Assignment Task for Integrated Units ‘Understanding Leadership’ and ‘Leading and Motivating a Team Effectively’
My name is Andrew Hearne, I’m a Watch Manager at Neath Fire Station and have been a Junior Officer since 2015.
1. Understand the role of the leader and leadership styles and behaviours in supporting and developing the team and its members and providing a common sense of purpose.
a) Explain the importance of the team having a common sense of purpose that supports the overall vision and strategy of the organisation (12 marks)
There are a number of different elements which come together which give a team a common sense of purpose. Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (the Service) must consider a number of elements in order to foster and instil their desired ethos and direction in order to influence the workforce, this will be done mainly via its leaders throughout the structures of the organisation. There are a number of plans and legislative acts which influence the overall vision and strategy of the organisation.
The Service is publicly accountable, therefore in setting out its strategic planning, vision and objectives they seek to consult with key stakeholders and the public. These plans inform leaders and allow them to set the direction and detail them in a way in which the workforce and public will understand.
The Service two key documents annually;
o Corporate Plan – Setting out the vision for the future of the Service
o Strategic Plan – Which sets out the Services commitment to the communities of mid and west Wales for the next five years.
The above plans are influenced by the Annual Improvement Plan which is a public consultation where stakeholders and members of the public are able to give their views and shape the future of the organisation in a formal way.
The Services plans are also influenced by a number pieces of legislation;
o Local Government (Wales) Act 1994
o Mid ; West Wales (Combination Scheme) Order 1995
o Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004
o Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
o Combined Fire ; Rescue Services Schemes (variation) Wales Order 2009
o Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 amended 2011
o Fire and Rescue Services National Framework
o The Well Being of Future Generations Act 2015
b) Explain the role that the leader plays in supporting and developing the team and its members and give practical examples of when this will be necessary (12 marks)
The role that a leader takes in supporting and developing the team and its members is subject to and dependent on a number of factors, one of which is where you are at in your career.
An example of this is when there is a significant organisational change that needs to be undertaken which affects the workforce you are responsible for, such as undertaking new types of work. To do this John Adair’s, Action Centered Learning model could be employed.
This diagram implies that these three areas of leadership responsibility interact. For example: if the group fail to achieve the task, the team spirit will be low and individuals in the team may become dissatisfied or de-motivated. In another case, if an individual feels incapable of contributing to the task due to a lack of experience or knowledge, the team cohesion may suffer and the task will become more difficult to accomplish. Alternatively, if the group are not given the opportunity to bond as a team, the individuals will not get the opportunity to develop themselves within the team and again, the task will become more difficult to accomplish.
By employing these generic responsibilities in a leadership role, it will be possible to;
• Achieve the task
• Develop (the) individuals
• Build a Team
Another example when a leader will need to develop and support their team, is when an individual is not meeting the required standard of work. A leader may need to draw on many resources and involve others to achieve the goal to motivate, train and lead them through this period.
c) Describe the factors that will influence the choice of leadership styles or behaviours in workplace situations (4 marks)
The factors that will influence the choice of leadership styles is subject to several factors;
• Audience – is it an individual or group
• Personalities – attitude(s) of individual or group
• Age/ Maturity
• Task (to be undertaken)
• The Scale
• Whether or not is urgent
Overarching all these elements a leader should also bare in mind what they are saying and continue to ensure that they are on message and speak the right language at all times i.e. they maintain a level of understanding that the audience will relate to and only say what needed. The Hersey Blanchard model detailed below is a good example of what the influences are;
Name(s): Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory
Author: Paul Hersey, professor and author of the book Situational Leader, and Ken Blanchard, leadership guru and author of The One Minute Manager
Classification: Contingency Theories
Year: 1970s and early 1980s
d) Explain why these leadership styles or behaviours are likely to have a positive or negative effect on individual and group behaviour (12 marks)
2. Understand the role of the leader in motivating and communicating in order to gain commitment to objectives and establish a common sense of purpose
a) Describe the main motivational factors in a work context and how these may apply to different situations, teams and individuals (8 marks)
People will inherently be driven by different needs and factors. The can be described as hygiene factors and motivators using Herzberg’s theory.
The conclusion he drew is that job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are not opposites.
• The opposite of Satisfaction is No Satisfaction.
• The opposite of Dissatisfaction is No Dissatisfaction
Remedying the causes of dissatisfaction will not create satisfaction. Nor will adding the factors of job satisfaction eliminate job dissatisfaction. If you have a hostile work environment, giving someone a promotion will not make him or her satisfied. If you create a healthy work environment but do not provide members of your team with any of the satisfaction factors, the work they’re doing will still not be satisfying.
b) Explain the importance of a leader being able to motivate teams and individuals and gain their commitment to objectives (8 marks)
A leader must be able to motivate teams and individuals otherwise the goals of the organisation are not likely be achieved. A leader will be able to understand, or will need to attempt to find out, what motivates each individual – this will allow them to motivate the team as whole and generate the right tailored approach to leading and motivating the team. Motivational factors will be different for each person and are likely to vary across the workforce, but the common goal will remain the same s. By conducting individual development reviews and regular appraisals, a leader will be able to understand what factors motivate and de-motivate, these will change throughout a persons career and therefore should be monitored with some frequency.
c) Explain the role that communication plays in establishing a common sense of purpose (8 marks)
Communication is central to establishing a common sense of purpose, without it the workforce can lack the knowledge to understand the dynamics of the what, when and why. If an employee understands the why i.e. why they are doing a specific task to a specific deadline they will be better placed to see how their contribution fits in to the wider organisation and therefore more likely to feel valued.
Communication however should be concise and direct – too much information which isn’t relevant to that particular section or tier of workforce could lead to unrest and poor morale.
Leaders need to foster a sense of common purpose by listening to the team, this can be done in the form of an appraisal. This can create an ethos where they communicate their concerns, suggestions and ask questions in a safe environment, leaders can also use this as an opportunity to make the worker feel valued and highlight the good work that they do and how it contributes to the organisations plans.
d) Assess the effectiveness of own communication skills on the basis of the above (12 marks)
To assess the effectiveness of my own communication skills I conducted a survey and chose colleagues past and present from various roles I have undertaken as a supervisory officer.
In analysing my feedback, the following ascertained from the information;
Communication (Verbal ; Written) – I give clear instructions with confidence, however these need to be less technical for some understand initially. Operationally I give orders firmly and expect them to be implemented promptly.
Motivation – I motivate the team well.
Positivity – Try to maintain a positive outlook, even when faced with difficult challenges or workplace change. Personnel who have been in the job for quite sometime have been through many changes so need to understand that remaining positive is easier for some.
Creativity – Willing to explore new ideas and feed these up through the management structures.
Feedback – Accepts feedback well. Offers feedback to those in a constructive and positive way.
3. Be able to use feedback from others to assess and enhance own leadership behaviours and potential in the context of a particular model of leadership
a) Assess own leadership behaviours and potential in the context of a particular leadership model and own organisation’s working practices and culture, using feedback from others (16 marks)
In assessing my leadership skills, I have chosen to do this against John Adair’s – Action Centred Learning.
This model is widely accepted as valid leadership model and is based on three overlapping circles.
b) Describe appropriate actions to enhance own leadership behaviour in the context of the particular leadership model (8 marks)
The action plan I have developed encompasses the following elements;
When communicating I will explain what things mean before jumping straight in to potentially complicated plans i.e. explain what the corporate and strategic plan is, why we have it and what influences it and where they fit in to this.
Be more empathetic towards colleagues and my team when proposals for change are implemented and a local or organisational level. I will do this by listening more and raising the topics that are affecting them to see if any of their experience could form ideas of better ways of doing things.