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An ineffective leadership episode in the organizational life
Effective leadership requires possession and use of certain traits that are important for attainment of organizational goals (Adair, 2010). Leaders who do not possess these traits usually make poor decisions that affect the output of their organizations as well as the productivity of employees. I had a leadership experience that proved my inability to use leadership traits and knowledge to implement organizational change. The organization was going through a tough period that was characterized by many financial constraints. I was the head of the human resource division whose role was creation of employee-motivation incentives.
One of the goals of the organization was to keep employees motivated for maximum productivity and performance. My responsibility was to make core decisions that related to establishment of employee reward and motivation programs. In the second quarter of the year 2013, the organization was going through a tough period. The organization had insufficient funds to sustain its processes and operations. The CEO requested for a review of the employee incentives program as a cost-cutting measure. Therefore, I set out to develop measures to cut the organization’s spending in order to overcome the financial hurdles. One of the incentives in the employee rewards program was high remuneration for overtime, which had taken a toll on the organization’s finances. On the other hand, I recommended for suspension of a team-building program that the organization organized after every two months. I suspended the team building seminars and overtime remuneration because the organization could not afford to continue paying for the incentives.
After implementing the changes, the productivity of employees and the overall organizational output declined significantly. The decision to suspend overtime remuneration and team building sessions had a negative effect on employees’ motivation and energy levels. The overall output of the organization decreased as well as the income. Good leaders involve employees in decision-making processes with regard to issues that affect or involve their welfare (Tracy, 2008).
Factors that made me less effective as a leader include lack of communication skills, failure to involve employees in making decisions, lack of proper understanding of the importance of employee motivation, and poor decision-making skills. Employee motivation is imperative in any organization because a motivated employee is more productive, effective, ad efficient (Tracy, 2008). On the other hand, it is important to involve employees in making decisions that affect their welfare at the workplace to increase their value and to strengthen organizational culture.
The reasons of unsuccessful leadership situation
Causes of poor leadership in the aforementioned scenario are due to ineffective application of leadership skills and traits. After thorough analysis of the scenario, I realized that changes could be made to avoid a similar situation in future. First, I failed to involve employees in the process of making decisions. Good leaders do not impose their decisions, ideas, and opinions on employees (Adair, 2010). They involve employees by allowing them to give their opinions and suggestions. I failed because of excluding employees from the decision making process. The cost of reinstating employee motivation is higher than the cost of giving incentives in order to increase employee motivation (Adair, 2010).
One of the goals of the organization was to maintain a highly motivated team of employees in order to maximize their potential and improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and reliability of their services. Ignorance of the organization’s goals resulted in poor leadership. One of the most important aspects of decision-making is thorough understanding of organizational goals in order to ensure that decisions made do not affect employees or business operations and processes (Adair, 2010).
Second, I did not utilize my communication skills. In an organization, effective communication is important because it promotes creation of a favourable work environment that is characterized by motivated employees and high performance (Northhouse, 2010). In this scenario, effective communication could have avoided the problems had employees been offered an opportunity to give opinions. The employee motivation program had several incentives that could have served as alternatives. The best approach would have been to talk to employees and allow them to choose the incentives for elimination from the program. I realized that team building sessions and overtime remuneration were the favorite incentives among employees. The best solution would have been to eliminate the other incentives that included wellness programs and sponsored training workshops. Many employees claimed that they valued overtime because it offered them an opportunity to increase their income.
On the other hand, team-building sessions promoted creation of strong and effective teams that developed better problem solving and decision making strategies compared to individual employees. I should have communicated the organization’s plan to restructure its budget in order to enhance its survival. The financial cuts were temporary and the incentives would be reinstated after the organization regained financial stability. However, they caused more harm than good. Reduction in output resulted in a decrease in earnings. The organization had to spend money to fund training programs and workshops to improve employee motivation and commitment.
Third, I had poor understanding of the importance of employee motivation and team building in the organization. Two of the most important strategies that leaders use to increase organizational output are team building and employee incentives (Northhouse, 2010). Employees’ productivity and commitment to their jobs depends on the level of motivation (Sperry, 2013). This is evident from the outcome of the decision to suspend team building sessions. On the other hand, better remuneration gives employees a feeling of worth and value. Organizations that value their employees create opportunities to allow them increase their earning capacity (Sperry, 2013). I thought that suspending overtime remuneration would give employees the initiative to work harder during normal working hours. On the contrary, their performance decreased. They developed negative attitudes towards the organization and resisted change.
Fourth, I did not understand the importance of creating effective strategic plans to introduce change in the organization. Cutting the organization’s spending was a way of introducing change that would bring new responsibilities and ways of doing things. Many employees resist change because it introduces new responsibilities and does not increase remuneration (Sperry, 2013).
Training is one of the most important aspects of change introduction in an organization. A training program equips employees with knowledge on the benefits of embracing change. After suspending overtime remuneration, employees overworked themselves in effort to complete their daily tasks. Tasks that were completed during overtime had to be completed during the normal working hours. Employees overworked themselves because of the huge workload. Overworking resulted in exhaustion, poor performance, and negative attitudes towards work and leaders. It was important to help employees cope with the new situation at the organization. However, I did not feel responsible for the drastic change. Productivity waned because employees were always under pressure to attain daily goals.
Fifth, I did not explore alternative solutions to the situation due to poor problem solving skills. Improving the welfare of employees is more important than reducing the costs of an organization’s operations at the expense of employees. Employees are an organization’s greatest assets (Sperry, 2013). The problem had alternative solutions that could have been implemented. However, I neither consulted nor sought the opinions of employees. One of the benefits of teamwork is development of excellent problem solving strategies (Tracy, 2008).
The best method would have been to hold brainstorming session with employees, generate several solutions, and choose the one that employees considered as the most effective. I relied on personal interpretations and analysis to make the critical decision that had adverse effects on the organization. Good leaders always brainstorm when looking for solutions to problems that their organizations (Tracy, 2008).
I would use a different approach to solve problems if faced by a similar situation in future. The approach would involve employees in the problem solving process, train them on the importance of organizational change, and create plans to implement change.The first step would involve a brainstorming session to find potential solutions to the problem. The aim of the session would be to give employees an opportunity to choose a solution that would not affect their welfare and commitment to the achievement of organizational goals. The second step would involve establishment of a training program. The program would train employees on ways to embrace change and increase productivity. Finally, I would conduct thorough research on the effect of each solution on employees and the output of the organization. An effective solution to a problem should not affect employee productivity and motivation (Tracy, 2008).
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Personal action plan to meet future leadership challenges
In order to meet future challenges, I would create a personal action plan that would include attending a leadership improvement-training program, delegation of responsibilities, improvement of communication skills, and development of better decision-making and problem solving skills. A leadership improvement program would equip me with skills on ways to lead employees. Good leadership entails involvement of employees in matters that affect their welfare (Adair, 2010).
Skills that would be attained from the program include effective communication, open mindedness, confidence, flexibility, charisma, and development of effective strategic plans. In order to motivate employees, I would delegate certain responsibilities and tasks. For instance, the decision on the choice of incentives to suspend in order to cut costs would be made by employees. My responsibility would be implementation of their recommendations. I would attend a training workshop on creation of effective plans and establishment of strong organizational strategies. One of the core aspects of an effective plan is flexibility (Tracy, 2008).
For instance, if plans to suspend overtime and team building sessions were flexible, changes would have been made to avoid its negative effect on employee performance. However, it was rigid. On the other hand, an effective plan includes tools and strategies to measure employee performance in order to determine the effect of implementing change (Adair, 2010). If the plan had these components, then it would have been easy to predict the effect of the decision on performance and thus avoid the negative effects.
Effective leadership is characterized certain traits that include honesty, confidence, trust, vision, charisma, effective communication, delegation of responsibilities, and flexibility (Adair, 2010). As a leader, I had some of these traits even though they were poorly developed. Leadership weaknesses affect the quality of decisions and the effectiveness of solutions in solving problems. My leadership has strengths and weaknesses. The strengths include focus, commitment, vision, and patience. Through patience, I am able to dedicate sufficient time to finding solutions to organizational problems.
Certain problems are so complex that they require adequate time to find lasting solutions. In order to attain organizational goals and objectives, it is important to focus on important tasks and processes. I have the ability to pursue matters that relate to attainment of organizational successes without distractions. I channel my energy and knowledge on projects until their completion phase. On the other hand, I am committed to my work. A good leader is committed to attainment of goals and desired outcomes. This takes patience and hard work. Finally, my leadership is visionary. It involves integration of innovation and creativity into strategic plans in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness of business processes.
My leadership weaknesses include poor communication skills, poor planning, and weak problem-solving as well as decision-making skills. The weaknesses were the causes of my ineffective leadership in the aforementioned scenario. An effective leader possesses good communication skills because effective communication creates a good workplace, facilitates motivation of employees, and promotes exchange of information, knowledge, and ideas at the workplace.
On the other hand, effective leaders possess excellent skills with regard to solving problems and making decisions (Adair, 2010). Decrease of employee performance and organizational output were evidence of my poor leadership skills. I intend to improve my leadership capability by using my leadership strengths to inculcate skills that counter the weaknesses. This will involve embracing change, taking more challenges, delegating responsibilities to employees, brainstorming in order to find alternative solutions to problems, and involving of employees on matters related to their welfare. Excellent planning is a trait of good leaders (Northhouse, 2010).
Effective leaders are able to create and implement plans that enhance attainment of organizational goals. Such plans aim to harmonize the goals of individual employees with the overall goals of the organization. Moreover, they offer employees an opportunity to make decisions with regard to attainment of individual goals. Delegation of power to make decisions makes employees feel valued and wanted by their organization. Finally, I intend to attend a training program on development of effective leadership in order to improve my communication skills. Excellent communication skills will enable me to motivate employees and communicate the vision, mission, and goals of the organization clearly. Change is an inevitable aspect in the attainment of organizational goals that enables organizations to quell competition from other organizations (Northhouse, 2010).
Failure to understand its effects on performance when implemented without good strategies results in negative outcomes. For instance, it creates resistance and negative attitudes among employees. Attending a training program on effective ways of change implementation is necessary. A good leader should be aware of the benefits of organizational change for enhanced survival in the modern business environment that is unpredictable and volatile (Northhouse, 2010). Completion of a training program to enhance my leadership strengths and eradicate the weaknesses would make me an effective leader.
Adair, John. Effective leadership: How to Be a Successful Leader. New York: Pan Macmillan, 2010. Print.
Northhouse, Peter. Leadership: Practice and Theory. New York: SAGE, 2010. Print.
Sperry, Len. Effective Leadership: Strategies for Maximizing Executive Productivity and Health. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Tracy, Brian. Effective Leadership. New York: Jaico Publishing House, 2008. Print