Leadership is related to motivation, interpersonal behaviour and the process of communication. Leadership is important in attempting to reduce employee dissatisfaction. Good leadership also involves the effective process of delegation and decision making. But what is the nature of leadership in Sundance? How is it performed and what effects does it have on the individuals in different groups? We will first start by looking at the nature of leadership in the different groups and then analyse its effect on motivation and moral.
A known work on leadership style which will help us understand Leadership at Sundance, is that of Tannenbaun and Schmidt. This suggests a continuum of possible leadership behaviour available to a manager along which various styles of leadership may be placed. This pattern exists at Sundance. Figure 1 shows that, the leadership style across the 3 main groups at Sundance is not the same. It is dependent on the organizational environment and the individuals in it. Let’s examine these differences.
In production, the individuals have no interest in understanding the goals of the organization. They do not want to get involved in problem solving and decision making. They simply prefer to get on with what is required of them and deal with this task only. This is what satisfies their motivational needs as described in section 3. But does the leadership style shown in figure1 meet this requirement? The answer is yes but there are difficulties. The problem with this form of leadership is that it is often seen as too authoritarian. This has sometimes developed mistrust between group members and the leader. Ultimately leading to low moral and demotivation. In fact this seems to be an ongoing problem in production. Management has tried to be sensitive towards this feeling but with limited success.
Lets look at the R;D group. As seen in section 3 the individuals here recognize the need for professional development. They have a tendency to be a bit more independent. They also tend to identify with the goals of the company as a whole. Therefore the style of leadership here, is a bit more interactive. Motivation is achieved by getting the individuals involved in the process of decision making. The psychological needs of this group are such that they need a bit more feedback and involvement. Sundance has been quite successful in fulfilling the needs of this group through the leadership style. There is no noticeable problem with leadership here.
What about the Sales and Marketing group? From figure 1 we can see this group is at the other extreme of the leadership style scale. The individuals here demand a style of leadership which allows not only joint decision making but also a degree of freedom and flexibility. At Sundance leadership puts a lot of trust in its sales and marketing staff. This in turn leads to high levels of motivation and job satisfaction amongst the group members.
The process of performance management is a relatively new concept within Sundance. Although there are now formal procedures in place, the idea of performance management is still not yet embedded within the companies structure. The fundamental principals of performance management are being executed, but it is being done subconsciously. There has never been any formal training in this area for the three group managers and the MD.
It has been, in my opinion, through luck more than anything else, that the various group managers are naturally good at performance management. In short, the objectives of performance management, are being met through “good personalities” and “friendly management”. We can see high levels of motivation and moral. This has meant that there has never been a need to understand the fundamental theories of performance management and appraisals.
But as Sundance operate in a dynamic and changing industry, the current situation and culture may not last long. Sundances business forecast shows it will continue to grow, both in wealth and number of employees. Whether management will be able to cope with this increase in HR, remains to be seen. But it is my opinion that unless some kind of management training is introduced, Sundance will suffer.
As described in section 5, the leadership style differs from group to group. However a common pattern does emerge at Sundance. Within each groups constraints, the style of leadership appears to be friendly and open. The managing director for example, is forever reminding the employees that the door to his office is never closed. This attitude is also evident in the group managers but within the margins shown in fig.1 of section 5. Once again under the current organisational structure this appears to be working well and is a major motivator. However there is a danger that this degree of openness can lead to the subordinates becoming complacent. Care must be taken not to allow the situation get out of hand. And as Sundance grows and more people are introduced to the groups, the leadership style and attitude needs to be monitored and adjusted accordingly.