Problem definition – Leadership challenges in the case study
The case involves leadership challenges within the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, particularly in the translation department headed by Abdulla Al Naemi. This leader is deputized by Ibrahim, who has trust in his boss. Other subordinates are Alia, Saleh, and Sami. All the workers under Abdulla have issues with his leadership. Leadership challenges in the case include lack of effective communication, micromanagement of subordinates, setting unclear expectations, intimidation of employees, lack of feedback attitude issues, and poor people skills. The problems in the case study have resulted in poor performance outcomes of the organization.
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From the case, there is poor communication between the leader and subordinates. This is strongly illustrated because Abdullah is away from his office most of the time and has the tendency to ignore messages from employees. As seen from the reports delivered by Sale, Alia, and other subordinates, Abdulla has low priority in listening to them. In fact, he interrupts and cuts short communications that are meant to solve problems within the organization. There is a blatant disregard of opinions from employees such as Alia. In most cases, the leader fails to follow the procedures aimed at improving processes within the department.
The leader adopts the micromanagement of employees. This is evident in the case because of Abdulla’s involvement in the details of subordinates’ work. This could be a sign of insecurity and fear of subordinates’ out-shining leaders. There are unclear expectations on employees, which have caused frustration. As a result, workers cannot complete their tasks on time and satisfactorily. The leader fails to give deadlines for projects, and the details are not clear. Thus, it is difficult for subordinates to determine important factors that could lead to improve performance outcomes within the department. Abdulla and Ibrahim have a tendency of intimidating subordinates. This is illustrated in situations when the two leaders adopt public criticism of employees. Leaders in the case have poor people skills, and they tend to focus on subordinates’ negatives rather than positives.
Furthermore, there is little consideration of others’ points of view. Abdulla also has favoritism with the choice of Alia and Ibrahim to undertake most of the work and to give them special treatment. Other workers feel that they are being discriminated against based on reasons they could not understand. There are attitude issues with regard to Abdulla because he fails to understand subordinates and makes dejection public. The actions have led subordinates to develop low morale. Worse still, the leader does no encourage feedback, with communication being predominantly one-way. Overall, Abdulla’s leadership style is authoritarian because he often asserts his influence on subordinates and does not tolerate questioning of his authority.
Appraisal of the situation – dealing the situation as the director-general
In dealing with the situation within the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, the director-general can apply various theories, principles, and concepts that could help in understanding the situation and addressing the problems. The principles are provided by a different management and organizational theories such as the neoclassical organization theory, structural organization theory, and systems theory, among others (Connor & Netting, 2009).
The theories would help in moving away from the conventional view of management and integrating contemporary approaches in organizational management. For instance, the neoclassical organization theory represents a shift from convention organization perceptions in determining the source of power. The theory advocates for satisfaction, rationality, management information systems, and effective decision-making. It greatly contributes to the understanding that an organization comprises of stakeholders with varying individual goals and aspirations (Northouse, 2012).
The structural organization theory views an organization as an institution with the aim of achieving set objectives through effective management of resources. Based on the organization’s objectives and capabilities, managers can develop an ideal structure for effective control and coordination. In this regard, division of labor and specialization enhances performance. Many leadership issues witnessed in the translation department may be an indication of structural issues (Yammarino & Danserau, 2009). For example, the mechanistic nature of Abdulla’s management characterized by bureaucracy and micromanagement clearly indicates that structural issues are negatively impacting the department. The problem could be solved by making the system flexible, encouraging participation, and trusting the subordinates’ abilities.
The systems theory supports this position by viewing an organization as a complex body with various elements that work to achieve common goals. Effective feedback mechanisms are important aspects proposed by the theory (Wart, 2008). A leader within an organization should facilitate participation, consider the needs of subordinates, have personal mastery, build a shared vision, reason systematically, encourage team learning, and use mental models to understand behaviors with regard to many subordinates.
Considering the situation, the director in the organization can create a committee compromising of departmental heads to handle the case based on Abdulla’s submissions and feedback from employees (Croteau & Smith, 2012). In addition, solving the problems in the translation department, the departmental heads would learn and find effective ways of involving human capital in activities that would improve performance outcomes. This could be possible in a series of five steps. First, the committee of departmental heads should gather information from employees at individual and collective levels. For those leaving the organization, the HR department can design forms that should be filled in by employees. They could clearly state the reasons for leaving the organization. A hotline would help in achieving more feedback and maintaining employee privacy (Croteau & Smith, 2012).
Second, the committee should ensure that the director obtains the information collected. After collection, the committee should analyze the issues raised to identify important aspects that need immediate changes (Yammarino & Danserau, 2009). This leads to the fourth step, where the committee develops an action plan to address specific issues through designated individuals with the aim of developing practical solutions applicable not only for the translation department but also for the other departments. A point of emphasis is on the leader’s actions, which are affecting employees negatively. These include the specific issues of poor communication, lack of motivation among employees, and micromanagement (Yammarino & Danserau, 2009). Fifth, the committee should send a summary of findings to other departments and suggest ways of effective communication with employees. Finally, there should be continuous evaluation and monitoring processes of the implementation of changes to ensure adherence to operational procedures.
Alternative strategies – the next steps in solving the situation
The organization can take other steps to solve the problem in the translation department by considering the plausible alternatives of transparent communication, breakdown of boundaries, being open-minded, and establishing a strong strategic foundation.
When solving the problem, open communication should be adopted because it enables the consideration of everyone’s perspectives and concerns. In addition, perspectives and concerns should be expressed in a free environment. Failure to embrace open communication may result in failure to address the root cause of the problem. Indeed, communication is significant in problem-solving because it eliminates the fear of parties that may fear victimization because of expressing their concerns. Failure to embrace open communication and free expression of concerns make the realization of solutions elusive, which could take a long time with negative implications on organizational performance (Carmeli, Gelbard & Reiter-Palmon, 2013). To achieve open communication, a leader should show his ability to encourage open communication.
He or she should create a free atmosphere for people to express their concerns and propose practical solutions. Having considered all perspectives raised, the leadership can then work with employees to find a feasible and sustainable way forward (Wart, 2008). Although communication is an important aspect of problem-solving, people are often reluctant to be open. This makes it vital for a leader to take the initiative and challenge employees to be open and enhance action responsibility (Wart, 2008).
Removal of boundaries
Boundaries in hierarchies within departments are hindrances to effective solution of the leadership problem because they facilitate hidden agendas and hinder cross-functional efficiencies. Therefore, such boundaries should be removed in pursuance of common objectives. Clearly, the case highlights the significance of boundaries in generating problems in the department. This highlights the importance of promoting an entrepreneurial environment where everyone is allowed to take initiative and cooperate in developing solutions. With a clear understanding of the workplace, subordinates are able to think about various issues because they know their areas of influence (Wart, 2008).
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On the other hand, boundaries make it hard for employees to understand the organization, which makes it difficult for people to collaborate. Boundaries hinder cross functional cooperation and reasoning as a team as it makes people focus on individual objectives. Boundaries make people seek individual progression that leads to a lack of collective progress. In such a case, the environment is egoistic and filled with jealous. Removing boundaries makes it possible for members to engage each other, avoid organizational politicking and strengthen the organization through better solutions and performance (Carmeli et al., 2013).
Open-mindedness is an important ingredient to achieving open communication and breaking boundaries. Failure to be open-minded results in a tricky and long process to achieving a lasting solution. Some people in the organization, such as Abdulla, love self-exaltation and create chaos to hide their inefficiencies, which hinders problem solving. Thus, Abdulla wants to appear better than others do. Open minds make people achieve the best because they are encouraged to be innovative. Open-mindedness makes people have a broader picture and see an opportunity in every tricky situation. Such people solve problems and continue with the business of achieving growth in the organization. On the other hand, close-minded people make the situation worse because they do not see the problem at hand as an opportunity for future development (Yammarino & Danserau, 2009).
Strong strategic foundation through effective leadership
Effective problem solving needs a strong strategic foundation through identifying effective strategic direction to solve the current and future concerns. The approach eliminates the temptation of digressing and using substitute solutions, which do not last long. A strong strategic foundation requires leaders to be effective in involving the right people and other resources based on practical experience (Northouse, 2012). The focus is on achieving individual transformation and motivating people to embrace collaboration and to use the current problem as a reason to achieve more unity than before (Sirman, 2008). Indeed, effective problem-solving is a clear indication of an effective leader and strong character. Effective leaders have preconceived solutions and collaborate with others to find the best way forward.
The internalized strategy acts as a framework for mapping and dealing with the problem. In most cases, effective leaders prepare for different outcomes and capitalize on people’s strengths to develop sustainable strategies. Problems are unique and require unique solutions that could be achieved through being realistic. For effective leadership, the process of solving problems should be seamless and should make the organization and its people better (Connor & Netting, 2009).
Choice of action and strategy – reaction to different leadership behaviour to subordinates
Considering the alternatives discussed above and the leadership issues affecting Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s translation department, the best strategy is the establishment of effective leadership through a strong strategic foundation. Other than the leader taking a personal initiative, employees should be proactive in the development of a strong strategic foundation for sustainable solutions to current problems. In achieving this, employees should foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork, which means pursuing organizational objectives as a route to meeting personal aspirations (Sirman, 2008). Through cooperation with the leader, the employees should foster an environment where people develop personal connections, which are necessary for supporting each other through understanding the leader and subordinates’ strengths and weaknesses (Connor & Netting, 2009).
With personal connections, subordinates and their leader develop important relationships, which in turn foster a culture of teamwork and cooperation (Sirman, 2008). Considering the situation at Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, the concerned parties would benefit through promoting face-to-face interactions, which help in stating individual positions with an open mind. Indeed, being open, true and transparent is the best way of airing personal opinions. This enables the integration of different perspectives that have positive outcomes. Personal integrity is critical because it means that employees work with the best intentions in mind, which results in innovativeness (Wart, 2008).
Above all, employees must encourage the leader to promote feedback, which is a major precursor for improving performance (Croteau & Smith, 2012; Shafritz, Russell & Borick, 2012). As an employee, it is important to embrace positive problem solving as the major source of organizational growth and opportunity creation. A situation such as that in the translation department should provide vital lessons to improve personal lives and business processes. At all times, there should be maturity, courage and action responsibility (Wart, 2008).
Analysis of generalizations – if boss rejects feedback
Although the current case focuses on leadership challenges, it draws important lessons that could help in dealing with a leader who rejects constructive feedback. Focus on dealing with such a boss should highlight the significance of the feedback. It should be substantive and thoughtful to make sense for the boss and it should be presented with the right attitude. Workers should focus highlight the important feedback, listen carefully to the boss, sell the idea to the boss and maintain the determination to see change. With this, the boss may soften his stance and try to implement the feedback provided.
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