Ben Brown ILM assignment 1
Describe the factors that will influence the choice of leadership styles or behaviours in workplace situations
In the workplace there are many different factors that will influence leadership styles, being a maintenance shift supervisor, these factors change from day to day, and a combination of styles is required to do the job to the best I can. A team of engineers can have different personalities therefore may need different leadership styles. At the most negative a team member could be lazy or unmotivated, where as at the most positive a team member could be willing and very motivated to work. This is described using the x and y theory. People’s behaviour can require a mixture of leadership styles, with the laissez-faire approach for the more motivated and an autocratic approach for the less motivated. The work environment is also a factor in this where the task at hand could be very repetitive or boring, a team member could easily lose interest, this would bring out a more autocratic leadership style. In a maintenance environment a breakdown situation may call for a democratic style for best results drawing on all team members experience to find the best possible solution to a problem before commencing work. From a maintenance prospective leadership day to day can be very laissez-faire, with engineers attending reactive breakdowns with little or no input at all from a manager or team leader. Saying this a more autocratic approach may be required when managing a daily, weekly and monthly service schedule where routine is important, and work must be completed to a timescale. In conclusion a wide variety of leadership styles can be applied in the workplace to achieve the best results with a team of engineers. The obvious answer is to use a situational leadership style (Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard 1969) this is a theory that leaders use a range of styles in the workplace to empower a team depending on the current and changing work environment. Although applicable this leadership style can be challenging to apply and can at times delay decision making processes. I think this kind of leadership would be applied by more experienced managers and leaders as it may be difficult to gauge which style to use in different situations.
Explain why these leadership styles are likely to have a positive or negative effect on individual and group behaviour
Positive and negative affect on people’s behaviour in the workplace can depend on what leadership style has been implemented, which is also affected by tasks being carried out by a team. In the maintenance workplace the leadership roles of laissez-faire, autocratic and democratic are the 3 I personally would use. (creating a situational leadership role overall) For getting a job done on time and to a tight schedule an autocratic leadership style can be used, although this may ensure the job gets done it may also have negative affect on a team. Team members may become bored with monotonous tasks, leading to them taking time off, having poor time keeping and ultimately leaving the company. Where an autocratic leadership style is good to get the job done, employees may feel undervalued and look for a job where creativity can be nurtured more. Whereas the opposite approach being the laissez-faire is employed for the reactive side of maintenance cover allowing team members to effectively self-manage and carry out tasks mainly unsupervised. This can have a positive affect where workers feel valued in their job and trusted. Also, this allows a more creative side to the job as team members can make their own choices in how to approach certain tasks. Saying this a negative side to this leadership approach may be that the leader be lazy and is resented by their team for not taking more responsibility for day to day work. This in turn could lead to lower productivity and poor team morale in the long run. A democratic approach is useful in breakdown situations where a leader can use a team’s different skills and knowledge to find the solution to a problem or issue on the shop floor, this can give team members more job satisfaction and higher morale as they are taking on more responsibility in the workplace and are self-managing to a certain degree, also there would be a sense among the team that they are on more of an equal standing with the manager or team leader. Although good this style can also have the negative affect that important decisions will take longer to make as input and discussion from more than one person can take time, in the long run this could lead to more system downtime.
Assess own leadership behaviours and potential in the context of a particular leadership model and own organisations working practices and culture, using feedback from others
To assess my own leadership behaviours, I had a frank discussion with my team on how they view me as a leader, and asked them to highlight any strengths and weaknesses that I may have, areas of improvement and general feeling of team morale. The results of this meeting pointed toward a feeling that I was a democratic leader, who used the team’s knowledge to come to decisions as a collective, and that this was a good approach that worked well for everyone. William Lowe was quoted in saying “we work well as a team as everybody opinion counts and although Ben is the shift supervisor there is not always a clear hierarchy of power at times which leads to a good atmosphere on the team as we come to decisions as a collective on major issues such as breakdowns” Other quotes by the team suggested that I used a laissez-faire leadership style, Jas Gill was quoted in saying “Ben allows us to go about our day to day reactive maintenance without him needing to give us any real direction, this gives a feeling of trust in the team as he knows we are going about are jobs to the best of our ability” I believe these quotes are a good summary of my own leadership style, which I try to make as applicable as possible to our day to day jobs, peoples personality’s within the group and my own personality. Although my team see me in this way I also at times have to adopt a more autocratic leadership approach, as we do have daily routines and schedules of planned maintenance to keep to, these jobs simply have to be done on time with no real movement or flexibility on time scales. Also, our day to day tasks can be at times dangerous with live electrical components, working at height and moving machinery all part and parcel of our day to day work. This requires a very bureaucratic approach to health and safety, where rules and regulations must be followed out to the book, or people could end up being seriously injured or worse. I am very passionate about this and always strive to ensure that risk assessments and method statements are followed correctly, correct PPE is worn by all staff at all times and all safety procedures, rules and regulations are adhered to at all times. Although the bureaucratic approach is used here the team are well aware of the importance of health and safety, and this approach isn’t detrimental to team morale.
Describe appropriate actions to enhance own leadership behaviour in the context of particular leadership model
After holding the team meeting as described in the previous section I then reviewed the results to cite areas of improvement to make me a better leader and perform my job to a higher level than previous. One of the main areas of improvement for myself would simply be experience as I am new to management and am yet to experience all aspects of the position, so every day brings a new challenge, this is the main reason for me undertaking the ILM level 3 course, to expand my skillset and have a better understanding of what it takes to manage a team of individuals on a daily basis. Another area of improvement would be how I deal with individuals on a personal level, as I previously stated I tend to lean toward a more democratic\ laissez-faire leadership style as I find this suits my personality and creates a lot less conflict in a team, when the more autocratic or bureaucratic approach is required when dealing with individuals not performing there jobs as they should be I may struggle as it is not in my personality to create conflict or to be authoritarian. These situations going forward will be challenging for me, and I hope to learn from experience, also to draw from colleague’s experience. My line manager John Darby is an excellent source of advice in these situations and is always on hand when I need advice on how to deal with a certain individual or situation. John is very experienced in the industry, people like him and others are a valuable source of knowledge going forward. I also believe that embarking on advanced I.T courses for packages such as Microsoft excel would be extremely beneficial for my future development as I.T is a large part of the job we do today, it is also ever changing so ensuring my skills are at there best is vitally important.