|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Amazon Personal leadership Leadership style|
Team leadership involves the provision of guidance, direction, instructions, and leadership to a team, purposely to achieve desired results. A leader monitors both the quantitative and qualitative achievements of his team. This paper will discuss leadership theory and its application at Amazon by Jeff Bezos.
Many theories explain how leadership is exercised and the relationship between leaders and employees. Leadership theories explain why and how people become successful leaders. They usually stress on the behaviors and traits that people adopt to enhance their leadership capabilities. Some studies have argued that leadership skills are special abilities that people are born with (Paunova & Lee, 2016). However, recent studies have tried to refute the idea that leaders are born by suggesting that leaders can be made. Leaders are essential for the success of a team. They organize and direct the members of a team to ensure that they complete tasks at hand in an orderly manner. Without a team being led and coordinated by a leader, nothing would run smoothly no matter how qualified the team members are. The reason some leaders are elected as presidents and appointed as managers and the rest remain their followers can best be explained through leadership theories.
Leadership is a conversation
In recent years, the command and control approach applied by organizational leadership has become less viable. The technological advancements, globalization, and shift in the way firms create value and interact with its customers has a directive and top-down leadership less efficient and uncommon. Nowadays, leaders are required to manage communication within their firms by understanding how to handle the flow of information among their followers (Paunova & Lee, 2016). The type of corporate communication used in the past should give way for a more sophisticated and dynamic conversational process that will allow leaders to manage the flow of information among employees.
According to research, smart leaders engage with employees within their organization in a way that resembles an ordinary person-to-person conversation. They usually initiate and foster practices and cultural norms that enable a conversational sensibility throughout the whole organization. Organizational communication has four elements that reflect the vital attributes of interpersonal conversation (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014). They include intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality. Intimacy means getting closer to each other. Leaders need to ensure employees are figuratively and close to each other. They should also minimize the distances that separate them from the employees. Interactivity enhances dialogue in which leaders talk with employees. Interactivity makes the conversation to be open and fluid instead of being closed and directive. Inclusion means expanding the roles of employees to become involved more in the organization's matters (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014). Employees in the organization have different cultures and values. When being included in all organizational issues through open communication, they help create the content that makes up an organizational story. The open conversation should not be pointless but should be done with the hope of achieving something such as learning from each other, entertaining, or persuading each other.
Leadership-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory and Follower
According to an informal observation of leadership behavior, leaders' actions are different towards different subordinates. Leaders in a team have varying relationships with the team members. The leader's relationship with the employees is based on mutual trust, respect, loyalty, obligation, and support that the leader gets from the employee (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014). Therefore, leaders form different types of relationships with different groups of subordinates. One group of subordinates is favored by the leader (in-group) and another is favored by the leader (out-group). Those subordinates who are in-group receive more consideration and organizational resources from the leader. In contrast, out-group subordinates are disfavored and, as a result, receive minimal valued resources from the leader.
Leaders categorize in-group and out-group subordinates based on similarities or dissimilarities of personal attributes and characteristics such as gender, age, or personality of an employee. A competent follower can also be granted an in-group status. The relationship between leaders and followers follows two main stages, which include role-taking and role-making. Role-taking occurs when a new employee joins an organization (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014). The leader usually evaluates the capabilities of the new employee and gives them opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities. It is from there that an employee will be categorized as in-group or out-group depending on if the employees demonstrate being competent in carrying out tasks or if they are incompetent. Role-making involves the leader and a new member having an informal conversation to see if the member has the same characteristics. A betrayal at this stage results in the new member being categorized as an out-group (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014). In-group members act as assistants and advisers to the leader, who, in turn, gives them interesting tasks, delegates responsibilities, shares information, and allows them to participate in making certain decisions on how the organization should be run.
Influence and networking
Both influence and networking are developmental challenges that all leaders must address. Both involve creating personal contact fabrics that will give insights, support, resources, feedback, and information (Rossi et al., 2016). Leaders can embrace three types of networking, namely, operational, personal, and strategic. Operational networks involve building strong working relationships with people who can assist leaders with their jobs. They are normally internal, that is, within the organization. Operational networking is vital to ensure cooperation and coordination among people who trust each other to accomplish tasks. Operational networks include superiors, direct reports, and peers, among others. Leaders create personal networks from external contacts who have an orientation toward both current and potential interests (Rossi et al., 2016). Such networks enhance professional and personal development while giving referrals to useful information and contacts. Finally, leaders can create networks strategically. Strategic networks are created internally and externally, and they are oriented toward finding out possible future challenges and priorities. Through network creation, leaders achieve powerful influence because their followers trust in them, which yields effective results at the workplace (Rossi et al., 2016). Therefore, leaders should leverage each of the elements from the network domains into a constituency. Such elements could be their colleagues, personal contacts, or even strategic counselors.
Virtual and multicultural environments
Technology has enabled managers to manage team members while they are far apart. Managing a team from a distance is not an easy task as managers need to be careful in each stage and take care of their team by providing them a timely solution to any problems that they may be experiencing (Lilian, 2014). As a result of technological advancements, it has become a trend for managers to work in multicultural virtual teams. Many global leaders are now managing workers virtually with a lot of balance and flexibility (Lilian, 2014). They can manage the teams virtually and try their best to prevent language barriers and miscommunications that may lead to issues within an organization.
There are many reasons why managers prefer a multicultural workforce. Managers prefer to have a multicultural workforce because it leads to cross-cultural competence. The multicultural team enables managers to have precise and in-depth knowledge of products and markets as well as get many experiences and backgrounds of the customers and suppliers within the market (Rossi et al., 2016).
A culturally diversified workforce is also considered more lucrative and productive. According to Lilian (2014), racial and ethnic multicultural top management was 35% more active when it came to the organization's financial returns than the industry average (1253). Also, a multicultural workforce enhances innovation in an organization. The study indicated that organizations with a culturally diversified workforce in an organization were able to develop innovations compared to the homogenous workforce. This resulted in more new ideas and solutions for issues from the multicultural team.
Multicultural teams also enable satisfying customer experience as a result of increased knowledge, timely delivery of services, and improved business capabilities through different cultural ideas (Lilian 20). As a result, customers can get the best experience of the products or services offered by the culturally diversified team. Having a multicultural team and managing it virtually has become a trend. Therefore, organizations need to embrace culturally diversified groups to improve cross-cultural competency, increase innovation, and create satisfying customer experiences anytime, anywhere.
Emotional intelligence is the ability of people to understand and manage their emotions as well as recognize and influence others' feelings. There are four components of emotional intelligence, which include self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and relationship management (Serrat, 2016). The self-awareness component is the key to everything. It explains one's ability to understand their strengths and weaknesses and recognize their emotions and their impact on the team's performance. Social awareness is someone’s ability to recognize and respect the emotions of those around them (Serrat, 2016).
The self-management component is one's ability to manage emotions, especially in stressful circumstances, and maintain a normal and positive outlook despite the challenges they are facing. The last component of emotional intelligence is relationship management, which means leaders can coach, mentor, influence, and effectively resolve problems facing the team (Serrat, 2016). For leaders to realize the effectiveness of emotional intelligence, all the above components need to be considered.
The leadership role in self-managed teams is very different from traditional hierarchical teams. In a hierarchical team, the team leader only allocates tasks to the team members. In self-managed teams, the team leader performs a supporting role by identifying the long-term career and personal development of the team members within the context of the whole company. Self-managed teams mean that leaders work together with the team members to motivate and monitor the team's accomplishments (Paunova & Lee, 2016). They also need to discuss with the team members the standard of work, objectives, aims, and goals that the team has to accomplish within a specified period. The leaders of self-managed also create channels of communication for the team to be able to link with the rest of the teams within the organization. Self-managed teams enable members of different teams to use their skills and experience outside their area of specialization. This allows them to have greater freedom to complement their skills with other members from various teams within the organization (Paunova & Lee, 2016).
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