Sample Case Study On Leadership
Leadership is a process wherein the leader guides the followers in order to achieve a common objective for the organization. He has all the resources, and is also aware of the environmental variables, on the basis of which, he will be providing the guidelines to the employees of a given organization (Marturano & Gosling, 2008).
Leadership refers to provide the direction to the followers and mentoring them, and strategic management refers to the managing of the strategies within the organization so as to achieve the desired results (Griffin & Moorhead, 2014). In today’s challenging world, organizations need to adapt to different leadership styles as per their requirements and working environment inside the organization (Brow, Bessant, & Lamming, 2013).
This report shall first of all critically evaluate the leadership styles adopted by the 21st century leader. The paper shall further consider an organization, and will try to discuss the leadership context within that organization. The report will further analyze the leadership qualities of the key leaders and managers of the organization. At the end, it will discuss the recommendations regarding how to address the challenges of the present and the future from my personal reflective experience.
Evaluating and analyzing the leadership of a 21st century leader
There are theories developed, which focus upon various issues of management and leadership inside the organization. The major ones include trait theories, contingency theory, situational leadership theory, behaviorist theory, transactional theory, and transformational theory.
If a given management team adopts transformational theory, many things will go on changing in the working environment, and if employees are not comfortable, they might resist their voice against the management (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2015). If situational leadership theory is applied, the organization strategies will be formulated on the basis of given situations. Hence, the employees then need to work as per the situations and respond accordingly. It will also shape their behavior, work culture and working practices (Smith et al., 2011). Hence, any given organization needs to carefully analyze the internal and external environment and then select the best leadership and management theory, which will formulate the organizational strategies to achieve the desired objectives.
There are even different types of leadership styles adopted by the leaders in today’s contemporary world of the 21st century. These include Autocratic, Bureaucratic, Charismatic, Democratic, and Laissez- faire. Each of these leadership styles will have a different impact on the strategic decisions in a given organization.
Autocratic leadership style: This style centralizes power to the leaders. This style is more common in the military organizations.
Bureaucratic leadership style: It is commonly used where safety measures are prominent such as when working with the machines in a given working environment (Allan, 2008).
Charismatic leadership style: In this leadership style, we shall find the employees following their leaders due to a particular charismatic personality of a given leader.
Democratic leadership style: In this style, team members are included in the decision making process.
Laissez-faire leadership style: It is also known as free reign as evident in the situations where team members are given a chance by their leaders to make decisions on their own, though the leaders supervise them (Sorensen, 2008).
It will depend upon the type of the organization and the type of leadership style adopted by the leaders in such organizations.
Organizational direction can be defined as a pathway through which every manager walks, in order to adopt a particular style of working (Mullins, 2010). While walking on this pathway, the leader is expected to accept challenges and create authority, rights and duties.
McDonalds has almost 34,000 local restaurants, being one of the largest fast food providers in more than 119 countries across the world with serving power of around 65 million people every day. Thus, it is the largest retailer in the food serving segment in the world. It is both global and local at the same time.
McDonald Corporation employs over 1,800,000 employees serving the customers. The strategic decisions have long term influence on the business to achieve its aims and objectives. To be successful in the international market, Manager X at McDonalds employed research and planning and has developed the training and development cell. He has always encouraged its employees to employ teamwork. Thus, more of participate leadership style is adopted by Manager X at a given organization.
Inside this organization, Manager X prepares the strategic drivers for the organization. These are the key choices that made by this leader in regards to positioning the organization for taking advantage of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and strengths within the market place. Further, in order achieve the objectives of the organization Manager X of this organization is covering the following issues:
Quantity: He identifies the number of leaders who will be needed in a span of 5-10 years, taking the growth needs and projected turnover into account i.e. when, where and at what level.
Qualities: He refers to the characteristic that the employees should have at a given working place in the organization (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2015). The major parameters are related to the HR and Operational functions of the organization.
Skills/ behaviors: He does possess particular set of skills so as to control and monitor a given working environment (Allan, 2008).
Collective capabilities: Through his collective capabilities he is able to work as per the prescribed strategies in a given working environment.
Leadership culture: While leading the rest of the employees, the managers are able to drive the entire workforce in a specific task direction so as to achieve it within a given timeframe.
Description of the Leader
It becomes necessary for McDonalds to have a planned development strategy and critically analyze its effective leadership requirements. For the same reason, Manager X has always followed the analyzer business strategy for its growth and maintains its position in market. He uses various strategies and leadership skills for their survival and development the market competition.
The other leaders and business managers within the organization direct the management in developing a management strategy that will meet the goals of the employees. They even assist in formulating the mission and vision of the organization. As technology has shown great advancement, so the competition has increased across the nations (DuBrin, 2013). The companies now challenge their rivals in a digital environment involving Internet and Social Media. It is necessary to constantly take feedback from the customers, and plan the strategies accordingly to survive the cut throat competition in the market.
Evaluating Leadership inside the organization
Under all these scenarios, the methods adopted by Manager X to fulfill the leadership requirements are as follows:
Training an individual has the prime focus to develop his morale, enhance his skills, motivate him, and make him able to get adaptable to the organizational changes (Brow, Bessant, & Lamming, 2013). Manager X provides necessary training to the employees with the help of experienced professionals, and as per the directions provided by the top-level management of the organization (Siemens & Burr, 2013).
The process of acquiring knowledge includes transfer of information amongst the employees within the organization. For this purpose, Manager X traces down the requirements of the leadership in the organization, and accordingly finds appropriate personnel that will take up and handle such responsibilities (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2015).
It is a two way process that requires involvement of different business entities to send and receive a message. These should include the people like customers, employees, and others that exchange information. Manager X at McDonalds is able to determine leadership needs and the current trends within the organization, through such inter-personal communication (Shordike et al., 2010).
Participation will make the employees engage to the activities of the organization. There are many advantages of this method (Kouzes & Posner, 2008). It includes the development of an efficient method to represent a large group of people and the face-to-face interaction with people. Keeping all the above factors in context, Manager X has developed the environment that encourages the employees at each level to participate in various programs.
Leading differently to address the Challenges of the Present and the Future
In order to plan for the future situation, we will look at some of the future situations at McDonalds that may occur and issue a planning objective on leadership management.
The leaders will be planning the objectives for identifying a customer segment and leveraging on existing customers (Sorensen, 2008).
The leaders need to look out for new services and also need to focus upon new advertising strategies so as to promote their business in the developing nations.
In order to focus upon the growth strategy, the leaders need to plan the strategies for cutting the costs and increasing the net revenues. They need to work upon several parameters, and only then they will be able to perform as per the expectations of the organization.
They need to approach to the new customer segments like the elite customers and thereby, devise the marketing strategy for the same.
There are still various areas of concern regarding leadership development and leadership execution due to numerous functions and departments within the organization. But, it is the responsibility of the leader to work out accordingly and solve all the challenges. He needs to propose solutions, which will benefit to the entire organization as a whole.
Strong leadership skills are necessary for any given organization. They can be developed through three methods namely training and development, leadership role-oriented assignments and development of leadership culture within the organization (Griffin & Moorhead, 2014).
Training and development: This can further be divided into three areas. These include:
Personality development programs are the programs that address specific issue like public speaking and attending to employee programs, meetings and discussions (Allan, 2008).
Leadership games are the games played to give managers a taste of becoming a leader.
Workshops can be introduced to assess the managers’ skills set in order to acknowledge the gaps and work on them accordingly. Workshops can also be a platform for identifying potential leaders within a group for a fast paced environment.
Leadership role-oriented assignments: All the managers should be encouraged to play leadership roles. This can be done by assigning them such assignments and then evaluating their performance.
A leadership culture should be developed that will allow each manager to delegate work to his employees. This will make the managers aware of their leadership skills and hence, it will become easy to develop these skills once they are identified.
Leaders can also develop their skills through on-job training and formal training (Thomas et al., 2009). On-job training model can be implemented by the organization so as to make their employees dynamic in a given competitive working environment. They should however, provide the necessary technical and management training to the employees (Adair, 2009).
As evident with the five different styles of leadership, strategic decision-making changes with the style of leadership that a company adopts. The execution style of the management will also change with respect to a change in the leadership style. Hence, as discussed, it will depend more upon the type of the organization and the objectives assigned. Manager X will accordingly assign the roles and responsibilities to his team and will assist them as per the requirements (Nystrom & Viveca, 2013). However, with respect to changing scenarios, a given leader needs to motivate his workforce and change his leadership style as well so as to suit the environmental working conditions.
For all the organizations, the methods for the development of leadership skills for their respective leaders will vary. Hence, the organizations need to keep certain things in mind for training these individuals, so as to cope with future challenges, demands, and increasing trends of globalization. Leadership requires enthusiasm, vision, empowerment, self-confidence, and the ability to get things done and make things happen (Allan, 2008). There are various methods of developing the leadership skills for the employees within the organization. These methods are discussed below:
Training: It is an impressive and authentic method that can be used in planning the development of leadership. Through training, the organization will not only provide education and knowledge to the employees, but they will be able to find the deserving candidates for the leadership roles in the organization.
Experimental learning: Such learning will allow the employees to go through approaches of problem-solving, analyzing the given situations, and even provide their opinions on any issue. Hence, the organization will be able to find out the missing gaps on developing leadership skills amongst the employees (Sorensen, 2008).
Self-learning: Self-learning approach will make the employees, self-sustainable, and hence, they will be prepared for any given challenging situation. They can monitor them and can modify their approaches accordingly. Their self-evaluation will turn them into the leaders of tomorrow.
Coaching and mentoring: Coaching will provide a proper direction, while mentoring will evaluate the employees and will modify their working behaviors. Hence, the organization can prepare the plan for installing the leadership values, by knowing the necessary requirements of these employees, and can accordingly provide them coaching and mentoring (Brow, Bessant, & Lamming, 2013).
However, whichever method is adopted for installing the leadership values, it will make the managers, who are leaders, more alert to change, new opportunities and threats. It will also help them in unifying numerous strategy-related decisions made by the managers across the organization and creates a more proactive management posture, so that decisions can be down to business in a given working environment (Xie et al., 2009).
Leadership has the power to have an influence on others by inspiring the workforce or an individual to achieve the goals. A great quality of successful leadership is that relationships with others are effectively managed with the achievement of optimal end results. A leader determines specific tasks that need priority at the workplace. In the above assignment, we learnt about Manager X’s leadership development plans and his strategies to stand in a global market and compete with its rivals. We also discussed how Manager X at McDonalds tries to achieve the long term goals with the given set of strengths.
The paper further analyzed the leadership skills and traits of Manager X within the organization. The report also included the different approaches taken by him in response to the leadership requirements. At the end, there were recommendations and suggestions provided so as to respond to the present and the future challenges of Manager X and the entire organization as a whole.
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Brow, S., Bessant, J. & Lamming, R., 2013. Strategic Operations Management. New York: Routledge.
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Thomas, R., Tienari, J., Davies, A., & Merilainen, S., 2009. Let's talk about "us": A reflexive account of cross-cultural research collaboration. Journal of Management Inquiry, 18(4), pp. 313-324.
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