M3.10. Introduction to leadership
•Identify factors that will influence your choice of leadership styles and explain why your leadership styles are likely to positively affect your team.
There are a number of different factors that can influence the style of leadership I employ within my team. To aid in deciding what style of leadership is appropriate for my particular team it is vital that I understand not only how my team is performing or even capable of performing but also the dynamics and personalities of the individuals making up the team.
During the 1970’s, Dr Meredith Belbin and a team of researchers at the Henley Management Collage, conducted observations on a number of teams in an attempt to discover what aspects of a team’s dynamics can contribute towards the teams overall success or failure. During the course of their observations they discovered that the success or failure of a team was not dependent upon the individual team members intellect but upon their behaviour. Following Belbin’s publication in 1981 of Team Role Analysis he concluded that there are nine key roles that are aligned to an individual’s behaviour that can contribute to the make up of a team:
The Belbin Team Inventory can be found on Appendix 1, with a full explanation of the strengths and allowable weakness of each of these roles can be found on Appendix 2.
It is essential that as a leader I am able to understand the possible behavioural role that an individual may exhibit when assessing the effectiveness of a team’s development and performance. By each member of my scheduling team completing the Belbin team inventory or Belbin self perception inventory as it is sometimes referred to and then analysing the results, I would be able to ensure that there is an even balance of “roles” within my scheduling team.
I could use Belbin to establish that I have the correct behavioural dynamics or roles for my team of schedulers and then I would be more able to evaluate at what stage of performance or development the team is and thus what style of leadership may be appropriate for my particular team.
In 1965 Dr Bruce Tuckman published his “Stages of Group Development ”, in which he stated that there are four phases that all teams go through in order to face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, work together and finally deliver results. This can be found on Appendix 3.
Each of these stages requires a different style of leadership. There are three main leadership styles as defined by Kurt Lewin .
This style is used when leaders tell their team members what they want done and how they want it accomplished, without seeking any advice from them or the team actually having any input into the decision making process.
This type of leadership is most commonly used during the first two stages when the leader is required to give more direction to the team and it is necessary for the leader to make all of the decisions for the team or for an individual who has joined an existing team.
I use this style of leadership with new schedulers when they join my team. As they are not classed as competent, not having complete all four competency sign off stages, they require a great deal of supervision and guidance. They need to be instructed on many aspects of the role and are not permitted to make autonomous decisions regarding the cancellation of visits, particularly inductions and deinstallations to avoid errors being made in relation to Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Although this style can be seen by some as a heavy handed, almost as a military approach to leadership, it is necessary. The individual is not placed under any pressure to get things right from the outset. They will hopefully understand that they require additional support and guidance, while they are learning a new role and are able to...