Sample Leadership Studies Paper on Team Management and Effectiveness

Task 1: Company Policies and Procedures

Company policies and procedures help to direct and monitor specific behaviors within an organization.  Moreover, they outline the individual responsibilities of the employees and the employers. The policies and procedures address the employer interests and protect the workers’ rights. Various policies are available as rules on how employees should conduct themselves including through work attendance, management of information privacy, dressing to work and respecting the employment terms and conditions. Australian Hardware has a policy document that clearly outlines various aspects of employee conduct.  Through the policies and procedures, the employees are guided on how to behave under various circumstances. The following policies are applicable for all employees and should be signed as the code of conduct before starting one’s employment with the organization. The policies are part of the larger employee handbook for the company and should be considered important to every employee.

Employee Conduct Policy

This policy describes the duties and responsibilities of every employee with reference to the terms of employment. The policy was put in place to provide guidance on various aspects of expected employee behavior, including how they dress, expected adherence to the stipulated work safety practices, guidance on employee harassment prevention and reporting procedures, and instructions on the use of workplace properties. As part of the workplace properties use policy, the guidelines describe the use of company internet and computers. The policy also describes disciplinary procedures that can be followed for different types of inappropriate behaviors. Some of the disciplinary procedures include employee termination, show cause notice, and warnings. In other cases, disciplinary procedures may include suspension and compulsory leave without pay.

Equal Opportunity Policies

Besides the general employee behavior policy, the company also has an equal opportunity policy that guides the hiring behaviors in the company. The equal opportunity policy describes practices that can be linked to affirmative action and anti-prejudicial decision making, and thus promotes the fair treatment of all staff at the Australian Hardware. This policy encourages unprejudiced workplace behavior in the organization by discouraging undue discrimination from employees, supervisors, and various independent contractors that can work within the company. Racial, cultural, gender, or religious discrimination are prohibited at the organization.

Attendance and Time-off Policies

The organization also has the attendance and time-off policy to guide employees on adhering to their work schedules. The policies define the behavior of employees with regards to scheduling time-offs, notifying their superiors of the same and any absences if any. The policy also describes the code of conduct for supervisors in addressing concerns around employees who fail to adhere to their work schedules or to communicate on time about their inability to do so. It also provides guidelines on the annual leaves policy, sick leave, maternal/ paternal leaves, and other paid off days. The policy also states the disciplinary actions that supervisors may take when employees miss more days of their scheduled work than they had initially planned.

Substance Abuse Policies

The substance abuse policy is another policy at the Australian Hardware. At the organization, substance abuse is not classified among other forms of offenses with a wide range of disciplinary procedures. During company functions and working hours, the policy asserts that the use of various substances including alcohol, tobacco products, and other types of drugs is prohibited within the company property. Smoking zones are provided for employees who intend to smoke in the workplace and must be followed to the letter if the employees need to smoke within the premises. There are also clearly stipulated procedures for testing for drugs among suspected drug and alcohol abusers.

Workplace Security Policies

The company’s workplace security policy is aimed at protecting humans in the organization as well as the physical properties owned by the organization. The policy covers aspects such as entry into the hardware, including the use of employee ID cards and various procedures that can be used to sign in guests into the facility. Equipment such as the company phones and laptops are protected under the policy. The policy states security measures such as changing of access passwords to the company laptops and computers, procedures for reporting phishing attempts, and using personal storage devices for the company computers.

Task 2: Leadership Styles

From the different leadership practices described in this case study; it is possible to determine the specific approaches to leadership for the different leaders and also to give guidance on the practices towards improvement.

The first case is that of John. John practices servant leadership, which is transformative. By believing in his role in serving customers, John demonstrates to his staff how they should handle the customers, and they can learn from him. While this practice is a good example of the role of the leader in helping others, John can make his leadership even more effective by setting aside time to listen to his people. The staff needs guidance as much as they need help in conducting their roles, which is what John has been doing. By not having sufficient time for the employees, John may create a gap between him and them, which can hinder effective communication in the workplace.

The case of Michelle is an example of laissez faire leadership in which the leader considers herself more as part of the team than as a boss. While this type of leadership may be good in large corporate where specific roles are assigned to individuals at different stages in the organization, The best action Michelle can take now is to put in a little authoritativeness in her action as a boss. She also needs to find out the causes of the hostility that is coming up from the employees. It is possible that those employees see her less of a boss and more of a colleague hence the probable disrespect.

Maria’s case is that of authoritative leadership. In spite of the high performance, it is possible that the employees feel constrained in their decision making. Maria’s words encouraging the employees to come to her for any advice may be contradicting her actions in a bid to run ‘a tight ship’ hence their intention to look for new jobs. She should, therefore, work towards creating an environment that will support the employees not only in their work but also in being innovative in the work environment. The employees should not feel constrained but rather free to explore.

Task 3: Sean’s Memo

While making efforts to create an impact among his Australian Hardware employees, Sean should be aware of his current position as well as his intended position. For this reason, his memo should be reflective of the progress they have made as an organization, an appreciation of the role each member of staff is playing towards making progress, and how they can focus on moving forward with better performance in the organization. He can also use the memo to communicate his plans for the organization and how each of the staff can participate in it. However, this last communication can only be reasonable if the other employees are already aware of the intention to promote Sean. By writing this memo, Sean will be making his mark on the staff at Australian Hardware and increasing his visibility as a leader in the organization.

Considering Sean’s past performance, it can be observed that his strengths include: willingness to put in a lot more to achieve his goals, self-drive, and his positive attitude towards work and the company. On the other hand, his main weakness is the thirst for power, which can drive him towards authoritarian leadership. Sean may be successful in improving the attitudes of others in his company. This, however, depends on his capacity to use transformational leadership by guiding others, helping others, and directing them in their performance. The probability of Sean yielding much power as a supervisor will also depend on how he handles other employees and how they perceive him. For that power to exist, Sean will need to focus on growing others. Additionally, he should not be bent on possessing power but rather on leading the people.

Task 4: Team Performance Plan

  Action 1 Action 2 Action 3
Description Creation of an organizational strategic plan. Strategic plan execution Monitoring and evaluation
Dependencies The availability of all managers and input from the Australian Hardware owner. The execution depends on strategic plans. Initiation of the execution stage.
Timeline 3 months From 3 months onwards. Continuous
Responsibility The supervisor (Sean) The supervisor and other employees. Hardware management
Resources Organizational plans Finances, human resources. Human resources; project evaluation tools
Review dates Monthly Weekly Continuous
Measurement; KPIs; Outcomes Ready strategic plan. Achievement of specific elements of the strategic plan. Feedback systems; and progress towards goals.

Task 5: Questions and Answers

  1. Define:
    1. A manager – an individual responsible for commanding and/ or controlling a group such as employees.
    2. A leader – an individual who controls, directs and guides a team towards specific goals and objectives.
    3. Delegation – commissioning someone to perform tasks that would ordinarily not be part of their job description.
    4. Motivation – a set of inspirations that make someone behave in a particular way.
  2. Leadership styles
    1. Autocratic leadership – the leader directs and controls the actions of followers without any consultations.
    2. Participative/ democratic leadership – one or more followers is included in the decision making process but the leader makes the ultimate decision.
    3. Delegative/ laissez- fair – the employees are allowed to make decisions but the leader takes the responsibility for the decisions.
    4. Coaching leadership style – leaders are more like mentors and coaches to the followers.
  3. Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation – the theory posits that human needs exist in hierarchies, defined by the pyramid of needs. Behavioral motivation occurs at different needs level depending on the satisfaction of lower levels of needs.
  4. Benefits of teams
    1. Building trust
    2. Fostering learning and creativity
    3. Enhances conflict resolution skills
    4. Encourages healthy risk taking
    5. Builds individual strengths.
  5. Delegation principles – delegation is whereby an employee is allowed to carry out responsibilities that are outside his/ her job description.
    1. Principle of unity of command – there should be a single reporting structure to enhance communication.
    2. Functional definition principle – related activities have to be grouped together based on enterprise function.
    3. Principle of absolute responsibility – delegation of tasks comes with delegation of responsibility.
    4. Parity of authority and responsibility – there should be a balance between delegated responsibility and delegated authority.
    5. Scalar principle – the chain of authority must be linear.
  6. Leadership Role Modeling – Barrack Obama
    1. Charismatic strength
    2. Selflessness
    3. Audacity
  7. Leadership styles – authoritarian- where the leader makes all decisions and her directions are non-negotiable; and coaching – where the leader is more like a guide and a coach, and is focused on team building. The coaching style (Consuela’s) is more appropriate to the organizational context because it enhances internal marketing, increases motivation within the team and inspires the team to be more productive unlike Freida’s style which promotes high employee turnover. Supervisors should consider employees as an essential resource in an organization and focus on promoting employee well-being. As such, fostering consultation, creativity and team building is paramount for success in any supervisory position.
  8. Ways of recognizing and rewarding team members
    1. Bonuses – to employees who exceed their targets.
    2. Awards – such as employee of the week award for exemplary performers.
    3. Non-cash rewards – such as certificates, holidays and fun projects.
  9. Actions that aid in conflict resolution – understanding the root cause of the conflict, listening, communicating effectively, asking questions, negotiating, proposing solutions, problem solving, accepting corrections, team work, emotional stability, democratic leadership, agreement, planning, supporting others, remaining calm, apologizing, and forgiveness.
  10. Vertical and horizontal conflicts – vertical conflicts are conflicts across different levels of organizational hierarchy such as between a supervisor and a follower; while horizontal conflicts are those that occur within the same level of the hierarchy e.g. between two cashiers.
  11. Constructive and destructive conflicts – constructive conflicts aim at maximizing opportunities by balancing the interests of both parties towards mutually beneficial solutions. Destructive conflicts on the other hand are a result of rigid and competitive systems with each party focusing on their own self interests.
  12. Theory of propinquity – the theory states that individuals associate with each other as a result of geographical or spatial proximity, such as that which exists between employees in the same organization.
  13. Social balance theory – the balance theory explains how relationships are developed between people and/ or things in a shared environment. It posits that when people consider several elements in a single environment as a system, they are likely to desire to maintain balance within that system and hence are motivated to restore balance where that balance seems to have been lost.
  14. Exchange theory – proposes that social behavior is the outcome of an exchange process aimed at maximizing benefits and minimizing risks and costs. The society is the product of a series of those exchanges.
  15. Characteristics of different stages of group development
    1. Forming – Group members come together based on their shared interests and recognize the objective of coming together.
    2. Storming – clarification of group purpose, designation of responsibilities and formation of in-group relationships.
    3. Norming – agreement and consensus among team members under facilitation by a selected leader.
    4. Performing – the process through which group members execute the assigned responsibilities, each person playing their part in efforts to achieve the intended objective.
    5. Adjourning – the group is concluded/ closed and members dispersed following the achievement of group objectives. The adjournment may also happen prematurely due to inability to bond and norm among group members.