Leadership Challenge

Leadership Challenge


Leadership involves various challenges that need to be addressed effectively to ensure that operations of an organization are not adversely affected. The case analyzed in this paper relates to the challenge of how a newly promoted worker in an organization is supposed to lead his former coworkers. There is the challenge of drawing a line between friendship such as involving favoritism and the requirement of the work place. The paper focuses on various leadership theories and models that can be effective in addressing this challenge. Leader-member exchange leadership theory, path-goal theory of leadership and situation leadership theory are the main theories analyzed relative to their application in addressing the challenge. The paper also portrays the effectiveness of these leadership theories in guiding the user to choose the appropriate leadership style in this situation. The paper closes by reflecting on the insights gained by analyzing this situation and the influence that the leadership theories have in addressing the challenge.



Description of the Situation

My situation involves a challenge where my coworker who has been newly promoted and is now required to supervise his peers. Following the assumption of a supervisory role, where he will be a leader, he will have the challenge relating to his peers who are also his friends. He does not want the supervisory role to be a threatening factor to his friendship with his coworkers. This is an issue because he will be expected to observe leadership roles in the workplace without being impartial. He will also have to deal with challenges such as favoritism towards his former coworkers. Moreover, he will need his former coworkers to understand that his roles have changed following his promotion. He, therefore, has to come up with a way of overcoming these challenges to maintain the success of the organization while maintaining his previous friendship with his former coworkers.

Leadership Theories and Models

Various theories and models relate to this leadership challenge.  The sections below explore some of the theories that can be applied in this case.

Leader-member exchange theory

Leader-member exchange theory conceptualizes leadership as a process involving relations between a leader and a follower (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). The leader and the followers have an exchange relationship. The followers remain loyal as they expect benefits from the leader such as fair treatment. The leader, on the other hand, expects something in return from the follower such as timely accomplishment of the assigned tasks. For a successful work relationship that will benefit the organization, the leader and the follower must establish a positive attitude towards each other.


Path-goal theory of leadership

Path-goal theory of leadership can also be effective in addressing the challenge. This leadership theory focuses on a leader, specifying his or her leadership behavior or style that relates to the preference of the employees and workplace to attain a certain goal. According to House (1996), the leader has to identify a style or behavior that suits the needs of the employees and the working environment. By selecting the appropriate behavior or leadership style, the leader will guide the employees through a path that defines the organization’s daily requirement to meet its set objectives.

Situation leadership theory

This theory can also be appropriate for the challenge. Situation leadership theory posits that the effectiveness of a leader is contingent on his or her ability to adjust his or her management behavior to be in line with the maturity and sophistication of subordinates. The subordinates’ maturity relates to the willingness and ability to perform a task assigned to them to carry out effectively (Meier, 2016). Under this leadership theory, the leader is supposed to determine the level of maturity of one’s subordinates and thus modify his or her behavior in reference to the level of maturity. When the leader qualifies in observing this aspect, he or she can effectively coordinate the subordinates to accomplish the objectives of the organization.

Application of Theories and Models

Leadership theories help in selecting the most effective approach to guide a leader in coordinating subordinates to meet the objectives of an organization or a workplace (Bass, 1995). The effectiveness of the leader-member exchange theory is founded on the relationship between followers and the leader (Winkler, 2010). In reference to this case study, despite the abrupt change in the role of my coworker who has been promoted, he has to maintain an effective relationship with his former coworkers.

The aspect of the leader and the member expecting a particular response from each other is applicable in this situation. The newly promoted workmate expects that his peers will have a positive attitude towards his new role. They have to respect him and refrain from undermining his role of supervising them since it may jeopardize the effectiveness of carrying out operations in the organization. His former coworkers also expect that he will not change his behavior towards them since he was their friend.

The aspect of favoritism since he was their friend is an aspect that he can overcome by applying the appropriate leadership style. For instance, a former co-worker may perform a mistake and expect that he will cover up for him. As a supervisor, he needs to explain to him that he cannot compromise the performance of the organization due to personal relationships. Through such an explanation, he will maintain their relationship and at the same time ensure that the objectives of the company are met. This aspect of maintaining the relationship and being able to supervise his former colleagues indicates that this theory can be effective in addressing the challenge.

Path-goal theory of leadership emphasizes on modification of behavior to meet the needs of the followers for effective performance (Polston-Murdoch, 2013). In reference to this situation, the former coworkers have certain needs that they would require their colleague to address. One of the major objectives of path-goal theory of leadership is to boost the motivation of employees, empowering them and ensuring that they are satisfied in the workplace to increase productivity.  This follows House’s (1996) observation that the “… theory specifies leader behaviors that enhance subordinate empowerment and satisfaction and work unit and subordinate effectiveness.”The newly promoted coworker has to identify the behavior that will fit in his situation by empowering and motivating his former colleagues. He has to ensure that the behavior or leadership style that he will adopt will ensure effective productivity and maintain the relationship he had with his colleagues.

The advantage that he has relates to the fact that he was previously in the position of his former colleagues. He, therefore, understands what needs to be rectified in the working environment to increase productivity. He can also easily identify the means to motivate and empower them as he required similar aspects when he was in that position. Through this knowledge, he will effectively establish the most appropriate behavior regarding how he can improve their situation and at the same time boost productivity. This aspect of timely and effective identification of the appropriate behavior by the leader portrays that the theory suits the situation.

According to Meier (2016), situation leadership theory involves assessing the level of maturity of followers to identify the appropriate leadership style in a given situation. The theory follows three distinct steps that include identifying the crucial tasks and priorities, diagnosing the level of readiness of the followers and then deciding the matching style of leadership. In this case, the newly promoted coworker has to identify the maturity level of his former colleagues before establishing the appropriate leadership style. The outcome of the assessment of their level of maturity will also guide him in adjusting his behavior in light of the maturity level.

This theory identifies that a group of employees with a high maturity level requires less direction and minimal support. If the former workmates will have a higher maturity level, it will be easier to coordinate them. They will also understand his change in role and support him in his new duties. This implies that he will choose a leadership style that does not involve much support on his side. If the outcome of the assessment according to this theory indicates that they have a lower maturity level, he will need to adopt a leadership style that suits the situation. The low maturity level will also influence his behavior in the leadership position. With a low maturity level, they will be less supportive and have a difficult time recognizing him as a leader. As a result, there will be need to adopt a leadership style that will rectify the situation (Hersey, Blanchard &Johnson, 2007). The identification of the maturity level and selection of appropriate leadership style shows that situation leadership theory can assist in addressing the challenge.

Reflective Analysis

As a leader, I will need to ensure that I am effective for this challenge. I have to earn respect as a leader from my colleagues. This is because “…transforming a company from good to great requires an extreme personality, an egocentric chief to lead the corporate charge.” (Collins, 2005). Through portraying a good personality such as maintaining humility despite being promoted, I will increase effectiveness in this situation as a leader. Communication skills are also important for a leader. By applying appropriate communication skills, I will boost the effectiveness of overcoming the challenge. In addition, identifying the job skills that I possess can also boost my effectiveness as a leader in this challenge. Recognizing that I may need assistance in my new role will help in addressing this challenge.

Through this assignment, I have learnt various insights regarding leadership. One of the insights relates to the fact that leadership involves challenges that may require a fast and effective solution. This assignment focuses on a situation that may happen in my future career. It has thus helped me to identify some of the solutions that I may take if it happens. The other insight related to this assignment involves selection of an employee for promotion to assume a leadership role in a workplace.

The case considered in this paper gave me the insight that a person has to portray the right behavior to be recognized. The process of recruitment for leadership positions follows thorough procedures to ensure selection of the best candidate. It is, therefore, the duty of a person at a lower rank to portray good behavior to get the opportunity to be promoted (Appelbaum, Paese &Leader, 2002). The other insight involves the fact that, for a person to be a good leader, one has to be a good follower first. The solution to this challenge follows this approach of being an effective follower.

The specific action that I will take to enhance my leadership practice relates to improving my communication skills. Through this assignment, I realized that, with effective communication skills, a person may not experience any challenge relating to former colleagues after being promoted. The important step to take is letting the colleagues understand that your roles have changed and through effective communication, this will not be difficult.

The aspect that surprised me relate to the fact that a person may need to analyze his or her situation using specific procedures to develop the best solution for a certain challenge. The aspect of promotion to be a leader is good, yet I was surprised that it involves many challenges. The classic leadership theories were helpful in analyzing the appropriate ways to overcome such challenges. However, not all theories can be effective in solving a given problem since not all of them are applicable to the case considered. Applicable theories guide a person in identifying the right leadership style in a challenging situation and hence their effectiveness.

My thinking changed in relation to the fact that all people anticipate for leadership position yet they do not prepare effectively for the roles they will assume. This assignment helped me to have the notion that I may assume a higher position one day and that I will need to perform effectively.


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