World-wide there are a large number of successful and/or inspirational individuals working within a variety of sectors. These sectors include business, sport, politics, arts and the philanthropic/not-for-profit sector. There are many leadership theories used in the study of leaders.
One theory, Bass’s transformational leadership, identifies three ways that a leader can transform followers, namely;
ï‚· Increasing their awareness of task importance and value.
ï‚· Getting them to focus first on team or organizational goals, rather than their own interests.
ï‚· Activating their higher-order needs. (Bass, B.M. and Riggio, R.E. (2006). Transformational Leadership (Second Edition), Routledge)
When considering leadership undertake the following:
ï‚· Provide an outline of two leadership theories that you identify with. You must research the literature for the theories.
ï‚· Applying the leadership theories you have researched and the values, characteristics and traits identified, reflect on how important the leadership attributes are in advancing your career and how they will contribute to you achieving both your personal and career goals.
Your Reflective piece must utilise literature and other support materials as appropriate. A minimum of five academic references must be used and appropriately referenced.
Task 2 - Organisational Profile
Once you have graduated from your studies what type of organisation would you like to work for? If you are currently employed what is your next career move? Based on comprehensive research and analysis students will evaluate a specific organisation in their industry of choice and will decide if it aligns to their skills, attributes and values.
Identify one organisation that you will apply for when you graduate:
ï‚· Discuss in detail the organisations’ mission and goals, culture, staffing practices and graduate opportunities.
ï‚· List your skills, attributes and values (refer to PD2 career SWOT analysis) and then reflect on the level of compatibility/fit with the organisation you identified. Please explain your reasons in detail.
Your Reflective piece must utilise literature and other support materials. A minimum of five academic references must be used and appropriately referenced.
Task 3 – Career Proposal
Planning your career is an essential task in the current climate of employment mobility and skills escalation. Please review the work you did in PD2 on your career ePortfolio.
Using the knowledge of the leadership attributes from above and the organisation profile provide answers to these three mock interview questions. Please make sure you personalise your answers:
1) Even though you may not be commencing at a leadership management level what is the most important leadership skill or attribute that you should master?
2) If you are successful with getting the position what is your short term career goal?
3) What area in your skill sets do you think needs the most development in order to progress your career with the organisationa?
Leadership theories are developed based on the need of social transformation and a need to achieve certain goals (Northhouse, 2009). While some researchers beehive that leaders are born other like to maintain that situations create leaders. Both of these considerations have been proved valid by historical incidents. However, the nature and type of leadership differs. Although many leadership theories have been developed, transformational and transactional leadership are the two most common form of leadership that is being practiced in the contemporary scenario. Transactional leadership mainly focuses on establishing order in the work process and developing a continuous flow of functional activities within an organisation (Bel, 2010). The primary features of transactional leadership are that they tend to motivate their followers or employees by providing rewards and incentives (Allen, 2009). This also reflects the nature of basic transactions being conducted in order to keep the network of operations going. Transformational leadership on the other hand is more focused on developing a strategic support for the organisation. Transformational style of leadership helps in unifying the workforce and develops a shared vision in the employee force which urges them to work towards a common goal (Bass and Riggio, 2006). The employees are always considered to be crucial part of the development process and involved in the decision making process. Transformational leadership is considered to value the psychological aspects of the employees such as belongingness and self-respect which acts as the motivation (Ibarra and Hansen, 2011). Apart from this transformational leadership also enhances the scope of generating employee loyalty towards the organisation.
Considering the current day employment market, academic qualifications alone are not sufficient to create an appropriate career profile. On the other hand, the growth of the competition in the market and the increase in business complexities also demand for a better practical knowledge and foresight for handling the role of a manager (Northhouse, 2009). The leadership traits that one needs to develop in order to find a suitable job basically requires thorough understanding of the scenario, requirements of the organisation and the employees, ability to align the needs of the employees and the firm and most importantly the ability to create a shared vision. In order to achieve a managerial profile I must have the ability to use the traits of both transformational and transactional leadership in accordance with the need of the situation. I will have to motivate the employees with monetary rewards and also enhance their organisational loyalty by creating a participative work culture. The employees need to be collaborative and communicative with each other so that a unified effort can be created. This is based on the traits of the transformational leadership. On the other hand, in order to maintain discipline and operational functions steady, transactional leadership is required. However, using both these leadership styles in synchronised manner will be a challenge that I will be facing and can overcome by having adequate theoretical knowledge and practical understanding of the work process of the organisation I will be working with.
The organisation that I want to work for is Sainsbury. The reason I have selected Sainsbury is mainly because of their organisational rapport in the social sphere. Sainsbury is highly indulged in corporate social responsibility activities which makes the business practices sustainable. The scope of growth and future sustainability of career is high in Sainsbury. Apart from this Sainsbury’s is operating with more than 1200 supermarkets which increases the variety in work and the employee base consists of over 160000 employees (Sainsbury’s, 2014). The Vision of the company is to establish itself as one of the most trusted retailers in the industry (Sainsbury’s, 2014). The goals and business strategy of the company are based on their vision. The organisational goal is to offer quality services that fulfil the organisational requirements and also maintain a fair business practice (English and Chalon, 2011). The organisational strategy focuses on three key aspects namely, employee support, knowing what the customers need and finally providing quality products and services at fair value (Kozlowski, 2012). The work culture of the company is also designed in a manner which helps the employees achieve their targets and also focuses on fair performance appraisals and monitoring. The recruitment process of the company is focused on identifying the actual and potential skills of the candidates and offering them the right designation (Black and Gregersen, 2007). This also improves the quality of performance and productivity of the organisation, making them one of the largest supermarket chains of Europe (Clegg, 2007).
The SWOT analysis carried above focuses on highlighting the gaps in my skills and also reflects the positive factors which can help me in improving my compatibility with the work culture Sainsbury. One of the key gaps in my skills is the limited communicating skills. In order to be a productive member of an organisation I should be able to collaborate and communicate with my team members. I need to assess the problems faced by them and also help them in solving those problems. In order to rise higher up the ladder of professional development, I should also have leadership capabilities. On the other hand, the work culture of the company also offers suitable opportunities for improving my skills and also creating a better future scope. Some of the key strengths that I believe I have and will help me in my pursuit of a fruitful career in Sainsbury’s are risk identification, individual performance focus, personality recognition and team working ability. Not only I have to be productive but also make sure that my work is up to the standard quality level. Also it is essential to reflect the potential skills I have to my superiors so that they can help me utilise them and help in the growth and development of the organisation.
Based on the analysis of my skills conducted in the previous segment, I could assess that I was uncertain about my leadership skills and need to improve them. However, in relation to the working culture and conditions of Sainsbury, I think developing a shared value among the employees and motivating them towards a common goal will be the most crucial aspect of leadership. Leadership traits of transactional and transformational styles focus on motivating employees with the help of materialistic and psychological rewards (Dunkel and Kerpelman, 2006). I will have to gather knowledge of application of both these reward system for implementing them in practical scenario. Also I must be able to understand the problems being faced by my colleagues and peers and help them in a suitable manner (Savickas, 2005). Apart from these, with the help of my risk identification skill I will be able to foresee the gaps in strategies and reflect them to my superiors which will also be a positive aspect in developing my leadership skills and highlight my vision (Blustein, 2006).
Considering the scenario that I am able to find a job in my desired organisation i.e. Sainsbury’s, I would like to set my short term career goals with the help of the SMART objectives. My short term goal will be to attract the eye of my superiors with the help of my performance and achieving the given target on a monthly basis. I would also intend to work as a co-operative team member and develop a good rapport with my team mates. The goal set can be measured by observing my performance against the tasks assigned to me which will help reflect my potential skills and ability to contribute towards the organisational growth. In order to sum it all, my short term career goal should help me in getting recommended for promotion and increment after the first one year of my performance.
The most important skill sets in my line of work which will be in the retail industry is I think communication skills. I will need to improve my communication skills. Communication skills will help me in getting acquainted with the organisational work culture and structure and also help me in understanding the requirements of workforce and customer alike (Greller and Stroh, 2004). I would need to be collaborative and in order to do so I have to communicate with my team members and superiors so that I can understand their problems and provide suitable solutions (Peila-Shuster, 2012). Also I must be apt in identifying the needs of the customers and help them with their queries which will highlight my skills.
Allen, D. (2009) Leadership and Teamwork Essays. 6th ed. London: McGraw-Hill Education.
Bass, B.M. and Riggio, R.E. (2006). Transformational Leadership (2nd ed), London: Routledge.
Bel, R. (2010), “Leadership and Innovation: Learning from the best”, Global Business & Organisational Excellence [online], 29, 2, pp.47-60
Black, J.S. and Gregersen, H.B. (2007) Kozlowski, S. W. J. (2012) High impact training: forging leaders for the global frontier. Human Resource Management, 39(2&3), 173–184.
Blustein, D. (2006). The psychology of working: A new perspective for career development, counseling, and public policy. London, England: Routledge.
Clegg, S. (2007) Management and organization paradoxes. Bedford, London: Thomson Learning.
Dunkel, C., and Kerpelman, J. (Eds.). (2006). Possible selves: Theory, research and application. New York, NY: Nova Science.
English, B. and Chalon, C. (2011) Strengthening affective organizational commitment: The influence of fairness perceptions of management practices and underlying employee cynicism. The Health Care Manager, 30, 29-35.
Greller, M. M., and Stroh, L. K. (2004). Making the most of late-career for employers and workers themselves: Becoming elders not relics. Organizational Dynamics, 33, 202-214.
Ibarra, H. and Hansen, M. (2011) “Are you a collaborative Leader?” Harvard Business Review, 89, 7/8, pp. 68-74
Kozlowski, S. W. J. (2012) The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Psychology, Volume 1, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Northhouse, P.G. (2009) Leadership: Theory and Practises. 5th ed. London: Sage.
Peila-Shuster, J. J. (2012). Using strengths to construct the new life chapter. Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, 28, 21-32.
Sainsbury’s (2014). Business Strategy and Objectives. [Online]. Available from: <https://www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/about-us/business-strategy-and-objectives/> [Accessed on 14th January 2015].
Savickas, M. (2005). The theory and practice of career construction. In S. D. Brown & R.W. Lent (Eds.), Career development and counselling: Putting theory and research to work. (pp. 42-70). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
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