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Leadership and Teams
Even in the absence of any practical examples highlighting the relationship between leadership and resilience, authors have managed to fill in the gap by a number of well-thought theories. In this matter, Luthans and Avolio (2003: 256) and Sutcliffe and Vogus (2003) are all in the same boat. Luthans and Avolio (2003: 256) have explicitly linked leadership to resilience, stating that the essence of authentic leadership development is to enhance flexibility and resilience amongst employees. Along with this, they also highlighted the fact that the relationship of leadership and resilience has not received the attention and level of interest that it is worthy of. Similarly, Sutcliffe and Vogus (2003) have advocated the effect of leadership by stating that resilience improves the effectiveness of organization as a whole. They are also of the view that the link has been neglected by authors and if exploited more, it can clarify the concepts of etiology and adaptability of employees to different situations (Sutcliffe and Vogus, 2003: 99).
Furthermore, Bass (1998) uses the work of Seltzer, Numerof, and Bass (1989) to signify that charismatic and influential leadership is an opposing factor for employee stress and exhaustion. Factors such as individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation and contingent rewards have an indirect relationship with stress levels of an employee (see chart below created for this paper). Although trauma and resilience are not two sides of the same coin, the ability of charismatic leadership to reduce stress levels further strengthens leadership approach (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).
Transformational leadership is a replica of the well-known concept of common good, i.e. shared benefits for a community. Bass identified that leader should have the ability to integrate an individual's personal goals with that of the whole organization. This synchronization of goals is essential to remove insecurity amongst employees and to make them work towards the same goal. In this manner, working towards the goals of an organization will help an employee achieve self-actualization (Bass, 1990: 652).
Team work requires a lot of hard work, determination and patience. Members will all have different values and perceptions and the art to amalgamate these values into one code of conduct is a gift bestowed upon few chosen ones. There are different ways to reconcile the differences that exist between team members; however we will only mention the most common approaches adopted by leaders (Bass and Avolio, 2000).
Multidisciplinary approach is amid the common approaches adopted by leaders. Work of different team members is collected, edited and compiled to reach to the end product. Leader fails to introduce any formal policy of addressing the various issues faced by team members and therefore, the goal of team members are not synchronized nor is the essence of their work (Bass and Avolio, 2000).
Inter-disciplinary procedure reveals an entirely different scenario as compared to the one mentioned above. The objective is to explore every possible facet of the matter in hand, and in order to achieve this objective, work of all team members is analyzed to identify the points that are linked to work done by other team members. In this manner, the matter is looked upon from head to toe, leaving no hidden problem. This approach requires an interactive environment and encourages team members to have an open discussion regarding all issues (Bass and Avolio, 2000).
Trans-disciplinary view represents the extreme approach adopted by leaders. This strategy is more aggressive than the two mentioned above. The objective of this approach is to synchronize all aspects of a matter in a way that there are no loopholes in the end result. It is of the view that there are no defined boundaries in reality, therefore, it starts with the issues actually raised while working on a project and then creates its own boundaries. In this manner, the team leader attempts to capture the essence of the matter involved (Bass and Avolio, 2000).
The use of these three approaches is confined to theory only; its practical application is minimal. In practical world, the words multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and Trans-disciplinary are considered to be synonyms. This is because the leader strives to compile the works of different team members, without paying attention to any other factors mentioned in these theories (Bass and Avolio, 2000).
Learning the theoretical foundations of these theories helps me identify the kind of leadership styles that are adopted across different organizations and thus helps me mould their leadership approaches as well. On a professional level, it helps me define who I want to be as a leader.
Objectives define the boundaries for any project, the extent of data to be covered and therefore the work performed. This is the basis on which principles of interdisciplinary framework are established. The first step is to identify individual objectives of team members and then work towards achieving goal congruence (Wright, 2003).
Practical application of this theory can be observed in situations where a particular client (or institution) is involved. This client is commonly referred to as financing institution and will clarify the objectives to be achieved. Although the client has imposed certain regulations and deadlines upon the team, the leader will also consider the parties directly or indirectly affected by the concerned issue. The client might have sketched a vague picture of their expectations. Individual goals and preferences of stakeholders will further clarify what is expected of them. Goals of stakeholders will be merged with client's objectives by the team leader in order to arrive at a quality product in the end. In this way, the focus can be on the quality of product, rather than wasting too much time on gathering unnecessary data (Wright, 2003).
Despite the arguments on disciplinary framework, one should not forget the backbone of this discussion, that is, teamwork. The concerned matter is to be handled by a group of individuals each having different values, perceptions and preferences. The client will provide a list of guidelines to be followed and objectives to be achieved. These should be considered from the perspective of individual team members in a way that their personal objectives are synchronized with that of the client's objectives. In this way, the team can define shared goals and objectives and mutually agree to work towards those goals. For example, if all team members face the same problem related to a specific issue but in a different aspect, then the team leader can think of a question that can address all aspects of this problem (Wright, 2003).
In this manner, risk of conflict within the team will be reduced to minimum level. Shared goals and objectives will ensure that team members are not only collecting data mechanically, but also analyzing it in a way that it can help to address the problem faced by the team as a whole. Also, it provides room for new ideas and theories, problems are looked at from every angle which will help to arrive at the best solution for it. Different ways of resolving an issue can be identified along with the pros and cons of each method (Wright, 2003).
Question 3: Food Bank and interdisciplinary teamwork
In order to further elucidate this concept, we can take the example of food bank. Food bank is a charitable organization, whose main aim is not to earn profit, but to act as an intermediary between retail outlets providing food to the poor and needy people. The principle activity of this organization is to collect unused and unsold food from retail outlets, distributors and manufacturers and to agencies that will distribute this amid the poor and needy ones. This is more helpful than dumping the food as garbage, although it takes time to pick the food that is not sold and to see if it is still in usable condition. This is then distributed to different agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and orphanages. Team work is involved in this situation also, although the approach adopted is different.
For interdisciplinary framework there is no fixed set of rules to follow, an approach is effective only when it has been designed specifically to cater the needs of different individuals in a team (Luthans et al., 2001).
ARD procedure is one way to design an approach suitable for a particular team. It focuses on the issues that have to be resolved on priority and by adopting a step-by-step process; it can address all problems and merge the goals of individuals with that of the team as a whole (Luthans et al., 2001).
The key to using ARD procedure effectively is not to apply all the possible steps and procedures, but to choose which tools should be used in a given scenario. This will take into account other factors such as the values and preferences of individual team members, the objectives of different stakeholders, the extent to which they can affect the quality of project and the potential problems waiting to be resolved in the future. In this way, the team leader…[continue]
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