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It is worth noting that a leader and their effectiveness affect the organizational success of a company significantly. The leader determines the focus of the work of the entire team, interacts with personnel, affects the psychological climate and other aspects of the work environment (Forsyth, 2018). In addition, management can influence individuals as well as groups of employees, encouraging them to work towards the goals of the organization. The purpose of this paper is to discuss leadership styles exhibited in the “Consolidated Products” case study.
Style of Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels, a plant manager of Consolidated Products, employed a democratic style of leadership, which was evident from his relationship with the workforce. This type of leader relies on such aspects as trust, information exchange, initiative, creativity, self-discipline, conscientiousness, responsibility, and positive encouragement. Moreover, they focus not only on results but also on ways to achieve organizational goals (Forsyth, 2018). In general, the democratic leadership style is characterized by reliance on the employees and their potential since the company’s workforce is involved actively in the management of the organization. In the company discussed in the case study, communication occurred not only in vertical directions but also horizontally, and management tended to interact constructively with the employees.
In terms of his leadership behavior and actions, Ben Samuels established an environment in which employees could grow both professionally and personally. This was beneficial for employees so that they could evolve and feel valued (Forsyth, 2018). Such a behavior implied the establishment of a people-oriented work environment. His approach allowed building good relationships with workers, operators, and supervisors (Daft, 2015). In addition, Ben Samuels ensured the workforce could have an adequate work-life balance. In particular, he initiated building a fitness center for the workers, made sure they had an opportunity to take training programs, and organized corporate events (Daft, 2015). Moreover, he has built an organization consisting of loyal subordinates, which allowed reaching low turnover rates.
The leadership style of Ben Samuels had particular advantages and disadvantages. The establishment of an employee-oriented work environment implied that people could come up with creative ways of completing their work. On the one hand, workers were in power to change things inside the company (Forsyth, 2018). On the other hand, this implied that the subordinates required constant encouragement from the side of Ben Samuels. The leader affected employee satisfaction through corporate events and other benefits while ignoring the need to set clear organizational objectives. Low turnover rates were the direct result of democratic leadership; nevertheless, it led to poor production quality (Daft, 2015). Ben Samuels was also a participative leader, who addressed the concerns of employees (as in the example of the disabled worker). However, such a focus on employee encouragement and empowerment resulted in the fact that leadership was unable to set standards in terms of productivity.
Style of Phil Jones
Phil Jones, the next plant manager of Consolidated Products, employed a contrasting leadership style, which was mainly autocratic. This approach to managing people is characterized by rigor, the prevalence of power functions, and strict control and discipline. Autocratic leaders are result-oriented and ignore or attach little importance to socio-psychological factors (Forsyth, 2018). Often enough, leaders like Phil Jones do not trust their subordinates, rarely involve them in decision-making, and prefer to form tasks independently. The main incentive to increase productivity is fear and the threat of punishment, while engagement between the leader and the employees is based on mutual distrust.
As an autocratic leader, Phil Jones was action-oriented and exhibited rational personality traits (Li & Armstrong, 2015). He requested that supervisors would report to him and synchronize with him first before initiating any changes. In addition, he employed a computer monitoring system to understand how productive the workforce was, and he would easily let go of the workers who could not keep up with the set standards (Daft, 2015). He was rather rigid and would lay people off quickly, which led to increased employee turnover since employees left by their initiative as well. Moreover, the leader would have meetings with the senior leadership to report on the performance indicators of the unit. This allowed having the supervisors informed on the company’s progress and the productivity of the workforce. At the same time, the workforce experienced increased stress levels in terms of productivity expectations.
The approach employed by Phil Jones ensured specific positive outcomes. By setting objectives for the workforce, he managed to reorganize company policies and the working style of the department. In addition, he made the organization more efficient quite quickly. Phil Jones achieved several goals, which were to increase productivity and reduce costs (Daft, 2015). He reached these objectives by reducing fitness center expenditures and canceling corporate events. Also, he stopped training programs initiated by the former leader. Although these measures were effective, they also led to a brain drain. Being an autocratic leader focused on organizational efficiency, Jones did not provide workers with a sufficient amount of time to show their capabilities (Daft, 2015). The main negative outcome of his strategy was reflected in the highest employee turnover levels observed in the organization, which implied that he could not find a common language with his subordinates. By concentrating on cutting production costs, Jones lost the human potential that could be beneficial in the long-term perspective.
Comparison of Leadership Styles
Although the two leaders exhibited different styles, there are several similarities between them. First, both leaders sought to influence workers by encouraging them to work towards the goals of the organization (however, each leader used his methods). Second, both persons were aware of the importance of delegating authority and responsibilities. In Samuels’s case, the leader sought power-sharing and allowed workers to participate in processes at different levels (Daft, 2015). Jones believed that he could not rely on the workforce; therefore, he built relationships with senior management and preferred not to delegate responsibility to employees. Third, both leaders tried to establish information flows within the organization, but each of them did it differently (Forsyth, 2018). Samuels encouraged the exchange of information at all levels through a relationship of trust. Jones believed that information should be passed to the supervisors by him, and he provided reporting on productivity.
Despite the discussed similarities, there are quite a few differences between the conduct of the two leaders. In particular, Samuels was a relations-oriented leader who wanted to influence long-term plant performance through employee attitudes. He had built his relations with the workforce based on support and recognition while also stimulating their development through access to training programs and overall job satisfaction (Daft, 2015). This way, he attempted to address the needs and feelings of his co-workers. Samuels knew the names of all employees, which evidenced the fact that he communicated with them frequently enough. In contrast to Samuels, Jones was a task-oriented leader, who was less interested in the needs of his co-workers and would lay people off easily if he considered them unproductive.
Another difference between the two leaders may be concluded by the fact that Samuels was focused on supportive behavior while Jones exhibited specific task behavior (Forsyth, 2018). In particular, he made efforts to improve planning and monitoring to make sure the employees did their best to meet productivity goals. He ignored the aspects of inspirational leadership, which affected the morale of the workforce and triggered unionizing among employees.
Apart from that, Samuels and Jones were focusing on different perspectives. Samuels interacted with his subordinates quite often in terms of their goals and objectives. Moreover, he ensured they had room for improvement and development. The core of his strategy lied in the idea that workers should be inspired to attain their goals (Forsyth, 2018). Therefore, it may be stated that he attempted to improve plant performance in the long term. Meanwhile, the approach employed by Jones was limited to monitoring short-term performance indicators while ignoring the long-term perspective. The productivity of the company was improved quickly through rigid measures, which implied that employees would be fired if they did not show improvement in two weeks after a warning (Daft, 2015). Such an approach stimulated workers to meet performance expectations, but unfair treatment would negatively affect the organizational performance and culture in the long run. Increased employee turnover implies greater hiring costs in the future. These expenses will cover up the costs saved on increased production.
Each leader may be successful in addressing contemporary leadership issues and challenges in Israel. A democratic leader, such as Samuels, could improve public relations issues faced by many companies (Forsyth, 2018). Such a manager would assist greatly in retaining the workforce through job satisfaction, opportunities for professional growth, and the establishment of a positive work environment. Under democratic leadership, employees would feel valued and develop loyalty to their company (Peshawaria, 2017). An autocratic leader like Jones would be successful in overcoming cost-cutting challenges and problems associated with escalating production. However, companies functioning in Israel need dynamic leaders who can keep the balance between relation and task behavior.
To manage Phil’s performance, it is necessary to ask his opinion regarding the turnover rate. This will help them understand if he sees any problems in terms of his leadership behavior. After that, it is crucial to discuss the possible union formation, which will help outline a strategy for its prevention. The evident disadvantages of the decision to talk to Phil may be either his resistance to change or loss of leadership focus (Forsyth, 2018). Nonetheless, growing employee dissatisfaction is the result of his performance, which can also evolve into an instance when trained and valuable workers are fired because they do not meet the rigid requirements set by Phil. Such a situation will affect the company dramatically in the long term (Forsyth, 2018). The goal of the discussion will be to stress the importance of building a people-oriented work environment while maintaining focus on sufficiently high production levels.
Thus, it can be concluded that the “Consolidated Products” case study is illustrative of two contrasting leadership styles, which are democratic and autocratic approaches. Both strategies have advantages and disadvantages, and it is crucial to seize the benefits of both and merge them into a single dynamic approach to leading people. Any leader should be able to adapt to the environment depending on the situation, the characteristics of a team, and the aspects of the problem currently faced by a company.
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Daft, R. L. (2015). The leadership experience (6th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Forsyth, D. R. (2018). Group dynamics (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Li, M., & Armstrong, S. J. (2015). The relationship between Kolb’s experiential learning styles and Big Five personality traits in international managers. Personality and Individual Differences, 86, 422-426.
Peshawaria, R. (2017). Open source leadership: Reinventing management when there’s no more business as usual. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Professional.