There are several issues that are important to note from an organizational point of view in the present generation. In the following report some of the issues that are important from the point of view of the organization are analyzed through a series of blog posts and a reflective account. The issues that are faced by the modern day organization or the issues that are important from the point of view of an organization of modern day are analyzed with particular reference to BlueScope steel. In the first blog the challenges that are faced by a modern day organization are discussed. The challenges are discussed in the light of BlueScope steel. This is followed by a definition of leader and a reflective account of experience with a leader at BlueScope steel. Reflective account of an example of a transformational leader is provided in the third blog. The things that I have learnt through interaction with leaders are also described. The next blog focuses on the differences between manager and leader as described by kotter and provides a reflective account of learning from those differences. Managerial effectiveness and the parameters of the same is the subject of next blog by Boytazis. The issue of whether these concepts apply in the current generation is also analyzed. The next part describes a reflective account of my learning from these blog posts that would be applicable in my life.
LMDP MAR16 DF1.3
- The company, where I am currently present is facing a number of challenges. However, if one has to identify a particular one; then that would surely be globalization. Prior to globalization, the market share enjoyed by the company was pretty good. The company was able to command the prices and the profit. However, globalization has thrown open a number of challenges:
- In line with the fact that there was entry of cheap products from the Chinese manufacturers, the company had to reduce the price of the products that were manufactured by the company so that it would be able to retain the market share. None the less, reduction of price came with reduction of profit as the company has found is difficult to reduce the manufacturing costs.
- Due to globalization and the entry of other products the numbers of choices that are available to the customers have increased. Thus, the company needs to give to the customer some added features or benefits in order to retain them. However, the additional costs of these features cannot be transferred to the customers in light of the competition.
- Limited social media presence and limited use of social media as a marketing tool has distanced the company from youth who finds it difficult to connect with the company.
- Along with the challenges listed above, some of the other challenges are: The Company is facing high rates of employee turnover and employee motivation is low at the company. It is difficult to attract the right talent who would be able to turn things around. A general apathy of the top management to the challenges being faced by the company can be listed as another major challenge.
- If the challenges that were described above are not effectively addressed, then there is a fear of losing market share and profitability for the company. This can lead the company to bankruptcy if effective actions are not taken at the earliest.
LMDP MAR16 DF2.1
- In simple definition of the term, leader is a person who leads people. The leader is expected to lead his followers in a defined direction that is mutually beneficial. He or she is expected to think about the well being of their followers and is one who keeps the benefits and interests of their followers ahead of his or her own interests (Schein, 2010). In short, the leader cares for his followers and ensures that they are able to achieve organizational vision; while at the same time working towards their individual development (Schein, 2010). Responsibility is a quality that comes associated with leadership.
- Along with the definition of leader just given; according to me, a leader is a person who has a transformational effect on any one who comes in contact with him. In this respect, I feel that leadership comes from within and people are born as a leader. The leader should be ready to guide the followers and shield them from any harm that might come in their way. I feel that it is also important for the leader to delegate responsibilities and have trust upon his followers even after they fail in one or two attempts.
- There are several persons with whom I had to work while I was at the company BlueScope steel. Amongst them, I feel that the sales manager demonstrated true leadership skills and actually excelled in his role. He was always leading from the front and catered to any problems that people under him faced. He always looked after our well being as we were under his command and was always there to protect us in case we failed at certain jobs. However, he always encouraged us to try while he watched all the activities from behind and chipped in timely advice or appreciation at appropriate times. As compared to the sales manager I feel no one else was an example of effective leader but could be described as effective manager. Thus as per definition of the term leader and my understanding of the same, the sales manager can be referred to as a leader. In fact the sales manager had qualities by which he could also be referred to as a transformational leader.
In respect of developing leadership capabilities it is recommended that the people who are selected in the top management or any other leadership position should be of diverse background. It is also required that they should be provided with adequate training and in this regards it is required that the person for the leadership position should be selected after careful examination.
Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. NY: John Wiley & Sons.
LMDP MAR16 DF2.3
- In case of BlueScope steel, I feel that CEO was a transformational leader. He knew all the bits and pieces of the business and market environment. He would like to interact with people at the grass root level in the organization. He had a powerful vision of the organization and knew how to articulate the same. He used to communicate the vision, with workers; even those at the grass root levels, each and every time he had the opportunity to interact with them. There was a particular spirit that he brought in these communications which left listeners spellbound. He was also efficient enough to point out the benefits that people would achieve if the vision is successfully implemented. He did not refer to people as employees rather he referred to them as partners who would together contribute in achieving the vision.
- Transformation leaders have a powerful vision by which they can motivate the followers and are caring to the needs and requirements of the followers. They have the power to engage people so that the vision is achieved. They are visionaries who have a power to transform people who they come in contact with. Thus as per the definition of qualities of a transformational leader the CEO can be referred to as a transformational leader.
- By studying the CEO of BlueScope steel from close quarters and upon reflecting on the definition of the term leadership, I have learnt that to be an effective leader; I have to understand people and fight for their concerns and benefits. I have come to understand that merely being given a leadership position or bossing around my followers would not make me a leader. In order to be a leader I have to lead them, take care of them and protect them as well as trust them and their abilities so that they automatically start respecting me and look forward to me as a leader (Prive, 2012). I feel that I also need to have a strong vision and be able to communicate this vision to my followers and make them adhere to the same. A leader is required to have a strong vision as he or she is expected to be someone who will lead the organization from front. Without a vision or direction the organization would just sail like a rudderless ship and would fail to make the leap from ordinary to extraordinary.
Prive, T. (2012). Top 10 qualities that make a great leader. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaprive/2012/12/19/top-10-qualities-that-make-a-great-leader/#218e37713564
LMDP MAR16 DF3.1
- Kotter says that people often confuse between the terms management and leadership although these are very different from each other. Management is defined by Kotter as a set of processes that are designed to keep the organization functioning as of today and to hit the numbers of the quarter. Ratcliffe states that management is all about planning, staffing, budgeting, measuring performance and clarifying jobs when things do not go according to plan (Ratcliffe, 2013). Leadership, on the other hand means aligning people to the vision of organization through communication, motivation and inspiration.
- According to Kotter’s point of view leaders are visionary people while the task of managers is to plan and manage the everyday activities of the firm so as to achieve short term goals. In fact, I feel that leadership and management are interlinked with each other. The long term vision that is set by the leader is actually broken down to short term goals and the task of the manager is to guide people and resources to help in achieving short term goals that would help in achieving the long term vision going into the future.
- In line with the statement of Kotter and the view that has been advocated by him, I feel that in order to be an effective leader I should have that visionary capability. I should be something of a visionary who can dream about the future and be successful in communicating the vision to employees and other internal stakeholders of the organization. As a manager I should have the capability to break down the long term vision into short term goals that are achievable. I should then plan, motivate, arrange and dedicate the resources that are available at my disposal for achieving those goals. If the goals are not achieved then it would be my responsibility to address the same.
Ratcliffe, R. (2013). What’s the difference between leadership and management? Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/careers/difference-between-leadership-management
LMDP MAR16 DF3.2
- Many researchers have tried to find the competencies that relate to managerial effectiveness. In this regards Boyatzis identified twelve different variables which are related to competency of the manager. Boyatzis felt that if competence or performance of managers is thought of as dependent variable then change in any one of these independent variables can have an impact on the same. After the publication of the list of variables there were other researchers who tried to expand on the work of Boyatzis and take it further into the future. However, regarding the applicability of these variables in today’s time it is important to take note of the fact that there is no generic competence model that is applicable to all the industries. There are several reasons for the same. For instance it is important to consider the fact that competency based model are based on behaviors rather than being based on accomplishments. It is also important to note that Competencies are defined in broad ambiguous terms and the interpretations of the terms are subjective. These differences and points make sense as being subjective the interpretation of competencies can change according to the evaluation of the interpreter. There is no universal definition of competency that fits in all environment and all roles. It is also important to take note that if a person may be very competent but fails to deliver results then his competency would be of no use to the organization.
- Along with the identification of competencies required to be displayed by the manager, the competency that a manager would require to display is likely to change based on the sector or industry that he is involved in. There are certain basic competencies that are required to be displayed by the managers and these competencies are common to mangers in general. In addition to these competencies the managers in certain specific industries need to demonstrate additional competencies which might be required to tackle the particular requirements of his industry or sector (Rubin & Dierdorff, 2009). However, it is important to note that competencies are actually abstract categories of behavior. A manager might have a set of competencies but if these set fails to bring any accomplishments on the job then they are of no used to the company.
Rubin, R. S., & Dierdorff, E. C. (2009). How relevant is the MBA? Assessing the alignment of required curricula and required managerial competencies. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 8(2), 208-224.
Doing the blog entries over the course of several weeks, I have gained several key insights into the working of the companies. I would in the course of following pages address the following thesis statement
“To understand and reflect upon the challenges being faced by modern day organizations in general and BlueScope steel in particular and the understanding that I have gained by studying those.”
With particular reference to BlueScope steel and due to my experience in the company I have come to understand the workings of companies in general and the challenges that are faced by the company. Firstly, I have come to understand that a company faces several challenges in light of globalization. As seen in the case of BlueScope steel, the company enjoyed a good share of market prior to globalization. However, following globalization there are several challenges that have been faced by companies in general (Hirst, Thompson & Bromley, 2015).
Similarly, BlueScope steel has also faced challenges. These challenges and the way in which BlueScope has dealt with the same have given me fresh insights in the process of tackling the challenges that are faced by the companies in the current era. In respect of challenges related to globalization there was entry of cheap products in the market and this has posed great competition for the products that are manufactured by the company (Beck, 2015). This resulted in the fact that the company faced steep reduction in profit. This was due to the fact that in order to cope with the reduced price offered by the Chinese companies, the company had to reduce prices and this has resulted in reduction of profit for the company (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson, 2012). However, through observing this challenge, I have come to understand that the way to compete in the face of global competition and global challenges is to aim for improvement of quality and reduction in cost of production. This would result in reduction in output price and thereby increase in profit.
I have also come to understand and appreciate the fact that in responding to the challenges of globalization, and the renewed focus on building relationship with customers, it is required for the companies in the current era to build upon and use alternate channels of marketing and relationship building with customers’ namely by the use of social media. Through an understanding of the challenges of globalization that are being faced by the companies and the high rates of employee turnover that is coming up as a challenge of globalization; it is important to embark on motivation. In line with globalization it is important to note that the most important asset for the organization is the employees of the organization (Bhagwati, 2007). Thus it is important to keep the employees motivated so that they are able to become the competitive advantage of the company and provide the requisite benefits in terms of goods and service.
In respect of the challenges that are being faced by BlueScope steel or for that matter any company in particular, it is important to reduce the wastage and improve quality of production so that the cost of manufacturing is reduced and at the same time there is improvement in profit margins. It is important to improve motivation of employees so as to increase retention and reduce employee turnover.
By reflecting upon the task of understanding the definition of leadership in general leadership case and with particular reference to the case of BlueScope steel; it is understood that the role and task of leader in case of a company is of the most supreme. The leader is required to care for the followers of the company and is responsible for ensuring that the employees of the organization are able to achieve the goals of the organization (Bolden, & Gosling, 2006). It is important to understand in case of present organization that is BlueScope steel or any other organization for that matter that it is the leader who is responsible for having a vision of the organization (Kouzes & Posner, 2006). After having a vision of the organization the leader is required to guide the employees of the organization towards achieving the slated vision.
In line with the understanding that I have gained through observing the sales manager of the company I have gained an understanding of the attributes that is required to be an effective leader and have come to appreciate the fact that in order to become an effective leader it is required for the leader to hold a definite vision of the future and be able to motivate the employees of the company towards that vision. It is important for the leader to be able to lead the followers so that they are able to achieve the slated vision and he is responsible for protecting the employees of the organization in the event of an apparent crisis that falls upon them (Northouse, 2015). I have come to appreciate the fact that a leader is someone who trusts the ability of followers or the employees of the organization and guides them from behind. He is someone who enables the employees of the company to take charge while he is there to always guide them from behind and watch their actions from far while they strive to achieve the slated vision.
The leader is one who helps the employees achieve the vision of the organization. The vision in this case is stated by the leader himself. The leader does not accomplish the tasks on behalf of the employees but motivates the employees to achieve the goals or visions that are defined by the leader. He is one who ensures that employees are themselves benefitted while they try to achieve the vision of the leader. However, he is one who stands all time behind the employees, takes responsibility for the failure and trusts them and their ability despite failures on their part.
Upon reflection of my experiences in BlueScope steel, I have also come to understand the role of and the definition of a transformational leader in an organization. I have understood that in order to become a transformational leader I need to be able to understand people and their problems. I understood the need to communicate with people. There is a need to talk with the people, be able to communicate the vision with them and make them understand the benefit that lies for them upon achieving that vision (Piccolo & Colquitt, 2006).
In order to become a leader he or she needs to have a strong vision, a vision that would enable him to think beyond the obvious and lead the organization through times of difficulty (Bass, & Riggio, 2006). I have come to understand and appreciate that a leader is one who is required to guide and show the direction to the organization. Upon understanding and reflecting on views of Kotter, I have come to understand that a leader is different from a manager. Unlike a manager whose sole job is to manage the people leader leads the organization towards next leap (Kotter, 2008). Manager is required to plan, staff and budget, measure and clarify things in cases where things do not go according to plans. In short the manager is someone who walks along a defined path, a path that is defined and set according to the board guidelines set by the leader. Thus the role of a leader in case of an organization is defines and is different from the role and task that is performed by manager. Leader is a visionary person who has strong vision about the future and he tries to align the people of the organization with that vision that the leader has about the organization (Kotterman, 2006).
In line with the differences in between a leader and a manager, I feel that leadership capabilities are something that cannot be taught to people. However, I feel that management capabilities can be taught to the people. Upon reflection about the differences in between a leader and a manager, I feel that although leadership capabilities cannot be taught, the person with leadership capabilities can be made to develop the same over a course of time. In case of a manager it is the goal to try and achieve the objective of the organization as is obtained through breakdown of organizational goal and objective. Upon not being able to achieve the objective, then the manager tries to take corrective actions in order to achieve the same.
After studying Boyatzis, I had an understanding that there were certain attributes which helped in determining the competency of a manager. Boytazis developed a list of such attributes. However, upon application of the theory developed by Boytazis in real life scenario, especially in case of BlueScope steel; I understood that there is lot of difference in between theory and practice. There were several researchers who tried to expand on the work of Boytazis and tried to define their own set of variables or attributes. However, upon looking into and examining the case of BlueScope steel, I have come to understand that theory does not apply in practice and it is impossible to have a good theoretical definition of attributes that are required to be an effective manager who is effective and delivers in terms of performance. I have come to reflect upon the fact that the models which are based on competency are actually based on understanding of behavior. However, these models are not based on accomplishments. There is also problem with definitions of competencies that are used in the model (Dreyfus, 2008).
I have come to reflect upon the fact that whether or not depends on the evaluator who is actually evaluating the person. Thus, according to this point of view there is no universal definition of competency or a quantitative measure so as to measure the same. The measure of competence is qualitative and subjective to the viewpoint of the observer. While observing in case of BlueScope Steel, I have come to reflect that theoretical knowledge and practical application differs a lot. In reference to the case of BlueScope steel, I have come to reflect upon the fact that a person might have all the attributes that are defined to be possessed to be parts of a competent leader but might not be deliver on the grounds of performance and thus the presence of these attributes in the person is actually of no use.
For instance in case of BlueScope steel I came across several sales person who were competent as per the bookish definition of terms. However, when it came to deliver on the grounds of sales results they failed in a miserable manner. The behavior of those sales person proved to me that the theories in this regards in general and in case of Boytazis in particular; does in hold true in real life.
Upon reflecting on the case of managers in general and those of BlueScope steel in particular, there was another important insight which I could gain. I understood that the attributes which are used for defining competency in any sector are different from the set of attributes defining competency in another sector. Thus a person who is competent in one sector might not be competent in another sector. A competency as a concept is quiet abstract in nature and unless the same has an bearing on accomplishments in practical life, the same would bear no fruit or no bearings in real life.
Thus, as stated in the above pages and through the course of several blog posts, and my stint at BlueScope steel I have come to understand and reflect upon several important things. I have come to understand the challenges that are associated with globalization in case of a company. I have come to reflect upon the characteristics of a leader and the characteristics of a manager. I have understood that a leader is different from a manager. I have come to reflect upon the fact that theoretical knowledge is different from practical knowledge and thus the competencies or attributes of a manager as defined in theory is different from in real practice. In fact I feel that it is difficult to define the competency of a manager based the presence or absence of an attribute.
However, I feel that in case of an organization it is very important to have a leader who has a distinctive vision and has the ability to lead the employees of the organization towards achieving of that vision. After completion of the task I have come to understand many things that are required in the organization but are not found in the theories or literature. I have come to reflect upon the characteristics of a leader and that of a transformational leader and that of a manager as well. Upon reflection about the differences between a leader and a manager, I have come to understand the attributes that would make me achieve success in either of the roles and to reflect upon the things or attributes which I need to develop.
Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). Transformational leadership. NY: Psychology Press.
Beck, U. (2015). What is globalization. NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Bhagwati, J. (2007). In defense of globalization: With a new afterword. London: Oxford University Press.
Bolden, R., & Gosling, J. (2006). Leadership competencies: time to change the tune?. Leadership, 2(2), 147-163.
Dreyfus, C. R. (2008). Identifying competencies that predict effectiveness of R&D managers. Journal of Management Development, 27(1), 76-91.
Hirst, P., Thompson, G., & Bromley, S. (2015). Globalization in question. John Wiley & Sons.
Hitt, M., Ireland, R. D., & Hoskisson, R. (2012). Strategic management cases: competitiveness and globalization. NJ: Cengage Learning.
Kotter, J. P. (2008). Force for change: How leadership differs from management. NY: Simon and Schuster.
Kotterman, J. (2006). Leadership versus management: what’s the difference?. The Journal for Quality and Participation, 29(2), 13.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2006). The leadership challenge (Vol. 3). NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. NY: Sage publications.
Piccolo, R. F., & Colquitt, J. A. (2006). Transformational leadership and job behaviors: The mediating role of core job characteristics. Academy of Management journal, 49(2), 327-340.