Describe the factors that will influence the choice of leadership styles or behaviours in workplace situations To be able to understand what factors influence the choice of leadership style or behaviour, firstly I needed to understand that there are various styles of management and leadership and that there are differences between management and leadership. In short, management roles are generally focused on the responsibility for things, relying on control and organising work, that is doing things right. Leadership roles involve leading a group of people, inspiring trust and being responsible for people and doing the right things. There are overlaps with the two roles in that both roles work towards accomplishing an objective and motivating the team to get a job done. Factors that influence a leadership style will vary depending on the leadership style being used. One example of the leadership styles is ‘Lewins’ theory. This explains that leaders can fall into three categories: Autocratic Leaders
After investigating the background of leadership, and looking into various leadership models, I can see there is no single style which will make someone an effective leader/manager. I have learnt that the most effective leaders are those who have the ability to understand which style is required and interchange between the various leadership styles so they apply the style to suit the current task and staff member. I believe that successful leaders need to be self-aware of how their actions can impact others. There are many factors that can influence a leader’s style. The task that needs to be achieved can be one factor. What the actual purpose or objective of the staff member or the team is. A leader needs to be certain that all staff members are confident in what needs to be accomplished. Once the leader has clarified this they are then responsible to guide the team or staff member. When learning about leadership styles I came across the ‘’SMART’’ principle. This principle when put into practice by a leader I believe would aid in managing the team. The leader should look at each task in the following way: Specific: specify what the specific task is to the individual or group, specify what is expected or required of them. This can then be broken downto – What is it that needs to be accomplished?
Why it needs to be done, the benefits of accomplishing the task Who needs to do the task
Where the task will be completed
Are there any legal requirements on constraints such as lack of skill or knowledge from certain staff members that may mean they couldn’t complete the task Measurable: set a measure to ensure that tasks are being completed such as to book in a certain number of new patients in a set time period or deal with a number of patients at reception in a set time Attainable: Is the task achievable? Do the staff have relevant experience, qualifications or knowledge to accomplish the task or do they require further training or assistance. Relevant: Is the task relevant to the team so that they have motivation to complete it? Time-Bound: setting a time frame for the task to be completed. A deadline will help the team focus their efforts on accomplishing the task. The benefit of using the ‘SMART’ principle is that staff members get a clear understanding of what needs to be done to accomplish a task and therefore they can adapt better to a sudden change of leadership style. For example we have had a lot of new staff members join our team recently.
At first I adopted a supportive style to aid them in fitting into the way our practice works, what’s expected of them etc. After providing them with induction training and supporting them after a number of weeks one of the new team members still lacked self-motivation and was not performing tasks. This is where for that individual I had to adapt to a coercive leadership style and tell them to do tasks. Other factors I believe is an individual’s background. I believe this can be split into various other sections: Personality: are they generally an emotional person? Confident? Shy? Competence: what experience or qualifications they have? This can also link back to personality. They may not be fully competent as they are trained but if they are confident they may be willing to try things compared to someone who is shy. Commitment: some staff may have been working at a business for a long time so see that they are more committed than new staff but they may be unwilling to try new things or go out of their way to help with other tasks. Motivation – if staff are motivated to complete tasks then tasks will be accomplished on time.
If there is no motivation then tasks may not be complete or may be of a low standard. Physical: a staff member may have an illness that may affect what they can do. They could be pregnant, hearing aids, suffer from bad backs etc Maturity: some staff may act more mature that others so certain tasks may suit more mature staff than immature staff Other factors are the environment, personality of the leader themselves and aim of the team. If we are placed in a busy environment then the style of leadership may need to change to ensure that a job is done quickly and efficiently. Also the environment in which all that staff make. All staff members will have different personalities, abilities, knowledge etc. If the leader is outgoing and sociable in general they are more likely to connect with their team and communicate what is expected of the team better. Tense leaders may lead to anxious staff and tasks may not be completed efficiently.
If the team are on side then tasks will tend to be accomplished. Sometimes specific direction maybe appropriate for a group where as other times group members may feel they want to choose how a task is completed. From my investigation I believe that within my role as practice manager I adopt the situational leadership model. It is important for me to be able to assess what type of style I need to use depending on the situation in hand as I work in a busy practice with 20 employees. The last year my practice has had a lot of emotional ups and downs due to the life changing accident of our boss. I feel that in various situations I have adopted a range of leadership skills. When we had the phone call that my boss had had an accident and was going to be off long term we had a crisis situation within the practice. We needed to find cover, sort patients out and keep up staff morale.
At this point I adapted my style to a coercive style (autocratic from Lewens model). I had to make decisive and confident decisions to ensure that tasks were being accomplished (i.e continued care to patients and to ensure that practice maintained its smooth running.) The team needed to see that there was a leader still within the practice to ensure that everyone knew their role whilst we were sorting out a locum to cover my boss. We had a Healthcare Inspectorate Wales Inspection at the start of this year. Whilst we had problems with my boss being off we still had to ensure as a team we were ready and working together for the inspection. This is where my style changed to a democratic style. With monthly staff meetings we, as a group, discussed any issues, problems or idea. Staff were asked of their opinions and views and I took these into account. This was to ensure that we collaborated as a team ready for the inspection to unite as a strong work team. We have had a new trainee start at our practice. As she is part time she has found it difficult at times to learn and remember tasks and also keep up with her coursework.
With her I have had to use a coaching style of leadership. I have sat her down and offered help and advice, set aside time when we have had spare staff to allow her time for coursework with my help if needed. After a few months of this she is now on target with her coursework and finding her dental nursing duties much more doable. Explain why these leadership styles or behaviours are likely to have a positive of negative effect on individual or group behaviour. Leadership styles can have a positive or negative effect on staff members. Coercive (autocratic) leadership can come across to staff members are bossy, controlling and manipulative. As staff members are not involved in decision making this can lead to lack of trust and commitment from staff members, a lack of motivation and un-accomplished tasks. As this style leads to staff disengaging it can lead to high staff turnover and lower production. This leadership style is ideal for when decisions need to be made quickly, when deadlines need to me met and can be essential in stressful situations.
In general this style of leadership is not required within my work place, however it was necessary to take this approach with staff last year when we first found out about my bosses accident to maintain some control, drive and focus within the practice. Democratic leadership encourages staff members to share ideas and be involved in decision making. This allows them to feel engaged within the work place and gives them a sense of involvement and provides them to opportunity to grow. This means there are more ideas and solutions to complete tasks and can result in higher productivity. Staff members tend to be competent who will try their best to accomplish the task and take responsibility.
Staff turnover tends to be low and productivity high as staff feel entrusted and respected by the leader. However if the leaders role is unclear and they cannot make a final decision tasks may take longer to be accomplished. Coaching leadership focuses on aiding the staff member or team in understanding their role/task and supporting them. This style of leadership encourages and helps develop performance and capability, ensures long term productivity and staff members tend to respond positively to this style. The disadvantages of this leadership style is that it is time consuming and could cost a business in development time spend on the staff member. Coercive style ensures decisions are made quickly
Democratic style involves and empowers staff
Coaching style teaches, encourages and develops staff members Assess own leadership behaviours and potential in the context of a particular leadership model and own organisations working practices and culture, using feedback from others.
I believe that as a leader I should be able to adapt my leadership style to suit the station. I should possess a number of characteristics. I should be enthusiastic, approachable, have a good background of knowledge of the tasks that need to be achieved, have good judgement and be a good speaker and listener. I believe this falls into the engaging transformation leadership model. I have assessed my own leadership behaviour using feedback from other members of staff I work with. In my workplace I currently have a number of roles. I have recently taken over the role of Practice Manager and on a daily basis I have to use my skills to manage work, the team and staff members to fulfil our duties as a healthcare provider. In my opinion I have 3 styles of leadership but I believe my dominating style is democratic. This sometimes needs to be adapted such as when we have had a new staff member join the team I have needed to adapt to a more supportive leadership style.
If a critical decision or change has to be made to a tight timeline, whilst listening to individual’s input an autocratic style might be required. I had originally ‘fallen’ into the role of Practice Manager due to the unfortunate situations with my bosses in work. I had little guidance to start as to what was expected of me but also as to what duties or decision level making I was authorised to make. At the time, with both principal dentists off due to personal circumstances, there was a sense of panic within the practice and change was needed immediately. Important decisions needed to be made quickly and efficiently and tasks needed to be delegated to staff members to ensure they were completed. Staff reported that although I was assertive and confident they didn’t feel I was bossy or controlling due to the situation we had found ourselves in. Staff gave no input or ideas, I made all decisions and dictated work methods to staff. As staff were all fully aware of the external situation they felt that my autocratic approach was needed to ensure a safe and controlled working environment.
This approach was not needed for long. Once I had control over the practice and everyone was aware of what was expected I changed over to another approach. I also feel that during this time I slightly adopted the affiliation leadership style. All the team were shocked and upset with the news of my boss so one of my main focuses was to ensure that staff were coping ok and I was ensuring that I was considering their needs as well as the practice needs. I had to ensure that staff were still focussed on their jobs to ensure that they felt they were valued and important part to ensuring the practice still remained running as smoothly as possible. This has made me believe I adapted the situational leadership model in my management. I had to swap between a supportive role to staff when we first had the news about my boss, to a directing style as there was no ‘lead’ within the practice to ensure that the practice still ran smoothly. As all staff members are qualified in our field and for the majority of standard tasks are self-driven and motivated, here an autocratic leadership style is not required.
If anything, this would change the dynamics of our practice and lead to low production, low staff moral and a bad atmosphere within the work place environment. Further feedback off staff suggested that on some occasions there has been lack of direction from me or that I have been ‘too soft’ with staff members. Sometimes staff have been left to make their own decisions, a delegative style of leadership has been inappropriate and therefore tasks have not been accomplished effectively. I have sometimes adopted a delegative leadership inappropriately because I hadn’t been officially given the role of the practice manger and the associated authority/expectations. This has led to some staff rejecting instructions when told do something. Overall though general staff feel that I have been approachable and that I openly encourage staff members to share ideas and opinions. We have a staff meeting book where staff members are encouraged to write down any ideas or issues they have which they would like discussed at our monthly staff meetings.
Staff have said that I make them feel involved within the practice and that I care about their needs. I encourage and motivate staff which leads to them caring about the end results and thus ensuring that they complete their tasks on time and to a high standard. This puts me into the democratic leadership style for the majority of time. As a developing manager I know it is important to not master one leadership style but to know how and when to use a variety of them. Diagnosing each situation is important. Describe appropriate actions to enhance own leadership behaviour in the context of the particular leadership model. Taking into consideration I need to use the three leadership styles at present I feel there are several ways in which I could enhance my leadership behaviour. A good leader needs to have self-knowledge and self-awareness of their style and how this affects the team. In order to develop and improve these qualities I should obtain regular constructive feedback and act upon it. This could be obtained from team members, associate dentists or my employer. Additionally I should also be self-observant and take into account my actions and how it impacts my team.
I could also find a role model I can learn from. I could ask them to assess my leadership skills and mentor me in developing these. I am fortunate to have a close relationship with the practice owners who are more than willing to help me with this. Also my father is a manager of a large multi-national business and he has been able to offer advice to me. Another way to enhance my leadership behaviour is to ‘be myself.’ I believe that it is important for me to do things my own way and at a high standard but to ensure that I am aware of the impact my way maybe having on the team. If the impact is negative then I will need to reassess and gain advice on how I could have handled a situation better. I should use my natural strengths and to be more aware and modify any natural traits that are less than ideal. Finally staff members need to be informed by my boss what my role is within the practice.
Once staff members are aware I am the practice manager I would find it much easier to lead them. This would also make me more confident in being authoritative with certain staff members. Sticking to my principles and the principles of the business that the managers have put in place will enhance my leadership behaviour. Regardless of what style I use I need to ensure that all the above enhancements are fulfilled to ensure that staff members will be more likely to accept my role and the way I work. I need to develop a communication plan for the role of Practice Manager. Listening and communication is essential. The plan should cover informal/formal and daily/weekly and long term communications. (e.g. monthly staff meetings) To ensure that staff performance and moral is at its best then I believe that I would fall in the multidimensional leadership model. I need to ensure that I use the required style of management to the situation but at the same time ensuring I am aware of how my style of management is perceived by staff and also ensuring that I am aware of what style of management staff would prefer me to have. By incorporating all these aspects then I should get good staff performance and tasks accomplished on time.