Managers as Leaders
Dr. George Sparks
January 09, 2011
Henry Tam and the MGI Team were given three weeks to design a business plan for the Harvard Business School Business Plan Contest. The team consisted of seven members and had little success in working together. They experienced conflict, tension, and disorganization throughout their entire project. Henry Tam needed to take a leadership stance and apply leadership approaches, group dynamics, and polarities to help resolve and organize the team issues. The Path-Goal Theory, time management, conflict management, written communication, and management of diverse groups, would have been effective leadership approaches and group dynamics for the team to come up with an effective business plan. Henry Tam could have also used polarities and polarity management to create an effective business plan.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HENRY TAM AND MGI TEAM:
APPLYING THE PATH-GOAL THEORY
The first recommendation for Henry Tam and the MGI Team would have been to utilize The Path-Goal Theory of leadership. This leadership approach focuses on the situation and leader behaviors, rather than the leader’s actual traits (Moorhead, Gregory, Leadership Theory, 7th edition). This theory suggests that effective leaders will lead the behavioral paths and achieve the desired goals (Moorhead, 7th edition). The Path-Goal Theory rewards the subordinates’ performance based on its effectiveness. A leader in this theory will behave differently to different situations. There are four kinds of leader behaviors in The Path-Goal Theory: directive behavior, supportive behavior, participative leadership, and achievement-oriented leadership. Directive leadership approach tells subordinates exactly what is expected of them and gives guidance on how the tasks should be accomplished. Directive leadership could have been used to give direction to the subgroups and support the MGI Team’s overall goal. Under the directive leadership style each subgroup would have been given specific tasks to accomplish, directions to follow, and regular meetings to attend to report progress. The supportive leadership approach is friendly and concerned with its subordinates’ needs and well-being. This approach would have helped to alleviate some of the conflict that the MGI Team experienced. The Path-Goal Theory would have been used to utilize each individual’s potential and gain understanding from the subgroups strengths. The individuals could have gained individual recognition, which would have supported the supportive leadership style. Participative leadership allows feedback from the subordinates and takes their suggestions into account. An example of participative leadership for Henry Tam and the MGI Team would have been scheduling meetings with all subgroups in attendance to discuss their progress and to gain feedback on the progress being accomplished. The participative leadership approach would have measured the project to see how the decisions would affect each subgroup of the business plan. Finally, achievement-oriented leadership sets challenging goals for their subordinates so they will achieve at their highest potential. Time lines and goals were not set for the subgroups. Each subgroup could have followed the achievement-oriented leadership approach to gain a vision of what would be expected to reach the overall goal of the project. Robert House believed that individuals who are highly achievement motivated respond to achievement where they can assume personal responsibility, show their competency, and find the risk factors challenging (House, Robert J., 1996). The Path-Goal Theory allows a leader to adapt to situational factors. A few of the four approaches or all of them could have been used depending on the situational factors involved (House, 1996)....