This paper explores leadership concepts through the example of the leadership style in Agrovera Company. The leadership concepts are modified according to the real practice of business management in a particular organization. The paper analyzes the interrelation of leadership concepts that make the organization successful in its sphere of operation. The paper also examines the ways to influence people in order to achieve goals. The main issue that is raised in the paper is that people are not born as leaders, while it is hard everyday work. Therefore, there exist some ways of becoming a leader who can efficiently reach the set goals. The Agrovera Company is a good example of showing what difficulties and mistakes one can encounter on their way to becoming a leader. The task of every leader and manager is to learn at least basic leadership fundamentals to become an effective leader. This knowledge a person can acquire through the process of self-study, training, and education.
Numerous studies have been conducted on various aspects of running a business and the implementation of different rules concerning the leadership styles and traits, strategic thinking and planning, ethics, and culture in an organization, power, and politics, among others. However, when taking into account a particular organization, it becomes evident that the issues of leadership and management are transformed and adapted in order to comply with realities this company is facing in a particular period of time. To understand how leadership relationships within an organization work, of leadership fundamentals, should be studied, while taking into consideration different rules and standards. This paper provides a detailed analysis of how a particular organization applies various leadership concepts and styles.
Such famous companies as Google, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, and others are undoubtedly interesting for student investigation due to their achievements and goals in the leadership area, but it is more interesting to study an organization where leadership is not so developed. Therefore, the company named Agrovera will be analyzed on the grounds of the core issues relating to leadership behavior and styles in the organization.
Despite the fact that this company is not as famous as, for example, Google still contributes to global business management practices by providing its own experience. It is apparent that like other organizations, Agrovera Company has a leader. In this company, the leader also performs the role of the manager. It is worth noting that methods that are appropriate to management (coping with things) are not always suitable for leadership (handling people). Owing to this fact, different leadership styles were invented to prevent the negative influence a leader might exert at work. It is possible to determine that in Agrovera Company, the leadership style is autocratic. The reason for this might be the peculiarities of the setting stage of company’s development. On the one hand, the company needs to have a person who can lend support in solving different problems and day-to-day issues. On the other hand, it is also vital to satisfy the basic principles. In Agrovera, the leader has the manner of ordering the followers, who are also his subordinates, what should be done without the advice about the way to perform the task. According to the leadership style, the leader performs problem identification and provides possible solutions for the problem. The leader plays the main role in the decision-making process, while subordinates hold the position of silent executives who accept the leader’s vision relating to any issue that arises. When someone from the followers does not agree with the style of problem management, the leader simply persuades this person to accept it. However, there exists one significant aspect of this leadership behavior that lies in the fact that the leader often chooses the laissez-faire style. The reason is that the leader fears to make the decisions that can be fateful for the company. Thereafter, the strategy of the leader is to participate in discussions like any other employee, agree with the decision the group makes and blame someone when things go wrong. Therefore, in Agrovera Company, the leader uses a mix of styles, and the choice is dependent on the situation, the problem that has to be solved, and the influence decision-making might exert on the company.
Leadership style is strongly connected with the leadership traits, which as a result lead to the achievement of organizational goals. When analyzing leadership styles that are used in Agrovera Company, there are several qualities that are associated with each of them. The leader of the organization within the autocratic style can be described as being not always ethical. When the leader can obtain some advantages, he makes the decisions that sometimes do not comply with the other people’s rights and can be disrespectful. In the autocratic style, the sense of integrity is damaged by the leader’s ambitions and self-confidence. At the same time, when delegating the decision-making process to another employee, the leader does not show the readiness to face the consequences of the actions, while it was the responsibility he was expected to shoulder. As a result, it is evident that the leader in Agrovera does not possess the necessary qualities, as in inconvenient situations, he may change the manner of handling the issue. That is why, the leader should carefully consider all possible side effects of his actions, value the main goal of his company and the purpose of the organization, and establish the strategy to fulfill the target. In this way, a good leader can introduce an impressive change in the company as a whole.
After considering the above-mentioned matters, it is crucial to analyze the issue of strategic thinking. Undoubtedly, strategic thinking is among the most important qualities of a good leader and manager. It is also the most demanding aspect of the leader’s work. With regard to this subject, Ireland and Hitt (2005) stated that the most important task of a leader of an organization is the setting and implementation of the strategy.
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Nevertheless, not all leaders are aware of the mission they are serving. In general, strategic thinking can be defined as the way of establishing the balance between today’s performance and future risks and opportunities in order to manage and help the company handle business uncertainty. However, the leader of Agrovera constantly disregards the present situation in the company, while focusing on the future. As a result, he fails to realize the importance of analyzing positive as well as negative experiences when running a business. The reason for such a situation might be the absence or underdevelopment of the ability to think strategically. However, strategic thinking cannot be easily developed. In fact, it has to be purposefully and systematically practiced. In this regard, Agrovera Company should not focus only on profit generation but should also ensure the development of strategic talent and support it in the long term.
When analyzing the leader’s behavior in Agrovera Company, it becomes clear that he lacks such component of strategic thinking as systems thinking. It can be clearly seen in the way the leader makes decisions. As it was already mentioned, the leader takes responsibility for the agreed decision only when he feels comfortable and safe with regard to the possible consequences. Otherwise, the leader simply shifts decision-making on the subordinates that in most cases do not even have the right to make strategic decisions. However, the organization has a complex business system; therefore, the leader is the first person who has to build the whole picture of a particular situation, at least in his head. Systems thinking is associated with considering various issues and situations as a whole. In fact, it helps to enhance the strategy, while considering each part of the business. However, the leader of Agrovera has obvious difficulties in applying systems thinking. Apparently, the leader can reach a decision only if they created the whole picture of a particular situation. It is evident that such a management approach affects the image of the leader, thereby damaging the team’s perception of leadership in general. Therefore, the leader should develop the six components of strategic thinking, namely anticipating, challenging, interpreting, deciding, aligning, and learning. In doing so, not only the leader but also the staff will be better prepared for the unstable market, seizing profitable opportunities, and achieving the global goals of the organization.
However, strategic thinking is not the only element to be considered while assessing the business entity as a whole. Sometimes, emotions male it difficult or impossible to employ strategic thinking, no matter if they are positive or negative. The knowledge of understanding, distinguishing, and responding to emotions and stresses describes the phenomenon of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence comprises self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and relationship management. Bradberry and Greaves (2009) state that 58% of job performance can be predicted due to emotional intelligence. On the contrary, only 36% of people are able to accurately estimate and identify their emotions as they arise.
The leader of any company and Agrovera Company in particular experiences many emotions during the working day. The emotions have a great impact on the leader’s ability to inspire and lead a team. Therefore, the leader has to learn to be emotionally independent, to accept emotions, and be aware of their influence on the decisions and actions. Otherwise, the lack of emotional intelligence will damage the ability to gauge and satisfy the needs, demands, and expectations of the followers. When analyzing Agrovera’s leader manner of emotion perception, it becomes clear that he often reacts to the emotions without distinguishing the most important ones. It leads to mistrust among the workforce and problems in working relationships. In the global aspect, such behavior influences the overall culture, values, and attitudes towards the organization as a whole. Therefore, the leader has to be self-aware and disciplined to avoid or eliminate the negative consequences of his uncontrolled and emotionally loaded actions. That is why the emotional intelligence of Agrovera’s leader needs improvement and upgrade.
It is hard to exaggerate the value of emotional intelligence in leadership. Importantly, it is tightly connected not only with strategic thinking but also with leader’s communication. Communication that is led by negative emotions affects the communication circuit and flow. Massages sent under the influence of negative emotions will predominantly present the corrupted information and unclear task for the subordinates. In fact, such drawbacks can be observed in the behavior of Agravera’s leader. The messages are frequently sent with the description of the negative feelings, while the information needed for completing particular tasks is absent. However, messages both written and oral must be clear, constructive, and without irrelevant information. The leader is responsible for the appropriate understanding of the task and the results after completing it. In Agrovera Company, there is no single practice of the dissemination of information; therefore, many organizational tasks that require to be urgently performed are misunderstood. The reason is that the leader’s instructions are not clear, with many drawbacks and contradictions. Nevertheless, communication is always a two-sided process. The subordinates are responsible for receiving the correct information. Thereafter, in Agrovera, the issue of communication is rather pressing, as subordinates are whole to be blamed for the incorrect performance of the manager’s task. Therefore, it is one more argument for an autocratic style of leadership in Agrovera Company. However, communication concerns not only sending and receiving messages, while it is also connected with the attainment of the feedback. Significantly, every completed task should be estimated in an appropriate way. In Agrovera, the leader gives tasks, but they are very rarely estimated, especially in a positive way. The leader’s function is to give information, form the task, and appoint a person to be responsible for it. When the task is successfully completed, the leader gives the other one, a more complicated one. However, if the task is wrongly performed, the leader does not give direct constructive feedback. When the leader is focused on the results of his work, the sense of the problem or some working issues is lost.
The problem of the feedback is partially connected with ethics and the code of conduct in the leadership. Agrovera’s main area of activity is to satisfy the basic needs of receiving profit. Gebler (2006) describes such an organization as the one with “a complete infrastructure of controls and procedures” (p.34). At the same time, it would be wrong not to consider the attempts of the company in striking a balance between profit generation and corporate citizenship. Being a developing company, Agrovera can be determined as a company with excessive manager’s control. The problem is that this control causes a lack of communication between the leader and his followers. As a result, there occurs the problem of inconsistent application of rules. The main task relating to this issue is to see the problem, understand the reasons for it, and find some solution. Importantly, in Agrovera, some steps were taken in order to create a common sense of values for employees and other stakeholders. For instance, the leader of the company has set the code of employees’ behavior. It has the chapter about the possibility of the subordinates to give constructive feedback about the tasks of the manager in the form of possible improvement points, which can be attached to the board and discussed with the manager. It gave the employees at least the chance to change the manner of company management. Nevertheless, these steps are only the first attempts in building the right culture in the organization.
The analysis of focus areas of Agrovera Company and its practical implementation makes it possible to state that this organization is directly related to the Seven Levels of an Ethical Organization. Regarding the process of the company’s development, the values are focused on three organization’s basic needs levels, namely pursuit of profit, relationship enhancement within the organization, as well as internal standards of behavior. Responsible production is also an area of the organization’s influence. However, a socially responsible organization has to fully embrace all ethical and cultural issues within the internal system and to provide information to all stakeholders. Moreover, it is crucial that common good values were not simply publicly proclaimed. The task is to implement them strictly and correctly according to the rules and standards.
Financial stability, communication, systems, and processes are the main directions of company’s activities. Nevertheless, the environment of these categories’ implementation can be described as fear and non-reliability. It is worth noting that the relationships between subordinates and direct supervisors are mostly controlled by many bureaucratic aspects. As a result, such operating systems in practice lead to stiff internal competition between the employees, managers, and leaders, thereby increasing the rate of dismissals. The process of decision-making is often non-transparent and does not involve the employees.
The management as well as leadership should take active steps in order to change this situation. Significantly, employees have to work in safe working conditions and promote ethical culture throughout the company. Additionally, the company should focus on raising the index of communication between managers, employees, and leaders, while developing other levels of an ethical organization.
The situation relating to the company’s operating levels of an ethical organization still allows some opportunities to be exploited. Firstly, the focus areas have to be improved since only after that absolute success might be reached. Secondly, it is crucial to decrease all negative factors in the working environment so that the pressure on employees will also be lowered. Nevertheless, while implementing the above-mentioned improvements, some challenges might appear. In this case, the distribution of the values and behaviors through the company’s systems and procedures has to be updated. Furthermore, it might be a necessity to struggle to maintain sustainability against crises and changes. Moreover, the company should consider the impact of decisions on long-term strategies.
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Evidently, such actions would also improve the area of conflict management. Undoubtedly, in Agrovera Company, there exist different conflict situations. Therefore, it is the leader’s responsibility to predict the conflict as well as set mitigation and contingency plans. Alternatively, the company will face the problem of conflict management. Nevertheless, conflicts between people in general and within the organization in particular are inevitable. The leader’s mission is to choose the right way of handling them. Meanwhile, the selection of the conflict management strategy involves the awareness of the type of conflict, namely dysfunctional or functional. Therefore, such way of tackling conflicts has to be implemented in the leader’s everyday working life on a regular basis. The leader is obligated to face the conflict and involve the opposite parties in a constructive discussion. In such situations, it is of paramount importance to utilize the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. The leader’s mission is to explore the arguments from both sides as well as realize and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the opponents’ arguments. Thus, the leader’s goals have to be to “find a creative solution to an interpersonal problem” (Thomas & Kilmann, 2009). To achieve this ambition, the collaborating/problem-solving conflict management style has to be chosen. The leader, being the person who leads the followers to changes, has to choose the option of conflict management carefully, namely to ignore the conflict, complain about it, blame the subordinate, or cope with the problem through constructive discussions and suggestions. The leader should be direct, clear, and honest. Furthermore, the leader has to be ready to negotiate and display the willingness to compromise in order to achieve the goals of the company. The conflict has to be handled wisely, constructively, and with the employment of an action plan.
Nevertheless, it is not only the awareness of conflict management rules that transforms a lead into a good one. Leadership is also related to the influence on employees’ behavior. However, such influence is restricted to the situations. In other words, the leader’s power should be used only over the situations, while it should not be used over people. Power and leadership are tightly connected; therefore, power ensures leadership. Agrovera’s leader has to be aware of his power and the source of such power, which is followers and stakeholders. That is why this power can easily be seized from the leader in the case of dissatisfaction. Organizational politics was implemented in order to prevent such a situation. Apparently, it helps to shape the leader’s behavior toward employees. However, both skills and willingness are required while using power in an organization. Lussier and Achua (2012) rightly state, “If you think you can – you can, if you think you can’t – you can’t.” The desire and ambitions of the leader often determine the internal working environment and the company’s external image.
Regarding the standards of the application of power and politics, Agrovera’s managers consider political processes while making some strategic decisions in order to prevent negative consequences for the organization. In Agrovera Company, the leader is required to know all power players and rules of conduct, establish and maintain stable relationships within the organization, and estimate and improve aspects of culture and values perception.
In conclusion, this paper was an attempt at the assessment of such an organization as Agrovera Company. This paper examined and analyzed different leadership concepts within the developing organization. Using the example of the leader of Agrovera Company, it was shortly determined the role and the functions of the leader in the chosen organization. It was established that almost every concept of leadership in the organization is present in Agrovera. Despite the necessity of the leadership style improvement in general, the organization’s leader has a basic understanding of other essential components of leadership such as strategic thinking, emotional intelligence, communication, ethics, and managing conflict situations, among others. However, almost all of the mentioned issues need to be strategically improved according to the positive practices of business management. The short overview of Agovera’s leadership can be applied in determining the main improvements of the leader’s behavior in the organization. To summarize, the leader’s mission is determined by many roles, functions, and responsibilities. While leading the organization, the true leader is the one who tends to achieve the company’s goals, while satisfying followers’ needs and desires.