Understanding Leadership Essay
1.1 Describe the factors that will influence the choice of leadership styles or behaviours in workplace situations.
In most workplace situations, no one style is used on its own, a good leader will change the style as the situation changes. The factors that determine the style are the same which ever leadership style is used whether Autocratic , Democratic or Laissez-faire they are :
– the situation or the task, the team and their readiness, the behaviours of the team and the environment. Leaders own abilities.
The Situation and the Environment will influence the style, dependent on the type of task whether it is on a production line in a factory were set routines require far more direction or in a design company were flexibility and a good environment creates productivity, the time constraints and the company culture would very greatly also in these situations.
The Team and their readiness, the readiness of a team or followers was quantified by researchers Hershey and Blanchard, they used a scale that stated; R1 at one end was were there was no abilities, skills or will to get the task done, to R4 at the other end were there was much ability, skill and will. Teams or Individuals in R1 would need a far more direction and instruction management style so as to get the task done ,such as with new starters or apprentices. At the other end R4, these teams or individuals would need a less hands on management style and be allowed to run themselves .
The Behaviours of the team or individual range from being unmotivated and lazy at one end and highly active and motivated at the other end . These two extremes are known as the X theory and the Y theory as based on McGregor theory. Again the leadership style will vary greatly from an X to Y team.
Autocratic leaders also known as strict authoritarian leader do not consult with the workforce and take all responsibilities themselves, they wield a great deal of power and control over their team members . This style is used in situations were very tight deadlines and budgets have to be met and decisions have to be made quickly. Team members would be of the type X R1
Democratic leaders make final decisions but are team focused and consult team members for constructive input which is valued. Team members are also encouraged to take responsibilities of their own and be creative. This style creates motivated workforce who feel they are listened to and enjoy there work. Team members would be of the type Y R4.
Laissez-faire leaders have very experienced and highly skilled team members, the leader allows the team to run themselves in terms of work and their deadlines and most decision making. The leader will monitor progress and feedback regularly to the team members provide advice and resources. Team member type Y R4
There are a number of styles that fall in between these such Bureaucratic were the task is very inflexible such as a task with high safety issues and rules have to be strictly adhered to. A Charismatic leader uses his personality to create team spirit and teamwork.
1.2 Explain why these leadership styles or behaviours are likely to have a positive or negative affect on individual and group behaviours
The different styles of leadership have their own positives and negatives and the choice will often depend on the type of workforce available to get the job done. In reality a team is made up of people with different abilities , characters and skill so a good leader will combine attributes from many different leadership styles
An Autocratic leader is very good at getting the job done were the job has very tight time deadlines, were job is routine and repetitive such as a production line where pressure is on for productivity. This style also lends its self to quick decision making as there is very little consultation. This workforce would mainly consist of X and R1 members who need discipline. On the down side these team members often feel under valued , their creativity is not encouraged , loyalty and morale is also low which leads to higher turnover of staff.
A Democratic leader trusts his team and its abilities and will coach and offer support were necessary ,encourages team work and the team members to take some responsibilities of their own , the team is often consulted on issues asked for their input which the leader will use. This leads to higher morale and job satisfaction, which in turn leads to higher productivity, lower absenteeism. This workforce would consist of Y and R4 members who are skilled and motivated , on the down side if the situation changed and a very quick decision was needed this would probably take a lot longer. The leader also needs to be aware of who has the correct knowledge and skills when making informed decisions about the job, he can’t afford to take the wrong advice.
A Laissez-faire leader likes to give the team the freedom to manage themselves in all aspects of the job. This works well when the team is highly skilled and motivated , when all members of the team are Y and R4 members productivity will be high. The leader will need to closely monitor work as things can go wrong quickly if team members resent the leaders style and think they are doing all the work, this can have a negative effect on productivity and morale.
Bureaucratic leaders get the task done efficiently but team members tend to be de-motivated. Charismatic leaders have a very motivated and loyal workforce, but without their leader do not function well
2.1 Assess own behaviours and potential in the context of a particular leadership model and own organizations working practices and culture, using feedback from others.
After collecting feedback from my line manager and team members about how they rated me on the different skills used by a team leader, this feedback was collated and came out at 6.8 for People and 5.6 for Task by plotting these figures in the Blake Mouton Managerial Grid to determine the leadership style I use. The result pointed towards the middle of the road but leaning much more to the concern of people and lesser so on the task. This would fit with my personality as I like dealing with people face to face , I also respect and understand the qualities and skills of the team members I am working with. I try to encourage new and better idea’s on all aspects of our job and I am willing to take these idea’s to my line manager if they will help our team or the way we do the job. I also enjoy coaching apprentices and passing on my experience . I will support team members in the field if I have more experience in certain technical aspects of the job, I have found that this has helped in building a better team spirit as the team members consider we are all in the same team together. This has shown itself towards the end of plant shut-downs, traditionally my department is last to finish but because the team spirit is such, that everyone pulls together and takes pride in completing our scope on time. In recent months we have had emergency shut-downs and all team members have shown their team work to get the plant up and running again.
I like to think that I take pride in getting the job done , but not at all costs as the safety of the team comes first. We also have a number of routine schedule work which we are under a certain amount of pressure not to run over, our understand that in this part of our job there is no flexibility and the team understand that this part of the job can become autocratic to get it done.
2.2 Describe appropriate actions to enhance own leadership behaviour in the context of the particular leadership model
After reviewing the information that went into the Blake Mouton’s Grid and its results I have concluded that my people one to one skills are very good , but my skills at delivering information or speech’s to larger groups need more work . I need to get over my nervousness of talking to larger groups, to get over this I will have to expose myself to this more often in the future. As I only lead on a temporary basis , a permanent leaders job (co-ordinator) may give me more confidence speaking to groups.
Another aspect is dealing with problems with individuals and delivering news they don not like, my personality does not lend itself to being disliked so I will have to harden myself to these situations . Identifying problems with individuals and dealing with them is another area for improvement, finding common ground and using factual information is an approach that may work better for me. All members of teams are motivated in different ways, these need to be identified and addressed, some may need more responsibilities others more technical tasks.
With being relatively inexperienced, better planning skills are required in a leadership role on stanlow, I think it would be a valuable lesson to learn more about the other leadership styles and take certain skills from them that can be used in different situations. Obtaining these other skills would make me a more rounded leader who able to deal with a wider range of situations.