The contemporary business environment requires managers and staff to apply their knowledge and skills in solving common problems that they encounter in their places of work. Because of the need to function in a coordinated environment, it is necessary to have a center of authority and command that act as a guide for others to follow. In a work environment where power is not concentrated in a given place, it is possible to have chaotic and disorganized work places and thus lead to collapsing or winding up of business entities. Many organizations have managed to overcome turbulent times because of the kind of leadership that their managers exercise. However, despite the leadership approach that is practiced in a given organization, effective communication comes about as the solution to the challenges that might be caused by a given leadership style. In this paper, I discuss the leadership style of one of the departmental managers, Lisa Benton and how such challenges can be dealt with.
According to Winkler (2009), the process of influencing other people to accomplish an objective while maintaining cohesiveness and remaining coherent in the implementation of the objective can be said to be leadership. Similarly, Northouss (2007) observes that leadership is the process where a person persuades others in a group or organization towards the achievement of a common goal. Being able to identify the common goal is an important element of leadership in that the leader must know the goal that he or she wants to accomplish through his or her influence. Exercising of an effective leadership requires that a leader possesses necessary and sufficient knowledge and skills in what Winkler (2009) describes as process leadership. In the same manner, other leaders can influence a group of their followers through their personality and communication so that their traits and behaviors speak to the followers of what needs to be done to attain a certain common goal.
A leader is someone who not only provides a set of systems and practices that form the culture of a group or organization but also engages in choosing the group members and influences the views of the group by encouraging them to make efforts towards success. Moreover, leaders must ensure that there is integration in their department of leadership to establish an environment which is goal oriented, coordinated, and united towards a particular mission. Leaders are people who can sell their vision to a group of people and influence them to device practical solutions the problems their face in their environment.
Linton’s leadership approach lacks motivation and aspiration to her junior employees. She comes about as an aloof leader in the first encounter with Benton and fails to keep time on her promises. For instance, when she promises to give objectives to Benton in a week’s time, she does not fulfill that promise. Even though styles of leadership vary from one person to the other, Linton’s approach is autocratic and is not dependent on the objectives and missions of the group or even the members’ level of education in general. For instance, she does not recognize the level of education that Benton has while this could be a great asset for her to perform well (Parker, 2003).
Despite of this fact, Linton still issues contradicting directives to Benton, her education, skills, and experiences notwithstanding. Linton probably abhors dialogue and is a poor communicator; she also does not embrace consultation with junior members because she fears that some might be well-informed on the matters at hand than she is. From the onset, Linton is an autocratic leader who seems to appreciate nothing from her juniors, especially those she views as highly learned. It is her sole responsibility to make a decision on what and when, as well as how to get things done. The other character of leadership style from Linton is that she does seem to favor Laissez-faire approach. The input from her is very minimal in terms of information and material that the group gets in implementing a mission. This is the reason she assigns Benton to Scoville. She does not welcome consultation and she seems irritated when a question is directed to her. Moreover, her leadership is also based on the relationship that she has with others in her department. The rumor that she is having an affair with Scoville seems to be true because she does not accost him when it is evident that he might be on the wrong. She is also disturbed with the action of her seniors like Jack Vernom who tries to do what she feels is her job (Parker, 2003).
In order to build an effective teamwork, Linton needs to embrace the principles of teamwork by allowing for communication and initiative, welcoming different views, and appreciating one’s input towards a particular task. It also involves encouraging team members to encourage each other to work out their best and not to condemn or accost them. Linton need to also recognize that in a team, there are people with different skills and strengths which should be tapped for the benefit of the whole team. In any case, a team always has a mutually desired outcome and when one of the team members is not supported, the whole team fails. Linton should give each one of her team members a chance to use their skills and experiences to work. She also needs to encourage open consultation based on mutual respect to move the department forward (Ivancevich, Konopaske & Matteson, 2007).
Lisa has a great education background with progressive and excellent experience. However, her major problem is communicating her minds and failure to incorporate her team members in her undertakings. Because she fears her bosses forming an opinion about her and she is even intimidated more by what they say concerning MBA holders from Harvard, she resigns to follow everything that she is told even though she feels that it is not the right thing to do. Just as Linton observed, Benton comes across as unassertive team member who is just ready to obey each directive without questioning. Her lack of effective communication makes her to be misunderstood by her bosses including Jack Vernom to whom she makes little attempt to explain clearly what and why she was at the secretary’s computer.
Her major undoing is her failure to communicate her minds even when she is not happy with the something in her department. Her actions, if any, are prompted only by her friends who she considers to be friendly to her. In other words, Benton is an easily intimidated employee who retreats within herself when faced with a challenging situation. She cannot stand to defend herself from harassment, but only once in a while and again, she feels guilty for speaking up her mind. She is also not firm in her decisions because she is still thinking about the offer at Right-Away Stores. In fact, she still keeps in touch with a section of the employees of the company she worked for formerly. This will definitely interfere with her work at her new employer because she will not concentrate on it but instead see everything wrong in the way she is progressing at the company (Parker, 2003).
Benton could have handled the incident about data analysis of Pure & Fresh differently. It is evident that Benton is accustomed to the destructive behaviors of her supervisor, Scoville. Instead of becoming confrontational and irritated with him, she should her calmed him down and explained her analysis to him without expressing her anger and disappointment in a manner that she did. Even though it is clear that Scoville is a difficult person to work with, this knowledge should be taken to decide on the way to handle him because that is part of learning. That is, being able to handle the challenges and problems that all employees at the company have not been able to handle. The other incident is when she is taken by handle by Vernom to his office for being found doing word processing. In as much as Vernom firmly tells her never again to be found doing word processing, she does not ask what the problem with that is but instead agrees with this view. She is also hesitant to report to company CEO about the challenges she is facing. Overall, Benton is undecided and this will likely reflect badly in her appraisal because she does not use her skills and education appropriately, apparently waiting for the next time (Dyer & Dyer, 2010).
Work environment requires that employees working in teams embrace effective communication to be able to accomplish their objectives. In an environment where some employees feel superior to the others, it is important that communication is enhanced so that each one of them is able to give their views and opinions and ask questions where they feel that things are not working out as expected.