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 focus of these theories was to identify the core qualities and traits of leaders; the behavioral and professional characteristics that distinguish them from followers; and different leadership styles which they can adopt in different situations in order to be successful at the workplace. The most famous leadership theory is 'Great-Man Theory' which assumes that some individuals are born-leaders. They inherently possess strong leadership qualities which prominently distinguish them from other leaders (Lussier & Achua, 2010). Another school of thought is found in the Trait Theory which states that a leader has a balanced combination of traits in his personality which help him in becoming an effective leader at the workplace. The leaders can use transactional, transformational, autocratic, Laissez-Faire, charismatic, or bureaucratic leadership styles in different situations (Daft, 2011).
Some modern and emerging leadership theories contradict with these traditional theories. For example, Situational theories of Leadership assume that individuals turn into leaders when they learn from the environment. Similarly, Behavioral theories focus on the way leaders behave at the workplace. Leaders have to adopt different leadership styles in different situations in order to manage the organizational members effectively (Robbins & Coulter, 2006). The Power and Influence theories of leadership state that leaders can also use power and authority in different ways to get the work done in an efficient and well-organized way. They can use positional power, i.e. legitimate, reward, or coercive; personal power as expert or referent; or completely focus on transactional leadership to make full use of power and authority (DuBrin, 2009).
Keeping in view all these theories and schools of thoughts, a set of core leadership characteristics can be formed which must be possessed by an ideal leader. For Microsoft Corporation, an ideal leader would be the one who has certain inherent interpersonal qualities as well as professional capabilities to handle different internal and external environmental problems (Basefsky, Maxwell, Post, & Turner, 2004). During normal flow of work, he can use transactional style to keep his subordinates motivated and committed towards their job responsibilities. In case the organization needs a change in any or all of its functional areas, he can use transformational style. He can also use democratic style to encourage his subordinates to play their part in decision making process (Robbins & Coulter, 2006).
From interpersonal forms of power, the most effective form is personal power. An ideal leader must use different motivational techniques to enhance the morale and commitment of his subordinates. These leadership styles and interpersonal forms of power can significantly improve the performance of employees which is eventually advantageous for the overall organizational productivity (Daft, 2011).
2. Based on your research, analyze the organizational stressors (e.g., task demands, role demands, physical demands, and interpersonal demands) to determine their likely impact on organizational performance as well as how those stressors could be addressed.
There are certain internal organizational stressors that impact the performance of employees at the workplace. It is vital for organizations to manage these stressors effectively in order to get the work done through their employees in an efficient way. The four broad categories of organizational stressors are: task demands, role demands, physical demands, and interpersonal demands. Task demands are related to the stress from a specific task or job. Some job tasks and occupations are highly stressful due to their unsafe working conditions or dangerous equipments. Stress from task demands further increases when the employees are feeling uncertainties about their career in the current organization. These stressors directly hit their motivation and job satisfaction (DuBrin, 2009).
Role demands are the internal organizational stressors related to the role ambiguity and role conflicts. When an employee is put under high expectations by his supervisors without clarifying his role, he feels high level of ambiguity and tension. In this way, role demands negatively impact the performance efficiency of employees. Physical demands are also related to the working conditions and workload in specific jobs or occupations. When employees have to work under high temperature environments, poor health and safety measures, and inadequate work surfaces, their job becomes highly hectic (Robbins & Coulter, 2006).
Interpersonal demands are related to the stressors which impact the attitude, relationships, and behavior of employees with their supervisors and subordinates at the workplace. These stressors include sexual harassment towards female workers, emotional issues like offensive and non-supportive behavior of coworkers, communication and information sharing problems, and lack of effective leadership from the supervisors (Saxena, 2009).
All these organizational stressors directly impact the organizational performance. For instance, when employees are experiencing task demands or physical demands stressors, they are unable to achieve a good balance between their personal and professional life (Eikhof, Warhurst, & Haunschild, 2007). As a result, they fail to perform with their full potential and competencies. Similarly, when employees feel role conflicts or interpersonal stressors, their job satisfaction is negatively affected. All these stressors lead to poor organizational productivity, weak organizational culture, higher employee turnover, and increased rate of absenteeism (Daft, 2011).
In order to avoid these issues, Microsoft Corporation needs to manage these internal stressors in an effective and efficient way. First of all, it must ensure that all employees are provided with flexible working options so that they can achieve a good work-life balance (Eikhof, Warhurst, & Haunschild, 2007). The dangerous working equipments must be used under strict safety measures. In order to resolve interpersonal issues, Microsoft must ensure that all its employees cooperate with each other, respect cultural diversity and minorities, share information, and subordinate their personal interests to the organizational interests. Moreover, the roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined and communicated to the organizational members in a view to avoid role demand stressors (DuBrin, 2009).
3. Analyze critical elements for effective group and work team performance to determine the steps you would take to develop an effective team or work group within the company you researched.
There are five critical elements for effective group or work team performance. The most important element is an effective leadership. Every team needs to be managed by a professionally competent and result-oriented leader (Lussier & Achua, 2010). A leader is responsible for accomplishing the organizational objectives through his followers (subordinates). While managing and leading the team members, the leader has to ensure that they fully dedicate themselves for the organizational interests. He is responsible for motivating and encouraging his team members so that all their assigned targets can be achieved in an effective and efficient way.
Secondly, shared vision of team members is highly critical for their success at the workplace. All team members must work for one common goal and under the supervision of one team leader. They must focus on practical aspects of their projects by sharing ideas and information and striving for organizational innovation and competitiveness. Effective communication and coordination among team members is also essential for an effective group or work team performance. There must be a constant and reliable flow of information in both horizontal and vertical direction so that team members can perform their assigned targets in an efficient way. Therefore, team collaboration, mutual trust, and information sharing are also important for team performance (Robbins, Judge, & Sanghi, 2007).
Another critical element for team success is strong organizational culture. It is vital for team members to respect the shared values, beliefs, policies, and norms which have developed over time. The efforts, attitude, and behavior of team members must not contradict with the organization's cultural values. Finally, the team members must possess the knowledge, skills, experience, and competencies needed to perform their assigned tasks. If they lack these skills or competencies, the leader must arrange training and development sessions for them on priority basis (Saxena, 2009).
In order to develop an effective group or work team, Microsoft Corporation needs to ensure that all these critical elements are effectively addressed. First of all, every team must be assigned a team leader who will supervise, motivate, and lead the team members in every aspect. Secondly, the team members must be encouraged to respect the organizational culture, policies, and procedures (Gold, Thorpe, & Mumford, 2010). Microsoft will also need to ensure an effective communication and coordination among these team members so that they do not face any difficulty in sharing information or performing their assigned tasks.
4. Identify potential sources of conflict within the group or work team. Evaluate the five (5) conflict management styles (e.g., competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, accommodating) and explain which style of conflict management is most appropriate for the potential sources of conflict described above.
Interpersonal issues are the most potential source of conflict within groups or work teams.…