Over the recent past, construction industries have steadily evolved to be among the best ventures globally. The rise is associated with the high demand for accommodation to cater for business, hospitality, housing and a range of other requirements. Although the need for construction services is increasing, the sector experiences various challenges. Some of these challenges emanate from generational gaps that are evident among the workforce serving in these enterprises. Conflicts, technological advancements and shifting viewpoints are some of the problems witnessed in the building sector because of generational differences.
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Since the global construction sector is broad, the essay narrows its scope and examines a construction firm known as Galliford Try, which has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. The study illuminates how various challenges affect the company and aligns them with theories such as transformational, authentic, servant leadership and leader-member exchange (LMX). Notably, these challenges were not serious in the past decades but have now become significant concerns owing to the changes in generational focus. Therefore, the essay examines these challenges and assesses the relevance of the theories mentioned above in their management.
Conflicts, Technological Advancements and Shifting Focus
Remarkably, the different generation of people employed in Galliford Company has contributed to ideological disparities and heated debates. According to research by Kong, Wang and Fu (2015), several employees serving in organizations presently comprise the generation X and Y born between 1965 and 1999. While the majority of those in generation X serve in leadership positions, the younger ones in the Y category are subordinates and supervisors.
It is essential to note that these individuals have a unique view regarding administration and teamwork. Unlike their seniors born in 1965, the Y sections of employees have varied opinions concerning the manner in which companies should tackle their issues (Wiedmer, 2015; Stone & Deadrick, 2015). At times, seniors who constitute those in executive places fail to consider the arguments advanced by the Y generation, a scenario that triggers conflicts and sabotages witnessed in construction companies such as Galliford Try. In effect, contemporary workers understand their position and rights in workplaces and any violation can lead to disagreements, especially among those in leadership and the workforce.
Another major challenge experienced by leaders in construction companies like Galliford Try is technology. Unlike their elders, the young individuals are in touch with modern advances in the sector of technology. The reception rate of these employees is high as compared to their seniors who have a negative perception of new developments. Online platforms such as Twitter, Whatsapp, YouTube and Facebook have millions of young subscribers who fall in the Y generation (Khor, 2017; Aruna & Anitha, 2015; Laird, Harvey & Lancaster, 2015).
Due to these switches linked to technology and laxity demonstrated by the elders in workplaces, there is a drift that has gradually developed between X and Y categories of employees. The manner in which the two sections of staff look at issues is divergent. In some extreme cases, the X employees who refuse to adopt the changes plunge their organizations into financial losses. Although the seniors do not like several technological advancements, these developments determine the trend in the construction industry. Therefore, stakeholders in Galliford Try cannot underscore the changes witnessed in the sector of technology as they endeavour to sustain their dominance in the building sector.
Shifting focus is also among the emerging problems faced by executives in the building enterprises globally. In the United Kingdom, construction companies have to grapple with the ever-changing dynamics presented by clients and their workforces. Significantly, these shifts are detrimental to the progress of companies because failure to align with them can trigger severe consequences. Brown, Thomas and Bosselman (2015) assert that unlike past generations, modern clients comprised of Y segments need a specific type of services and have a wealth of information on their desired products.
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Technological advancements have made it possible for modern individuals to accumulate data on service providers and associated quality. Bilgihan (2016), together with Nadeem, Andreini, Salo, and Laukkanen (2015) elucidate that before making a purchase, generation Y customers engage in intensive research. Notably, , the purpose of the investigation undertaken by the Y segment of clients is to ascertain the nature of services delivered by a firm and the rate of satisfaction as stated in online and offline platforms by past reviewers (Berezina, Bilgihan, Cobanoglu, & Okumus, 2016). The challenge of shifting focus is likely to continue intensifying, especially with the advent of gadgets such as laptops and smartphones.
The Relevance of Leadership Theories
Transformational and Authentic Leadership Theories
Transformational leadership theory encompasses a variety of initiatives executed by a manager with the intention of amplifying productivity. Unlike several methods that emphasise on augmenting the performance of staff using motivation and reprimand, the transformational model encourages administrators to connect with their subordinates and walk with them through the process of production (Ghasabeh, Soosay & Reaiche, 2015).
In Galliford Try, executives can utilise the approach to enhance the quality of services delivered by its workforce. Some of the initiatives that managers serving in the company can undertake include identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their human resources, their values and preferences. It is worthwhile to explain that the model resonates well with the gaps exhibited by the diverse generations in the firm. Unlike past individuals, the present members of staff analyse the way administrators treat them and the value associated with their contribution in the workplace.
Therefore, when executives in the construction company work with them and connect with their desires, the rate of production improves. Even though the style of supervision is high-end, it has some limitations that include the likelihood of making the wrong decisions. Due to the influence that managers have on their team members, they may convince them to engage in a venture without due diligence. If the outcome of the initiative is adverse, then the employees may become victims of the blame on an act proposed by their transformational leader.
Consequently, authentic type of administration focuses on the behaviour of a person in three perspectives, which comprise intrapersonal, interpersonal and developmental. In the view of Leroy, Anseel, Gardner, and Sels (2015), authentic leadership revolves around the character of individuals and their willingness to adopt new initiatives while remaining firm in their virtues. The style of management epitomised by authentic supervisors can be practical in improving the quality of products delivered by Galliford Try Organization.
Through the approach, managers in the company can cooperate with their employees who fall into different age brackets and initiate change. Northouse (2016) explains that the authentic approach enables administrators to adopt new procedures introduced by the members of staff without compromising values and goals of the enterprise. Additionally, the method encourages leaders working in the firm to serve as role models and demonstrate high moral standards.
While authentic approach challenges people to be factual in their interactions with their subordinates, it has limitations. Being real can lead to negative interpretations from employees who may view it as an act of pride. Besides, some individuals may gradually become biased and incline towards specific component of the theory. In some contexts, managers may end up being excessively open to new ideas from their assistants or may stick to their opinions and downplay proposals from the team.
Servant Leadership and Leader-Member Exchange (LMX)
As the name denotes, servant leadership represents an approach where individuals in executive positions prioritise the expectations of their colleagues. When utilising the model, managers listen, encourage, empathise and persuade their teams to work hard. The approach is paramount in addressing the concerns exhibited by the various generations working in Galliford Try. Significantly, modern employees make their judgments based on the way their leaders handle their issues.
A show of concern is a milestone that smart managers can utilise in their quest to challenge the workforce to deliver. In effect, servant leadership is a theory that encourages executives to leave their offices and interact with their subordinates in their respective work environments (Hoch, Bommer, Dulebohn, & Wu, 2018). Through the interaction, administrators in Galliford Try can unearth the opinions and challenges encountered by their colleagues as they strive to meet the expectations proposed by the firm.
Remarkably, the factor that delineates high performers from others in the construction industry is the expression of care and respect for the teams tasked with organizational projects, a phenomenon envisaged in the cornerstones of servant leadership. Notably, although the theory appears easy-to-execute, it is challenging. Being ready to prioritise the interests of others is a limitation that has affected the implementation of the servant leadership model in several organizations. Administrators in these firms are unwilling to sacrifice their preferences and handle their employees at higher positions as compared to themselves.
Unlike transformational, authentic and servant leadership, leader-member exchange theory (LMX) focuses on the relationship between managers and their subordinates. Boyne (2014) explains that LMX is an approach that provides insights into the fact that leaders view their team members from different angles. While some employees fall in the higher positions before the lens of their executives, others fall below the set qualifications. Using the parameters outlined in the model, companies such as Galliford Try can analyse how these relationships can be useful in promoting performance. Significantly, individuals cannot love all the members of staff equally.
Therefore, it is essential that managers use the model in a manner that enables them to rally their teams together using focus individuals in the in-group or through categorization. Conversely, the model has a limitation that revolves around the bias that leaders exercising it can exhibit. It is paramount to note that segmentation of employees using their capabilities and personal relationships with the executives is a recipe that can catalyse low performance and hatred at enterprises such as Galliford Try.
Follower Requirements and Goal Differences in Organizations
Leadership is evident when people rally teams and challenge them to undertake a particular task. Administrators usually have people who believe in them and follow their requests. Ramchunder and Martins (2014) assert that when managers understand their followers, they can motivate them to deliver high-quality products, a factor that improves the position of a firm in the market. Some of the requirements that people who associate with particular leaders show include the willingness to deliver and a positive attitude.
Besides, followers can also demonstrate their prowess in specific fields. At times as witnessed in the context of leader-member exchange, followers may exhibit high abilities with the intention of joining the in-group and enjoying the associated benefits.
In the context of goals and difference between countries and organizations, the essay examines the uniqueness exhibited by Galliford Try Organization and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the United States. From the examination, the two companies have different goals owing to their various initiatives. According to Humphreys (2014), the United States and the United Kingdom are almost similar in terms of economic development and lifestyle. Therefore, the two companies engage in seamless procedures irrespective of their ownership. In some parts of the world, especially developing countries, public enterprises such as TVA could not be effective in service delivery as compared to privately owned enterprises.
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In conclusion, addressing the issue of generational diversity requires the utility of a range of theories. The new age brackets of people working in companies like Galliford Try are inclined towards organizations that value their participation. Therefore, when managers adopt styles that are inclusive and engage their teams successfully the rate of conflicts, technological discrepancies and focus drift experienced by employees and the management diminishes. Imperatively, the theories of leadership outlined above are useful in elevating the quality of management and shifting the focus of modern supervisors to more informed approaches that amplify employee treatment and harmonises the challenges linked to generational gaps.
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