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The Importance of Effective Leadership for Business Organizations

Discuss about the Analysis of Leadership Styles and Skills.

The current dynamism and the ever changing business environment have affected the way businesses are conducted in industries today. The tremendous creativity and innovations experienced in almost all sectors of the economies around the globe have changed the way processes are executed in the industries. Companies domiciled in States like China, Singapore, United States of America, Australia and more have achieved a lot from the use of technology. Technology has remained a major factor that most organizations use to compete on the job market favorably (Gary, et al. 2013). Currently, companies have embraced total quality management that has positively resulted in the record of pretty performances.

However, still, some companies fail to meet their objectives despite the use of this technology. The failure to meet the key objectives is attributed to some factors like poor management, non-alignment of the strategic goals with the key process, adverse business environment, inappropriate use of technology, and others (Kowske, & Anthony, 2007, p.21-41). Although, the outlined factors carry an equal magnitude for their relevance to the organization, the coordinator and planner of activities remains the human resources. For instance, a company may have funds to acquire the up to date technology, employ staff with the highest level of academic qualifications, acquire any equipment and machinery but without effective leadership, no good results can be achieved. It is, therefore, essential for business organizations that wish to explore their potentials to expand and grow, to consider the capability of the management (Michael, 2016, p. 234-247).

Most developed companies have not only succeeded because of the use of technology but because of the effective management. Current studies by scholars clearly portray the role of leadership and management as among the primary elements for the other factors of production. However, when viewed, it is quite simple to say all factors of production carry an equal relevance in an organization. Yes, it is right, but labor factor supersedes the others in that it is the one obligated in combining the other three factors of production.

The paper has, therefore, addressed the entire aspects of leadership. In particular, a case study explaining the success of Vodafone in the supply chain management. It is noted that the company made some changes in the supply chain department by introducing a new leader Mr. Detlef Schultz who successfully employed an effective and workable management system. The awards he received were just forms of recognition for a good work done. While exploring the topic of leadership, two main sub-topics have been covered. First and foremost, the paper has identified the appropriate leadership style for the transformation of Vodafone supply chain department. Secondly, the paper has further explored effective leadership skills to make transformational changes in the supply chain department at Vodafone.

Leadership Style that Schultz could Apply in Vodafone Supply Chain Management

Leadership refers to the ability to guide other people when executing a particular project. In the organizational setup, leadership is a general term that means guiding, motivating, influencing others towards the achievement of the corporate objectives. A leader is a person accountable to the stakeholders of the organization. He/she is the person that links the shareholders with the employees and briefs the former about the performance of the organization (Amagoh, 2009, p. 989-999). Also, leaders are instrumental in the establishment of the strategic goals of the company and aligning them with both the short and long-term objectives.

However, a good leader needs an intrinsic motivation and should be driven by working towards achieving organizational goals. Such an individual is supposed to have the entire organizational picture in mind (Wang, et al. 2010). The comprehensive grasp of strategic organization needs saves time on making assessing the nature of the decision to be made at a particular time. An Effective Leader lays up appropriate measures to facilitate the assessment and evaluation of employees’ contribution to the organization. Also, a perfect leader applies motivational methods and coercive methods to influence and streamline the employees towards a common purpose. The command of people’s trusts, embrasure of teamwork, creation of a Conducive environment, leaders’ participation in some activities and provision of financial support are just some of the primary measures that contribute to the success of a leader.

The management of any competitive company employs a distinctive leadership style that suits the operational systems of the institution. Of late, some companies are applying a combination of various leadership styles. The choice of a particular system depends on the nature of tasks and the intended objectives the management will want to achieve. In most cases, the management selects a method that is cheap and easy to implement. Vodafone is a very competitive company and features the great performing businesses in the globe. The administrators of the company always work smart to ensure its leading competitors like Motorola does not put it out of the market (Du, et al. 2012). Therefore, with such objectives in mind, the supply chain department remains a key focus in ensuring all the international markets are adequately stocked with Vodafone products.

The transformation of Vodafone global supply chain required the application of an inclusive leadership style. Since Schultz was new in leading the company in the supply chain and procurement department, it was a calculated more to create a participative environment. Once the employees feel involved in designing and establishment of an idea, they tend to apply all of their ability in ensuring that the intended purpose is achieved (Du, et al. 2012). It is argued that the determination from the workers in meeting an objective that they were involved in the planning process is meant to prove the boss right. Simply, their efforts are meant to show how relevant they are, and a good leader should develop a third eye in seeing and realizing employees of such caliber.

Leadership Skills

Therefore, effective leadership approaches workable in the Supply chain and procurement department of Vodafone includes; transformational, participative, and transactional styles. To start with, transformational leadership refers to the one that values the importance of effective communication in from the administration. The leaders employ motivation to influence the employees in meeting the set objectives. The approach is characterized by the application of precise, clear and appropriate communication from the management to the employees (Onen, 2008, p. 298-300). Also, smaller roles are usually assigned to workers after a clear view of the expectation is has been explained to them.

Secondly, transactional leadership is a style that seems appropriate for the company. The method involves team members in setting of organization goals.  The leader is also assigned tasks to perform while other duties are allocated to the team members to lead the entire fraternity in executing distinct roles. After the sealing of an agreement between the employees and a transactional leader, the workers agree to follow the guidelines while working towards achieving the predetermined objectives. The style obligates the manager to evaluate and review the results periodically. Rewards are given to those who hit targets. For those who fail to perform are punished or taken through training.  This initiative aligns those who under-performs with the relevant skills applicable in solving matters of the same requirements. If the employees’ that undergoes new training fails to deliver, the leader usually lacks other option but remains justified to instill any form of punishment.


And lastly but not least, a participative “autocratic” leadership style was also appropriate for the transformations in Vodafone Company.  A participative system values contributions from other members of the organization. The employees can get contribute and air their views, but the management just uses the useful ideas to build on a decision. In simple terms, the management has the absolute powers of making the decisions. Perhaps, the employees’ likes the leadership style since it makes them feel that their opinions matter in the running of the organization (Zhang, et al. 2013).  However, a participative system is one of the effective approaches to be employed in an established organization.  Although Schultz applied a combination of the discussed styles, which is quite well, an autocratic style was also appropriate to be fully applied in the supply chain management of Vodafone.

As a matter of fact, participative leadership style works well in the current fluid and changing business environment. The involvement of employees in planning activities reduces the chances of resistance during the change process. The system facilitates earlier communication of plans and strategies by the management. Since the department was still under transformation due to change in leadership, reliance on participative style could be appropriate and lead the company towards growth. With the existence of teamwork, able leadership to coordinate various organizations’ resources, the chances for success of the company becomes significant (Parnell, 2010).

Conclusion

These refer to the qualities leaders are expected to exhibit while guiding, monitoring and leading others. Sometimes, a great leader is born with distinctive characters that make him/her a perfect leader from the word go. However, leadership is a taught skill where one starts from a low grounds and emerges as a great administrator. Based on our case study, Schultz proved to be an effective leader and managed to lead the supply chain management team towards success (Strand, 2011, p.84-96). A good leader should employ varieties of skills in discharging the assigned duties. For instance, an excellent leader should employ learned skills, interpersonal skills, personal skills, and more to ensure there is smooth running of activities within the institution. The effectiveness in the application of the leadership skills in managing people qualifies the person as a good leader.

Usually, a successful leader should have the ability to manage a wide range of activities. For instance, they should be excellent in setting organization’s goals, they should poses ability in establishing executable strategies, and leaders should always focus on ensuring the output of the organization is sufficient to offset all costs associated with the production processes,  should be sensitive to cultural imperatives, among others (Nguyen, et al. 2009). Therefore, the leadership skills will be instrumental in guiding, influencing and motivating other individuals towards a common purpose.

As a matter of fact, Schultz applied appropriate transformational skills in taking the organization to the level it reached. To succeed in leading people, especially when they are individuals who have stayed in the organization for long requires exceptional skills. One must be a quick learner to easily study the organization set up, culture, operational systems, and the management support (Castro, et al. 2008). A democratic environment requires a leader in possession of qualities like honesty, competence, inspiring, intelligent, broad-minded, courageous and imaginative. The interactive application of these principles motivates and inspires others to support the company’s plans.

To achieve success in the transformational process in the supply chain management of Vodafone, a good leader should exhibit the following skills: communication skills, motivational skills, creative thinking skills, and personal skills. To start with, the leader should have communication skills (Michael, 2016, p. 234-247). The communication aspect was essential for the leader to express the strategic goals of the supply chain department. Communication incorporates both verbal and non-verbal skills.  The verbal skills shape the leader to express his/her opinion about a particular issue effectively.


Also, the combination of the verbal and non-verbal skills creates clarity in the passage of the information from the management to the team members. Further, communication skills assist an individual in understanding the right time for change to be communicated to the juniors. Consequently, teamwork and understanding will exist in the organization that positively impacts on the performance of the company as it was the case with Vodafone (Michael, 2016, p.234-240).

Secondly, a leader should employ motivational skills. These are primary element that determines the support a manager or leader can get from the employees.  The motivation of workers influences the behavior of individuals that can assure the leader of perfect execution and implementation of changes from the juniors based on the assigned duties. As earlier noted, the leader should be intrinsically motivated towards the organization primary objectives (Murphy, 2008). But the junior workers require extrinsic motivation for them to stay focused. It can take various forms like financial benefits, bonuses, medical benefits, house allowances and others.  Therefore, a charismatic leader should have the ability to understand the need and relevance of motivation and appropriately apply it to influence workers attitudes (Takahashi, et al. 2012).

Thirdly, Schultz could apply creative thinking skills to manage the teams he created. These are skills that enable an individual only to focus on smart initiatives that align with the organization objectives. These skills are essential for creativity and innovation in the organization (Lewin, 2010). With the dynamic and competitive business environment, creativity skills will help the organization develop a competitive edge against its close rivals. Innovation and creativity bring in the company new ways of executing activities (Lee, 2008, p. 670-687). 

Furthermore, creative thinking skills enhance the following: employees’ commitments, responsibility taking, effective feedback from either side, flexibility in the discharge of roles and more. Therefore, it is imperative for the leadership to ensure its key strategists has creative skills to assist in the evaluation of changes in business environment and guide the others in the establishment of a corrective action in case a deviation exists from the standard plan.

Lastly but not least, Schultz could apply personal skills. These skills are essential in determining the kind of relationship to exist between the team members and overall leader. Since humans are social beings, personal skills will be vital in the creation of the positive working mood among the members. Notably, these skills enable an individual to establish a culture of free interaction, sharing of opinions and views, positivity towards any views suggested by team members, trustworthiness, and other key elements (Roy, 2012, p.56-66).

In addition, personal skills will be instrumental in building work relationships that will be obligated to periodically give their opinions on various matters affecting the accomplishments of set objectives.  Good relationship among the management and employees limits the explosion of conflicts (Ulrich, & Smallwood, 2012, p.9-36). With the use of other explained leadership skills, the peacefulness in the organization will usher in a new error of teamwork, hard works, and member developments. With such a focus and determination, internal deterrents will be prevented, and the company will only remain with the option of handling business externalities.

Conclusion

Currently, the success of various organizations depends on the style of leadership. Most importantly, participative, transactional and transformational styles are the common three styles applied by most organizations. The effective application of either of the leadership style has helped most businesses grow and expand globally. However, the changing environment requires the combination of these styles since the challenges are enormous requiring the matching of the styles. The combination of the styles proved to work well at Vodafone. However, the paper has proposed the application of participative system that gives the team members privileges to contribute to the decision-making process through giving of their opinions.   

Lastly, a leader cannot be effective if he/she lack leadership skills. The key leadership skills include but not limited to communication skills, personal skills, creative and thinking skills and motivational skills. The proper application of these skills by leaders leads to efficiency in operation. Consequently, the company will achieve both short and long-term objectives.

References

Amagoh, F. (2009). Leadership development and leadership effectiveness: Management Decision, pp 989- 999

Castro, C. B., Perin˜an, M. V., & Bueno, J.C. (2008). Transformational leadership and followers attitudes: the mediating role of psychological empowerment. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19 (10), 1842–1863

Du, S., Swaen, V., Lindgreen, A., &Sen, S. (2012). The roles of leadership styles in corporate social responsibility: Journal of Business Ethics, 1-15.

Gary, Y., Rubina, M., Shahidu, H., and Gregory, E. (2013).  Improved Measure of Ethical Leadership: Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, volume 20: 38-48.

Kowske, B. J., & Anthony, K. (2007). Towards defining leadership competence around the world: What mid-level managers need to know in twelve countries. Human Resource Development International, 10(1), 21-41.

Lee, J. (2008). Effects of leadership and leader-member exchange on innovativeness. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23 (6), 670-687.

Lewin, Kurt (2010). Resolving social conflicts and field theory in social science: Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

Michael, T. (2016). Leadership in Extreme Contexts: Transformational Leadership, Performance Beyond Expectations? Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies August 2016 23: 234-247.

Murphy, S. E., &Ensher, E. A. (2008). A qualitative analysis of charismatic leadership in creative teams: The case of television directors. The Leadership Quarterly, 19, 335–352.

Nguyen, N. T. B., &Umemoto, K. (2009). Understanding leadership for cross cultural knowledge management: Journal of Leadership Studies, 2(4), 23-35.

Onen, D. (2008). Leadership styles and behaviours relationships on employee performance: A handout for postgraduate students. Kampala: Makerere University Printery, East Africa, pp.298-300

Parnell, John A. (2010). Propensity for participative decision making in Latin America: Mexico and Peru‟, The international Journal of Human Resources Management, Vol.21 (3), 2323-2338.

Roy, S. R. (2012). Digital mastery: The skills needed for effective virtual leadership. International Journal of e-Collaboration, pp 56-66

Schaubroeck, J., Lam, S. S. K., & Cha, S. E. (2007). Embracing transformational leadership: Team values and the impact of leader behavior on team performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(4), 1020-1030.

Sookaneknun, S., &Ussahawanitchakit, P. (2012). Transformational Leadership: Organizational Innovation Capability, and Firm Performance of Cosmetic Businesses in Thailand. Journal of International Business and Economics, 12(4), 77-91

Strand, R. (2011). Exploring the role of leadership in corporate social responsibility: A review. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, pp 84-96.

Suzanne, M. Carter and Charles, R. (2013). Greer Strategic Leadership: Values, Styles, and Organizational Performance. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies November 2013 20:375-393

Takahashi, K., Ishikawa, J., & Kanai, T. (2012). Qualitative and quantitative studies of leadership in multinational settings: Meta-analytic and cross-cultural reviews. Journal of World Business, 47(4), 530-538.

Ulrich, D., & Smallwood, N. (2012). What is leadership? In W. H. Mobley, Ying Wang, Ming Li (ed.) Advances in Global Leadership (Advances in Global Leadership, Volume 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.9-36.

Wang, X.-H., & Howell, J. M. (2010). Exploring the Dual-Level Effects of Transformational Leadership on Followers: Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(6), 1134–1144.

Zhang, X. A., Li, N., Ullrich, J., & van Dick, R. (2013). Getting Everyone on Board: The
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