too many different types of work and fails miserably in the case of construction activities. There is also the issue of required qualifications of each group and my ability to recruit to these positions. I am currently reassessing the workload of the QS’s and trying to make it more equitable by rebalancing workload.
However in the meantime, I have asked the CM’s to identify workstreams that may be suitable to be reallocated. I have also given the CM’s more access to me and have more frequent contact with them, ostensibly to address work issues, but also as a form of “reward” as there is a tendency for staff to seek some form of approval and praise from their leaders. I am aware though that the QS’s might be excessively stressed and I will have to reassure them. In the short-term this approach has proven to be effective in maintaining morale and motivation and has prevented from loss of staff. I will however need to deliver the implied promise to equalise the burden on both these groups. As a result of the above I am able to conclude that I have a well-developed ability to motivate staff, based on the relevant theories outlined.
Delegation and Empowerment
Delegation and empowerment is the act of transferring responsibility to subordinates for delivering a task and ensuring they have the authority, resources and the means of achieving the desired outcomes. Effective delegation and empowerment will result in several key benefits: A leader can achieve more than he could individually
Workforce will be more involved and feel empowered which will have a positive effect on productivity, and have a stake in outcomes Delivery will be more efficient
Develop subordinates which will help with succession planning Although a leader may make his subordinates accountable for their actions, the leader will continue to be accountable for the completion of the task to his own superiors. There are therefore risks involved in delegating and often a leader will find it difficult to ‘let go’ of projects that are dear to them. There will therefore be a tendency on the part of the leader to use the excuse of accountability to avoid delegating. I have had direct experience of this when some years ago a newly appointed Director decided that he would personally sign all letters emanating from one particular service area. This is because that service area was primarily customer facing and was engaged in managing an ever decreasing ability to deliver due to funding cuts. The team, which I was part of, therefore continually had to say “no” and this caused political difficulties for the Director. Instead of managing expectations, he decided to stop delegating. The result was he had very little time for the task of signing letters, let alone anything else.
After some years of this, we had a situation where thousands of service requests remained unanswered, some over four years old. Despite our pleadings, he refused to delegate the work and eventually more senior people reorganised the Department, making the Director redundant. As a consequence of the above, I have learned that I must delegate in a timely manner. To manage the risks outlined above, I always ensure my subordinates are motivated, have adequate resources and the ability to deliver. I also maintain the constant vigil, both from a project/programme management perspective and also from a financial perspective, ensuring regular monitoring and identifying barriers to work with my staff to ensure delivery. As a result of this approach I have so far, this financial year, successfully delivered some £14million worth of projects, making some £3.5million income, of which £300,000 is surplus.
We are on course to deliver the full £19million programme and make a surplus of some £850,000 over an income of £5.4million. Compared to the position two years ago when the service made losses of some £900,000, my position is a much improved one. The single most skill that has enabled me to achieve such turnaround is my ability to delegate and empower my staff. I am therefore highly confident that I have a well-developed ability to delegate and empower others. Produce a Personal Development Plan to improve own ability to lead. In spite of the above, and perhaps as a result, I feel I will need to constantly develop myself. It is my contention that continuous learning will enable us to achieve continuous improvement.
Key issues for me are: Reviewing the above, I feel I have not yet mastered the art of managing my own and others’ emotions to achieve performance improvement. I need to understand better the workings of Local Government to identify areas where my leadership skills need to be improved. In conjunction with the above, I believe I need to improve my ability to set direction and communicate.
In completing this assignment, this is one area where I have learned the most. I had been aware of issues surrounding cultural bias in psychometric testing because of my personal interest in equalities issues. The work researching Emotional Intelligence has cast the issue that with issue of equalities. It seems to me that any process designed to value conformity with the majority (which the concept of Emotional Intelligence undoubtedly is), is doomed to discriminate minority groups or those with a different cultural approach. However I recognise that EI remains a very useful tool in the armoury of any leader wishing to improve performance. Actions: Complete this ILM course by December 2014 and seek funding for furthering my education to MBA level Cost:Direct – funded centrally, no cost to service
Indirect – 1 day per fortnight cost to be absorbed by service overhead
allowance for training and development Leadership Issues in Local Government
This is particularly relevant to my field and it is necessary for me to keep abreast of the developing issues surrounding Leadership in Local Government. Several journals are dedicated to latest developments in the sector, including The MJ and The Economist to a lesser extent. Actions: Seek out a mentor within the industry by December 2014. Continue to read relevant periodicals – ongoing. Cost:Direct – no cost to service
Indirect – carried out in personal time, no cost to service. Set direction and communicating
I have a reasonably well developed personal communicating style, and my written communication is also of reasonable quality. The area I most need to work on is my communication to groups. Actions: Use the opportunity provided by my Chairmanship of North East Performance Improvement Network to practice and develop my ability to direct and communicate to groups.
Cost:Direct – no cost to service
Indirect – As part of normal day to day duties, travel and time costs covered by capital projects Review and monitor
I will review my achievement against these objectives on a six-monthly basis to effect improvement and amend aims and objectives as necessary.
Cost:Direct – no cost to service
Indirect – 2 hours every fortnight, cost to be absorbed by service overhead allowance for training and development.
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