Leadership and career.
According to Fiedler, the character of the leader determines the ultimate outcome of all forms of decision-making within the organization. Different leaders perceive different situations in different ways: “the key situational factor is the favorableness of the situation from the leader’s point-of-view. This factor is determined by leader-member relations, task structure, and position power” (Fielder 1). In other words, whether the followers need direction; the flexibility demanded of the task; and the leader’s degree of control over the situation will all influence the methods by which the leader exercises his or her capacity to wield power.
To some extent, I do agree with LPC theory, given that in my own experiences, I have seen many leaders be effective with various personality types. In the case of a workforce which is highly under-motivated (such as a fast food restaurant), a very rigid leader who uses a ‘carrot and stick’ approach can be functional in the sense that he or she can motivate workers to perform the necessary tasks. In the case of a work situation such as an ad agency where workers need creative and unstructured space to ‘play,’ this dictatorial leadership style would be untenable and instead a leader who encourages and inspires and learns from his or her employees would be needed. The same kind of fluid and unstructured employee relationship that a creative professional may thrive in might not work with a teenager who is trying to get out of doing work at all costs.
Universally, I think a sense of kindness and fairness, regardless of the situation, is beneficial for a leader but different leaders are comfortable using different techniques. I personally do not enjoy being a highly dictatorial leader and like to be able to trust my employees and solicit their input. That is why I do not enjoy working in environments in which the workforce is so soured or so inexperienced that they are incapable of performing without direction.
Perhaps more so even than computers, smartphones have altered our working relationships and expectations. People are expected to be connected to work 24/7 and employees can always be reached via their phones. Of course, to some extent this was always true of cellphones, but smartphones enable workers to read reports, surf the web to do research, and perform many complex functions with mobile technology. Even in the middle of a yoga class or a children’s soccer game, an employee is never truly disconnected from work. There are some advantages: employers can allow more flexibility in terms of scheduling, which can reduce commuting time and ease the burdens of people with small children. On the other hand, it also means that there is no true, private space. Work can always intrude. Even other aspects of one’s personal life can be too distracting and take people away from the moment of face-to-face interaction. People are always thinking of other things, whether it is the message they have been left on their phone; Facebook; a program they are watching, or the need to deal with a work-related email. Our attention spans are shortening as a result, our focus is less clear, and we are less fully involved in life.
Another example of technology with mixed benefits is that of social media. On one hand, social media has proven to be a boon to companies in terms of how it allows companies to interact with customers and share information about the brand. Customers can complain about products or offer suggestions. The manufacturer can generate relationships rather than merely act as a purveyor of goods. They are mutually advantageous aspects of social media to both company and customer. Also, companies have the ability to brand themselves with funny Facebook posts and Tweets to generate buzz about the product and keep customers entertained at work. Of course, giveaways and humor are not replacements for quality and service, but even smaller companies can use this relatively inexpensive way to offer personal contact…