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Principles and Practices of Leadership & Management

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Principles and Practices of Leadership & Management Abstract This paper will discuss the concept of leadership skills and the ways in which those unique skills define the exceptional leaders of today and also address to whom had portrayed the leadership style and qualities. Contemporary Leadership Skills: “Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth” (Burns, 1978). The success or failure of an organization depends largely on the nature of their leadership style. An effective leader has the ability to guide and help his followers to achieve their personal best and company’s objectives. Leadership styles had changed over time. In order to effectively confront issues and obstacles in the ever changing and challenging market, leaders must possess a set of basic and unique set of skills. The leader of today is an idealized influence, an inspirational motivation, with intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration (Walumbwa et al, 2005, p.2). Leaders have to possess the extensive knowledge of the industry, people and management skills and cognitive ability (Locke, 1999). Leadership looks simply like a style but it’s the qualities and skills that makes a leader effective. An effective leader inspire their workers into higher levels of teamwork; they are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills. A successful story of a leader from a local bakery empire shows the qualities and traits of an effective leader. A success story – BreadTalk In the contemporary age of Singapore, BreadTalk had flourished to be one of the top F&B Empire locally. The success abaft this organization leads to its leader and founder, George Quek. Came from a humble background, George started his business in Taiwan selling Dragon Beard candy from a kiosk and expands the business and later starts a small food business selling South-east Asian cuisine in Taiwan. He returned to Singapore in 1993 and set up Food Junction with his partners. Commenced BreadTalk in July 2000 with a revolutionary take on the bread industry. Entering the market with its incipient concept of a boutique bakery, it shook up the bakery industry with its innovative and ingenious products. Currently the market leader in the incipient concept bakery, BreadTalk was listed in June 2003 on the Singapore Exchange, giving customers a stake in the popular bakery. His F&B empire extends to a restaurant chain, Din Tai Fung and innovated with the first thematic food atrium, Food Republic (Tan, 2012. p.3). George Quek armed with a never-say-die attitude and a fearlessness to challenge the impossible. His determination assisted his business to take off in Taiwan after the 3rd attempt and his transformation of bakery into an art described his innovative abilities. Today, the designation “BreadTalk” is well established giving it a sustainable competitive advantage over its rivals. BreadTalk has prosperously managed to engender innovation in along deemed sunset bakery industry and has written off doubts that sunset industries cannot be revitalised. BreadTalk has not only revitalised the bakery industry but withal the dietary victualing habits of Singaporeans. In order to stay competitive, George Quek uses “innovative recreation” in all its bread, aliment courts and restaurants, as he is vigilant that customers have different needs and ever transmuting tastes. George believed in taking care of people and working well together which also extends to between colleagues and business relationships. His notion reflects very vigorously on his leadership skills portrayed. George believes learning is essential for creativity; by developing and supporting his employees in giving trainings, it helps him when he embarked on his bakery business. George believes strongly in teamwork. Hence, he encourages in developing and mentoring his people because there is no way a person can move to a successful level by himself. It is important for a leader to guide the team well and understand that everyone in the team is different. As a leader, he always stays flexible and supportive of the team. From here, people will decide whether they want to stay with you when there’s a war. This can be seen clearly during the SARs outbreak where sales are low in all the outlets and BreadTalk had effectively control its operational cost. However, despite this difficult period of time, it had persisted in its beliefs for people centeredness by maintaining and grooming more talents within its company. These measures had allowed the company to stay stronger in the market when facing challenges in time to come (Soh, 2013. p.1). Being an inspirational motivation, George articulate an appealing vision of the future by announcing his goal of having more than 2000 bakeries by 2018, inspiring all to work together with him towards the company’s objectives. With the expansion of “Ramen Play”, George appointed his General Manager of Din Tai Fung to manage this restaurant brand, empowering him to bring “Ramen Play” to success. According to Lussier and Achua (2010), the transformation process involves changes. Leader needs to inspire the vision, lead the transition and implant the change. With the manpower crunch in recent years, leads to a decrease in availability of resources. George invested more than SGD 8 million on machines that can make dough and fold croissant rolls in its central kitchen in the new headquarters. Productivity has increased: while five people could make 100 frozen portions of dough in the past, two could make 300 now. He made his employees understood that policy won’t change, they need to adjust to it and with this change, George also reckons that with fewer staff, BreadTalk have more resources to improve employees’ salary. The success of BreadTalk has highly been dependent on the hands of – Transformational Leadership of George Quek. Leaders should be effective in crisis or when face an ever changing market place where globalization, innovation and constant change are significant factors. Though told by naysayers that bakery industry is a sunset one, George’s leadership style of transformation redefine the mundane experience of buying bread into a successful bakery empire. George possesses the key qualities of a leader – a source of inspiration, determined, creative, being resilient and courageous in times of difficulties. As we read about George Quek, being a contemporary leader, one must possess certain qualities to become a skilful leader. Having the ability to care is an essential quality in a leader additionally. If a person does not have the compassion or ability to care for others or in what they do then I believe it would be detrimental to an organization to have this person as a leader. A good leader must additionally be dependable. Being dependable would instil confidence in the others you lead about your abilities. If a leader sets the example of not being dependable, then the people the leader works with will have no faith that the organization is being run in the best way possible. Resoluteness is another key factor in leading others. It gives a person the ability to fight through obstacles and accomplish tasks that are best for the organization and its employees. Veracity is one characteristic I cerebrate is the most consequential. Veracity distinguishes between leader with good ethics and deplorable ethics. If a person is destitute of veracity, the direction of their leadership can blindly take an organization into a perilous cause and values. Adhesion is withal paramount in a leader because a person that has no adhesion can harm an organization more than it can avail. The leader’s agenda may be for their own benefit and not what is best for the organization. A non-loyal leader could literally trade secrets that could financially or publicly eradicate a company. Besides George Quek, many innovative leader, in describing their ingenious process, have accentuated its subjectivity and individualistic nature. Hence, innovation is definitely the key to stay competitive and withal the essence of successful entrepreneurship is to have the constant drives in identifying potential business opportunities in the market. Besides having the good qualities essential to being a leader, one must have a unique set of skills to manage an organization like BreadTalk. With globalization and changes in constant, an effective leader ought to be able to possess skills of coaching, leading by example, give positive recognition and empowerment in order to drive the organization to success. As a leader of BreadTalk, I must teach, adapt and be supportive especially to the ground level employees; bakers which constitutes a large number of the organization’s manpower. Teaching and coaching subordinates by setting the example is the way leaders achieve loyalty, and buy-in. Leaders are knowledgeable and experts in their respectful fields. They cannot provide a solid and productive coaching and guidance if they lack the proper levels of competence in the required field (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2009). It helps to create a stable working environment where subordinates are contented and provide high quality work. Leaders need to lead by example to inspire followers (Yukl, 1998). Being an inspirational motivator, it essentially avails follower’s achieve their set goals employed in the business setting. In the contemporary age, leaders need to discover the potential within his followers. Empowering allows one to become a self- reliant achiever. Rather than being told of what to do, followers will take actions to resolve what needs to be done (Blanchard et al, 1999). Monetary incentives could also be used, so that the followers would have a goal to shoot for, and would get compensated for their time and effort they put in to reach the goals the organization wanted to achieve. In an organization where Theory X and Theory Y workers exist (Lussier and Achua, 2010), rewards can also be used as a basis of ‘carrot and stick’ on Theory X employees; rewarding them on what they had contributed. In managing Theory Y followers where employees are happy to work, are self-motivated and creative, and enjoy working with greater responsibility (Lussier and Achua, 2010); being a supportive and participative leader would be best adopted. I could consult with followers, consider their opinions and asking for their suggestions before making a decision. This helps in improving leader and follower relationship and inspire them to be innovative in resolving issues. As human relations is important to the organization, being a supportive leader shows concern for followers' psychological well being. With the ever changing society and technological advancements, lower level employees might lack confidence to catch up with the change and being supportive is needed to assist them in the transition and adaption. The type of communication between the leader and follower is another important area of contrast between leadership styles. Communication is necessary between leader and follower because it establishes a relationship between the two. It is important to communicate with mid to junior level employees to build trust and gain commitment to the vision of the company. Communication is vital to unite and inspire employees, it is to motivate them toward the future. Walking around to communicate with employees, be it asking specific questions about work or listening to them is also a commitment in communication (Daft, 2008). In conclusion, the role of a leader has the responsibility to ensure the work is completed, goals are met and the mission is accomplished. In addition, they must apply critical leadership skills to be successful, such as demonstrating recognition, using effective communication, and illustrating honesty and loyalty. Employees desire to be recognized for contributions, motivating with rewards or engaging them in decision making give a positive impact on followers. The sincerity and timing of acknowledging positive behaviour are key factors that may encourage others to follow suit. Having a two-way communication, which shares, receives and understands communicated information is also vital in contemporary leaders. Each of the skills mentioned plays a significant role in leadership and must be learned, applied and enhanced to be effective. References: Blanchard, K., Carlos, J. & Randolph, A. (1999) The 3 Keys to Empowerment. San Francisco: Berrett- Koehler Publishers, Inc. Burns, J. (1978) Leadership. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers Daft, R. (2008) The Leadership Experience. 4th edn. USA: Thomson South-Western Hughes, R., Ginnett, R., & Curphy, G. (2009) Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience. 6th edn. New York: McGraw-Hill Locke, E. (1999) The Essence of Leadership: The Four Keys to Leading Successfully. England: Lexington Books Lussier, R. & Achua, C. (2010) Leadership: Theory, Application, Skill Development. 4th edn. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning Tan, B. (2012) Deft dough-maker. The Business Times. 24 Mar 2012, pp.1-4 Soh, A. (2013). BreadTalk staying fresh to maintain edge. The Business Times, 7 October, pp.1-2 Walumbwa, O., Lawler, J., Avolio, J., Wang, P. & Shi, K. (2005) ‘Transformational leadership and work-related attitudes: The moderating effects of collective and self-efficacy across cultures’ Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp.2-16. Yukl, G. (1998). Leadership in organizations. 4th edn. Eaglewood cliffs, NJ: Prentice hall
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