Who is this leader, and why did you choose this person?
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The leader I selected for this shadowing project, Mr. Masood, is a manager at a Jewelry store named Peoples Jewellers. This establishment is a small store and so Mr. Masood is an all-rounded manager in charge of human resources, finances, information technology, and supply of products. Handling all these numerous responsibilities requires sharp organizational skills, and thus the efficiency at Peoples Jewellers is a clear manifestation of the corresponding efficiency of Mr. Masood, which underscores his outstanding organizational skills among other admirable acquisitions skills. Additionally, Mr. Masood has wonderful interpersonal skills that he uses to foster healthy worker-to-worker relationships and he has managed to make the store a very pleasant place to work in, which is not an easy feat to accomplish considering the diversity of the workers in terms of race and education. Finally, Mr. Masood is a firm believer in the delegation of responsibilities as a way of completing tasks in time and avoiding burnout. Therefore, he constantly creates task forces to execute various projects, and in so doing, everybody feels useful and important in the quest to meet the store’s objectives. Mr. Masood’s methods demonstrate deep knowledge and proper application of organizational behavior theories. For these reasons, he is an ideal leader to shadow.
What is this leader’s personal philosophy of leadership?
Mr. Masood intimated that he believes in Theory Y as a smart principle of organizational leadership. According to Theory Y, people are inherently responsible while at work and they will generally go about their duties without the need for constant supervision. In other words, Theory Y propagates a democratic form of leadership in the workplace. However, the ideal organizational leadership is that which in effect ensures that workers achieve their individual goals through working towards the achievement of the organization’s objectives. He says that this strategy of leadership kills two birds with one stone because not only does it serve as a motivator for workers to assert themselves on their duties, but it also ensures that they accomplish personal fulfillment in the process. This aspect makes them personalize the job and in effect achieve worker buy-in, which allows employees to participate in decision making and thus improving their loyalty to an organization and openness to embrace and implement change.
Did this leader lead the way his/her philosophy would indicate?
Mr. Masood is indeed the epitome of ideal leadership in an organization. He has an air of humility about himself, which makes him less threatening and more approachable. Yet this aspect is tempered by his very authoritative voice and mannerisms. The workers feel both inspired and challenged by Masood’s competence and his educational qualifications including masters in business administration inspire admiration and trust in his competence. The groups that he sets up are often very diverse in their composition, but he encourages unity and loyalty to the store’s organizational culture. Moreover, he works remarkably well under pressure and always delivers in time to meet deadlines. Therefore, he undoubtedly leads the way his leadership philosophy indicates.
Was the leader effective or ineffective, and why?
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Mr. Masood has an admirable record of accomplishment. He has worked with Peoples Jewellers for the last 16 years now and is facing retirement within the decade but the store owners are unwilling to let go of him or find a replacement. As I was carrying out this shadow project, the store had decided to carry out an awareness campaign to target the youth or young earners and Mr. Masood portrayed the following qualities, which underscore his effectiveness.
Self-awareness:- Mr. Masood organized the staff into four task forces and each had different responsibilities ranging from IT management to Human Resources for campaign purposes. Next, he asked the teams to select leaders and since he was in the Human Resource team himself, the group selected him as the team leader. However, it was a rare moment when Mr. Masood refused to accept the good gesture and instead proposed a young lady, who was still fresh out of college and had majored in Human Resource, to take the role. Such is the nature of Mr. Masood, he is not a show-off. This rare virtue makes him effective because workers are comfortable around him.
Credibility: – In addition to his MBA, Mr. Masood is an avid follower of organizational leadership discourses. Last year, he was the main speaker at the annual conference held in New York and this trip was fully catered for by the organizers. The workers do not all know what his accomplishments are and even if they do, they might not fully understand what it means to be a guru in organizational leadership discourses. However, they strongly believe that Mr. Masood is an invaluable gift. This faith and appreciation are reinforced by the storeowners’ complete trust in Mr. Masood, which is demonstrated when they leave the country for months at a go and leave the store under the stewardship of Mr. Masood.
Mr. Masood is an effective leader because he runs the store with skill and diligence. His workers respect and appreciate him and they do not suffer the petty leadership scruples that are commonplace in small organizations such as the Peoples Jewellers. Moreover, an effective leader ensures that he or she follows a leadership philosophy, which hinges on organizational values and Mr. Masood meets this criterion.
What have you learned about yourself from this experience that will enhance your leadership potential? Why?
I have always harbored the notion that leadership should have a resounding presence, which is enunciated by visible proof of its existence in the form of a corner office and a title before one’s name coupled with fear and awe from the subjects. However, while carrying out this project, it soon became apparent to me that a milder and more humble approach works much better for everyone. In the same store, another manager was next to invisible because of his arrogance and self-proclaimed wisdom. He was constantly quashing meaningful suggestions from the rest of the workers and when he got annoyed, which happened many times, or wanted to drive a point home in a discussion, he would remind everybody that he was the manager.
This behavior was completely unattractive and I determined that I was not going to be a leader that behaved as such. From this experience, I learned that I am not opposed to change and that I enjoy learning. I changed my perspective on effective leadership and was prepared to learn from Mr. Masood and other knowledgeable authors about effective leadership in an organization. The lessons in humility and my flexibility in adopting a new perspective are helpful in leadership because organization dynamics keep on changing with time and with the contemporary technological revolution, change is inevitable. As such, one needs to be malleable in order to fit in the shoes of the ideal organizational leader because these leaders keep on changing.
Does management need to have good leadership skills to be a good team leader?
Good leadership skills are non-negotiable in any position of authority. Authority is a social construct and it is relinquished by the society to the chosen or appointed leader in a version of a social contract. In return for the power and status bequeathed on the leader, society expects results. In a bid to achieve meaningful results, good leadership skills are a mandatory requirement. In short, a team that comprises of three members can easily defeat one comprising of a hundred if the three are under the leadership of a competent leader. Competent leadership requires humility as the glue that binds a leader and his or her subjects. The leader ought to be humble. In return, the subjects learn to trust him or her and become receptive to his or her counsel. This aspect calls for wisdom in such a leader so that his or her counsel and directives are reliable. Thirdly, a leader ought to stand out from the rest of the team or group in order to be a symbol of authority and prevent chaos. This assertion does not negate the fact that he or she should be humble; on the contrary, it only requires the subjects to respect the office of the leader.
In what situations do you use your leadership expertise?
Leadership is a perpetual state and so it is always in play. However, it becomes necessary to use my expertise when a conflict arises. It may be in decision making about certain jewelry or between two or more co-workers in a personal squabble. In issues of a personal nature, it becomes tricky to intervene because it may be none of my business and so I try not to interfere unless it affects the business in any way. However, in decision-making, everybody’s suggestion is highly valued and considered carefully, and then the decision is subjected to a vote, which is determined democratically. In case of a tie, I reserve the right to vote and break the tie. For example, when we were launching the new line of our jewelry- Glitterous, the workers could not settle on the name to use, and ultimately we had about four names with sufficient backing from its proponents. We subjected the decision to discussions and a suggestion was made that instead of picking one, the four names be combined into one to ensure that every party is satisfied. When this suggestion was put to a vote, we agreed unanimously that the name should be Glitterous and thus everyone was satisfied and felt valued.
What are some of the features of a team to identify that has good or bad leadership?
Teams with good leadership flourish in the accomplishment of their tasks. They have good timing skills in terms of meeting deadlines and they are self-motivated and energetic. They can easily sacrifice decisions that are defeating to the accomplishment of the set task for goal-oriented decisions and behaviors; moreover, they have working relationships among members. On the other hand, teams with bad leadership are disorganized, constantly conflicting, exhibit lateness and unprofessionalism in project completion, and ultimately produce mediocre work. They also have a tendency of being ultra-sensitive to any sort of critique and this element makes them defensive instead of receptive to the advice being rendered.
How do you guide your team towards a goal?
Only two words can answer this question sufficiently, viz. buy-in and SMART. Buy in refers to the embracing of the organization’s objective as a personal objective or project, which guarantees maximum exertion on the part of the employee in reaching the desired end. In a bid to achieve buy-in, information sharing is vital because workers should be included in decision-making from the infant stage of the goal – when it is still an idea. If they offer suggestions that would lead to the final goal, they are going to embrace and implement the new goal as their own. SMART is a conventional acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound goals. In engineering a goal, its structure is crucial to the mindset of the workers for if it is too complex or stretches out to infinity, they may be discouraged and thus fail to give it their best. Consequently, even if the goal is complex, it is wiser to stratify it into simpler samples that can be executed in bits.
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How do you keep members of the team focused and motivated while keeping confidence high? Could you express your thoughts with some good examples?
I am a firm believer in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He elucidates that optimal human performance is impossible if the five basic needs of safety, love, psychological, self-actualization, and self-esteem are not satisfied. This realization thus follows that workers should balance all these and that becomes my responsibility as well.
There exist a diverse range of safety forms that human beings require. However, to be realistic, I limit myself to financial security and ensure that my workers are paid at the best rates in the market for the equivalent of the labor services they provide. Additionally, their positions are permanent upon employment and if employed as casuals, they become permanent two months after the perpetual engagement. This move provides them with a legal resort in case of wrongful dismissal claims. The package is accompanied by health benefits that come with being accorded Medicaid membership and other fringe benefits.
I believe in the theory Y concept of organizational leadership and it was only later that I came to realize the link between this theory and Maslow’s theory. Workers carry out quarterly evaluations, which are used in the consideration of promotions and pay rises. Knowing that money alone cannot be an adequate motivation, the store provides workers with on the job training and a self-development ladder at whose pinnacle is a partnership with the store owner. This strategy is a new model, which is less than a year old, and its results are still too minimal to accord a generalized view. However, the available achievements are promising and workers are bearing fruits of ambition.
Psychological and self-esteem needs
Limiting this area to work-related issues, the store is a highly ethical environment where discrimination of any kind is punishable by loss of employment. Therefore, the chances of any worker facing psychological torture are almost zero. In addition, everyone in the store appreciates diversity and thus no one can intimidate the other based on color, race, gender, or sexual orientation among others and this aspect promotes self-esteem, as people are comfortable with who they are. Moreover, no one is afraid of expressing his or her opinions for fear of intimidation or reproach.