Leadership can be defined as actions that are being taken by an individual at the time of leading a group in order to attain specific goals and objectives. In present time, there are various leadership styles exists that could be utilised by an individual as per the requirements (Bolman, and Deal, 2017). Existing report is going to be enclosed with own experience of leadership, areas for own development and critical evaluation of leadership of Jeff Bezos who found Amazon with the help of different leadership theories. Moreover, this assignment will keep its focus on essential traits and skills that are needed to be followed by an individual while assigning tasks, or managing the team members. This could aid in developing right kind of opportunities where enhancement of both individual and team is going to be done in much effective and efficient manner.
1. Critically reflect on your own experience of leadership and suggest areas for your own development, including an Action Plan
In present business world, leadership has been one of a crucial aspect which is helping an individual to lead its team. On the other hand, a leader is being considered as an individual that influences a group of people towards the achievement of a goal. Being as a voluntary worker in Oxfam it is required for me to keep focus on my own skills and traits as well so that I can serve people with right services as per their needs or requirements. This could be understood with an example where: A leader by its meaning is one who goes first and leads, so that others are motivated to follow him. This is a basic requirement. To be a leader, a person must have a deep-rooted commitment to the goal that he will strive to achieve it even if nobody follows him! Me and my team of ten members have decided to serve people in specific area where the clients will be of old age starting from 50. We have decided to provide them accommodation, food and jobs as well so that they can live their life with an aim of improving life standards. It is vital for me to keep my candidates motivated towards their work so that they may perform well. Regarding this, it is necessary for me to focus on my own beliefs while limiting my staff.
Since it is really very hard for me to keep on pushing my team to work on without even providing them any sort of benefits (monitory), this could raise issues and can bring thought among their mind related to leaving the jobs. In order to overcome from all of these situations. On the other hand, I have used McGregor’s (1960) Theory X & Y Leadership and transformational leadership, to gain deeper knowledge related to my own staff members because voluntary work is not at all an easy work to do where self-interest is pretty much needed and it is also required for them to face changes as well as per the requirements of clients that are performing well. According to Day, (2014), leadership can be defined as an ability of company's management to set and achieve challenging goals, take swift and decisive action, outperform the competition, and inspire others to perform well. It is tough to place a value on leadership or other qualitative aspects of an organisation, compared to quantitative metrics that are commonly tracked and much easier to compare between firms. Since I have been an effective and active participant, I have kept my focus on continuous evaluation of my staff as well. This led me to reach to an all new level at the same time where I was rapidly delivering right kind of services to my old aged clients as well.
While working at Oxfam and delivering a good range of services to old age, I have analysed that, being a lead is not an easy task because, I have been using different kind of leadership styles on the basis of needs of my own and I also took suggestions as well considering both transactional and transformational leadership styles.
A brief discussion on both transformational and transactional leading styles are done beneath:
Transformational Leadership Style: Primal aim of this kind of leadership style is to transmute staff as well as the organisation so that goals and objectives could be attained right on time (Transformational Leadership Theory, 2018). Here, change heart or mind; vision enlargement, understanding or insights, clarity based on the purpose and principles or values are some of factors which stays connected and these could aid working with the team in much effective and efficient manner (Storey, 2016).
Transactional Leadership Style: This kind of leadership is most often compared to transformational leadership. Transactional leadership depends on self-motivated people who work well in a structured, directed environment. While working as a leader in Oxfam and at the time of handling a team of ten members, it is being analysed by me that, clients needs can get changed which might put my team members in trouble. Therefore, I have found that considering a few points are necessary and these are given beneath:
Charisma: I analysed that, charisma could easily offer my team with a great vision and sense as well related to set missions, gains respect, instils pride, and trust which could easily aid in developing right working environment as well.
Inspiration: Looking at present business environment, communication related to expectations could stay high. Here, while communicating with my team members, it will be required for me to focus on efforts, expresses important purposes in simple ways (Hargreaves, Boyle and Harris, 2014).
Intellectual Stimulation: While working in Oxfam, and at the time of delivering right services to clients, it gets vital for the me to keep an eye on staff and promotes intelligence, rationality, and careful problem solving. Because through this only, effective
Individualized Consideration: Here, I have kept my focus on personal attention, treats my team members as well individually and keep on advising them as per their needs and requirements.
While working at Oxfam and delivering a good range of services to old age, it is required for an individual to keep its focus on various important soft skills and techniques like developing leadership skills so that services rendered to common people are at their best possible level. Also leader of Oxfam needs to develop communication skills , decision making skills and so on for smooth functioning and improving quality of services provided. My communication skills when individually rated by me on a scale of 10 were almost 5 out of 10 which implies that I was not able to effectively communicate my ideas and thoughts to other people efficiently which affected functioning and growth of Oxfam as a voluntary organisation was happening at very slow pace. I further, raised my communication skills by removing barriers between communication and making it accessible for all. Other aspect of soft skills that needs to be developed by me is decision making skill. It is a thought process which helps managers to select possible alternative out of all available choices (Barbera, 2014).
As a voluntary worker of Oxfam, I usually face such situations on a daily basis regarding demand and supply of basic facilities where I have to choose best possible option and for that I need to evaluate and develop my decision making skills by using proper training methods and techniques. Our organisation emphasized on both transactional as well as transformational approach of decision making for selecting best way of providing services to people. While using transactional theory, it was more management focussed process and aimed at overall performance of Oxfam in which subordinates were motivated through rewards and punishment. It focussed on overall growth of an organisation and not individuals. Whereas, while using transformational leadership individual as well as overall growth both were equally emphasized and hence we got a develop our skills on an individual level as well. On the other hand, it is also talked about me, I could also use situational leadership style as well, because it could aid me in making right determinations as per the requirements of the situation.
Transformational leadership theory comes into force at Oxfam when we need to analyse and evaluate current working situations and implement necessary changes that further help in growth and development through effective inspiration. Under this form of leadership, changes in rules and policies of serving people and fund collection were formulated.
When compared both these techniques are equally effective but one focusses on overall growth and development and other focusses on individual as well as group efforts and overall growth. Both these techniques help in effective functioning of Oxfam (Aarons and et. al., 2014).
2. Use leadership theory and concepts in the analysis and evaluation of the leadership of Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon
Jeffrey Preston Bezos is one of a successful entrepreneur who founded Amazon in 1994, and started with online book store and later on expanded it to provide wide range of services (audio and video streaming) and products. With passage of time Amazon became largest supplier of cloud infrastructure and online sales company.
Leadership principles followed by Jeff Bezos attracted wide range of customers in such a way that they are obsessed with services offered to them (customers). Employers devote plenty of time to understand customers and needs and also they keep eye on competition present in market. New products are introduced and features are enhanced of existing product to give strong competition. Ownership quality is acquired by employees so that they can focus on long term as well as short term goals. Leaders have strong instincts and they are right on judgements made by them. Leaders hire employees who have unique skill set to raise performance (McCleskey, 2014).
Jeff used social exchange theory to maintain individuals who have psychological and economic needs. Ideas between leaders and followers are exchanged for specified rewards. Employees should be self-motivated. Traits Theory in general refers to ways and methods which is generally used by managers and leaders to describe a person or create his identity. It uses descriptive terms such as out going, Jeff Bezos possessed traits which are suitable in leadership. Jeff identified leadership quality in himself and tried to identify strong and weak points. He made a survey to know how efficient he is as a leader. Survey is analysed and he tried to find out difference between his and others perspectives and then Jeff improved his skills depending on survey. Trait theory used by him focussed on leaders and not on employees. Traits are possessed by Jeff and it is not possible to train employees and develop within them same traits.
Behavioural Theory, Behaviour of Jeff depended on market and kind of response received from customers. Jeff initiated an idea and organized that idea, clarified and gathered information related to idea for efficient working. Jeff focussed on encouraging employees, observed their behaviour, listened to ideas given by them and trained them as per his (Jeff) idea.
Behaviour of leader is relevant at particular situation but it can be irrelevant with respect to other situation. Time is not taken into account. Situational Theory, Situation affected leadership of Jeff. Situation refers to scenario with problems/issues related to various factors. Leader is not successful if same strategies are applied in same situation. Way to handle different issues vary with problems it has brought. Situational theory developed by Hersey and Blanchard includes supportive participation, delegation, directive and high task and relationship orientation. Perspective of employees varies and culture and politics can be neglected by them. Leadership is individualistic concept.
Contingency Theory- Tannenbaum and Schmidt designed theory which consisted of boss-centred leadership and subordinate-centred leadership. Contingency theory is reflects that there is no specific way to manage organisational situations. So its better for the leader top adopt strategies according to the situation. Jeff Bezos have adopted this theory for dealing their operational problems in effective manner. Jeff makes decision and announces those strategies. Manager exchange decision with employees, present ideas and invites question from employees (Demirtas and Akdogan, 2015).
Tentative decision are made which can be changed at later moment of time depending on problems. Limits are decided by managers and within those limits subordinates function.
Transformational Theory- In this leadership theory, leaders are mainly analysing overall working practices for understanding requirement of change and they further creates future vision for company. They basically focuses on transforming overall business organisation. It has been analysed Jeff Bezos have adopted this theory as Jeff is capable of inspiring employees beyond requirements of job. Jeff encouraged employees to explore new possibilities and communicate with employees to get and share ideas. Employees saw Jeff as role model and followed instructions and guidelines given to them. Jeff needs employees to agree on ideas given by him, if employees feel vision is dissolute then they refuse to agree. Due to growth in demand Jeff needs that employees should devote extra time to meet those which can lead to burnout. Focus is on self rather than employees means achieving goals is foremost. Productivity is decreased if leader fails to recognize demands. Jeff gives overview of problem or idea which can make leaders bond to end price to achieve goal rather then giving look on complete details.
Transactional Theory is a leadership theory in which leaders uses reward and punishments to influence their employees to perform their job responsibility effectively. Jeff Bezos have adopted this theory with the usage of rules and regulations for which he employed people and resources in organized way to achieve goal. Jeff is self-motivated and team members work under him in structured environment. For implementing this theory Jeff motivates team members to increase productivity so that end outcome is obtained. Goal is created by Jeff and each employee is directed to work to achieve that. Cost effective strategies are built so that productivity can be increased with reasonable price (Hogan, 2017).
Rules and regulations are made and each employer is confined to them which leads to loose in individual personality or employer has to work on skills which are not possessed. Goals are fixed by Jeff means work is given to employees and they have to do it, employees innovations are nowhere. Jeff focus on consequences rather than rewards means blame is on team when something goes wrong but when everything is right then no one is given reward. Employees are exhausted when they have to work outside working hours.
Distributed Leadership Theory, Jeff used a method which involves endeavour from stakeholders. It includes communication and activities between employees in organisation. Jeff increased creativity, spontaneity and initiative to influence activities. Jeff focussed on quality, financial transparency, motivation, improve communication and better relations between managers and academics. Internal competition can increase between employees, lack of clarity, decision-making process can be affected, focus on development of leadership can be reduced and role of leadership can be degraded with everyone rational as they can do it.
Critical Leadership Theory, Jeff focussed on critical review of society and meditative assessment by implementing knowledge gained from humanity and social science. Jeff has high moral and ethical standards, if those standards will not be maintained then employees will not consider judgement made by them. Jeff is strict about guidelines and goals given to employees but every aspect of task should not be dictated by him as it will be just implementation of idea and way to formulate it given by Jeff, there will be no innovation, creativity of employees. Jeff should be open to ideas given by employees so that great things happen (Dinh and et. al., 2014).
Ethics of leadership, refers to appropriate as well as desirable morals and values on the basis of society and individual at large. It deals with individuals purity and also intentions. It is necessary for an organisation or individual to follow ethical consideration in performing any activities or tasks. An ethical leadership is directed through respect for the ethical beliefs and values for rights and dignity of others. In context to this, ethics is necessary for leadership (Liden and et. al., 2014)). Jeff Bezos is a technology, philanthropist and entrepreneur and is chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Amazon company. It motivate its employees and also guide them in a proper manner so that they can perform in a better manner and focus on attaining the specific aims within given period of time. Jeff Bezos influence its followers or subordinates to attain common objectives, work in a team and also treat subordinates with love and respect. He develops ethical environment in company because he has an ability to developing an effective organisational values (Waldman, 2014).
As Jeff Bezos is a successful entrepreneur as well as better leader, he has effective leadership characteristics. The main characteristic which he is respectfulness. He respects the other people and as ethical leader he respect the decisions, values and feelings of other people. It implies treating followers in manner that help in authenticate beliefs and values. On the other hand, Jeff Bezos has community building skills and he considers followers as well as his purposes at the time of making efforts to attain his and follower’s goals (Han, 2014). Honesty is also a main characteristic which Jeff Bezos have. Honesty is necessary to an effective or ethical leader. Jeff Bezos earn the respect from its staff and presents circumstances as well as true fact. Henceforth, it can easily be said that Jeff Bezos have been one of effective entrepreneurs that took Amazon to an all new level and have given high number of benefits as well (Demirtas, 2015).
With the help of above mentioned report, it is being concluded that leaders within a company plays an important role and it is necessary for every organisation to have an effective leader. This could aid a company in reaching to an all new level in short span. Away with this, it is also required for the leaders to keep their focus on building their traits or skills as per the requirements so that maximum benefits could easily be gained right on time. Along with this, it is necessary for leaders to use different leadership styles as per needs of the situation so that effective benefits can be observed.
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