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Leader definition

In 2006, we were commissioned by Mr Wilson to prepare a report to investigate the performance of project leader Caroline. We are required to study and analyse the type of leader Caroline is; and to evaluate her overall performance and effectiveness as a manager. Caroline is the leader of the Team’s Project; this project is concerned with the development of management planning system. There are four other members who form the software team: Elizabeth (was a contract programmer but now is the team-leader), Andrew and Peter (contract programmers) and Janet (industrial trainee).

Above these five people are Stuart and Alan, who were concerned with forward planning and general progression of the project. Buchanan and Huczynski (2004) defined leadership as “the process of influencing the activities of an organised group in its efforts towards goal setting and goal achievement”. Using this concept, Caroline’s performance as a leader needs to be analysed and evaluated to see what kind of leader she is within the project team. By evaluating the software project team, it can be seen that Caroline fits the category of situational leader type since she had been involved with the establishment of the project.

(Hersey and Blanchard, 1988). It can be argued

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that Caroline was appointed to the job role but there were no evidence to endorsement as she did not have a job description when the organisation selected her to that position. It is recognised that there are traits that affect leadership; they can be defined as physical characteristics, aspects of personality and measures of intelligence. (Burt, 1955). The members identified Caroline’s personality as a hard worker whom committed to the project, and possessed good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of individuals.

Consequently, making her the driving force behind the team. Evidence of intelligence was reflected within her work, as well as knowledge of appointing people with similar orientation as her, thus ensued her to work effectively with team members. As she acknowledged that, to get the task done it is better to recruit high quality skilled staff than spreading the money over six workers with lower attributes giving her popularity. Mintzberg (1977) identified that, to work effectively depends on authority and status of individual that may naturally adopt roles without realising.

The team operates in flat organisational structure which makes it easy for Caroline to communicate with other members as well as participate in different roles for example overlapping as a team leader and her job role as trouble-shooter. However team leader is Elizabeth but it is recognised that in the day-to-day activities the authority usually depended on who has the requisite skill, knowledge and expertise to manage the team. Weber (1947) identified three types of authorities, the one most related to Caroline within the team is ‘charismatic’ because the comments from other members illustrated positive feedback.

Therefore her personality stands out which gives her some unique elements. The powers that can be analysed by Caroline can be put into three categories when referring to the studies of French and Raven. For example, already mentioned that Caroline possesses particular skills and knowledge that contributes towards her leadership style which can be defined as expert power (French and Raven, 1958). Furthermore, she has referent power which is the same as charisma that make people want to follow her. (French and Raven, 1958). This interrelate “the essence of leadership is followership…

willingness of people to follow that makes a person a leader” (koontz et al, 1990). Reward power is another factor in which the team working overtime on the project, it had suggested giving bonuses to them, but they have refused. The reasons for this are related to the loyalty towards Caroline whom always involved in the project and fellow team members to complete the work on time (French and Raven, 1958). There are evidence of power within the team, however in Caroline’s situation the power is weak compared to other autocratic leaders who use more power.

From Likert and Lewin theories, democratic (consultative) is the one that most suited to Caroline role as a leader (1961 and 1939). For instance, the role involved with giving advices and seek opinions within the group to enable to do the tasks that been set out. Nevertheless, from Likert it can be seen that participative can also contributed to the type of leadership styles (1961). As this involved with Caroline working with all the team members together and complete trust on each individual work performance.

Caroline involves all the team members in decision-making, which is approved and appreciated by her colleagues by meeting together in group meetings. It seems that participate is a development from democratic style as they are similar in participating with subordinates and confidence on them to use or share ideas though the use of communication (Likert, 1961). Therefore, able to negotiate and discuss each individual views on particular issues that may relate to the performance of the tasks. The decisions on choosing who to do the work is depended on who have the skills or expertise and the timescale to do it will be the one responsible.

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