ILM Reflective Review M3. 10. Introduction to leadership Leadership Styles •Identify factors that will influence your choice of leadership styles and explain why your leadership styles are likely to positively affect your team . There are a number of different factors that can influence the style of leadership I employ within my team. To aid in deciding what style of leadership is appropriate for my particular team it is vital that I understand not only how my team is performing or even capable of performing but also the dynamics and personalities of the individuals making up the team.
During the 1970’s, Dr Meredith Belbin and a team of researchers at the Henley Management Collage, conducted observations on a number of teams in an attempt to discover what aspects of a team’s dynamics can contribute towards the teams overall success or failure. During the course of their observations they discovered that the success or failure of a team was not dependent upon the individual team members intellect but upon their behaviour. Following Belbin’s publication in 1981 of Team Role Analysis he concluded that there are nine key roles that are aligned to an individual’s behaviour that can contribute to the make up of a team:
The Belbin Team Inventory can be found on Appendix 1, with a full explanation of the strengths and allowable weakness of each of these roles can be found on Appendix 2. It is essential that as a leader I am able to understand the possible behavioural role that an individual may exhibit when assessing the effectiveness of a team’s development and performance. By each member of my scheduling team completing the Belbin team inventory or Belbin self perception inventory as it is sometimes referred to and then analysing the results, I would be able to ensure that there is an even balance of “roles” ithin my scheduling team. I could use Belbin to establish that I have the correct behavioural dynamics or roles for my team of schedulers and then I would be more able to evaluate at what stage of performance or development the team is and thus what style of leadership may be appropriate for my particular team. In 1965 Dr Bruce Tuckman published his “Stages of Group Development ”, in which he stated that there are four phases that all teams go through in order to face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, work together and finally deliver results. This can be found on Appendix 3.
Each of these stages requires a different style of leadership. There are three main leadership styles as defined by Kurt Lewin . Authoritarian (Autocratic) This style is used when leaders tell their team members what they want done and how they want it accomplished, without seeking any advice from them or the team actually having any input into the decision making process. This type of leadership is most commonly used during the first two stages when the leader is required to give more direction to the team and it is necessary for the leader to make all of the decisions for the team or for an individual who has joined an existing team.
I use this style of leadership with new schedulers when they join my team. As they are not classed as competent, not having complete all four competency sign off stages, they require a great deal of supervision and guidance. They need to be instructed on many aspects of the role and are not permitted to make autonomous decisions regarding the cancellation of visits, particularly inductions and deinstallations to avoid errors being made in relation to Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Although this style can be seen by some as a heavy handed, almost as a military approach to leadership, it is necessary. The individual is not placed under any pressure to get things right from the outset. They will hopefully understand that they require additional support and guidance, while they are learning a new role and are able to begin to develop a relationship with the other team members. The team realises that more of my time is going to be taken up with the training and development and supervision of the new scheduler.
They understand that they are still able to maintain their relevant roles within the team but that these roles may be subject to change and that they may be required to perform more delegated tasks and take on greater responsibilities as they may be seen as a more senior scheduler. This may be seen as advancement and as a means of developing them. It offers them the opportunity to build upon their existing skills and gives them the opportunity of developing new ones. Democratic (Participative)
This style involves the leader involving one or more team members in the decision making process. However, the leader remains the final decision maker and bares the overall responsibility for the outcome of the task. This leadership style can be used on the “Norming” stage of team development. The team is now working together with very little outside supervision required by the leader. The team members now have the required information and facts in order to be able to contribute to the decision making process along side the leader.
Once a scheduler has completed competency and can show to me that they have a greater understanding of what is required of them from them in their role I feel that I am more able to use this style of management. I still expect them to come to me to make a decision on SLA visits but they have a greater input into the decision making process on the cancellation of other visits and on whether schedulers remain on one base over a course of shifts or rotate between all three bases that require to be covered. This style requires a strong leader.
Some schedulers on passing competency may become complacent and feel that they have nothing more to learn and that their skills can not be improved upon. They may also feel that by allowing them a greater participation in the decision making process as weak or indecisive leadership, rather than as an opportunity to further develop them and as an opportunity for me to build upon their strengths and see areas for development. Laissez-Faire (Delegative) In this style, the leader allows the team members to take complete control of the task and make the necessary decisions for its successful completion.
However again, the leader is still ultimately responsible for the decisions that are made and for the successful outcome of the task. It is now possible for the leader to allow this high flying team to make the majority of the necessary decisions for themselves. This is the style that I currently use with my team of schedulers. They have all been scheduling for a considerable period of time and are fully conversant with all aspects of their role. I have faith in their decision making skills and scheduling abilities and it is only for advice on a difficult matter that I am usually required to make a decision.
I have no need to allocate them individually to cover a particular base as they now have the ability to decide amongst themselves and reach an agreement on who will cover each particular base and they are now capable of ensuring that all the reports and tasks required to be completed on each shift are completed to the required standard. As a leader I would hope that I am able to use John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership Model (found on Appendix 4) to assist in deciding what type of leadership style is appropriate to each situation that is and my team find ourselves facing.
I understand that in order to successfully lead my team I must ensure that I maintain, as much as possible, the fine balance between the task, the team and those individuals within the team. In relation to the task, I need to maintain a clear vision of our aims, purpose and direction in ensuring that the task is completed. I am responsible for ensuring that I meet my contracts’ SLAs and my departmental KPIs. I need to set and constantly assess the standards by which our success or failure is measured and I have the responsibility to report and investigate when we fail to meet the required standards.
For my team I have to set and monitor the standards of performance, behaviour, discipline, morale and motivation exhibited by my team. I need to ensure that I am able to identify and deliver the required feed back on my team’s progress and also identify, agree and set long term objectives and goals for the team. I am able to review them on a yearly basis with their annual reviews, where we can agree on objectives that they will be required to achieve. By setting and achieving these objectives the team is given a sense of empowerment.
In regards to the individuals in my team I should, understand their needs, skills and areas for development. I have to be able to identify and agree personal responsibilities and objectives. I must ensure that I am able to give the required amount of recognition or praise and acknowledge their hard work and effort. I need to ensure that they have adequate training to be able to complete their currant role and meet their needs in relation to the ever changing and developing scheduling role.
Understanding the responsibilities I have towards the task, the team and individual team member in relation to the Action Centred Leadership Model and how the relationships between these three factors can be affected will again decide the particular leadership style I adopt. These three factors can be affected by the introduction of a new and un-familiar task, with a very short and strict deadline. This may mean that there is not enough time to consult my schedulers on what is now required of them and of how things need to be done and what needs to be accomplished to ensure the successful completion of the task.
This would mean that I would be required to change my leadership style from delegative to authoritarian. The team should not think of this change in leadership as a loss of faith or trust in their abilities but rather as something that is necessary due to the need to complete a task in a short space of time, meaning that as a leader, who is responsible for the timely completion of the task I must make all the necessary decisions without having the time or luxury of being able to consult with them.
With the introduction of a new scheduler however, I would be required to change my style from delegative to authoritarian with that particular team member and from delegative to participative with the other team members until the new scheduler was familiar with the team’s dynamics, more confidant in their abilities and the team with the abilities of the new scheduler. ILM Reflective Review M3. 10 Introduction to leadership Review of own leadership behaviour •Access your own leadership behaviours and potential by referring to a relevant leadership model, your organisation’s working practices and by collecting feedback from others.
As a manager and a leader within Serco I need to constantly review my leadership style and skills but I am not necessarily required to review my leadership behaviour. I can assess whether I am achieving what is required of me, by my line managers, in relation to my role by reviewing my team’s compliance against the contract’s SLAs and the Monitoring Centre’s KPIs. This however does not give any real indication of my leadership behaviour. To assess this I completed a Blake and Mouton Leadership Grid .
This can be found on Appendix 5. After completing all the relevant questions I achieved scores of 27 in the people section and 31 in the task section. These were then multiplied by 0. 2 to give final scores of 5. 4 and 6. 2 respectively. Plotting these scores on the attached graph indicated that I was in the Team Leader section. The higher score in regards to the task, the horizontal axis, pointed to me possibly being more focused on achieving the task, this could often be at the expense of the team.
This was also highlighted in my achieving a slightly lower score in the people section, the vertical axis with my lines crossing very close to the authoritarian section. While this could be explained by having to ensure that my team achieves compliance against SLAs and KPIs, it could be seen that I may be failing in regards to certain aspects of the Serco Governing Principles, particularly by possibly failing to enable our people to excel. To evaluate how my leadership behaviour was viewed by my team, I asked a number of them and also my line manager to complete a 360 feedback form.
I also completed one myself in order to gauge the comparison between how I see my leadership to how those I am leading and my line manager see me. The 360 feedback questions and comparisons between scores can be found on Appendix 6. This feed back indicated that I may have been self critical on the questions that revolved around my time management, dealing with others fairly and also whether I could be seen to blame others for failures. The feedback showed that others viewed my leadership behaviour as delivering and on in the main delivering to the highest quality on these points.
Even so the feedback did highlight factors in my leadership behaviour that I need to address. Particularly in collective decision making, providing my staff with challenging assignments and in regards to my interacting and collaborating with my team. These were the only parts of the feedback where I failed to receive the maximum points. To me this shows that these areas of my behaviour require attention. To try to address this I will use the Tannenbaum and Schmidt model of delegation and development . This can be found on Appendix 7.
Due to the nature of my role, I am often busy when other members of my team may have less to perform but I feel that I need to take the time, during these periods to make time for my team and perhaps by taking a far less authoritarian approach to my leadership and by allowing my team to perform more of my tasks and giving them freedom to make more antonymous decisions in relation to their roles, this will allow me to show my team that I am including them more and have a greater appreciation of them and their abilities.
By delegating more to my team I will also be allowing them to perform more challenging assignments and be seen to be interacting and collaborating with them to a greater extent. After a period of not more than three months I and those members of my team who completed the previous 360 feedback form, will complete another one to see if the team’s perception of my leadership behaviour has changed for the better in those areas I am seeking to address.