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Transformation Leadership and Team Leadership Case Study


Introduction

Leadership in an organisation determines the success that the organisation realises in any activity that it undertakes. A leader provides direction to any group in an organisational setting. He or she leads the group towards the achievement of the set organisational goals.

The frameworks used in leadership are dependent on the organisational environment and the individuals who are in a leadership position. It is important for these individuals to adopt a framework that suits the organisations in which they currently work. Another concept that is demonstrated to have significant results for any organisation is the presence of teams that are focused towards the achievement of the organisational goals. The teams should have an effective leadership.

Transformational leadership is one of the major frameworks of leadership in organisations. According to Bass (1996, p. 11), transformational leadership is manifested when leaders in various positions use their influence on individuals to move them to a certain goal that is beyond the leader’s self-interest. This report focuses on transformational leadership and team leadership using an appropriate case study. The purpose is to evaluate the use of the two frameworks in organisations and their weaknesses and strengths in practice.

Leadership Case Study

The leadership challenge that was chosen is a personal experience as a manager in a project undertaken by the current organisation. In this case, the project manager was the leader, with the group being led consisting of over twenty members. The group had different responsibilities in the project.

The organisation required an upgrade of the IT systems that were currently in use, including the rebranding of one of the organisation’s products. The requirements included a website that was to be developed by some of the members in the group, development of new marketing tactics, and ways to increase the sales for the company.

The group was to hold meetings regularly to discuss the project developments and the necessary changes. The leader chaired these meetings. Members were required to contribute positively by suggesting the appropriate measures to be taken in bringing about change. The team leader was also charged with the responsibility of reporting the development of the project to the organisational managers. The employees had a duty to undertake the key tasks that were required under the project, including the actual upgrade process.

Some of the strategies that the leader used to inspire this team included the provision of adequate working conditions where they did not interfere with the activities of the project. The leader also ensured that the team members were role models to the junior employees, including their conduct during the meetings and other interaction areas. The leader also had the role of emphasising some aspects of the project such as the intended changes and the vision that is to be achieved in the project.

Some of the challenges that occurred in the course of the project in relation to leadership include the disagreement between employees on the best methods of performing certain activities. The employees constantly engaged each other on whose project was better suited to oversee the transformation of the organisation.

The other important role of the leader was to solve differences between employees. There were different races in the workforce, with diversity existing in the project. The other challenge is the implementation of some of the agreed terms in the contract, which required that the project areas be completed on time. This requirement needed the cooperation between the leader and the other employee since working as a team was the only way to beat the deadlines.

The leader ensured that the personal visions were shared among employees while also encouraging them to have these values in their daily operations. The project risks were also important to the leadership, which ensured that these risks were shared with the employees and other collaborating individuals.

Despite the leader being open and close to the employees, there was also a display of power to indicate to them that he was in control. Another value practiced by the leadership is inspirational leadership whereby the leader was involved in motivating employees by recognising and rewarding their hard work.

Leadership Activities

The leader in this context had a number of responsibilities and activities that he was supposed to undertake. One of the major responsibilities was to lead the project and offer direction that the project was to take. The leader was also the head of every meeting that was carried out.

He developed the objectives of the meeting. The other activities that he was to undertake include monitoring the workers and the progress of the project. He was supposed to be a motivator for these individuals by offering guidance on some of the issues that affected them during the project (Grant & Berry 2011). The resolution of disputes was also his responsibility as a way of allowing the coexistence of the employees in a mutually fulfilling environment.

The team, which consisted of the leader and other employees, would regularly meet to discuss the project progress and any changes that were to be instituted. The team also discussed the areas that each of the individuals was supposed to be operating in and the progress of this section as a component of the total project.

Another activity that the project team was allowed to undertake was to offer recommendations to the leader on the areas that were necessary to change. The different members of the team had different responsibilities in the project. Each of these members was required to have fulfilled the responsibilities required of him or her.

The leader had the responsibility of motivating the employees working under him. To achieve this goal, some of the methods that were necessary include employee appraisal and recommendation for rewarding (Grant & Berry 2011).

The leader was also accountable for the team. He was charged with reporting the project progress to the organisation, requesting for resources, and providing a statement of commitment to the organisation leadership on behalf of the team. The team being analysed had the responsibility of influencing the leader and ensuring that he was directing the activities to be undertaken.

The team, which consisted of the leader and the workers beneath him, was required to deliver an upgraded information technology system to the organisation. Some of the necessary activities in this process included website development and hosting, marketing of the website and the organisational products, and increasing the organisational efficiency. Important activities also included providing feedback on the performance of the new installed systems and the expected changes in terms of consumer preference.

Leadership Dimensions Analysis

The type of leadership displayed in any organisation can be analysed in a number of ways using the different dimensions of leadership (Ertureten, Cemalcilar & Aycan 2013). In the above case study, the two important leadership dimensions that can be applied include transformational leadership and team leadership.

Transformational leadership

In this leadership dimension, leaders achieve the desired organisational strategies and targets through influencing employees positively (Ertureten, Cemalcilar & Aycan 2013). Transformational leadership achieves new changes in an organisation through the available resources in the organisation in terms of human resource.

According to Ishikawa (2012), this form of leadership is beneficial to the organisation because it leads to the introduction of better practices and organisational culture. Transformational leadership also influences the output of employees in the organisation by increasingly motivating them in the direction of the organisational objectives.

In the organisation covered in this case study, the leader displayed several characteristics of a transformational leader. The five behaviours that a leader should exhibit in transformational leadership may be analysed using Kouzes and Posner’s (2010) model of leadership behaviours.

In this model, Kouzes and Posner (2010) listed five groups of behaviours that a leader should express, including modelling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the processes in place, enabling others to act, and encouraging them. These elements comprise some component areas that leaders should satisfy before they can be branded as being transformational.

The project leader demonstrated this leadership by being an example for the employees working under him. As Kouzes and Posner (2010) confirm, a leader is only effective at the workplace if he or she can influence employees to work towards the organisational goals. The leader is the main example for the employees in the activities that they (employees) are to undertake.

In the project that was being undertaken, the initial strategies involved the creation of rules, just like in any other organisation. The team was also expected to adhere to the basic rules in the organisation. The leader was charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the employees kept these rules. A transformative leader ensures that the rules in the organisation are respected, like any other leader in any capacity (Choudhary, Akhtar & Zaheer 2013).

The initial meetings held by the team also involved making commitments to the project, with the leader making promises to the group. Transformational leadership ensures that the promises and commitments are fulfilled, with the leader being a role model in this area (Ertureten, Cemalcilar & Aycan 2013).

A major activity in transformational leadership that the project leader engaged in is seeking feedback from key employees and project stakeholders. Feedback allows the management to institute any change that is necessary for the organisation, especially a change that can lead to better project results (Ertureten, Cemalcilar & Aycan 2013).

A transformational leader is one that builds consensus when it comes to organisational values (Kouzes & Posner (2010). In this case, the leader was expected to fulfil the values set for the project by the organisational management.

These values were communicated to the group in some of the meetings held with the leader to build consensus around the same. The philosophy of leadership is important to understand in the position of leadership. Leaders should be focused on this philosophy. In the above project, the leader was required to exercise the leadership qualities that are expected of him.

Kouzes and Posner (2010) stated that a leader should inspire a vision that is shared with the employees. The IT upgrade project had a focused vision that could be achieved by the time of completion. The leader had the responsibility to inspire this vision as stated by Kouzes and Posner (2010).

This deliverable was partly done in the project, with the leadership requiring change to achieve the optimum change results. Some of the characteristics that indicated that the leader was actively inspiring the project vision include the frequent talks on the trend of the project and the future expectations.

The leader constantly reminded the employees of the future image of the project while engaging them to share this vision. According to Kouzes and Posner (2010), a transformational leader is one that demonstrates to the other employees and those beneath him in the hierarchy that the vision can be realised.

He also paints the bigger picture for the team on the aspirations that it should have (Kouzes & Posner 2010).This form of leadership was displayed in the project where the values were emphasised in the meetings held for the project employees.

A leader should also challenge the existing processes to ensure that the employees increase their efficiency (Kouzes & Posner 2010). The project leadership in the case study had different ways of challenging the existing processes in the project. One of the utilised ways was the provision of opportunities that are considered challenging to the employees. According to Kouzes and Posner (2010), the establishment of such opportunities makes the employees more skilful at their workplace and in carrying out the designated activities.

The leader kept challenging the employees to try new methods of achieving better results in the project. Some of the ways that were suggested to the employees and other project stakeholders were sought from different organisations. According to Kouzes and Posner (2010), this method of changing processes is an effective one, which leads to the development of positive results in any organisation that adopts it.

Sarwar (2013) also states that transformational leaders can use processes that are already in use in other organisations to bring about change in their respective organisations. According to Oozes and Posner (2010), another way to bring about change to processes in an organisation is to set goals and strategic plans on how the objectives are to be achieved. This strategy was widely practiced in the leadership manifested in the above case study.

A transformational leader should be able to influence employees while posting better results by facilitating the activities of other employees. Oozes and Posner (2010) suggested ways to achieve this goal such as the fostering of cooperation between the leader and employees under him.

Listening to the views of each of the employees or supporting their decisions is another important part of transformational leadership (Sarwar 2013). The leader in the case study used these methods to ensure that the employees working under him were working towards the achievement of the goals set in the organisation.

Apart from instituting changes in the organisation, a transformational leader also brings about change to the employees (Sarwar 2013). One way that the leader can institute this change is by encouraging employees to pursue self-improvement strategies such as engaging in training activities (Sarwar 2013).

The leader also needs to encourage employees to accomplish tasks (Sarwar 2013). This plan was applied in the leadership capacity in the above organisation. The leader also celebrated the accomplishments of the employees working in the project by rewarding them for an extra effort that they put towards this project.

Team Leadership

Team leadership is another key concept that was applied in the project discussed in the case study. The team comprised engineers working on the project, IT specialists, and the supporting staff. The employees were also diverse, with all sexes and most of the races being represented.

The other characteristic of this team that was important in its working as a group was the leadership applied in the organisation, specifically in the project. According to Quigley (2013), the leadership of a team requires a leader to consider the differences in the team and promote the positive coexistence of the members of the team.

In the case of the above project, the project leader was also the team leader who was required to have the needs of all members of this team considered and all their needs met. According to Park and Kwon (2013), a team leader should have adequate knowledge on how to direct the staff.

He or she should adopt a policy development process that is favourable to the objectives of the organisation. In this case, the leader was required to have the right ideas on the project. He needed to have adequate knowledge of the processes to be undertaken. The leadership in the project was well informed on the project details. The leader made decisions regarding the necessary changes.

The team leader should also have strong interpersonal skills to ensure that he gets the most out of the team (Quigley 2013). This strategy involves interacting openly and widely with each member of the team and knowing the members’ preferences and requirements in the processes.

The team leader in the above project knew most of the members. He had interacted with them on a large scale. However, the leader could have done better to ensure that the employees worked as a team. A team leader in any project such as the one above should know the amount of resources needed to achieve the project goals (Quigley 2013). The leader displayed this expertise in the project.

The project required the team to carry out activities within strict deadlines that had been agreed between the leader and the team as a whole. This observation was a positive reflection of the team leadership skills of the above leader since Quigley (2013) states that good team leaders have strong organisational skills.

A team leader encourages the team to meet deadlines while maintaining the quality of work in the process of meeting these deadlines. Another favourable characteristic of a good team leader is that he or she is able to promote the organisation’s image to the team and stakeholders including clients. Leaders should use all available means to achieve the above results including innovation and new policies.

Areas of Improvement

Although the leadership skills demonstrated in the above project are adequate, some areas need improvement. The improvement should be tailored to improve the leadership skills in the area of transformational leadership and team leadership.

One area that needs improvement is the interaction between employees and the leader together with how the leader engages employees to achieve the goals set in the project. Grant and Berry (2011) confirm that a leader should be able to achieve collaboration with the employees and individuals beneath him in the hierarchy. In the project described above, the leader needs to ensure that he is aware of the challenges affecting the employees and the diversity issues in existence.

Another area of improvement is the process of providing feedback to the employees in their performance. The employees in the project were not adequately provided with feedback on the activities that they were undertaking in the project. The leader needs to ensure that he uses this feedback to institute the necessary changes to the project processes (Quigley 2013).

There is also need to institute changes in the planning ability for this leader. A leader should set goals for the team while ensuring that the goals are realised within a favourable period (Quigley 2013). These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, and time bound (Christ, Emett, Summers & Wood 2012).

The leader needs to make changes on the way he or she directs employees. There is a need for effective communication between the project leader and the employees working under him (Christ, Emett, Summers & Wood 2012). Communication methods constitute the most effective measures to undertake change in any organisational framework or activity. The other area that the project leader should improve on his team leadership capabilities is motivation for the team members.

Motivation has been associated with improved performance of employees at the workplace (Christ, Emett, Summers & Wood 2012). Team leaders should adopt it as a means of ensuring increased efficiency and improved performance. In general, the leadership qualities displayed in line with the leadership dimensions were adequate. If the proposed changes are effected, the leader can manage a larger project more efficiently.

Summary

Some leadership lessons can be obtained from this case based on their applicability in the future leadership positions with reference to the two dimensions of leadership. A transformational leader should target to influence employees to achieve new methods of doing things in the organisation.

These methods should lead to the positive performance of the organisation as a whole. Some of the suggested features of transformational leadership that are applicable in leadership of projects include setting examples in the organisation, providing feedback to the team, fulfilling the promises and commitments, and demonstrating high standards of leadership.

A leader should also develop strategies that aid in the achievement of goals. These strategies include development of an organisation’s objectives. Leaders should also create an environment where employees can share their dreams (Christ, Emett, Summers & Wood 2012).

The leader in a project or any organisation should create opportunities to challenge the employees on special areas so that they can contribute to their own self-improvement. An effective transformational leader also seeks better practices that can be implemented to improve the organisation.

Team leaders encourage their team. They ensure that members are working towards achieving the goals of this team. They also provide the necessary resources for the team. Team leaders treat their members with dignity and respect. Besides, they value the contribution of each of the members. The choices that the members make are respected, including encouraging them to improve on the job. Rewarding is a useful way of motivating employees and teams towards achieving positive results.

Conclusion

Leadership is an important part of organisation. It is different from management in several ways. The two dimensions of leadership that were focused on in this report are the transformational leadership and team leadership.

In the case study, the leader directs the functions of a group that is tasked with the upgrade of the information technology system in an organisation. Some of the characteristics of transformational leadership and team leadership that are evident in this leadership have been discussed in the report. The report also offers recommendations on the areas of improvement.

References

Bass, B 1996, A New Paradigm of Leadership: An Inquiry Into Transformational Leadership, Army Research Institute for the Behavioural and Social Sciences, Alexandria, VA.

Choudhary, A, Akhtar, S & Zaheer, A 2013, ‘Impact of Transformational and Servant Leadership on Organisational Performance: A Comparative Analysis’, Journal Of Business Ethics, vol. 116 no. 2, pp. 433-440.

Christ, M, Emett, S, Summers, S & Wood, D 2012, ‘The Effects of Preventive and Detective Controls on Employee Performance and Motivation’, Contemporary Accounting Research, vol. 29 no. 2, pp. 432-452.

Ertureten, A, Cemalcilar, Z & Aycan, Z 2013, ‘The Relationship of Downward Mobbing with Leadership Style and Organisational Attitudes’, Journal Of Business Ethics, vol. 116 no. 1, pp. 205-216.

Grant, A & Berry, J 2011, ‘The Necessity of Others is the Mother of Invention: Intrinsic and Prosocial Motivations, Perspective Taking, and Creativity’, Academy Of Management Journal, vol. 54 no. 1, pp. 73-96.

Ishikawa, J 2012, ‘Transformational leadership and gate keeping leadership: The roles of norm for maintaining consensus and shared leadership in team performance’, Asia Pacific Journal Of Management, vol. 29 no. 2, pp. 265-283.

Kouzes, J & Pozner, B 2010, The Leadership Challenge, Jossey-Bass Inc., San Francisco, CA.

Park, J & Kwon, B 2013, ‘Literature Review on Shared Leadership in Teams’, Journal Of Leadership, Accountability & Ethics, vol. 10 no. 3, pp. 28-36.

Quigley, R 2013, ‘A Longitudinal, Multilevel Study of Leadership Efficacy Development in MBA Teams’, Academy Of Management Learning & Education, vol. 12 no. 4, pp. 579-602.

Sarwar, C 2013, ‘Future of Ethically Effective Leadership’, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 113 no. 1, pp. 81-89.

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