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The author of this paper will base the discussion on a case study by Michel de Percy. The author narrates about a new team leader, Bill Myers who becomes promoted after showing that he has exemplary skills and is hardworking enough to take up the new role. After being a technician at a local ISP for several years, Bill finally gets promoted to be the technical support team leader which has been his dream since he joined the firm. In his previous role, Bill worked to his level best earning various awards, but after being promoted, he faces a big challenge of making his authority felt especially by his friends who are now subordinate to him. The author of this paper will answer the questions regarding the traits, skills and behaviors of the successful leader that Bill possess and analyze why Bill has had problems making changes and maintaining discipline after being promoted to the new position. In addition to that, in the paper Bill’s leadership situation will be analyzed in terms of his sources of power and whether there are types of power he can or should not use. Lastly, ways in which Bill can become an effective leader will be discussed, and in this section the relevant leadership theories that can be applied in this case will be regarded.
The Traits, Skills and Behaviors Associated with Successful Leaders Observed in Bill
There are different styles of leadership among them: autocratic leadership, participatory leadership and free-rein leadership. An autocratic leader will make a decision on his own while a participatory one will involve the subordinates. On the other hand, a free-rein leader will leave most of the decision making to his subordinates (Cronk et al. 2000, p.83). In his capacity as a technician and even after his promotion, Bill shows various qualities, skills and traits that successful leaders usually possess. First of all it is evident that he is hardworking. In his bid to get a promotion, he willingly volunteers to work overtime and extends his working periods to cover even the holiday periods. Apart from that, he works to develop his skills in answering customer calls and developing the interpersonal skills required in communicating with the customers about the technical problems they experience. In addition to that, Bill is able to handle a greater load of work than his counterparts and even finishes his work fast enough to be able to help his workmates handle their work. His hard work contributes to his promotion to the technical support team leader position.
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Apart from that, Bill also shows a high level of competency. As a technician, he is able to follow in the footsteps of his manager who has been competent in his area of expertise. His ability to handle his work with fewer mistakes and finish in time and even be able to help his counterparts complete their backlog goes on to show how knowledgeable and skillful he is in his role. He is called upon to handle customers with the most technical problems, and his competency helped him to earn the technician of the year award in his first year and more awards in the following years. It should be noted that successful leaders have to be competent as this shows that you have the necessary skills and experience to lead. A competent leader will earn respect and more followers (Javitch, 2009).
It should also be noted that Bill has good communication and interpersonal skills. In his role as a technician, he is always asked to handle the extremely difficult cases, such as calls from customers who had been disconnected for not paying their bills within the agreed terms. This enables him to rapidly develop excellent relationships with all of his customers. He is able to solve technical problems and communicate with various customers effectively, and being accountable to his manager, it can be seen that he tries his level best to develop his interpersonal and communication skills. Successful leaders should have great communication and interpersonal skills to be able to share their ideas and offer solutions to problems effectively (Bartol et al 2011, p.318).
In addition to the mentioned traits, it can also be observed that Bill is ambitious. He works hard to achieve more success and even becomes a role model to his fellow workers who are able to learn that to get a promotion one needs to work hard. It can be said that Bill works overtime and even during holidays in order to achieve his goal of becoming the team leader. In addition to that, he minimizes errors in his work and always finishes it in time, and all these facts show how ambitious he is. A successful leader always strives to improve his skills and achieve more goals (Javitch, 2009).
Most successful leaders are diligent in their roles. They always make very few errors in the way they work. This trait is seen in Bill as he is able to diligently handle most jobs with the few mistakes and even fewer complaints. This characteristic among others makes him get the promotion he has so much been dreaming about. It should be noted that a leader can either be employee centered or job centered. Job centered leaders are concerned about the job procedures while employee centered are concerned about the employee participation and satisfaction (Davidson et al 2010, p.356). Bill is more job centered than employee centered.
Additionally, Bill is authoritative. After being promoted and seeing that his friends who are now subordinate to him do not take him seriously, he decides to practice the authoritative power his new position gives him. However, this decision does not bring an anticipated result since some of his friends even refuse to speak to him. Any successful leader should be able to practice his authoritative powers effectively. Other traits of the successful leaders observed in Bill include being mission oriented, showing persistence and being participative. His mission is to be the team leader one day and work towards the firm’s success, and he is able to achieve his primary mission through the hard work. He is persistent in his work as a technician, and the quality of his job keeps going up as he continues sharpening his communication and interpersonal skills with his manager. In addition to that, we see him participating actively in the firm’s activities including working extra hours and even during holidays.
Why Bill had Problems Making Changes and Maintaining Discipline After being Promoted to the Technical Team Leader Position
The main reason that contributed to the problems in making changes and maintaining discipline after his promotion was the fact that his friends who were now subordinate to him never took anything he told them seriously. This contributed immensely to his inability to practice his authority effectively. The problems and the fact that his friends did not take him seriously came about due to several factors. These factors include: the resistance to change, lack of strong participation of the team members in implementing the changes and maintaining discipline, and inadequate knowledge on Bill’s side that change is a slow process. In addition to that, other reasons that contributed to the problems were the lack of clear and shared vision of Bill’s goals and objectives and his inadequate knowledge and skills in managing the change process.
In his quest to make his subordinates maintain their pace of work, Bill decides to be more authoritative, but this is met with the resistance since some of his friends even refuse to talk to him after the incident. The subordinates resist Bill’s change of character and do not take his new position seriously thus resulting to a fall in productivity and morale among the technicians and in Bill himself. It should be noted that workers resistance to change may be brought about due to various factors such as mistrust and misunderstanding, low tolerance to change and self-interest (Huczynski & Buchanan 2000, p.618). In Bill’s case, we see that there is a lot of misunderstandings since the subordinates do not understand the new role Bill has to play and the authority he has. They want Bill to favor them in some way by not being authoritative and giving them more freedom.
Apart from that, Bill does not involve the team members in implementing the changes and ensuring that discipline is maintained. He does things his own way and does not involve his friends. This comes out clearly in the incident where he berates some of his friends telling them that he has never asked them to do anything he was not willing or able to do himself. What Bill needs to bear in mind is that he should involve the team members in the changes he is making in order for him to earn respect among the team members. The participation of the team members will also stem the resistance to change (Huczynski and Buchanan 2000, p.618).
Another reason to the problems as stated earlier is Bill’s inadequate knowledge that it will take some time for the team members to appreciate the changes that have taken place. Bill seems to expect to earn respect from his team members almost immediately without taking into consideration the fact that he will earn respect from them as time goes. For a change to be effective, it takes some time and thus this is a slow process (Huczynski and Buchanan 2000, p.618).
Lastly, Bill’s lack of skills and knowledge in managing the change process contributes greatly to the difficulties he encounters in making changes and maintaining discipline. For instance, Bill does not put in mind that change is a slow process, and he wants his friends to show him respect almost immediately after his promotion. By berating his friends and pouring out his frustrations on them, he clearly shows that he does not have the skills in managing frustration and stress that may come as a result of failing to achieve ones goal and mission after earning a promotion to a new position.
Bill’s leadership situation in terms of his sources of power
As the technical support team leader, Bill earned some power and new responsibilities such as allocating shifts, plan rosters, evaluate the team member’s job performance and give employees instructions on what to do. His authority is, however, restricted to some areas as he cannot carry out sanctions in case the team members fail in their duties. He cannot dock their pay, make them work overtime or cut back on their hours. He cannot shorten their lunch breaks or eliminate their coffee break; the only authorized person to do so is the overall company manager. It is important to note that there are seven major types of power that include personal power, positional power, resource power, dependency power, centrality power, non-substitutability power and coping with uncertainty (Morris and Pinto 2010, p. 90). In Bill’s case, he has two sources of power to use: personal power and positional power.
It is important to note that positional power can further be classified into legitimate power, reward power and coercive power while personal power can be referent, expert, information or connection power (Waddel, Jones and George 2011, p.178). In his position, Bill could use legitimate power, which is derived from the position a person holds (Merchant, 2013). He could report the situation he is in to the manager who can help in solving the problem before it turns into something messy. He could also exercise his expert power by giving his subordinates clear instructions and guidelines since he is much knowledgeable than them. Bill, however, should not exercise coercive power since it will make worse his relationship with his friends. Coercive power involves creating fear by punishing non-performance and noncompliance (Morris and Pinto 2010, p. 90).
Bill could also use reward power and referent power. To use reward power effectively, he could renumerate team members who showed great respect and positive attitude in their work. This could raise the team members morale to work and increase productivity. Using referent power, he could cultivate his interpersonal skills with his subordinates and find a way out in solving the existing problem (Merchant, 2013).
How Bill can Become an Effective Leader in His New Position
To be an effective leader in his new position, Bill could use various leadership theories that include the situational theory, participative theory, management theory and relationship theory (Cherry, 2013). It should be noted that an effective leader should have some qualities like being a good communicator, having good organizational skills, being confident and being respected. In addition to that, he should be fair, have good negotiation skills and be influential (Scott, 2013).
By applying the situational theory in the first instance, Bill could increase his organizational skills. The situational theory calls for the right decision to be made in the right situation. He could also use the participative theory that focuses on team participation to increase his influence and communication with the team members. The participative theory states that effective leadership takes in account other members ideas. In addition to that, by applying the management theory, Bill could monitor the performance of the team members and punish and reward them where appropriate, thus increasing his organizational skills and influence among the team members. This would also earn him more respect. The relationship theory could be used to create a fair environment and instill confidence in both the team members and Bill himself. The relationship theory bases its argument on the connection between the leaders and subordinates (Cherry, 2013).
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The situation in which Bill finds himself is common in most organizations. What has to be taken into consideration is that it takes some time for members of a team to appreciate the role of and authority of one of them who has been promoted. By applying the leadership theories in the right manner, Bill could finally become an effective leader.