Leadership Skills And Strategic Change Essay

Question:

Write an essay on leadership skills and strategic change.

Answer:

Introduction

The modern day business rivalry is marked with constant changes within resource allocation and subsequent deployment so as to achieve the needed objectives. Different virtues of effective leadership will be discussed that are inherent in implementing successful change agenda in organisations leading to growth and development. Different stakeholders are associated with an entity all of whom have an inherent interest in the functioning of the organisation. As such change management is implemented based upon assessing opportunities, designing approaches and effective leadership skills for successful implementation.

Week 1

It has been rightly opined that the only thing that is constant is change. I have observed that strategic change is ushered in by the help of the strategic leader and managers. Forces for change can be classified broadly into two types: Internal and external. Within external forces factors of economy, politics, culture, demography and technology exists. Internal forces comprises of factors of performance, leadership, satisfaction, mission and conflict (Burnes, 2004). Any change agenda brings with it resistance. This resistance stems from managerial response, communication, empathy, support and others. I have also observed that there are 4 phases of the transition to the change process which are denial, resistance, commitment and exploration Example of successful change management can be seen in British Airways in 1981. More recent instance of change management can be seen from the example of California State University when the IT system changes at the main campus were to be synchronised with the 23 campuses.

Week 2

Individual change is brought in by the help of the behavioural as well as psychodynamic approach (Conway and Monks, 2011). Within the behavioural approach actions that are both positive and negative are utilised in order to evoke the necessary change within an individual. Reward is associated with any changes so as to make the change process rewarding. Punishment is also applied for undesired behaviour that also reduces resistance to changes. Within the psychodynamic approach old status quo is gradually replaced by the process of accommodation and integration. The culture shock curve is also helpful in depicting the process of acclimatisation starting with the honeymoon period and reaching a stage of adaption (Farh et al, 2007).

Week 3

Aspect of leadership plays a vital role in the process of change management. It has been stated that key to resolve resistance and make individuals conform to change agenda. Both the universalistic and contingency approaches stresses on the attributes of leaders for bringing in desired outcomes among subjects. The universalistic approach focuses on the present circumstances and deals with universal applicability of the change doctrine whereas the contingency approach contemplates future uncertainties and prepares recourses for dealing with it (Gelfand et al, 2007). In this vein it can also be stated that both task oriented and relationship oriented approaches are highly solicited for bringing in the needed change. Four styles of individual behaviour have been classified. These are low readiness level, moderate readiness level, high readiness level and very high readiness level. The appropriate leadership style for each of these characteristics are telling, selling, participating and delegating (Gill, 2003).

Week 4

There are different attributes of a successful leader. Some of the attributes of a successful leader is intelligence, honesty, enthusiasm, desire to lead, interpersonal skills, diplomacy, inner drive, tenacity and flexibility. It can be stated that change management is created as a result of team work and organisation. Effective are those leaders that give the employees the freedom to use his own analytical skills in problem solving. For a leader to be effective it is imperative that he focuses on strengths of the people rather than their weaknesses. Therefore effective leaders are those individuals that treats mistake as opportunities for learning (Harris and Ogbonna, 2002). Aspect of leadership and successful change management can be seen from the change management at Shell in 2004 when the new CEO Jeroen van der Veer engaged on some drastic change management for tackling the crisis.

Week 5

Usually planned changes take place within organisations that are goal oriented. Two main objectives of planned change are:

  1. i) To improve the ability of an organisation to adapt to external changes in the environment.
  2. ii) To change behaviour of the employees and make them flexible in order to make them supple.

Analysis of the macro level factors is also imperative while planning for change. Macro level analysis takes into account the examination of political, environmental, social, technological, environmental and legal. Thus changes that are planned are implemented in organisations taking in account the factors of PESTLE. Also the organisations also seek to enhance the flexibility of organisations and the employees with an aim to make the organisation lither. Another highly challenging change process can be seen from the formation of Direct Line Group, the former insurance division of the RBS group.

Week 6

Lewin’s three stage model of planned change is quite useful in understanding the change management process. It starts with unfreeze stage, moves onto change stage and finally the refreeze stage (Lundy and Morin, 2013). In the unfreeze stage it is ensured that the employees are ready for change. The change stage involves the execution of the intended change and the refreeze stage ensures that the change is ingrained. The positive model associated with the change management is also effective. In the positive model focus is on creating a positive vision, greater motivation and commitment to the change process. Again organisational change strategies are based upon participative evolution, forced evaluation, charismatic transformation and dictatorial transformation (McCann et al, 2008).

Week 7

Five virtues that go into effective change management are vision, skills, incentives, resources and action plan. Without vision there will be confusion in the change process. Without skills there will be anxiety. Without incentives there will be resistance in the change process. Without resources there will be only frustration and lack of action plan will lead to false starts. Personal leadership calls for authenticity, integrity and purposefulness that go a long way in ushering the needed change. Leadership calls for involvement, ownership and commitment. Again there are two forces at play within a change management process. This are driving forces that are positive and restraining forces that are obstacles to change (Conway and Monks, 2011). Case study of Ooredoo can also be evaluated to understand change management for the purpose of consolidation. In 2012 the company started a drive to integrate its 17 diverse telecom operators under one umbrella telecommunication brand Ooredo.

Week 8

Resistance to change occurs from organisational causes, group causes and individual causes. Within organisational cause inertia, culture, structure, deficiency in rewards and poor timing are the main causes. Group causes for resistance to change are norms, cohesion and leadership. Individual reasons are fear of the unknown, failure, job security, personal characteristics and previous experiences. Overcoming resistance to change includes the factors of education, communication, participation, involvement, support, negotiation, cooperation and coercion (Lundy and Morin, 2013). Some of the responses to change are working with the individual, trust building, reward, compromise, concrete act and alleviating fears. Cultural values and organisational customs are also influential in bringing changes in an organisation. Organisational culture is emboldened by the behaviour of leaders within an organisation.

Week 9

There are five leadership qualities that support change. These are classified as ‘the edgy catalyser’, ‘the visionary motivator’, ‘the measured connector’, ‘the tenacious implementer’ and the thoughtful architect (Harris, and Ogbonna, 2002). These five leadership styles are unique and operate distinctively so as to enthuse the followers and achieve the results. As such effective leadership skills needed for guiding a change is to embrace the subjects with positive benefits of the change. Communication skills are inherently important skill and element within change management in organisations. The aspect of organisational culture is also evident by the behaviours and individuals within that organisation (Burnes, 2004).

Week 10

Experts have pointed out that the process of change is arduous at the beginning, disorganized in the middle and satisfying at the end. Change process has been divided into four stages: Planned, unplanned, evolutionary and revolutionary. Within organisations focus is on implementing planned changes so as to ensure competitive advantage within the business environment. Planned change also calls for specific decision making with an eye on the precise issue. Poor change management is associated with ineffective leadership and managerial inefficiency. For effective change management free flow of ideas and communication is mandatory (Conway and Monks, 2011). As such creative culture in an organisation helps in generating greater conformity and constructive deviance.

Conclusion

The module on leadership and strategic change was spread over 10 weeks covering diverse aspect of leadership and covered topics that will help me in the future. From the module I have learned about different aspect of leadership and the various facets that go on to make a successful leader and their subsequent application on strategic change. Successful change management in real life scenarios have also been stated by illustrating cases of British Airways, Shell, Ooredo, Direct Line and so on. I have also learned that communication plays a vital role in driving successful change process in organisations leading to growth and development for organisations.

References:

Burnes, B. (2004) "Emergent change and planned change – competitors or allies?: The case of XYZ construction", International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 24(9): 886 – 902.

Conway, E. and Monks. K. (2011) Change from below: the role of middle managers in mediating paradoxical change. Human Resource Management Journal, 21(2): 190-203.

Farh, J. L., Hackett, R. D., & Liang, J. (2007). Individual-level cultural values as moderators of perceived organizational support–employee outcome relationships in China: Comparing the effects of power distance and traditionality. Academy of Management Journal, 50(3), 715-729.

Gelfand, M. J., Erez, M., & Aycan, Z. (2007). Cross-cultural organizational behavior. Annu. Rev. Psychol., 58, 479-514.

Gill, R. (2003). Change management or change leadership. Journal of Change Management, 3(4), 307–318

Harris, L. C. and Ogbonna, E. (2002) The Unintended Consequences of Culture Interventions: A Study of Unexpected Outcomes. British Journal of Management, 13(1): 31–49.

Lundy, V. and Morin, P.-P. (2013), Project Leadership Influences Resistance to Change: The Case of the Canadian Public Service. Project Management Journal, 44 (3): 45–64

McCann, L., Morris, J. and Hassard, J. (2008) "Normalized Intensity: The New Labour Process of Middle Management." Journal of Management Studies 45(2): 343-371

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