Riverbend City’s Flood Disaster Communication

Analysis of the Issue Faced by the Leader in the Scenario

In the Riverbend City scenario, I was chosen to work in charge of the Leadership Team that was created for the provision of the emergency response of a flood disaster in Riverbend City. The team is comprised of several people who have very different communication styles. As a result, as a team leader, I must quickly identify the communication styles used by my team members and establish effective communication. The productivity of the entire team, as well as all of its functions and the completion of tasks, will depend on my choices of leadership and communication styles for the team. Due to the disaster, the city’s water supply has suffered some adverse impacts and is currently lost. The people remaining in the territory of Riverbend City have already spent 24 hours without running water.

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The mission of our team is to address the situation with the city’s water supply. In that way, the Leadership Team must work fast and in a complete agreement so that we could provide Riverbend City with one of the essential resources necessary for the survival and wellbeing of its residents. The complexity of the situation faced by me as a team leader is based on the fact that I was not the one who assembled my team and I am unfamiliar with its members. Moreover, the team is rather diverse which means that each of the members will require an individual approach from communication and leadership. Practically, my role as a leader is to analyze my teammates and quickly find understanding with each of them to enable productive and harmonious teamwork.

In the scenario, the first issue occurred right at the initial stage of communication when the team had to gather for the first time and have a meeting. Structure-oriented team members are willing to stick to protocols while impulse-oriented people wish for more flexibility in the group. The meeting has to happen, and the area that is supposed to serve as the location for the meeting according to the protocol is difficult to reach for some of the team members. The leader is to help the team decision as to whether the meeting should be held via Skype, in person, in the protocol location, or an alternative place.

The Leadership Styles That Will Stimulate Effective Team Work

Since the members of the Leadership Team have a variety of different communication styles, the leader of this team could apply several leadership styles to enable productive communication. First of all, authoritative or autocratic style may not work well for all members of the team because practicing it the leader would have to assume the dominant position and make decisions without taking into consideration the views of team members (Amanchukwu, Stanley, & Ololube, 2015). At the same time, it may be used in very urgent situations when a quick decision has to be made, and there is no time for discussions. Democratic leadership style could be more appropriate as it is rather participative and allows all the members of the team to express their opinions before attempting to reach a compromise (Amanchukwu et al., 2015; Winkler, 2012). However, such an inhomogeneous group of members is likely to experience clashes and arguments while trying to figure out which decision is the most practical.

Style and behavior theory is one of the most suitable leadership theories applicable to the present situation. The main argument of this theory states that different followers are likely to have different communication styles (Ahmed, Nawaz, & Khan, 2016). As a result, according to style and behavior theory, the leader is to select several leadership styles to enable effective communication with different followers. In the case of our Leadership Team, this could work well because each of the members is in charge of different sets of activities and tasks and that is why the leader will have to alternate between various styles of leadership and communication to teach all the necessary goals successfully.

Another leadership theory suitable in this situation is the contingency or situational theory according to which a leader is to take into consideration the conditions that impact their interaction with the followers and choose the styles of communication and leadership accordingly (Ahmed et al., 2016). At the same time, a laissez-faire leadership style that is supported by several different theories (such as process theory, situational theory, and style and behavior theory) should not be used in this particular group of individuals up to the time when some form of agreement is reached and when the members are more familiar with one another’s peculiarities. However, the laissez-faire leadership style that allows the followers to perform independently could be quite beneficial for this team because it is comprised of strong leaders who are excellent in their respective fields and do not require much coordination when fulfilling their professional tasks (Goodnight, 2004).

Communication and Listening Styles That Are Best Suited for This Scenario

Gamble and Gamble (2013) outlined four main listening styles – people-centered, content-centered, action-centered, and time-centered. Taking into account the urgency of the present emergency, it could be reasonable to focus on action and time-centered communication styles thus making effective performance the most important element of teamwork. The group members will likely understand and appreciate this choice. Analyzing the example of communication between group members presented in the scenario, it is possible to notice that trying to come up with a reasonable time and location solutions for the group meeting the members got carried away into an unproductive argument that also could produce a destructive impact on the inner atmosphere of the team. In that way, the most proactive solution would be for the leader to establish the weight of each of the problems and persuade the members of the team to agree to avoid arguments and focus on reaching a consensus instead.

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Given the differences in the engaged personalities, it can be predicted that at the initial stages of group work clashes and arguments are inevitable. That is why it is necessary to focus on getting the work done. Along the way, it would be possible for the team members to get to know one another and develop more tolerance to various styles of communication. At the moment, Brad Nygard and Matthew Chu seem to face conflict due to their expressive and aggressive communication styles. Practically, the two members seem to be the exact opposites of one another in terms of personalities, and that is why they require a common focus to be able to work alongside each other. In that way, the best listening styles for the team are action- and time-centered ones; and the most suitable communication style is assertive that encourages the members to selected words carefully, communicate their opinions more clearly, and be aware of their emotional expressions (Newton, 2017).

The Role of Social Networking and Technology Communications

During the very first interaction of the group, there appeared the idea that digital technology could be used to conduct a meeting with all the members regardless of the presence of the extreme conditions preventing some of them from traveling to the physical location of the meeting. One of the members proposed that the meeting should be held via Skype. This is a smart and practical idea; however, as it can be seen from the initial email conversation, some of the members do not get along, and distance communication does not seem to work. This highly diverse group full of strong personalities requires some team-building that could be accomplished via a personal meeting more effectively than via Skype.

At the same time, the mission is urgent, and people in the city require water as soon as possible. Consequently, it is necessary to eliminate time-consuming activities such as lengthy traveling to the protocol meeting location. Since all group members are in charge of different aspects of the provision of water supply to the city, and, most likely, will have to travel to different parts of the city to fulfill their duties, it makes sense to hold a Skype meeting and assign tasks first. Otherwise, if a physical meeting is held in a protocol location, it may take too much time for the members to reach the location and then go back to various parts of the city and complete their goals. Practically, the role of technology communication and social networking is to provide a faster form of communication thus increasing the efficiency of the team.

The Most Important Areas of Focus

High Importance to the Leader, Low Importance to Followers

  • Team organization
  • Choice of leadership and communication styles

Low Importance to the Leader, High Importance to Followers

  • Self-expression
  • Establishment of personal authority

Low Importance to the Leader, Low Importance to Followers

  • Arguments and clashes
  • The loss of time

High Importance to the Leader, High Importance to Followers

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  • The completion of a group mission
  • Successful communication
  • Fast and productive work

How Interpersonal and Organizational Effectiveness Will Be Achieved

My leadership action and communication strategies will be focused on the elimination of unnecessary activities and the unification of all the members under one goal. To help the members get along, I will assign each of them with a clear set of tasks so that they are busy working instead of arguing. I will encourage brief, fast, and proactive communication between members to avoid excessive discussions and provide positive feedback and appraisal for an excellent performance. Also, I will make sure to communicate the objectives of the team and the importance of our mission clearly to ensure that all the members agree about the common goals.

The Role of Communication in Resolving the Issue

Communication is a key aspect of group work. It keeps the group coordinated and organized. At the same time, it may serve as the source of conflict. The role of the leader is to transform the passionate attitudes of the followers into active work and help the members with different personalities communicate effectively. The leader is to supervise team communication and help direct and guide it so that it is used for the achievement of common goals and mutual appreciation f the members.

References

Ahmed, Z., Nawaz, A., & Khan, I. U. (2016). Leadership Theories and Styles: A literature review. Journal of Resources Development and Management, 16, 1-7.

Amanchukwu, R. N., Stanley, G. J., & Ololube, N. P. (2015). A review of leadership theories, principles and styles and their relevance to educational management. Management, 5(1), 6-14.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2013). Leading with communication: A practical approach to leadership communication. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Goodnight, R. (2004). Encyclopedia of leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Newton, C. (2017). The five communication styles. Web.

Winkler, I. (2012). Contemporary leadership theories: Enhancing the understanding of the complexity, subjectivity and dynamic of leadership. New York, NY: Physica.

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