Leadership Assignment Sample Reflective Essay
Leadership is a necessary aspect for any division operational in an organisation and allows appropriate utilisation of human and non-human resources. The following essay is based on my experience and is a reflective description of me working as an inventory manager for Marks and Spencer. Thus, a descriptive evaluation of my experience as well as various leadership attributes that I experienced when implemented throughout the period of two months will be made. My entire experience has been divided into 8 weeks, which has helped me to evaluate the different stages of Kolb’s learning cycle.
During the course of 2 months for which I was hired as inventory manager, I faced several issues and experienced different situations, which has effectively helped me in developing my leadership skills and the knowledge of various leadership styles. Some of the major incidents that helped me to develop my leadership skills were a range of conflicts and effective practice of leadership styles during different situations (Harris and Jones, 2018).
During the second week of my duty as inventory manager, I noticed that there were irregularities in terms of stock management. I also noticed that in several items that were sent to the store after acquiring from the suppliers where it is reported, as they did not match with the number of items present in the warehouse. After getting in touch with their suppliers there grew a conflict between the supplier as well as the individuals responsible for noting down the stock acquired from them.
Adding to that, during the first few weeks, I experienced communication gaps between two different individuals working in the inventory and warehouses that might have led to the lack of productivity and efficiency of the overall warehouse. However, one of the most negative impacts of such communication gaps arises between the warehouse department and the stores to which this warehouse supplied the required items. The store managers did not follow a systematic way of placing the orders which led to confusion in the warehouse and in many instances more products were supplied while sometimes less than what was ordered, not only those wrong orders being sent to the stores was also a common occurrence.
Based on Kolb’s learning cycle the first two weeks of my experience helped me come up with the feeling that things were not in right order. There was a lot of chaos, confusion, and conflict that hindered proper workflow. This instilled the feeling that a change is necessary else the organisation would continue to suffer from unforeseen losses due to poor inventory and stock management (Harris and Jones, 2018).
The first two weeks while working as an inventory manager allowed me to understand all the commonly occurring issues within the company, I constantly kept a track of the individuals working in the warehouse. During the second week, I called a meeting and pointed out all the mistakes and mismanagement that has been occurring. However, to no avail most the individuals were adamant and did agree to the fact that their actions and mismanagement were creating bigger issues in the store front.
Based on the attributes of bureaucratic leadership, I established a set of rules and regulations that all individuals working in the warehouse had to follow in order to achieve the specific targets. In terms of target, I also divided the work among the individuals working in the warehouse so that a systematic order could be followed. However, it is identified that most of the individuals who were assigned with a specific task and objective were not following the orders and rules that were established in the first place. This led to the thinking that a bureaucratic leadership within the warehouse of another company was not working out as planned and therefore I thought that something else needed to be done.
In a bureaucratic leadership a top-down communication order is followed due to which the majority of the issues that are faced by individuals working in the lower level are often not communicated to the hierarchy (Azad et al. 2017). Therefore, hierarchies having no knowledge about the issues faced by individuals working in the lower levels of the company often create pressure and this leads to lack of motivation and ability to operate properly. Therefore, based on Kolb’s learning cycle’s reflective observation in the third week of my operation as an inventory manager, I learnt several hidden skills and loopholes inherent.
One of the major observations that I carried out was the lack of motivation and to work within a team, which led to the majority of the problems. Therefore, I understood the requirement of a new leadership style within the management of the company that could help in resolving such issues in the lower levels of the company. Based on my understanding of various leadership styles and strategies I believe that other leadership styles would be initiated so that the work full can work in harmony and achieve the given objectives (Halkias and Neubert, 2020). I also understood that the initiation of a new leadership based on Kolb’s second stage of reflective cycle will help me to improve the overall functionality and efficiency of the entire workforce. Working as an inventory manager in the organisation also had a lot of responsibility on a daily basis therefore, I decided that dividing the workforce into various groups, and teams would help in achieving your objectives in an effective manner. There was also a problem with the supply where the suppliers sent fewer products than what was actually ordered and there was no one to determine on count the orders that were received in the right order. Therefore, I observed that a number of individuals working in the warehouse could be shifted within a team that would look after the orders that were received from the supplier and this would mitigate any issues arising in future. Furthermore, I also decided that another team needs to be formed that would help to mitigate the issues with the store manager. This led to the thinking that different leadership styles can be implemented in this regard (Adams, 2018).
Based on my experience of the first 2 weeks working in Marks & Spencer as an inventory manager, I further applied the theory of situation theory to observe the positive or negative outcomes of my activities. As I knew, based on my knowledge, situational leadership is based upon the different styles of leadership, which can be adopted according to the situational requirement and for the development of the members of the team. In the first phase, I had applied the bureaucratic style of leadership among my subordinates. This style of leadership is rigid with the decision being passed only from the top-bottom with only one-way communication. Primarily, it was being applied smoothly; however, slowly but definitely steadily, I realised that my team members started to talk behind my back as according to them I was not being empathetic and understanding towards them.
My actions were more like a boss than a leader. Later on, I even got to know from one of my subordinates, that customers of the store were facing several issues with the frequent location changing of the products on the shelf. Furthermore, there were complaints for not having enough stock in the store and a few others, which I was not informed of, as the communication was one-way and not both ways. I realised thereafter, that this style of leadership was not bringing fruitful results to the predetermined outcomes. I tried to change my behaviour. As behaviour is the key to win over anything in the globe.
The behavioural theory suggests that the success of a leader is severely based on the behaviour of the leader rather than the natural traits. This theory can be referred to as observing the responding behaviour of the leader in times of specific situations (Brohi et al. 2018). Previously, I did not use to cooperate with my subordinates. If any issue arose, my behaviour with them was very typical and rude with pointing out all their faults keeping myself in a situation of no fault. I was not working with them; rather I was just ordering them what to do and what not to do. This resulted in a monotony environment among the subordinates that further led to dissatisfaction in the workplace. I was not very experienced in being a leader by practical experiences. Therefore, I was applying a lot of theories and models of leadership to understand which one will work best for me in that designated job.
Later on, I started to work with my subordinates to encourage them with their work and also to know the root problems occurring in the store with the management of inventory from them. I also changed my responding behaviour with certain specific situations. As I observed, the changed behaviour in me really was boosting the morale and job satisfaction of others. It was found that they got a feeling of being a part of the organisation rather than just working without being respected and valued. This brought an idea in my mind of applying other theories of leadership such as transactional, transformational and laissez-faire, which I thought, would be very fruitful with me being a helpful, understanding and motivating leader to them.
With regards to the aforementioned scenario, I have realised the significance of efficiently managing relational problems and issues arising in the workplace as an effective leader. Serving as a contractual inventory manager in Mark and Spencer, I had to go through a conflict with a potential supplier of our organisation as mentioned before. In this context, I realised the significance of maintaining transformational leadership aspects as an integral part of efficiently managing my responsibilities as an efficient leader. The prime concern of transformational leadership looks forward to collaboratively working with the team and employees beyond the immediate self-interest of the leader for identifying the required change management attributes (Eliyana and Ma’arif, 2019). However, a vision can also be created according to this theory in order to successfully guide the change through inspiration and influence, execution of the change, and others. With regards to this understanding, I tried to efficiently engage all employees and respective organisational leadership with the supplier contracts maintained in an excel sheet. I thought of sharing the excel sheet with all respective departmental heads after realising the significance of maintaining evidence for each step in the workplace. It might have benefited me with successful avoidance of conflict with suppliers with inadequate supply issues. In this case, I was also beneficial in terms of modifying the existing abstract of maintaining extended relationships with relational stakeholders of our company with adequate evidence. It also generated a new idea for me to ensure successive influence to change the traditional record-keeping aspects under the shape of digital means.
On the other hand, I also started to realise the application of my thoughts and ideas in the workplace for avoiding conflict related circumstances in future. In this regard, I began to follow the transactional leadership theory. The theoretical understanding highlights the employee centric approach undertaken by an organisation and manager on leaders as an integral part of aligning them with the organisational core business values (Cho et al. 2019). The theory also assumes employees are not self-motivated and nearby they are required to provide adequate dedication and motivation for completing tasks accordingly on time. Provision of accurate structure and instruction is required for the employees to efficiently manage the tasks along with supervisor surveillance to ensure error free working. However, I basically applied my previous learning experiences through the conflict with suppliers that have influenced me to think differently for maintaining evidence of relational business activities and agreements. In this case, I outlined a profound vision in front of the organisational management and leadership concerning the usage of digital maintenance of valuable records on behalf of the organisation. I tried to convince the management regarding the relational benefits of digital record maintenance that influenced them to a large extent for identifying and accepting the changed vision.
With this understanding, I generated this emerging concept of digital record-keeping that also signified my leadership attributes to some extent.
In relation to my conceptualized abstract, I paid attention to efficiently applying my ideas and thoughts with regards to managing the issues experienced by me. In this regard, I undertook the attributes of laissez faire leadership theory. The theoretical understanding highlighted an attitude of trust among organisational leaders where the leaders can rely on their subordinates. However, this leadership style can be applicable during efficiently supervising highly skilled individuals’ teams (Breevaart and Zacher, 2019). I instructed the team to efficiently participate to oversee the supplier relationship in Marks and Spencer in a systematic manner. I created the excel sheet on Google and shared it with all the respective departmental heads and my superiors. I also provided equal access to our organisational suppliers where the access for editing was only allowed for the organisational management. I became profoundly dependent on my subordinates and colleagues for implementing the mentioned change management concerns under the feature of digital record keeping attributes. Moreover, the communication problem was also mitigated to some extent by involving entire organisational leadership and suppliers in one single platform where daily activities related to supply are recorded. Distinctive trustworthiness was generated by me in this concern where my subordinates started to show that trust and believe upon my leadership style.
However, my thoughts of improving my internal leadership style from transformational to laissez faire had taken place as an integral part of increasing sales accountability as an effective leader. Moreover, I also allowed creative thinking attributes from my subordinate’s perspective where they also felt extremely valuable while serving for the organisation. It also created a sense of confidence concerning the area of efficiently supporting respective team members and employees (Robert and Vandenberghe, 2021). I also took the responsibility of the overall actions and change management concerns proposed by me.
Apart from that, I was also able to understand the significance of letting my team members undertake the responsibility for guiding the change accurately. I made them understand the provision of change management in this case, according to which they acted superbly with regards to ensuring efficient application of the technologies. It can be signified by notifying the digital record-keeping aspects along with the mitigation of communication problems and empowerment of warehouse management strategy.
Based on these features, I think that the improvement of transformational and transactional leadership with laissez faire leadership style might be effective in the professional field.
The overall essay has highlighted valuable concerns regarding appropriate leadership attributes required for efficiently managing the issues and problems in the workplace. The reflective learning cycle of Kolb highlighted a systematic measure for decision-making instincts that are efficiently applied with different leadership theories. My workplace experiences are also justified in this case with the prospects of both situation and behavioural leadership, transformational and transactional leadership, laissez faire leadership, and others. These theories have opened distinct opportunities for me to overcome the reflected issues and concerns and thereby improving my internal leadership capabilities.
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