Introduction to Company
Blue Hills Services Ltd. is a medium sized Agricultural Supplies/Retail company, experiencing a considerable downturn in business due to increased competition from cheaper imported products coupled with significant redundancies of 2 other major employers which will impact directly on their retail side of business.
The company has a tradition of hierarchical staffing structure built on traditional values with all the decisions and directions coming from the top and little consultation with staff about changes, challenges and/or ideas about how the company can become more competitive.
Motivation and moral is currently at an all time low and as a Management Consultant I have been bought into the company to provide advice and guidance.
The purpose of this report is to look at motivation and leadership styles in relation to Blue Hills Services ltd. The report begins by looking at how Blue Hills Services ltd. can motivate its workforce as moral and motivation are very low. Different theories of motivation are looked at, and how the company can implement them. It then goes on to assess how the senior manager can change or adapt his leadership style to a more suitable one for the business to improve its general performance. Currently they adopt a traditional hierarchical leadership style which does not allow lower level staff to have any influence over business ideas or changes. This is what leads to staff feel de-motivated as the changes which take place affect them and they are not consulted in any of the decisions.
What is Motivation?
The success of a business is built on its employees. In order for a business to succeed and grow it must have a work force from which to produce a service or product. It is in this production and successive work ethic that businesses begin their development from the introduction of a new service or product to growth, and eventually to corporate maturity and long lasting possibility. However the issue of how to motivate people and instil a sense of self-inspiration amongst workers still remains a mystery among many.
Motivation has been researched by many theorists, here are a few definitions:
“Motivation can be described as the direction and persistence of action in preference to others, and why they continue with a chosen action, often over a long period, and in the face of difficulties and problems”,( Mullins,1999).
“Motivation can thus be regarded as a broad concept which includes preferences for particular outcomes, strength of effort (half-hearted or enthusiastic), and persistence (in the face of barriers). These are the factors that we have to understand in order to explain your motivation and behaviour. These are the factors that which a manager has to appreciate in order to motivate employees to behave in an organisationally desirable way”, (Buchanan & Hucznski 2004).
Motivation is the process that accounts for an individual’s intensity and direction, persistence of effort towards attaining a goal. Motivation is the result of the interaction of the individual and the situation. The level of motivation varies both between individuals and within individuals at different times.
There are few factors associated with individual job performance; motivation and leadership are two of the factors most important in almost any organisations, which play a vital role in the employees and managers performance, which leads to productivity.
The role of motivational progress in determining a worker’s level of performance is now widely recognized by industrial psychologists. Baldamus (1951) found that to achieve a high level of performance a person must have both ability and motivation to perform effectively. French (1957) studied the joint effects of intelligence and achievement motivation on the problem solving success of airmen and found a significant interaction between these two variables. Vroom (1964) pointed out their jobs are predicted to be the result of both their preferences among performance outcomes and their expectancies concerning the consequences of each level of effort on the attainment of these outcomes.
In a study of the effects of participation in decision making on employees, satisfaction and performance, Vroom (1964) found fairly high positive correlation between the ability and performance of employees high in motivation, generally lower positive correlation for those moderate in motivation and zero or slightly negative correlation for those low in motivation. This highlights the importance of including employees in the company decision making. This is something Blue Hills Services ltd. need to implement.
According to Abraham Maslow’s (1954) there is a hierarchy of five needs- physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self- actualisation and as each need is substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant. Maslow’s needs hierarchy takes the following forms, from the lowest to the highest needs:
- Physiological needs.
- Safety needs (e.g. security and order)
- Belongingness and love needs (affection and identifications)
- Esteem needs (prestige success and self-respect) and
- Self-actualisation needs. The drive to become what one is capable of becoming; includes growth, achieving ones potential, and self-fulfilment.
As each of these needs become substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant. From the standpoint of motivation, the theory would say that although no need is ever fully gratified, a substantially satisfied need no longer motivates. So if you want to motivate someone, according to Maslow, you need to understand what level of the hierarchy that person is currently on and focus on satisfying those needs at or above that level.
It is assumed that as one goes up in this need hierarchy, the criterion for judging whether one’s need has been fulfilled becomes less self-dependent and more others dependent. This starts with the physiological needs, the satisfaction of which is much more other than dependent.
Vroom (1964) suggested that the strength of achievement motivation from the use of internally medicated incentives is more highly related to satisfaction and performance when the worker is relatively free to set his own pace of work. These studies show that satisfaction increases with an increase in the magnitude of the reward offered for successful performance.
Ways to implement motivation
There are a number of ways that managers can create work environments in which individual employees become motivated about their work goals and activities (Heathfield 2002). I will look at ways in which Blue Hill Services ltd. can implement motivational techniques amongst its workforce.
- Some companies use incentives to increase employee motivation, this could be in the form of financial incentives or rewards for staff. Incentive programs must be carefully planned out and only run for a short period of time. They can also be used to enhance qualitative goals such as, team building. Recognition programs are another motivational tool for a manager’s workforce; they are ways of rewarding individuals for their efforts.
- Improving communication channels within the company, not only is this a motivational tool, but it also helps to build morale among the workforce. This could be implemented by having weekly meetings with staff to involve them in company decision making. Staff surveys or other means of feed backing to top management need to be in place, to make management aware of staff morale. It is important to obtain feedback from the workers to make sure they are aware of the expectations.
- Increasing job satisfaction, by making staff feel valued and an integral part of the company.
- Managers should make time for their employees, and focus on each individual’s development. Although this may be difficult, managers need to spend time with their employees. To focus on his/her own specific and personal development.
- Another area for managers is that they must look into providing leadership among the workforce. Workers expect their managers to know the goals of the company and share the direction in which the company is heading (Heathfield 2002). They need to be kept abreast of any changes affecting the work environment. Managers need to hold meetings in order to share this type of information, gain ideas for improvement, and train any new policies (Heathfield 2002). It is here that they can implement problem-solving skills among their work force, and develop process involvement teams to help build morale among the workers.
What is leadership?
There are various definitions of Leadership; it has been described as,
“A relationship through which one person influences the behaviour or actions of other people”, (Mullins, L. 2002). Another popular definition would be, “the process of influencing an organisation or groups within an organisation in its efforts towards achieving a goal” (Johnson, Scholes & Whittington, 2005).
Leadership is a skill where the beauty lies in overcoming the challenges to success. Good leadership encourages everyone’s participation. An organisation may have many goals to achieve like being the best organisation in the industry which they are in or to be the people first choice when selecting the company’s product. Achieving such goals is not an easy task without a good leader; it is the leader who transforms the company’s vision into realities.
Each person has a leadership style that they feel comfortable with. There are different styles of leadership that are required for different situations, (Lewin Lippitt and White, 1939). I will look at the different types of leadership styles and there advantages as well as disadvantages.
An Autocratic leader tells his team mates what to do. The workers do not participate in discussing their issues or ideas and new way of doing things. This type of leadership style will be easily noticed as the leader is always issuing instructions. The workers do not experience the feeling of teamwork. This affects the team spirit as it has in Blue Hills Services ltd. This is the leadership style used by the employers of the company and it is not working effectively.
When is this style effective?
This leadership style is more effective when dealing with critical issues where you do not have the time to discuss these issues with your colleagues. Here you tell your colleagues what they are supposed to do and when. This leadership style is also suitable when the team members lack the skills or the knowledge to carry out their tasks and duties. This style could also be used when the team is new since the members do not know each other, and their part within the team. When is this method ineffective? This style is not effective if you want to develop a good team because the level of team work is very low and there is little interaction between team members. In relation to Blue Hills Services ltd, there is not much communication with the workers about changes and ideas, and this leads to de-motivation.
This is the leadership style which involves the full participation of the team. The team is involved to the maximum where they are involved in planning and carrying out various activities. Each and every person has equal opportunities here. This leadership style promotes the sense of team work. Since the decisions are arrived through team discussion the result of the discussion will be of very high quality, as it is a group discussion various issues and various opinion will be considered before arriving at the decision. So you could expect the decision to be of high quality where various angles of the issue are discussed. You could expect the entire team members to follow the decision without any hesitation since every one had a say in the decision making process. This style would be most suitable for the company.
When is this style effective?
This style is more effective if you have time to discuss and the decision which needs to be sorted out but which is not urgent. Since decision making is time consuming here. This approach to leadership will be only effective if the group is motivated towards working as a group. If this motivation is not there it will be a really unproductive cause since the group will be not agreeing as a team to one decision and it will not be a desired result. Finally this system will be effective only when the group members have some knowledge and skills which are related to his work. If they do not have the relevant skill or knowledge they will not be able to participate in the decision making process constructively
When is this style ineffective?
This style will be ineffective when the group in not motivated to work as a team, they do not have the necessary skill or knowledge with regards to there work or when there is a high degree of conflict. Since it will not favourable to have a constructive meeting with them if they do not want to work as a team or if they do not have knowledge about there work and if there are conflicts among them it will take time to resolve the conflict and then get there attention to decision making process.
This is the system where a leader does not seem to be in charge and he only gives little or no advice to its team members / Individuals and opinion is only offered when it is requested only.
When is this style effective?
This system will be effective when there is high degree of motivation and skills to do the job, sense of team exists and the routine of carrying out work is familiar to all employees. Thus this system requires less supervision from the leader since the employees are knowledgeable and effective in there work and there will be less conflicts among them When is this style ineffective? This system is ineffective when there is low sense of team spirit and a very low level of skill or knowledge is in members and the group expects to be told what to do. As you may see this would lead to an Autocratic style of leadership. This style would not be suitable for Blue Hills Services ltd as there is not a high degree of motivation present.
The above 3 styles can be used by managers/leaders in different settings. Much leadership research shows that leaders need to adapt their interpersonal management style to suit the business needs. Blake & Mouton (1969) devised the leadership grid which has two critical dimensions, a concern for people and a concern for production, (see below Fig.1).
The role of a leader in the workplace is to get things done through the employees. To do this effectively the manger should be able to motivate employees. Low employee morale within the company is due to the top-down management style and lack of appropriate internal communication. Blue Hills Services ltd needs to have a flatter organisational structure. This means, that there is a need to build consensus on many issues, and there is a lot of stress on teamwork. In these circumstances, leaders need to spend a lot of time listening to their subordinates, and sometimes to act more as facilitators rather than leaders.
True leadership relies on co-operation and feedback. To be a leader you must cultivate the foundations of co-operation, the leader should make themselves available to subordinates. Today many managers build barriers for upward communication; this makes it difficult for lower level employees to communicate with management. Some leaders foster a corporate culture, where asking for help is considered a weakness or failure in the part of subordinate, eventually leading to staff covering up their errors and invariably it is the organisation that suffers. Thus it is the responsible of the leader to show concern for the efforts and challenges faced by the team members and to create an environment where problems are recognised and analysed followed with an action to solve the problem. This not only helps the company to function smoothly it will motivate the employees to bring all the problems to managers and when their problems are solved it will result in the employees getting motivated. This will in turn increase the productivity of the organisation.