As a result of my 4 blogs about Leading in a Global Age, I can reflect on my vision about leadership. Leadership is a powerful tool. It can change the whole direction, competitive position and customer and employee satisfaction of a company. Furthermore, it is crucial for a company to have good leaders and managers as the company’s performance depends as well upon manager’s effectiveness.
Examples of good management and leadership
Company Arcadia and leader Ron Williams inspire my vision of leadership because of their effective management. In 2012, entrepreneur Phillip Green acquired the fashion retail group Arcadia, which includes brands such as Miss Selfridge, Topshop, and Dorothy Perkins (Business Case Studies 2014). He increased operating profit to over £290 million in 2004 and each brand maintained a leading position in its market segment (Business Case Studies 2014). Green states that he has expertise about what customers want. Moreover, quick decision-making is his strength in the fast moving environment of the fashion retail.
For the case of health care company Aetna, when CEO Ron Williams arrived, the company had a loss of $292 million and employees weren’t proud on their job (Williams 2014). Due to his transformational leadership, Aetna was ranked on Fortunes most admired company in Health Care list, 2011 revenues accounted for $34 billion and employee and customer satisfaction rose significantly (Williams 2014).
Bad examples of management and leadership
Examples of bad management should be analysed in order to avoid the same mistakes and to create a vision of good management. For example, Edward Burkhardt, CEO of Rail World Inc is a big failure as leader. A runaway train operated by Rail World exploded in Quebec and 47 people were killed (Daly, Calleja, Silcoff, Brearton 2013). A week after the explosion, the CEO finally gave his first reaction by accusing volunteer fire fighters and the engineer on duty the night of the explosion for the tragedy. After 5 days, Edward Burkhardt finally arrived at the place of the disaster in Quebec and joked to a reporter that hopefully locals wouldn’t shot him and that his net worth was a much lower since the incident (Daly, Calleja, Silcoff, Brearton 2013). I argue that Edward Burkhardt has problems with his moral and integrity and should improve his management and ethical skills in crisis events.
Brian Dunn was CEO of online company Best Buy. Due to his management, the company’s share price declined more than 30%. Brian Dunn believed that cost cutting would solve the problem of competitors offering the same product at lower prices online (Finkelstein 2012). However it didn’t solve the real problem of customer dissatisfaction (Finkelstein 2012). Moreover, the CEO kept buying back shares when share prices were falling because of strategy problems. Furthermore, he left in 2012 after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a 29-year-old subordinate (Finkelstein 2012). The manager didn’t have an ethical management style and applied a wrong strategy.
Out of my research for my blogs and of my own experiences with leaders and managers, I can conclude my vision of the perfect leader. Adair argues that leadership style depends upon personality, situation, team and task but I argue that leaders should have some permanent skills and characteristics (Mullins 2013).
A leader should create trust, an organisation culture in which staff likes to work and in which goals are achieved (Mullins 2013). Employees should be motivated and be encouraged to give feedback about their own manager. When employees receive feedback, managers should as well be open to feedback. At the company Google for example, employees evaluate their managers twice a year on factors such as consistency of the manager, respectful, clear objectives setting, treats the team fairly and shares information (Levine 2014). Consequently, Google has increased management proficiency and management skills (Levin 2014).
Leaders and managers should recognise mistakes, share success with others and have humility to know that people learn from mistakes and failures.
Leadership skills mean as well emotional intelligence, active listening, influence and communication skills, conflict resolution, self awareness, stress management and asking employees to co-operate in decision making situations. Additionally, effective leaders will find out what the employees’ strengths are and link them to tasks related to employees’ strengths. Knowing about the recognition and learning style of the employee describes good leadership to me. Moreover, a leader should give back to society and the environment.
Google has team leaders who are regular team members without being elected or appointed as leader. Leadership is developed over time when it is required and as a result of group interaction (Levine 2014). This can benefit the company, as people with leadership skills will be motivated and stimulated to take the leadership role and to further develop their skills. However, in some teams nobody can feel the urge to take the lead and consequently the team has no leader.
An effective leader supports diversity. Managers should make a selection of members for a team. The ideal team is a group of eight representing all the Belbin team roles (Fisher and Hunter 1998). Consequently leaders and managers should identify and link each team member role to an employee. This it is crucial for the team’s performance because team diversity in terms of roles played creates a successful team (Aritzeta, Swailes and Senior 2014). I identified my Belbin team roles as Co-ordinator and Completer.
The contributions of the Co-ordinator are:
– Attempts to control
– Tries to find a compromise in conflicts
– Clarifies goals
– High emotional intelligence
– Promotes decision making
– Delegates well
But the co-ordinator can be seen as manipulative (Aritzeta, Swailes and Senior 2014).
The team role contributions of the Completer are:
– Conflict avoiding
– High moral values
– Searches out errors
– Delivers on time
Weaknesses of the Completer are unnecessary worrying and possibility of being a nit-picker (Aritzeta, Swailes and Senior 2014).
I argue whether the Belbin Team Roles identification for individuals is accurate. I agree with the majority of my profile but I can’t delegate and my decision-making skills have to be developed. I agree with my contributions of searching out errors, self-disciplined and delivering on time because I am a perfectionist in my work and very critical. I definitely avoid conflicts and try to find compromises because I hate disagreements in my work and private life.
Additionally, some organisations don’t require all the 9-team roles of Belbin. Several teams might require more individual’s representing one role or a selection out of the 9 roles. For example, managers prioritising change and development show preferences for co-ordinator, Plant and Shaper roles (Aritzeta, Swailes and Senior 2014). Research shows that these roles were in majority in heterogeneous and change-oriented organisations (Aritzeta, Swailes and Senior 2014). Furthermore, in teams with the 9-team roles represented, the relationships between team members can be difficult and challenging as their characters will be totally different (Fisher and Hunter 1998).
Due to feedback received from my colleagues, I discovered my blind behaviour. My colleagues pointed out that I repeat fillers in my sentences such as “moreover”, “however” and “because”. This was unknown to myself. Furthermore, as a result of the group activities, I received peer feedback to improve my leadership skills and decision-making skills. This is my public behaviour as it is known to myself and my public (Mullins 2013).
The course Leading in a Changing World gave me the opportunity to reflect on leadership and management. I learned that diversity offers advantages but as well disadvantages to companies, the differences and similarities of leaders and managers, the advantages and challenges of change management and I explored the topic business ethics. The Leading in a Changing World course motivates me to further improve my leadership skills and knowledge.
Aritzeta, A., Swalles, S. and Senior, B. (2014) ‘Belbin’s Team Role Model: Development, Validity and Applications for Team Building.’ Journal of Management Studies [online] 44 (1), 96-118. Available from <http://web.b.ebscohost.com/bsi/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=11&sid=fc593197-e6fd-4e84-9010-36c05715f84f%40sessionmgr110&hid=118> [11 June 2014]
Business Case Studies (2014) Recruiting, selecting and training entrepreneurial managers [online] Available from <http://businesscasestudies.co.uk/arcadia/recruiting-selecting-and-training-entrepreneurial-managers/introduction.html#axzz34McDX4e5> [11 June 2014]
Daly, J., Calleja, D., Silcoff, S. and Brearton, S. (2013) ‘Six business leaders who made their mark in 2013 — for good or bad’ [online] Available from <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/six-business-leaders-who-made-their-mark-in-2013-for-good-or-bad/article15615193/> [11 June 2014]
Dan, A. (2012) ‘GE’s CMO Beth Comstock Inspires Innovation Through Instigating’ [online] Available from <http://www.forbes.com/sites/avidan/2012/04/19/ges-cmo-beth-comstock-inspires-innovation-through-instigating/> [11 June 2014]
Finkelstein (2012) ‘The five worst CEOs of 2012’ [online] Available from <http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-leadership/the-five-worst-ceos-of-2012/2012/12/18/0f353f14-4940-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story.html> [11 June 2014]
Fisher, S.G. and Hunter, T.A. (1998) ‘The Structure of Belbin’s team roles.’ Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology [online] 71 (3), 283-288. Available from <http://web.b.ebscohost.com/bsi/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=fc593197-e6fd-4e84-9010-36c05715f84f%40sessionmgr110&vid=13&hid=118> [11 June 2014]
Forbes (2012) ‘Nokia ‘Ends the Beta Test,’ Closes Buzz Score Gap with Samsung and iPhone’ [online] available from <http://www.forbes.com/sites/brandindex/2012/04/19/nokia-ends-the-beta-test/> [11 June 2014]
Levine, S. R. (2014) The Skills Required for Emergent Leadership [online] Available from <http://web.b.ebscohost.com/bsi/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=fc593197-e6fd-4e84-9010-36c05715f84f%40sessionmgr110&hid=118> [11 June 2014]
Williams, R. (2014) Offical Bio [online] Available from <http://www.ronwilliams.net/ron-williams-official-biography> [11 June 2014]