Leadership and Change Management
History and experience suggest that effective leadership is integral to organizational success, as well as the success of individual members within the organization. Well, studies have given different perspectives as to what exactly constitutes effective leadership; however, what they all agree on is that effective leadership aids in the effective and efficient management of organizational resources and relationships as well as in the building of power and strength in the organization. Employees need leadership to inspire and motivate them to align their personal goals with those of the organization, and to give their all in the conduction of their duties. In the same way, clients and customers need leadership to inspire confidence and trust in an organization's output. Investors too need leadership to inspire confidence in the organization's stocks and assets. Good leadership, therefore, invariably produces greater benefits for the organization in terms of motivated employees, satisfied customers, confident investors, and properly-achieved strategic goals. Based on this background, this report examines the leadership capabilities and leadership resources of XYZ College with the aim of determining how effective they are in helping the organization realize its strategic goals and objectives. It begins with a brief overview of the organization and its operations.
Overview of XYZ College
The organization selected for analysis is a 7-12 religious college in the outback of Australia, for which the researcher currently works. It commits itself to fostering spirituality and faith among students, and instilling a sense of justice, fairness, compassion, responsibility and inner direction to enable them develop the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual potential needed to succeed in a complex and dynamic society. The organization's mission is to bring parents, staff and students to journey together in faith, with a focus on providing holistic education within a welcoming and caring environment. Through this mission statement, the organization affirms its commitment to work collaboratively with all factions of the community to make it a better place for everyone. Christ, the Good Shepherd, stands at the center of this mission -- the organization relies on Him for strength and guidance to be able to make a difference in the community and the world over.
XYZ College's strategic objective is to keep staff turnover to a minimum thus creating stability in the college and good academic results for students. This strategic vision, together with the organizational mission, form the basis around which the college operates. However, the organization has been falling short of its strategic vision. The rate of staff turnover at the institution is significantly high, making it difficult for students to establish effective, long-lasting relationships with their teachers. At times, a student could have over four teachers in the same subject over a span of one year. This causes chaos and brings about a lack of continuity in the teaching and learning realm. The situation is worsened by the fact that the college is forced to recruit teaching staff at the beginning of the year, and this increases the risk of recruiting teachers who either have no experience or who are unable to get jobs elsewhere due to incompetence. The reasons for the high turnover rates include high rent, low pay, airfares to go away on holiday and job isolation given that the college is located in a desert-mining town. Experience has, however, led me to believe that ineffective leadership could also be a factor in staff turnover at the college. The subsequent sections are focused on evaluating this argument. The paper concludes with a set of recommendations on how the leadership aspect as well as those other aspects could be addressed to reduce the extent of the problem in future.
Leadership at XYZ College
Who the Leaders are and their Qualities
At the helm of the lines of authority is the college principal, a male intellectual who leads mainly through the laissez faire approach - he assumes a hands-off role and leaves his juniors...
As such, the principal is rarely around campus -- he is away on business for the greater part of the year, and is only prominent in Monday and Friday briefings and other special occasions such as awards. His duties are mainly delegated to the deputy principle. This approach to leadership is effective to some extent as it presents subordinates an opportunity to acquaint themselves with crucial functions such as effective problem-solving and decision-making, and gives them an opportunity to innovate and come up with creative solutions to problems. The problem, however, is that owing to his leadership style, the principal is usually not well-versed with what goes on in the school on a day-to-day basis, and this gives too much power to the deputy principal.
The deputy principal is a female intellectual who can be justly described as an autocratic leader. She is goal-driven, but does not seem to care so much about the welfare of the people that work to actualize those goals. She does not seem to appreciate the fact that people have different views; neither does she make any attempt to know what other members of staff think about a certain issue - if it is her initiative, she expects all to support it, and if it is someone else's initiative that she is not interested in, she will provide little or no support/resources. She relies on commands and intimidation techniques to get things done -- numerous staff who have left the organization have quoted bullying by the deputy principal as their primary reason for leaving. This kind of autocratic approach inhibits creativity and innovation as staff fear that their initiatives may not receive the support they need, or that they may be wrongly interpreted as a form of rebellion, especially if they contradict those proposed by the deputy principal.
Serving below the deputy principal are the two assistant principals -- one for the Pastoral and Administration Services division and the other for the Religious Education division. Both are very emotionally intelligent professionals who are more understanding than the deputy principal, and very easy to work with. They are always happy to help and usually get the job done with very minimal drama. They show the intent to support initiatives by staff, although the PAS assistant principal tends to live his life on the job, and does not delegate as much as he ought to.
Engagement of the Human Side of the Organization
The engagement of the human resources of an organization is best explained using McGregor's theory, which categorizes the degree of engagement as either X or Y. The theory suggests that the management style adopted by a leader is influenced by the assumptions and beliefs they hold about their employees. The X degree of engagement (referred to as Theory X) assumes that employees do not like to work, and have to be threatened forced or controlled in order to do what is expected of them (Griffin, 2012). This is the engagement theory to which the deputy principal subscribes -- it forms the basis of her autocratic and authoritative leadership approach. Generally, however, the organization follows Theory Y, which assumes that employees enjoy their work, and are internally-motivated to achieve the performance levels expected of them (Griffin, 2012). The theory postulates that as long as conditions are favorable, employees will seek and accept responsibility, and will be more inclined to innovate for the sake of achieving the organization's goals. Incentives are one way through which organizations can make the conditions favorable, and hence, increase the motivation levels of employees.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory provides an effective model for designing incentives, which could take any form from monetary incentives to social acceptance (Maslow, 2013). It suggests that individuals are motivated through a set of basic needs that are arranged in the form of a hierarchy, with the lowest-order needs at the bottom. These needs range from i) physiological needs -- the needs of the human body including the need for sensory gratification, sleep, and food; ii) safety needs -- the need to be safe (free from environmental threats and danger); iii) affiliation needs -- the need to belong and to feel loved; iv) esteem needs -- the need to feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement; and v) self-actualization needs -- the need to achieve one's maximum potential. The first two are referred to as lower-order needs, and the higher-order needs can only be satisfied if these (lower-level needs) have been met. In the organizational context, Maslow's hierarchy of needs can be interpreted as shown in table 1 below.
Table 1: Maslow's Needs Theory in the Organizational Context
Need Level Need Satisfaction
Level 1: Physiological providing a living wage that can allow one to purchase food, clothing comfortably
Level 2: Safety needs providing working conditions that are physically safe
Level 3: Affiliation creating an environment for socialization, democratic decision-making
Level 4: Self-esteem providing rewarding work and bonus pay
Level 5: Self-actualization establishing an environment that favors creativity and innovation
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