Understanding and Managing People

Understanding and Managing People

 Executive summary

The following report analyses the significance of the leadership roles in the working function of retail organisation. Diverse nature of leadership approaches are taken into consideration while formulating means through which the operation of the organisation is conducted in more convenient manner.

Alongside, a brief description of the responsibilities of leaders in the matter of retaining and motivating the employees of an organisation is described in the following report. Finally, an action plan is illustrated with a reflection model in the report to substantiate a personal analysis to manage the workforce of the firm.


Leadership approaches play one of the immensely important roles in the field of practices undertaken by the Human Resources department in retail companies.

There are numerous aspects that are culminated together to address the challenges faced by leadership means such as the culture of the organisation and individual contribution of the workforce of the organisation (Ali, 2019).

The role of a leader is very dynamic in nature since it encompasses various means to retain the employees to enhance the working function of the operation. Development plans are also elaborated in the study to increase the scope of the learning curve of the workforce of the organisation.


Leadership approaches

In order to address restructuring issues of Arcadia, the company needs to abide by certain leadership approaches to refrain to the workflow of the organisation to go haywire. There are three primary approaches to leadership theories which are classical, historical and contemporary approaches.

Classical approaches:

Under classical approaches, there are several theories such as trait theory, contingency and behavioural theory.

Trait Theory: The concept of trait theory revolves around the notion that leaders are responsible for identifying the individual characteristic attributes of an employee; which aids the organisation to utilize employees to enhance the working function of the organisation (Petrides, Siegling & Saklofske, 2016). The traits that are essentially core and identified by the leader of Arcadia are mentioned hereafter:

  • Achievement Drive: In this approach, leaders are more attuned to accomplish the goal of the organisation within a predefined time frame.
  • Leadership motivation: Leaders motivate the employees to achieve the vision of the organisation by sharing the workload amidst the workforce of Arcadia.
  • Integrity with honesty: Leaders must be completely honest with the employees because it will elevate the mood of the workforce integrally.
  • Cognitive ability: The cognizance of leaders is one of the significant aspects of the trait theory in an organisation. Since it entails the judgmental capability of the leader which will, in turn, improve the workflow of the firm.
  • Knowledge pertaining to business: leaders must be completely acknowledged with the working function of the company thereby the organisation can brace itself from any emerging impediments.
  • Self-confidence: Finally, the attribute of leaders must be defined with the essence of self-confidence, since it boosts the emotional aspect of leaders while tackling hindrances in the operation of the company.

Leaders of Arcadia abide by the trait theory since simplicity is one of the positive aspects of the theory. Furthermore, this theory assists the leader in Arcadia to address critical issues like the restructuring of the organisation. This theory also aids leaders to evaluate their individual position in the organisation, depending on that a leader can either emphasize and consolidate on individual shortcomings.

Behavioural theory: The concept of the behavioural theory is completely antipodal to trait theory since it firmly believes that a person is not born to be a leader but circumstances forge the individual into a leader (Rosenbach, 2018). Hence an inference can be drawn that any individual through constant practice can adopt the qualities to become a leader.

Contingency Theory: Contingency theory defines leadership style to be directly proportional to the gravity of the situation (Schedlitzki & Edwards, 2017). Hence, one cannot identify that a particular approach of leadership is suitable for any circumstance. Since an approach that is suitable for resolving one scenario may prove ineffective while resolving another menace.

Contemporary Approach:

The contemporary approach is composed of primarily two theories pertaining to leadership such as transactional and transformational theories. The preliminary ideology that reverberates through both of the theories is that utter emphasis on the capability of leaders to motivate subordinates to propel through challenging circumstances.

It also aids the leader to garner an unquestionable loyalty from the followers; thereby the business operation of the company smoothens seamlessly. There is a fine line of difference between the scope of transformational and transactional approaches of leadership.

Transactional leadership believes that rewards should be contingent on the basis of performance (Shields & Hesbol, 2019). On the other vein, transformational leadership is dynamic; since it embeds a sense of responsibilities by motivating the workforce to accomplish the vision of the firm by distinctly defining the individual goals to the subordinates.

Leader-Member Exchange Theory: LMX theory defines the gradient of relationship that should exist between a leader and the respective members of the team. It segregates a team based on in-group and out-group. The members of in-group undertake more responsible tasks whereas other members participate lucidly in the operation of the group.

Out of all these approaches and theories, Arcadia abides by the classical approach and establishes the leadership style as per the trait theory.

Critical leadership approaches interpretation to motivate the workforce and for retaining them thereby lessening the challenges of workplace

Workplace challenges in Arcadia

According to Baškarada, Watson, & Cromarty (2017), the main challenges that Arcadia is currently facing is restructuring the entire landscape of business operation.

The reason as to why the management of the Arcadia deems restructuring is necessary is because the bottom line of the company is staggering for a brief period of time.

Furthermore, Chua & Ayoko (2019) stated that improper maintenance of cash flow along with a constant seepage of the working capital necessitates the restructuring of Arcadia.

Moreover, the shockwaves of Brexit shook the company to its core. Additionally, Restructuring is a challenge for Arcadia; due to the high cost of labour also shrinks the revenue generation of the organisation.

The issue of poor flow of communication can also be addressed effectively by restructuring the entire operation of fashion retail.

As per the opinions of Cullen-Lester & Yammarino (2016), due to the inappropriate organisational structure of the firm, individuals roles of the employees are not distinctly defined and absence of proper leader simply add fuel to the menace. Finally, Dartey-Baah (2015) stated that the process of decision making is simply hindered due to the clutter in terms of the organisational hierarchy.

As a result, the strategic decisions undertaken by the company is receding to be implemented. Alongside, the short term tactics are also taking a comparative longer span of time to be infused by the Arcadia.

Influence of leadership approaches on motivation

As opined by Deichmann & Stam (2015), the trait theory that falls under the classical approach of leadership is really versatile since it can be implemented on any employees of the firm to assess whether the individual is suitable for leading the company.

This is the main reason for which Arcadia utilizes this approach. However, Koh (2015) opined that trait theory is very complicated because the effectiveness and significance of traits is often defined based on the gravity of the circumstances. Some traits are more necessary in one case; whereas, in other instances, the same trait may be completely inappropriate for Arcadia to implement.

The leadership approach of Arcadia should infuse the behavioural aspect in spite of trait theory since it addresses several critical issues that are relevant in order to motivate the employees.

Unlike, trait theory, the behavioural theory entails concepts to boost the confidence of the employees to believe in own self. Thereby the self-confidence of the workforce can also be increased immensely in Arcadia.

As opined by Kohler (2016), leadership approaches determine the outlook of leaders in terms of the undertaking and controlling a project within the organisation. Leaders have to tackle and address issues with reference to motivational factors in the workflow of Arcadia.

The work environment of Arcadia is diverse in nature since the workforce comprises of multiple races or belongs from different cultural backgrounds. Alongside, difference in age and gender also adds flavour to the diversity in the workplace.

Thus, a leader has to maintain diversity in a positive manner for the sake of enhancing as well as motivating the workflow of the organisation. At the same instance, leaders should keep in hindsight the cultural differences of various employees, which will aid the employees to perform at their level best.

Thereby, the efficiency of Arcadia’s production will be enhanced appreciably.

Out of all the leadership theories and approaches, the most suitable approach that can be adopted by Arcadia’s leaders is the transformational approach. As per Masa’deh, Obeidat & Tarhini (2016), transformational leadership can aid the renowned fashion retailer to instil a sense of creativity through utter collaboration.

One of the positive aspects of transformational approach is that gives immense importance to the unity of the members in a group. If all the members actively participate in a team it signifies that the employees of that group are motivated enough to complete the task well within the predetermined time frame.

It is a strategic approach from the perspective of Arcadia since it aids the company to retain its highly skilled employees for a longer time period. Furthermore, McBee, Mitchell & Fields Johnson (2018) stated, the transformational approach addresses the most vital issue that is relevant to the operation of an organisation that is job satisfaction. It emphasizes the essence of job satisfaction be motivating and catering individual needs of employees.

The primary benefit of this approach is that if it is implemented for Arcadia then the rate of absenteeism is significantly lessened due to the utter satisfaction of the job. According to Peterlin, Pearse & Dimovski (2015), this approach acts as a bridge between the professional and personal life of the employees so that the employees can be retained by the fashion retail for a longer time span.

Thus, it can be inferred that if Arcadia’s leaders adopted the transformational style then the psychological health of the workforce of Arcadia can be enhanced immensely. Thus the retention policies of the company need some serious amendments to infuse above-mentioned benefits in the working function of the firm.

The leadership style that Arcadia should deploy must be aligned with the contingency theory. The reason behind this is because, in contingency theory, a certain degree of freedom is given to leaders in order to tackle the menace as per the prevailing circumstances.

Thus, if the approach of leaders in Arcadia is contingent then various tools can be applied to resolve most uncertain scenarios. Alongside, the main notion of contingency theories is that it is defined as pragmatic in nature. Due to its open-minded approach, the validity of the principle of this theory can be applied to resolve problems universally. Since the company spread its business horizon across the globe, this theory should be abided by the leaders of Arcadia.

Formulation of development plans with reference to the learning intervention

The menace that leaders of an organisation are currently facing is that effective communication is disrupted, absence of accountability in leaders, unclear definition of the role and abysmal execution of job flow.

Therefore, I think that certain necessary skills should be possessed by me for the sake of avoiding the aforementioned problems in a firm. This is the reason I am formulating the plan to brace myself if these impediments hinder the workflow of the company.


Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time bound
To make decisions much more efficiently The productivity of a group is directly dependent on the decisions that direct the performance of the team. The performance of the team in terms of balanced scorecard or other forms of KPIs can be utilized in order to ensure that decisions are formulated in an effective manner. ●       The strategy for restructuring the operation to enhance its bottom line must be defined clearly by me.

●       The funds required to realize the vision of the project must be allocated by me in a decisive fashion.

●       I have to be more receptive towards feedback because if the team members can report the problems they are facing, then strategies can be devised in a much better manner next time.


The process is absolutely a realistic one since no such characteristics are considered in fulfilling the vision of the organisation is fictitious. The time frame allocated to efficiently devising the decisions is four months.
To communicate with the members of a team in a much more efficient fashion The active participation of the group members towards an assigned task gives a fair idea of measurement regarding the communication of the team. ●       It can be accomplished by resolving the  number of conflicts breakouts in a team

●       By creating a receptive atmosphere decisions can be made seamlessly.

●       I must ensure that the morale of the group members is always high by incorporating certain fun activities. It aids the process of communication more effectively.

The activity is definitely realistic in nature. One month is allotted for this activity to be mastered
To be more accountable and flexible for my actions It can be measured through the performance as well as annual report of the company. It can alsobe measured from  the opnion of the team members. ●       I can establish certainly threshold expectations to improve my productivity.

●       I can monitor my contribution in a detailed fashion since it boosts the process of accountability

●       Defining the rewards for successfully completing the goals and on the other vein, having a brief regarding the consequences helps me to perform effectively.

I am getting the feedback from my group members; hence I can measure the significance of my activity. Thus, the objective can be achieved in a realistic approach. Four months are allotted for completing the objective.
To embed the notion of creativity amidst the group members The rate of productivity of the group is to monitor the successful implementation of this activity. ●       Implementing certain software to manage the project will aid me to instil the innovative sense among the team members.

●       The level of creativity in the process of production can also be enhanced with effective and rigorous training of the respondents of the group.

The entire process to accomplish this objective is real. The time-bound allotted by me to complete this objective is three months.

Table 1: Personal learning plan

(Source: Created by the learner)


The primary problem that the chosen organisation is facing is that the revenue entertained by the company is slowly stagnating. Therefore, by incorporating the decisions effectively I can easily strategies for improving the financial condition of the organisation.

Furthermore, it also aids the organisation to prevent the continual outflow of cash. By improving the process of communication, I can prevent conflicts to outbreak that causes utter mayhem in the working function of the organisation. It distinctly defines the individual roles of the members of a team to avoid any further role confusion. Proper allocation of the funds also will aid me in undertake a new venture successfully.

Critical reflection

The retail sector in the fashion industry all over the world is facing a problem of cultural diversification. For that, the company cannot earn better revenue as per the homeland. Due to less profit generalisation the higher authority of the company breathing down on the regional leaders.

Therefore, the entire process of communication is utterly disrupted in the process. Due to this ineffective flow of communication, the chances of outbreak of conflicts breakouts increase significantly. For the sake of better understanding of the problems faced by the retail organisations, I have deployed the Gibbs model to address the critical issues in a detailed approach.


I have experienced that due to the inception of the Brexit phenomenon in the UK, majority of the retail industry are facing problems in terms of churning out profit. The primary reason behind this is that the government of the UK is imposing various norms of taxation in the retail sector.

Since the companies are earning less amount of money with respect to the previous bottom line, top-level concerned authorities are holding the regional leaders accountable for these circumstances, ignoring the fact that the economy has taken a nosedive.


I think that the flow of communication should be transparent; thereby the employees of the organisation will remain motivated irrespective of the direness of the circumstances.

If the standard of communication can be enhanced it will give a clear idea regarding the respective individuals roles of the workforce of the retail firms. Leadership approaches should be amended in order to address critical issues within the retail companies.

Figure 1: Gibbs Model of reflection

(Source: Smith, Lewis & Tushman, 2016)


There are several bad perspectives about the recent scenario in the retail industry in the UK. The noteworthy of them is the high cost of labour, which is draining more funds that the company can generate. The process of devising decisions is also taking longer time since the leaders are unclear pertaining to their respective responsibilities. As a result, the funds allocated for successful completion of the project is also reduced significantly.


Certain tools can be implemented by me to fathom the degree of direness of the relevant landscape of the retail organisations. The sole purpose of the tools is to evaluate the productivity of the individual personnel of the workforce. It also aids the chosen organisation to evaluate the promising employees from the reluctant ones.

The process of communication should be amended appropriately so that there are no conflicts of job roles between regional leaders and divisional head authorities. Better communication will also aid the organisation to broaden the business horizon of the company.


A conclusion can be drawn that, if all of the aforementioned perspectives in the action plan have been culminated together then the fruitfulness of the plan will increase appreciably. A better formulation of strategies will be devised by the leaders in the retail firms thereby the funds required to accomplish the organisational goals will be more convenient.

This model of Gibbs is incorporated because it addresses the complicated issues that act as a hindrance in the working function of the retail organisation.

Action plan:

The action plan comprises of several specific actions which are required to address if these problems if it suddenly emerges in future. Plans like devising strategies for better allocation of funds to realize the goal of the retail firm’s constitutes the action plan. Besides, it also resolves means through which the unity of the members of the team can be consolidated.


It can be concluded that the role of leadership in a dynamic one when it comes to the performance of a retail organisation. In this study, various approaches pertaining to leadership of the undertaken organisation is disclosed.

The approaches which will further resolve the current menace is also briefly elaborated in this study. A further recommendation, as to why the approaches will aid the workflow of retail firm is encompassed in the scope of the study. The factors through which the leadership approaches can assist the organisation to motivate the existing workforce along with the aspects of retaining the skilled employees is also described in detail in this study.

This report also entails the significance of the action plan which is formulated in order to address the necessary qualities of a leader as per personal reflection. Furthermore, a model of reflection is infused in the study to reveal the analytical solution of the menace faced by retail organisation



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