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Case Study on Leadership Styles

Case Study on Leadership Styles

1. Devon seems for me to have task-oriented or transactional leadership style. His opinion about being a leader is that the one who is successful should be able to exert power. The transactional leader is provided with the power for particular task performance, as well as for the reward and punishment of his subordinates. And Devon considers that leadership constitutes predominantly actions the person takes with his employees. For him it is everything about appropriate punishment and reward. He insists on making the job and tasks of the employees less complicated and challenging by assigning them exact amount of those with definite instructions, and then just ensures that his subordinates possess adequate resource base for task fulfillment. It is how transactional leader acts- he leads the group of people by setting particular goals to it to accomplish, and then possess enough power for evaluation, correction and training of the employees when the expected goals are not reached and rewarding them in the opposite case(Burns, 1978). Devon can be called to some extent a servant leader as well (Greenleaf, 1977), as this kind of leader facilitates objective accomplishment by providing team with all necessary resources so that it be productive. As a task-oriented leader, Devon would focus on the specific tasks and job that should be done assigned to each employee to reach some goal. This leadership type presumes close supervision of the team to ensure that all expected results are achieved. Devon also insists that his key feature is being a leader who is guided with the sense of fairness, and he would reward and punish justly, as well as he also claims that his employees would perform on the high levels and be satisfied with their jobs.

On the other hand, Isabella’s leadership style is quite different. Even though she acknowledges the necessity in setting appropriate goals to employees and giving them guidance, as well as rewarding and punishing them in accordance with the performance, she also sees that in the situation of quickly growing business environment it is not enough to be the proactive successful leader. Isabella considers that the true leader should motivate its team beyond formal job requirements and it is not enough that employees just complete automatically their tasks. She claims that in order to survive, the strong leader should challenge employees to look ahead and contribute with their ideas. Sharing vision with employees, having the same goals with them are her main strategies that would allow achieving and sustaining competitive advantage at the market. She insists on motivating each employee to be creative and innovate and impact the company’s performance the best they can, as only when the staff is highly motivated, the company can reach outstanding results and be company leader. She tends to be the transformational leader who motivates its employees to be efficient and effective. Communication for such leaders is the most important thing in achieving goals. Transformational leader is also very visible and involves the chain of command to get the job fulfilled. He also focuses on the greater picture, and therefore needs to be surrounded by people who are very attentive to details. Transformational leader also is always looking for new ideas that help the whole organization reach its vision.

2. Speaking about the effectiveness of leadership styles of both Devon and Isabella, I would like to mention that in different situation frames they could be both effective, but I would like to give my vote for effectiveness to Isabella. In the situation of rapid economic and social changes, rapid growth of competitive market, having the job properly done is not enough. The company should be proactive and think a decade ahead in order to sustain the competitive advantage at its market niche. When the job is well-done it is very good for the company, but when employees think of company’s future and of their own future as of one common thing- they are more motivated to perform better the set performance standards. When employees think outside their box and participate in generation of ideas and solutions for company’s development, they feel themselves the integral part of the company and feel that their efforts are appreciated and they not just mechanic workers. Of course, there are different kinds of people with different wants and needs, but in general people do work to be valuable to society and to feel that their existence, their job and their ideas and solutions means something to the company and its successful development. But on the other hand, speaking of situational factors, I would say that in the situation of financial and economic crisis, Devon’s leadership style can appear more effective. During economic crisis, people’s ideas and solutions are in most cases not working, as the whole picture at the market tend to be negative and they can do nothing unless situation changes. And if employees be still motivated to generate ideas and solutions and they see that they do not improve the overall situation, it can decrease their motivation to have the job done “with extras”. Therefore, I would suggest that in financial crisis, employees should be tightly supervised so that the job be done, and accordingly awarded or punished when the performance is correspondingly expectedly high or low.

3. If I were Paul, I would hire Isabella, as nothing is said in the case study about the time period, and Isabella’s approach to the matter is more effective. As the leader, according to Paul, will be responsible for company’s future development, a successful development, then Isabella can lead the company far behind with her approach. One head is good, and having multiple-even better. When the leader involves employees in generating ideas and solutions, they are not just more motivated to impact, but the company can simple have more profound vision of what should be done, or how the problem can be resolved in the most effective way. Being proactive, with simultaneous concentration on the details and short-term performance, Isabella would understand what her employees and the market needs, develop creative solutions. Isabella possesses the vision that is, along with other traditional leadership qualities, is the most important quality.

4. As I have already mentioned, Devon’s leadership style lacks vision, he seems to be more concentrated in the present picture and does not see far in the future. I don’t claim that it is the bad quality, but also in the organizational structure he better appear as Isabelle’s subordinate, that still have his own subordinates. He would be the good task performer and not the true leader within the frame of rapidly growing markets. Devon, being also task-oriented leader, would need to spend much of his time for close supervision and control to ensure that the job is properly done. He seems that he will show no involvement in teams needs and motivation, as providing people with punishment and reward is not quite enough. The employees’ commitment will also be lower, then that of with transformational leadership style.

As to the drawback of the Isabella’s transformational leadership style, I can mention that she can become very much dependable on the intellectual capabilities of her subordinates in order to be successful. In other words, employees should be smart enough to generate those ideas and solutions.

5. Let me start with the question – why employees are motivated? And the answer will be simple- in order to survive. People are changing their workplaces very often- they are interested in better conditions, better attitudes, better job, friendly environment, better salary (though I mentioned it the last, it is one the min motivational factors). When employees in an organization are motivated to do the job- the organization will survive at the market, as if employees are motivated they show better results and are more productive, then those who just do their job without personal involvement to the matter. In order that the organizational performance is effective, the leader or manager should primarily understand what motivates his or her subordinated to have the job done, within the job they do. Motivation issue is very complex, as it involves analysis of numerous factors. But in general, according to James Lindner (1998) there are ten motivational factors that include job security, sympathetic help with personal problems, personal loyalty to employees, interesting tasks, good working conditions, discipline that is tactful, merit wages, promotion and growth, feeling of being in on things, and finally full appreciation of the done work. Three main motivation factors are (in the order of importance) interesting work, good wages and full appreciation of done work.

In order to understand whose employees can be more motivated to do the job, let’s assume that they all have rather high salary. In other words, they are equally motivated to have the job effectively done, as, according to Maslow’s need hierarchy theory, their physiological factor is taken into consideration and satisfied (Maslow 1946). And let’s assume that all work that Devon’s and Isabella’s subordinates would be assigned is interesting , then employees would be also equally motivated to do best with their job, as their self-actualization factor will be also considered. As both Devon and Isabella agree that good performance should be appreciated, then esteem factor will also be taken into consideration and subordinates of both leaders will be equally motivated. But I am still sure that Isabella’s subordinated will be more motivated not just to have the job done, but also it will be done faster and better. Her employees will envision themselves as the part of the mechanism, as they will be communicated in such a manner. As they will be able to generate ideas and thoughts, they will no longer feel themselves as simple performer. Employees will feel they the organization cannot survive, as they will have the common goal and vision with it.

Both Devon’s and Isabella’s employees can be very satisfied with what they are doing for job. As job evaluation is the positive feeling regarding the job that results from its evaluation, in both cases they will be awarded for achieving successful results, but in Isabella’s case, employees can be more satisfied, as they get not just financial reward for their efforts (which is already a huge satisfaction factor), but also feel that they have done something outstanding. They are more satisfied as they can perform beyond their standard duties and be rewarded for that, they can be more proud of themselves and of the successful company results in general. Devon’s subordinates can also feel that, but in much less extent as they are not motivated to impact more, they are doing what they are assigned to do (Smith 1994).

Depending of the personality of the person, s/he trusts in the particular leader type. Devon and Isabella can be equally trusted as leaders, and it predominantly depends on the personality types and essence of job of the subordinates whom to trust in the greatest extent. My opinion that Devon can be more trusted by conservative people or by employees that don’t have a lot of experience. On the other hand, Isabella will be trusted by proactive people, as she is proactive and will attract people who share her values and vision as a leader.

Organizational commitment is said to be the state in which the employee identifies himself with the particular company, and maintains its wishes and objectives to be its member. This notion is tightly connected with job involvement, which is generally referred to as the degree to which people psychologically identify with their position and job and consider their level of performance essential to self-worth. Isabella’s subordinated will definitely have greater job involvement and in the long run will care more about what and how they are doing. Isabella also involves in her leadership approaches what is called psychological empowerment that is said to be the beliefs of the employees in the extent to which they affect and impact their work environment, meaningfulness and purposefulness of their job. By involving subordinates to the decision making, generating ideas and finding solution for harsh situations, Isabella will make her employees feel that their work is significant to the whole organizational mechanism. Returning to the organizational commitment, it has three dimensions: affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative commitment. Affective commitment is emotional attachment to the company, sharing its vision and believing in its values. As Isabella is going to communicate employees’ vision and everything, her subordinates can have greater affective commitment. Continuance commitment is the perceived economic value of staying with company for a long time period (Smith 1994). Even though salary issues here are very important, the appreciation of the performance plays not the least role here. Devon’s subordinates can be paid well in any organization, but it is the question whether Isabella’s employees will share values and vision and be so important in the other company. Of course, different people have different value and can care for wages only, and there are varying situations, but I am speaking of average most probable situation.

Normative commitment is the employee’s commitment that s/he is obliged to stay with the company for moral and ethical reasons. Due to the fact, that Isabella’s subordinated are supposed to have greater job involvement, they would correspondingly have greater normative commitment.

6. According to Devon’s leadership style I would suggest he can more effective in the centralized organizational structure. In centralized organizational structure decision-making authorities are assigned to higher levels of organizational hierarchies. Also, information, knowledge and ideas are concentrated at the top and it is the leader who assigns tasks and supervises the performance. Centralized organizational structure has many advantages. First of all it has emphasis on top-down control, strategy and leadership. Decision-making process is authoritarian, visionary and charismatic. Organizational changes are shaped by top, which is not that good when the leader doesn’t possess vision. Execution is also said to be fast and coordinative, and people are able to respond rapidly to main changes and issues. And finally what is truly good is that there is a low risk of conflicts and misunderstandings between organizational parts (Judge 2007).

Isabella can be also a successful leader within the frame of centralized organizational structure, though I would suggest more effectiveness to her leadership style in decentralized on. Decentralized organizational structure presumes transferring and assigning decision-making authority to lower levels of organizational hierarchy. The, knowledge, ideas, solutions and information are moving from the bottom to the top. Lower level managers are more autonomous. As to the decentralized organizational structure advantages, they include emphasis on political and learning dynamics, and democratic, detailed and participative decision-making process. Organizational changes are emerging from interactions and execution is emergent and evolutionary. This type of organizational structure is also flexible to adapt to minor changes and issues, and is also emphasizes on accountability and participation. There is also the low risk of not-invented here behavior (Judge 2007). It is obvious that not everything in the decentralized organizational structure matches Isabella’s approach to leadership; therefore mixed organizational structure is also suggested, as the attempt to take what is best from both structures and achieve compromise.

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