At the back of today’s fast-paced globalization and the establishment of new businesses around the world, which have resulted in increased competition, there has been a need for organizations to frequently change the way in which they conduct their activities to meet the ever-growing and dynamic customer expectations. This situation has called for the employment of skilled leaders to drive organizations towards feasible change. However, leaders should not only be competent in the accomplishment of organizational requirements but should also prove their efficiency, supportiveness, and ability to drive any form of change that is deemed suitable for the organization. This objective can only be achieved when the leader is in a position to conduct activities in line with the goals of the organization. Nevertheless, it is important to note that different leadership strategies and theories depend on the prevailing organizational demands and employee behavior. This paper reflects on the relationship between leadership and successful organizational change. In doing so, it examines the different roles that a leader plays in the transformation process. It focuses on personal leadership styles in an organizational setting by assessing the role of leaders in the process of change.
Leadership Style Analysis
During the process of this study, I learned various types of leadership styles. Although some of them seemed effective in the implementation of change processes, others did not fit in my working style. In accordance with my personal assessment, I am a transformational leader. This description would suit me in any form of organization that can offer me a leadership position whether at a school, a company, or a rest home among other workplaces. In most organizations, transformational leaders are usually understood because of their effects on the staff, management, and clients. They can be seen as products of the development of trust between them and the firms that they lead.
The effects of a transformational leader can be divided into three areas namely the expert influence, referent power, and involvement at work. In this regard, as a transformational leader, I have been credited severally for bringing satisfaction at work (Grimolizzi-Jensen, 2015). Examples of famous leaders of this type include Nelson Mandela and President Barrack Obama. Most of my roles as an ambassador of change in organizations include ensuring proper communication and embracement of ethical behavior with a view of initiating virtues that can be emulated by employees. Building trust with every member of the organization is paramount to the realization of shared goals. Other aspects such as embracing ethical leadership play a significant role in the implementation of transformational activities (Grimolizzi-Jensen, 2015). Besides, one should ensure innovativeness, integrity, accountability, and effective time management in the process of change.
There has been a lot of importance attached to being inventive, especially for a transformational leader. Both the management and employees often approach their senior bosses for advice especially in times of crisis. Competence in the use of leadership skills to identify unpredicted situations before they happen is highly encouraged in an effort to achieve new market targets (Northouse, 2016). In this regard, I have successfully been able to foresee a low season of selling particular products due to growing competition. At some point, I advised the management to do away with the product as a manner of maintaining sales. This plan worked well for the organization. Besides, I implemented new survival strategies that handled the situation. Thus, a transformational leader needs to have both visionary and innovative skills. According to Schuler and Jackson (2014), a leader is someone that the organization is always counting on to ensure the ultimate success of the strategies used to establish a change in the organization.
In this manner, my innovative skills as a transformational leader have gone a long way to enable the stimulation and nurturing of new work ethics in the organization. This objective was done well through encouraging, teaching, and inspiring fellow employees on the new concepts of work in a bid to ensure delivery. To maintain this strategy amidst a competitive business environment, it was important to insist on improving on innovation in the organization’s corporate aspects. In addition, there is need to ensure that any step taken in the change process focuses on supporting the sustainability of the organization. Thus, there is a need to develop programs that impart innovative knowledge to employees. This move is important especially in situations that call for the formulation of new strategies to transform business operations (Cummings, Bridgman, & Brown, 2016). A significant lesson that emanated from my responsibilities was that the execution of change required effectiveness, vigilance, reliability, and competence in the utilization of resources such as labor, time, and capital.
In this study, I looked at the transformational leadership theory as developed by Burns, which is the approach that I mostly used in implementing leadership and change in the organization. According to this theory, leaders can become more effective when they look at their roles as ‘give and take’ situations (Cummings et al., 2016). They need to focus on supportive and holistic approaches to the execution of new strategies. Managers expect a lot from their stuff. For instance, they offer training programs to persuade employees to be more innovative and believe in possibilities of change. It is important to note that this kind of leaders participate in the stages of the transformational process since they have a responsibility to lead by example, form collaborations with the team members, and challenge them to work even harder while providing support to individuals (Cummings et al., 2016). The execution of any change in the organization is met with a number of challenges including resistance, increased turnover rates, loss of customers, and reduced morale among some employees, especially those who still hold the traditional organizational values. Through this process, I learned that inspiring employees played a significant role in the implementation of new strategies through motivated work schedules and rewards.
The leadership theory highlights a number of elements that guide the execution of successful change. At the outset, the leader should meet the needs of each member by challenging any issue through teamwork and participation. There is also a need to establish a clear strategic mission that matches the set organizational goals and objectives. Lastly, leading by example is encouraged. In this case, the leader becomes a positive role model for the rest of the group. An examination of my professional life revealed that I led my team by example. This practice is also known as servant leadership. However, my team faced numerous challenges such as failure to attend personal development training. This situation hindered some of them from promotional opportunities. This employee behavior was highly discouraged because it prohibited the development of new leaders in the organization. With time, many employees evaluated their strengths and weaknesses. Through training and mentorship programs, they tremendously improved with some of them taking higher leadership positions. By looking at Burn’s theory, it clearly describes my character as a charismatic leader (Katzenbach & Smith, 2015). The theory elucidates the importance of building teams in a bid to ensure equal participation, and time management. These qualities are needed in any organization that is preparing for change. When members are encouraged to work as a team, it becomes easier to deliberate on shared goals that are guided by organizational decisions.
Leadership Style or Theory to Adopt
Various theories and approaches to leadership have been significantly helpful in the accomplishment of change processes in the organization. One common thing about the approaches and theories is that they view leadership as being a process that can be realized through well-established relationships. In this regard, successful leadership is only made possible when integrated into personal traits and characteristics. From the experience that I have gained, it can be said that leadership is judged by particular individual behavior or skills. By looking at most of the theories learned, it is a common knowledge that all forms of leadership undergo a process that entails the influence of one person on a team with a view to achieving a particular goal (Grimolizzi-Jensen, 2015). Apart from having found my leadership style to be described by the transformational theory, I was also interested in adopting the skills and trait theories in executing responsibilities in the workplace.
The trait theory postulates that individuals are either born or not born to become leaders. For a reason, this approach brings about an understanding that regardless of one’s education on leadership management, he or she may not be able to come out as a competent frontrunner. Various studies have been undertaken to look at the most important traits of competent leaders. Some of the traits that I agree with include the ability to be social and intelligent. Self-assessment has revealed that I possess such skills in addition to the natural determination (Bolman & Deal, 2017). On the other hand, the skills theory provides insight into learned or acquired abilities and knowledge, which are important for a practicing leader. According to this approach, leadership is not only inherited or inborn traits that make a competent leader but one has to go through schooling to learn more skills or acquire knowledge about the management of organizations. I profoundly embrace this theory because as I grew up with all the charisma and transformational leadership, I still did not know how to handle employees in a conflict situation. Conducting a mediation process between one company and another for a business deal was also a challenge. However, the skills theory disapproves the trait theory (Schuler & Jackson, 2014). It is important to note that the two theories will, however, work hand in hand for an effective leader.
One of the reasons I have embraced the two other traits is because my profession shows me that people are born with basic qualities that make them leaders. However, I also have confidence in the fact that skilled leaders are fully interwoven to become the best frontrunners due to the acquisition of skills and knowledge.
Steps to Undertake Leadership Theories
To incorporate the two theories into the transformational leadership style involves several steps that I had to undertake. First of all, I will have to do self-assessment with a view to establishing my personal traits. In this regard, I will need to evaluate my weaknesses and strengths. Then, I will look at these qualities and skills to ensure that I have what it takes to become a competent leader. Having gone through the exercise will reveal various areas that will need improvement and those which call for reinforcement to make me one of the best leaders in my organization (Cummings et al., 2016). Besides, I will also give myself a timeline to assess what I will have achieved by integrating skills and trait theories into my transformational approach to leadership. This way, I will deem myself a competent leader.
Other Theories and Approaches
Other models that I would like to adopt include the situational, path-goal, and contingency theories. The situational theory holds that a competent leader adopts different styles of leadership. For this reason, I decided to adopt this theory to become an effective leader. Thus, I should learn to adjust my transformational style depending on situations. For example, during a cultural dispute, I will demonstrate democratic leadership as a way of allowing the preferred work culture to prevail in the organization so long as it can meet its general objectives (Dion, 2012). In the path-goal theory, leaders are required to motivate their teams towards the identified objectives. In this perspective, a leader is deemed effective leader only when they can improve or motivate their followers through clarification of different areas of work and removing obstacles. In this regard, as a transformational leader, adopting this theory will enable me to see employees sticking to the general objective of organizational change (Dion, 2012). Lastly, the contingency theory sees a competent leader as one who implements different styles depending on the setting (Northouse, 2016). This theory is important as it enables one to identify the effectiveness of choosing a particular leadership style.
In the article “Organizational change: Evaluating the effect of motivational interviewing on readiness to change”, Grimolizzi-Jensen (2015) attests that motivational cross-examination can be a good tool in the implementation of change in organizations. Successful execution of change highly depends on the readiness of both the teams and the environment in which it is imposed. Employees often resist change processes due to the development of different perceptions of its effects on factors such as turnover rate and relegation. Thus, interviewing both prospective and current workers on their likelihood of accepting change is important. If I was guiding this paper, I would use the skills theory to supervise the study. The paper is knowledge-based. Thus, it requires individual learning on leadership and change in organizations to meet the objectives of the study. Skills leadership will also ensure that the motivational interviews lead to the selection of the best people to engage in the whole process and come up with the desired results. There is a need to train employees both after employment and in the due process of executing organizational operations. Workplace training programs impart more skills to the workers. In this manner, they can contribute positively towards the accomplishment of desired organizational goals.
Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2017). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. John Wiley & Sons.
Cummings, S., Bridgman, T., & Brown, K. G. (2016). Unfreezing change as three steps: Rethinking Kurt Lewin’s legacy for change management. human relations, 69(1), 33-60.
Dion, M. (2012). Are ethical theories relevant for ethical leadership? Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 33(1), 4-24.
Grimolizzi-Jensen, C. J. (2015). Organizational Change: Evaluating the Effect of Motivational Interviewing on Readiness to Change. Walden University.
Katzenbach, J. R., & Smith, D. K. (2015). The wisdom of teams: Creating the high-performance organization. Harvard Business Review Press.
Northouse, P. (2016). Leadership Ethics. In Leadership: Theory and practice (pp. 329-360). Thousand Oaks: CA. : Sage Publications.
Schuler, R., & Jackson, S. (2014). “Human resource management and organizational effectiveness: yesterday and today”. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 1(1), 35-55.