WHAT KIND OF LEADER AM I?

As a child I watched the the biography of  Mahatma Gandhi and till date I admire his passion and courage to lead and enforce without violence.  To me he represents the word ‘Ethics’ due to the fact he never permitted a violent protest even when he led most of it. The most intriguing thing is, I see Ghandi in my dad who has brought me up with the notion that for me to lead right I had to ensure I was acting right. He led by example with  uprightness, authenticity and ethics. Even at the expense of his job, he never bent. As the first child of my parents I was born to lead my younger siblings and have practiced leadership all my life, although since I entered the labour market, I realised that leadership in the corporate world is a whole different experience as I managed a small business for a year in my country after my first degree in the university. After such experience I observed I had to learn to be an outstanding, effective leader and  travelled  to study International Human resource management at Coventry University London Campus.

Am still on the path of understanding the type of leader I am, but so far from all i have learned, i am aspiring to be a charismatic and transformational leader. These styles of leading are said to be similar. In 1978 James Macgregor Burns introduced the transformational leadership style which involves to “simulate and inspire followers to both achieve extraordinary outcomes and, in the process, develop their own leadership capacity” (Bass and Riggio 2008). It is said that there are four  important characteristics of transformational leadership which involve; individual consideration, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and idealised influence.

transformational-leadership

In 1947, Weber developed the charismatic leadership which involves “an innovation, strategic vision, showing sensitivity to member needs, displaying unconventional behaviour, taking personal risks, and showing sensitivity to the environment” (Yukl 1999)

There are other styles known as the laissez-faire leadership style where the followers or subordinates are allowed to make decisions whenever and however they like. The authoritarian is also a style known to be the kind of leadership where there is a high power distance between the leaders and their followers and they do not have opinions or freedom of expression. Most companies with an autocratic style of leadership tend to have less competitive advantage over those led by a transformational or charismatic leader as there is hardly participation from the employees concerning major decisions in the organisation and it leads to de motivation of these employees.

Out of these styles of leadership I prefer the Transformational and Charismatic leadership To be led by people, with this these styles of leadership will be so inspiring. Moreso, adopting these styles of leadership would enable me focus on my employees in the future in order to motivate  and inspire them in order to increase efficiency among employees.

One example of a transformational leader, I admire in the corporate world is Lou Gerstner of IBM who is known to have transformed the culture of IBM for the better.

Lou

As an MBA student, there is a particular module by the title ‘Leading in a changing world’. It is in one of the activities for this module that I was given a chance to lead a team of five colleagues and at the end of the activity, the team members were asked to give feedbacks on how I led. To my surprise I had good feedback which will help me improve on my leadership skills for now and the future. Below is a table illustrating some of strengths and weaknesses in leading my skill.

STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES
Very supportive and quick to give praise for a job well done and also quick to criticise bad behaviour Low tolerance for mistakes
Looks at approaches from different aspects Bad time management skills
Treats other team members with respect Lack of confidence
Great communication skills Always worry too much
Great delegating skill Indecisive
Very encouraging and motivating Not always authentic
A hardworking individual Complain a lot

The process of giving feedbacks and receiving in return was initially awkward to me as I did not understand its usefulness but as time passed, I understood that the process was necessary for improvement.

This module has helped me to learn and practice effective leadership styles and as a future manager, it is necessary that am aware of important perspectives of the workplace like, business ethics, diversity and change management. This should apply to all managers in the corporate world too.

References

Bass, B. and Riggio, R. (2008). Transformational Leadership. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

YouTube.com, (2014). Louis V Gerstner IBM Leadership (DCP 2010)[Online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzwDaHxI1Ho [ 22 September 2014]

Yukl, G. (1999). An Evalutaion of Conceptual Weakness in Transformational and Charismatic Leadership Theories. The Leadership Quarterly, 10 (2), 285-305

 

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MANAGING CHANGE

Change can be said to be inevitable in any given aspect of life as it is known to be the only consistent phenomenon. However, in organisations and workplaces change is necessary to keep up with globalisation and maintain competitive advantage over rivalry companies, some drivers of change include, policy change, demographic change,mergers and acquisitions (Millar et al. 2004). For change to positively affect organisations, it might be concluded that it is important for it to be managed properly to avoid conflicts and confusion.  The management of change could be safely assumed to be the role of the leaders in the organisation.

With diversity comes different personalities and possibly different reactions to change. According to Mullins, some individuals “actively thrive on new challenges and constant change, while others prefer the comfort of the status quo and strongly resist any change.”  It also might be important for leaders to understand reasons employees might resist change before implementing them. Mullins also suggests that some reasons for resistance are; fear of the unknown, trust issues, lack of communication and security factors. There is also a possibility that the whole organisation might resist change which could be as a result “maintaining stability, past contracts or agreements, threats to power or influence” (Mullins 2013).

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In the 1950’s, a psychologist by the name of Kurt Lewin created  a change management model, which is referred to as “Lewin’s Change Management Model”. This model is still used in understanding and handling change processes in organisations today, mostly due to French and Bell’s addition to the model in 1985 (Connelly 2014) and it suggests that there are three stages of change:

  1. Unfreeze: This is the first stage which involves identifying and understanding the need for change, informing and preparing the employees and organisation as a whole to accept the change that is about to occur. Unfreezing is intended to strengthen the forces advocating for change; it could also weaken the defences of those who want things to stay the same. (Normadin, 2012)
  2. Transition:  This is the process that involves encouraging behaviours that are necessary for the change to be successful and uproot any doubt that might still be among the employees. New strategies are  also developed at this stage to ensure the progress of an organisation.
  3. Refreeze: This phase occurs by stabilizing and supporting the changes that have occurred. This is where changes have been implemented, accepted and are now permanent. Stability is back in the organisation and the changes become a norm. (Connelly, 2014)

While this model is said to be goal-oriented and successful, it has been criticised over time for assuming change has and end. In today’s global business world, change is widely recognised as being a constant and continuing phenomena for all organisations, albeit at a faster rate for some compared to others,” (Rees and Hall 2013).

Change Model 1  (Mullins 2010)

Furthermore, French and Bell improved on Lewin’s model by including  eight factors  to help the process of Lewin’s original three stages. The image below explains which key factors fall under which stage.

NEW PIC

A typical example of the use of Lewin’s change management model, is that of  IBM, in 1992, was a once struggling global company and  in crisis mode.  They had a corporate loss of $4.9 billion, a significant reduction in their share price, and turnover of 107,000 employees (Weeks 2004: 1).  In 1993, Lou Gerstner stepped in as Chairman and CEO and through successful change management and leadership revived the company.  Applying Lewin’s Change Management Model to Gerstner’s style of management, the three stages are evident in IBM’s recovery.

In conclusion, there have been so many various change management models overtime but all still point out to informing the employees or every member of the organisation about it to enable them prepare for what is to come with the change, because some changes are not easy to adopt or adjust to. It might take a long period of time to inculcate change but also it can be said that there is always success in well managed change.

There is nothing wrong with change if  it is in the right direction.

– Winston Churchill.

References

Connelly, M. (2014) The Kurt Lewin Change Management Model [online] available from <http://www.change-management-coach.com/kurt_lewin.html> [6 September 2014]

French, W. L., Kast, F. E. and Rosenzweig, J. E. (1985) Understanding Human Behaviour In Organizations, Harper and Row

Millar, C., Choi, C. and Chen, S. (2004) Global Strategic Partnerships between MNEs and NGOs: Drivers of Change and Ethical Issues. Business and Society Review, 109 (4), 395-414.

Mullins L. and Christy G. (2013) Management and Organisational Behaviour.10th edition, Harlow: Pearson

Mullins, L. (2010) Management and Organisational Behaviour, 9th Edition. Harlow: Pearson Higher Education

Normandin, B. (2012). Three Types of Change Management Models. [Online] The Fast Track. Available at:  <http://quickbase.intuit.com/blog/2012/08/28/three-types-of-change-management-models&gt; [ 6 September 2014]

Rees, G. and Hall, D. (2013) Managing Change [online] available from <http://www.cipd.co.uk/NR/rdonlyres/CF271BA5-49C7-4627-9D37-AC54AA158F3E/0/9781843983187_sc.pdf>[6 September 2014]

Weeks, J. (2004) Culture And Leadership At IBM  [online] available from <http://www.insead.edu/facultyresearch/research/details_cases.cfm?id=14244&gt>           [6 September 2014]

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MOST EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP STYLE TO MANAGING WORK OF SUBORDINATES

There is always a clash in knowledge of the meaning of leadership and management and people tend to see them to be more similar than different. However, “Leadership is a relationship by which a person influences the behaviour or actions of other people” whereas Management is regarded as “taking place within a structured organisation with prescribed roles, in order to achieve stated organisational aims and objectives” (Mullins 2013: 396).

Management is the organisational process that includes strategic planning, setting; objectives, managing resources, deploying the human and financial assets needed to achieve objectives and measuring results” (Uncw.edu, 2014)

From these definitions it can be assumed that leadership and management though different in meaning, need to work hand in hand. In the case of personality, effective leaders and managers tend to have different major characters, leaders are frequently described to have a high level of imagination, brilliant, charismatic, motivating, risk takers and aloof while managers are known to be rational, unlike leaders who take risks, managers would rather be under control and be sure of the outcome of any decision made. Managers’ idea of success is results while the idea of success for leaders is recognised as achievements. as results.

According to Kotter (2012), the table below describes the typical approaches to tasks for managers and leaders.

MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP
Planning and budgeting Creating vision and strategy
Organising and staffing Communicating and setting direction
Controlling and problem solving Motivating action
Taking complex systems of people and technology and making them run efficiently and effectively, hour after hour, day after day Creating systems that managers can manage and transforming them when needed to allow for growth, evolution, opportunities, and hazard avoidance
Aligning people

In a workplace it might then be concluded, that its preferable to have leaders with good management skills so as to properly run an organisation and avoid conflicts. Overtime there has been various theories involved with different styles of management or models. A management model can be defined as a series of decisions made by top executives of a company regarding how they define objectives, motivate effort, coordinate activities and allocate resources; In other words, how they define the work of management. (Birkinshaw and Goddard 2009). The models and principles of management to be discussed include: Henri Fayol’s principles of management, Douglas McGregor’s  theory X and theory y and Max weber’s principles of bureaucracy.

Henri Fayol known as the Father of Management, introduced  his 14 principles of management in 1916, they include:

Espirit de Corps is a situation whereby harmony and good feelings are encouraged among the employees by the management.

In recent times, Fayol’s 14 principles might be seen as a common sense or what is exepected of any manager but it is necessary to recognise that they were used as a yardstick and standard  in the 1900’s. These theories were also referred to by other management theorist to improve on overtime and young managers of today use it as a guide.

However the only limitation I might like to highlight is that it fails to consider that People are unique in their own ways and personalities and therefore there are different managers with different methods of management according to their personalities and that of their employees , which should not be ignored so as to ensure effective maximisation of the productivity of each staff.

Douglas McGregor, a social psychologist, believed that there are two categories of employees which are; those that are lazy towards work, unambitious  and dodge responsibilities tagged “Theory X” and “Theory Y” are those employees that are relatively self-motivated, ambitious, creative towards the organisations goals and objectives. They require little or no pressure to take on responsibilities. McGregor believes that the Authoritarian style of management is what is a suitable for “Theory X” employees, which involves threats and punishments as a source of motivation while for the  “Theory Y” the Participative style of management is suitable. This entails the use of rewards and recognition as sources of motivation.

what this theory might have failed to observe is that some employees could fall in between these categories Theory X and Theory Y.  (Manktelow 2014)

Max weber’s principle of bureaucracy is that which establishes that organisations should manage employees in an impersonal and hierarchical way, with strict policies, regulations and division of labour. The following video describes Weber’s theory in greater detail:

While this theory could keep employees on their toes and ensure they work hard, it might also not be a good method to be used towards employees that are self-motivated with lots of ideas that could be useful to the organisation, as there is no avenue to give opinions which in turn could be demoralising. With this principle, innovation and teamwork is discouraged and the organisation would be less flexible t to change in business conditions.

Finally I believe that a skilful  combination of Fayol and McGregor’s theory could be very suitable for workplaces in this era of globalisation. What do you think?

References

Birkinshaw, J. and Goddard, J. (2009) What is Your Management Model?[online] available from <http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/what-is-your-management-model/> [1 September 2014]

Kotter, J. (2012) Change Leadership [online] available from<http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/change-leadership>                     [1 September  2014]

Manktelow, J. (2014) Theory X and Theory Y: Understanding Team Member Motivation [online] available from<http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_74.htm>                                      [1 September 2014]

Mullins, L. (2013) Management and Organisational behaviour. Harlow: Pearsons

Uncw.edu (2014). Management: Career: UNCW [Online] Available at:http://uncw.edu/career/management.html [1 September 2014]

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DIVERSE TEAMS PRODUCE BETTER RESULTS

“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things” – Mother Teresa

Image

What is Diversity? If this question were thrown open to thousands of people, there would be thousands of different answers. In my own opinion, diversity is the differences found in people, it could be defined by age, gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, skills, culture, e.t.c. Nowadays, countries continually tend to become more diverse, a typical example is the United Kingdom, where even the cities like London, are diverse in terms of ethnicity, culture, race and even religion. It has been predicted that by 2051, ethnic minority communities will represent an estimated 20%-30% of the population of England and Wales (Chapman 2014)

Image

In these days of globalisation it might be said that diversity has been extended to organisations and workplaces in business due to the diverse groups of people found in different countries of the world. This is necessary for interaction with clients from all over the globe to achieve a high level of productivity, global understanding, improvement on language skills, creativity, innovation and problem solving (WISELI 2010). From this, it might be assumed that any company without diversity will below on the ranks of competition, therefore organisations are adviced to take advantage of diversity because culture and social attitudes have an impact on organisations. (Mullins 2010)

One thing is having a diverse team in an organisation and another issue is managing it, as there could also be conflict of ideas that could lead to disaster for the organisation if not properly managed.

From the video it is understandable to say that to successfully manage diversity at a workplace, the various units in an organisation should be treated as a team working together and treated equally, as “it necessitates a work environment that respects individual differences and treats all member of staff with dignity and mutual respect” (Mullins 2013)

However, according to the Chartered Management Institute, diversity is not about diminishing quality, eliminating prejudices, politically correct appearances, filling a quota or a distraction from the teams purposes. (Chartered management institute 2007).

Diversity Photo 5          Diversity Photo 6

Accenture is a typical example of company practicing good management of diversity and uses it to its advantage and as a business strategy.

A real life example of diversity is one I experienced at Coventry University London Campus as an MBA postgraduate student, where we were given an interesting task to complete as a team, for a module titled, Leading in a changing world. We were given a 100cm ruler, a tiny wooden box, four long strings of rope and two bottles of the same size filled with water. It was expected that the ruler is placed steady on the top of the tiny wooden box, which was all placed on the table and the two bottles of water placed on each end of the ruler. The challenge was to pull the two bottles to the centre of the ruler without touching them with our hands and ensuring that both ends of the ruler touching the table.

My group was a diverse team of three Nigerians, one Ghanaian, one Indian and one Chinese. Due to diversity and different ways of thinking there were series of ideas that emerged, but I as the leader had to manage the ideas to avoid conflict. I ensured everyone’s idea were put to test and sequentially too. All ideas led to the successful completion of the task, we figured it out. It was a wonderful experience to watch people of different diversities work together. If I had not managed the team properly there would have been arguments, because some members’ ideas sounded unreasonable to other members of the team and vice-versa.

DiversityInc is an organisation that has appraised a variety of firms with respect to their diversity, giving them ranks in the process based on other criteria (diversityinc.com 2014):

  • Presence and actions of a global diversity council
  • Proper use of diverse staff resource group for recruitment and talent development
  • Establishing Global policies to avoid discrimination and harassment
  • Global initiative to employ and promote staff with disabilities
  • Global initiatives to employ and promote LGBT ( lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) staff
  • Multi-cultural mentoring initiative
  • Specific talent and leadership development initiative for women
  • Global supplier diversity initative 

With all criteria considered, there was a ranking made of the top 10 firms for global diversity, all successful and top players in the world of business.

1. Deloitte
2. IBM
3. Sodexo
4. EY
5. Accenture
6. Procter & Gamble
7. Merck & Co.
8. Dell
9. Johnson & Johnson
10. Wyndham Worldwide

With the introduction of Globalisation in business, Organisations in pursuit of success and competitive advantage should employ diverse staff willing to work with others as a team towards achieving the organisations goals.

References

Chapman, J. (2014) Ethnic minorities ‘will make up one third of the population by 2050′ as Britain’s melting pot continues to grow [online] available from <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2620957/Ethnic-minorities-make-one-population-2050-Britains-melting-pot-continues-grow.html&gt> [1 August 2014]

Chartered Management Institute (2007) Embracing Diversity: Guidance for Managers [online] available from <http://www.managers.org.uk/sites/default/files/u23/Info_for_Employers_Embracing_Diveristy.pdf> [1 August 2014]

Desi, R. (2010) Leadership and…Strengthening a Diverse Team [online] available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv08ObnMOzI> [1 August 2014]

Diversityinc.com (2014) The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Global Diversity[online] available from < http://www.diversityinc.com/top-10-companies-global-diversity/&gt>   [1 August 2014]

Mullins, L. and Christy, G. (2013) Management & Organisational Behaviour, pp. 157-161. 10th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

 

 

 

 

 

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THE NEED FOR ETHICAL LEADERSHIP

Ethics word cloud glowing

In breaking it down, one might want to define both words and merge them to enable a clear meaning of Ethical leadership. Ethics might be identified as standards, values and convictions that characterise good and bad conduct. Leadership could be known as a special ability to control, assist and influence individuals to act towards achieving a particular goal, mission and vision. In connecting these definitions, Ethical Leadership might be understood as the ability to control and influence people to achieve a particular goal with  positive values and standards to uphold and live up to in the process. However, the center for Ethical Leadership defines Ethical Leadership as “knowing your core values and having the courage to live them in parts of your life in service of the common good”(Center for Ethical Leadership 2014).

According to Rubin et al. (2010:216-17), “an ethical leader behaviour can have important positive effects on both individual and organisational effectiveness”.  This explains that it is the duty of a leader to create ethical rules or code of conducts in order to have a psychological contract with their employees on expected ethical attitudes or behaviours and be a model by inculcating these ethics in making decisions and running the organisation.

It can be said that the behaviours and attitudes of the employees in handling internal and external affairs of a particular firm, establishes the ethical nature of  the business in the organisation, therefore internal unethical interactions might lead to unhealthy competition and bad teamwork among employees. Externally, unethical dealings with external associates could destroy business. Furthermore, the effect and importance of an ethical reputation cannot be underestimated because, if a company does not value its customers and community, it might lead to difficulty recruiting good employees from that community and customers might stop patronising which could make the company go out bust.

A typical example of the effect of unethical business conduct is that of Enron scandal. It is known that in 2001, Enron suffered a loss of investor trust, their credit worthiness lost value which led to bankruptcy. It was also announced that most of their leaders were imprisoned and convicted for money laundering, conspiracy, insider trading and bank fraud (Forbes 2013). This scandal was said to have also affected their accounting firm by the name of Arthur Anderson, which went out of business. There are many other examples.

It is said that there are two fundamental theories regarding ethics: deontological or duty-based and consequentialist.  The former holds that “ethics are concerned with what people do, not with the consequences of their actions” (BBC 2014).  Thus the right action might  be said to be determined strictly by the moral value of the action only, despite its outcomes.  Duty-based ethics is involved with people’s intentions and motives, provides assurance in decision-making, ensures that specific acts are always wrong, and puts into consideration human rights.  However, this method could be overly rigid, leading to clashing roles that could destroy communities. On the other hand, consequentialist ethics focuses on the consequences of the decisions only and if they are most correct. Its been said that “the more good consequences an act produces, the better or more right that act”                   (BBC 2014). Consequentialism could be quite flexible and applied to all moral predicaments depending on the approach a person takes. This theory of ethics could be slow or completely not feasible since the result of each likely act must be thoroughly researched and compared (act consequentialism). Alternatively, rule-based consequentialism crirticises actions or decisions depended on a set of moral laws which predict the “goodness” of the outcome.  This approach is much more feasible but also a little bit rigid, since general rules do not apply to every circumstance.

Due to the limitations of consequential and deontological theories, overtime, various  more feasible approaches to ethics in business.  In my opinion, I believe the best approach to ethics could be developed from the 10 characteristics of good ethical leaders that have been developed by Freeman and Stewart (2006: 3).

1.  Articulate and embody the purpose and values of the organisation.

2. Focus on organizational success rather than on personal ego.  

3. Find the best people and develop them.

4. Create a living conversation about ethics, values and the creation of value for stakeholders.

5. Create mechanisms of dissent.

6. Take a charitable understanding of
others’ values.

7. Make tough calls while being
imaginative.

8. Frame actions in ethical terms..

9. Know the limits of the values and
ethical principles they live

10. Connect the basic value proposition to stakeholder support and societal legitimacy.

From this, it is evident that the need for ethics in the corporate world and the world at large cannot be ignored or insignificant.

References

BBC (2014) Consequentialism [online] available from <http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/consequentialism_1.shtml> [25 July 2014]

BBC (2014) Ethics Guide [online] available from <http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/duty_1.shtml> [25 July 2014]

Center for Ethical Leadership (2014) Ethical Leadership [online] available from <http://ethicalleadership.org/about-us/philosophies-definitions/ethical-leadership> [25 July 2014]

CNBC (2014) Premier, Providing Ethical Health Care: Survey [online] available from <http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000259002> [25 July 2014]

Ethisphere (2014) World’s Most Ethical Companies- Honorees [online] available from <http://ethisphere.com/worlds-most-ethical/wme-honorees/> [25 July 2014]

Forbes (2013) 5 Most Publicized Ethics Violations By CEOs [online] available from <http://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2013/02/05/5-most-publicized-ethics-violations-by-ceos/> [25 July 2014]

Freeman, R. and Stewart, L. (2006) Developing Ethical Leadership [online] available from <http://www.corporate-ethics.org/pdf/ethical_leadership.pdf> [25 July 2014]

List25 (2014) 25 Biggest Corporate Scandals Ever [online] available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrJaOOGJLW0 > [25 July 2014]

Rubin, R., Dierdorff, E., and Brown, M. (2010). Do Ethical Leaders Get Ahead? Exploring Ethical Leadership and Promotability. Business Ethics Quarterly, 20 (2), 215-236.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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