Leadership Team Building and Communication Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Leadership, Team Building & Communication

Leadership theories continue to evolve as the complexity, nature and scope of organizations shift from command-and-control structures to more agile frameworks for managing change. The pace of disruptive innovation is accelerating, forcing reliance on the latest theories of leadership to keep organizations competitive in rapidly changing markets. The intent of this analysis is to evaluate the traditional, contemporary and emerging leadership theories and interpersonal forms of power. Unifying these factors by defining the profile of the ideal leader is also completed in this analysis, highlighting the most effective leadership characteristics and patterns in their specific roles. An organization has been selected, Cisco Systems, to evaluate these theories against. In addition, organizational stressors are also discussed in addition to strategies to managing them so an organization can still attain optimal performance. The five conflict management styles are also discussed in addition to potential barriers to communication, with recommendations on how to overcome them.

Analysis of Traditional, Contemporary and Emerging Leadership Theories

Traditional leadership theories stressed the concept of the "great man" or leader who was given the role based on behavioral traits and their ability to create and sustain teams' progress towards goals. These "great man" theories also relied on external observation of traits; there was little advanced screening of personality traits or the innate perceptions of highly effective leaders (Fitzgerald, Schutte, 2010). Traditional leadership theories progressed rapidly beyond only the observable traits of a leader and seeing them as innate to the belief that leadership could be mastered as a skill (Buffinton, Jablokow, Martin, 2002). This shift in leadership theories marked the transition of this field from traditional to contemporary research. With contemporary theories, leadership is seen as a skill that can be taught (Purvanova, Bono, 2009). The research of Dr. Max Weber on the traits of charismatic leaders and the contingency theories of Dr. Fred Fielder (Maslanka, 2004) are the foundation of contemporary theories of leadership. These foundational concepts set the foundation for the rapidly emerging leadership theories that are in use today. The inclusion of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and charismatic leadership into a common framework was first completed by researchers James McGregor Burns and Bernard Bass, who created the transformational leadership theory (Maslanka, 2004). One of the most powerful aspects of this theory is that it includes both the behavioral and cognitive aspects of leadership behavior, while also showing how adoption of the five factor model created can also increase leadership effectiveness (Judge, Joyce, 2000). Of the many emerging leadership theorists adding knowledge to this field, Dr. Bruce Avolio and Fred Luthans continued to expand on these leadership theories and show the potential for EI-based leadership models to positively impact corporate financial performance (Fitzgerald, Schutte, 2010).

Defining the Ideal Leader

The ideal leader at Cisco Systems is one that combines communication and collaboration skills with the ability to create and sustain team progress towards challenging goals. The best leaders at Cisco systems also have the ability to create self-efficacy in their subordinates along with accountability both to each other and to results. In this respect, Cisco's top leaders have strong transformational leadership skills combined with EI-based insights into hwo best to modify their own leadership approaches to meet the directional needs of their group (Purvanova, Bono, 2009). Combining the attributes or qualities of individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealized influence, Cisco's top leaders have a strong foundation of transformational leadership skills (Judge, Joyce, 2000). What makes these leaders different than many others in the high technology industry is their ability to also combine interpersonal forms of power as well. These include coercive power, reward power, legitimate power, referent power and expert power (French, Raven, 1959). Of these, Cisco's top leaders are most effective when they use expert power and referent power, two elements often found in high technology companies given the nature of their business models. Both of these types of power are highly effective in moving new product ideas along to fruition and financial profitability. For Cisco, the pace of new product introductions must continually improve if they are to stay up with their global competitors. Cisco's leaders are given the responsibility for making new product launches contribute a large percentage of profits in any given financial quarter. This is how Cisco ties transformational leadership skills, expert and referent power to financial results. All of these activites revolve around innovation adn new product development.

Analysis of Organizational Stressors

The stressors that Cisco contends with are structural, seasonal and also dependent on their distribution channels. The structurally-based stressors include the task demands of qualifying a new circuit board for their latest network device, completing a rapid evaluation of a new suppliers' components, or creating entirely new schematics for a network device. All of these tasks have a cascading number of stressors associated with them. Each also directly affects the performance of the product line once launched; each stressor can potentially impact profitability of the product line. Projects and teams throughout Cisco are designed to mitigate these project-based stressors by using advanced scheduling and planning techniques (Buffinton, Jablokow, Martin, 2002). Cisco's leaders are expected to understand the implications of Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), cross-shipping of components, and the implications of these decisions on when the new network component will be launched, where and through which channels.

Organizational stressors also include the need for greater levels of communication and collaboration as well. The company today relies on a series of cross-functional meetings that bring together experts from each engineering functional area. The project leader has the authority to define launch date, structure of the project, and timeframes for completion of subtasks. On projects with very little lead time, this creates significant task and role demands, as members of the teams must balance both their primary role job responsibilities in addition to taking on those from the project team as well. Task and role clarity is achieved through the use of a modified matrix-based organization that provides feedback to the primary managers and also the project managers on a specific task. Cisco has learned that the use of a modified matrix reporting structure can reduce task, role and even interpersonal stressors in their development teams. As the pace is very rapid in Cisco's new product development and launch meetings, the real-time use of collaboration technologies including Intranets, real-time messaging and online project discussion forums internally. All of these technological tools and platforms are designed and implemented to alleviate barriers to communication while reducing organizational stressors. The net result is successful new product introductions and greater financial performance.

Analysis of Effective Group and Work Team Performance at Cisco

Cisco is a very engineering-oriented culture, one that thrives on expert power. Those engineers with patents for example are considered for Cisco Fellowships, as Microsoft is doing today with its top technical experts and thought leaders. The competition internally is fierce for advancement, making expert power all the more of a premium. Conflicts most often emerge internally within and between groups due to the organizational stressors that cause confusion and at times arbitration over limited resources. An example of this is the engineering time of the leading circuit board designers, network system designers, and software engineers. These three engineering areas have the greatest role and task demands placed on them by the many cross-functional teams throughout the company.

In analyzing how cross-functional teams mitigate and in many cases eliminate work group and team performance bottlenecks within Cisco, the following observations have been made. There is little if any avoiding-type of behavior or approach to conflict resolution in the company, as the leaders stress clear accountability and visibility into the state of each project. Given the unique structure of the cross-functional teams at Cisco, avoidance is impossible. The unique matrix-based project structure rewards collaboration and also has created mechanisms to support comprising and accommodating. Competition occurs within and between groups often in an informal way; there is no specific structure or framework in place to enable this aspect of the team dynamics. Teams that create a high degree of collaboration and communication are more resilient in the face of uncertainty and also in creating a culture of shared accomplishment (Chadwick, 1996). Collaboration is also rewarded with promotions to project leader once a manager shows transformational leadership skills and a strong intuitive sense of EI insights in how they manage tasks.

Analysis of Barriers to Communication

There are significant barriers to communication across Cisco, most often seen between the engineering teams and quality assurance, the marketing departments and channel management, and between the designers and manufacturing teams. These barriers are more often the result of the project team dynamics and the tendency to perceive all aspects of a project only from a given perspective or vantage point. The impetus or catalyst of the most challenging barriers to communication are based on the perceptual differences between teams and their priorities, incouding how they perceive and value time differently (Buffinton, Jablokow, Martin, 2002). This is the case in Cisco, where the…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Leadership Team Building And Communication" (2012, December 02) Retrieved December 6, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/leadership-team-building-and-communication-76796

"Leadership Team Building And Communication" 02 December 2012. Web.6 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/leadership-team-building-and-communication-76796>

"Leadership Team Building And Communication", 02 December 2012, Accessed.6 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/leadership-team-building-and-communication-76796

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Leadership Team Building and Communication

    Leadership, Team Building, And Communication Leadership, Communication and Team Building Examine traditional, contemporary, and emerging leadership theories and interpersonal forms of power. Create a profile of the ideal leader for the company you researched in which you describe the most appropriate leadership characteristics in terms of leadership style and interpersonal forms of power; and how these characteristics impact organizational performance. Leadership theories emerged during the early years of the twentieth century. The major

  • Team Building Is a Hot Topic Now

    Team building is a hot topic now in the competitive work environment / Especially during hard economic times, it is necessary to have a competent team that competes well. Previously, business and organizational professionals relied primarily upon scholarly disciplines such as sociology and psychology to model team building. Increasingly, they are now using sporting and military models to help build effective teams that will win in their operations. In Joe

  • Team Building Activity

    Team Building Activity The activity is presented with a summary, which offers a brief explanation of the activity and its aims. Next, the logistical considerations, activity goal, and the steps needed to prepare for the activity are carefully laid out. Following this detailed introduction, are step-by-step instructions for the team building activity and how it is concluded. In conclusion, some benefits for a company to offer this team building activity for

  • Team Building Success IT s in the

    In addition, the game is fun and not nearly as intimidating as other inventories, like the Myers-Briggs. There is not the delay between completing the questionnaire and then waiting for a report to be provided and analyzed. Instead, students can begin to understand their own, as well as others', behaviors as the game is played. This helps give them the knowledge they need to manage strife within teams, to

  • Team Management Creating a State Of The Art Microsoft Windows Based...

    Team Management Creating a State-of-the-Art Microsoft Windows-Based Software Application Through Leadership and Teamwork Developing new enterprise software applications that are built on the Microsoft Windows operating system requires an intensive level of commitment, communication, collaboration and shared task ownership across all team members today. Every member of the group today has a unique role to play in creating the best possible enterprise software application running on the Microsoft Windows platform. In order for

  • Team Analysis This Team Has a Number

    Team Analysis This team has a number of problems including a strong lack of communication, and perhaps the communication skills necessary to overcome that absence. Additionally, the leadership of the group is relatively weak in character, at least as a leader for this particular team. The team may have the collective, and individual, knowledge and expertise to accomplish the task that has been set before them, however, using that knowledge and

  • Team Building and Conflict Resolution

    It is at the top because it is the only block that can be removed without disturbing the rest. Participative leadership means that leaders share the responsibility and the glory, are supportive and fair, create a climate of trust and openness, and are good coaches and teachers" Overall, it means that leaders act as positive role models and that the leadership moves at varying times. For teams to be


Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved