Individuals encounter numerous leadership opportunities in the workplace that require them to apply critical knowledge they have learned through studying. While leading is necessary, it can be a daunting task, especially when the leader lacks the necessary skills, abilities, and knowledge to lead specific groups of people. Besides, failure in leadership roles can emanate from a lack of proper collaboration between the leader and followers. Such failure affects leadership success since a great leader should influence and motivate others to support his mission when they are sufficiently satisfied (Long et al. 117). Therefore, the lack of such influence might cause challenges in leading or even complete failure. Organizations should have leaders who can reflect on their limitations and implement measures to overcome them. While I might have failed to lead a change to create an automated system in my department, through reflection, I have understood the reasons for the failure and can use them to become a better leader in the future.
Having worked for my current organization for more than three years, I realized that its manual system was inefficient caused delays, mostly when someone wanted crucial information to make decisions. As a result, I desired to automate the system to make it faster and more efficient. The key players in the planned change were employees in my department, whose work would be affected directly by the change. The employees’ role was to market the company’s products, which included computer hardware, such as laptops, screens, and monitors, the company’s purpose was to support individuals and other firms to have the best computer systems in the market. Interestingly, although the company sold computer hardware, its records management system was still manual. As a result, I realized the need for change since clients had started to complain about the services’ slow nature. I would be better placed to handle the change since I was working as the head of the department and would mobilize my followers to support the proposed change. However, the change resulted in a failure due to some issues that I have realize through studying and reflecting.
Although it would appear that employees would understand and support the change, some disagreed with major aspects, such as the company from which to source the automation software. Many of the employees proposed their customers, other firms that purchased hardware from us. Consequently, the change was marred with a lot of conflict and misunderstanding, and it became a challenge to continue amid such confusion. I reflected upon the situation and realized the leading cause of resistance to change and interpersonal conflict among the top players in the change process. I might have failed to consider the impact of engaging employees who had different interests in their customers. Besides, each of the employees would have wanted to please their customers for the sake of future business. As a result, they resisted any form of change that would not meet their interests. The problem would have changed if I had communicated the vision clearly and given a course of action, such as purchasing the software from the supply with the most favorable terms, such as the cost, maintenance, and customer support. Such a move would address their expectations and gain support for the change since every employee wanted a more efficient workplace.
After taking the class, I have learned many lessons that I would have used or will use in the future to become a better leader and manage change effectively. For example, I have understood the importance of transformational and charismatic leadership in an organization. The leadership style involves the leader’s attempts to encourage, inspire, and motivate followers to support a shared vision (Zhu and Akhtar 373). If applied to the knowledge and leadership style, I would influence my followers to support the vision and prevent the conflict. I realized that the issue was my failure to communicate the change and lay the ground rules effectively. In the leadership role, I also needed to assign each employee roles to feel complete engagement and involvement in the project. Such steps would create appropriate ownership of the change, mostly since the employees already accepted the need for the difference in the company. They required a leader who would direct them and provide a model of successful leadership.
We had various options that I took and realize what I could have done differently after studying the course and taking lectures on leadership. I could have communicated with followers about finding the most favorable vendor to provide the software for the automated system. However, I failed to take the option and allowed employees to give their personal decisions, which created conflict and misunderstanding. Proper leadership depends on the leader’s ability to communicate effectively with his followers such that they create an understanding and move forward towards a common goal (Luo et al. 2). As a result, I understand my options after reading the course on leadership and can rectify the misdoings that led to the failure in the first place. I have learned the importance of allowing followers to participate in the change process, but still provide leadership and follow directions. With a clear direction, I would have prevented the followers from disagreeing about the vendor, collaborating with them, collecting information, and selecting the one that provided the most favorable terms for the company’s benefit.
Besides knowing how what changes I would have made to improve the decision and my leadership approach, I have discovered the role of analysis tools that would have helped me prevent the misunderstanding and conflicts that affected the change process. With the tools, I would understand what the organization and my followers expected of me as a leader and what I would have done differently to generate positive results. One of the tools that would have worked in the leadership situation is Senge’s structural tension model. The model indicates the need for a leader to understand such tensions (which emerged in the leadership situation as conflicts and misunderstanding) and address them effectively to prevent their negative impact on the company or the change process. The process involved developing a vision, managing the gap between reality and vision, and understanding and managing structural tensions (Senge 148). The knowledge would help me recognize potential conflicts in time to address them and prevent them from destroying the change process.
From a similar perspective, success in the process involves personality and leadership style questions, which I should have understood to implement the change successfully. The right personality helps the leader see the bigger picture and help the followers realize and support its realization. One way I would have succeeded in the change would have been to understand my personality and leadership style using a tool, such as the Big 5 personality traits, which are extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism (Curtis et al. 42). Learning my personality would have helped me understand my strengths as a leader and use the most suitable leadership style to prevent conflicts. Our personality has implications on various areas of our lives, including leadership from an observer’s or follower’s perception. The leader will be perceived as good or bad, depending on personality traits. Thus, the knowledge would have helped me lead well, such as forming positive and influential relationships with my followers.
Two other tools that would have helped me succeed in the leadership position are Skills and Practices of Coaching, Managing, Clearing the Air, and Persuasive Speech. I should have realized that my followers required a coach who would help them understand the project’s needs and develop skills to identify a suitable vendor’s characteristics when sourcing for a software system. I should have been a transformational leadership, committed to training and developing my followers to see and support the bigger picture. Besides, I should have empowered them to participate in the project without conflicts and use persuasive speech to convince them about the need to agree on the most suitable vendor. Although I am yet to learn about effective conflict resolution methods, I know that effective communication will improve my ability to work with people and forge positive relationships.
While followers are necessary for a project to succeed, leadership is even more critical due to the need to give a vision and a direction. I failed due to the lack of proper leadership, which led to conflicts and misunderstandings among the followers. They relied on me to provide leadership, which I failed due to a lack of adequate information, such as understanding my personality and leadership style. I also was unable to communicate effectively with the team and allowed them time to converse among themselves, which was the leading cause of the conflicts and misunderstanding. Regardless, I view failure as a lesson for future improvement to become a better leader. I will challenge myself to engage in more projects to practice leadership skills and knowledge.
Although my leadership endeavor failed, it has taught me numerous lessons that I should apply in my future projects to increase the chances of succeeding. I disregarded some essential aspects of good leadership and project management that would have helped me to prevent the causes of the failure. For example, I should have to use persuasive speech to communicate with my followers after having a sufficient understanding of my personality and leadership style. Regardless of the failure, I have learned critical lessons, such as using transformational leadership and charisma, to challenge the followers to improve their potential. A successful leader should empower the followers to grow and develop, and potentially, become leaders with the capacity to create and seek support for a vision. The lessons will prevent the factors that led to my failure the first time I tried a major project that involved the entire department. I am confident that I can engage in even more challenging tasks and succeed, following the ideals and principles learned from the course on leadership.
How would/do you now understand it (and what do you still not understand)? What steps would you recommend taking? What guidance would you give yourself in taking those steps?
Senge, Peter. Peter Senge and the learning organization. Rcuperado de (1990).
Long, Choi Sang, et al. “The impact of transformational leadership style on job satisfaction.” World Applied Sciences Journal 29.1 (2014): 117-124.
Zhu, Yue, and Syed Akhtar. “How transformational leadership influences follower helping behavior: The role of trust and prosocial motivation.” Journal of Organizational Behavior 35.3 (2014): 373-392.
Luo, Wenhao, et al. “How does leader communication style promote employees’ commitment at times of change?.” Journal of Organizational Change Management vol. 29, no. 2, 2016, pp. 1-6
Curtis, Rachel G., Tim D. Windsor, and Andrea Soubelet. “The relationship between Big-5 personality traits and cognitive ability in older adults–a review.” Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition 22.1 (2015): 42-71.