Leadership for Sustainability
In recent years, there has been a considerable increase in inclination towards integration of the expectations of the society in business as a response to the ever increasing stakeholder pressure and the need for opportunity exploration to create competitive advantage (Fistis et al., 2014). This is due to the realization that sustainability can be attained if individuals did away with commonly held notions of leadership and organizational development. Integrating sustainability into the practices of an organization has been at the heart of the above. A particular factor that has facilitated effective integration of sustainability is leadership i.e. leadership for sustainability (Fistis et al., 2014).
An individual contemporary Australian Business leader that has openly embraced leadership for sustainability is Telstra's CEO Andy Penn, 54 (Korporaal, 2017). And to this effect, he has demonstrated certain outstanding competencies. He is an MBA and FCCA holder from Kingston University and Harvard Business School respectively (Korporaal, 2017). Also, Leadership for Sustainability has roots in certain premises evident in Andy Penn's style of leadership. Firstly, in leadership and sustainability, it is important to adopt ways of thinking sustainability within and between organizations. This is possible by fostering external collaboration, one of the major competencies exhibited by Andy Penn in his willingness to work with other entities. Terming Telstra a global player in telecommunication, he has forged relationships with Google, Microsoft, IBM and Tesla (Boyd, 2017).
Secondly, leadership for sustainability encompasses adopting new and diverse leadership and organization skills and Know-how in sustainable projects (Marshall, Coleman & Reason, 2011). This has been evident in Penn's demonstration of sustainability leadership, showing awareness of trends both in the business environment and the social scene and what this means for Telstra from a risk and opportunity perspective. For example, he came top of the recent Twitter survey that looked to establish an Australian business leader with the most influence using both qualitative and quantitative measures. Further, he has advocated for an intimate involvement of technological innovation by Telstra at the most basic level of the business's ventures- network- hence ensuring that there is effectiveness and reliability about people's needs whenever they use Telstra network (Boyd, 2017). This demonstrates his awareness of the business environment i.e. understanding the ever-changing role of institutions.
Third, "Methodological and methodical knowledge and understanding are needed to enable leaders to make sustainable decisions (Marshall, Coleman & Reason, 2011)." Being a Systems Thinker Penn has demonstrated the knowledge of the contexts behind problems and their link to broader trends. A case example is when he moved to quell stakeholder fears who had expressed concern with the future of the company after the slump in annual profits (Boyd, 2017). In his response, he demonstrated his multidiscipline background and a combination technical and creative field. Penn also has expertise in: "principles of systems management such as resilience and administration (Boyd, 2017)."
Lastly, leadership for sustainability entails the integration of organization forms, all inclusive to all manner of stakeholders, relatable to an organization that is project-based (Fistis et al., 2014) as is the case with Telstra. This would require leadership that observes progressive values. A leader with progressive values puts into consideration emotion and motivation sensitive to others. A Mindful leader can view him/ her and their work as the piece to a huge puzzle, employing this as a motivation to harnessing the business thereby improving the society. Further, an empathetic leader oversees the innovation of products that align with the needs of customers, evidenced by the launch of giga-devices under his stewardship to maximize consumer experience (Marshall, Coleman & Reason, 2011). The imminence of sustainability challenges demands a foundational reestablishment of business. Leaders competent in social innovation such as Penn view this challenge as an opportunity to grow. He says "this was just a temporary thing, which would not obscure its significant infrastructure investments (Boyd, 2017)."
Motivation : Outback Steakhouse
Despite the idea of motivation being much of a mystery, certain theories have been proposed in a bid to establish an overall look into the basic perspectives regarding motivation (Steel & Konig, 2006). For the case of Outback Steakhouse, certain traits of the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory are evident. This theory was put forth in 1943 by Abraham Maslow (Mcleod, 2007). Fundamentally, the theory posits that to adequately motivate employees, it is imperative that their basic needs are met. There are five levels of hierarchy or rather, five levels of needs. One, physiological needs which are essential for the survival of the employee. This is evident in Outback's provision of adequate spaces to the servers and kitchen staffs to effectively deliver on their duties. Two, Maslow's theory proposes observance of safety i.e. financial, personal and health-wise (Mcleod, 2007). Outback observes safety of its employees by the provision of ownership to its managers to ensure safety i.e. 10% of the earnings from each of restaurants they invested in goes to the managers each month.
Three, the theory outlines that there are needs for love and belonging fostered through friendships, relationships and family (Mcleod, 2007). This is evident in Outback's leadership motivates its employees. To reduce employee's turnover each employee and manager have a maximum of 5 working days in a week and a dinner only policy to ensure that they have enough time for a life out of work hence fostering their relationships. Fourth, esteem is a need that fosters confidence and respect in employees (Mcleod, 2007). Outback has capitalized on this aspect of motivation by bestowing the managers with a certain level responsibility in that they are allowed to make their decisions rather than implementing the will of the overall management. Lastly, Outback Steakhouses promoted self-actualization by providing avenues through which its employees could achieve all they deem possible. These included the opportunity to be part owners of some restaurants.
Empowerment has been at Outback Steakhouses in various ways. To begin with, the management at own restaurants has been bestowed with the ability to make their decisions and not just reliant on implementation on those made by the overall leadership. Further, there is an ownership scheme through which the employees earn from some of the restaurants. Even more, the managers and regular staff participate in share ownership plan hence the overall leadership ensures they have to say in the affairs of the establishment. Other practical ways of motivating employees through empowerment include daily recognition of successes whenever an employee takes an action that is deemed empowered, establishing which employees in the ranks are in a better position to make certain decisions, hence decentralizing decision making, and inquiring from employees the extra set of skills that they may need in order to adequately deliver in their duties (Appelbaum et al., 2015).
Effective delivery of communication regarding any changes in the workplace is just as important as the piece of information being passed across (Dolan, 2016). In Outback, delivery of the recommendations as mentioned above on practical ways of empowerment would entail the following. Taking the initiatives and direct responsibility to effectively communicate the message instead of relying on intermediaries such as memos and emails. Further, establishing how the new way of doing things would a positive addition to the already existent avenues of motivation, fine tuning the message by ensuring that any questions or concerns on the issue are raised conclusively. Lastly, it is important to anticipate of the response of recipients of information after delivery (Dolan, 2016). This is achieved by making a list of probable questions and responses.
There are different types of teams depending on the need, perception, goals among other factors. I have had the privilege of being a part of a task force- a group whose formation is based on a specific project or the need to find a solution to a particular problem- in my time in high school that focused on the reduction and prevention of drug abuse among the youth. The characteristics of the task force included: defined goals, and roles and responsibilities in the task force were well defined to ensure that each member was well aware of the part they play in the realization of the goals. Moreover, it has a procedure for evaluating performance that included methods that monitored progress and also metrics for success, for assessing its performance from the time of inception. Again, the task force was well structured with enough personnel to adequately partake of its duties towards meeting its goals (Uhlig, 2017).
There was a gradual development of the team's after its inception. The team developed a habit of listening to what each of the task force team members said and instead of jumping to conclusions ways were devised to put into consideration the points of views of different members. Also, conflicts within the taskforce were resolved without blaming and in the event of a misunderstanding, escalations to the conflict were prevented by constant seek of clarification. More, necessary attention was paid to teams members whenever it seemed as though there was a different understanding of various task issues. The level of cohesiveness in the task force was high, committing to the team's decisions and strategies, the creation of accountability criteria to which all members were subject to(Thompson et al., 2015). Cohesiveness is the extent to which team members stick together and remain united in the pursuit of a common goal (Thompson et al., 2015) The morale of the team, the indicator of cohesiveness, was evident from frequent communications between team members and superb contributions to the process of decision making.
The team members that played task specialist roles were drawn from the school's administration who doubled up to be our patron. They possessed knowledge and understanding in standards of task management. In addition to task specialist roles, some task force members took up socio-emotional roles devoting their time and energy to offering support in relation to emotional needs of the members of the task force, and the maintenance of the team as a social unit (Business Dictionary, 2017). The level of cohesiveness attained is highly attributed to the efforts of these members. Principally, the role entailed maintenance of the team's morale through allaying fears, playing mediator in arguments, reduction of tensions, and disagreement settlement.
Just like any other team, conflicts arose from time to time hence various techniques of conflict resolution were utilized (Dontigney, 2017). The collaboration was used. It entailed working with the interested persons to find a win-win solution to a particular problem. Conflicts were also resolved by compromising: involved looking for a solution that was expedient and addressed concerns in a way that was deemed mutually acceptable (Dontigney, 2017). Other conflicts were resolved through smoothing i.e. encouraging accommodation of the views of other before one's self (Dontigney, 2017). At times, the parties in the conflict came to the realization that the conflict was born out of misunderstandings on technicalities after the process of smoothing.
The stages of team development which represent a team's journey from just being a group of individuals randomly brought together to transforming into a goal-oriented team, forming, storming, norming and performing (Dochy et al., 2013). Storming, a stage triggered when talks of position emerge, and confusions manifest when the leadership of the team becomes imperative. This is the time to show the manner in which thing will be conducted by establishing certain criteria to avert confusions ensuring agreements are arrived at smoothly. During the norming phase, the leader capitalizes of the little trust gained during storming to put in measures such as frequent and efficient communication to enhance cohesiveness.
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Boyd, T. (2017). Telstra chief Andy Penn moves to soothe spooked investors with tech-led future. Financial Review. Retrieved 6 May 2017, from https://www.afr.com/technology/web/telstra-chief-andy-penn-moves-to-soothe-spooked-investors-with-techled-future-20170216-guelf2
Korporaal, G. (2017). Penn writes new Telstra chapter. Theaustralian.com.au. Retrieved 6 May 2017, from https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/andy-penn-writes-new-chapter-at-telstra/news-story/22583c30a696fa0966b4b30742b66fcb
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