Several reasons could be attributed to my less than successful leadership in the situation described in the pre-course essay. After the experience, I realized that there were changes that I could implement to avoid a repeat of the poor performance. I was the leader of a large team in the development department of an IT organization. My role was to lead the department and make all core decisions that were central to the success of the department. I was very confident and always believed that I was a good leader. However, the results of my actions and decisions showed poor leadership. I made decisions that affected the productivity of employees and the general output of the department adversely. The main cause of the poor performance was a lack of good leadership skills.
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First, I lacked a better understanding of the organization’s goals. Good leaders take into account the goals of their organization before making critical decisions that affect the organization and employees. Ignoring the goals of the organization led to poor decisions that lowered employees’ productivity. On the other hand, I did not fully understand the roles that each employee played in the achievement of the goals. I restructured the department without considering the effect it would have on employees and the organization. In an organization, each employee plays an important part in the achievement of the goals and objectives. Therefore, leaders should understand the role of employees and provide them with the necessary resources for the achievement of goals. All decisions were based on what I thought was right for the department. As a result, the actions led to the departure of some employees whose tasks and responsibilities could not be handled properly by other employees. Communication is an important part of leadership. Leaders should learn to communicate properly with their employees to develop plans and solve problems effectively. Communication was poor within the department and it led to poor problem-solving. Good communication could have improved the situation because employees could have voiced their concerns and opinions about the proposed restructuring. However, I used personal judgment to make the perilous decision.
Second, good leaders possess the ability to inspire and motivate employees. Poor employee motivation skills led to poor leadership and low organizational output. Motivated employees are characterized by high productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness at the workplace. However, my juniors did not show these characteristics. After the restructuring, productivity dwindled. Employees were consumed by guilt and feared that another restructuring could similarly affect them. They did not feel safe and motivated to work. I did not know how to improve their morale and trust in the new organizational structure. On the other hand, the employees were demotivated because their workmates had been laid off. The fear of suffering the same fate lowered their productivity and performance.
Third, good leaders are aware of the importance of employee training as a way of introducing change. Failure to develop a training program to equip employees with skills on how to handle their new responsibilities led to poor performance. Employees were given tasks that were beyond their capabilities and levels of knowledge. The assumption that they could handle these tasks was a huge mistake. After the restructuring, I did nothing to help employees embrace change. Therefore, they developed negative attitudes that lowered their productivity. In addition, they lost trust in the leadership of the organization because they feared that they would be subjected to the same treatment that their workmates were subjected to. Lack of creativity aggravated the problem. I did not look for alternatives that would have facilitated the avoidance of the negative outcomes of the restructuring. There are many ways of introducing change in an organization. Instead of brainstorming and choosing the most effective method, I chose the one that seemed right based on personal interpretation. The poor performance revealed that I was a leader who did not possess skills that could lead an organization to achieve its goals and objectives.
Poor communication was another reason for the low performance of the department. One of the most important personality traits of a good leader is charisma. Charisma refers to the ability of an individual to communicate in a clear, inspirational, assertive, and comprehensible manner. My poor leadership partly resulted from a lack of charisma. My communication skills were poor and it was difficult to communicate goals, visions and plans to employees in a clear manner. I did not engage employees in the decision-making process. This made them feel undervalued and disregarded. In addition, I was a bad listener. I never gave them sufficient time to express themselves and present their opinions regarding matters that affected them.
If I faced a similar situation in the future, I would do things differently. First, I would improve communication with employees by listening to them and engaging them in decision-making processes. For example, I would first seek their idea and opinions before restructuring the department. Involving employees in the process would make them feel valued as an important part of the organization. I would ensure that employees take part in all organizational processes as well as give them the freedom to make decisions on matters that affect their jobs. On the other hand, I would develop a training program that would equip them with additional skills to handle different tasks and responsibilities. A training program would help them to avoid developing resistance to change that is common in organizations that introduce new policies and procedures without preparing employees. I would also motivate employees to improve their performance, productivity, and efficiency. This would involve introducing incentives such as additional remuneration, fully funded training programs, free enrolment into health fitness programs, and delegation of responsibilities. Motivating employees would be beneficial to the organization because they would increase their productivity, embrace change, and take more risks. Finally, I would strive towards developing personality traits that would improve my leadership. I would strive to be kind, friendly, open-minded, cooperative, sympathetic, and responsible. I would practice caution and accountability by involving employees in the decision-making process to ensure that decisions made do not affect them negatively.