10 weeks’ time is like a blink of an eye. To be honest, M005 is one of my favorite courses as it is so closely related to my life. My father and mother are both self-employed, setting up their own factory in the early days and made a fortune through hardworking. When I was young, I used to see my father struggling in the running of businesses, referring to what should do or what should not. Surprisingly, I somehow totally understand my father after this course. The main reason is because management and leadership sometimes separate and sometimes combine. Through learning, I understand management and leadership are defined in different ways. Mullins (2010) pointed out “management is a set of processes that keep an organization functioning…the processes are about planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance, and problem-solving when results did not go to plan”. Ratcliffe (2013) illustrated leadership concerns with aligning people to the vision through communication, motivation and inspiration. Yukl (2010) stated leadership refers to the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it.
My version of leadership is just the same as the name of the course – leading while changing. Nothing remains static and you must change to suit different situations. While Mullins (2013) believed leadership is to get things done through other people, leadership & ethics in Week 1 taught us leadership should be normatively appropriate conduct based on the identification of a set of values & beliefs (Rubin et a., 2010: 216-17). Therefore, the style of leadership is critical. We must be aware there is no single ideal leadership style and we should adjust according to different situations. But, the power in our hand is a double-edged sword. Forsyth (2009) warned that leadership it is not demarcated by power over people but a power with people that exists as a reciprocal relationship between a leader and his/her followers. In other words, leaders are expected to bring a positive influence among its followers. (Baumeister et al., 1988)
The person who truly inspired me is Richardo Semler, former CEO of Semco in Brazil. When Richardo was young, he did not do well at school. On the contrary, he has shown entrepreneurial flair in high school by running snack school, showing talent to do business. When his father Aotonio handed him over the whole factory, it was all in a mess. As s refresher in business, Richardo was struggling but to follow this father’s steps, both in management and leadership. However, this is what troubles Richardo that even under tight schedule and strict rules, employees still show low efficiency. Rihcardo could not figure out why it happened as he had spent almost evey minute in the business. With the pressure coming through, Richardo decided to make some change. He knew well changing leadership all in a sudden will face resistance as people may fell uncomfortable and afraid of freedom. (Mullins, 2013) He then took the path of changing management that he set up new channels and product lines. Of course he received resistance but he regarded the resistance from employees to be valuable feedback (Ford and Ford (2009) because it helps to know why the resistance occurred.
After he though through, he went back to the track of changing previous autocratic leadership style into a democratic leadership style by trusting workers, sharing information, encouraging dissent, etc. Richardo continued changing leadership through motivation by empowering employees more authority to decision-making, allowing them to decide for their own. Zigarmi et al. (2011) pointed out to get the bet of your team, team members should know they are doing some meaningful and feel connected with leaders. As a result, employees treat Semco as a second family and chose to face the Brazil crisis with companies even lowering their pay cut.
Why I found the story fascinating is it has taught me how to others. I must make judgment on the situation to see whether or not to make a change. If changes are expect to happen, people should be prioritized as they are the key to business operations. Rather than holding the power in hand, I am willing to share what I know with them to activate their potential. Hopefully everyone under my lead can feel at home and bring out their best performance.
Baumeister, R. F.; Senders, P. S.; Chesner, S. C.; Tice, D. M. (1988). “Who’s in charge here? Group leaders do lend help in emergencies”. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 14: 17–22.
Ford, J., and Ford, L. (2009). Decoding resistance to change. Harvard Business Review, 87(4), 99-103.
Forsyth, D. R. (2009). Group dynamics. Cengage Learning.
Mullins, L. J. (2010). Management and organisational behaviour. Pearson education.
Mullins, L. J. (2013). Management and organisational behaviour. Pearson education.
Ratcliffe, R. (2013). What’s the difference between leadership and management?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/careers/difference-between-leadership-management [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
Rubin, R, Dierdorff, E, & Brown, M, 2010, ‘Do Ethical Leaders Get Ahead? Exploring Ethical Leadership and Promotability’, ‘Business Ethics Quarterly, 20, 2, pp. 215-236, Business Souce Complete, EBSCOhost.
Yukl, G. (2010), Leadership in Organizations: Global Edition, 7th Edition, Pearson Higher Education
Zigarmi, D., Houson, D., Witt, D. and Diehl, J. (2011). [online] Available at: http://www.kenblanchard.com/img/pub/blanchard_employee_passion_vol_3.pdf [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].