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The real problem at Datavision is the lack of effective leadership

The real problem at Datavision is the lack of effective leadership.  This assertion is supported by the following three points: A) Campbell’s ineffective leadership style, B) the Command and Control leadership paradigm which governs the organization and C) lack of coherence in the vision of the Company contribute to its high turnover rate, decline in sales and loss in revenue.

Campbell’s ineffective leadership style can best be illustrated by applying the principles in Collins’ Level Five Leadership.  In making his decisions, Larry excludes his vice-presidents from being involved in the decision-making process.  A humble leader who is dedicated to seeing the cause of the company grow and flourish will encourage others to contribute their ideas and will try to achieve a consensus within the company.  Campbell, in lacking humility and preferencing his decision-making skills over all others, neither invites nor receives feedback from any member in his company.  He exhibits low emotional intelligence in not acknowledging that his vice-presidents’ have their own expertise and can provide suggestions for the well-being of the company.  All senior-levels of management lack commitment to Campbell and the decisions he makes.  They perceive their input will be undervalued, engage in aggressive and territorial behavior, and as

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a result make their own decisions.

The Command and Control leadership paradigm which governs the organization is damaging Datavision’s corporate culture.  Campbell’s lack of open discussions in the decision-making process and the formality of the organization have kept an attitude of “togetherness” from forming.  The bureaucratic system which requires numerous paper reports, restrictions on Campbell’s availability, and the “close-door” policy has eliminated camaraderie between top management and staff.  Although decisions trickle down, there is no communication or accountability between senior levels of management and new staff members perceive their supervisors do not have shared goals or a shared vision.  Their frustration is derived from a lack of cohesion in senior management.  They are also unable to employ their own technological and marketing expertise for the success of the company and are left out of the decision-making process.

In addition, Campbell has failed to successfully articulate the current vision for the company or collaborate with the company leaders who are vital to articulating a vision for the Company.  No authority has been given to a forward-thinking person(s) who will take into consideration the constant change in the field and also provide practical solutions for the current miscommunications between the engineering and marketing departments.

The team-building sessions, in creating an open forum for discussion, did work in a general sense.  Datavision is plagued with autonomous, territorial senior-level management and any type of sessions which open the floor for discussions and exchange of feedback is a step in the right direction.  The majority of group members also gave positive feedback about the session.  Two issues which require attention regarding the team-building sessions include the team members’ low levels of empathy and emotional intelligence (EI) and the lack of trust-building exercises.  As discussed in class, it is vital that employees exercise empathy in interacting with fellow employees and their supervisors.  Regarding Fowler’s critiques, members of the group should have been empathetic and employed EI to recognize being overcritical was counter-productive to the session.  Campbell’s style of leadership and the high turnover rate of the Company were left out of the session talks.  Brennan’s exercises which supported dialogue and feedback within top management would have also been more effective if the discussions were coupled with group exercises aimed to build trust between members of top management and lower communication barriers between top management and Campbell.

In recommending the next steps for Datavision, I will address each of the areas in the first section.  Campbell needs to apply Collins’ Level Five Leadership principles.  In perceiving Campbell’s new leadership style as one that does not seek to self-promote and exclude, the territorial and aggressive behaviors of the top management will diminish.  As discussed in class, a person can reform behaviors easier than it can reform preferences.  In reforming his behaviors towards supporting top-management decisions, having open discussions and being more available, top-management perceptions will change.  They will perceive Campbell’s leadership style promotes inclusiveness, unselfishness and camaraderie between management personnel.  In displaying a behavior of humility, senior levels of management will be open to discussing ideas, engage in vision deliberation and thus develop consensus for the overall goals of the company.

Datavision should implement an empowerment leadership paradigm.  In recruiting and retaining new staff members which are experts in their field, it is important they are valued and have access to top management.  Since it is a technologically-centered company, knowledge-sharing has to be present at all levels of the company so all levels of personnel can be informed of advancements in their field.  Retention will improve by valuing entry-level staff members by giving them challenging responsibility at an early stage and including them in decision-making processes.  Engaging personnel in team-building sessions (as our class did when we formed battery-producing companies) will also increase retention.  Communication and trust between divisions and across management levels will increase and the bureaucratic feel of the company will break down.

In defining and implementing a vision, Campbell needs to collaborate with Fowler and Jackson because they are in the best position to define a vision which will cause Datavision to maintain its current market share.  Part of this vision should include the notion that Fowler and Jackson become leader/managers as defined by Kotter.  Fowler and Jackson need to anticipate and respond effectively to the constant changes in each of their fields.  As part of this vision, Fowler and Jackson need to construct and implement a mechanism for the engineers and marketing departments which will keep sales at a profitable level while also not overburdening the engineering process.

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